The Signpost

Arbitration report

Year ends with one active case

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By Bri

Case accepted: GiantSnowman

An Arbitration case opened on 18 December with nine arbitrators accepting and zero declining. The request included multiple editors presenting evidence of inappropriate mass rollback with the rollback toolset (bundled for all administrators and held by some non-administrators as well). At issue is interaction between GiantSnowman – an administrator since 2012 with over 300,000 edits – and less experienced and less privileged accounts. Besides what some called immoderate use of rollback, additional concern was expressed about "social damage" (UninvitedCompany) emanating from "blocks of new users who may not know our sourcing rules that is particularly concerning" (DGG). Perhaps the most pointed statement in the request was from Softlavender who opined "This is harming the project (we cannot afford to lose good editors more than we already are), and no one can babysit such an admin to make sure he is competently using the tools and competently reverting." On the other hand, some expressed views that the problematic interactions can be solved through less drastic means, for instance: "[I]t is not clear to me that desysopping GS is going to suddenly fix the issue that differentiating between good and bad changes to sports statistics is difficult. Can we try to work on this issue instead of focusing on people?" (Kusma). The case will be in evidence phase until January 3.

Incipient case mooted: Editor resigns

A request initiated on November 27 appeared to possibly be rendered moot when Jytdog abruptly announced they would be leaving Wikipedia for good. In response, Arbcom passed this motion without a formal case: "Jytdog may not resume editing, under any account name or IP, without notifying and obtaining permission from the Arbitration Committee". Arbcom's opinions in the discussion whether or not to take it ranged from angry-sounding "I don't understand where anyone could come up with the notion that it's ok to call someone out of the blue off-wiki... [s]ome action will have to be taken here" (DeltaQuad) to more conciliatory. Notwithstanding the 10–0 vote to take the case, arbitrator DGG stood his ground on the motion saying that "I oppose a block as unnecessary and inappropriate. But saying 'without notifying and obtaining permission from the Arbitration Committee' is in fact a block–an indefinite block."

The Signpost notes that not all members of the committee agreed that the off-wiki communication had been initiated by Jytdog without the consent of the other party. This would surely have been the crux of a case, and there are hints that there is private communication available to the committee that contradicts the record the rest of us can see.

Case declined: alleged misbehavior by Arbitration Committee member

A case was unanimously declined on December 8 regarding Arbitration Committee member BU Rob13. An editor had commented on this request in the last issue of The Signpost as a case of the foxes guarding the henhouse, while rebuking us for not covering it in that issue's Arbitration Report.

Electoral Commission steps in during Arbcom elections

The Electoral Commission made an "official statement on Fred Bauder's standing as candidate" during his candidacy for Arbcom. It also stands as an unusual case (unprecedented as far as we know) of a candidate being admonished and desysopped for editwarring on their own candidacy page.

Election results

The following content originally appeared at Administrators' noticeboard. Results of the 2018 Arbitration Committee election are further detailed at News and notes in this issue.

All incoming arbitrators have elected to receive (or retain, where applicable) the checkuser and oversight permissions.

We also thank our outgoing colleagues whose terms end on 31 December 2018:

Outgoing arbitrators are eligible to retain the CheckUser and Oversight permissions, remain active on cases accepted before their term ended, and to remain subscribed to the functionaries' and arbitration clerks' mailing lists following their term on the committee. To that effect:

In this issue
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Jytdog was a very good editor...--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 16:11, 24 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Jytdog was a very good editor, but to be a member of a community you also need to consider how to treat others. Jytdog tended to be focused on the articles, but at times it seemed that they were not focused enough on the idea that there was a person behind the account. - Bilby (talk) 12:20, 25 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
As demonstrated by the dozens of testimonials here, his work will be sorely missed. It was good, very good. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:41, 29 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Jytdog did excellent work, but their treatment of other editors sometimes left much to be desired, and was the ultimate cause of their departure. - Bilby (talk) 22:59, 29 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I had a pointed off-wiki discussion with Jytdog in 2016/2017 timeframe. He insisted on bullying Barbara Page as a means to control her sometimes problematic editing and I took him to task off-wiki for his bad behavior. I had met with Barbara in person to resolve issues and I saw no need for his method. He wouldn't even apologize, let alone stop. Rest assured, I won't miss him. Chris Troutman (talk) 23:45, 18 January 2019 (UTC)[reply]
It is notable that a significant number of productive editors have left the project rather than undergo an ArbCom case. Additionally, we have lost editors after cases, or part way through - one of the problems with these cases being that they effectively break WP:NOT COMPULSORY (though they are not the only part of the apparatus that does that). I'm not sure if there is a good solution to these issues, but when I was observing ArbCom closely it did seem that there was a distinction between those that investigated fully, reading all diffs offered, and subsequently making constructive suggestions, and those that relied on the judgement of other members, or of parties to the case, and rarely made any innovative proposals, rather tending to absolute versions of standard sanctions, regardless of evidence of their effectiveness. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 14:30, 31 December 2018 (UTC).[reply]


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