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Arbitration report

Status quo processes retained in two disputes

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By Bri and Kudpung

Active cases

German war effort

Infographic map illustrating the state of World War II in Europe in 1942
Arbcom is about to decide how we talk about this.

See our May and June arbitration reports for background. The case is in its final phase now at Proposed decision. As of publication deadline (31 July), the following proposed remedies are on the table:

  1. Topics related to the German participation in the Second World War, broadly interpreted, are placed under discretionary sanctions. 10–0 opposed (cannot pass).
  2. For engaging in harassment of other users, LargelyRecyclable is indefinitely banned from the English Wikipedia under any account. 11–0 in favor (passed).
  3. Cinderella157 is admonished for personal attacks against K.e.coffman and casting aspersions on their editing and character. 6–1 opposed, 1 abstained.
  4. K.e.coffman is reminded that the use of biased and questionable sources are not prohibited by policy, especially when the content is verifiable, non-controversial and has been included by editorial consensus. They are encouraged to continue to identify unreliable sourcing and bring them to wider community attention. 11–0 opposed (cannot pass).
  5. Auntieruth55 is reminded that project coordinators have no special roles in a content dispute, and that featured articles are not immune to sourcing problems. 4–3 opposed, 1 abstained. Dissenting, DGG: "I think the extent of attempted authority does justify a reminder."
  6. All editors are reminded that consensus building is key to the purpose of Wikipedia. The most reliable sources should be used instead of questionable sourcing whenever possible when dealing with sensitive topics. Longterm disagreement over local consensus in a topic area should be resolved through soliciting comments from the wider community, instead of being re-litigated persistently at the local level. 10–0 in favor (passed).

Projection/takeaway (op-ed): There will be no new discretionary sanctions, LargelyRecyclable will be banned, K.e.coffman will face no tangible sanctions, and the status quo will stand with respect to community participation in contentious discussions. B

BLP issues on British politics articles

Screenshot of the Evidence subpage's history between 11 July and 12 July depicting most of the revisions as deleted
Much of this discussion has been redacted.

Workshop closed after three comments on July 9. Arbitrators began filling out Proposed decision on July 18–19. A key finding is that the committee's jurisdiction only covers on-wiki editing, but "[t]he Committee may take notice of conduct outside its jurisdiction when making decisions about conduct on the English Wikipedia if such outside conduct impacts or has the potential to impact adversely upon the English Wikipedia or its editors" (emphasis added). Newyorkbrad stated that "we can tell [an] editor that they must stop engaging in seriously problematic conduct on another site (for example, conduct verging on threats or revealing editors' private information) if they wish to continue participating here."

An interesting finding of the committee was that "Philip Cross was the subject of an intense campaign of harassment and intimidation both on-wiki and off-wiki during this case, including the creation of attack pages, efforts to obtain and reveal his personal details, and unsupported speculation that he is a state agent". Thus far, The Signpost has refrained from publishing this speculation.

Consensus seems to have emerged that Philip Cross has exhibited a conflict of interest, but has also been the target of harassment. He may continue editing under his topic ban. KalHolmann will be indefinitely restricted from linking to or speculating about the off-wiki behavior or identity of other editors. The new discretionary sanctions on British politics that we discussed in the last issue do not have the committee's backing.

A reminder to the community about the provisions of Wikipedia's policy against outing was backed unanimously with this understated comment by Newyorkbrad: "there are inherent tensions between our policies allowing anonymous editing but discouraging conflicts of interest." B

Return of access levels

In other words, getting one's mop back. On 20 July 2018, following an intense discussion at the Bureaucrats Noticeboard concerning a request by Ymblanter for reinstatment of his administrator status, the Arbitration Committee ruled squarely that a decision to either resysop or require a new RfA falls within the domain of Bureaucrat discretion. The concerns were centred around whether or not Ymblanter had voluntarily resigned his adminship 'under a cloud' in order to escape possible sanctions. Among the arbitrator comments were: "The determination of 'controversial circumstances' is based on the discretion of the bureaucrats. In the the relatively infrequent situation where an administrator did not relinquish their privileges in a completely uncontroversial manner, a bureaucrat discussion should take place to allow consensus among the bureaucrats to emerge, which is what happened with the Ymblanter case" by Alex Shih, and, invoking earlier precedents: "Based on these decisions (which are consistent with the current policy), ArbCom only has a potential role in this area if an administrator has resigned (1) while a case to which he or she is a party had already been accepted and was being considered, or (2) while a request for arbitration was pending. Ordinarily, an admin who resigns under either of these circumstances would need a new RfA to regain adminship" by Newyorkbrad.

The moral of the story (op-ed) is that before handing in their tools for whatever reason, admins should be aware of anything in their history that may prevent what they might have thought would be a straightforward request for their return. K

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Thank you for the detailed arbitration report. However, I disagree with the photo caption. One of the themes that emerges from our close-to-finalized decision in the German war effort is a reaffirmation that beyond enforcing basic policies and user-conduct expectations, ArbCom does not decide the content of articles, even on a sensitive topic like the one in this case. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 15:57, 3 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for commenting. At the risk of parsing words with a practicing attorney, "how we talk about" doesn't (just) mean article content; it was intended to reflect the on- and potentially off-wiki editor interaction that indirectly shapes the article content. Maybe I should have said "how we talk about how we talk about...", but the non-attorneys would probably be annoyed by that. ☆ Bri (talk) 16:19, 3 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I would dispute ArbCom's claim of not deciding the content of articles - by intervening in a content dispute ArbCom is choosing the winner of the dispute. Many of the user conduct issues which look likely to result in one person being blocked and another to suffer a topic ban have occurred during the ArbCom case and have been caused by the ArbCom case. If you wish this to happen then at least be honest about it and not pretend that you are not choosing sides.Nigel Ish (talk) 20:44, 4 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]


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