Arbitration report

The Report On Lengthy Litigation

To deal with recent resignations, three new members were appointed to the Arbitration Committee last week. Even before the appointments, though, the committee did overcome its recent inactivity and close two existing cases. However, the mentorship system seemed to be struggling as one such arrangement had to be dissolved.

The new arbitrators

On Friday, 22 July, Jimmy Wales announced that he was appointing James Forrester, Fennec, and Jayjg to the Arbitration Committee. They take the place of Delirium, Ambi, and Grunt, who had previously stated that they would resign once replacements were found. One additional appointment is also expected, as Nohat last week joined the other three in indicating that he would resign.

The newly appointed arbitrators will serve until the end of the year, at which point their positions will be up for election along with the other arbitrators whose terms expire then. The procedure differed from the selection of interim arbitrators Raul654 and Jwrosenzweig to fill similar vacancies last year, as they were chosen in a special election. Wales said, "For an emergency, I don't think we need to go through that whole process." Instead, he chose the temporary arbitrators from a group of names suggested by the existing arbitrators.

Pcb21 criticized the process of selecting the new arbitrators, saying that other options should have been considered besides "hidden behind closed doors, cliquey appointments." However, Raul654 pointed out that the Board of Trustees election had only just concluded, the next arbitration election was only some five months away, and the previous one had been "a horribly nasty experience that no one wants to repeat more often than necessary". Wales acknowledged the concerns but indicated that he thought his selections would be "mostly uncontroversial". He added, "I think that me randomly appointing people midterm is not the proper sustainable way to do this in the long run."

Case work

A pair of cases were cleared out without needing the participation of the new appointees. On Thursday, the arbitrators closed their oldest case, a dispute between Tkorrovi and Paul Beardsell over the Artificial consciousness article. A temporary injunction had prohibited them from editing the article while the case was open, allowing other users to work on it.

In the ruling, this prohibition was extended for another three months for Tkorrovi and indefinitely for Beardsell. The arbitrators noted a number of personal attacks in the dispute and placed both on a six-month parole. They also noted that much of the dispute revolved around information that lacked references and was likely original research. Accordingly, an additional parole made Tkorrovi and Beardsell subject to short blocks if they "reinsert any unreferenced or poorly referenced material in the article".

Tkorrovi called the decision a "fair solution" and indicated his acceptance of the arbitration process. Beardsell, however, as the case was about to close, suggested that the arbitrators declare a "mistrial" instead and that everyone simply agree to put the matter behind them. Throughout the process, Beardsell fought the case purely by argument, and never presented any evidence.

In the second case, which was closed on Friday, the arbitrators banned Zivinbudas for one year. They described him as editing "from an immature Lithuanian nationalist perspective" (a frequently-used edit summary read "Polish stupidity"). Due to his use of IP addresses to edit, the ruling indicated that any edits involving his trademark behavior may be reverted.

New cases and mentorship

Meanwhile, three new cases were opened last week. One deals with the conduct of debate over the Race and intelligence article, which recently has nominated both for deletion and featured article status (neither was successful). While this one included complaints of personal attacks, another case was brought against AI based on concerns that he was going too far in removing personal attacks and disrupting debate on talk pages.

The remaining dispute involves Coolcat, who complains of being "stalked" by Stereotek and Davenbelle. In this matter, Tony Sidaway suggested that mentorship for Coolcat might be appropriate. The fate of the mentorship idea is uncertain, however, as one of the existing mentorship arrangements collapsed last week.

Netoholic's last remaining mentor, Raul654, resigned on Tuesday saying that formal mentorship was not working. Arbitrator sannse indicated that Netoholic is now subject to a ban from the Wikipedia and template namespaces, and a restriction to one revert per day, as was ruled previously. Raul654 said the system failed because it left the mentors as the only ones able to intervene, and that problems went unresolved if the mentors were unaware of them. For his part, Netoholic said he thought the mentorship had been working, but it "failed because it meant different things to everyone involved."

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