The Arbitration Committee, in an unprecedented move, voted on November 27 to suspend one of its members for conduct violations.
The Arbitration Committee has determined that Beeblebrox (talk · contribs) has repeatedly failed to "[p]reserve in appropriate confidence the contents of private correspondence sent to the Committee and the Committee's internal discussions and deliberations" by making disclosures on off-wiki forums. These failures followed a previous formal warning issued to Beeblebrox in September 2021 by the Arbitration Committee concerning his conduct in off-wiki forums. Therefore, in accordance with Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy § Conduct of arbitrators, Beeblebrox is suspended from Arbitration Committee membership for a period of six months from this date. During this period, Beeblebrox's CheckUser and Oversight permissions and his access to applicable mailing lists (including the functionaries' mailing list) are revoked. Following this period, Beeblebrox may request reinstatement of his permissions or mailing list access by applying to the Arbitration Committee. Beeblebrox may also regain access via election to the committee.
Support: Barkeep49, Cabayi, CaptainEek, Enterprisey, GeneralNotability, Guerillero, Izno, L235, Primefac, SilkTork, Wugapodes
The resolution was nearly unanimous, with 11 arbitrators supporting and none opposing. Moneytrees, the sole abstainer, wrote, "I hold Beeblebrox in very high regard" and "thought that made me too biased to actually vote on the matter". He said to the Signpost that "some people have asked me offsite about what way I would have voted if I didn't abstain. I would like to say more but given my abstention and the private nature of the evidence (I should not confirm or deny etc), I don't think it's my place to do so at this time; maybe once the dust has settled I can give more substantive commentary".
The choice of a six-month suspension is notable, as only one month remained in Beeblebrox's term, and he had said he did not plan to run for re-election. Arbitrator Barkeep49 wrote that the committee opted for suspension rather than removal in order to provide a timeline for potential restoration of his CheckUser and Oversight permissions and mailing list access, which were removed as part of the suspension, as well as to help set a precedent for future committees.
The name of the forum where Beeblebrox made the disclosures was not disclosed in the official announcement, but it was later clarified as Wikipediocracy, a site on which Beeblebrox has been publicly and openly known to be active for some time. The site has become well-known over the years for its sometimes-trenchant criticisms of Wikipedia, as well as for more controversial activities (like doxing) that have drawn great ire from the editoriat. Arbitrator Wugapodes said, in a comment on November 29:
|It's not that WPO is some kind of "bogeyman"; if I recall correctly a number of current and former arbitrators contribute there, so it's certainly not impeachment worthy. For me at least, if the only change were that the comments were made on-wiki, but everything else were still the same (prior warnings, impact on trust) then I would have come to the same decision. How widely that's shared, I can't say, but I think it's telling that our statement leans closer to that issue instead of moralizing about where statements were posted.
In discussion of the suspension, Beeblebrox commented: "Obviously, I think the committee made the wrong decision here. I'll cop to letting a small detail about something out on an external website. And when other committee members raised concerns about it, I asked for the post to be removed, and it was. And then I was told there was a 'totality of evidence' of my wrongdoing that I needed to respond to, which I feel I did, just yesterday. I guess my replies didn't cut it." When contacted by the Signpost, Beebs declined to comment further.
Most other editors in the discussion were supportive of the decision. A notable exception came from former arbitrator Worm That Turned, who wrote, "it looks like you have been taken advantage of by a troll and Beeblebrox has come out the victim." Administrator Tamzin was sharply critical of ArbCom's 2021 decision not to make the warning to Beeblebrox public, casting it as part of a pattern of "overuse of private warnings and restrictions."
As of press time, a long discussion at the talk page for the Arbitration Committee noticeboard sat at around 150,000 characters. Meanwhile, a thread on Wikipediocracy sits at 206 replies. Some over there have speculated that the forbidden posts may have included this one, something to do with formerly-GLOCKed user Gitz6666 (see previous Signpost coverage) — but it's hard to say what is fact and what is fancy.
On November 28, Beeblebrox changed his username to "Just Step Sideways" (a lyrical reference).
Editors could not recall a prior instance in which an arbitrator was removed for cause. In 2018, arbitrator Alex Shih resigned, which the committee later revealed came after he was confronted with accusations he abused the Checkuser tool and committed other confidentiality violations. In 2009, arbitrator Sam Blacketer resigned after it was revealed to ArbCom that he had used an undisclosed alternate account before joining the committee; and in 2011 Iridescent was removed for inactivity. – Sdkb, J
Update to Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2023-10-23/News and notes#Record low number of active administrators which described a "new record low" hit on 18 Oct of 448 active administrators.
Since that report we have created several new records:
The number has been wobbling, but the average for the month of November was between 446 and 447. – B