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By DannyS712

Arbitration Policy – Proposed amendment passes

The Arbitration Committee resolved by motion to amend the "Conduct of arbitrators" section of the Arbitration Policy. The entire motion is reprinted below.

The final paragraph of the "Conduct of arbitrators" section of the arbitration policy is amended as follows:

Any arbitrator who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by Committee resolution supported by two-thirds of all arbitrators excluding:
  1. The arbitrator facing suspension or removal, and;
  2. Any inactive arbitrator who does not respond within 30 days to attempts to solicit their feedback on the resolution through all known mediums of communication.

Pursuant to the policies for changing the arbitration policy (Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Ratification and amendment), the community had to decide whether to amend the Arbitration policy or not. Specifically, the proposed amendment had to undergo a community referendum, and would only enter into force once it receive[d] majority support, with at least one hundred editors voting in favour of adopting it. That referendum was held at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy/Proposed amendment (April 2019), and was closed in favor of the proposed amendment.

Cases and Controversies

Portals Issue

A case request was submitted by Robert McClenon on 23 March 2019. The request attracted statements from 28 users, amassing more than 100,000 bytes of content. In the end, however, the committee declined the case request on 4 April 2019, with 2 Arbitrators voting to accept the case while 6 preferred declining it. See the archived discussion here.

Bureaucratic Bureaucracy

As highlighted in this issue's news and notes, this month saw the successful RfA of RexxS following consensus at a bureaucrat chat. However, Pudeo asked the Arbitration Committee to review the 'crat chat, arguing that The bureaucrats' actions are not within the mandate they have been given and requesting that the Committee consider 1) affirming the 2015 election reform RfC, 2) review whether Maxim and possibly other bureaucrats acted within policy, and 3) overturning the bureaucrat chat. The Committee voted 10-0 to decline the case. The full case request can be found here.


After a hiatus that lasted over 2 months, the Arbitration Committee opened its second case of the year on 13 April 2019. As of writing, the scope of the case is limited to examining The administrative conduct of Enigmaman [and] What action is required, if any. See the prior (archived) discussion at ANI here, and the full case itself here.

Arbitration Procedure Amendments

Compromised admin accounts

Last month, Necrothesp's administrative permissions were removed under level 1 procedures "as a suspected compromised account". This month, the committee resolved to return their bit. Furthermore, the Arbitration Committee has taken steps to encourage administrators to improve the security of their accounts.

The Arbitration Committee resolved by motion to amend the "Return of [administrator] permissions" section of the Arbitration Procedure. The entire motion is reprinted below.

Since November 2018, six accounts have been desysopped under the Level I desysopping procedures as compromised administrator accounts. The Arbitration Committee reminds administrators that they are required to "have strong passwords and follow appropriate personal security practices." The current policy on security of administrator accounts provides that "a compromised admin account will be blocked and its privileges removed on grounds of site security" and "in certain circumstances, the revocation of privileges may be permanent."

The Arbitration Committee resolves that the return of administrator privileges to a compromised account is not automatic. The committee's procedure at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures § Removal of permissions, subsection Return of permissions, is replaced by the following:

Removal is protective, intended to prevent harm to the encyclopedia while investigations take place, and the advanced permissions will normally be reinstated once if a satisfactory explanation is provided or the issues are satisfactorily resolved. If the editor in question requests it, or if the Committee determines that a routine reinstatement of permissions is not appropriate, normal arbitration proceedings shall be opened to examine the removal of permissions and any surrounding circumstances.

In cases where an administrator account was compromised, the committee will review all available information to determine whether the administrator followed "appropriate personal security practices" before restoring permissions. Factors used to make this determination include: whether the administrator used a strong password on both their Wikipedia account and associated email account; whether the administrator had reused passwords across Wikipedia or the associated email account and other systems; whether the administrator had enabled two-factor authentication; and how the account was compromised.

If the Committee determines the administrator failed to secure their account adequately, the administrator will not be resysopped automatically. Unless otherwise provided by the committee, the administrator may regain their administrative permissions through a successful request for adminship.

Discretionary sanctions

Back in February, GoldenRing deleted User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles, claiming that this was an Arbitration Enforcement action. The deletion was brought up at Deletion review, during the course of which Bishonen restored the page so that it could be viewed by non-administrators. At issue was whether deletion is a valid Arbitration Enforcement action, and, separately, whether it was proper to consider overturning an action labeled to be enforcing an arbitration decision at deletion review. To clarify proper procedures in such cases, the Arbitration Committee resolved by motion to amend the Standard provision for appeals and modifications in the Arbitration Procedure. The entire motion is reprinted below.

The following text is added to the "Important notes" section of the standard provision on appeals and modifications, replacing the current text of the fourth note:

All actions designated as arbitration enforcement actions, including those alleged to be out of process or against existing policy, must first be appealed following arbitration enforcement procedures to establish if such enforcement is inappropriate before the action may be reversed or formally discussed at another venue.

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