Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Archive 11

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Question on TM ArbCom

Jclemens has referred me to this page. My question is: I and other participants in the TM arbcom have sandboxes with auxiliary evidence, that are/were linked to the evidence page for that case. What is the policy for such pages? Should the pages be kept for posterity? Blanked? Deleted U1? Is there any policy or guidance on this? Here are some examples of the pages in question. [1] [2][3][4][5] [6] Many thanks,--KeithbobTalk 16:07, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed with Jclemens that pages should be removed (or requested to be removed) as they really serve no purpose currently, and if/when they are needed, they can be undeleted. SirFozzie (talk) 20:50, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If I recall correctly, they were created as integral parts of the arbitration case. I'm not sure what purpose any old evidence pages serve, but they are part of the evidence presented in the case. One solution would be to move them to subsidiaries of the evidence page. Or if they are offensive we could blank the entire case, as has also been done occasionally.   Will Beback  talk  20:55, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My personal preference, given that we have no set rule, is that such pages be folded into the main evidence pages if they have been relied upon in the decision. Others may be more appropriate for deletion. I'd prefer to have a list of such pages and make decisions from that. Risker (talk) 22:40, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure if it's complete, but I had compiled a list here: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Transcendental Meditation movement/Evidence#Mature evidence.   Will Beback  talk  22:53, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One special consideration might be these evidence pages created by an editor, who during the course of the ArbCom was found to be a sockpuppet. What should be done with them?: User:Tuckerj1976/Arbitration_evidence and User:Tuckerj1976/Arbitration evidence2--KeithbobTalk 15:56, 25 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

{{ArbCom navigation}}

Previous discussion: User talk:Xeno#.7B.7BArbCom navigation.7D.7D

Hi folks,

I recently made some updated to {{ArbCom navigation}} which made various improvements:

  1. The template was subclassed to {{sidebar}} and appropriately categorised, rather than being hand-crafted HTML. This is a big win for code readaibility and ensures that the template automatically picks up on improvements in the site CSS in future (hand-crafted sidebars have been hit by changes to MediaWiki several times).
  2. The related changes link was moved from a tiny "rc" link on the navbar to a dedicated link. This makes it much more discoverable as people expect a navbar to have view / edit / talk links and not view / edit / related changes.
  3. The noindex code was moved into an includeonly tag, meaning that while all transcluding pages are still noindexed, the template itself wasn't. There's nothing private on the template itself, and it's often easier to Google for a template that you've forgotten the name of than try to find it through the inbuilt search.

These were undone under the rather flimsy assertion that ArbCom owns the template, which is probably a surprise to all the previous editors. Anyone want to have a look over the code and see if it's okay? Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 10:54, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not quite sure where the readability improvement comes - I'm just seeing smaller type and wider line-spacing, which to me makes it slightly worse to read, if anything.--Kotniski (talk) 11:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I meant readability of the code itself. However, if tweaks to the line height and font of the template itself are desired then the new codebase make them trivial (adding one style line to the top of the template, rather than having to add it throughout the code). I've now done so in the sandbox: there's a comparison of old and new at /testcases. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 11:28, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure why the font size seems to vary so much among the different elements in the new version, but I suppose that's more of a complaint about {{sidebar}} than anything else. In practical terms, I have two comments on the new version:
  1. The various talk page links in the old version were present only for related change tracking, and weren't actually displayed on the template. I'm not sure what the rationale for changing that is, but the proposed placement looks rather cluttered, in my opinion.
  2. Would the related changes link look better in in, say, |heading30 rather than |below? At the moment, it seems like a malformed portion of the "Records" block.
Kirill [talk] [prof] 12:46, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I made the talk links visible because I figured that if the code was already there the reader might as well actually be able to click the links. They can easily be hidden again if required. I've changed the related changes link to use content instead of heading to get rid of the bolding, as otherwise it gets a silver background and becomes a little less visible. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 13:00, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First your numbered points:

  1. "a big win for code readability"; "I meant readability of the code itself" <-- herein lies the core of this issue: you seem to care too much about prettifying the underlying wikitext and not enough about the effect your changes have on the rendered page or its end users.
  2. The 'rc' link is used by probably a handful of editors and does not need to be so prominently displayed. The template purposefully does not have a talk page, per centralization of arbitration discussions.
  3. You should have consulted the arbitrator who added the NOINDEX protection (which was added for a very good reason), rather than deciding it wasn't necessary.

The committee does not own the template, nor has anyone suggested as much. You said that your changes were "primarily for the benefit of those few souls who can be bothered maintaining templatespace", and I simply indicated that you need not concern yourself as the Arbitration Committee will continue to maintain this template. Using a hard-coded tables is working fine and does not introduce the clutter of additional sub-templates being transcluded by arbitration pages. –xenotalk 13:32, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In order:
  1. I care about both. Improving the underlying code makes it far easier to improve the output. That's one of the big reasons for using meta-templates in the first place.
  2. Given that the new code takes up no more room than the old, even with a more easily clickable link, it seems obtuse to insist that the link be hidden away in a corner again. It's an odd quirk of this template which doesn't benefit people using it.
  3. I used my own judgement: if indexing the template itself is a major no-no then I'd hope for someone to explain why. The edit summary where it was added was "stopgap", which implied to me that it was a quick hack. You said yourself that you were going to bring it up with Coren the other day, but you appear not to have done so: why is that?
  4. What you actually said was "The use of a template is not desired; the Arbitration Committee will continue to maintain the template. Please direct your efforts elsewhere." The implication there is not subtle.
Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 13:58, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
File:ArbCom navigation comparison.jpg
The font size is still too small - there is ample room to use the original font size.
  1. If you care about both, then why was did your first effort greatly bloat the width of the template while making the text size so small as to be barely legible?
  2. The related changes link does not need to be so prominent, this is why it was tucked away.
  3. I haven't had the opportunity - I will direct his attention here.
  4. Yes, this was a reply to your suggestion that the hardcoded template is such an undue burden on those brave souls willing to maintain templatespace. –xenotalk 14:10, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gentlemen, please! I hear the whistle of the rising pressure in the cooker, and I'm pretty sure you need not work at cross-purpose here. Personally, I understand why some of my colleagues (and/or the clerks) might be a bit leery about modification to this template, but I see nothing wrong with converting the navigation template to a standard sidebar in principle provided it does not unduly change functionality or appearance. Perhaps some tweaks are still needed, but we are not adversaries here. As for the NOINDEX, Chris is correct that the template itself doesn't especially need the coverage so much as where it is transcluded (so that the includeonly is harmless in practice). I'll admit I'm a little bit at a loss figuring out why having it seen by search engines is useful, but it is certainly harmless. — Coren (talk) 14:36, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are you suggesting that there's no fighting in the war room?! =) If Chris can get the template to render visually the same as it did before (no width bloat, readable font sizes, etc.), and I am the only one who cares that it will increase the number of templates transcluded by arbitration pages, then I can live with the change to use a meta template despite the (imo unnecessary) addition of subtemplate clutter. –xenotalk 14:42, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you have any strong objections to the current sandbox / testcases other than the embiggening of the recent changes link? Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 14:50, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's still seems a bit too wide (which will constrict space for the actual content of the page) and the font size is still a little too small for taste, and as mentioned above the (talk) links are probably not necessary (some of them redirect, etc.). –xenotalk 14:53, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Talk links hidden, tweaks made to the title style. The font size of the links is in fact ever-so-slightly larger than in the original, in Firefox at least. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 15:03, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe there is a difference in our screen resolutions, but the font size is not a slight difference on this side. Can you match the font size of the original? –xenotalk 15:04, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What browser / OS are you using? Can you upload a screenshot? Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 15:06, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
FF 7.0.1 on XP. –xenotalk 15:18, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Very odd... I'm on the same setup, but can't reproduce. Font bumped from 90% to 95%: any change at your end? Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 15:21, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My screen resolution is 1680x1050 which may be why. It looks fine now, so go ahead and have at it. –xenotalk 15:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interestingly enough, the font size is visibly – but marginally – smaller for me on your testcase. Regardless, the current look is perfectly cromulent. — Coren (talk) 15:25, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And having concluded the ritual invocation, that should mean we're good to go. Thanks, folks. :) Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 15:36, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks. One more thing, see at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests, the {{dispute-resolution}} and {{ArbCom navigation}} used to stack up side-by-side and now they seem to (undesirably) stack vertically. I'm not sure if this is related to the recent change, but please try to fix that too. –xenotalk 15:44, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's precisely the sort of thing that ensuring we use meta-templates consistently catches: it ensures that pages aren't reliant on non-standard behaviour. I've wrapped them in a container to make the side-by-side behaviour explicit. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 15:50, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Much obliged. –xenotalk 15:52, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oy! You're not supposed to say that the ritual is complete, that removes some of the magick. You're supposed to remain quiet in the smug satisfaction that your pop culture reference has been grokked.  :-) — Coren (talk) 16:21, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copying of cases

I am somewhat concerned that arbitration material is [its way onto Facebook]. Rich Farmbrough, 03:37, 11 November 2011 (UTC).

Thanks for letting us know about that; the page is no-indexed so should not be repeated anywhere else. On looking at the posts to that Facebook account, it appears that it's been corrupted in some way; all of the posts to it are extracts or diffs from various wikipedia pages. It has been reported to Facebook as a problem page. Risker (talk) 05:17, 11 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nominations now open for the 2011 Arbitration Committee Elections

Nominations are now open for candidates to run in the 2011 Arbitration Committee Elections.

The role of Arbitrator is important and demanding, there is a perennial need for new volunteers to step forward. This year, 7 arbitrators are expected to be chosen. Nominations are open to any editor in good standing over the age of 18, who is of legal age in their place of residence, and who has made at least 150 mainspace edits before November 1, 2011; candidates are not required to be administrators or to have any other special permissions, but will be required to make certain commitments and disclosures as detailed in the nomination instructions. Experienced and committed editors are urged to Consider standing.

Nominations will be accepted from today, November 12 through Monday, November 21 at 23:59 (UTC), with voting scheduled to begin on Sunday, November 27. To submit your candidacy, proceed to the candidates page and follow the instructions given. Good luck to all the candidates who decide to stand for election, Monty845 00:01, 12 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can editing restrictions be imposed on the articles (not on the users) per discretionary sanctions?

Upon re-reading the text of the discretionary sanctions page I realised that I do not understand something. The text currently says:

"Any uninvolved administrator may, on his or her own discretion, impose sanctions on any editor working on an article within the area of conflict (or for whom discretionary sanctions have otherwise been authorized) if, despite being warned, that editor repeatedly or seriously fails to adhere to the purpose of Wikipedia, any expected standards of behavior, or any normal editorial process. The sanctions imposed may include blocks of up to one year in length; bans from editing any page or set of pages within the area of conflict; bans on any editing related to a topic within the area of conflict or its closely related topics; restrictions on reverts or other specified behaviors; or any other measures which the imposing administrator believes are reasonably necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the project."

If I understand this text correctly, the discretionary sanctions are supposed to be imposed on some concrete users, in a form of long blocks, long topic bans, limited amount of reverts, etc. In other words, this text

  • (i) deals with the editors only;
  • (ii) deals only with those editors who have already been properly warned about their inappropriate behaviour;
  • (iii) tells nothing about the editing restrictions applied to the articles as whole (the words "or any other measures which the imposing administrator believes are reasonably necessary ..." refer to some particular editors only).

In connection to that, I am wondering if arbitrary editing restrictions can be applied to the articles as whole. I do not think that follows from the sanctions' letter and spirit. Moreover, by imposing restrictions on some particular article the admins thereby restrict the editing right of the users who have not been previously warned, which directly contradicts to the sanctions' letter. Do I understand that correct?--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:16, 18 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Much better communication

I have to say I am extremely impressed with the improvement in communication in the Abortion proposed decision page compared to the communication in the MickMacNee case. Even though I'm still not sure I agree with Casliber in the remedy 5 discussion section that we discussed it means I definitely see where he is coming from. Its definitely clear that you guys have taken what's been said into account too.

Good work guys. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 18:56, 17 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Peace Barnstar 6.png The Barnstar of Diplomacy
Great communication -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 18:56, 17 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wasn't involved in the Abortion case, but I do thank you on behalf of the committee =) –xenotalk 19:03, 17 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. As someone who was working on it for months before it was posted, and working to reduce the disagreements to what you can see in the PD, I really, really appreciate the recognition. Jclemens (talk) 01:52, 18 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, kudos to you guys for the hard work with the PD. I understand the complexities involved with such a sticky topic such as abortion, and appreciate the results thus far. Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 01:25, 21 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unblocks and enabling case request

Apologies for not posting it in my statement, but its blatantly going to get lost there and I don't want to have to email this to you.

  • Firstly if you guys need to 9 motions you guys need to have a case. Its obviously far too complex to handle without one.
  • Secondly, there is clearly an issue with incivility and I have pointed out with evidence before, while there has been some limited improvement there hasn't been much progress.
  • I think a good way to do this would be to make the blocking policy much more deterministic, but maybe there is another better approach. Given how little appetite there is for solving this problem its impossible to make any progress - or to even know whether my view is the right one. Maybe having a case would be a good way of formalising some ways forward over this, maybe not, but we certainly need to discuss it - ideally with a relatively small and sensible group that can then take its results forward to the community as a whole. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 13:49, 19 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Of note I don't expect a reply to this, just my 2 cents. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 09:22, 20 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Last call for candidates for Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2011

This is a last call for any candidates to step forward for the 2011 ArbCom elections; nominations close at 23:59 today, less than 24 hours from now. If anyone is still interested in running for the Arbitration Committee and meet all the requirements, please nominate yourself here. –MuZemike 01:15, 21 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Binding content DR

As has been discussed in the past by some arbitrators, and as some cases have created a structure for binding resolution of some content disputes (such as Ireland article names and Abortion, currently at PD), I've been thinking of a way to resolve some of these at times unsolvable, deadlocked content disputes (generally naming diaputes). Recently, I brought this up at the Village Pump. As a result of these discussions a few others and myself have created a working draft for a proposed process, which is located here. I'd welcome opinions on the matter, my aim is to make it as simple as possible, with as little bureaucracy as possible. It's still very much a work in progress but I'm just putting it out there for more feedback and opinions. Regards, Steven Zhang The clock is ticking.... 02:51, 23 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edit request

Include redirect WP:AC in a "Shortcuts" box. (talk) 03:35, 28 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is already listed on the first line of the page and in a shortcut box lower down. --Jnorton7558 (talk) 03:46, 28 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possible long term codification of the ArbCom elections

As proposed at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2011/Feedback#Codification, I have written a first draft for a new long-term policy for ArbCom elections. The first draft is at User:Od Mishehu/Arbitration Committee Elections, and users are welcome to comment about it at User talk:Od Mishehu/Arbitration Committee Elections. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 05:55, 29 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Attempt at coding policy for ArbCom elections

A second attempt has been made at coding the policy. Please review User:Od Mishehu/Arbitration Committee Elections, and express your opinions at User talk:Od Mishehu/Arbitration Committee Elections. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 21:18, 6 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Repeating my comment to the same post at WP:AN) Perhaps it would be better to do this in a week or so, when the current election cycle is over? That way many of the active participants, including election administrators, election co-ordinators, and candidates can participate without fear that any comments or recommendations they bring will be accompanied by charges of lack of impartiality or personal self-interest. Risker (talk) 21:51, 6 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Richard still listed as active

For historical accuracy, shouldn't his name be removed from the list of active arbs? Tony (talk) 14:45, 15 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to the announcement he is not stepping down until December 31. --Jnorton7558 (talk) 15:23, 15 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Precisely. --Alexandr Dmitri (talk) 15:24, 15 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Updating of pages listing users with advanced permissions

Using Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard#Changes_in_Arbitration_Committee_and_users_with_advanced_permissions as a reference, I've updated permission carriers on Wikipedia:CheckUser and Wikipedia:Oversight. I'd welcome a second pair of eyes to make sure everything's still ship-shape, as there were other intricacies to navigate such as AUSC membership and prior appointment. Wikipedia:Functionaries may also need updating/reviewing. WilliamH (talk) 05:02, 4 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Email with request for information

A few minutes ago I emailed a request for information about what was disclosed to the committee prior to and during the run for adminship of User:Fae. We're heading towards the New Year I realize, but I'm hoping for a response in the first week of January if that's not unreasonable. (Dan Murphy). Bali ultimate (talk) 19:03, 29 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question about RFC/U

Apologies if this isn't the right place for this question, but I think of ARBCOM as overseeing processes such as RFC/U, even if it is only in a de facto sense. I have recently started an RFC/U for an editor with what I perceive as a pattern of problematic editing (Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Shakehandsman). After failing to have the RFC/U shut down with threads on AN and AN/I, the editor has now declared that they have left Wikipedia. I am concerned that this editor may simply wait for things to settle down and return to editing, or just create another account in order to avoid the RFC/U altogether. I suppose my question is this - if an editor ducks out of an RFC/U by falsely claiming to leave Wikipedia, can the RFC/U be re-opened once the editor commences editing again (with the same or a new account)? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:55, 10 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I decided that I would be more likely to get an answer on WP:AN, so I started a discussion there. Feel free to answer in either location. Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 19:14, 11 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Audit Subcommittee vacancies: Call for applications (2012)

The Arbitration Committee is seeking to appoint at least three non-arbitrator members to the Audit Subcommittee.

The Audit Subcommittee ("AUSC") was established by the Arbitration Committee to investigate complaints concerning the use of CheckUser and Oversight privileges on the English Wikipedia, and to provide better monitoring and oversight of the CheckUser and Oversight positions, and use of the applicable tools.

Matters brought before the subcommittee may be time-sensitive and subcommittee members should be prepared and available to discuss cases promptly so they may be resolved in a timely manner. Sitting subcommittee members are expected to actively participate in AUSC proceedings and may be replaced should they become inactive. All subcommittee members are subject to the relevant local and global policies and guidelines concerning CheckUser and Oversight.

If you think you may be suitably qualified, please see the appointments page for further information. The application period is scheduled to close 31 January 2012.

For the Arbitration Committee, –xenotalk 18:00, 19 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discuss this

So, no comment?

I emailed at the end of December with some questions about User:Fae and his previous accounts, who knew what when etc... I have not heard back. At the moment i have boiler plate in my piece that the "arbitration committee did not respond to requests for clarification." Probably won't publish for another while yet, but won't be holding off on your account.Bali ultimate (talk) 19:15, 20 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Desysop procedures

The committee may wish to revise how the administrator permission is revoked, now that bureaucrats have the ability to desysop. Thanks, PeterSymonds (talk) 11:44, 21 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Please see this link. Is there an arbitration ruling which prohibits this person from editing? thank you. — Ched :  ?  11:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To my knowledge, Selina was never banned by the ArbCom, though a consensus among the community would be needed for an unblock. AGK [•] 12:10, 30 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
thanks for the reply AGK. Do you have any idea where the discussion is that developed the consensus that she should be blocked is? It was before my time, and I'd rather do some research before I jump in. — Ched :  ?  12:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the block became a community ban at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive104#Blu Aardvark and Mistress Selina Kyle: unblocking, where the consensus was against an unblock. If I recall correctly, the Blu Aardvark case also related to something similar, but the Selina ban appears to not have been apropos to the decision. In 2006, community bans were recorded less accurately than they are now, but the tenet of "a user is community-banned if no sysop will unblock" applied then as much as it does now. AGK [•] 13:50, 30 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ahhh .. thank you very much sir. I really appreciate having some perspective on things. Hope you have a great day/night. — Ched :  ?  13:57, 30 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fresh batch of questions

Is the arbitration committee aware of any heretofore undisclosed misbehavior Rlevse committed? Specifically as this might have concerned user:jojo? Raul654 (talk) 01:53, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User:JoJo. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:55, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Futhermore, is the arbitration committee aware of any other heretofore undisclosed facts regarding Rlevse's behavior that would materially affect a ban discussion involving him? Raul654 (talk) 02:46, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Risker, you said:

As to the BarkingMoon account, while there was certainly some suggestive evidence, there was also some contradictory and pretty-well-impossible-to-fake technical evidence against it, which is why the checkusers couldn't confirm any connection between the BarkingMoon and Rlevse accounts.

Considering that ArbCom knew there was evidence of possible inappropriate editing with his wife's account, and also considering that as a former arb, Rlevse knew how technical CU data worked hence knew how to avoid detection, what can you add now that the cat's out of the bag to convince us that ArbCom didn't leave FAC swinging in the breeze with someone looking to grind an axe against "FAC leadership"?

Specifically, it's beginning to look like you all knew that Rlevse was the arb-leaker, and were trying to keep a lid on the damage he could do. Understandable, but FAC has been out here swinging in the breeze, with no help at all from the arbs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:23, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can tell you categorically that Rlevse was not the "arb-leaker", and you need to stop casting aspersions like that, SandyGeorgia. Rlevse did not have access to much of the information that was leaked from arbcom-L as he had been removed from the list months before. Risker (talk) 04:26, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Since AFAIK I've never seen this conclusively stated anywhere before, I appreciate the feedback, and would thank you not to categorize a "beginning to look like" speculation as "casting aspersions". If the arbs have stated this before I missed it: communication is good. I realize that the arbs are apparently considerably overworked right now, and the community may be moving faster than you all are able to keep up on a number of difficult matters, but that's no reason to assume "casting of aspersions" because we're not all on the same page yet-- particulary when we're getting conflicting and incomplete information from different CUs and arbs. I trust this will eventually all get sorted-- but it's not now, and when on the one hand arbs and CUs tell us that technical evidence is inconclusive so take it to the community, but on the other hand when we do that, we're threatened by other CUs and arbs not to continue this line of reasoning, where does that leave us with respect to investigating my very first question in this thread? It looks to me like when even the CUs and arbs aren't on the same page, regular editors get shot if they try to sort matters that can't be decided on technical evidence.

    Risker, you said at WP:AN something to the effect of me having seen similar aimed my way so I should understand: you betcha. I hope I'm within my right to say-- without an arb coming over to lecture me on my talk-- that I don't feel I've been accorded the same protection I'm seeing extended to some others. Not in this matter, and not in any former arbitration-- it's what I've come to expect. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:43, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

SandyGeorgia, you say "it's beginning to look like you all knew that Rlevse was the arb-leaker". I'm rather disturbed that you don't see that as not only a statement of fact that Rlevse was the arb-leaker, but that arbitrators knew he was the arb-leaker. What we know is that there's absolutely no basis for either of those ideas, as he'd been off the mailing list since November 2010, and there was plenty of material leaked from after that date. When arbitrators resign, they're removed from the mailing list within a few hours, depending on how long it takes for a list administrator to get to a secure computer.

I'm concerned, as well, about all these suggestions that imply Rlevse was doing something wrong in closing RFAs in which his wife participated. Since both Rlevse and JoJo were always upfront about their relationship, and indeed it would have been widely known amongst bureaucrats and many editors who interacted with either of them, why was this not seen as a concern when Rlevse was actually closing the RFAs? I see absolutely no indication that *anyone* had a problem with it at the time. It would have been appropriate to raise these questions when Rlevse was an active bureaucrat, but applying personal interpretations of behavioural rules retroactively now that an editor has fallen into disfavour is a little much. I see Raul654 expressing concerns about this as well, and he *is* a bureaucrat who would have been in a direct position to express concerns and possibly take action at the time. Risker (talk) 15:51, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Omniscient, I am not. Had I noticed at the time that Rlevse was closing RFAs in which his wife participated, I would probably have said something. In point of fact, Will Beback is the only person who seems to have noticed. Raul654 (talk) 15:55, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Risker, wrt access to the maillist, you knew all that: I didn't, and I doubt the average editor did either. It's all very confusing to some of us, and implies that the leaks *have* to have come from an active arb, which points in bad directions. (please feel free to clarify without shooting me.) You might interpret questions/concerns in that regard.

Same wrt Rlevse's wife; I worked closely with him, and I wasn't aware his wife was an editor, as far as I can recall (growin' old ain't for sissies). In fact, when this info surfaced yesterday, I had to go check all his FACs to be sure she hadn't declared on them. Since I don't have tools, I can't resurrect Rlevse's old user page to see if that info was declared, but I was quite surprised to hear it. It's hard for me to imagine any scenario (whether it was written into policy then or now) whereby anyone would excuse a person in a position of authority for closing any discussion participated in by a partner; that's just common sense, even if it wasn't written into any policy then, or isn't now. It's as clear as COI can get. I wouldn't accept or excuse it if it happened at FAC, and wouldn't expect anyone exercising any authority anywhere on Wikipedia to accept it.

Anyway, yes, fatigue is high, it's going to take a lot of work to rebuild FAC after the quadruple whammy including Sue Gardner's jabs, so I apologize for my recent "attitude", and need to get to work on the much needed rebuilding of FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:18, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can confirm that Rlevse's user page stated directly, in the first paragraph at the top of the page, who his wife was, with a link to her userpage. 28bytes (talk) 16:43, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you, 28: I don't know if I never went to his user page (I rarely visit anyone's userpage), or if my memory stinks, but ... oh well. At least I didn't miss something at FAC (I do try to decipher any relationships with reviewers I'm not familiar with, and once found someone's grandmother registering an account to support her grandson's FAC). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:47, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) We were first informed of a potential issue with JoJo's participation in RFAs closed by Rlevse in early November 2010, shortly after the latter had left the Committee. The substantive concern expressed to us at the time was that JoJo had acted—intentionally or otherwise—as a proxy for Rlevse; however, we were also told that "no RfA was so irregular that it's invalid, so there's nothing more that needs to be done". The fact that we were not actually being asked to intervene, coupled with the fact that Rlevse had by that point departed—permanently, as far as anyone could tell at the time—from the project led us to conclude that no substantive action with regard to this report was necessary.
The BarkingMoon account came to our attention in late June 2011, when we were asked to look into the open SPI on that account. The technical evidence regarding the account was ambiguous; while the CheckUser data was suggestive of a connection to Rlevse, it was inconsistent with other information available to the Committee. When directly asked about the BarkingMoon account, Rlevse denied that it was operated by him, and provided an alternative explanation that was consistent with both sets of technical data. The Committee was divided as to whether this explanation was sufficient; however, as we were discussing the matter, BarkingMoon left the project. Given that our (almost exclusive) focus at the time was dealing with the arbcom-l leaks—indeed, many arbitrators did not participate in the discussion regarding BarkingMoon due to concerns regarding the security of the mailing list—we did not pursue the matter further.
(The earlier concerns with regard to JoJo were brought up in the course of the Committee's discussion of BarkingMoon; however, as those concerns had been related to proxying by a distinct second person rather than any use of multiple accounts by Rlevse himself, they were not seen as particularly relevant to the questions raised by the technical evidence in the case.)
It is highly unlikely that Rlevse was in any way responsible for the arbcom-l leaks which took place last year, since much of the leaked material consisted of discussions which took place after he had left the Committee. For example, the first emails disclosed by the leaker were from a conversation which took place in June 2011, by which point Rlevse had not been subscribed to the mailing list for months.
As far as leaving FAC to swing in the breeze is concerned: even if the Committee made a mistake when dealing with BarkingMoon—and I agree that there is certainly a good argument to be made that we did, particularly given subsequent revelations—the recent disruption was caused by PumpkinSky, an account which had never been the subject of investigation or complaints. I don't think we can be blamed for failing to intervene in this case, given that the first we heard of any specific concerns was after Amalthea had already determined PumpkinSky to be a sockpuppet; we certainly don't investigate the identities of everyone who comments at FAC (and would, I suspect, be rightly pilloried if we did do so). Kirill [talk] [prof] 04:41, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. Follow up question. In the email exchange between Will Beback and Rlevse, Will states (paraphrased by me) that NewYorkBrad had said the Jojo allegations would be dealt with if Rlevse returned. So, did the Committee take on the responsibility of dealing with the Jojo matter? If so, was Will Beback authorized by the Committee to threaten Rlevse with publicizing the information if Rlevse didn't promise to banish himself forever from WP? If not, has Will Beback acted properly on behalf of the Committee in this situation? Cla68 (talk) 06:00, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was not acting on behalf of the ArbCom. It's welcome to do whatever it likes in this matter. When I commented, this issue was being discussed by the community on AN rather than on an ArbCom page.   Will Beback  talk  06:24, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why were you, then, acting on this information if ArbCom had said they would handle it? Did you notify ArbCom before asking Rlevse to banish himself or else you would publicize his wife's editing history? If so, could you identify which Arbitrator authorized you to act on their behalf and use the tactic you used to try to coerce Rlevse into banishing himself? Cla68 (talk) 06:29, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User:JoJo's editing history is in the public record. All I've done is note an obvious but overlooked problem with how the Rlevse and Jojo accounts seemingly worked together, and speculated that they were controlled by the same person. I don't think the ArbCom has done anything wrong in this and I don't think accusing them of malfeasance is helpful. But if you think that the ArbCom should have done more then you're welcome to say so.   Will Beback  talk  06:35, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe the debating tactic you are using here, in place of answering the questions, is called straw man, which is a logical fallacy. Anyway, I welcome the Committee's response to my questions. Cla68 (talk) 06:47, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A few further questions, as I don't recall ever seeing before an administrator threatening someone with exposing the editing history of their wife's account if they don't self-ban. Could the Committee confirm whether this is a normal and/or accepted administrative technique? Does the Committee condone or approve of Will Beback's approach in this situation? If so, could the Committee recommend some wording that could be added to WP`s administrative policies that would give guidance to WP administrators on how to effectively use this technique to force editors who have departed under a cloud to take the further step of permanently banning themselves? Cla68 (talk) 10:06, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are misinterpreting and misrepresenting this. It is standard practice that conduct issues don't necessarily need to be explored through RfC or Arbcom case if the user in question stops editing permanently, with the reservation that it will be picked up if the user decides to return to editing. Since Rlevse had vanished Will accepted one of his concerns as fait accompli and cleaned up the other without fuss, fuss that would not have improved Wikipedia. He also informed Arbcom in case Rlevse approached them to un-vanish (which does not mean those concerns are owned by ARBCOM now).
Now that Rlevse had returned and re-retired and we have a ban discussion, it is valid and necessary to reconsider bringing those concerns to the community.
I agree that the e-mail was a bit unfortunate since it was bound to be misinterpreted, but the good-faith interpretation is that Will still only inquired whether it's necessary to bring those old concerns up or not.
For the record, I often approach editors and for example inform them to limit themselves to one account else I'll have no choice but to open an SPI case and tie their accounts together. That is not blackmail. Amalthea 12:11, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ Kirill, thank you again. As can be seen from your response relative to Keegan's posts at WP:AN, [7] the "community" is still getting conflicting information, and even being threatened not to continue to try to sort this matter (see Keegan's repetitive posts at WP:AN, which have likely served to effectively shut down any consensus that might develop there). Risker and you clarify that technical information was ambiguous, the committee was divided (in other words, the situation was not at all conclusive) while Keegan is stating something entirely different (in fact, quite strongly and with the suggestion of a threat not to continue) at WP:AN, where the community is trying to weigh behavioral evidence, which is precisely what it is encouraged to do in cases like this. So, again, this goes back to my very first question in this thread: when we have editors who may know how to evade CU technical information, when we have confusing RTVs, CLEANSTARTS involved, yet CUs and (former) arbs shut down discussion (much of this could have been avoided if John vandenburg spoke as clearly as Kirill does), where does that leave the community? My guess is that it leaves us ... silenced via threat. Which is precisely what I perceive happened on my talk page yesterday and why I responded as I did, both here and there. With issues left unresolved. With FAC swinging in the wind, and I might add-- badly damaged. I know the arbs are overworked, I know you can't be aware of and on top of everything that happens out here, this is moving fast, but my question was raised at 21:07, 1 February 2012 (UTC), and Kirill's answer was "we haven't really gone looking". OK, that's fair-- so please try to call off the threats from folks trying to shut down editors who are trying to do the looking in the interim. It's not only that emotions are high: it's that FAC has been badly damaged, and I hope it isn't later discovered (as in the Rlevse case) that the information the community got out of CUs and arbs was conflicting and inconclusive, yet discussion was shutdown via threat. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:43, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On another matter-- related to me being unaware of how these things work-- again, I would not have even been aware of this matter had I not stumbled across a CCI opened by Amalthea, where Amalthea stated that PumpkinSky was Rlevse. It was always my understanding that there had to be cause to run a CU: I'm confused about what brought Amalthea to this matter to begin with. I'd appreciate not being shot at again for asking a question related to things I don't understand on Wiki. What caused Amalthea-- a CU-- to look into this matter, and what brought Amalthea's attention to the DYK copyvio? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:43, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How this came to light is extremely banal and completely irrelevant for getting this resolved. Nonetheless, to avoid anyone suspecting subterfuge (Hah, as if…), it is apparently necessary, so here is everything that could possibly be relevant to this in excruciatingly boring detail.
Extended content
  1. Note first, I did not gain, have or use any information whatsoever from CheckUser queries on this matter until 12:06, 1 February 2012 when I wanted to rule out that I was being played, a few hours before I made the connection public.
  2. PumpkinSky approaches me on my talk page to ask for deletion of a redirect in user space on behalf of a third editor.
  3. I can't reproduce my exact thoughts on how I made the connection initially. I was not consciously looking, so it was probably a combination of a few things: 1) the exchange was a bit odd -- why was I approached of all people? 2) The reply made me aware that it was probably a native English speaker who also knows German. 3) A number of things in the contributions were familiar to me 4) I'm kinda conditioned to spot socks 5) I only remember talking to few people in German on my talk page, one of them was Rlevse.
  4. Having a closer look at the contributions convinces me without a doubt. I had looked closely at the edits of BarkingMoon back then, and they were practically indistinguishable (that's why I keep saying I'm convinced they are the same); besides edit summaries I could name seven other aspects where they are identical.
  5. Judging by immediate history (last 200 edits or so) he appears to be very constructive, and I remember him fondly. I remember BarkingMoon had a dispute with GiacomoReturned, but PumpkinSky seems to be on good terms with him, so my immediate concerns were relieved.
  6. Without disclosing the account, I enquire with one Arbcom member whether they knew of his return, and whether there were any sanctions or discussions pending his return. They weren't, and to their knowledge their wasn't.
  7. Based on that, I contact PumpkinSky; I don't mind a user returning under a new name presuming they have learned from prior problems and are very careful with regards to WP:SCRUTINY, with all that it entails. I remind you, dear reader, that we actually want constructive users here.
  8. I say I know he is Rlevse, he acknowledges, I say I want to talk about a few things.
  9. While preparing a mail with my concerns (close paraphrasing, wp:SCRUTINY, and the concerns I knew from Will Beback back when BarkingMoon edited), I check one of PumpkinSky's articles. The very first sentence in the very first article I check is a word-for-word copy from a source. I confront him with that.
  10. He says he's leaving.
  11. I reply, trying to get him to stay in the dialog.
  12. I reply again, notifying that I'll have no choice to make it public then so that a cleanup effort can be started (CCing his old email address).
  13. I begin compiling some material that concerns me to check in with Moonriddengirl and get her opinion on the severity.
  14. While I do that, I notice that PumpkinSky's email account had been deactivated (gmail didn't forward the bounce through POP3, so I hadn't noticed before).
  15. Also while I do that, I notice that one of his articles was currently a DYK entry on the main page. I found two sentences that concerned me with respect to close paraphrasing.
  16. I believe that I need to act immediately and can't wait for MRG to see and respond to my mail, so I remove the DYK entry, and start a section at WT:CCI asking for input on the severity
  17. I send a brief mail to Moonriddengirl giving her context, and asking her to have a look
  18. Moonriddengirl is the first to reply at WT:CCI, but hadn't seen my mail yet
  19. Moonriddengirl replies by mail, voices her concerns regarding improper vanishing, cleanstart
  20. Up to this point I had been undecided whether the connection should or needed to be made public: I expected a huge amount of drama with very little benefit. Thinking about it for a while, and with MRGs added concerns, I realize it's not my call to make, and that it needs to be in the hands of the community, for better or worse.
  21. I perform CheckUser queries on PumpkinSky and compare with an IP from an e-mail header from way back, to make absolutely sure that I'm not played
  22. I write an e-mail to arbcom, informing them of the situation.
  23. I notice SandyGeorgia has found another article with problems and stubbed it
  24. I start setting up the CCI case page for the cleanup process
  25. I added the connection to the existing CCI page as background
  26. I post a link to the CCI page on the talk page, directly beneath SandyGeorgia's response as it happened.
  27. I drive home, waiting to see who would show up on my talk page, and brace myself for a long night.
Amalthea 17:00, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would like to point out that my second question above, Futhermore, is the arbitration committee aware of any other heretofore undisclosed facts regarding Rlevse's behavior that would materially affect a ban discussion involving him?, has still not yet been answered. Raul654 (talk) 14:31, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For what it's worth, I am not, but I suspect those members who have been on the 2010, 2011, and 2012 committees, such as Kirill and Risker who have responded above, are best suited to respond. Jclemens (talk) 18:26, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To my knowledge, Kirill's disclosure at 04:41, 3 February 2012 is complete. Raul, if you have more questions, perhaps you might consider posting them all at once. Although these waves of dramatic titillation are delightful, this would be a more useful exercise if we can complete the discussion now (not that - again - to my knowledge, there is anything else to reveal). AGK [•] 18:31, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As an alternative, why not take all future emails sent to the committee that do not contain personally identifying information and post them publicly, and then we won't have this problem. Hipocrite (talk) 18:36, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AGK - Unless something new pops up, I don't have any further questions. Raul654 (talk) 18:45, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Olive's post

In case the talk page linked above isn't a well traveled one, noting it here. I would appreciate any thoughts (and ideas) you may have. - jc37 19:27, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clarifications still needed

Sorry for this, but I am still confused by some of the deductive/inductive reasoning in the above thread. I have in mind in particular the assertion that "Rlevse could not have been the Arbcom-L leaker because he did not have access to the mailing list since 2010 when he was unsubscribed from the list, and many of the leaks concern material subsequent to that". As others have noted, doesn't that assertion imply that the Arbcom-L leaker was someone subscribed to the list in mid-2011? If so, there are not many such parties, so an investigation should have drawn more than a complete blank, no? If not, and the leaker was simply someone who knew enough to get hold of up-to-date mailing list information (perhaps through knowing personal information about a current arbitrator at that time), then why is it being categorically denied that this person could have been Rlevse? Geometry guy 01:22, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's a question I'd like to see an answer to as well. It's quite clear to me that Rlevse is one of only a very few likely candidates, and the choice of the first emails to leak very clearly points the finger directly at him. Malleus Fatuorum 01:29, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Speaking as someone who does not even know who Rlevse is (so this might lead me astray), but who read the arbcom-l leaks with great interest - I don't see it. My current speculation is that the leaker was not a wiki-insider. This based on the theory that insiders have scores to settle and grudges to redress, while the leaked material did not have that sort of presentation. Also, the leaker disappeared just as the leaks were finally getting good 1/2 :-) (based on the inquiries of people who did know wikipolitics, note). It seemed to me more the look-what-I-got reaction which would come from someone who cracked an account, but wasn't familiar with the details of the topics. Now, one can always construct fake-out and misdirection scenarios, but as the saying goes, let's "think of horses before zebras". Disclaimer: I like Sherlock Holmes, but it's been made very clear to me in real-life experiences that those are stories, and I'm not a profiler anyway. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 01:55, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The choice of the first emails to leak was clearly significant, and personal, given the background to the Grace Sherwood TFA debacle. Malleus Fatuorum 02:09, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, but here's the problem - are those first emails a crucial identity-revealing clue, or is it simple happenstance, where something has to be first, and one starts "curve-fitting" to the controversy there? This is the problem of the difference between the detective story and real life. Can you rule out chance (reasonably, not absolutely) for what could look like significant and personal? -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:37, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a question of probability. Malleus Fatuorum 02:55, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just to be crystal clear here: I am not interested in speculation or pointing the finger, but clarity. Second-guessing the psychology of the Arbcom-L leaker is beyond the remit of Arbcom and I do not want this thread to be used in that way. My request essentially asks whether Rlevse has been dismissed as a possible candidate simply because he was not subscribed to the list at the right time, or because of some additional information. See my initial post for a more precise explanation of the clarification I seek. Geometry guy 02:27, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(edit conflict) I wouldn't characterize our comments as having "categorically denied" the possibility of Rlevse being the leaker; we've never been able to establish the leaker's identity to any degree of certainty beyond pure speculation, so in principle anyone might have been responsible. However, given the evidence available to us and our own impressions of Rlevse, the scenario seems quite unlikely, for two reasons:
  1. As has been mentioned, Rlevse had not been subscribed to arbcom-l for some time when the leaks took place, and had left the list before many of the leaked discussions. This fact eliminates the possibility of Rlevse being a "leaker" in the conventional sense (i.e. a person who is normally authorized to access certain information and who improperly shares it with others), and leaves only the possibility that Rlevse first improperly gained access to ongoing arbcom-l discussions and then leaked them.
  2. Based on our knowledge and observations of Rlevse, we have no real reason to believe that he possesses the expertise necessary to carry out a purely external technical attack (such as hacking into the mailing list archives or something of that sort). These impressions are, admittedly, subjective ones; but I've as yet seen little reason to doubt their substance.
This does not, of course, eliminate every potential scenario in which Rlevse may have been able to gain access to the leaked material; but the other scenarios (e.g. Rlevse convincing a sitting arbitrator to share their access, Rlevse having physical access to a sitting arbitrator's computer, etc.) are all sufficiently improbable that there's no particular reason to lean towards them.
Personally, given the surprisingly limited scope of the leaks and their abrupt cessation, I tend to lean towards Seth's conclusion: that the leak was orchestrated by someone not intimately familiar with Wikipedia politics. Kirill [talk] [prof] 02:31, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for these comments. The categorical denial was made by your colleague Risker, who stated, "I can tell you categorically that Rlevse was not the 'arb-leaker'"; she has used this position to suggest other editors have been casting aspersions. Here is neither the place for pointing the finger, nor ruling out possibilities. Arbitrators have in the past been aware of insecurities in their communications but remained silent to avoid publicising them: former arbitrators might therefore know more than others. Also, any analysis of the leaker based on what was leaked is fundamentally flawed, because the material released on Wikipedia Review depended on the interests of editors commenting there, not on the interests of the posting editor (MaliceAforethought): furthermore, I have seen no evidence to suggest that the leaker and the WR poster were the same person: the material could simply have been emailed anonymously from one person to another. In such a scenario, the first person may be disgruntled and the second opportunistic, making it harder to identify either of them. Geometry guy 03:42, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find it psychologically hard to believe that Rlevse would have leaked the thread in which Rlevse repeatedly accused ChrisO in strong words of having violated RTV only a couple of weeks before he did something similar himself. But the leaker did just that. Hans Adler 16:42, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You did not read what I wrote. Geometry guy 02:41, 5 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Kirill gave you the long version, Risker's was the short and sweet one. Rlevse COULD have been the ArbLeaker, but would only be slightly more likely than... Elvis, Carrot Top, or Penn and Teller being the leakers. (You know, I thought I was going to name a real Wikipedian or two there, but on retrospect, decided that no matter whom I singled out, someone would not think it at all humorous.) Jclemens (talk) 23:44, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would be nice if the short and long were at least compatible, or indeed if the multiple stories about BarkingMoon were compatible. I agree it is unlikely that Rlevse was the leaker: it is at least as unlikely as him becoming proficient in speaking German, for example. Geometry guy 02:41, 5 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Questions to parties

One problem with the way the Committee resolved cases in the past was, in my opinion, that the Members didn't ask enough questions of the involved parties. I am happy to see that John Vandenberg has posted an extensive list of questions in the TimidGuy/Bill Beback/Jimbo Wales case. I just wanted to reinforce this behavior by publicly recognizing it here and encouraging the Committee to continue to use this technique in the future in helping to resolve cases. Cla68 (talk) 23:55, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, Cla68, I find some of those questions to be quite inappropriate, and have told John as much and had asked him to withdraw at least some of them. I do not think it is appropriate for arbitrators to publicly ask users whether or not they edit from work, for example, particularly in a case where much of the evidence involves personal and private information of certain users. Risker (talk) 00:19, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Cla68 that more pro-active questioning by ArbCom members would be helpful generally, and I also agree with Risker that some of the questions weren't well-chosen. In addition to the issues Risker raises, several questions were answered in detail in the private email exchanges. But if the questions are reworked, and if the other parties also participate, then I'd be happy to answer any reasonable questions from arbitrators.   Will Beback  talk  00:26, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Risker, please keep working on it and establish a process that allows you to formulate questions without having to subsequently withdraw any of them for privacy or other reasons, but I hope you all will continue to use this approach to obtain information to assist you in your decision-making. Cla68 (talk) 00:43, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps you did not notice it as you might not have been following the case, but specific requests for particular types of evidence were made for the Civility Enforcement case, with the direction that they be assembled collaboratively. This also seemed to work quite well; mind you, all of the information involved was publicly available on-wiki. Risker (talk) 00:49, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Great! Continuous improvement. Cla68 (talk) 00:51, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OK, what is the actual issue?

I'm not an admin nor do I play one on TV, but I've been trying to track the half-dozen pages where the Rlevse/PumpkinSky, etc. discussions are ongoing, and I'd like everyone to at least agree on what the actual issues are. Best I can see they are as follows:

  1. Rlevse was a prolific editor particularly noted for creating many new articles and presenting them at DYK.
  2. Rlevse earned admin tools in the standard manner and appears to have been a perfectly good admin. He was also on Arbcom and appears to have not abused that process, though may have sometimes said some snarky things.
  3. Rlevse's wife also has a wiki account and sometimes helped support some of his decisions as an admin, but apparently not to a level that requires the reversal of any action taken. Some of her edits may have been encouraged by Rlevse. This relationship was known to anyone who cared to check talk pages.
  4. Rlevse was criticized for a too-close paraphrase of a couple sentences within one paragraph on the Grace Sherwood article when it was TFA, and in the ensuing hue and cry, chose to vanish rather than dive into the fray and defend himself. (Really, the issue could easily have been addressed by just pulling the paragraph in question for a rewrite, IMHO)
  5. Rlevse may or may not have briefly returned shortly thereafter and made some edits under one of the "vanished user" names, but went away again. Did not edit under multiple accounts.
  6. Rlevse pissed off a few people somewhere in all of the above for various reasons. Some of them are now posting on the various talk pages. Seems to be a total of maybe 4 or 5 folks who are actually upset at a personal level. (Raul, Will, Sandy, a couple others?) Others are looking at the situation from the view of a general principle.
  7. Some months later, Barking Moon appeared, evidence presented on wiki indicates that Rlevse knows who this person is, but it was not him. SPI did not link this user to Rlevse. Style is not identical to Rlevse, though user may have been encouraged to tap into a couple of the same old grudges. Inconclusive evidence, and as this User ceased editing after a short time, probably a minor distraction.
  8. Shortly after Barking Moon leaves, PumpkinSky appears. PumpkinSky is a very good contributor, creating quite a few new articles, some with a few issues of close paraphrasing that needed some fixing (and, if we were to apply a strict criteria across wiki, is something that hits a lot of articles by other editors, often a fine line), as well as at least one GA that was being prepped by a team of people for FA at the time this issue began.
  9. PumpkinSky made some critical posts using some sharp language about his views of the FA process and of Raul in particular. Raul and some others view these comments as attacks and disruptive.
  10. Somehow the last two above alerted someone that Rlevse and PumpkinSky were the same user and we are now off to the races with multiple ANIs, at least two CCIs, this discussion, a discussion about revoking RTV, and who knows what else?

Have I missed something? I ask because as far as I can tell, there are only four actual issues here:

  • What is an appropriate consequence for Rlevse returning as PumpkinSky, something like a year later? I ask I recall opening an SPI someone else and the SPI was declined on the grounds that the two users were too far separated in time, thus is wasn't even a sock. Seems within the realm of RTV and return, even if not quite kosher to policy -- I think this needs a wrist slap and a firm statement not to do that again. Probably best to do a new user name, but with full disclosure of the priors.
  • How actually serious is Rlevse/PSky's tendency to have a little trouble catching the content nuances of close paraphrasing -- this is a VERY common situation on wiki and I think one that is probably best solved by other editors saying, "whoops, some close paraphrasing, need to fix that, and in fact, as I'm an outside eye, I'll even volunteer to do it." I found PSky a very good editor in a collaborative article and very good to work with. We need editors with this ability. The beauty of wikipedia is the availability of other eyes. Those eyes should be used to help clean up, not to find fault that can be used as a hammer to run someone off the project.
  • Rlevse was not, to the best of my knowledge, subject to any disciplinary action prior to his departure. So isn't there a statute of limitations that suggests that if he left due to a copyright concern and nothing more, why should we try to dredge up a bunch of other stuff now that no one cared enough about at the time to take action about? What actual wrongdoing
  • PumpkinSky was critical of Raul and the FA process. Was this actually a crime? The worst thing I saw (I've reviewed a couple dozen diffs, though not every last one) was that he once stated that Raul was "incoherent." I didn't see anything more than some strongly worded opinions, and the tone, while a little snarky, was really quite moderate compared to some of the wiki-wars that rage across multiple articles -- I mean, for heaven's sake, it's not like he called someone the "c-word" as did another quirky but lovable curmudgeon we all know pretty well! No profanity, no threats, not even much tendentiousness. Just some strong views that may have hurt some people's feelings a bit.

So, what was the deeper problem. if any? Montanabw(talk) 06:39, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Montanabw(talk) 06:39, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just my thoughts. Something seems disproportionately crazy about the whole situation. Can a simple solution be found that doesn't require abject humiliation and salvages a good editor who happens to also have some pride and a few personality quirks? Montanabw(talk) 06:39, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While light hearted and full of good spirits, this is utopian, I'm afraid to say.--MONGO 07:10, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We would all be singing Kumbaya if this was utopia. I concur with Montanabw's sentiments above. My76Strat (talk) 07:23, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I meant his comments...Montanabw seems to think Rlevse is anything other than a liar and serial sockmaster that did a little paraphrasing...ah no, it was far worse than that. There was a bunch of stuff around Arthur Rose Eldred...check into that. His "wife" edited...baloney.--MONGO 07:28, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rlevse was not, to the best of my knowledge, subject to any disciplinary action prior to his departure. - you left out the part where he used RTV specifically to avoid any disciplinary action, and then violated RTV by coming back thrice. You also left out the part where his comments directed at me were utterly groundless and specifically designed to harangue me. (He claimed that despite being FA director, I had no special authority where FA pages are concerned. He literally asked "Who are you to do this?" knowing full well who I was. There's a reason he was the *only* person lobbing those grenades.) What is an appropriate consequence for Rlevse returning as PumpkinSky, something like a year later? - RTV explicitly says it is not to be temporary or to be used for clean start. Given that, he should be treated like anyone else who uses a sockpuppet to get around on-wiki sanctions - block, revert, ignore. Raul654 (talk) 15:08, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Coming back thrice? I lost count, I guess. BarkingMoon, PumpkinSky, and...? What's the third one? --Conti| 15:45, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
He tried to resume editing using his Rlevse account about a week or two after invoking RTV. A firestorm ensued and he quickly vanished. Raul654 (talk) 15:46, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, thanks for clearing that up! --Conti| 15:48, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Amazing. OK, on Montana's points:

  • True: <null>
  • Demonstrably and undeniably false: 4 (check in with MRG, or take note of the amount of work it took to clean it up, you seem surprisingly ignorant of how copyvio cleanup works), 10 (started with Amalthea, I wandered on to it, nice try)
  • Unknown: 2 (except for 'crat abuse)
  • Misrepresented: 2 (does abuse of 'crat status count?), 3 (nice how you make the COI and abuse of a position of trust look innocent), 5 (may or may not, seriously?), 6 (not only misrepresented, but here we've got a serious breach of AGF right under the arbs' noses), 7 (see copious evidence at WP:AN), 8 (apparently the disruption and lies make him a good editor in your eyes-- try reviewing the attacks on Raul and the time both Casliber and I invested in trying to "educate" this new user about things he already knew), 9 (Raul and some others-- my-- aren't we selective in how we view the entire thread at WP:AN),
  • Misses the point: 1 (particularly DYK, known for furthering copyio)

Gee, arbs tell me to stop casting aspersions, G guy points out how unfair that accusation was, but others get to play defense lawyer for a Wikifriend on this page to cast aspersions at both Raul and me with some slanted version of what's going on here. Will Montana get rebukes as sharp as those the arbs have aimed at me ?? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:55, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment from pretty-much-uninvolved editor. Y'know, I don;t think I've ever sen anything other than religion which tends to polarise people quite as much as WikiConflict does. I think, no matter how each of us feels as individuals, and for no matter how much "just cause" we have (and, yes, I can see "just cause" for a mega-heap of frustration), it's vitally important that we remember that we're all humans. Humans aren't exclusively goodies or baddies; we can't be painted in pure black-and-white, every single one of us is shades-of-grey. There's good in almost everyone; there's bad in almost everyone, too. Sometimes we lose sight of this (that's also part of "being human"). If there's any way at all that we can make good use of the good in someone, while being aware of and dealing with / restricting the bad in them, ideally that's what we should do. Sorry if I'm out of line here; it's those darned RL issues again. Pesky (talkstalk!) 21:54, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've seen WikiConflict on pages dealing with religion – now that's a real tough place to be! --Tryptofish (talk) 22:23, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See, here's the thing, Sandy. YOU WERE ONCE VERY KIND TO ME AND I WANT TO STILL LIKE YOU!! You are bright, dedicated and thorough in the work you do. But I wonder if you may be getting locked into something you really do not need to be locked into -- If you look above, I have made no comments directly about you and Raul, I was not at the receiving end of that drama and I have other things to do than to review zillions of diffs -- but in the ones I saw, all I read was some hurtful snark -- I've endured far, far worse from other editors (including at least two people in MilHist and one at WPEQ where you defended me very valiantly and helped me defeat an unjustified ANI filed by a now-blocked user-- who went after me several times). I know it hurts to be on the receiving end of snark, but this whole situation just seems like several essentially decent people have gone over the hedge in their mutual dislike and suspicion of one another. At a personal level, I really didn't deserve the crack about being "surprisingly ignorant of how copyvio cleanup works" --excuse me, I spent a lot of time helping clean up the ItsLassieTime sock, (and THAT was a serial sockpuppeteer, I think there were a good dozen accounts) which had MASSIVE verbatim copying in dozens, if not hundreds, of articles. That was a mess. In contrast, I also spent some time reviewing the Rlevse/PumpkinSky CCI, and spent a few hours verifying wikignome edits and vandal reverts, with a few very minor examples of close paraphrasing, easily fixed by any editor who is willing to take five minutes and reword something. I really fail to see how a minor tendency to closely paraphrase (easily fixed by asking a fellow editor to review with fresh eyes) and at the most two sock identities makes for this big a fuss. A wrist slap, maybe, possibly an interaction ban with you and Raul, but really. Let's just chill. Montanabw(talk) 16:34, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No folks, here's the thing - it was Rlevse' behaviour in the first instance which set off this whole shitstorm...and continues to do so with great ructions. If he'd just cleaned up stuff in the first instance he might still be here. Period. These situations often have a habit of reverberating and setting off other folks and causing some of us to argue among ourselves and others to revel in the mayhem. It just needs to stop. Now. We take a sober look at some articles and move on...Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:20, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure the OP and the original responder have had their questions answered. Perhaps we should hear from them.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:51, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cas, I do very much respect you and your views. Your points are reasoned and thoughtful and I have a great deal of trust in your judgement. Here, I am thinking sometimes there is a distinction between justice and fairness. Do see my comment about real life consequences in the BarkingMoon section above. This may all be happening online, but it's as real-feeling as real life itself. I sympathize that Rlevse threw up his hands in a time of stress, but then wanted to come back without dragging all his baggage along, though ultimately could not avoid bringing in at least a couple of carry-ons. It is a violation of the form of the rules, but if we look at human nature and the substance of what happened, we probably need to think through the rules themselves -- I see no mandatory minimum penalties in them, and if what we have are no serious copyvio issues, just a few close paraphrases that need minor editing cleanup, produced by a sort-of sock of a user who relinquished all tools and had a yearlong break plus admitted to the identity when uncovered, if I continue the analogy, I think we have a misdemeanor, not a felony. Misdemeanors are often sentenced to time already served, sometimes with probation, even on a second offense. They don't get locked up and have the key thrown away. The actual big problem here is that personalities have gotten tangled up in this on all sides, and probably the best solution would be an return for Rlevse, either under an old name or a new one with acknowledgement (and I could not care less which) combined with an interaction ban between Rlevse, Raul, Sandy and anyone else who is in mortal combat here, possibly with a specifically appointed third party mediator or go-between for any concerns arising between the parties. Another neutral party could agree to check refs and wording on DYK submissions (though everyone's should always be checked automatically by any DYK reviewer anyway) and anything going to FA should be done with a team effort and multiple nominators with neutral FAC reviewers. Or, put simply, Rlevse should be subject to exactly the same scrutiny the rest of us, in theory, should be. Montanabw(talk) 18:24, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, the ball's in his court. If he's willing to edit transparently (i.e. not confront editors he's previously engaged with while claiming to be a new user) the failure of the community ban proposal suggests that he can. But does he want to? 28bytes (talk) 18:45, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tickets for private evidence

There is a thread on WP:AN surrounding an issue that should be familiar to ArbCom. In an unfortunate spiral of events, accusations about off-wiki conduct have been leveled against and editor, accusations which cannot be backed-up by evidence on wiki as required by WP:NPA#WHATIS because those links allegedly contravene BLP and WP:PRIVACY. Several editors involved in that spat have been responsible for escalation that lead to a block. I think the problem could be addressed by ArbCom thorough the introduction of a system of tokens similar to OTRS tickets for privately submitted evidence in such catch 22 situations. E.g. it would make it possible for one editor to say on wiki: "I presented off-wiki evidence that Editor:XXX has engaged in homophobic attacks against YYY. Evidence is available in ArbCom ticket ACT123." ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 02:29, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Currently private mail goes to mailman, doesn't it (the backend for the ArbCom mailing list)? I suppose OTRS might be better. I think oversighters and some others have switched to OTRS relatively recently, so I imagine the thought has crossed more minds than yours. :-) I've never really heard anyone express adoration for either mailman or OTRS, though. Maybe people could keep their "private" data to themselves and we can abolish the Arbitration Committee. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:34, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Having an internal tracking system for such evidence would probably make ArbCom's life easier in the long run, or at least more orderly. See Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Betacommand_3/Proposed_decision#Sockpuppetry.3F for another fuzzy discussion involving private evidence. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 02:42, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well mostly, we prefer to have as little private "evidence" as possible, and I am certain nobody wants us to act as a holding tank for untested private evidence that User #1 has "submitted" against User #2. And bluntly put, the example you're giving actually *does* sound like a personal attack to me. Risker (talk) 04:22, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So, if I understand you correctly, you'd prefer that there be no on-wiki mentions of undisclosable evidence at all except perhaps those made by the Committee in their FoFs? ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 04:32, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support what you just suggested. (Unsupported/unsupportable claims are rising to a very high pitch in that discussion just now.) --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:44, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would prefer we keep this conversation focused on the systemic issue. The concrete incident has its own thread on WP:AN. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 04:45, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair enough. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:56, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As someone who has recently been accused of all manner of things (including making homophobic attacks), I have no doubt that any such ticket system would be used abusively. Anyone would be free to claim that the private evidence sent to ArbCom clearly shows whatever they wish to accuse someone of, but without any need to back up that statement or present the evidence. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 04:39, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ask the techies <g> What is needed is a subset of userspace (where evidence collection is currently a protected activity) making specifically marked pages "visible" only to the editor producing such an evidence page, and to ArbCom members (special flag) so that the person does not face being charged with maintaining an "attack page" but also making clear that the "evidence" is, indeed, "on-Wiki" and verifiable by the simple expedient of removing the special tag. I strongly suspect this would be a duck-soup kluge for the programmers, and would likely reduce dramah over the long haul. It also would not make ArbCom a "secret holder of super-secret evidence." Collect (talk) 04:37, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, that is much more prone to abuse than submitting evidence to ArbCom. ArbCom may well choose to reject (i.e. not assign a ticket) to rubbish evidence. A way to limit the scope concerns that Risker outlined above would be to allow such opaque evidence references only in open ArbCom cases. People would still be able to submit privately evidence to ArbCom about WP:CHILDPROTECT and other sensitive issues outside a case, but they wouldn't be able to refer to undisclosed and untagged evidence on-wiki. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 04:52, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with ASCIIn2Bme. If there are circumstances where such private evidence is submitted, it should not be referred to on wiki. Look, if that needs to be done, it had better speak for itself or there is no point in having it privately submitted. It should not require discussion. Possibly the fact that private evidence was submitted should be mentioned by ArbCom at some point or its decision may look more off the wall than usual. :)--Wehwalt (talk) 08:15, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Meh, arbcom has done fine with ordinary discretion about how and whether to refer to private evidence. Sometimes it's never mentioned, sometimes it's "we got your email, thanks", sometimes it's explicitly catalogued (like the references to EEML archive messages by date and serial number). The informal system has worked just fine. (talk) 09:51, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rlevse sockpuppetry

It has come to light that for the last six months, Rlevse has been editing Wikipedia using a sockpuppet, user:PumpkinSky. PumpkinSky created numerous copyvios, which was exactly the same behavior that brought Rlevse down. Using a sockpuppet was also a violation of the rules governing "right to vanish" which Rlevse exercised.

Were any members of the arbitration committee aware of Rlevse's sockpuppetry? Raul654 (talk) 20:46, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More generally, are arbs aware of any editors violating RTV or CLEANSTART to disrupt FAC? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:07, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wow. Just wow. → ROUX  21:16, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The first time the Committee as a body knew of the sock puppetry—and, indeed, the first time PumpkinSky's name appears in any Committee correspondence at all—was earlier today. I can't speak for whether any individual current or former arbitrator might have been aware of the account earlier; personally, however, I rather doubt Rlevse would have communicated with anyone on the Committee, as our relationship with him subsequent to his departure has been, for lack of a better word, strained.
As for Sandy's question, I'm not aware of anything in that regard, although we haven't really gone looking. While we've obviously been informed of the discussions taking place at FAC, I think the general feeling on the Committee is that they're an internal FAC matter and not something for us to get involved in. Kirill [talk] [prof] 21:19, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since Sandy is being coy, allow me to be blunt. Pumpkinsky was one of the handful of people who pushed strongly for the FAC RFC. There's another user there, Alarbus, who pushed strongly for the RFC whom we also suspect of being an old editor who edits under a new name. (Sandy and I have our suspicions as to who he was previously, but I won't share them publicly) Is that, in fact, the case? Raul654 (talk) 21:27, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are three grinding an axe: Rlevse, TCO who unvanished, and Alarbus who appears to be a returning user, violating CLEANSTART to further a grudge against Raul and me. Considering his likely past accounts, and that he is revisiting old grudges with Raul and me at FAC, and that the arbs are likely aware of his old accounts-- no, it's not internal at all. Raul has overwhelming support in the RFC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:31, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) Not that I'm aware of; that name has never come up in any correspondence. (This doesn't mean that it couldn't be a returning editor, of course; we simply have no information regarding the account either way.) Kirill [talk] [prof] 21:33, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, Kirill-- glad to hear that. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:36, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Further to this, may I ask arbitrators and/or former arbitrators to comment on User:BarkingMoon, who quit 2 days before PumpkinSky started. At that time (July 2011) several editors thought BarkingMoon might be Rlevse. The latest information adds to that case, with one checkuser also finding it convincing. According to Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/Mattisse/Archive#29_June_2011, information about this case was known to former arbitrators such as John Vandenberg, and current ones such as Hersfold. It is possible that unfortunate decisions were made at that time, but hindsight is 20-20, so my main concern is looking forward: there may be an ongoing pattern of behavior by Rlevse here, which needs to be checked, as it has become disruptive. Geometry guy 22:49, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I echo Kirill's comment. Of course we were not aware. AGK [•] 00:35, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Of what? An echo adds nothing. The question here is about the awareness of Arbitrators to previous socking by Rlevse, in particular, as BarkingMoon. The silence confirms to me that this was Rlevse. So, what gives? Geometry guy 00:49, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, Rlevse was insistent that BarkingMoon was not him, but was associated with him...a student/family member/associate... can't remember and the search on my email is crap. He was really really insistent on this. BarkingMoon quit before a decision on what to do was made. At that point, Rlevse had never socked (as far as anyone knows) and people who knew him (I didn't) found it hard to believe he would lie so insistently. He did admit to being PumpkinSky when challenged - which was today...yesterday (1 Feb). I can appreciate him wanting to Cleanstart, but he really can't - there is too large a pile of shit still to be shovelled in respect of checking his edits. Elen of the Roads (talk) 01:04, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK. Now that we all know that you all knew about the likelihood of inappropriate editing in conjunction with his wife JoJo, per correspondence with Will Beback, please explain why this (the allegation that BarkingMoon was a family member or associate) didn't send up red flags. This is getting curiouser and curiouser, and I hope you can understand that I am not humored that Raul/FAC paid the price with sustained disruption for what is looking more and more like an ArbCom failure to act. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:42, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Very unfortunate figure of speech, the vast majority of the mainspace edits are certainly constructive, not "shit". Amalthea 01:16, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am fully aware of BarkingMoon's denials and am not interested in figures of speech: I followed this quite closely at the time. That Rlevse denied it privately, and pointed Arbcom to associated editors is news to me, so thanks for commenting on that. I look forward to you and other arbitrators refining your searches on previous emails, and commenting much more openly. Geometry guy 01:25, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Geometry guy: I thought it was obvious, but I was responding to Raul's original question. Oh, and wrong - an echo adds support for my colleague's remark. AGK [•] 10:37, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rlevse was a good guy, though flawed. He left, I guess, not because we didn't want him, but out of shame. I'd like to think we'll welcome him back, though no argument that copyvio habits need to be nipped. Let's not take a hard line trying to preserve the fiction of RTV. If an RTV-cleanstarter is listening, I'd advise that he should stick quietly to mainspace for a couple of years. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:42, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can only assume that editors making posts like this are blissfully unaware of what has been done to FAC over recent weeks to months. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:00, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, was blissfully unaware. Without question, a returned Rlevse should not be anywhere near FAC. That would be deceptive and disruptive if true. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:35, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So, if we have another CLEANSTART issue, are the arbs going to ignore it, too? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:44, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is the arbitration committee aware of any other accounts currently or previously used by Rlevse? (This includes Barkingmoon) This is the same question that John Vandenberg refused to answer last year on the ground that "if BarkingMoon is Rlevse, they have done a fairly decent job of a clean start", which is clearly no longer the case. Raul654 (talk) 00:46, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not sure how you're reading that as a refusal to answer. Anyway, no Rlevse has never declared any alternative accounts while I've been around, and until ... yesterday it is now... no-one has come and said "editor X is Rlevse", except for the BarkingMoon account. As I said above, Rlevse said he wasn't BarkingMoon, but they were related in some way. Those who felt they knew him did not think he would lie, and BarkingMoon left the project before any final decision was made. I guess people will form their own opinion depending on whether they believe Rlevse or not. Elen of the Roads (talk) 01:10, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
... or whether they believe the Arbitration Committee or not. Malleus Fatuorum 01:20, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed; these responses look a bit different in the new light of Will Beback's information. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:43, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Re: "Not sure how you're reading that as a refusal to answer." -- Did you read Vandenberg's statement? "The committee is not aware of any reason for any action by anyone in this matter at this time... the other suspect (Rlevse) is not under any sanction... The community needs to first decide whether there is sufficient grounds to require that BarkingMoon disclose their prior identity. There are only a few instances of BarkingMoon having made references to their prior identity, and if BarkingMoon is Rlevse, they have done a fairly decent job of a clean start, with a completely different focus and now demonstrating proficiency in German." - Notice that nowhere in this carefully phrased paragraph does Vandenberg actually answer the question of whether or not Barkingmoon is or is not Rlevse (and whether or not the Arbcom is aware of it). This omission was not an accidental. Raul654 (talk) 01:28, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I'll add to Raul's post that this concerns me wrt John Vandenberg's involvement in the other possible CLEANSTART case mentioned (Alarbus), since this past feedback makes it unlikely anything will be addressed on that issue, hence I haven't bothered. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:39, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think there's clear prima facie evidence of corruption within ArbCom, in the way that it deals differently with different editors. The essence of a fair system is consistency, of which we see none. Malleus Fatuorum 01:44, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) What they said. Geometry guy 01:47, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ooooh myyyyy, this is a side of G guy I've never seen before! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:54, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Don't get too excited Sandy: I was commenting on the thread before the post by Malleus (hence the "ec"). However, there are serious questions here, and serious questions demand serious answers, so I am happy to add my support to that expectation. Geometry guy 02:07, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have another question. Amalthea discovered Rlevse was socking, and the arbs found out sometime today. Thatcher edited CLEANSTART yesterday [8] (ok, pehaps unrelated, could be extreme coincidence, or related to the Fae situation). I happened to discover that Amalthea knew Rlevse was socking because I monitor WP:DYK/REMOVED, and followed the entry to discover the CCI. So ... was Rlevse going to be allowed to continue disrupting FAC if I hadn't happened upon this and brought it to Raul's attention? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:52, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seeing shadows behind every tree, I guess. My edits were prompted by the Fae situation, but also because they are true. Rlevse's short fuse was in evidence before he even became an Arbitrator; unfortunately not enough people recognized it for the red flag it obviously was. Thatcher 03:26, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thatcher, I was pleasantly surprised to see you'd edited yesterday, and suspected it was the Fae situation that caught your eye. Oh if only you would stick around, I really miss your common sense.

Amalthea's email was received on Arbcom-L nine hours ago - that's all. Probably half the committee hasn't even read it yet; I only read it about an hour ago. Certainly none of us has had time to review all the edits made by the account, and at this point the community is way ahead of anything we might do, if there was anything that required Arbcom doing. The account is blocked. The CCI is started. As to the BarkingMoon account, while there was certainly some suggestive evidence, there was also some contradictory and pretty-well-impossible-to-fake technical evidence against it, which is why the checkusers couldn't confirm any connection between the BarkingMoon and Rlevse accounts. As is standard when the technical evidence can't absolutely support a conclusion, the Committee points to the ability of the community to impose its own sanctions based on editing behaviour that is unacceptable (whether by personal attacks, copyvios, or other disruption). Myself, what few edits I'd seen before by PumpkinSky wouldn't have led me to think it was a return of Rlevse; on a quick look at some of the non-article edits, my first thought would have been a different previous account and I'm pretty sure others posting in this thread can think of a few "frequent flyers" this could have been. I don't see any emails sent to Arbcom by PumpkinSky, ever, nor does he show up on a search of my arbcom or personal emails either. Arbcom certainly doesn't know the back stories of every account editing Wikipedia, nor do we monitor the activities on every page of the project, and frankly that's way, way beyond the job description. Amalthea did good work here, and that should be recognised. But not knowing that a certain former editor has returned under a new username is not a failing of Arbcom or of Functionaries. I rather doubt anyone wants to participate in that kind of a police state. Risker (talk) 03:29, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To be perfectly blunt, the amount of email ArbCom is receiving at the moment is too much for me to follow in a timely manner. I've just now commented on the email. Rather than corruption, what we have is an enthusiastic new arbitrator who has made it his or her mission to reply to everything the committee receives, copying the entire committee in the process since we have no CRM solution, as well as a ton of legitimate and important email re: vetting the new AUSC members and the occasional email re: one of our open cases. Jclemens (talk) 03:47, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(e.c.) According to Risker immediately above Jclemens' post: "As is standard when the technical evidence can't absolutely support a conclusion, the Committee points to the ability of the community to impose its own sanctions based on editing behaviour that is unacceptable (whether by personal attacks, copyvios, or other disruption)." This brings to my mind the fuss over the current ScottyBerg where the technical evidence supports Scotty and his alleged sockmaster using the same ISP and both being in New York City, which clearly does not absolutely support a conclusion. Yet, the community is denied even a summary of the editing behaviour behind its (apparently infaliable) conclusion, nor has any substantial evidence of unacceptable behaviour (other than socking) been suggested. So, is Risker wrong sbout standard practice, or was it abandoned in Scotty's case, or is there some other explanation for the substantial discrepancy in handling the two cases? EdChem (talk) 03:59, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You know it's funny, people keep saying "you won't give us the evidence" and I don't know why. I've pointed anyone who asked at all the evidence there is. The Mantanmoreland SPI is onwiki. All the socks are listed. The contribs of all the socks are available for you to run any comparison tool you like. Everyone knows that the allegation is that Mantanmoreland is Weiss, and that he edits the same stuff as he blogs. Weiss's blog is online. You can do the comparisons yourself, and if you don't think it's enough evidence, then of course you are entitled to say that. There's no reason in this case for the community not to consider whether they would block/unblock based on the whole set of circumstances. Picking sox is rarely an exact science - I can't do Count Iblis's maths, but he's right that very often it is a percentages game. Elen of the Roads (talk) 16:30, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(edit conflict) I had some conversations with Pumpkinsky and hadn't cottoned on, although in retrospect it looks much clearer. The existence of yet further copyvios is concerning and needs investigation obviously. I'd add the committee only became aware of it as a body today. As an arb and member of a committee, speaking for myself, I have found the situations where one suspects but cannot prove y=x as frustrating as one often needs to avoid speculation and stick to facts, moreso than as a lone editor. Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:05, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Edchem - there are different issues with each case, and each has factors unique to it. Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:05, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(edit conflict)@Edchem, perhaps I have misworded that somewhat. I was referring to situations where there is technical evidence that contradicts the conclusions being drawn based on editing behaviour. In the case of ScottyBerg, there is no such contradiction. There have been a couple of accounts that users have been convinced for various reasons was the return of a banned user, but technical evidence has directly contradicted it. Simply put, if an account is behaving very badly, it doesn't really matter what the technical results say, the community is well within its rights to sanction the account directly (i.e., without the socking accusation attached), and the community doesn't really need Arbcom to give its blessing to that. Risker (talk) 04:15, 2 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Under controversial circumstances

I think a very good case has been made here and on the Administrators' Noticeboard that there should be a [1] after Rlevse's entry at Wikipedia:Former administrators. What mechanism is in place to get that done? Do I need to file a formal request or can ArbCom just take the initiative and make an official statement to this effect? 28bytes (talk) 03:06, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It used to be that a few editors updated the former admin list including me. At first this wasn't considered under crowd, just a dramatic way of leaving the project and hoping he will come back someway, something that is kinda often in administrators. But considering now the sockpuppet mess and attacks and so fourth, it's clear that Rlevse will never get his tools back without an RFA. I did add a 1 next to Rlevse name as he was blocked indef, but got reverted. This is common sense under a cloud, unfortunately. Secret account 03:24, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • First off, Arbcom hasn't used the "under a cloud" terminology in at least four years, and it's time for the community to catch up here; I've changed the heading of this section. Secondly, this is a dead horse. Does anyone think that Rlevse is going to waltz back onto the project, pop over to the Bureaucrat's noticeboard, and be handed his bits back? The question should be directed to bureaucrats, not Arbcom, per the policy. Risker (talk) 04:23, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • First I'd heard that "under a cloud" had been deprecated. Better send the memo to the 'crats; it's a pretty heavily used phrase on WP:BN. 28bytes (talk) 04:34, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • (ec) I reverted Secret because the specific text of the footnote did not apply to this situation. However, I would not re-grant admin or crat tools to Rlevse if he were to request them based on my own subjective judgment of there being a cloud and I suspect all my colleague-crats would behave the same way. But, he has not requested it, so #4 does not apply and Arbcom hasn't ruled, so #1 does not apply. MBisanz talk 04:35, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Bureaucrat note: Speaking with the 'crathat on, in my opinion, I concur with Matt in that Rlevese would not be granted the tools upon request. An RtV is not a wikibreak; an RtV is not even a retirement. An RtV is a deliberate severing of all ties with Wikipedia. If someone requests, and is successful in having RtV implemented, that account is consigned to history and all rights are null and void. Even if the user returns (at best, they regret their vanishing and wish to return, at worst they are violating the terms of RtV) they are "brand new". It is the community's right to link the returnee with the vanished account, but that is a matter of historical reference; no rights should be returned. The returned user is, of course, welcome to request Rollback/Reviewer from an admin, and undergo RfX should they desire to return to maintenance work. It is a matter of common sense, however, that former account activity can be and will be linked in to any such request if the relationship is know at the time of the RfX. -- Avi (talk) 05:38, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As for "cloud" and other bureaucratic weather phenomena, my understanding is that term was a poor description of the real issue, which is "relinquishing the tools to avoid scrutiny or sanction by the wikipedia community." When someone is undergoing an RfAr, or a block/ban discussion on AN, and voluntarily relinquishes the tools to either 1) escape the stigma of having them removed forcibly or 2) to prevent further sanctions (such as a block) from being applied, or prevent further scrutiny (such as ArbCom accepting a case), that is a situation in which we do not automatically return the tools. If someone had their account hacked, the tools should not be returned until their is some sort of proof (committed ID, signed PGP note, ArbCom telling us 'crats straight out) that the original user has control of the account. If someone asks for a wikibreak, or a wikisysopbreak, or relinquishes the tools in a fit of pique due to an on-wiki confrontation, that is not an issue. It is my opinion that even a run-of-the mill retirement does not preclude tool restoration—we don't even remove the tools until a specified period of non-use has occurred. Regardless, it is my opinion in this particular case that Rleves's reason for leaving is irrelevant as RtV would preclude the rights as I write above. -- Avi (talk) 05:49, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Avi's opinion on RtV and not returning tools to someone who unvanishes without them going through the full RfA or RfB process. I also agree with his description of what is and is not a "cloud". ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 07:33, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I want to repeat here what I told Avi off-wiki: his post above covers the issue of RtV in a way that I'd never really considered, and I find his points to be very cogent and entirely supportable. Thanks for explaining the "bureaucrat mindset" so well - perhaps it would be useful to include something about this at WP:RTV and possibly in relation to the bureaucrat procedures. Clarifying policy interpretation in a way that I think just about every user can understand and "buy into" is a rare and appreciated event. Risker (talk) 16:22, 3 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Absolutely. For the record, I also concur that vanishing is not intended to be temporary, and as such, any user returning should go through the process to gain the tools just like any (other) new user wishing to become an administrator or 'crat would. WP:RTV is quite clear in its current state on all these points. Of course, as Matt mentioned, none of the situations resulting in a footnote being placed apply (to my knowledge Rlevse has not asked for his bits back, using any account, and certainly has not done so on WP:BN). -- Pakaran 05:07, 5 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think "cloud" vs "controversial circumstances" distinction is largely one of semantics. The terms have always been used to mean the same thing. I agree that Rlevse relinquished his tools in controversial circumstances / under a cloud and would not return them on request. However, I do not think the RTV is especially relevant and disagree with Avi's suggestion that an account returning after RTV is "brand new" and so could not have rights restored on request. I can imagine a scenario where RTV was an involuntary choice made to avoid serious harassment and, for one reason or another, the risk of harassment later lessened/disappeared making a return possible. In such circumstances, I would see no reason to require new RfXs and doubt I would so so. WJBscribe (talk) 18:47, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Will. As always I greatly value your opinions, but in this case, I respectfully disagree with you. I understand your position, I understand how RtV can sometimes be necessary for safety reasons, and I understand that situations may change. Please see my comments at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Alternate alternate proposal: RtV users are blocked where I explain my thoughts in more detail. However, I believe that returning the bits to someone who exercised RtV is unfair to the Wikipedia community, who has the right to determine who receives the sysop and 'crat maintenance toolsets. This is not the same as someone changing their name; this is someone who severed all links to Wikipedia, regardless of the reason. This is someone who felt that a rename was insufficient, and that their original Wikipedia ID must be made dead and buried, and who has agreed to indefinitely end editing Wikipedia. Rights should not be returned under those situation; the trust of the community in the admin/'crat corps would be eroded if we have admins who cannot point to RfAs by their own choice. In the event of safety reasons, the editor needs to make a determination what is more important to them, their on-wiki continuity or their personal feelings, and as sad and disappointing as it may be that someone is forced out of Wikipedia due to harassment (and criminal charges should be investigated in those situations), if someone chooses to completely cut off their relationship with Wikipedia, the rights stop too. In your hypothetical situation, I would suggest that the person retire, not RtV, wait a reasonable length of time, and then undergo a privacy rename under ArbCom's auspices, whilst not never exercising RtV. I think that may be a bit better, but I am still loathe to have admins who cannot point to evidence of community trust (namely an RfX). -- Avi (talk) 19:22, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In your hypothetical situation, I would suggest that the person retire, not RtV, wait a reasonable length of time, and then undergo a privacy rename under ArbCom's auspices, whilst not never exercising RtV. This is the first I've heard of such a scenario. If an editor needed this "privacy rename" because of IRL issues or their real name, would it be permitted even if editing restrictions were in place, considering those restrictions could be watched "under ArbCom's auspices"? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:29, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not recall it being done, not that my memory means anything, so we remain in hypothetical scenario. Also, as I said above, personally I would be against that as well. I think the project members need to be able to link the toolset with trust. If a link remains between the currently used name and the name under which the RfX was run (whether as a redirect or in the rename log), that would be fine—we allow people to rename themselves. If there is no link, because the user was renamed to some form of vanished, or even just retired, and a new userid taken, then a new RfX should be run so that trust is assured. -- Avi (talk) 19:59, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm sorry, Avi; it appears I wasn't clear enough. I wasn't referring to an admin case, rather the general case (no link to tools). I believe-- if there were such a case-- you wouldn't necessarily know about it, per the "under ArbCom's auspices" aspect you mentioned? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:04, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see that the distinction I had previously talked to Avi about is still percolating. I would say that I am closer to WJB's camp in that I would not look simply at the template used in removing the bit {{RTV}} v. {{Retired}} and would instead look at the user's behavior at the time of departure. I know what WP:RTV says, but so many times, a user resigns saying "I want to vanish" and it could be for many reasons. Keeping it on the basis that someone who has stopped editing, for whatever reason, and returns, can be re-bitted, while anyone who resigns to avoid penalty cannot be re-bitted is generally how I approach it. MBisanz talk 21:38, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Matt, in that case, those people should not be "vanished". They should simply retire. -- Avi (talk) 22:06, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Avi, I know that, you know that, but we're crats who have studied the philosophical underpinnings of editorship. I'll eat my hat if he understands what he did and I won't hold him to his word. MBisanz talk 23:09, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Face-grin.svg. Point noted. However, I think, especially in light of this situation, we should be both clearer and firmer. Then again, I may join you in haberdashery-based cuisine if he comes back asking for bits Face-wink.svg -- Avi (talk) 23:20, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To the best of my knowledge, the term "resigned under a cloud" was coined by Raul654 in his draft of the arbitration decision in 2006 in Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Giano. I pointed out on the workshop that the phrase "under a cloud" had undesirable overtones and suggested "under controversial circumstances" or "under circumstances of controversy" might be a better replacement; the former was adopted in the decision. (In retrospect, "in the midst of a controversy" might have been better.) In other words, to the best of my knowledge, the phrase "under a cloud" has never been part of the official terminology. (The more interesting thing is that the principle adopted by the ArbCom in that case was the clearest instance of policy creation by ArbCom that I've ever seen—but I've never seen anyone notice that, much less complain about it, perhaps because the policy that was adopted was pretty much in accordance with common sense.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:11, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rlevse's closures of promotion discussions in which his wife opined

I'll bite the bullet and be the first 'crat to give an opinion about the Jojo issue in particular (at least to my knowledge; the discussion of these events seems to be rather widely split between pages). Personally, I would not close an RfA/RfB in which my significant other had voted, particularly if said vote affected the outcome; the appearance of impropriety and potential for contention is sufficient that it is prudent to allow someone else to do the close. I've also never been involved with an active Wikipedia editor, so the issue has not arisen for me, but I am once bitten, twice shy, after some concern was expressed about my participation in a crat chat for an !vote in which I had !voted. I feel that there is a strong case to be made for erring on the side of caution in these matters, especially at a time when multiple 'crats are active. I will not go so far as to say that I would criticize a colleague for doing so, particularly if there was only one defensible outcome to the discussion regardless of whether the SO's vote was counted.

That said, regardless of Rlevse acted appropriately in carrying out those closures, and regardless of the issue of whether (assuming he was justified at the time) standards have since shifted in such a way that closing with that conflict of interest would be cause for concern today, I would like to state in very strong terms that those who feel that the candidates in question should stand for reconfirmation are at best advocating process for the sake of process, and at worst sniping needlessly at good administrators and 'crats of (now) long standing. I should mention that nobody in almost eight years has cast doubt on my status, even though my RfB was not only closed by a 'crat who had !voted, but was (as is obvious from a glance) not subjected to anything resembling modern levels of scrutiny, or standards for promotion, for RfA, much less RfB. -- Pakaran 03:37, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copy-pasting my comments from last night that I posted to a similar discussion:

I just went through the past RFAs and RFBs that Rlevse closed as "promote". Of those, only 3 met the following criteria:

    • The support was below 80%.
    • Jojo voted Support.
None of the RFAs Rlevse closed as support were below 70%. None of the RFBs Rlevse closed as support were below 85%. Of those three admins I mentioned, 1 resigned (possibly under a RTV sort of deal), 1 was desysopped for inactivity, and the 1 that remains self-identifies as semi-active. Two of the closures had an extended rationale as it was closed under bureaucrat discretion. I'm not going to post names here to start a witch-hunt, but you get the idea. --Rschen7754 03:56, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As there's been a request at BN for more crat opinions, I'm reluctantly posting here. I agree with what much of what Pakaran said, especially in his first paragraph. --Dweller (talk) 17:49, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As a practical matter, the results of the past RfAs and RfBs closed by Rlevse are going to stand. I don't see much useful purpose to be served by further discussion of the matter, and certainly not on this page, as the Arbitration Committee is highly unlikely to have anything to do with this issue. Rschen7754's analysis, which suggests that the alleged issue wouldn't have made much if any difference anyway, should hopefully lay this aspect of the matter to rest. Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:06, 7 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

BarkingMoon SPI

Since WP:Administrators' noticeboard#Proposal to tag BarkingMoon as a sock of Rlevse was closed without a conclusion, I am considering filing WP:Sockpuppet investigations/Rlevse, with the main purpose of producing a finding on BarkingMoon. I am writing this comment to see if Arbcom has any relevant information or input. Flatscan (talk) 05:37, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure that horse could be any more dead. 28bytes (talk) 05:43, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) I disagree the discussion was closed without conclusion. Intermixed in the discussion were edits to BarkingMoon's user page to mark it as a sock, and revert back, several times until it was protected at the version thought most proper. The page stands untagged because that is what consensus concluded. Taking it to SPI would in effect be you not accepting consensus, which I suppose is your right. My76Strat (talk) 05:48, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it was protected at m:The Wrong Version. "There is neither consensus to tag nor consensus not to tag."diff My reading was that there was a bit of "wrong venue" and "voting on sock tagging is nonsensical" mixed in with "dead horse". Flatscan (talk) 06:03, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On the contrary, the closure of that thread says There is neither consensus to tag nor consensus not to tag. It appears the only real consensus is that holding a vote to tag a sockpuppet doesn't make any sense. Either an SPI has confirmed it based on behavioral evidence or check-user data, or they haven't. Tagging socks is not a voting issue. The thread established nothing and basically threw it back to SPI. An SPI to evaluate the overwhelming behavioral evidence seems the logical step if people think BarkingMoon is a sock, and it would appear a number of people (myself included) do. - Burpelson AFB 18:52, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair enough, have your day in the sun. Bear in mind, who ever drafts the report is subject to looking rather foolish. My76Strat (talk) 19:31, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I originally proposed at AN that "The Wrong Version" should be protected: anything is better than edit warring, no matter that some may regard the version protected as "wrong". Geometry guy 22:30, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure that horse could be any more dead. - In the emails he posted, Rlevse strongly implied an intent to return (claiming that the community wanted him back). His behavior up to this point has been that after a sockpuppet of his is discovered, he always comes back with a new one within a few days. (He did did it after leaving his original Rlevse account to create Barkingmoon, and then again after leaving his Barkingmoon account to create Pumpkinsky). In fact, I would be quite surprised if he hasn't already started using a new sockpuppet. Raul654 (talk) 19:00, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You talk about a dead horse, I talk about living people, being one of them, called a witness. Imagine I was your mother if that helps. I have a hard time reading all this, the words as well as the spirit. As far as I know there was no copyvio issue with BarkingMoon. Looking at the PumpkinSky CCI, I don't see a "copyright violator" either, about 500 articles of the 729 that he touched were checked by twelve rewievers, one sentence was removed, some close paraphrasing found in single sentences, and some code equal in lists of people of Montana to Montana, surprise. His immense additions to the encyclopedia have been described in the CCI as "constructive", "improvements", "gnoming", "helpful", "good". - I lost a friend in real life (he died), PumpkinSky helped with that article and others. - We lost Khazar for the project of making Human rights' fighters known to the world, he left, twice. - THAT - just watching his articles! - is a legacy for which we should use our limited time, not this. My POV, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:53, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can someone post a link to where PumpkinSky said he was related to Rlevse? BarkingMoon said he was related to Rlevse, or vice versa. I've heard this tossed about a lot but have yet to see a link. Lawyer that I am, I like to look at the the actual stuff, not just the commentary.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:18, 10 February 2012 (UTC) Amended post-reply leaving struck text in place.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:24, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The e-mails he posted from and to Will Beback on his talk page seem like a straightforward acknowledgement to me. 28bytes (talk) 08:20, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, my bad, I meant BarkingMoon/Rlevse. Too early in the morning.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:22, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah. No, I've not seen any onwiki statement from BarkingMoon acknowledging such a connection. 28bytes (talk) 08:27, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wait a second.. Wasn't the entire reason all this was brought to the attention of the community in the first place that some serious plagiarism was going on (again)? Wasn't that practically the only reason why some people wanted PumpkinSky blocked? I mean, if the edits by PumpkinSky were fine, what on earth are we having all this drama for? I'm confused. --Conti| 11:42, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Barkingmoon told me via private email that he was associated with, (or knew, or something like that) Rlevse. Even if I still had the email, there is absolutely no way I would release it or forward it to anyone. I consider it a matter of confidentiality when someone says something to me off-wiki. If I am wrong for my refusal to do so, then so be it; but I have a moral compass that I won't violate simply for a contribution to the vast sum of human knowledge (as valuable as I consider that). — Ched :  ?  10:57, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And no, that's not an insinuation directed at anyone in this thread, just a comment on the general feel for the many, many, MANY threads begun in regard to this entire embarrassment. — Ched :  ?  11:00, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that Rlevse is honest in saying he is PumpkinSky, but not BarkingMoon. BarkingMoon does have some stylistic differences from Rlevse and PSky, whereas Rlevse and PSky are much more alike in style and tone. Rlevse admits BarkingMoon is someone he knows, and whoever BarkingMoon is, he's now gone and doesn't appear to be returning. It isn't a crime to have friends on wiki, and as they did not edit at the same time, there was no WP:MEAT violation.Montanabw(talk) 18:08, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As for "serious plagiarism", the CCIs are not uncovering "serious plagiarism," and they are examining both Rlevse and PSky. (Full disclosure: I have been one of several reviewers at both CCIs, and I admit to mostly taking the short, easy ones) They are finding a few close paraphrases, a sentence or two here and there. As noted below, I also helped with the cleanup on the ItsLassieTime sock (which is still not complete over two years out, anyone want to help on that one, head over there), and THAT was "serious plagiarism" with verbatim copying on dozens, if not hundreds of articles. Montanabw(talk) 18:08, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The REAL issue, as far as I can see it, is that Rlevse made a decision during the Grace Sherwood TFA issue to just throw up his hands and quit rather than go through the process we are going through now. I have to admit I can't really blame him: if I were subjected to something like this, my temptation would be similar: this is a hard, hard thing. Just because it's online and all in writing doesn't mean that its emotional impact is much different from something similar happening face to face. Our work may be uncompensated, but it IS work, a creative effort, and something we DO have our personalities wrapped around, the strictures of WP:OWN notwithstanding. Stress like this can interfere with your real life job -- we aren't the target, yet how many hours have we all spent on this, and what else could we have been doing? It also could have you upset around your family (just like having a real job blow up in your face). So really, let's get some perspective here and put out the torches. Montanabw(talk) 18:08, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm afraid the on-wiki evidence overwhelmingly points in the direction opposite to your thinking. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 18:12, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Re Wehwalt's question, in addition to BarkingMoon's email correspondence to Ched, Elen of the Roads has stated "Rlevse was insistent that BarkingMoon was not him, but was associated with him...a student/family member/associate" and "Rlevse said he wasn't BarkingMoon, but they were related in some way. Those who felt they knew him did not think he would lie, and BarkingMoon left the project before any final decision was made.". This indicates some discussion of the issue among the functionaries (arbitrators and/or check-users) involved in the original BarkingMoon SPI (including Hersfold, Steven Zhang, John Vandenberg and – based on comments here – Risker). Geometry guy 13:55, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I had forgotten that embarrassing little hoorah, where an absent editor's name was gratuitously dragged through the mud. Thank you for the diff hunting.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:29, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, and the Clerk, CheckUser, and/or patrolling admin comments are worth reading, starting with statements from Hersfold and Steven Zhang that "Some more information has surfaced that verifies the identity of these accounts, however I'm awaiting instruction on how to proceed with this" and "Based on developments that have occured recently, we feel we have enough evidence to verify the original identity of the BarkingMoon account". Geometry guy 14:57, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I was concerned about the claims regarding Mattisse, and wasn't really focusing on Rlevse. Obviously that discussion is very interesting in retrospect. If I did read it correctly, it strongly confirms the theory that BarkingMoon is someone who lives in the same geographical area as Rlevse, but is not Rlevse. That discussion, btw, was much more moderate in tone than this one.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:09, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
... yet also an editor with a prior account, mutually known to RLevse, and with behavioural similarities (edit summaries, German speaking abilities - contrary to John Vandenberg's statement) sufficient to convince a check-user (Amalthea) of their identity. On the other hand, another checkuser (Keegan) has stated it is technically impossible that they are the same (does that just mean a different ISP, O/S and web browser?). There's too much stuff here that just does not add up/make sense. Even John Vandenberg's cryptic/carefully worded comment seems contradictory (RLevse did not contact Arbcom? Where did the insistent denials come from then?). Geometry guy 15:44, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But giving away methods is a legitimate concern. One idea is for someone we all can agree on, perhaps a former arb or current checkuser (or both) who is widely respected who can quietly review whatever actual data are available and interview everyone (including, possibly, Rlevse) and report back with a conclusion (or why one is not possible) without disclosing confidential methods.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:19, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with that, and your suggestion is worth consideration. On the other hand, I think there can be a tendency to be a bit too previous about some of the methodology that is actually publicly available (top hit on Google, both discussed and linked from Wikipedia). Any sockmeister worth their socks will have read this stuff. Geometry guy 16:33, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You'd be surprised how many either don't care or haven't read it, Geometry Guy. :-) I realise that there are lots of people who would really like to go back and revisit the BarkingMoon stuff. Fact is, though, most of the data is gone: it's only available to checkusers for 3 months. Retention of IP and user agent data is kept to a minimum per the privacy policy. I'd be concerned about a checkuser who personally retained data on an inconclusive socking case. Risker (talk) 17:26, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, yes, if BarkingMoon was RLevse, then he evidently didn't care enough/as much as PumpkinSky to avoid detection. I imagine many such editors consider themselves as a victim of an injustice, hence legitimate. As for data, we still have the collective memory of the checkusers et al. involved. I'd be concerned if that was wiped every three months :) Geometry guy 18:25, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Geometry Guy, I do not believe there is anything anyone can say that will assuage your...well, quite honestly, I am not really sure what your point is here. You choose not to believe people who were directly involved, and the only information that I can think of that might possible change it is (a) not something that can be published and (b) no longer available as part of the privacy and security standards of this site. Adding the recollections of more people who also don't have access to the hard data anymore and for whom this was just one more SPI in a sea of hundreds isn't going to change anything here, if any of them remember anything at all. We are where we are, and all the hindsight in the world isn't going to change that; even with hindsight, I don't see much that would have happened differently. The only thing I can see that might have made a difference was a refusal on the part of bureaucrats to "vanish" the original account, but they had no grounds to do that; in fact, quite the opposite. Risker (talk) 21:05, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not making a point. I was answering, with diffs to Elen's contributions, an honest query by Wehwalt as to why editors believe what they believe about the BarkingMoon-RLevse connection, pointing out that the information is riddled with contradictions: some editors have issued categorical statements and denials, some have been more guarded or evasive, and others have made statements contradicting both, as if some hymn sheet got lost in the interim - and on top of this, contradictory evidence has been posted. I am perfectly willing to believe everyone who was directly involved if I could find some way to reconcile the apparent contradictions that seem inherent in doing so.
You should not be surprised that such a Rasputin among horses refuses to lie down no matter how lethal the injections: there are too many open questions. Wehwalt, not me, proposed a way of addressing them. Is "if we do it again, we wouldn't have done it any differently" your reply to his proposal? See also my reply to Ched below. Geometry guy 22:30, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(edit conflict) Hi there Gguy. Personally I'd be more concerned about the "retention" of "collective memories". Memories are tied to emotional elements and feelings - which can become skewed over the passage of time. People move, change ISPs, switch browsers, etc. over time .. and I think that's why from a detached analytical view that our project simply can't depend on data that was recorded months ago as a "we gotcha" measuring stick. My own personal "measuring stick" is simply:

  1. Is this account trying to add positive contributions to our project?
  2. If mistakes that account makes are found, do they try to improve?
  3. Are we trying to actually "help" new editors by giving them guidance rather than condemning them for their mistakes?
  4. Are we as a collective group trying to help the accounts, or are we rather being so paranoid that we're looking for snakes behind every rock?

All IMHO of course. — Ched :  ?  21:18, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Ched. I agree with what you say about memories, and part of the issue here may be simply a matter of editors remembering things differently. It is easy to read additional meaning into words over the internet. It is also possible to reconcile some statements through nuances: for example, JV may be saying RLevse did not contact Arbcom re BarkingMoon, because they contacted him, or because he contacted Elen rather than Arbcom.
Further to compliments I've made in the past on your user talk, I agree with your principles and approach. In particular, I support your values of integrity, respect for privacy and private correspondence, assuming good faith, helping new editors and the like. I think you have behaved honorably here.
However, with hindsight, we now know that BarkingMoon and PumpkinSky were not new users and the community needs to find away to move forward with that knowledge. I am sympathetic with the view that RLevse quit to avoid criticism and possible sanctions, and so abused the right to vanish. I am also sympathetic to the view that it is mean-spirited to uphold the letter of the law, when the new account(s) were (mostly) helpful and productive. On the other hand PumpkinSky returned to FAC to participate in criticism that some have regarded as disruptive, so what gives?
A prerequisite for resolving multiple differing views on how to move forward is a common understanding about the factual information available. The current situation is significantly lacking in that respect, which is one reason threads like this keep appearing. Geometry guy 22:30, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There will never be any common understanding of the factual information available, Geometry guy. People believe what they choose to believe. They take the facts to fit their own narrative. So in the section below, we have wildly different views from two longtime, respected editors - based on exactly the same facts. There is no information that anyone can offer to reconcile those disparate perspectives; no such information ever existed. Risker (talk) 22:39, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which section below? Which two editors? Which ("exactly the same") facts? That's the kind of uncertainty I'm talking about. I'm not asking nearly as much in terms of common understanding of factual information as you seem to think. Like you, I do not expect everyone to believe the same thing (which is one reason I refer to "factual information" rather than "facts"), but compromises on beliefs are hopeless without clarity about the basis for those beliefs... and there is no such clarity here. Geometry guy 23:13, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
PS. To practice what I preach, I hope you did not miss my reply to you before Ched's comment. If Wehwalt's proposal is unworkable, then other ideas are needed.
If Risker means #OK, what is the actual issue? immediately below, the two editors would be Montanabw and (I guess) SandyGeorgia. Flatscan (talk) 05:24, 12 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for commenting, Risker. When I started this subsection, I really meant to ask this question: if I file an SPI on BarkingMoon, will Arbcom quash it, due to the June 2011 SPI, private information, or other considerations? Flatscan (talk) 05:24, 12 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And what would that accomplish that hasn't already been dealt with at length here and in similar threads? It's not a rhetorical question, since I'm pretty clear on what has happened--I think--but grant that others may not be. Jclemens (talk) 05:28, 12 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quoting myself from above: "with the main purpose of producing a finding on BarkingMoon." The June 2011 SPI was referred to Arbcom due to private information and eventually closed without action. According to this recent comment by Kirill Lokshin, "The Committee was divided as to whether this explanation was sufficient; however, as we were discussing the matter, BarkingMoon left the project.... we did not pursue the matter further." I would like SPI to take a fresh look at the behavioral evidence, especially that researched after PumpkinSky was revealed. Flatscan (talk) 05:55, 12 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From the comments after the suggestion I made, this seems to have been handled in a routine and appropriate matter. I withdraw my suggestion as impractical and unnecessary.--Wehwalt (talk) 05:37, 12 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What did ArbCom know about Fluttershy? – Can someone from ArbCom please answer my questions? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 23:13, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've gone back through our records. On 10 December 2011 someone sent us a clipping from an IRC log, in which a user with the handle Rainbow-Dash-EN said that they were Pickbothmanlol. The person sending it said they were now using the handle Fluttershy-EN, on a different IP. I will put my hands up and say as far as I was concerned I couldn't do anything but acknowledge it, because I'm not hot on the technical stuff and never use the IRC channel. It should have been punted to the Checkusers to follow up, but it fell through the cracks in the volume of other stuff that we get emailed to us. --Elen of the Roads (talk) 18:59, 5 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

[9], [10], [11], [12], [13] – Is ArbCom now aware of the incident described in these diff's? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 01:47, 8 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On September 18th, Cabal-of-rdn did email ArbCom to express concern about a threatened CU. I acknowledged the email, and sent a note to the Functionaries mailing list asking them to refer any CU request to an ArbCom member (who would be privy to the details in the email). All email correspondence on the matter was resolved within that week, and I have heard nothing from that account since. I'll further note that some of these diffs include allegations not made to ArbCom in the past correspondence, that, had they been made to us, would have likely resulted in additional investigation. Jclemens (talk) 01:56, 8 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You should be aware that the MLP WikiProject was trolled by the GNAA. They put out a press release about that. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 02:32, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

[14], [15] – Does anyone know who the unsuccessful ArbCom candidate referred in these post is? If this persons runs for election next year, then voters should be aware of the nature of the relationship between Fluttershy and this candidate. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 18:17, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know that any unsuccessful ArbCom candidates would reasonably be expected to follow this page. You might be better off contacting each of them individually. But then, since none of them have confirmed this, what you really have is an empty insinuation that may or may not reflect reality, so I would be more inclined to not follow up unless something more definite and actionable presented itself. I presume you've already asked the people who made the statements? Jclemens (talk) 18:38, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, Betacommand appears to not want any more trouble ([16], [17]), and Fluttershy stopped answering questions after this message was posted. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 18:57, 10 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It appears that Fluttershy is editing again. →Στc. 20:42, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yet he hasn't answer two of my questions on the page, and he hasn't responded to Cabal-of-rdn's comment. I've decided to ask anyway. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:28, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Muhammad images

The wording for the proposed RfC is being discussed at Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal/Cases/11 February 2012/Muhammad-images. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 02:56, 29 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Appeals of topic bans

Looking at the section "Appeals of topic bans", it doesn't mention any procedure for making an appeal. I believe it is handled by ArbCom, so perhaps it would be worth adding a note that appeals should be started at WP:RFAR? --Iantresman (talk) 12:01, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request for clarification of blocking of Mbz1

Mbz1 has been under a self-requested block since July 2011. She was reblocked by the Committee on 7.2.2012. The message that notified her about reblock presents no single difference to support the block. This reblock gave a green light for a mob action against Mbz1.

Please review Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Transparency_and_confidentiality.

It makes it clear that "Committee deliberations are often held privately though the Committee will make public detailed rationales for decisions related to cases, unless the matter is unsuitable for public discussion for privacy, legal or similar reasons." Apparently there was a vote to block Mbz1. Please list any legal and/or private reasons that prevented the Committee from publicly providing detailed rationale for the decision to block Mbz1.

Further, please review Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Requesting_arbitration.

It makes it clear that "In exceptional circumstances, typically where significant privacy, harassment or legal issues are involved, the Committee may hold a hearing in private. The parties will be notified of the private hearing and be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them before a decision is made." Please explain what "exceptional circumstances" prevented the Committee from notifying Mbz1 about discussion concerning her, and why she was given no opportunity to respond.

Thanks. Broccolo (talk) 01:41, 1 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, Hersfold writes: "Specifics of your harassment campaign have been covered in detail to you via email on a number of occasions". On the other hand, Elen of the Roads writes "... there never was a massive Arbcom investigation. Everyone Mbz1 mailed it to looked at it and said "can't see it myself" and left it at that, often I suspect without emailing their response back to Mbz1." Because of two statements that contradict each other I have a request. Could the Committee publish all emails, in which they covered "specifics of Mbz1 harassment campaign" . Broccolo (talk) 16:32, 1 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Desysop procedures

Just had a look at the procedure for the desysop of Centrix, and noticed that the procedure is out of date. Now a steward will no longer be needed to be notified but a burocrat. Equally the details should be noted on WP:BN not Meta/permissions. Agathoclea (talk) 06:46, 7 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed. A review of the procedure is already underway and should be posted in due course.  Roger Davies talk 06:53, 7 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

AN/I proposal for discretionary sanctions on an editor

Based on the prior discussion on that page, I have proposed as an alterative to other forms of discipline discretionary sanctions as per WP:AC/DS on User:AuthorityTam at Wikipedia:Administrator's noticeboard/Incidents#Discretionary sanctions on AuthorityTam. I would request response as to whether it is appropriate for such a step to be taken there in the eyes of the arbitrators, or whether procedure would indicate that formal Arbitration be sought first. John Carter (talk) 14:37, 9 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In principle, the community has the authority to impose sanctions as it sees fit; if it desires to impose something equivalent to the discretionary sanctions that have been imposed by the Committee, then doing so is its prerogative.
Having said that, I would point out two practical issues that may be relevant here:
  1. A sanction originally imposed by a community process is, generally speaking, subject to being appealed to the Committee. In this case, given the unique nature of the sanction, I would be surprised if the option of an appeal were not exercised.
  2. Sanctions imposed by the Committee have several procedural advantages (such as the prohibition against an administrator unilaterally overturning them) that are not applicable to routine sanctions established by AN/I and similar processes. While the community could potentially adopt similar procedures in this case, doing so would involve additional preparation and discussion beyond the mere imposition of the sanction itself.
Given these factors, I suspect that bringing a request for arbitration may wind up being a more efficient means of seeking a sanction than discussing the matter on AN/I. Kirill [talk] [prof] 22:15, 9 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't speak for the committee, but I do agree with Kirill that arbitration would be a better option in the given case. Although the community should deal with problematic editors wherever possible, the imposition of sanction can incur excessive time spent on appeals and preparation - and in these cases the committee can dispose of a situation with less wasted time. AGK [•] 22:51, 9 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


you've got mail. — Ched :  ?  16:52, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Ched, we've received your email. We'll be in touch shortly. PhilKnight (talk) 21:26, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK .. thanks .. delete thread at will. — Ched :  ?  22:00, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Contacting ArbCom

A fellow Wikipedian, one of our administrators, advised me through email to contact the committee about seeing to it that the circumstances surrounding my case do not happen again. He suggested things I can do to combat it, which would need to involve ArbCom. I felt that it's best I ask the question here first instead of wasting my or the committee's time. Is this something that is in line with the committee's functions? Flyer22 (talk) 19:22, 24 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We use this page predominately to interact with individual editors; interaction with the community at large is typically at WT:AC/N. So please feel free to post your query to this page, and an arbitrator or two should reply soon after. Of course, if your enquiry relates to anything of a sensitive or private nature it must be submitted by e-mail instead. Hope this helps, AGK [•] 20:10, 24 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. Flyer22 (talk) 20:27, 24 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, I see that you wanted me to elaborate on my question? I'm not sure how to adequately do that without revealing information that would be gathered by the third-party member who led to my block. My case is still present on my talk page if you do not already know the details or haven't checked for what I mean about the block. I wanted to know if ArbCom are willing to work with me to ensure that I am not accused of and blocked for being a WP:Sockpuppet again because someone else from my household edited Wikipedia as an IP, proxy IP or registered user and their true IP is also my true IP. I just edited an article while forgetting to log in, but I usually log in before I edit. A person from my household was using proxy IPs to edit Wikipedia and also used two registered accounts before they were blocked. I am looking for ways to ensure that it doesn't happen again, besides agreeing to let that person edit Wikipedia with an account acknowledging his relationship to me. If those ways are discussed here out in the open, that person will see them and the help will mean nothing. Flyer22 (talk) 23:04, 26 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If you wish to talk in private you can email us at If you prefer to talk here, more in the open where there is a public record of what we say, that is also OK. SilkTork ✔Tea time 01:27, 27 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, SilkTork. I will email for the reasons stated above. Either today or tomorrow. I just wanted to make sure that ArbCom would be interested and that I wouldn't be ignored or quickly turned away and thus wasting my time. Flyer22 (talk) 17:31, 27 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ban appeal by User:Altenmann

On 11 April 2010, User:Altenmann was desysopped and community banned, which the user would like reconsidered. Accordingly, the Ban Appeals Subcommittee seeks comment from the community on suspending the ban and interested editors are invited to participate. For the committee, SilkTork ✔Tea time 12:46, 29 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Appeal discussion

Ban appeal by User:Altenmann

On 11 April 2010, User:Altenmann was desysopped and community banned, which the user would like reconsidered. Accordingly, the Ban Appeals Subcommittee seeks comment from the community on suspending the ban and interested editors are invited to participate. For the committee, SilkTork ✔Tea time 12:46, 29 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Appeal discussion

request for links

Hello all,

I have a favor to ask. I am familiar with the Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Ottava Rima restrictions case link, and I'll read through much of that again. My question is this: Are there other discussions in regards to any appeals? Note: This is not an appeal by proxy or anything - simply that I had talked to Ottava and I figured if I wanted to know any details then I should ask here. I also note that Ottava did not use any email this user function to contact me, but rather I had freely exchanged contact information with him quite some time ago. Thank you for providing any links you may find relevant. — Ched :  ?  11:20, 3 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

24 hours later - <looks at watch - taps> That's ok guys - talk amongst yourselves. Or perhaps you don't have Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee on your watchlist? Look - I know this is a tough one. That's easy enough to see from the case. But looking at this little blurb I'm seeing a bit of "let's just bury this and hope it doesn't come up again". I don't know if we can make it work either. But this much I DO know. At heart? - He's a good guy. And the work he did, and is capable of doing, especially in the literature areas, is simply just amazing. Plain and simple: The PROJECT benefits from his edits. I understand the frustrations when there are disagreements - but maybe we can ALL work on that huh? Lord knows we have plenty of happy little adminy types that just love to play "click teh block button" - so it's not like we're putting any huge risk out there by discussing this. Ya banned him for a year (<cough> 2 and a half years ago) - and when he appeals ??? ya turned the ban from 1 year into an "indef from hell". Come on now .. at least talk to me. — Ched :  ?  11:22, 4 May 2012 (UTC) ... and if you want to be blunt without putting your political butts on view .. well - my email button works too. I'm just sayin.Reply[reply]
All of the discussions between Ottava and the Committee since his initial ban have taken place off-wiki—for obvious reasons—so there's no way for us to provide links to them. Kirill [talk] 11:27, 4 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK Kirill .. that's perfectly reasonable - I'm not asking for anything "private" or anything. I fully understand and appreciate privacy - NO DOUBT. I'm just trying to figure out a way to get an editor that really did provide some top quality articles back into the fold is all. Let me ask this. It's been 2 years since the 1 year ban got converted to an indef. Is there any way that he could appeal the ban, approach the committee and community, and try to be brought back into the fold? I know it would take a lot of work and all .. but I think it really would be worth it in the long run. I know there's a lot of folks that would oppose his return. I also know there's a lot of folks that would support it (granted, perhaps under certain circumstances and all). I'm asking is there anywhere I can go with this - or are you saying: "NO - case closed"? — Ched :  ?  17:17, 4 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Ched: We'd have to hear from Ottava himself to appeal his ban, and for any appeal to be successful, he'd have to show that his behavior has improved from when the sanction was placed. I wouldn't say it's an impossible task, but considering his history, I would say he has a very high bar to reach. SirFozzie (talk) 21:56, 4 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ched, Ottava and other banned users who various people allege to be great content contributors, are free to submit their contributions to Wikipedia through other editors in good standing--such as yourself--who can verify the work, attest to its suitability for Wikipedia, and upload it per the licensing (i.e., CCY-BY-SA 3.0+GFDL) under which the original contributor authored it. That way, the content can make its way to the encyclopedia without the drama, and editors who believe that the past findings of the committee with respect to such editors are inappropriate can experience firsthand working with those editors. This will either cure folks of a desire to have Ottava and folks like him back on Wikipedia, or give them a direct, firsthand advocate in good standing to attest that past findings no longer apply. Either way, it does involve investing time on both your parts. Feel free to ask us to flesh this out more if you've got specific ideas on how you'd like to proceed with such a proxying relationship. Candidly, until and unless at least one editor in good standing is willing to step into this role, I don't expect future appeals to succeed; I have yet to find his appeals convincing, absent such support. Cheers, Jclemens (talk) 02:06, 5 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you both. I appreciate the feedback. Ched (not at home) (talk) 11:23, 5 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Request for clarification: WP:AC/DS

Initiated by — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk at 16:00, 15 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

List of any users involved or directly affected, and confirmation that all are aware of the request:

Statement by Malik Shabazz

Under Wikipedia:ARBPIA#Discretionary sanctions, any editor could provide warning of the sanctions. The single sentence at WP:ARBPIA#Standard discretionary sanctions is unclear whether the warning must be provided by an uninvolved administrator or whether any editor may provide the warning. WP:AC/DS seems to say any editor can provide the warning. Please clarify. Thank you. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 16:00, 15 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for your responses. I didn't think the rules had changed, but another editor asked me and we agreed it was appropriate to seek guidance. Thanks again. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 15:19, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Collect

I also urge the clarification to be made. Including whether an "involved editor" may invoke the sanctions, an "uninvolved editor", an "involved administrator" or an "uninvolved administrator." Collect (talk) 19:10, 15 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by SarekOfVulcan

It seems clear to me that anyone can provide a warning -- it's left to an uninvolved admin to impose the actual sanctions. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 01:37, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by EdJohnston

I agree with Sarek. The way WP:AC/DS is currently worded, anyone can give a warning. I don't follow Malik's reasoning as to how the ARBPIA wording creates any difference from the usual practice in other cases. EdJohnston (talk) 05:45, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Gatoclass: One reason for the grand DS warning with the big box is to not waste the opportunity of nudging the user in a positive direction. The existing rules, even with their openness to warnings by involved editors, do allow the warned user a moment for well-informed reflection before continuing with the behavior that causes concern. Adding bureaucracy as to who can warn and who can log will probably result in obviously-well-aware people skating from AE with no sanctions because of the lack of proper ruffles and flourishes.

:On reflection it might be OK if *anyone* could warn but the person who warned (if not an admin) would have to ask an admin to log it in the case. That might serve as a quality control for inappropriate warnings. EdJohnston (talk) 16:08, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@AGK: There are two conflicting goals for the system of notices:
(a) Get the information out, so that people are aware of the sanctions,
(b) Notify specific people that they might be in trouble, with extra credibility since an admin gives the warning
If you insist that only uninvolved admins can issue warnings, you will achieve (b) at the expense of (a).
Any system of warnings hopes that early notice may head off later trouble, since the person notified could wake up and alter their behavior. Anything that makes warnings harder to issue will interfere with that.
Compare the situation regarding 3RR warnings. No trouble is caused by the fact that anyone can issue 3RR warnings to anyone else. The quality check there is WP:AN3, where an admin can decide if the person reported was fully aware of the situation. Note also that restricting DS warnings to 'uninvolved admins' might mean, depending on interpretation, that three admins who are active on ARBPIA articles as editors would be disqualified from issuing ARBPIA warnings. One of those admins has logged 11 notices in ARBPIA since 2010. EdJohnston (talk) 14:48, 4 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Gatoclass: It is simpler if anyone can log. See the arbitrator comments in the currently-open Wikipedia:Rfar#Request for clarification: Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pigsonthewing. Roger Davies stated: "The purpose of a list, as Risker intimates, is for quick reference only and forms no part of the process. The authority is the case page." The same principle could be applied to warnings about DS. A user is warned if someone warns them on their talk page using the Arbcom-recommended language. Editing the case log to add a link to the warning is then a clerical matter. EdJohnston (talk) 14:30, 7 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Gatoclass: If somebody starts handing out unjustified warnings of discretionary sanctions, that's a matter that could be reported to WP:ANI or WP:AE. Unjustified 3RR warnings are given out all the time, yet Wikipedia still survives. EdJohnston (talk) 21:30, 7 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Sean.hoyland

When an editor files an AE report, this is what they are shown.

; Diffs of notifications or of prior warnings against the conduct objected to (if required) : <!-- Many arbitration remedies require a prior warning before sanctions may be imposed. Link to the warning here. --> #Warned on [http://Difflink1 Date] by {{user|Name of administrator who imposed warning 1}} #Warned on [http://Difflink2 Date] by {{user|Name of administrator who imposed warning 2. If there is no warning 2, delete this entire line}}

Note that it says administrator. I think it's fair to say, at least in the Arab-Israeli conflict topic area, that official notification of the sanctions by an admin and logging of that notification are widely seen as prerequisites to filing an AE report. For example, there is an editor active right now who is probably already way over the line in terms of their behavior towards other editors, although unusually he is being equally obnoxious to people he views as being on opposite sides of the conflict. A practical issue, in terms of operating the discretionary sanctions, seems to be specifying what constitutes the kind of warning that meets the requirements for filing an AE report. Sean.hoyland - talk 06:41, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Gatoclass

Adding to Sean Hoyland's evidence above, it may also be worth pointing out that ARBPIA's official log of notifications has in practice been reserved IIRC for administrators' notifications. That is further evidence that this power has historically been exercised by uninvolved admins and should probably stay that way. If users in conflict issue official warnings to one another, that could be seen as provocation or harassment. I don't think there is any problem with users issuing unofficial notifications, without use of the template, but use of the notificaton template indicating a formal warning, and logs of such notifications, are probably best left to uninvolved admins. In this way, formal notification can be seen as a first step in the sanctions process, and users (other than uninvolved admins) will be obliged to request a formal warning through the AE process before AE sanctions can be laid, with the usual exception of users who have participated in a previous case and are obviously fully cognizant of the general sanctions process. Gatoclass (talk) 10:02, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Courcelles makes a worthwhile point about WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY, but my concern is that there is arguably a degree of stigma involved in receiving an AE notification - a suggestion that the user in question has not been editing in accordance with policy and thereby has warranted the warning. Also, if any user can notify, one then has to decide whether any user can also log a notification, or only an uninvolved admin. If the former, it's a system likely to lead to chaos IMO, if the latter, then one essentially has two different levels of notification. So this is an issue that I think requires some consideration. Gatoclass (talk) 10:33, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While it seems there is consensus with regards to who can make a notification, no-one yet seems to have addressed the question of whether anyone can also log a notification, or if only admins can do so. I would like to see that issue also clarified before this request is closed. Gatoclass (talk) 14:01, 7 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd like to believe that logging of notifications was only a clerical matter as you suggest Ed (although it's not clear to me that you mean by that that anyone should be entitled to log a notification). I guess my concern is that adding a name to the notifications log could be seen as a means of well poisoning, if not of outright provocation. Certainly, I think I would be incensed if some notorious POV pusher were to add my name to such a log. Perhaps I wouldn't be so concerned if I was sure that admins reviewing these logs were fully cognizant of the fact that the log is not necessarily evidence of prior misconduct, but that may not be the case. The advantage of allowing only uninvolved admins to log notifications in the past is that it did serve as a genuine indicator of previous problematic behaviour, a function that will be lost if logging is permitted to all. Gatoclass (talk) 15:16, 7 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Shrike

I don't have opinion one way or another but any ambiguity should be removed from wording of WP:AC/DS--Shrike (talk) 18:27, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There also language of WP:AC/DS that should be changed

The template at Template:Uw-sanctions has been created for administrators to use to satisfy the "Warning" provision of the discretionary sanctions process.

--Shrike (talk) 05:56, 22 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Paul Siebert

I agree with the EdJohnston's opinion that some quality control procedure is desirable. This template contains a clear and unequivocal description of such a procedure: "the notice is not effective unless given by an administrator and logged here." In connection to that, I propose to elaborate some uniform rule for all DS cases, explaining who concretely can give a warning, where the warning should be logged, and how an inappropriately made warning should be appealed. In addition, if we agree that any uninvolved user can give a warning, then the Template:Digwuren enforcement template should be fixed accordingly. In addition, the word "notice" should be replaced with "warning" to avoid possible confusion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:25, 21 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clerk notes

This area is used for notes by the clerks (including clerk recusals).

Arbitrator views and discussion

  • I think the wording is fairly clear in that Sarek's interpretation is correct. One of the (several) functions of the warning is so that we don't sanction people under a case and rules they've not read before, and anyone can provide a warning of "Here's this case, you're getting close to the line, might want to back off." Of course, warnings can be used as a club in a content dispute, but that's entirely separate from the question of "does the person who delivers the warning need to have a mop?" The intent, in my mind, is that the warning giver be neutral/uninvolved, (and especially not the other side of a dispute) but officially requiring that is a road that I can see the side-track and procedural wikilawyering from here. (Not that anyone really asked...) Courcelles 04:58, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree that Sarek's interpretation is correct, but I think the call to have a non-adversary editor provide the warning is inappropriate. All other warnings on Wikipedia are the responsibility of the self-appointed person noticing the (impending) infraction, and I see no other reason this should be different. Now, such warnings should be provided in a collegial manner, but so should every other bit of advice in Wikipedia, formal or not, from an aligned or opposed editor, etc. Jclemens (talk) 01:38, 22 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I concur with my colleagues. I'd suggest that one of the administrators who regularly participates at WP:AE and has the necessary experience make a change to the template to ask for the name of the user who provided the warning, rather than the administrator. Risker (talk) 03:25, 22 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have slight concerns about user warnings which I won't go into on WP:BEANS grounds but, hey, we can cross that bridge if we ever get to it.  Roger Davies talk 17:04, 23 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In my experience, Notices of Discretionary Sanctions have been used exclusively by uninvolved administrators. I would be deeply concerned if involved administrators or any non-administrators (who cannot pass sanction on another editor) took to using the Notices at any time. I therefore think we should look to amend the standard discretionary sanctions wording, so as to bring it in line with the standard practice of having only uninvolved sysops place editors on Notice. The comments by the community in this section seem to support the view that the Notice system has historically been reserved for uninvolved administrators, and that this should continue to be the case. AGK [•] 12:04, 4 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It appears that the Notice system can be used by any editor. If none of my colleagues disagree, I think we can consider the matter clarified and this request ready for archival. AGK [•] 19:32, 5 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Request for clarification: Jayen466 involvement in my ARBSCI appeal

I am concerned that Jayen466 (talk · contribs) is apparently violating an existing topic ban in his repeated comments on my current appeal against the WP:ARBSCI restrictions over on Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests#Requests for amendment#Statement by Jayen466 and passim. He was topic-banned in the case back in 2009 [18] and his restrictions are still in force. Under remedy 3A, "Editors topic banned by remedies in this proceeding are prohibited (i) from editing articles related to Scientology or Scientologists, broadly defined, as well as the respective article talk pages and (ii) from participating in any Wikipedia process relating to those articles, including as examples but not limited to, articles for deletion, reliable sources noticeboard, administrators' noticeboard and so forth." Jayen466 is not bound by the first clause, as he was not topic-banned from the entire topic area, but as a member of the class of "editors topic banned by remedies in this proceeding" he is clearly covered by the second clause, which clearly covers requests for amendment. As a general principle, it's inappropriate for one sanctioned editor to intervene in the appeal of another sanctioned editor; I presume this rationale is what underlies remedy 3A.

I inadvertently violated a similar remedy when I commented on an WP:ARBCC appeal earlier this year; my comments were removed and I was briefly blocked. When I submitted my own ARBCC appeal, SirFozzie wrote in comments that he "will instruct the clerks to keep a close eye on this request, as Prioryman states in his request, folks who under sanction in this area are banned from commenting on this request." I subsequently expanded my appeal to cover the older ARBSCI case. However, I am very surprised that Jayen466 has made numerous comments over the last few days, blatantly in violation of remedy 3A, with no intervention from the clerks and despite my notice at the outset that topic-banned editors shouldn't intervene. I am concerned at the unequal treatment; I would appreciate a level playing field. I assume this is an oversight; I am not looking for Jayen466 to be blocked, but I request that his comments in violation of the topic ban be removed, as mine were, and that he be reminded of the terms of the topic ban, as I was. Prioryman (talk) 01:20, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Jayen466

Prioryman is misreading the remedies. Since WP:ARBSCI, I have taken a Scientology article to GA status and participated in numerous discussion threads on Scientology at BLPN (e.g. Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons/Noticeboard/Archive89#List_of_Scientologists_--_Gloria_Gaynor, which had copious involvement by Jimbo). I was a party in a Scientology-related arbitration case last summer. If Prioryman were right, my participation in that case would have been a violation of my topic ban! It's late, he's stressed, and simply mistaken.

If you want a fuller explanation, no part of remedy 3A applies to me. Remedy 3A is titled "Scope of Scientology topic ban". It explains the meaning of the words in remedies like Wikipedia:ARBSCI#Antaeus_Feldspar_topic-banned:

User X is topic-banned from Scientology.

or Wikipedia:ARBSCI#Multiple_editors_with_a_single_voice_topic-banned_and_restricted:

The following accounts are topic-banned from Scientology and each restricted to one account:

My finding of fact in WP:ARBSCI was Wikipedia:ARBSCI#Jayen466:

17) Jayen466 (talk · contribs) has made many constructive edits in the Scientology topic though this has been offset by edit-warring apparently to advance an agenda[19], [20], [21], [22].

Passed 10 to 0 (with 1 abstention) at 13:31, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

My sole sanction was Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Scientology#Jayen466_topic-banned_from_Rick_Ross_articles:

21.1) Jayen466 is topic-banned from articles about Rick Ross, broadly defined.

Passed 11 to 0 at 13:31, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

There is no mention of a Scientology topic ban whatsoever. I have participated in all types of community processes related to Scientology for the past three years, up to and including RfC/U and arbitration last year, and thus no part of remedy 3A applies. Thanks, --JN466 02:15, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The whole point of not allowing topic banned people to comment on amendment requests is to prevent precisely the type of discussions that we can see between Jayen466 and Prioryman on that amendment page. So, perhaps it is besides the point to ask if making comments there is allowed according to the existing restrictions. Count Iblis (talk) 03:11, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'll put it succinctly: as an editor currently under sanctions in the ARBSCI case, is it permitted for Jayen466 to comment on another editor's appeal under the same case? My understanding is that bans on sanctioned editors participating in such processes are standard practice and have been for some years. Please clarify this point. Prioryman (talk) 06:53, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Prioryman, you commented at quite extraordinary length about me in a Scientology-related RfC/U and arbitration case only a few months ago. And you did so under a new account and without revealing your new identity to me, even though we have had amicable e-mail contact in the past.
    • Furthermore, you did all that while under substantial restrictions in the ARBSCI topic area, which include a topic ban from all Scientology-related BLPs (to go with a topic ban from all ARBCC BLPs). You clearly did not think 3a)(ii) applied to you (nor did I, as a matter of fact, and nor did a dozen arbitrators watching the proceedings).
    • Now, I am restricted from material related to a single BLP subject, but am otherwise under no restriction in the ARBSCI topic area whatsoever. Yet, to get rid of my clearly unwelcome comments at your amendment request, you somehow manage to persuade yourself that it's a good idea to argue, above, that Jayen466 has for the past three years been in breach of a non-existing Scientology topic ban each time he commented at "any Wikipedia process relating to [Scientology or Scientologists'] articles, including as examples but not limited to, articles for deletion, reliable sources noticeboard, administrators' noticeboard and so forth". When I have just been to see the arbitrators, and there was no remotely similar finding against me. And this idea occurs to you just as I have commented at your amendment request, expressing concern about the proposed lifting of your BLP sanctions, and asking you to admit or deny that you edited as Helatrobus without informing arbcom. Right? It's absolute, self-serving piffle.
    • Look, I will do you a favour. I will refrain from any further on-wiki comment on your amendment request. I will reiterate here that as far as ARBSCI is concerned, the topic area – especially its BLP sector – is better off with the present status quo, which leaves you free to do non-BLP GA and FA work, and allows you to maintain existing GA and FA articles, but keeps you away from the topic area's BLPs. Unless otherwise instructed, I will link to the comments I have already made, or move them to the appropriate place in the new, separate request you have raised. And I will allow myself here to express my disappointment with you – mostly over your lack of honesty, truthfulness, and straight dealing towards me. Beyond that, good luck. --JN466 08:44, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • FYI, there's a discussion at User talk:SirFozzie#Prioryman topic ban? that is of relevance. The key points are that up till now the Arbcom seems to have either taken a lenient view of topic-banned editors participating in processes relating to their arbitration cases or simply wasn't aware of the issue. I had assumed that as others (including you) were participating in such discussions it was OK for me to do so too. I certainly wouldn't have done so if I'd known that it wasn't. SirFozzie rather forcefully made me aware that it wasn't OK when he briefly blocked me. The discussion on his talk page indicates that the Arbcom has decided to take a hard line on the issue. However, there's clearly some confusion in this instance, hence my request for clarification here. Prioryman (talk) 13:21, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The concern is understandable given that Prioryman was summarily blocked for doing precisely what Jayen466 has done here. But history shows that to expect consistency from Arbcom on this or any other matter is a losing proposition. Advice to Prioryman is simply to let it slide. Continually questioning things -- even when you're right -- only feeds their notion that you're drama-prone. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 16:31, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're probably right. It's frustrating, though, that I wanted to avoid the appeal causing "drama" - at the end of my statement I highlighted that topic- and interaction-banned editors weren't permitted to comment. It's deeply regrettable that this hasn't been respected. I'd still like to get some kind of definitive statement on the record about whether editors currently under sanctions are permitted to comment on another editor's appeal under the same case. SirFozzie (and Roger Davies, apparently) seemed to be definitive that the answer was no, so I don't understand why there has been a discrepancy here. Prioryman (talk) 18:19, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Guys, I'm sorry, but Prioryman did not "do exactly what I did" here. Prioryman's discussion with SirFozzie concerned ARBCC. Prioryman is under a full ARBCC topic ban, per Wikipedia:ARBCC#ChrisO_.28remedies.29, to wit:

11.4) Because ChrisO retired from the project and exercised his right to vanish while sanctions were being actively considered against him in this arbitration case, should he wish to resume editing under any account name at a future date, he is instructed to contact this Committee before doing so.

Passed 8 to 0, 14:10, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

11.6) ChrisO is topic-banned from Climate change, per Remedy 3.

Passed 7 to 0, 14:10, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

where Remedy 3, Wikipedia:ARBCC#Scope_of_topic_bans, says:

3.1) Editors topic-banned by the Committee under this remedy are prohibited from (i) editing articles about Climate Change broadly construed and their talk pages; (ii) editing biographies of living people associated with Climate Change broadly construed and their talk pages; (iii) participating in any process broadly construed on Wikipedia particularly affecting these articles; and (iv) initiating or participating in any discussion substantially relating to these articles anywhere on Wikipedia, even if the discussion also involves another issue or issues.

Passed 7 to 0, 14:10, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Amended 9 to 0, 21:17, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

As the boldened parts make clear, he was indeed out of line commenting at AE on matters related to climate change. He was not placed under the equivalent full topic ban in ARBSCI, however, and neither was I. He should not have participated under a new, undisclosed account, but that is another matter. Another thing is that Prioryman tells me on my talk page, "Please correct your claim that I'm under a BLP restriction under ARBCC. That is not and never has been true."

I repeat here the wording of Wikipedia:ARBCC#Scope_of_topic_bans above, with the appropriate parts boldened:

3.1) Editors topic-banned by the Committee under this remedy are prohibited from (i) editing articles about Climate Change broadly construed and their talk pages; (ii) editing biographies of living people associated with Climate Change broadly construed and their talk pages; (iii) participating in any process broadly construed on Wikipedia particularly affecting these articles; and (iv) initiating or participating in any discussion substantially relating to these articles anywhere on Wikipedia, even if the discussion also involves another issue or issues.

I am at a loss to explain how Prioryman can say that he has never been under a BLP restriction in ARBCC. And I do recall that he wanted the editor calling for his restrictions to be listed correctly and in full at WP:RESTRICT banned from commenting on him (and this sanction was not listed there until I added it). The whole matter is unpalatable. --JN466 18:59, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Apologies. My impression was that ARBSCI had been assigned the same sanctions as ARBCC as part of the committee's recent harmonization of sanctions across most large historical cases, but a further check shows this is not so. My advice to Prioryman stands, however. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 19:19, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I stand corrected about the BLP aspect of the ARBCC sanctions (while noting that it was a generic sanction directed against all editors topic-banned in that case, rather than singling me out individually). It doesn't change the fact that as a sanctioned editor Jayen466 shouldn't be intervening. Prioryman (talk) 19:34, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(od) Can we all now just let this drop please and, if it must continue, do so on user talk pages? Thanks,  Roger Davies talk 19:48, 14 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Active/non-active arbitrators

Howdy all. If this was the wrong place to post this, I apologize. I was reading up on the Rich Farmbrough case and came across this section regarding arbitrator counts. One possibility to lessen the effects of this problem is to, once an arbitration request is made, allow only arbitrators that are active and not recused vote on anything in the case until the case is closed. In my opinion, if an arbitrator is inactive when the request is made, they shouldn't be allowed to jump in partway through a case and start voting. Thoughts?--Rockfang (talk) 06:53, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've been following the arguments there and what I'm not at all clear about is how a fluctuating number actually prejudices the outcome. After all, arbitrators have always been able to abstain or even recuse on some proposals, which has precisely the same effect. What is perhaps interesting in the present case is the amount of tu quoque rhetoric aimed directly, ad hominem, at arbitrators rather than addressing the issues.  Roger Davies talk 07:09, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the reply. I'm mostly bringing this up to potentially lower the confusion regarding how many arbitrators are needed for a majority. More specifically the points Hammersoft brings up in his first two posts in that section. His following comments also appear to be good ideas: "I could see a different system; when the case officially opens, a determination is made of who can be active, along with who is inactive and who is recused. At that time, being inactive or recused for a case is final."--Rockfang (talk) 07:25, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But there isn't any confusion about the number of arbitrators needed for a majority. It varies from provision to provision: The final decision will consist of all proposed provisions which were passed by an absolute majority. An absolute majority is when the number of votes to support or accept is greater than 50% of the total number of arbitrators, not including any arbitrators who are recused, abstaining, or inactive. Now I agree it's slightly messy, and sometimes a bit fiddly to calculate, (hey this is a Wiki!) but the voting method has stood the test of time.  Roger Davies talk 07:39, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The nature of the Committee is that it is made up of part-time volunteers from the community - it is not a branch of the Foundation which has paid full time staff; as such when dealing with cases that can stretch over months these volunteers can be distracted by real life - family matters, health matters, job matters. It is not always possible to predict in advance when a distraction is going to strike, so if we limit participation in a case to only those members who are active at the start, and a significant number become inactive during the case due to real life matters, that could lead to problems, so it would be useful to replenish the numbers with those who are returning to active status. Because of the amount of hours required to study all the evidence in a case, a returning arbiter will make a judgement if they have the time and energy needed to make a useful contribution to the closing decision. I don't see an advantage in presuming that an arbiter is unable to make that judgement themselves. SilkTork ✔Tea time 09:22, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think there are appearance of fairness issues there, especially if the arbitrator who has "come to life" casts the crucial vote. We can't see behind the scenes. We can see that there are sometimes strong feelings. How do we know that there a member of a temporary minority (whether or not voting has begun) isn't canvassing to augment his faction? Is the participation of the additional arbitrator, even if purely above board, worth it?--Wehwalt (talk) 11:26, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Alternatively you could assume good faith that the arbitrator in question has done their due diligence and read through the evidence and workshop material, has exercised the judgement for which they were elected and is carrying out their duty. --Alexandr Dmitri (talk) 11:55, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, come now—there's never been any evidence that all of the Arbs read all of the evidence and workshop pages of the cases they vote on, let alone the drop-in Arbs who show up at the last minute to swing decisions. If asked point blank, the honest ones will admit this, and the others will give a wishy-washy non-answer. While the workshops could have been (and could still be) a useful and constructive part of Arbitration, right now they're a distracting sideshow: an arena where Arbs can watch the parties bicker, but where the Arbs do not manage or contribute to the process in any meaningful way. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 12:57, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see where you're coming from here, Wehwalt, and I know you intend well. The problem with this whole "appearance of" thing (in all its contexts) is that it usually casts even innocent actions in the darkest light. It is also profoundly unWikipedian. The usual rule is "serious allegations require serious evidence" and the automatic assumption of corruption is not only a stretch but also the worst kind of personal attack. Pandering to conspiracy theorists just doesn't seem to me like a very viable option ;) I'm sorry if this piles on from what AlexandrDmitri is saying.  Roger Davies talk 12:03, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And you see things, with your lengthy tenure, very much from the arb standpoint. As a member of the community at large, perhaps I'm a little more focused on how things look from outside. And I'm a bit skeptical generally about arbcom right now given certain recent decisions, and given a certain editor who I won't name who seems to be asking you guys for help in vain. --Wehwalt (talk) 12:09, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, though it has to be said that I'm not aware of any instance where an arbitrator has been asked (either by other arbitrators or by a third party) to go active to swing a decision. (Would you like me to look into the specific instance concerning "a certain editor" you mention? If so, just email me with details. I can't promise you action but I can give you an explanation if one is needed.)  Roger Davies talk 16:21, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Arbitrator activity varies throughout the year, due to periods of real-life busyness, illness, and other factors; to interpret this changing activity as something more sinister strikes me as unjustified. (Also, for every arbitrator who moves from inactive to active on a case, the majority for every proposal will increase, albeit with some rounding down.) Whilst I could understand your concerns if an otherwise-inactive arbitrator moved to active only on one given case, I cannot agree with you with respect to an arbitrator who becomes active again on everything—unless you mean to suggest that the clarifications, amendments, other cases, and other business in which they begin to participate are a smokescreen. I do not think the problem with your comments is so much one of a difference of perspectives as an anecdotal, over-generalised argument. Please explain your concerns with reference to specific arbitrators. AGK [•] 12:38, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are entitled to your view, as I am to mine. There is an appearance issue as I said, and I think that rises above assumptions of good faith. i am not referring to specific arbitrators, but to the general discussion thread, of course. It looks bad, it can (in my view) lead to controversy that can undermine the value of a decision (again, in my view), and in my opinion should be avoided. As for problems with specific arbitrators, as an active member of the community I will settle those as I normally do, by voting against the re-election of those I deem not to be the best candidates.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:44, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Roger Davies: Wehwalt is raising points in good faith. To criticize him of launching a "worst kind of personal attack" is out of line. He raises interesting points about transparency of the process (of which there really is very little) and the appearance of fairness. Objecting to the ArbCom process, as it stands, is not wrong. Raising issues with how the process is managed is not wrong. You owe Wehwalt an apology.

@SilkTork: I agree this is a volunteer project. However, if a person volunteers to be on ArbCom, they should have a reasonable expectation that there will be no hindrances to their participation on the committee. Situations do arise where arbitrators have an expectation they will be available, and then suddenly are not. That's to be expected. What doesn't make sense is for ArbCom to not have a system in place to manage such unexpected absences. This points to the general lack of professionalism endemic to ArbCom as a whole. --Hammersoft (talk) 12:58, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Hammersoft: People are fully entitled to raise concerns about process. Whether they (and I am explicitly not talking about Wehwalt here) should speculate wildly and pejoratively at every opportunity in an entirely different matter.  Roger Davies talk 16:45, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Hammersoft: One of the biggest problems endemic to ArbCom is the burn out rate. This is caused by the demands of the role and the near constant barrage of criticism that is directed at arbitrators. The fact is that ArbCom deals with Wikipedia's nastiest and most entrenched disputes: this means that arbitrators are constantly caught in the cross-fire of warring factions. Recognising that arbitrators are broadly neutral, rarely have a common agenda, and are doing their best to find a solution that will fix the problem, would go a long way to easing the burden.  Roger Davies talk 16:45, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Although I don't agree that Arbcom is acting unprofessionally I also think Hammersoft and Wehwalt have some good points. IF a case is ongoing over a period of several weeks an arbitrator shouldn't be able to drop into the last 72 hours of the discussion and drop a vote without having uttered one word in the previous multi week discussion. I have no dobt this is done in good faith I think it also leaves it incredibly open to scrutiny and it helps to invalidate Arbcoms abilities by eroding its credibility. Kumioko (talk) 16:27, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Roger; Wehwalt didn't personally attack anyone or indeed even any group. You owe him apology for his good faith efforts to raise concerns about the ArbCom process. --Hammersoft (talk) 17:30, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I never said he did.  Roger Davies talk 17:34, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Perhaps you'd like to explain how your comment in response to him where you said "the automatic assumption of corruption is not only a stretch but also the worst kind of personal attack" is not saying he made a personal attack? --Hammersoft (talk) 17:36, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's a general statement about bad faith assumptions based on no evidence. It follows on from the parathetic "(in all its contexts)". To be honest, if I'd thought Wehwalt was making a personal attack (which I didn't), I'd have said so directly.  Roger Davies talk 17:59, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Kumioko: An arbitrator dropping in at the eleventh hour could be improper, but in the majority of cases (and certainly in Rich Farmbrough) that did not happen. For instance, in the most recent case I went active several days before voting—so that I could finish reading the evidence and discussion I missed during my absence—and Risker was even better prepared, having went active something like a month before voting. I cannot recall an arbitrator dropping in at the last minute to change the majority and cast some votes, not least because the enormous amount of reading required to vote competently means that several days' time or a few weeks' time is usually the requisite. I am not sure that there is a specific problem to be solved here, and on that basis I imagine we would all prefer we not institute another layer of bureaucracy into the already-complex system of ArbCom voting. If arbitrators aren't actually coming in to vote "at the last minute" (by a reasonable definition of 'last minute'), I would prefer we try to keep some semblance of adherence to WP:NOTBUREAU. AGK [•] 18:18, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm a lawyer. Appearance issues are something I often deal with. I seem to have hit on a touchy issue. That was not my intent.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:57, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There may not have been any impropriety but it certainly looked a little suspicious for a couple of arbitrators to drop in a vote all of a sudden in the last couple days of a case where votes were very close on several issues. Its very possible the same outcome would have happened but it cast a darkcloud of doubt about the outcome of the case. I also must say that for a process that is inherently and by design all about BUREAU tossing out WP:NOTBUREAU was amusing to me and made me chuckle a bit. Kumioko (talk) 19:09, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On the contrary you said "I elected to be inactive after I voted to open this case. I'll be inactive in the voting of its proposed decision. [...] AGK [•] 16:21, 3 April 2012 (UTC)" Therefore you should not have voted. Rich Farmbrough, 00:45, 27 May 2012 (UTC).
There was an instance of exactly that in the Abd-WMC arbitration: [23]. In that case an Arb went 'active' and cast a slew of votes (some of which tipped the decision on a significant remedy and caused a desysopping); less than two hours later, another Arb moved to close the case. The Arbitrator in question had been officially inactive for two months, and had not participated on-wiki in the case until that point. I don't know if other instances exist, but it certainly can't be argued that the last-minute drop-in Arb swinging a decision doesn't happen, or won't happen again. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 19:04, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clearly, we need a different ArbCom system where these sorts of issues won't come up. There should only be a few Arbs who study all the evidence. You can imagine that when a case is accepted, the Arbs look at who has thew most time available, and then these Arbs divide up the task of studying all the relevant evidence.

When they are done, they write up a report about the relevant problems. The other Arbs then read that report, and then they can discuss about remedies. All the Arbs will then have a rather complete picture about the problems. Of course, some Arbs may take issue with some aspects of the report, but they can then discuss that; the Arbs who wrote the report will likely have good answers to any questions as they studied everything in detail. But in the end, there has to be a report that everyone is going to use for the next discussions on the remedies. Count Iblis (talk) 01:58, 16 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I actually like that idea. It's much more how I'm used to working in the real world. Elen of the Roads (talk) 15:21, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Would the report be made public?--Wehwalt (talk) 16:40, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like that idea too, and will point out that it is essentially what happens now: it's called the proposed decision. If it is done well, it does not take long to vote; in particular, if much of it is posted at the workshop page, other arbitrators will have had an opportunity to review and comment on it. Adding another layer into the process between opening a case and posting a proposed decision seems more likely to extend the length of time that a case takes. Risker (talk) 18:12, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suggested that either 3 or 5 + a spare take the case. They should consider it in detail. An en banc hearing is either a waste of effort, or everyone assumes that someone else is reading it. Rich Farmbrough, 00:23, 27 May 2012 (UTC).

Question for the Arbs

(I assume WT:AC is a better place for this question than WT:ACN, but feel free to move it if I assumed wrong)

I have been navel-gazing about admin recall and about ways to practically unbundle the admin tools without getting the software changed. Step one was to ask a somewhat similar question at WP:Bureaucrats' noticeboard#Questions for the 'crats. Step two is to ask here. I'd really like to avoid, for now, getting into a discussion of whether having people make such a promise would be a good idea or not, and what all the details would be like, what color the bike shed would be, and all the other stuff that always, without exception, 100% of the time hopelessly bogs down a discussion like this. I'm just after some data from the current Arbs, as I continue to mull the idea over.

If a current admin stated clearly and unambiguously "From now on, I will never block anyone, no matter what the circumstances, and understand that I'll be immediately desysopped if I do, whether or not it was a good block, and understand I can't renege on this promise without going thru a new RFA", would any current Arbs, without requiring a change to current policy, vote to desysop the admin if they blocked someone in the future, assuming when the time came they didn't want to be desysopped, and in spite of the fact you might considered the block a good one?

I'm using blocking as an example, but I assume the answer wouldn't change if "block anyone" was replaced by any other admin action that comes in the bundle.

Please keep in mind the clarity and unambiguity of the promise; this would not require you to make a messy judgment call about whether the infraction was "serious" or not, or whether they're a "good admin", or whether their adminship is a net positive or not, or anything else where people could complain you weren't being reasonable or fair (well, I know, some would say you're being unreasonable or unfair no matter what, but that's why you make the big money). It would be a strict "did they or didn't they" determination, followed by a decision to desysop if they did, by motion.

I'm much more interested in knowing if any of you feel you would currently vote to desysop, if such a thing happened tomorrow, without an RFC or a policy change discussion somewhere to support it.

Thanks. --Floquenbeam (talk) 15:01, 21 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't mean to stray to far off task and I hope you don't mind me dropping my comments here too and I am going to use myself as an example of where this suggestion would be great but I don't know if it would or should be done without limiting the recipients abilities with the tools. Call it unbundling, Admin light or whatever. Most Admins don't use the full scope of the tools so in many cases the extra option just goes to waste. For example one admin might specialize in Blocking vandals while another specializes in deletion discussions and content cleanup. Neither typically stray into the others swim lane but both have an important task. Many of these tasks would be made much easier if more had the abilities without having to run the Admin gauntlet. However, I do think that simply granting someone the admin bit on their word is a stretch. Unless I misunderstand the intent to this. Kumioko (talk) 15:21, 21 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Without getting bogged down in details, I think you may have misunderstood the intent, which is to be able to go on more than someone's word. This has multiple uses. One is unbundling of tools. Say there's a candidate who only wanted to be able to edit protected templates. Currently, if they go thru RFA, people tend to want to see evidence of all kinds of experience, because once the bit is flipped on, it's nearly impossible to flip it off, and no one could prevent them from blocking people. Right now, the candidate has to give his word that he will only edit templates, and people either have to take him at his word, or oppose. As a result, such requests are few and far between; I can only think of two offhand. If you could give this promise teeth, by making it enforecable, then more people would more easily be able to get through the "gauntlet". Obviously a policy change would have to be made if we wanted a new non-RFA process for this type of unbundled tools (this isn't an end run around policy to abolish RFA), but I don't think any policy change is needed to get ArbCom to enforce a clearly worded promise made in an RFA.
Another use is voluntary, but enforceable, recall. Right now, my own recall process says that if I refuse to follow the process when push comes to shove, I should be desysopped. But that's toothless, because no 'crat will desysop me for worming out of a recall. I'm suggesting if I worded it more strongly, and people knew that it could be enforced, people would have more faith in the process. Obviously a policy change would have to be made to force admins to make that promise (this isn't an end run around policy to get mandatory recall), but I don't think any policy change is needed to get ArbCom to enforce a voluntary promise.
But first I need to find out if Arbs would even be willing to enforce such a promise made by an admin. --Floquenbeam (talk) 15:59, 21 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok I see. I do agree 100% that there is utility in unbundling some of the tools and in allowing an admin to be open to recall. Kumioko (talk) 16:21, 21 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My personal thoughts, off-the-cuff (and speaking as someone who has VERY light standards for recall, with two recall requests having not met the low bar for recall, (see User:SirFozzie/Accountability) , is that while there's no legally-enforceable way to enforce such promises (unless part of a sanction, either placed by the community or the Committee itself, it would weigh very heavily in any such decision that was before me, as one of the criteria I personally use to determine whether I would vote for a removal of administrative tools is whether someone had lost the community's trust, and explicitly breaking a promise made to the community would be something that in just about all cases would mean that I would believe that the person had lost the trust of the community. If the community wishes to GIVE us that ability to enforce such promises, that would be one thing, but I don't think it's something we can TAKE on our own. SirFozzie (talk) 19:03, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the reply, SF. So am I right that you're saying you don't believe ArbCom currently has the ability to enforce even a clear and airtight promise, but the proposal below, if accepted by the community, is one way that it could be added? --Floquenbeam (talk) 14:00, 22 May 2012 (UTC)ComReply[reply]
I'm saying that it would be very hard for us to make the case to remove the tools in such a situation as it currently stands. We have the right to remove the tools from someone for misconduct, there's nothing in policy currently that states "breaking a voluntary promise regarding recall" is misconduct specifically. It would be a factor in any decision I make REGARDING the misconduct, but I think as it stands people would be concerned that the Committee would be stepping outside its mandate if we removed the tools for breaking a voluntary recall promise SirFozzie (talk) 19:03, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Section break for Sir Fozzie's proposal

To answer the question immediately below this, Floquenbeam doesn't mind at all, but he has taken the liberty of splitting this discussion off into a new section, as he still hopes for a couple of other Arbs to answer the question above. --Floquenbeam (talk) 13:53, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, I hope Floquenbeam doesn't mind me using his section here, as this dovetails rather nicely to what a few arbitrators had been musing about in private.. right now, other then voluntary recalls (which of course, is voluntary) and the morass of an arbitration case (except in extreme cases (Either multiple, or compromised accounts, or in a few cases, indications of issues which meant they could not use the tools in a way compatible expected with the norms and policies of Wikipedia)). This is not optimal, for several reasons. A) It means we go from one extreme "Perfectly ok" to "No, your tools are gone" in one fell swoop, B) The fact that it's so hard to remove tools have made passing a RFA so very much harder then when I got the tools (editcountitis, the fact that we simultaneously need our admin candidates to be involved with every area that an Administrator would need to be familiar with, while simultaneously staying out of drama enough to not cause a wave of enemies that is sure to sink a RfAdmin).
I had been reading the musings on the ArbCom mailing list, and I had thought a possible suggestion would be an Administrator Review Panel, similar to what the Committee already runs (The Ban Appeals Sub-Committee to deal with the review of community and Committee Bans, and the Audit Sub-Committee (for complaints dealing with advanced permissions such as checkuser and oversight). I was thinking either a 50/50 split between the general community and Arbitrators (For example, 3 arbitrators, and 3 members of the Community) or slightly favoring the community (a 4-2). They would not require RfC's and the like, but if someone wants a quick review of an administrator's action, they could bring it to the ARP, who would recommend one of the following:
A)Endorsing the administrator's actions
B)Warning/Reminding/Admonishing the administrator for minor mistakes.missteps made by the administrator
C)Ordering a RfC to be held on the Administrator's actions (with option of a full RfArb case at the RfC's conclusion)
D)Ordering an Arbitration Case to be held on the administrator's actions, but not necessarily endorsing removal of tools
E)Recommending to the Committee that the Administrator be sanctioned, up to and including having his administrative tools revoked for misconduct.
I could possibly go so far as seeing that this Panel could request to the Committee, for example, in Floquenbeam's example above, recommending to the Committee that the Administrator who failed to abide by his voluntary recall terms have his administrative tools revoked. While the Committee would not be REQUIRED to endorse the ARP's actions, the committee should take suce requests from the ARP as strong recommendations (Ie, to endorse them unless they have a really good reason not to, and in such cases be ready to explain WHY). I would also suggest that such requests be limited SOLELY to the direct parties involved (and ideally, for the avoidance of drama and/or using it as a weapon in a content dispute, privately via email). One problem with RfC's and Arbitration Cases is.. EVERYONE wants to have their say. That's a major factor in why these things take so long, because there is just so much to go through, and so much back and forth. I envision ARP actions as "Person A makes complaint. Panel reviews, and asks Admin B for statement. Panel reviews both complaint and response, and issues decision". I'm sure there's a million holes in my argument above, but I'm interested in what people think. SirFozzie (talk) 21:44, 21 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your proposal sounds pretty good, but I was unclear on proposed scope of the committee's mandate. Would the committee examine the Admin's history, past complaints, RFC/Us, etc and attempt to determine whether evidence suggests the community has already lost faith in the admin, or would the committee act as a surrogate for the community as a whole, and make their own decision, in a representative capacity, about whether the admin deserves to have the bit removed? (Put another way, would the committee determine consensus, or form its own) Monty845 22:15, 21 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That part can be decided. In general, my thoughts were that they can consider past warnings/admonishments/sanctions etcetera, but remember, we don't want to bog it down in re-fighting wars that have long since been settled. I would suggest that the ARP review the evidence before them, and then come to a quick consensus of their own. SirFozzie (talk) 22:24, 21 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So are you saying if someone passed RFA hypothetically being nominated with "[Badmin] has stated in the past that she likes the idea of the admin recall system, and plans to place herself in Category:Wikipedia administrators open to recall," and then commented "Just as I've said in my previous RfA attempts, I completely support it, and will definitely add my own name to the category. I've liked the idea even before I started thinking about becoming an admin -- I think it's a classy way to handle things," and further commented "My standards will be pretty straightforward. If six editors in good standing post to my talkpage and ask me to step down, I will immediately resign my adminship." and passed by a very slim margin, with at least 8 "support" votes that explicitly mentioned recall and 4 of the "oppose" votes being heckled with "but she'll be open to recall," and then six editors in good standing posted on their talk page asking them to step down, and then they said well, let's just link to it - [24], that you'd make a motion to strip their admin tools? Do so. Hipocrite (talk) 11:41, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, actually, I'm saying the opposite, as it stands, recall is incumbent on administrators living up to their terms and voluntarily relinquishing their tools, because the Committee doesn't have the mandate AS THE RULES STAND currently to enforce these terms (we could remove the tools for misconduct, but policy does not currently state that breaking recall terms is sanctionable misconduct) I am not familiar with the situation you reference, so I cannot state one way or the other about whether it's misconduct, and if so, it's worthy of a motion to de-sysop, I'm just saying that currently, the Committee does not have the mandate to enforce such voluntary processes. SirFozzie (talk) 19:03, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure it does. The Committee has repeatedly held (in keeping with policy) that admins are expected to lead by example, act with integrity, and avoid disruptive behaviors like gaming the system. Those principles would form a reasonable basis for sanctioning admins who make campaign promises and then violate them. If I squeaked through RfA on the strength of promising to be open to recall, and then went back on that promise when called on it, and then accused anyone trying to hold me accountable of malicious or nefarious motivations, that sounds an awful lot like gaming the system. MastCell Talk 19:50, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I partially agree with MastCell, that is admins are supposed to act reasonably, and if a hypothetical admin used the tools unwisely, and then refused a recall, the lack of willingness to honor the recall petition could be taken into account. Otherwise, I won't comment in regard to Hipocrite's post beyond saying that I'd have to recuse as I signed Elonka's recall petition. PhilKnight (talk) 21:51, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't want to re-fight that particular battle, as it's stale and not worth dredging up. As a general principle going forward, though, I think ArbCom has the authority to hold admins accountable for these sorts of concrete campaign promises, and should exercise it. MastCell Talk 22:16, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I really like the general idea, enough so that I don't want to discuss how we can use it to re-fight old already-lost battles, and risk derailing it. Some way of having more admin accountability short of the endless morass of an AC case or even an almost always unproductive 30+ day RFC is desperately needed, but I think having some kind of "Votes by ANI Regulars for Desysop" on ANI or someplace would swing the pendulum too far in the other direction. A committee like you describe would seem to fit the bill, as long as it actually saved bureaucracy by deciding the clear issues using Options A, B, or E (otherwise, it's just an extra triage procedure that would bog things down more). I hope my pessimism about the inertia against a change like this is misplaced, but that pessimism is the main reason I was trying, in the section above, to get at least a little something going without a policy change. But if this type of admin conduct review committee could actually be shepherded thru the sausage factory, I'm all for it. --Floquenbeam (talk) 14:27, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You all remember that Tony1 tried to start an Admin review board for this very purpose? Why doesn't the Committee set-up such a board, to which any WP editor can ask for review of the conduct of any admin, including admins, Elonka being the most famous example, who refused to honor their recall pledge? If the board determined that the admin should be desysopped, they could make this recommendation to ArbCom to act on. Cla68 (talk) 23:19, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The committee does not have a mandate to set up such a board. It will need to go through an RFC, but I would urge everyone to be cautious about rushing to start such an RFC, for it to have any chance of avoiding a crippling derail, a well thought out proposal needs to serve as the starting point for the RFC. Monty845 23:38, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If ArbCom already have formal authority over desysopping and admin conduct, why would they need community mandate to set up such a sub-committee? Doesn't ArbCom have the authority to delegate matters over which they already have formally established authority? Cla68 (talk) 23:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They have authority to consider admin conduct as part of a full arbitration case, and to trigger an arbitration case on the basis of specific admin conduct it takes some pretty serious misconduct. The point of such a committee would be to allow the review of admin conduct without such a big initial hurdle of getting an arbitration case started. That would be a substantial expansion of Arbcom authority if it decided it didn't require a case to investigate an admin's conduct. Monty845 23:48, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ArbCom seem to be busy amending their own rules without community input elsewhere. I think they beleive they have authority to do exactly as they please. Rich Farmbrough, 01:11, 27 May 2012 (UTC).
So, my thoughts for this would include a couple of points that I didn't see brought up above:
  • Composition would be 3 arbs, 2 admins, and 2 non-admin, non-arb community members or some similar ratio: So that both admins and non-admin non-arbs have a voice, which together weighs more heavily than the arbitrators... who are actually responsible for the outcome.
  • Allegations of outright misuse, compromised accounts, emergency desysops, etc. are retained to the arbitration committee itself, as are any issues involving off-wiki conduct or private information.
  • The "review board" or whatever would be chartered to recognize both good and not-so-good conduct. It would issue barnstars publicly for e.g., milestones of good work, longevity and activity, and particularly good closes of complicated RfC's, XfD's, and other discussions. Its reprimand function would be focused, private coaching, with a goal of administrator performance improvement. A lot of times, I've seen admins who really just needed someone to tell them "you need a break" or "you're seeming to lose perspective in this area". Failures of such coaching would be recommended to ArbCom for action, much like the Audit Subcommittee does.
At any rate, those are some of my ideas. Jclemens (talk) 05:11, 23 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just remember that all arbs are also admins if your intent is to balance them. Also reserving seats for non-admins would create an interesting precedent that would almost certainly come up again for WP:ACE2012. Also, something that hasn't been brought up, would the arb members be required to recuse if the case is referred, or would they be considered uninvolved as acting in their official arb capacity as a member of the board? Monty845 05:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, all the current arbs are admins, but we've established that that's not actually necessary, such that a non-admin arb could be seated upon identification to the Foundation. For my part, one I got over the "Oh... wow." part of seeing the non-public part of the committee's business, I never really have functioned as an "admin" in anything other than an occasional capacity. The vast majority of my Wikipedia time is now ArbCom related... a with a smattering of GA's and AfD discussions in which I function as "just" an editor. So, given that arbitrators are the subset of admins currently assigned to policing admins, I don't think there's a huge disconnect here, at least for using this as a starting point. Jclemens (talk) 03:36, 24 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this is the best idea I've seen so far, to be honest. There's a lot of details to be discussed, but so far it's good. --Rschen7754 06:05, 23 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We lack an actual procedure for 'disciplining' administrators, and have insufficient community involvement in an aspect of our project that most needs non-arbitrator (and non-administrator) perspectives. I do not think it is terribly helpful to cite precedent of administrator misconduct, but I do think the success of the Audit Subcommittee (which gives the community a role in the scrutiny of advanced functions) can be easily mirrored in the similar scrutiny of administrator actions. My preference is for an independent subcommittee (like the AUSC is) as opposed to a stand-alone committee that does not have the authority of ARBPOL and the ArbCom. There remain unresolved questions about any such subcommittee, like would non-administrator members be given the sysop tools (and if so, would this be established as a new user flag), but on the whole I would prefer that to be dealt with in a more focussed discussion and not on this page: we tend to get caught up in the specifics, and thereby derail otherwise productive meta-discussion. If there continues to be considerable appetite on this page for such a sub-committee, I hope we can look at a proper community RFC to hash out the details. AGK [•] 11:53, 23 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support opening a RfC on this issue. SilkTork ✔Tea time 21:33, 23 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think JClemen's idea of having the subcommittee be responsible for issuing kudos as well as corrective action is a good one, because positive reinforcement is just as important as the opposite. One question, however, is that are you sure it's a good idea having two arbitrators on the committee? I can think of two reasons not to: (1) Arb workload is already really high, and (2) if there are no arbitrators on the "admin review sub-committee", it gives the sub-committee independence to draw its own conclusions and it gives the ArbCom independence in deciding whether to accept the sub-committee's recommendations or not. Cla68 (talk) 00:34, 25 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Well, the relevant clause of the ArbPol lists the third of ArbCom's responsibilities as "To handle requests (other than self-requests) for removal of administrative tools". In my mind, that makes ArbCom ultimately responsible for processes which would end in desysoping, and while the goal of corrective/coaching efforts would be avoiding such, there are likely to be a minority (and hopefully a tiny one) of admins who fail to take such coaching appropriately. To respond to your specific questions...
    (1) Yes, the workload is high... but this needs doing. If we can identify better roles and delineate them for arbitrators (x for AUSC, x for BASC, x for case management, X for Administrator Review...) I think the community may be persuaded to raise the size of the committee again. Right now, we have a "committee of the whole" problem, but I think by dividing responsibilities and rotating them appropriately, we can reduce backlog and serve the community better.
    (2) I don't mind recusing when appropriate if there's a good probability we can improve our customer service AND head-off cases before they happen. Since it's the committee's responsibility, I'd rather the committee was involved in partnership with appropriately trusted and selected community members, much like the Audit Subcommittee process has proven successful to date. Jclemens (talk) 00:55, 25 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


That there is a lot of excusing arbs from putting in the required work going on. "when dealing with cases that can stretch over months these volunteers can be distracted by real life - family matters, health matters, job matters."

One would think that common decency and respect would mean Arbs would understand that the persucted prosecuted also have other commitments, and should be able to ask for an adjournment.

Rich Farmbrough, 00:26, 27 May 2012 (UTC).

Objectionable commentary

Unfortunately untruths about me have already been copied to mirror sites. Can I ask all editors, especially arbitrators to stop making inaccurate statements that reflect badly on me. It is contrary to NPA, CIVIL and BLP, just for starters. Rich Farmbrough, 08:55, 27 May 2012 (UTC).

Rich, I won't ask you to post things here, but if you could email links to these mirrors that have you concerned, it may give us an idea of what the problem is. All Arbcom-related pages are supposed to be no-indexed, so it surprises me that they are showing up on mirrors. Risker (talk) 09:15, 27 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It shouldn't surprise you. Most mirrors are just after the hits, and they get more by copying more pages, noindex be damned. I'll email them to you, not because I mind posting them here, but I don't want to create links to them. Rich Farmbrough, 09:20, 27 May 2012 (UTC).
Well, having looked at the links that you sent to us, they are exact copies of on-wiki pages. If you have a complaint about violations of key behavioural policies, take them to WP:AN. The reality that you have been sanctioned in an arbitration case is just that, a reality. Both of the links you sent seem to be "real-time" mirrors, and the mention of your name will disappear once your name no longer appears on the on-wiki page. Risker (talk) 16:08, 27 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have redacted the personal attack in question. Rich Farmbrough, 21:25, 27 May 2012 (UTC).