Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Archive 13

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Season ten of the Monty Hall problem reality show

This might be of interest to those who were involved in the Monty Hall problem arbcom case:

Talk:Monty Hall problem#Conditional or Simple solutions for the Monty Hall problem?

Or not. (smile) --Guy Macon (talk) 18:23, 9 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remedy statistics

To follow up on the comments I made here, I'm working on compiling some statistics on how often parties to arbitration cases are sanctioned, and how. Once I'm done, I'll compile a report that I'll make available for public viewing, as well as provide the raw data to anyone who cares to play with it. A few notes on how I'm doing this:

  • All data is based on cases listed in Wikipedia:Arbitration/Index/Cases, which should be all of them. Certain cases will be excluded:
    • Cases which were closed without a final decision will not be counted. In these cases, it is presumed that the Committee found that the situation was rendered moot and thus did not merit arbitration in the first place.
    • Cases which do not provide an explicit list of named parties. In order to provide a reliable count of number of named parties vs. number of sanctioned parties, I need to know who is a "named party" and do not wish to arbitrarily decide who is and isn't named. This includes all cases in 2004, and about half of those closed in January 2005.
  • A user shall be counted as a named party in a case if they are explicitly named in the named parties section, with the following exceptions:
    • Where multiple named parties were found to be sockpuppets of one another within the case's final decision, they shall be counted as one party.
    • IP addresses will not be counted as named parties.
  • I will be tracking how many parties are subjected to the following types of sanctions:
    • Indefinite bans (including confirmation of bans already placed by Jimbo)
    • Time-limited bans of one year or longer (including confirmation of bans already placed by Jimbo)
    • Time-limited bans of less than one year (including confirmation of bans already placed by Jimbo, and those for less than one month in duration (yes, I have seen a remedy for a one-day ban))
    • Desysops (including time-limited desysops and mandatory reconfirmation RFAs, even if successful)
    • Topic bans
    • Editor restrictions (restrictions, other than topic bans, placed against (a) specific editor(s). This includes anything from general revert restrictions to interaction bans to account restrictions and so on)
    • General restrictions (such as article probation or discretionary sanctions; sanctions that may apply to any editor, not just parties)
    • Admonishments (including "warnings")
    • Reminders (separate as they are considered to be less severe; "cautions" are included in this)
    • Other remedies (to be noted where possible)
  • Where a single named party is subjected to more than one remedy of the same type, it will only be counted once; I am looking for the probability an editor will face sanctions, not the number of sanctions they may face. In the unlikely event a case has multiple general restrictions, each of those will be counted.
  • Motions made in lieu of a full case will not be counted; as the situation which prompted this was possibly due to a perceived foregone conclusion, I want to determine what would happen if an actual case were opened and completed. Furthermore, some motions will modify or remove existing sanctions, which could result in double-counting things.
    • Likewise, amendments to cases will not be counted.
  • Where a user is subject to bans in multiple remedies, the statistics shall indicate the net effect of the bans. This happened more often than you may think, particularly in earlier years. For example:
    • In separate remedies, User A is subject to a 6 month ban and an 8 month ban, running concurrently. This counts as a single "less than one year" ban.
    • In separate remedies, User A is subject to a 6 month ban and an 8 month ban, running consecutively. This counts as a single "one year or longer" ban.
    • In separate remedies, User A is subject to a 6 month ban and a 1 year ban. This counts as a single "one year or longer" ban, regardless of how they are scheduled.
    • In separate remedies, User A is subject to an indefinite ban and one or more time-limited ban(s) of any length. This counts as a single indefinite ban.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions, please let me know - although preferably make the suggestions sooner so I don't have to go back through too many cases. Hersfold (t/a/c) 05:02, 9 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A couple of thoughts / suggestions:

  • You wrote that "Cases which were closed without a final decision will not be counted" - I suggest that you record how many such cases there are. It would be an interesting, if contentious, piece of information as it might indicate how commonly cases are taken that should perhaps have been declined or alternatively it might indicate a basis for the view that taking a case means a sanction for someone is inevitable.
  • Another useful analysis would be to look at how likely it is that the editor(s) who are named in the initial formulation of the request are sanctioned. This will be a much smaller group than "all parties" as the party list for some cases grows substantially, and it could indicate the likelihood that the editor(s) who led to the request being made will ultimately be sanctioned if a case results.
  • Compiling some statistics is an excellent initiative, for which I for one am grateful. (talk) 14:39, 10 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • I'm about halfway through 2006 now unfortunately (which coincidentally is about halfway through overall, the number of cases took a sharp downturn after that year), but I'll try. This usually isn't terribly many, though, and IIRC most of the cases closed without action in 2005 were closed because one of the parties ended up retiring as a result of the case, rendering any attempt to resolve the issue moot.
    • I'd considered doing this, but once again that risks introducing my own interpretations onto what should be simple statistical data. If I was only counting early years this wouldn't be so difficult, as most 2005 cases and all of the 2006 ones I've seen so far listed "nominal defendants"; these cases were set up much more like actual court cases, with at least one case going so far as to name one set of editors as "plaintiffs". However, this was dropped sometime in or before 2007, as it made the process seem much more adversarial than it otherwise had to be (fat lot of good that did, though). In more recent years, it's been standing policy to review the conduct of everyone involved, so (in theory at least) even those raising concerns are under potential judgment simply because they're involved in the dispute. As a result, in order to really keep track of such data, I'd have to determine on my own who was really "under the gavel" and who wasn't; and it's not uncommon for a case to boomerang against the person requesting the case, either. Hersfold non-admin(t/a/c) 18:58, 10 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Update, I'm through 2007; I misspoke earlier, the dropoff in number of cases didn't happen until 2008. I hope to have most of the data collection done tomorrow evening, and start work on the report proper soon. Hersfold (t/a/c) 05:07, 16 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC: Arbitration Committee Elections December 2012 to start on 1 October

Just to let everyone know that the (perennial) RfC for the 2012 ArbCom Elections is planned to start on 1 October, lasting for 30 days. While many things have already been decided in the past, other issues still need to be discussed and consensus re-established, while there are also a couple of other new issues that came up from last year's election that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth and fair election.

The RfC will be at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee Elections December 2012 (yes, as of this posting, it is a redlink, but it will shortly not be). Regards, --MuZemike 19:06, 29 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Consultation from Czech ArbCom

Dear friends, we have some discussion on Czech Wikipedia regarding the process. The case is about the "remedies and rulings" and their relation to "findings". How do You see their relation? I see in Wikipedia:Arbitration/Guide to arbitration that the remedies should be supported by findings, in Czech Wikipedia, it was assumed the procedure should be the same, however some arbitrators think in some cases the action should be made as preventive if there is not an evidence (especially in cases when something was done but there is not an evidence it was done mischievously), but the arbitrator nevertheless senses there is a real danger of this situation in future.

The reason I am asking is because there are just few people that took part in the discussion and I am interested in various points of view. Thanks a lot. Okino (talk) 11:16, 8 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It would depend on what authority the Czech ArbCom have been given by the community. The English ArbCom have no authority to go beyond policy and community consensus, so if there is no evidence that a user has broken community guidelines and expectations, then the English ArbCom would not sanction that user, nor create a remedy to fill in any perceived gap in community guidelines. Some members of the English Committee might be in favour of an outcome which made recommendations to the community to discuss filling in the perceived gap in community guidelines, though others might find that to be beyond the Committee's remit. If an individual arbitrator feels there is a gap in community guidelines they would be able to start a discussion themselves as a member of the community. That is the approach I personally prefer as it avoids any actual or perceived abuse of the authority the community have given the Committee. SilkTork ✔Tea time 13:27, 8 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not sure who to contact

I have a personal account User:RichBryan and a work account User:Paccar984_User2. I use my work account to make employer-requested updates. I would prefer that my personal, specific identity be obscured from my employer-requested updates. I work for a large corporation with many directors, who request of me to update Wikipedia articles that relate to our company. These directors do not always agree. I thank you all in advance for any advice you can provide. —Preceding undated comment added 12:33, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

What is it like being an Arbitrator?

The elections are coming up and there will probably be new candidates running for election. I was wondering if they really knew what the job was like in practice. It seems like a difficult responsibility to take on. Many people are not willing to do it, so I'm very thankful that others are willing to volunteer for the position. What are some of the pluses and minuses? I'd particularly like to hear from some of the newer members about things that they didn't expect when they got the job. (talk) 11:40, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You might want to read this article in the Signpost in which several present and former arbitrators discuss exactly that quesiton. Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:16, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This may also be of use. Lord Roem (talk) 20:21, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Arbitration Committee elections

A significant part of this year has been spent talking about reforming the RfA process. The community has been concerned about toll it takes on people going through the process. ArbCom elections are much more difficult, so I was wondering if anybody thought there should be some type of reform of the ACE process. Thanks. (talk) 11:40, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please see the discussion at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee Elections December 2012. Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:16, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Arab-Israeli Arbitration Enforcement

Thirty minutes after I create the article Murder of Yaron and Efrat Ungar, the talk page was tagged with {{Arab-Israeli Arbitration Enforcement}} by a non-admin.[1]. Is this the correct procedure? I couldn't find any standards that provide who, when, or under what circumstances the {{Arab-Israeli Arbitration Enforcement}} may be used. I went to post at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Arbitration Enforcement/Israel-Palestine articles, but the last post there was over a year ago and the template talk page isn't much better, which now is discussion whether redirect talk pages should be tagged with the Arab-Israeli Arbitration Enforcement template.[2] Seeing this template on the Murder of Yaron and Efrat Ungar article talk page felt like a cold bucket of water hitting me in the face and has chilled my interest in this area. If there were standards I (or anyone else for that matter) could read and understand the justification for posting this template related to a 2008, four year old arbitration ruling on an article thirty minutes after it was created using reliable sources, that would go a long way to improving the situation. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 13:42, 23 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Mr. Gamal. The template is not meant to imply that the article is biased, unreferenced, not suitable, etc. It does not give an indication of the article itself, other than that it's related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Under an arbitration ruling, articles related to the conflict are to be tagged with the template, which inform editors of the unique rules in the area, such as 1RR. --Jethro B 22:38, 23 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see "Mr." in my user name. The Option 3[3] to which you refer was decided over two years ago to "work for now" to dampen the then current flames and reduce the November 2010+ workload on AE. To the arbitration members reading this: Haven't those flames been dampened to where there no longer is a need to tag articles within 30 minutes of creation for which there is no evidence of any reverting? Look at who, when, and under what circumstances the last 50 or so articles were tagged with this template.[4] Can you say that matches with what was discussed two years ago for Option 3? Arab-Israeli Arbitration Enforcement was necessary and releasing arbcom's authority to any editor without particular control or instruction may have been necessary two years ago. The Arab-Israeli Arbitration Enforcement template still may be necessary under some circumstances. However, this talk page template does have a chilling effect on contributions. Many editors generally are not familiar with 3RR either, but there's no tagging of articles within 30 minutes of creation for which there is no evidence of any reverting. To be a free encyclopedia, editors need to feel free to edit and that is why we do not post policies and guidelines everywhere, even though many editors are unfamiliar with them. AE now has what it did not two years ago, actual significant usage of the template. I'm asking arbcom to revisit option 3 to see whether it should be modified with standards that provide who, when, and/or under what circumstances the {{Arab-Israeli Arbitration Enforcement}} may be used. For example, perhaps limit the 1RR template to those articles in this area where there has been one 3RR incident. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 02:06, 24 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you're proposing a change to an ArbCom ruling, I believe the place to go would be Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Clarification and Amendment, where you can file a formal request. --Jethro B 02:24, 24 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is there an assertion that the tag was placed on the article in error? I suggest that if appropriate notification "felt like a cold bucket of water hitting [you] in the face and has chilled [your] interest in this area." then you may not be ready for the level of contention and divisiveness that surrounds I/P articles. I don't edit in the area, and wasn't involved in the ArbCom case that prompted that template's creation, but I do not see that tag as inappropriate to the article, and I encourage appropriately notifying editors that topics are contentious before they find out the hard way. Jclemens (talk) 04:07, 24 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reduced availability of Arbitrators and Functionaries due to Hurricane Sandy

Just a quick note that a number of Arbitrators and Functionaries are either not available at all, or have limited availablity due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy; please bear with us. Of course, if you have any urgent matters please use the usual channels, but don't be afraid to ping one of us by e-mail or on IRC as needed.

James F. (talk) 02:45, 30 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Inactive for on-wiki Committee activities

This is to let clerks and others know that, for the next month or so, I will be inactive for on-wiki Arbitration Committee matters, and will be working off-wiki on issues related to the Committee, in particular Checkuser/Oversight activity and off-wiki communications (i.e., mailing lists). The latter project, which was initiated in April 2011, will involve working in person with the WMF staff and extensive consultation with other arbitrators. Risker (talk) 05:07, 31 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Electoral Commission RfC

A three-member Electoral Commission was proposed and gained consensus during the most recent Arbitration Committee Election Request for comment. We need volunteers for the commission, and comments on their suitability from all editors. Details are found Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee Elections December 2012/Electoral_Commission --Tznkai (talk) 03:44, 9 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The 2012 Arbitration Committee Election is open

The 2012 Arbitration Committee Election is now open. Users may review the election page to learn more about the election and determine if they are eligible to vote. The election will run from November 27 until December 10.

Voters are encouraged to review the candidate statements prior to voting. Voter are also encouraged to review the candidate guide. Voters can review questions asked of each candidate, which are linked at the bottom of their statement, and participate in discussion regarding the candidates.

Voters can cast their ballot by visiting Special:SecurePoll/vote/259.

Voters can ask questions regarding the election at this page.

For the Electoral Commission. MBisanz talk 00:00, 27 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A working lawyer's interpretation of ArbCom's confidentiality policy

"Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy says that Arbitrators should preserve in appropriate confidence

  • the contents of private correspondence sent to the Committee and
  • the Committee's internal discussions and deliberations and

the Committee treats as private

  • all communications sent to it, or
  • sent by a Committee member in the performance of their duties."

As my user name might imply, I am in fact a working attorney. In the past, I have served as general counsel for several privately held corporations. In that previous capacity, I have had numerous occasions to review under applicable American law what constitutes communications and other acts undertaken by an officer or employee of an organization in the performance of their duties. I have also had occasion to write numerous standalone confidentiality agreements and confidentiality clauses included within larger documents, as well as to review and revise the confidentiality agreements and clauses drafted by other lawyers. Several years ago, I even attended a three-hour continuing legal education seminar on the drafting of confidentiality agreements. So, I know a little bit about the topic on which I am going to offer an opinion.

Before someone gets bent out of shape and feels the need to remind me that my professional status has no particular significance on Wikipedia, or to accuse of me of being a "wikilawyer," let me acknowledge that I am just another member of the Wikipedia community here–albeit one with a slightly different perspective because of my professional education, training and experience.

I have been pondering the most recent ArbCom dust-up regarding Jclemens and Elen of the Roads. Regarding the core reasons for ArbCom's confidentiality policy, I had little doubt that its primary purposes were to preserve the confidentiality of (1) evidence and suggestions submitted to ArbCom by case parties and other editors, (2) the arbitrators' deliberations regarding cases before the committee, and (3) personal information regarding the real world identities of editors. Now, that I have located the actual language of the ArbCom confidentiality policy, and had an opportunity to read it, I have several interpretative observations.

I have included the actual policy above (the indented parsing and bullet points are mine). While the policy itself is not a model of clear drafting, and would present several problems in enforcing it in a court of law, I nevertheless believe that its intended meaning is clear enough. First, it obligates the committee members to maintain the confidentiality of "private correspondence" sent to the committee. Second, it obligates the committee members to maintain the confidentiality of the committee's "internal discussions and deliberations." Third, it states that the committee will maintain the confidentiality of "all communications sent to it" (arguably, this is completely redundant with the first operative clause). And finally, it states that the committee will maintain the confidentiality of communications sent by a committee member "in the performance of their duties."

The first clause, regarding the "contents of private correspondence sent to the Committee" has no obvious application in the present circumstances. Nor does the third clause, regarding "all communications sent to it." Both of these clauses clearly contemplate correspondence and other communications sent to the committee by others. So, let's focus on the second and fourth clauses that may have application in the present circumstances.

The second clause, regarding the "[c]ommittee's internal discussions and deliberations," could have potential application in the instant matter. The clause distinguishes between the committee's "internal discussions" and its "deliberations." The word "deliberations," given its usual and customary meaning, presumably refers to the committee's decision-making process in arbitration cases and other matters brought to it for decision. The phrase "internal discussions" is both broader and less specific in its meaning. Does it refer to the committee's official business? Almost certainly. Does it refer to birthday greetings sent from one committee member to another? Well, it could . . . and that's the biggest problem with the way the policy is currently written. A reasonable interpretation of the clause, taken as a whole, was that it should be read that the members will maintain the confidentiality of the committee's official "internal discussions and deliberations" undertaken in the course of its business. But, that's not what it says with the required specificity, unfortunately. From the standpoint of a lawyer who has seen confidentiality agreements litigated, the vagueness of this phrase is probably a fatal flaw to its enforcement for any purpose other than official business. Generally, courts will not construe vague language in favor of the drafter nor in favor of greater duties than those specified or can be reasonably inferred by custom and usage.

The fourth clause, regarding communications sent by a committee member "in the performance of their duties," does have potential application in these circumstances, but this would require a very specific and somewhat odd interpretation by ArbCom. Obviously, the email in question was sent by a committee member, but was it sent "in the performance of [his] duties?" Good question. Do ArbCom members believe that "the performance of their duties" includes campaigning for reelection? Warning other committee members that he will oppose the reelection of his fellow members if they make decisions with which he disagrees? I suppose only ArbCom members can answer whether such activities are within the scope of their official duties. If such activities are not within the scope of their official duties, then the fourth clause does not apply.

So, what this all boils down to is this: it's difficult for me, as a lawyer reading and interpreting this policy, to understand how overtly political communications would be within the scope of ArbCom members' duties. Only if we construe the phrase "internal discussions" to extend from everything to the committee's official business to birthday greetings does the second clause apply. I will leave that final interpretation to each of you individually, because the clause in question offers nothing more. Now, you can be your own individual judges and juries. I hope you enjoy the experience. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 06:41, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I agree with your interpretation; the legal side is ambigiguous, and in my biew badly formed and worded. However, it would not really matter if the document had been drafted in Geneva and written in French because Wikipedia is a quasi-legal fiefdom and has historically interpreted laws to suit its requirements at he tme. What passes for law and justice in the rest of the civilised world means nothing here. Giano (talk) 08:18, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good analysis. When confronted with language like this policy, I ask myself "What blacksmith drafted this?" That aside, taking the words at face value, JClemens should have had no reasonable expectation that his e-mails would or should be treated as private and confidential. The way this is written, the first and third clauses are to be read together, as are the second and fourth. In context, the first clause applies only to private correspondence sent to the Committee by a third party. Any other interpretation renders the second clause superflous. The third clause states, absurdly, that every third party communication to ArbCom is treated as private, making the word "private" in the first clause unnecessary, but that drafting flaw is irrelevant here. JClemens is not a third party, and so the first and third clauses simply does not render his e-mail confidential. The second and fourth clauses also clearly apply only to official correspondence among ArbCom members in the performance of their duties. It is clear from JClemens' e-mail that he voluntarily posted publicly, and from all description the others that have not yet been posted publicly, that his e-mails were totally unrelated to ArbCom's official function. Moreover, his use of the ArbCom private mail list for his electioneering was an improper use of that list for which he has been censured. The crocodile tears being shed over the disclosure of the contents of his communications are being shed in vain. JClemens should have had no reasonable expectation that his e-mails were covered by the confidentiality policy and disclosing their contents to third persons is no violation of that policy. Fladrif (talk) 14:58, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • ArbCom is not capable of resolving this problem either now or after the election. Almost all of the members of ArbCom lack real world experience or training in anything related to arbitration. You are able to see serious problems with the policy because of your training and experience. ArbCom, despite having leaks from its list on multiple occasions before, never identified this as a problem. This is being treated as a situation that policy didn't anticipate. The policy didn't anticipate it because ArbCom failed. ArbCom can't decide if the leak constituted a breach or not. ArbCom can't settle on whether the policy allows them to do anything or not. ArbCom can't decide on whether the proposed motion on Elen has passed or not. ArbCom is fumbling about in the dark trying to come up with solutions to this, but do not have the ability to do so. If they were to recognize their own incompetence, it would be a major step. You can't solve a problem if you don't admit there is one. I can imagine an appointed committee, populated with people such as yourself who have real world training, tasked with reviewing ArbCom policy and procedures. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:08, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hang on - who said you could have a good idea that might even work, when we're not done blundering around in the dark yet? Seriously - that's the best suggestion to date on this whole page. Begoontalk 16:37, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From the Department of "What Lessons Have We Learned?": Now that the motion has gasped its last breath, I think that Dirtlawyer1's analysis is commendably thoughtful and insightful. I've commented a couple of times already that Hersfold's vote on the motion includes a discussion of the list being used for commiseration amongst the Committee members, something that I'm pretty sure does not qualify as an official duty, however much those members would probably blush to have those commiserations made public. The point isn't really whether or not the Arbs are capable of operating as a legal body. The point is: going forward, how can ArbCom best understand how to utilize the list, and how to regard the confidentiality policy? I think Dirtlawyer1 does a good job of differentiating between what does, and does not, count as official duties. I'd like to see the mailing list used only for those official duties. However, knowing that arbitrators are merely human beings, I realize that isn't going to happen. So, when stuff ends up on the mailing list that really shouldn't be there, I'd like the Committee to be less prone to creating drama over the perceived need for confidentiality of stuff that didn't belong on the list to begin with. I realize that may not be the letter of the law now, but the law should be revised accordingly. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:51, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Silence! What is all this dreadful noise about?

What a mess the Arbcom has got themselves into. If this was a pack of children, one would say to them “go away; sort yourselves out; be nice, and if anyone comes back crying, you will all go to bed early.” It’s quite clear that JClemens is a divisive element who has caused the creation of playground gangs. One gang (The Holier than Thous) has decided it’s ‘Get Elen day’ and the other gang (The Moderates) is too timid to stand up to the other because Elen has been a bit disloyal by making friends outside of either the chosen gangs - a huge playground crime. Finally, we have the class goody-goodies who never utter a significant word in case they get into trouble. So here we are, the whole school gathered in a circle shouting “Fight, fight, fight” kicking and egging on. The problem is that this is not the playground, it’s a small staff room spat that has descended into chaos and if we had an efficient headmaster, he would fire them all and make them all re-apply for their jobs. Frankly, this is is not good enough and we deserve better. Someone (looks like it’s me) needs to tell Elen not to do it again. Tell Jclemens and his gang to stop being such bullying, pompous prats, and the rest to pull themselves together and stand up for themselves and each other. If not, they will all be expelled from the class and replaced by more sensible children. Giano (talk) 08:18, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The problem in part is that the Arbs can't decide on what makes a majority here, 6 or 10. Both are legitimate arguments. We have a failure to anticipate this particular situation when designing policy, thus a lack of clarity. Completely understandable as it is a rare event, but this is not a good place to evoke WP:IAR, or to start yet another fight once the 6th vote is struck. It should be obvious how the community feels about this: split, for both rational and purely emotional reasons. The Arb's rationales themselves are a bit meandering and confusing. If you bit-strip Elen and she wins the election (a very real possibility), you risk starting the session on a sour note indeed. She did make a mistake, or a series of them actually but not fatal mistakes that would have released information the policy is designed to protect. The attempt to find the middle ground by just stripping the bits is in good faith but raises constitutional issues. The election is going to be final decision maker here, not Arb, no matter what they do. So yes, the community does have the final say, as they do with all Arbs eventually. When I said we were rushing here, this is exactly the slug fest I was hoping to avoid, a situation that is dividing the community and doing far more long term damage that what Jclemens or Elen did, combined. Nothing we do is going to be optimal, and obviously we need to retool the policy to add clarity in the future. Our focus for now should be on creating the least amount of collateral damage since realistically, the election will be the final decision due to simple timing of the events. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 12:23, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a good solution. Ignore it and it will go away. Ok. Stop laughing and hear me out. Both Elen and JClemens are up for election. There is no better way to judge community confidence around here so let it happen. In Elens case she seems to be getting support, in JClemens case he looks to be getting less support than the YOLO troll. Will the sky fall if they spend a whole month on a committee with no cases? The only thing the ARBs should concern themselves with is closing the weakness in their policy. Both ARBs get their day in court, so to speak, and policy is strengthened. What more is necessary? The only thing satisfied by the unproductive attemts to boot them early is bloodthirst. (talk) 20:13, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestion for the sake of legal simplicity (and noting that NYB is a "two handed lawyer" to use Truman's analogy): All mail, email and files sent to any Wikipedia mailing list or editor are confidential, and may not be disclosed or posted other than by the original author thereof and not containing any reference to any mail, email or files provided by any other party. Which I think covers all possible Wikiwavering. It would not apply to the case at hand, but I trust NYB would agree it is uniform in treatment for all such communications. Collect (talk) 16:13, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ridiculous. That would mean I could send hate mail to my least fav editors and they couldn't do anything about it. NE Ent 16:36, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict)So if I sent you a mail, declaring that I had an army of high quality sock accounts, and was about to unleash them in a campaign to civilly push a POV in a particular article, under your proposed policy you would be forbidden from doing anything about it. You would not be permitted to disclose to anyone, not check users, not Arbcom, no one, that I emailed you, or my intentions contained therein? Monty845 16:37, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec)::Right. And frankly, unless the "hate mail" crosses legal limits, that is the right course. If it violates the law, then the law is what you should look to -- not posting it on Wikipedia. I suggest you ask NYB whether "posting hate mail" is what one ought to do. Collect (talk) 16:40, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) Absolutely not. To say that posts to mailing lists most of which is open for subscription, with publicly accessible and searchable archives ([5], [6]), duplicated by multiple other websites ([7], [8]), as confidential is just highly unrealistic, impractical, and a case of trying to throw out the baby with the bath water. -- KTC (talk) 16:39, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Get rid of the confidential email list

Move all the confidential discussions to a closed forum. Let only a few Arbs handle cases. Let only those Arbs that handle a case have access to a particular section of that forum where that case is discussed. After they are done, they delete all private information that are not likely to be of value for future cases, the remaining confidential information is moved to an archive of the forum that is acessible to other Arbs.

If you have such a tightly structured work place, you are less likely to get these sorts of incidents. What goes on on the forum is work related and confidential. Arbs can email each other for other discussions, but then that's not confidential. By letting only a few Arbs handle each case from start to finish, you are less likely to get inappropriate discussions. If I were to invite ten people to do the job I do myself in my office, it wouldn't take long before people would start to discuss other issues like the weather. Especially if someone feels strongly about some very tangentially work related issue, that is then very likely to be raised. You need a high work productivity to make sure people stay on the job. Count Iblis (talk) 17:15, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As a few people have pointed out, a "mailing list and a promise" is a truly inept way to try to maintain anything confidential - because all the people on it get their own personal copies on their own email clients, which they can keep for as long as they want and do whatever they please with, even long after they have left ArbCom. I'm not bothered about the Elen/Jclemens thing, but it is a very serious shortcoming when it involves genuinely private information about individuals involved in ArbCom cases. I'd be happy for private information about me to be visible to ArbCom members should I be involved in a case, but I sure as hell don't want ex-ArbCom members keeping their own private copies in email format long after they're off the committee.

How can it be done better? There are many ways. As one example, in my paid job a team of us need access to private information. Some of it is held in a database on the company VPN and accessed via an HTML front end. Other information is held on a wiki, again on the company VPN. Should someone leave the company, they have their VPN login disabled and can no longer see any of the confidential information.

I'm sure it's not beyond the wit of the WMF technical staff to set up something like an Arb noticeboard that only ArbCom members have access to, and any attempted access by a non-Arb would be denied - perhaps put it behind a password-protected VPN too, rather than via open web access. There is still a risk that people can keep personal copies of information they extract from such systems, but it's an awful lot better than everyone having their own personal copy of everything in emails, in perpetuity. -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:35, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Anything that can be viewed can be stored externally, however, even if done with screen captures. There is no way to make a fool proof secure system because at the end of the day, it still relies on humans viewing it, and humans are flawed. This is why all the drama over this "leak" is problematic. Things leak all the time, and what leaked this time wasn't really private data, so we have to keep it in perspective. If an Arb leaks actually sensitive data, I will be the first to call for their head on pike at the gates of ArbCom. Otherwise, we have to accept that leaks will happen, encourage it to not happen, encourage the list to ONLY be used for private data so there is less risk, and handle incidents on a case by case basis. As it stands, had they just sought an admonishment, it likely would have passed without incident, but trying to bite off too much led to an end result of nothing happening. I understand and respect the principles that concern others, but you have to also be practical at the same time and take what you can get, what is a fair compromise, else nothing gets done except more fighting, more chaos, more drama. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 18:03, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yep, you're absolutely right that nothing can be made foolproof, but it can be made a lot less fool-inviting - that's why companies that deal with private data do not do it using mailing lists (at least, competent ones don't). Mailing lists are usenet-era ways of sharing communication, and the world has moved on a long way since then.

    As Risker says below, there's someone out there with a copy of the entire historical email list from back when that big leak happened - the chances of that happening with multiple private copies of email lists existing on everyone's computer is massively greater than with systems that would require thousands of screen captures.

    We will always have to rely on some degree of trust with sitting Arbs, obviously, but a core part of dealing with private data is stopping people accessing it once they no longer have the right to - allowing everyone to keep a personal copy of everything in perpetuity is really dumb, in my view. -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:31, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I agree that better design helps. I actually trust the Arbs we have with my info, even the ones I disagree with on some points. As Risker points out, it isn't from a lack of trying, but there is no one obvious, simple solution at this stage. Disallowing downloading of the mail directly is certainly a step in the right direction. Limiting the secret list to actual material that should be secret would also help, less temptation to spill out material that doesn't belong there. Not an excuse, just a reality. But in the end, we will always be dependent on the ones we elect, and as we've learned from that one big disclosure, accept that absolute secrecy and security may simply be impossible in a non-commercial, elected body. A great goal, but I can't help but feel the brass ring will always be just out of grasp. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 20:09, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The Arbitration Committee has long been aware of the multitude of issues that come along with its current mailing lists. Initial work to improve security and reduce retention had been undertaken in Spring 2011; curiously, just as we were looking seriously at how to manage the mailing list archives so that useful information was retained (somewhere) while no-longer-relevant matters were removed, we had a major leak and now have reason to believe that all archived information at that time is in the possession of someone who had deliberately made very select portions of them public. Some consideration of alternative solutions was done in late Fall 2011; however, the arbitrator who undertook to work on it was shortly thereafter not re-elected. Several of us resumed work in this area this year, with some very serious investigations over the past few months, culminating in work directly with the WMF to look at demos of three possible alternatives for which they can provide technical and security support. We had identified we needed to look more closely at two of these alternatives (both CRM systems) over the course of this month, with possible implementation before the end of the year; it's possible we may still make that target. The CRM systems we are considering are capable of many tasks that the Mailman mailing lists are not: in particular, deletion of non-public information either automatically or by an auto-flag (e.g., suppression requests deleted after 3 months); the ability to search the archives and collate relevant data needed for future use, while removing irrelevant data; the ability to run several segregated email "lists" through a single platform (e.g., BASC and AUSC and the oversight request list and the functionaries list as well as Arbcom lists), setting various user levels for access to each segregated list. It is my hope that those of us who are available will spend the next few weeks seriously evaluating the alternatives we're considering and (I hope) render a decision on the preferred platform. I will keep you posted on our next steps. Risker (talk) 18:53, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That sounds good - it will be interesting to see how it goes. -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:24, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By the way, I don't know if you'll find the following reassuring, but regarding the person who may have all that archived information, nobody I know has heard from them in a long time or has even hinted at knowing how to get in touch with them. They seem to have had their fun and left entirely (pity :-) - they vanished just as the stuff was finally getting good :-)) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 05:02, 30 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why not a wiki?

To me it seems an obvious solution, but perhaps I'm missing something?

The benefits of a wiki is that every edit is tracked. Going through the history of discussions, is just that: a history of discussions. There is little learning curve, since presumably every member of Arbcom can edit a wiki by now. And of course questions of security are as simple as locking down the wiki as to who can access it.

Mailing lists should only be used for communicating with those outside Arbcom related to confidential issues.

So ok, now tell me what problems this has? I look forward to discussion on this. - jc37 20:17, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is an arbitration wiki. It's used for drafting cases and motions and retaining certain data. It is not, however, a replacement for a mailing list. There are also some rather weird security issues that come from using a platform that is designed to be open and freely accessible. Risker (talk) 20:19, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) I'm aware of that wiki. (And presumably that could easily be used, though some things might need to be changed.) But I'm just asking generally, why not a wiki. Just because wikipedia is set up to be "open", doesn't mean every wiki need be set up that way. Yes, there would need to be a discussion to develop consensus on what licencing would be used on that wiki. And questions of re-usability, and so on.
I'm just not seeing the benefit a mailing list has over a wiki as far as communication between a committee of people.
And let's also mention the TONS of emails that several arbs have commented on (complained about) in the past. Wouldn't it make more sense to have that all saved in wiki format than to have it merely saved on each person's computer in their inbox or wherever they save their emails?
I guess I'm just not seeing why email usage shouldn't be minimised specifically for security reasons. - jc37 20:38, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, there's the fact that half of us are keeping up to date using our mobile phones, and wikis are notoriously not cellphone-friendly. CRMs can be set up much better for cellphone access. Risker (talk) 20:49, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Convenience over security? : ) - jc37 20:52, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikis are designed to be insecure. Most email systems are more secure than most wikis, as are CRMs. At the end of the day, it's just as easy to cut and paste from a wiki, if someone decides to make an unauthorized release. Risker (talk) 21:10, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If someone no longer on arbcom decides to leak something, they still have all those emails on their computer. Now on a wiki, unless they copied something prior to being an ex-arb, once they're off the committee, the no longer have access to those discussions. I think that's a majorly big difference. The opportunities for leaking are dramatically minimised. - jc37 21:19, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Could you not host the arbitration wiki on a LAN with access via a VPN rather than open web access, and then give each Arb username/password access to the VPN? -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 20:33, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is a WMF wiki and it needs to be in the configuration established and supported by the WMF. I have to ask - what rationale could you come up with to explain why donor dollars and expensive and very limited operator resources should go to setting up and maintaining a system for one wiki? More importantly, wikis are really horrible for discussions. Take a look at the arbcom noticeboard talk page to see what I mean. And, whatever you do, please don't say "liquid threads".... :-) Risker (talk) 20:48, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Compared to email? I think wiki discussions are WAY easier to read through. Though of course that's merely my subjective opinion : ) - jc37 20:52, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, should you be elected, you'll certainly be in a position to encourage greater use of the arbwiki. It's nowhere as convenient to use as this wiki, because it is not set up in exactly the same way and doesn't have all the extensions we're used to here. Just keep in mind it's as easy to cut and paste a discussion from a wiki as it is from an email. There's no additional security, if someone decides to leak. Risker (talk) 21:10, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(If the guides are any sign, that's doubtful : )
Anyway, email, it's just as simple as clicking fwd...
Shame to hear the arbwiki doesn't have the extensions that this one does (Is that due to merely lack of adding them, or is there some other reason?) - jc37 21:17, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't know entirely. I understand that many of the extensions aren't compatible with the security measures put in place to make the arbwiki less insecure, although I don't know this for a fact - this isn't my area of expertise by any means. I understand we get what's in the core upgrades but there's again a cost in having to maintain and upgrade extensions that is obviously worthwhile in English wikipedia but probably can't be justified on a tiny private wiki.

None of the current group of arbitrators is particularly well versed in the setup of MediaWiki wikis (as opposed to their use as editors), so if you are elected you might well think about making this your niche. You've still not addressed the issue of how awful it is to edit wikis from non-desktop/laptop devices, which is not only useful but would have to be a priority. Risker (talk) 21:29, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In any case, I don't think you've really explained your reasoning for the preference of a wiki over a CRM. Risker (talk) 21:33, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I haven't edited in that way, so I'm not sure what about it makes it "awful". Besides some phones not having a kbd as userfriendly as a laptop/desktop (though I guess email would have a similar issue), what other issues are there? Small screen means lots of scrolling? (same problem with email?) - jc37 21:36, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict)Re: "I have to ask - what rationale could you come up with to explain why donor dollars and expensive and very limited operator resources should go to setting up and maintaining a system for one wiki?" - Well, I'm not trying to offer a fully-costed proposal, just pointing out that your repeated "A wiki isn't secure" response is not in itself a valid rejection, as it is very easy to host a wiki on a secure system. Maybe WMF don't have a suitable LAN, or maybe it would cost money to implement it that way, in which case that specific suggestion might not run, sure. But the point is that there really are plenty of more secure ways of sharing private communication these days than mailing lists.

Re: "Just keep in mind it's as easy to cut and paste a discussion from a wiki as it is from an email. There's no additional security, if someone decides to leak." - There is much more security if someone who is no longer an Arb wants to leak, if you have a system that prevents their access once their time is over - or do you really think it is equally secure to allow every ex-Arb to keep their own personal collection of the entire history of the mailing list from during their term on their personal computer for ever? Anyway, rhetorical question, no need to answer me - I'll leave you to the plans that you are considering, and wish you success with it. -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 21:41, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While the input the Arbitration Committee is receiving here is appreciated, it needs to be borne in mind that a major purpose of the Arbitration Committee mailing list is to receive communications from non-arbitrator editors and others, discuss them, then respond to them. A typical workflow might be:

  1. Editor A sends an e-mail to the Arbitration Committee on an issue within the Committee's purview.
  2. The arbitrators discuss on the mailing list and decide how to respond to Editor A.
  3. An arbitrator responds by e-mail to Editor A on behalf of the Committee.

Now let's suppose the Committee moved all of its internal discussions to the arb-wiki or some equivalent. Editor A, not being an arbitrator, can't post to or read the arb-wiki, so he or she needs to submit his or her concern by e-mail just like now. (And that e-mail is the most likely part of the discussion to contain personal or private information.) So now the workflow would have to be something like this:

  1. Editor A sends an e-mail to the Arbitration Committee on an issue within the Committee's purview.
  2. An arbitrator opens a page or thread on the arb-wiki regarding the e-mail from Editor A.
  3. The arbitrators discuss on the arb-wiki and decide how to respond to Editor A.
  4. An arbitration responds by e-mail to Editor A on behalf of the Committee.

It's not all that clear to me that the net result here is an improvement in privacy or security, although it would predictably increase the effort and delay involved in responding to the hosts of e-mails that the ArbCom receives. As Risker and others have noted, it may be that a solution is achieved that has many advantages over the current system, in terms of both tracking communications to ensure timely responses, and improving security. However, I can attest after five years on the Committee that unfortunately, the arb-wiki is not that solution. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:45, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"It's not all that clear to me that the net result here is an improvement in privacy or security," - The extra privacy and security comes from every ex-Arb no longer having the entire thing in perpetuity, including all of the "The arbitrators discuss..." steps, on their own personal computers in the form of off-line copies of all the emails. -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 21:49, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, and with a wiki, you'd be able to delete case-specific discussions once they're done, in a way that they could be undeleted later if they become relevant again - and you would be able to see if anyone undeletes them without just cause. You can't do anything like that with a mailing list. -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 21:54, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nod, the storage/history features of a wiki are a great benefit. - jc37 21:57, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm curious: how similar is the arbwiki to the OTRS wiki? --Rschen7754 21:47, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Arbwiki is pretty bare bones, probably because no one on the committee has any extra time to dink with it. Jclemens (talk) 07:42, 30 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If the arbwiki has issues, I would guess that it wouldn't be a "huge" issue to create a new wiki, with all the features/securities/ extensions, and so on. and then do a one-time transwiki whatever wanted from the current arb wiki. Best of all worlds? - jc37 21:59, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

CRM is better because it allows one to fire emails directly into the CRM to create a "case" or "request", so there's no passing emails out to list members inboxes. Whoever is working on the request has to log in to the crm to see the new requests, and can add notes or perform specific tasks (eg send an acknowledgement). The log in and user activity is usually auditable in these systems. Also with some systems you can have a front end built specifically to run over a mobile device - the one where I work has this feature. It's not so good for discussion though - the notes pages in CRM systems are meant for users recording what they have done in respect of the request, it wouldn't be easy to use them for discussion. Elen of the Roads (talk) 22:30, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
However, you can in most crms link out to a webpage, so creating a wikipage for discussion of that request (if needed) linked to the request in the crm could be the way to go. Elen of the Roads (talk) 22:33, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds complicated : )
And all of those things require maintenance. On a wiki, the software does it. You create a page, and off we go, discussing. Also, who is going to do all that maintenance? An arb? (With all their free time we hear so much about : )
or would be be trusting more people with access?
Speaking of linking, a wiki would have the benefit of interwiki linking. (another convenience : ) - jc37 22:50, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From experience with the one at work, it requires technical setup rather than maintenance - once some technical person has set up the crm to receive an email and create a case, it does it automatically. The developers I worked with on that project could have set it up to create a wikipage at the same time, and automatically post the link to the notes page (it actually does different clever stuff like firing off requests to the company that picks up dead fridges and washers from the kerbside). It does away completely with a mailing list - your system would still have the 'customer' sending mail to a mailing list that presumably is still distributed in the same way as the present one (if I've understood you - apologies if I haven't). Also, Arbcom did try something similar to your system. No-one kept the wiki up to date because it was such a chore and couldn't be edited on a mobile phone, they just used the mailing list. Elen of the Roads (talk) 22:57, 29 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IRC Office Hours

Hi all, I'll be holding office hours session on DR in about 30 minutes in #wikimedia-office. Your feedback and comments are welcome. Szhang (WMF) (talk) 19:33, 1 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

xeno's absence

First, an apology to both those who supported me in the 2010 Arbitration Committee Elections (who likely expected me to serve my term in its entirety), and to my colleagues (along with my gratitude), who had to pick up in my stead. As arbitrator inactivity has been raised as an issue in the ongoing elections, I thought it important to provide this explanation. The reasons for my absence from the committee for much of this year are personal and uninteresting: life changes simply left me without adequate time to contribute to the committee (or the project in general) as I have in the past. As to why I didn't simply resign from the committee outright: I (perhaps naively) thought that I might once again find time to contribute either at a full or partial level (for example, to coordinate advanced permissions appointments as I have in the past), or that some dire emergency would present itself that required fresh uninvolved eyes (at which point I would carve out the time to assist). And indeed by the time I fully realized I wouldn't be active this year, it was too late for my seat to be filled anyway. Alas, here we are - elections in full swing - and my seat will soon be filled by someone who will hopefully be far more active. Good luck to the candidates and the 2013 committee. I will do my best to answer any questions the community may have on this. All the best, –xenotalk 20:14, 5 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for the public explanation and for your service on the committee. Prior to your period of inactivity, you were extraordinarily efficient and effective. That was very much appreciated.  Roger Davies talk 20:32, 5 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Xeno, thank you for your work on Wikipedia and especially for your period of active service as an arbitrator. As for recent months, your absence has been your loss: you have no idea how much fun ArbCom has been having lately without you. :) Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:02, 5 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The 2012 Arbitration Committee Election is closing today

The 2012 Arbitration Committee Election is closing today (in about 8 hours). Until then, users may review the election page to learn more about the election and determine if they are eligible to vote.

Voters are encouraged to review the candidate statements prior to voting. Voter are also encouraged to review the candidate guide. Voters can review questions asked of each candidate, which are linked at the bottom of their statement, and participate in discussion regarding the candidates.

Voters can cast their ballot by visiting Special:SecurePoll/vote/259.

Voters can ask questions regarding the election at this page.

For the Electoral Commission. MBisanz talk 15:12, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Regarding this edit, had the members of the committee who agreed the wording used, read the essay WP:COMPETENCE before doing so? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 16:02, 9 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As just a random passerby here, to what are you referring? I read the edit in question and nothing specific jumps out. Neutron (talk) 02:58, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think he is referring to WP:CIR saying it isn't supposed to be shown to an editor to say they are being blocked or declined unblock because of a lack of competence. Which is a good point, no one likes being told they are incompetent. Courcelles 06:17, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, it's a particular bugbear of mine - but hardly the only one WormTT(talk) 08:42, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can see that the summary I gave on the user's page is rather abrupt and can be read out of context, so I understand the rationale for clarification.

In this particular case the user had been making reference themself to WP:CIV as part of their appeal - this is the third appeal by this user since January of this year, and the user had been referring to WP:CIR since that first appeal. As the appeal was being denied in part because of their lack of competence and their lack of understanding of the essay they were citing it seemed appropriate to direct them to read the essay more carefully before appealing again. In the email I sent to the user I said: "To assist you in your next appeal (if you do decide to appeal again), you'll need to assure us that you have the English language skills to edit the English Wikipedia. WP:CIR means "Competence is required" - that means that a user needs to have the appropriate skills and knowledge to edit Wikipedia without causing problems for other users."

There is the option of not telling people why their appeal has been turned down, and that is sometimes used. My preference, where possible, is to inform people so they have the opportunity to make the appropriate amendments to their behaviour and or skills. The wording I place on users' talkpages is a summary of the main points so that there is a public record of the decision. I have a preference of doing this so other users are informed of what is happening. I do not feel it is always necessary or appropriate to republish the entire emails - however, I can see in this case that my summary was so brief as to be rude. However, in the circumstances I hope it can be seen that the communication was not intended to be incivil, but to be helpful to both the appellant and to other users. For the record, while the Committee had agreed to declining the unblock, the actual wording of both the reply and the talkpage notice was my responsibility, and that while the Committee saw my full reply to the appellant, they would not have been aware of the abrupt version I posted on the talkpage.

I have made an adjustment to the wording, though will remove all mention of WP:CIV if people feel that is preferable. SilkTork ✔Tea time 10:06, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have no idea of the reason for this users block and it may well have been valid but it seems to me to be a catch 22. We block them from editing using any account and then tell the user that they need to review competence. Certainly if the user edits using an IP and not an account someone would accuse them of Socking so may I ask how the user is going to show competence without being able to edit? It seems to me if a year has gone by, which it seems to, then perhaps it might be worthwhile to allow the user to come back on a probationary period of say 3-6 months? Kumioko (talk) 11:23, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In cases where the underlying problem is that the editor's English is genuinely bad enough to cause problems that have resulted in them being blocked multiple times, suggesting a probationary return within 3-6 months is not really practical - in general 6 months is a sensible minimum, and in many cases 1 year has been used.
Thanks for the detailed explanation of the background to the diff, and for the update to the notice. I wasn't aware that the editor had been repeatedly referring to CIR in their own emails to arbcom (possibly the result of inappropriate mention of CIR to them by some other editor in the past), nor that the email to the editor from arbcom had a fuller explanation. All of that sounds entirely sensible. For other cases, there remains the situation that any mention of CIR on an editor's talkpage is subject to possible misinterpretation or concern. (Or, according to the essay, arbitrary removal!) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 12:06, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The original use of CIR can be traced to here, which was cited in the block. It is worth pointing out that competence was not the only reason for the appeals(s) being declined. The deception and dishonesty have also come into play. We did consider a suggestion by the user that they be unblocked under supervision, but this was rejected. SilkTork ✔Tea time 12:50, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here is what I said on the Committee email list: His appeal still shows competence issues. We either decline again, explaining more clearly what "Competence is required" actually means, or give him a limited trial under supervision. My inclination is that, given how much time and effort is required to clean up after users whose skills and abilities are not at the standard required, this should be a decline until he can demonstrate in an appeal that he is competent enough to edit here without the need for monitoring. This was my comment on his first appeal in January: "This user's contributions have to be cleaned up, and often involve copy and pasting copyrighted material, so the community feel the person is not competent enough to edit the English Wikipedia. In addition they have been deceptive. They have pretended on their user page that they were an admin, and also that they were a retired account returned." After we declined his appeal, he made a nuisance of himself by continuing to make appeals on his talk page and by email to a variety of users, including myself. His talk page access was removed by Worm That Turned. I hope that is helpful. SilkTork ✔Tea time 13:40, 10 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well that helps clear things up a little. Here is the problem I haev with this thought. If we really have no intention of ever allowing the user to edit here again, then aren't we being somewhat deceptive in inferring that the user can appeal in X amount of time, knowing that we are going to decline the request when it arrives. It seems that if this is the case that we should just say so rather than give the user the hope that if they behave themselves they can come back. Kumioko (talk) 19:47, 12 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not dishonest to say that 1) appeals are allowed every six months, and 2) the vast majority of all appeals are declined. I've previously suggested multiple-year appeal blackouts, but there was essentially no traction for such an idea on the committee. Jclemens (talk) 03:13, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Committee never say never. We always allow 6 monthly appeals. I think that is because there has been no consensus for allowing ArbCom to go for anything longer as regards appeals. I do recall there was some discussion when I started in January in asking the community to allow us to select 12 months between appeals in some situations, but nothing came of it. I don't think the community nor the Committee would consider never allowing an appeal. Circumstances change. People change. SilkTork ✔Tea time 21:15, 12 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok, Understood, I just think its pointless to say come back in 6 months knowing full well there's almost no chance the user will be allowed to come back. @ Silkstork, your right, Circumstances and people change, so the policy should allow for that. But if the user is blocked and not allowed to edit, they have no way, whatsoever in proving that they have changed. Anyway, I have stated my opinion on the matter, no need to dwell on it. Kumioko (talk) 03:18, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Arbcom, oversight, and confidential information

This is a notice concerning an RfC concerning the access and handling of confidential information by arbcom members and oversighters. And also changes policy concerning the granting and retaining of the Oversight user-right. - jc37 11:41, 14 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thinking about the mailing list

Now that the election results are in, I'd like to re-start some discussion about the mailing list and leaks. I've thought about the discussions before/during the election, and why some previous ideas probably wouldn't work. I'd still like to see something adjusted to be more helpful to the Committee and the community. I'm not proposing anything that is fully thought-out here, but I hope to start some useful discussion. Perhaps we could revise policy regarding the mailing list so that all material on the list would, in effect, be in one or the other of two categories:

  • Category A would contain:
    • anything that would identify or otherwise violate the meta:Privacy of users (people contacting the list, parties to cases, arbitrators themselves).
    • sensitive material, such as stalking situations, users who are minors, etc.
    • What else? We should discuss what else should be included here.
  • Category B would contain:
    • everything else.

Category A would continue to be treated as it is now, per WP:AP#Transparency and confidentiality: fully confidential, full stop, violations regarded as very serious problems.

Category B would be treated in a new way. The "default" assumption – the way everything on the list would be thought of, until explicitly determined to be otherwise – would, again, be full confidentiality. But Category B material could be released from full confidentiality by a simple majority vote of active, non-recused arbitrators. Such a vote would have to determine: (1) that there is nothing in Category A (or anything Category A is to be redacted before release), and (2) that there is a valid reason to release the material, either on-Wiki or through a more restricted release to persons not on the mailing list. Anyone could make a request to the Committee for such a release, or any arbitrator could propose it. The majority vote would mean that no individual arbitrator would be allowed to release anything without majority consent, and also that no individual could veto majority consent. (I'm not sure whether the vote itself would need to be recorded on-Wiki. It might be enough to conduct it on the list itself.)

I think recent experience has shown that Category B might include material that most members of the Committee have found to be unhelpful, as well as communications that are more of a gossipy nature, as well as things that are directly related to the Committee's business, but that do not reveal confidential material under the privacy policy. I don't see any good reason for the majority to vote to routinely release wholesale slabs of material, but my hope is that this would give the Committee some flexibility to deal with situations where there may be some value in making something more transparent to the community. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:22, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We've just today completed the election process for new arbitrators. They won't have access to the archives of the mailing lists until at least January 1; in fact, there's always a bit of a challenge for getting them access to the main mailing list archives because of the two-factor password system, which requires sysadmin support that is always in very short supply at this time of the year, and a somewhat challenging degree of technical capability on the part of the new arbitrator. As I recall, we have some arbitrators who to this day have not yet figured out how to make use of the archives, which is what they should be using instead of relying on personal email archives.

Is there any chance that all of the people who want to have their say on how these mailing lists should work might hold off on further ideas, and give our new team enough time to actually get stuck in, see what's there and isn't there and what the issues are with it, learn about some of the proposed software alternatives, before being bombarded with ideas on what should be done with mailing lists? While I am certain it will be on the agenda (and fairly high on it, if I have my way), right now there are a lot more practicalities to be addressed before we get into deconstructing the management of mailing list contents. This isn't in any way a comment on the nature of your suggestions, or those made by others in other locations; it's a comment on the appropriate use of the time of volunteers who are taking on new and complex tasks, and the need to prioritize so that they will be able to effectively carry out their primary responsibilities. Risker (talk) 21:55, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No problem. No intent to make anyone feel bombarded. I'll be ready to reproduce this when the time comes. Anyone else who wants to think it over, please do. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:59, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I would presume that a discussion can be had at any time, as we're all Wikipedians here? - jc37 22:03, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The question answers itself: yes, of course! I don't think anyone is going to shove anything down the Committee's throat here. I'd welcome feedback or brainstorming on what I suggested. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:08, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's vague. Requesting abeyance of the bombardment until a specific date would be more useful. Jan 15? Feb 1? NE Ent 22:13, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds like a reasonable proposal to me. NE Ent 22:14, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For what it's worth, at first glance this looks like it's a reasonable proposition. — Coren (talk) 22:43, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have some thoughts, but I'll save them for January. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:04, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And with that one sentence, all discussion is stopped, while all wait in palpable expectation of your insight and wisdom (grin) - jc37 23:08, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And with respect to Coren's edit summary, I'm always happy with sane! (As much as there may be reason to doubt it.) I welcome further discussion, while also, WP:There is no deadline. Face-smile.svg --Tryptofish (talk) 00:41, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
An interesting approach; it doesn't let the person who breaches confidentiality off the hook, while providing a mechanism allowing the arbs to discuss less sensitive matters publicly. I would oppose any effort to downplay the breach that is any leak of any information, regardless what the perp "thought" when discussing confidential information, but this proposal doesn't appear to fall into that trap. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 09:26, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I think that's very important, no matter what approach may be taken. A single arbitrator should not be able to act unilaterally on such matters. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:04, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Here and there I've seen mentions of an "ArbWiki"[9][10][11]. Could someone in the know please describe what it is and how it is used? --Surturz (talk) 05:17, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As of last year, anyways, it's more of a drafting space than much else. It's used to post drafts of announcements for consideration and voting, to keep notes while working on a case, and to keep historical data when it's likely to remain significant and trawling through a mailing list would make it difficult to reassemble. Much of ArbCom's business is conducted through the mailing list because of its advantages (immediacy, push model, accessibility) but there are a few things much easier to do on a wiki (like trying to edit prose or collect votes). It's pretty much ArbCom's whiteboard. — Coren (talk) 14:13, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Coren has it pretty much right. It is useful when drafting a decision, when gathering votes on some question, etc. (Think of the CU/OS appointment process. Voting on 14 candidates via a mailing list would be a complete mess, using a wiki, the votes keep track of themselves -- it looks much like an on-wiki proposed decision voting.) One thing Coren didn't mention is keeping track of alternate accounts we have been told about by the operator that are not disclosed on-wiki. (Without it, trying to figure out if it ever becomes an issue whether we have or not had an account disclosed to us would be nearly impossible. We need the records somewhere, but the list is as much fun to search as a root canal.) Courcelles 19:54, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well I did count that under the "historical data" category but you're right that this is a significant specific application. — Coren (talk) 23:07, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, I hope you are able to answer a few more:
1. Are pages kept in ArbWiki about individual editors?
If so:
2. Can an Arbitrator create/update an ArbWiki page about any editor at any time for any reason, or must the editor be involved in a current arbitration case?
3. How long are these ArbWiki pages on editors kept?
4. Can an editor request a copy of their ArbWiki page?
--Surturz (talk) 21:54, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Again, as of one year ago (the current arbs can correct me if I missed something):
  1. Rarely, and almost always in the context of keeping things that were on the mailing list handy for perusal without a search. Keeping track of declared alternate accounts as Courcelles said above, is probably the most frequent one. ArbCom doesn't keep "files" on editors in any significant fashion.
  2. It's a Wiki for holding notes, not a secret police dossier; in general, anything that is jotted down regarding an editor comes from either direct communication with that editor or is related to an ongoing discussion and is subject to the same disclosure rules.
  3. There is no set limit, but arbitrators occasionally leaf through the material to see if there is anything no longer relevant to clean up. I know Risker has done so late last year, for instance.
  4. I don't see why not, as a rule. — Coren (talk) 23:07, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, I think that answers all my questions! Much appreciated. --Surturz (talk) 23:15, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well almost all requests I have made from Arbcom have just fallen into a black hole, as far as I can remember. The exception is the one that was released to the wrong mailing list. Face-smile.svg So let us test this claim, since it covers part of one of these ignored requests.
I request a copy of any and all information held on me on the arbwiki, to be emailed to in the form of an export including all history, and including any "deleted" or "oversighted" information. If the committee feels only able to assist in part of this then I request a list of pages or other information not provided. If the committee feels unable to provide such a list, or only a partial list then I request that they state that clearly.
Assuring you of my best attentions at all times, Rich Farmbrough, 15:59, 21 December 2012 (UTC).
Anybody? Rich Farmbrough, 17:20, 23 December 2012 (UTC).
Because I'm sufficiently crazy, I actually took a look...and found nothing. I checked all log entries since March 2010 and there's not a single mention of "Rich" or "Farmbrough" in them. I searched the entire wiki (by Special:Search) and there's only two instances of "Rich Farmbrough", both passing mentions. I also searched for "Rich" and "Farmbrough" separately, and found nothing relevant either. So, nothing to email. T. Canens (talk) 18:09, 23 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. Rich Farmbrough, 21:04, 24 December 2012 (UTC).
Oh, and Rich? Who did you ask in the past? Because while it occasionally occurs that requests do fall between the cracks, I can't seem to find your original request. — Coren (talk) 18:15, 23 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I emailed the arb list. Probably the best thing to do is email the list again. Or not. Rich Farmbrough, 21:04, 24 December 2012 (UTC).
I suppose it must have been during 2012, because I don't see it. At any rate, sorry for the lack of an earlier answer. — Coren (talk) 22:08, 24 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More questions

Here are some further questions that could be addressed, arising from the roots of the above incident.

  1. Is it appropriate for an Arbitrator to express an opinion on the matter they are being asked to adjudicate, which prejudges the adjudication?
  2. Is it appropriate for an Arbitrator to volunteer to act as an admin proxy for one side of a side of a dispute they are asked to arbitrate on?

And arising elsewhere

  1. Is a Checkuser who has an outstanding complaint at the Checkuser Ombudsman sufficiently uninvolved to take administrative actions against the person lodging the complaint?

There are many other useful questions which could be asked to help construct sound policy and ethics advice, but lets see how these three do. Rich Farmbrough, 16:04, 19 December 2012 (UTC).

In regards to your third question, WP:INVOLVED provides that an uninvolved admin does not become involved as a long as they participate in a purely administrative role. An editor should not be able to make an admin involved by complaining about them, lest the editor forum shop by filing complaints. I would argue the same standards logically extend to checkusers. A complaint against a checkuser would not make them involved under INVOLVED policy. That said, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, it is sometimes best for an admin or other advanced permission holder to leave it to those less involved even in an administrative capacity to actually take action, but this is not required by policy. Monty845 16:15, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree with Monty. If an untested complaint was all it took to prevent an admin from acting in their administrative capacity, the opportunity for abuse (eg. 'I am complaining about every checkuser on the project') would be excessive. The complaint process isn't intended to act as a strategic option for users to hinder administrators in their normal duties. NULL talk
05:00, 20 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this is slightly different. Attempts to game the system would be clear, and these attempts have been tried, and failed in the past. Despite the fact that both arbitrators and administrators routinely ignore WP:INVOLVED, the good ones don't and the basic premise is that there are over 1000 administrators, if the matter is urgent AN/I will take care of it. Treating the complaint as if it invalid is assuming bad faith, and undermining the complaints system. Bear in mind also that the question is specifically about administrative actions, not Checkuser actions, where there is a much smaller pool of bit holders. Rich Farmbrough, 16:26, 21 December 2012 (UTC).
I can see your point, but at the same time, I don't think it works. Current practice does not make a checkuser who has acted with the checkuser hat involved with respect to future admin hat actions, and in fact it is rather common for a checkuser to block, an admin hat action, on the basis of checkuser evidence. If we accept that under current policy, a checkuser is not made involved with respect to future checkuser actions as a matter of policy merely by virtue of a complaint about check user activity being filed, then it also stands to reason that they are not made involved with respect to admin hat actions. Now once the complaint is substantiated, that would be another story. And again, it would be prudent to voluntarily recuse while the complaint is considered, but I don't think it is mandatory under current policy or practice. Monty845 16:55, 21 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A factor you routinely omit to mention, Rich, is that the supposed complaint to the Ombudsman did not even contain an actual allegation of privacy violation. — Coren (talk) 17:11, 21 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, certainly it did. Every use of Checkuser is an invasion of privacy, using Checkuser to link two accounts that are legitimate alternative accounts is an abuse, being a frivolous use of the facility to enable the Chcekuser to put a non-reversible block on the account. The real problem with Checkuser its that there is negligible oversight, there are not even statistics on how many Checkusers are performed for the Foundation, how many as a result of SPI and how many are Checkusers "fishing" (which is not supposed to be allowed, but is). That and the incestuous nature of the way checkuser power is managed and bestowed. I am just reviewing some old cases, and there have certainly been many bad eggs with checkuser power in the past, it would be foolish to expect that the power will not be abused in the future. I am looking at technical solutions to part of this problem, but we really need reform in the way Checkuser is handled.
The key thing here is not what is but what should be. We are attempting to look at ethical considerations in the hope of creating improved policy or at least guidelines. And from my point of view we should allow editors very great latitude in what they do, we expect admins to be thoughtful in exercise of their key powers, and we expect checkusers, oversighters, OTRS and arbitrators to be deliberative. Rich Farmbrough, 20:05, 21 December 2012 (UTC).
Fair enough, I shall be more precise. No violation of our privacy policy has been alleged. Now, you may well have reasoned opinions on what that policy ought to be but, ultimately, it was crafted keeping in thought the strictures of running a website where pseudonymous editing is allowed and, therefore, manipulating that allowance can be (and is often) used disruptively. You're welcome to argue for changing those rules, but accusing someone to break the rules you think should be there is farcical.

Editing Wikipedia is an intrinsically public activity, done on private property, and is subject to a number of rules and strictures. Nobody here has any right to privacy, though we do our best to not needlessly expose private information since that is the Right Thing to do. Anyone who edits here does so by agreeing to the way the place is run, and this includes the possibility that a limited set of users can inspect the logs in certain conditions. Anyone is welcome to consider this to be an unacceptable invasion of their privacy; the remedy is trivial: don't choose to edit. — Coren (talk) 20:34, 21 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The factor you routinely omit, Coren, is that you instigated the original block. Perhaps that is why you are so vociferous in defending the indefensible here. There was no need to use Checkluser to link an established legitimate alternative account to its established legitimate owner. This was as far as anyone can tell fishing, which is specifically prohibited. To then label the (already blocked) legitmate account as a sock, and to impose a super-checkuser 1337 block on the account, means that as well as abusing the position by imposing the super-block, making a personal attack, since repeated and added to many times, personal information was being released without any benefit, not fitting under any of the criteria in our privacy policy.
But the whole point of this discussion (and the fact that you missed that seems telling) is precisely to establish what we should be doing, not to rehash the mistakes of the past - that is pretty much an arbitrators job. And one of the change I propose is removing the "on their own cognizance" phraseology. I would propose: Every checkuser conducted should be in response to a specific request, wherever possible the request should be public and the response should be public (as in SPI cases). Private requests should have an established moratorium, and as much information about the request should be made public as is concomitant with privacy rules. The body overseeing the checkusers should consist of editors in good standing who are neither arbitrators nor checkusers (though they may have the checkuser right). Arbitrators should not be checkusers, though they may have the checkuser right to examine the results of checkuser's tests. Rich Farmbrough, 23:46, 21 December 2012 (UTC).
Oh and on the right to privacy, there are legal rights to privacy in both US and UK/EU laws, which may apply here, and there is an ethical right, which is espoused by the movement generally, to such an extent that even in the Poetlister case we choose not to make the identity of the culprit public. Even more there is a contract between the community and individual editors, which is reflected in the requirements of those holding appointments to have an absolute regard for privacy. Rich Farmbrough, 00:15, 22 December 2012 (UTC).

Responding to question 1: It is inherent in the nature of our two-step case process (first we decide whether to accept a case, and if we accept we then decide the case) that arbitrators will form, and sometimes express, preliminary opinions about a situation at the acceptance stage, based on the parties' statements and the evidence presented. It is understood that such preliminary opinions are just that, preliminary, and don't control the final decision of the case, which will be based on the complete evidence (and sometimes affected by intervening developments). However, as I wrote in answering another thread yesterday, of course the Arbitration Committee only accepts a case if there is reason to believe that one or more editors are behaving problematically—otherwise why would it accept the case? And explaining at the time we accept a case why we are doing so may be helpful to the parties and others in addressing the arbitrators' concerns in their evidence—and helpful to other editors who may want to know what leads us to accept or decline a case, to inform their own decisions about what types of disputes to bring to arbitration.

Although I resist analogies between the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee and real-world courts or agencies, it's worth noting that the same rule applies in court (at least in the United States). For example, it often happens that a judge has to rule on a motion for a preliminary injunction (on which one of the questions the judge will address is which party has shown "a likelihood of ultimate success on the merits"), and later has to make the final decision. Having expressed an opinion based on the record before him or her at the preliminary stage does not disqualify the judge from making the final decision. Similarly, when the U.S. Supreme Court decides to accept a case ("grant certiorari"), the Justices will have discussed issues relating to the case (although typically no opinion issues on a cert. grant) and typically will have criticized the lower court's reasoning (the Court reverses significantly more often than it affirms), but this is not considered to raise any issue. Newyorkbrad (talk) 17:21, 21 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes that is all certainly true, and I would have less problem with it if the arbitration process came out and said "this is not arbitration, it is a trial, you are the defendant, these are the plaintiffs, the defendant is granted certain rights (such as the right to present a defence) " and so forth. Instead the process morphs between inquisitive, confrontational and cooperative, depending on the whim of the moment (and the personalities involved).
Even then the distinction between saying that there is a case to answer and expressing an opinion that prejudges part of the case is clear. "I accept the case, especially because of all the sockpuppetry." is unacceptable "I accept the case, especially in the light of the serious socking allegations" is far less so.
I think it is established psychology that expressing an opinion impairs one's neutrality.
Rich Farmbrough, 20:19, 21 December 2012 (UTC).
Arbitration is most assuredly not a trial, nor is it dispute resolution, even though it sits at the end of the dispute resolution chain. Arbitration is a process to end ongoing disruption that the community has not been able to deal with in other ways. No one is guaranteed a fair or just outcome, though fairness and justice are prominent secondary goals. Of course, my opinion is just that--my opinion. Several arbitrators will allow disruption to the project to continue in the face of a simple solution to end that disruption, because they believe that justice and fairness are more important. In the case of a large project where arbitrators only take a fraction of the possible cases that are in-scope, however, the second-order effects like establishing principles (well, reiterating consensus on policy, for the most part) that the community can use to solve similar problems in the future is the major value of arbitration. Jclemens (talk) 19:00, 23 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I understand that fairness and justice are secondary to you, as you have amply demonstrated, I believe that approach is similar to making safety secondary in a firework factory. You may produce fireworks for a time, but before too long there will be no factory. Rich Farmbrough, 21:19, 24 December 2012 (UTC).

Contacting the Arbitration Committee

I need to contact the Arbitration Committee. As I can see from the project page there are 2 main ways to contact. One is by mailing at and the other through "Email this user" feature to User:Arbitration Committee. I wanted to know that can the Arbcom be contacted through through the Wikipedia "E-mail this user" feature ? And does all the Arbcom members (current and former) have access to User:Arbitration Committee if I contact using that method ? I would like to use the secure "E-mail this user" feature to conact the Committee privately. Thank you. ~TheGeneralUser (talk) 00:16, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The email address of User:Arbitration Committee does point at the arbcom-l list; it's mostly a there as a matter of convenience (as has the side effect of confirming what account you are emailing from, which is useful in certain situations). All the email goes to the same place, though, and is received by all current arbitrators (as well as Jimmy). No former arbitrators are subscribed to that list. — Coren (talk) 00:39, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal for removal of adminship process

A Request for Comment on a proposal to create a new process to allow for removal of adminship through community discussion. I'm posting here as this includes arbcom. I welcome everyone's thoughts on this. - jc37 21:31, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unless I'm looking at it lopsided, that doesn't appear to be a request for comment. That proposal was around in July and never got anywhere - what has changed? --Elen of the Roads (talk) 22:18, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OTRS queue

Is the ArbCom OTRS queue used for anything nowadays? --Rschen7754 10:14, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

... There's an Arbcom OTRS queue? (I suppose that answers your question). I seem to recall some discussion several years back about examining OTRS as a mechanism for ban appeals; perhaps that was a result of that discussion back then, but it's certainly not in use now. — Coren (talk) 19:24, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not familiar with this either. Many arbitrators use the OTRS oversight queue, since most arbitrators have oversight permission, but I wasn't aware (or don't remember) that there's a dedicated OTRS queue for arbitration matters (and hopefully I would know...). Newyorkbrad (talk) 19:32, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From poking around on the OTRS wiki, it seems to have been used back in the 2009-2010 era very briefly, but of course I don't have access to the queue. Anyway, what prompted my question was a discussion about OTRS and permission-related queues such as oversight-en-wp, arbcom-en-wp, and stewards - there's apparently a bit of an issue with the OTRS admins refusing to give a steward access to the stewards queue. [12] --Rschen7754 20:18, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, there is a queue, but its last (and only) use was for one of the CU and OS round of appointments. We used the queue to send and receive the questionnaires that are given to applicants (or potential applicants) prior to their being vetted by the committee. The queue has not been used in some years, and I suppose the committee at of that year decided to go in a different direction than OTRS for that type of business. AGK [•] 21:42, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I assume we decided to use the b-list or c-list for that instead, since it comes directly into our mailboxes. (I don't actually remember making that decision, but Risker would know.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:53, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If I remember correctly, it was actually the other way round. OTRS for the CU/OS round was the experiment. It was, as you say, less convenient than using one of the mailing lists and not used again. The b-list was fully operational from about early August 2009.  Roger Davies talk 23:48, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Applicants are vetted by the Committee? Surely not? Rich Farmbrough, 07:42, 18 January 2013 (UTC).
You will need to explain your astonishment. All candidates are vetted before being presented for community consultation, yes. Applicants are not vetted; they are merely given a copy of the questionnaire and told when to return it if they wish to enter a candidacy. AGK [•] 11:46, 18 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Followup on conduct issues

Risker's request to hold off in the section just above this one notwithstanding, things tend to be forgotten as time passes. Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Conduct of arbitrators says:

Arbitrators are expected to:
1. Act with integrity and good faith at all times;
4. Preserve in appropriate confidence the contents of private correspondence sent to the Committee and the Committee's internal discussions and deliberations.
Any arbitrator who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by Committee resolution supported by two-thirds of arbitrators.

The problem with the two-thirds resolution were well discussed previously; perhaps the new Committee will rework the two-thirds policy so that it won't be hamstrung in the future should a policy violation appear during election recusals. But I have an additional concern about ArbCom policy.

However, it appears that like everyone ele who runs bots (remember I'm on a committee with Xeno and Coren) you are an anal retentive with OCD on the autism spectrum.[13]

This is possibly the single worst personal attack I have ever seen on Wikipedia. It is not only an abuse of power; it tries to denigrate the target, along with everyone else who runs bots, by instead denigrating an entire group of people with neurological differences: an ignorant and malicious three-fer. It would result in a lengthy block for any regular user. It makes all the brouhaha over "civility" pale in comparison. It would be disgusting coming from anyone; it is even more so when coming from a sitting arb. We do expect more from admins and arbs then behavior that would result in a block for any other user, no?

  1. Repeatedly or grossly: did this personal attack not fit the definition of "grossly"?
  2. Was it the Committee's assumption that any admin could have/should have blocked; i.e., the Committee shouldn't be involved in sanctioning its own?
  3. What possibilites exist within ArbCom Policy (besides the 2/3 to remove) for dealing with egregious personal attacks or "failing to act with integrity" by an arb?
  4. What action did the Committee take when this personal attack came to light? I saw only an admonishment that Elen of the Roads shouldn't have blocked while she was involved. I cannot recall seeing any direct action, such as would result for any other user making a personal attack of this severity.
  5. When the new Committee begins re-evaluating Policy to account for the breaches of the maillist privacy, will it also be looking at better enforcement for dealing with arbs who fail to act with integrity? Specifically, even if 2/3 of the Committee could not or would not remove Elen of the Roads for this attack, or didn't feel the attack rose to the level of contemplating removal from the Committee, what other possibilities for admonishment might be considered in future similar situations?

We shouldn't be seeing this kind of conduct from an arb again, but should it re-occur, I hope the new Committee will assure there are policies in place to deal with a failure to act with integrity, when the 2/3 removal isn't enacted. Regards, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 09:17, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Elen lost her position at the recent election. That's why elections exist: as a check on the abuse of power. What will be gained in pursuing this further? Allowing Arbs to remove other Arbs from their position is a bit fraught because it can be abused and used to remove arbs in a minority faction. --Surturz (talk) 13:09, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, elections are over, and now the new Committee can revisit their policies with an eye towards avoiding same in the future. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:19, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is the single worst personal attack you have ever seen on Wikipedia? — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:18, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes: if you've got worse, I'd rather not see them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:19, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Whilst it is doubtless very noble of you to indirectly defend a person who was acting on your instigation, it is not particularly helpful. Rich Farmbrough, 15:31, 19 December 2012 (UTC).
    In fact I would not defend her handling of your case. She bungled it completely by failing to act decisively, and the entire arbcom case could have been avoided if she had handled things correctly. But the claim that saying "many bot programmers are OCD and on the autism spectrum" is somehow the most offensive thing evar is just too polemical for my taste. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:46, 20 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Here are some alternate scenarios which may help Carl understand why it is so offensive:
    • However, it appears that like everyone else from your country, you are another lazy Hispanic who can't be bothered to read instructions.
    • However, it appears that like everyone else of your persuasion, you are so gay you can't help being hysterical and drama prone.
    Why is it OK to attack autistic people in ways that would never be tolerated if the comment related to race, gender, or sexual persuasion? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:16, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I perfectly well understand *why* it could be offensive, but there are many more offensive things that appear on Wikipedia. For example, there was this editor I remember who was named after some Harry Potter character or the other... And because I am a bot programmer myself, I can say that accusing us of being OCD, anal retentive, or on the autism spectrum is like accusing basketball players of being tall, and not likely to offend anyone who actually is a bot programmer on the autism spectrum. As a mathematician I have lots of experience with people on the autism spectrum, usually undiagnosed. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:38, 20 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Indeed, I understand why you don't understand why it is offensive. This was not a polite enquiry, though most neurotypicals would in fact consider even that rude, "Perhaps this whole problem stems from an underlying cause not related to Wikipedia and we can progress better if that is identified, are you, perhaps, on the autism spectrum?" This was a bundling of three terms, used in a layman's way, similar to calling someone for example "a spastic, moron and idiot". It is predicated on these being "bad" things - hence the triple whammy Sandy mentions. Rich Farmbrough, 16:54, 21 December 2012 (UTC).
    And just to be absolutely clear on the matter, had it been almost anyone but Elen I would have been extremely offended. Rich Farmbrough, 17:05, 21 December 2012 (UTC).
    CBM, there very well may be some "anal retentive, OCD, autistic" persons who would not be offended by the description. There also may be some lazy hispanics on Wikipedia. There may even be some drama-queen, hysteria-prone homosexuals. So, can we focus on the policy questions, please? My first question asks whether the arbs consider this kind of attack (that would typically result in a block for any other user) as falling in the "grossly" failing to meet expectations category. If not, why not, relative to routine blocks of ordinary editors? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:23, 21 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding the incivility, I seem to remember that it was dealt with at the time and Elen struck it and apologised. As an admin, I would have dealt with that in exactly the same way no matter who the editor was and I felt that the outcome was satisfactory at the time. As such, I don't agree that this would resulted in a block for any other user. WormTT(talk) 14:26, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • That is not dealing with it from an Arb policy point of view. Were you the only person to call it up? That is not the sanction any other editor would have received from most admins, notwithstanding what you might have done. And she belatedly claimed it was humor somewhat after acknowledging "the sharp edge of her tongue" (not humor).

    My interest is not in revisiting the arb abuse that occurred here. My questions are addressed to the sitting arbs regarding what the thinking was that led to no sanction in the case of an abusive personal attack from a sitting arb; new arbs will obviously be involved in the policy reform matter. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:19, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sandy raises some very good points, I have no issue with this being used as an example, from which we can learn lessons as a community. I do think that there is no need (or intention) to pursue Elen over this, she has apologised already, and realises the issues with what she said. We might look at many other issues relating to Arbcom and arbitrators, I speak with limited knowledge, but in my case alone they have repeatedly failed to answer emails, have leaked private emails on-wiki and off, failed to recuse when they were involved, shown partiality (it took community pressure for even the "Elen is reminded" sanction to be included) and failed to follow, or even know their own rules. All this is simply human fallibility and I have little problem with it - what I do have a problem with is the mindset where the committee, particularly the substitute drafting arbitrator, ignored good faith attempts to resolve issues and denied time to defend against the proposals. This goes to the root of the problem in my opinion, treating Arbitration as a judicial process with victors and punishments, rather than an independent collegial process to find the best solution for the project.
Rich Farmbrough, 15:00, 19 December 2012 (UTC).
You have correctly noted that this is a policy matter; the questions are aimed at focusing on whether the policy is sufficient or needs to be reworked, and understanding why the arbs took no action (if that is the case). I have raised five questions: some of them are addressed at sitting arbs, some of the new arbs may be involved if ArbCom policy is reworked. I would like to hear from the arbs, not the peanut gallery. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:25, 19 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bump, no answers; perhaps the new Arb Committee will answer in the New Year? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:03, 28 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As far as options for removing arbitrators, the singular option is a 2/3rds vote as specified in WP:ARBPOL. As far as I know, blocking a standing arb is untested waters, but personally I don't see any reason why a block couldn't be applied if the criteria were met--if an arb is causing severe disruption or damage to the encyclopedia, a block is going to be faster than wrangling up the arbs to vote on a motion (all this is of course predicated on the use of blocking as prevention, rather than punishment, which is a thorny issue the community has had difficulty with in regards to how to distinguish the two cases.)
Likewise, I don't think that arbitrators are the equivalent of a US congressional representative's right to immunity--that is, arbitrators can certainly be the subject of an ArbCom case or ANI threads as applicable, so I don't think it's a matter of 'ArbCom has to hear the cases against its own'.
Whether or not personal attacks or incivility rise to the threshold of preventable disruption (and hence blockable behavior) has famously been a point of contention in the community. It seems elections often prompt new considerations for changes in policy or procedure, and I'm sure the community will hear about them if the new body considers them worth bringing up.
--Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 19:01, 28 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I appreciate that someone finally (at least) responded, but Fuchs, you didn't really address my five very specific questions. I did not ask if the arb could/should be removed (I specifically said "besides the 2/3 remove"), and was not suggesting removal. I am asking what internal processes are in place to handle a situation like this, and whether the Committee considered this attack in the "grossly" category specified, and whether new internal policies are needed or will be contemplated. If this attack does "not" fall in the "grossly" category, then we indeed have a Wikipedia-wide civility enforcement problem, but I am more interested in knowing that the arbs either have or will add something to deal with things like this internally, regardless if they make the rest of the community aware of how they deal with similar. I am still hoping someone will answer the five questions. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:06, 4 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sandy, I'll offer an opinion from an ArbCom-watcher, but with the caveat that my interest relates only to policy and practice going forward and not on any action / sanction for past issues...
1. Repeatedly or grossly: did this personal attack not fit the definition of "grossly"?

I would like to be able to say give an unambiguous "yes" but based on community practice things aren't that simple. I would consider it grossly uncivil, but I recognise that there are those who require "bad words" for incivility. From observations of ArbCom, I am confident that there are many arbitrators who would also consider the comment grossly uncivil and warranting some action, but would not suggest a single act of incivility justifies suspension or expulsion from the Committee (and nor would I). If an arbitrator made such a comment during a case to an editor facing sanction, I would hope that the rest of the Committee members would push for recusal due to bias. A nice resolution in this case might have been a block for incivility in which the arbitrator sanctioned recognised the incivility and undertook to sit out the block to recognise the inappropriate act. Unfortunately, the recent "not a wikipedian" incident suggests that arbitrators are within the group of vested contributors for whom an unblock will quickly follow any block. It is sad that sanctioning arbitrators for unacceptable behaviour is effectively impossible unless it is done by ArbCom itself, and ArbCom is harmstrung and anyway should not be expected to guard themselves for routine on-wiki misbehaviour. EdChem (talk) 05:37, 6 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2. Was it the Committee's assumption that any admin could have/should have blocked; i.e., the Committee shouldn't be involved in sanctioning its own?

I can't answer for ArbCom, obviously, but I believe that any admin should be able to act in principle but that this is impossible in practice. Being realistic, there is no resolution possible under present circumstances as any individual action will be overturned, any attempt at a community action will end in no consensus, any action from Jimbo will result in huge disruption, and the Committee collectively has rarely if ever (to my recollection) taken any meaningful public action in response to arbitrator misbehaviour. Perhaps there have been off-wiki comments / reprimands / whatever (we have some evidence of those in certain cases), but my perception has been that maintaining solidarity and protecting the arbitrators collectively has been treated as more important than protecting the institution of ArbCom by publicly recognising failings of individual arbitrator failings. Further, I don't think individual arbitrators should be expected to act to monitor other arbitrator's actions in place of the admin and broader editing communities, but I recognise that is the situation as it exists presently. EdChem (talk) 05:37, 6 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

3. What possibilites exist within ArbCom Policy (besides the 2/3 to remove) for dealing with egregious personal attacks or "failing to act with integrity" by an arb?

Formally? None, beyond regular site policy. We are talking about civility here, it is totally disfunctional wiki-wide, why would it be any different in the case of arbitrators? And removal from the Committee for personal attacks when the community can't agree on civility would be an over-reaction and involve ArbCom trying to define the boundaries of the civility policy, which would be controversial. EdChem (talk) 05:37, 6 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

4. What action did the Committee take when this personal attack came to light? I saw only an admonishment that Elen of the Roads shouldn't have blocked while she was involved. I cannot recall seeing any direct action, such as would result for any other user making a personal attack of this severity.

Only an arbitrator can answer this, and if one revealled content from off-wiki discussions, s/he could face criticism, censure, or expulsion. EdChem (talk) 05:37, 6 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

5. When the new Committee begins re-evaluating Policy to account for the breaches of the maillist privacy, will it also be looking at better enforcement for dealing with arbs who fail to act with integrity? Specifically, even if 2/3 of the Committee could not or would not remove Elen of the Roads for this attack, or didn't feel the attack rose to the level of contemplating removal from the Committee, what other possibilities for admonishment might be considered in future similar situations.

Sandy, theoretically modifying ArbCom policy is up to the community, so you can try to work on this. I don't like the idea that modifications to ArbCom policy need to come from ArbCom. I believe that the community needs to be guided by the thoughts and experiences of current and former arbitrators on issues of practicality, but the content of policy is not determined by ArbCom. During the last round of changes, efforts to add content on a code of ethics and formalising recusal were edited out in favour of general and broad statements as arbitrators should be trusted to know and to do what is best. I don't agree with that perspective, I think ArbCom policy should provide greater direction in some areas - like a mechanism to force ArbCom to address recusal issues when an individual arbitrator's impartiality is being questioned by uninvolved editors, and a mechanism for community-initiated recall, as examples - but the way forward is for the community to act to on ArbCom policy. Just my thoughts. EdChem (talk) 05:37, 6 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
EdChem is right that, insofar as CIVIL is broken, it is broken
As to blocking, that is also broken in so very many ways - the following spring to mind - I'm sure there are more
  1. People are reluctant to use up social capital by blocking established editors/friends/admins/Arbs
  2. People are reluctant to use up social capital by reversing bad blocks especially those made by arbs
  3. People are over-keen to to reverse blocks made on friends and "allies"
  4. Arbs use their "this is an arb block" magic button inappropriately
  5. People are sometimes to willing to block new or less established editors a little precipitously
  6. The unblock request system is socially flawed.
  7. An indef block is often used as a mild sanction, the idea being that it will be sorted out very quickly and reversed - and ends up as an effective ban.
  8. The exponential back-off beloved of IETF RFCs (and not usually a great solution there) is very inappropriate for human relations
Without resolving these sorts of problems, EdChem's "vested" analysis will remain spot on.
As to dealing with arbitrators qua arbitrators, Risker's horror the idea of an arbitration recall process convinces me that it is probably a good thing. I would have thought the signatures of 50 editors in good standing would make any Arb wish to demonstrate that community consensus is still on their side. This will, however not really help much. Arbs in the past have included fraudsters, copyviolaters, sockers and leakers that I am aware of. None of these would necessarily have been detected or resolved by a recall process, most would have been subject to 2/3 committee motion had the facts been known.
I hope this is a positive contribution to a discussion that should be of interest to those working in this area.
Rich Farmbrough, 21:11, 6 January 2013 (UTC).
Rich, you say "Arbs use their "this is an arb block" magic button inappropriately". I know of no arbitrator who has abused the {{ArbComBlock}} function. Please withdraw or clarify your statement. AGK [•] 09:03, 7 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AGK, calling something an 'untruth of Rich Farmbrough's' without knowing what Rich Farmbrough means is quite a leap of faith, and it is tainting, is it not? You clearly show your conclusion to the public. --Beetstra (public) (Dirk BeetstraT C on public computers) 09:28, 7 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It does appear to be magic because we don't know how/why what the criteria for use is. Take for, example User talk:JeffreyGold, an account which had not edited since 2006 being blocked without explanation. I'm guessing it was "unsuitable for public discussion for privacy, legal or similar reasons"? But when it is applied? Is there a majority or net four vote or arbcom-l, or does an individual Arb (or subcommittee) decide? I'd suggest some general explanation be added either in the template itself, or other suitable location and the template linked to it. NE Ent 22:10, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This would be another example of an account very recently blocked by arbcom without any discussion or explanation. Are you worried about that block? I'm not.
It's fine to mention examples, but one presumes that cases where arbcom blocks without explaining why, are cases where that's necessary. If that troubles you, vote in a different set of lizards next time! --Demiurge1000 (talk) 05:36, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You provided a very, very bad example. It is absolutely clear why that user was blocked. It is probably one of a very few situations when the block issued by the Committee was warranted. The explanations were not given to protect the user. (talk) 23:36, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doesn't that make it not, in fact, a very very bad example, but in fact a very good one? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:42, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, because a simple succession of two negatives cannot lead to anything positive. (talk) 01:29, 24 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AGK you know full well, if you have bothered to read your email, at least one {{ArbComBlock}} that was ultra vires. Rich Farmbrough, 07:33, 18 January 2013 (UTC).

Thank you, EdChem, for the considered and helpful response; you cover several points I wasn't aware of. It's hard to understand why answers weren't forthcoming, but 1) I only recently realized from my watchlist that the Rich Farmbrough case still had activity, so perhaps arbs didn't want to weigh in; and 2) it seems my phrasing didn't make it clear enough that I wasn't inquiring about removal, rather to what internal processes ArbCom has for such a situation. Perhaps past experience relates only to removal (FT2) so my question wasn't clear enough. At minimum, it would seem that an arb who had made a personal attack on an editor would have to recuse from cases involving that editor, and I would guess that would be codified somewhere. Thanks for answering on the big picture, EdChem. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:06, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think there's any past experience of removal either, Sandy. FT2 wasn't removed, because the "integrity" clause wasn't in place at the time.[14] He was persuaded to stand down, off the record and with considerable difficulty. Occasionally I revisit these stirring times mentally, pat my dinosaur [15] and reflect that I'm very glad we now do have the integrity rule. Having the possibility of removal of arbs (note, removal for "serious" things, not lapses like Elen confiding in somebody she trusted) is the important thing, surely. Invoking arbcom policy for the contentious field of personal attacks seems overkill to me. Bishonen | talk 11:35, 12 January 2013 (UTC).Reply[reply]
There's a nice example of arbitrators as vested contributors... Bishzilla's block of FT2 lasted ten minutes. EdChem (talk) 13:27, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes indeed, Ed, but your comment doesn't capture the full fruitiness. Bishzilla was taken to RFAR for her block, with many a comment like "Posting an indef block of an active arbitrator is extraordinarily disruptive"[16], admonished by the committee, and told that she'd be desysopped if it happened again.[17][18] I hope it's a sign of progress that there was less outrage when Floquenbeam blocked Jclemens a few months ago (for surely far less — what's that happy euphemism again — less egregious misconduct than FT2's), and that Floq wasn't even RFAR'd. Bishonen | talk 15:33, 12 January 2013 (UTC).Reply[reply]
Plus, it lasted 50% longer. --Floquenbeam (talk) 17:38, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The funny thing is, there's a shitstorm here about the harshness of Elen's words, but not so much the veracity. Tarc (talk) 14:35, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Well Tarc, if you are offering to pay for a psychological assessment, for the three categories involved, I will find the time. The expert on Autism diagnosis works in Cambridge and his fees are very reasonable I'm told (and this would be very interesting) - but I come up negative on his published test. I'm sure there is someone who would administer a battery for OCD - but I score 0 on this test. You would have to dig up a psychologist who has been dead for twenty years to get a diagnosis of the third suggested characteristic. Rich Farmbrough, 07:33, 18 January 2013 (UTC).

Possible sanctions break

      • It's disappointing to learn that the new Committee is looking to sanction Elen for disclosing Jclemens' misbehaviour on the spurious grounds that she might suddenly start disclosing personally identifying confidential information – see Elen's talk page for details. Naturally, the discussion is being held in private, but Elen will be allowed to make a token submission once the decision has been made. I am struggling to come up with a valid reason to hold a discussion of a subject that has been aired publicly and where the Community should be having input in secret. I am disappointed to say that my impression is that protecting arbitrators who misuse the mailing list has been chosen as the way forward, rather than preventing misuse and ensure on-wiki disclosure of arbitrator misbehaviour. Why is it that so many people are outraged that Elen allowed Jclemens' misbehaviour to become known but not outraged that policy insists that his misbehaviour was not something the Community had any right to know about? EdChem (talk) 12:41, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • Reading and digesting this page leaves me feeling queasy, for numerous reasons. Jusdafax 13:52, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • Yes, me too. I read the discussion at Elen's talk. It seems to me that the community has voted, and it's time to leave both Elen and Jclemens in peace, and to move on. Elen appears worried that serious sanctions may be down the road for her, and I very much hope that those worries prove unfounded. But unless (as is certainly very possible!) I misunderstand, what is going on right now is limited to removing oversighter and checkuser. If I understand correctly, these are tools that are automatically given to members of the Committee to assist in their duties. I would think that these tools would be removed when someone leaves the Committee. Is that correct? If so, that's not such a big deal. But if instead, Elen is being singled out for removal of those two tools because of the e-mail incident, I'd like to see some discussion not only of that, but of why the tools are not being removed from other ex-members. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:29, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
            • You are correct that only oversight and checkuser are curently at issue in this specific case.

              Incidentally, we asked ourselves the very same questions you just did, and currently are in a discussion about whether it remains appropriate for arbitrators emeriti to retain those permissions by default. At this time, we are leaning towards "provisionally until they can be appointed through the normal process" rather than "forever by default". — Coren (talk) 19:38, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

              • Of relevance may be this announcement, which talks of retiring arbitrators remaining as functionaries: "They will provisionally retain access to CheckUser and Oversight pending an upcoming annual review of the Functionaries team by the Committee". Alexandr Dmitri (talk) 20:27, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Elen's fuck up was widely publicized before the election. While individuals in the community, including some currently sitting on the committee, may have doubts about Elen's continued access to the oversight and checkuser tools, the Wikipedia community supported her candidacy 56%, greater than the 50% minimum to be seated. Given the small number of checkusers and oversighters, many of whom have other duties (like being on the committee), and the presence of the audit committee as a safeguard, and the very natural human tendency not to fuck up twice in the same way, there's no need or benefit to removing Elen from the active CU / Oversight roster. NE Ent 21:06, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • "Minimum to be seated" has nothing to do with granting CU and OS. On the contrary, during the CUOS appointment process, percentage means absolutely nothing. --Rschen7754 21:12, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Replying to Coren's reply to me, I'd like to give feedback that "default" retention gets into a tricky area in the case of members who ran for re-election and were not successful, in comparison to members who chose not to run again (and, I suppose, in contrast to members who, hypothetically, chose not to run again under a cloud, although that's hypothetical this past year). (As for the definition of being unsuccessful in the election, I acknowledge the disagreement just above.) To the extent that Elen were to be singled out as a special case, I would be concerned that this would be punitive, rather than preventative. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:07, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

AUSC and BASC statistics

Hello Arbs, a few times before I have poked about getting the statistics for AUSC and BASC posted, and well, it's that time again. I know you guys are busy people, but could we maybe get this set on a semi-annual basis by the members of the subcommittees? Maybe designate someone as the "reporter"? The last statistics were (as I can see) in October 2011 for BASC and February 2012 for AUSC. Also a reports page should be made for BASC, so people can review statistics instead of having to dig for them, and if someone wants, I can pull that together so it's ready for you guys. Maybe the community members (well, if they are coming for BASC, which would be nice) could take up the task to take the work off the arbs? -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 22:35, 28 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bumping just to keep the thread here. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 08:05, 7 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We on BASC were not maintaining statistics throughout 2012, so no report can be published for that subcommittee. However, our co-ordinator has (I believe) been keeping a rolling total of the BASC caseload for 2013, so half-yearly or annual reports for ban appeals should be available again in future. We on AUSC publish statistics irregularly, and only when we have enough cases to justify releasing a break-down of the case-load for the previous period of time. When we reach that point, somebody will write up statistics in the usual form and propose them for publication; until that happens, we would not publish the statistics. Both these statistics are published "as needed", unlike the functionary activity statistics that are published every month. The BASC statistics page is a good idea, but I would prefer a simple list of permalinks to the old announcements. AGK [•] 13:47, 7 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hello, as stated above I don't believe anyone was keeping track of BASC totals for most of 2012. However I intend to return to regularly publishing quarterly BASC reports this year (so bug us come April!) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 16:59, 13 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Standard procedure semantics

The implications of:

  • All blocks shall be logged in the appropriate section of the main case page.

are slightly unclear. This provision should instead read:

  • All such blocks shall be logged in the appropriate section of the main case page.

or something similar to that effect, so as to ensure that a literal interpretation does not necessitate special logging of unrelated or benign blocks.   — C M B J   00:48, 25 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Community consultation: Remit of the Ombudsman Commission

The Ombudsman Commission would like to consult the community on their opinions about the remit of the Commission. Please see this notice. Feel free to cross-post this notice to any appropriate noticeboard. --(ʞɿɐʇ) ɐuɐʞsǝp 15:09, 25 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mailing list, again

(I'm tempted to point out that I'm not asking for anyone to step down.) But I'm dismayed that, amid all the other talk here, Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Archive 13#Mailing list has been archived. I sincerely urge the Arbs to look at it, and to take it seriously. It's something that you absolutely need to do better on than (some of) you have done in the past, and there are feasible and constructive things that you can do about it. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:38, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I for one have been thinking about the mailing list issues ever since they were first raised. I had expected to comment in that discussion when I had a chance (I was on vacation for some days), and am sure the discussion will continue in some form. Newyorkbrad (talk) 01:01, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please feel free to comment on it here. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:07, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Brad, you're more optimistic than I. The practice in handling mailing list abuse, and in handling any subsequent discussion about mailing list abuse, seems to be—ignore it and hope it goes away. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 01:48, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm worried about that, too. Brad et al., please prove me wrong by not waiting until the next time the archive bot comes by. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:56, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now it's not archived. NE Ent 02:17, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:13, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello? Is this thing on?

I know that dealing with WP:CHILDPROTECT issues is probably unpleasant for you, but it is part of the job and you knew that when you put yourselves up for election to ArbCom. Since I'm not getting any responses to my emails, perhaps one of you would be good enough to respond to my questions in Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive246#Was there a change in our child protection policy?? And it would be just super if you could do that without immediately disappearing, so that we could have a discussion about this. You know it's not going away. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:25, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feel free to email me if you had somehow got blocked by too many arbcom members due to (ahem) problems with your behaviour. I'm quite sure to be able to get some people's notice if it's actually important. It's also possible that people are just busy, but yeah I'm sure I can do some quite harsh prodding :) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 22:27, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll take a look at the thread and respond if there's anything on which I think I can offer useful comment. If you meant "immediately disappearing" to be a hint at my disappearance after commenting yesterday (and not a hint at some other arbitrator or a general remark), I didn't intentionally snub your reply to me and I would have always responded to your {{talkback}} when I had a spare moment. Also, if you think we do not care about child protection in general and in practice, then you should know (and I think I speak for every one of my colleagues when I say this) that this is very far from accurate. I suppose I'm suggesting you not be quite so angry about this (and, on that note, I'll go deal with your e-mail before doing a single other thing). AGK [•] 22:32, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can only judge ArbCom's concern for "child protection" by its actions. And I'm not seeing any action in cases where there is very very little room for doubt. If you think I'm "angry" about this, you have formed the wrong impression. I'm not angry at all. Or even surprised. But I am persistent and I think this is an important issue. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:41, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
DC, I can assure you that ArbCom is swift (indeed, some have complained too swift) to act when provided with evidence. The problem is that too often, we are provided with little but conjecture and cherry-picked circumstantial hints. In those cases, and absent actual on-wiki problematic behaviour, we can't simply bring down the hammer on an editor because he may or may not be one of several Internet personas that share the same pseudonym. — Coren (talk) 00:59, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Constrained though we are by policy and privacy concerns, I think it might be helpful if we talk about the two most recent cases that I covered on Wikipediocracy's blog. In one case, the user had previously self-identified on-wiki as a "girl-lover" (a pedophile who is attracted to prepubescent girls). This user is now indef blocked by an admin who is not a member of ArbCom and did not make the block at your request, with an edit notice telling people to contact ArbCom about the block. I have no doubt that they informed you of the block. If you feel that there was insufficent evidence to connect the account which self-identified with the blocked account, you should reverse this block. If you agree with the block, I am curious as to why you sat on your hands until someone else made the block, since I know the case had been reported to you. In the more recent case, no one has acknowledged even receiving my two emails about it, let alone asked for more information. These don't seem to me like the actions of a body that is concerned with carrying out one of its duties. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 03:40, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

AGK, you said you were going to "deal with your e-mail before doing a single other thing". I haven't received a reply, the editor is not blocked, you haven't replied to my questions at WP:AN, and you haven't made another post here. I'm curious - is my email dealt with now? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:41, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Delicious carbuncle, I have replied to your email in my personal capacity, you will find some comments from me there. I will certainly discuss the matter with you, but because this is clearly a privacy issue, I will not be discussing further on-wiki. If you want to discuss Arbcom's (or Wikipedia's) handling of child protection cases, discussion should be kept to the general case. There is certainly room for improvement - and I believe this is something that the foundation, not Arbcom, should be handling. WormTT(talk) 12:34, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I did deal with your e-mail immediately, as I said I would—though I don't think I'm at liberty to say how I dealt with it. As for your questions at AN, I did look at them, and did not see anything I thought I could helpfully reply to. AGK [•] 14:00, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed prohibition on undoing an oversight block

Arbcom, could I ask you to take a look at my proposal at Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy#Proposed prohibition on undoing an oversight block? Prioryman (talk) 21:41, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I demand you all step down

I have made my decision. I hold this so-called committee responsible for the events that transpired that led to my permanent ban. I have waited long enough to let cooler heads prevail. You are ultimately responsible for the actions of the CheckUser, although DeltaQuad certainly shares the blame. I definitely intend on making this precedent, giving everyone else, and I assume there are many, who has been arbitrary banned for no good reason but were unable to make it so obvious as to give you no room for maneuver. I will be doing this for them as much as for myself. I will be their voice.

You should strip DeltaQuad of his CheckUser permissions immediately for, at a minimum, incompetence. I did and still do consider his actions malicious, but even assuming good faith, it is plain incompetence. There are plenty of individuals who can take his place. Out of all the administrative positions, there simply should not be any question about the motives or competence of a CheckUser.

Thereafter, you should step down from your positions on this board, for even letting this outrageous incident happen, and re-run or -apply or whatever it is you did to get this job. I will not necessarily oppose your renewed application, but at least it will give pause for a review of your performance.

YOU, this board, are the biggest threat to Wikimedia Foundation projects I have yet come across. Your incompetence cannot be reverted, unlike the common vandal or troll. Your incompetence cannot be countered or contained, and with the CheckUser it knows no bounds. This whole affair is a stain on this project, and I, we, all of those who are your past or next victims, are here to see the stain removed.

I will not stop. Years from now you will tire of this, but I will still be there, here, wherever, clamoring for your fall. I will not stop. Ban me if you will, but I will see this through. You will step down or I will spend every ounce of skill I have to see you are forced to do so. You will step down or ... I am not even sure yet. If it means having your administrative right revoked, so be it. If it means a letter writing campaign to the Wikimedia Foundation board, so be it. If it means wearing a bright red t-shirt at the WikiMania con or otherwise causing a ruckus, then so be it. I will see this through.

Int21h (talk) 00:03, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good luck with that. Ryan Vesey 00:23, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Luck accepted. I'm going to need it. Int21h (talk) 00:32, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
None givenRyan Vesey 00:34, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • So you were mistakenly blocked for a few weeks because of a faulty sockpuppet investigation, the blocking admin apologized, and since then you have been able to edit unhindered. Is that more or less the gist of it? Tarc (talk) 00:38, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
More or less. The incompetent make many mistakes. But I think your gist misses the point. If it makes anyone feel any better, I am sorry for having to resort to this. Int21h (talk) 00:43, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think a reading of Matthew 7:5 would do you a world of good there, bro. Mistakes happen, this is a project staffed with volunteers. Chalk it up to a "shit happens" moment and move on, your call for mass resignations is without merit, and quite frankly a little juvenile.. Tarc (talk) 00:48, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I will definitely take your advise under consideration. Mistakes do indeed happen, and life goes on. Call it what it you will, but I think this demand is appropriate and reasonable. Stepping down from the ArbCom should not be construed as a something that is to be feared. They have failed, albeit maybe only even once, but its enough to let someone else have a go at it. This is not just some WikiProject task force, this is ArbCom. The buck stops here. Int21h (talk) 01:02, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For the record, I did reply about this on my user talk, and figured I didn't need to drag it out here. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 02:04, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Speaking honestly here, I do think that anyone who was unaware of the way that TOR could affect CU data, and who made or supported this block anyway, should resign the checkuser tools. You quite simply aren't qualified to use them, and you aren't aware of your limitations. This isn't a statement of wrongdoing, it is a perfectly understandable mistake to someone unversed in this area. But you shouldn't be using CU if you don't understand it, especially if you do not know that you do not understand it. Not giving up CU would show that you do not have the best intentions of the project in mind. Prodego talk 02:12, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If anything is going to happen, it should happen here somewhere else, and should examine the events leading to the block and leading to the unblock. Wherever it occurs, it should not happen here. There is no way to have a productive discussion in a section entitled "I demand you all step down". Ryan Vesey 02:17, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) Ryan, you just contradicted yourself, so I can't understand you. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 02:38, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've fixed my error. Sorry for the confusion. Personally, I'm in agreement with Fluffernutter below. Ryan Vesey 02:43, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Given that multiple CUs signed off on the original block, Prodego, I think you have rather inflated expectations of CU perfection. As Tarc says, mistakes happen and are fixed, speedily and apologetically. Suggesting anyone who makes a mistake immediately resign for having made it would run us out of CUs (and arbs, and admins, and editors, if it follows down the line) rather quickly. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 02:35, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) Prodego, I'm not an idiot, I know what Tor is and that it affects CU. What I and 3 other CUs didn't know is how much the data is spoofed to hide from us. Specifically the useragents. When it came to that and a longterm sock looking to be exactly the same user over multiple tor IPs, thats how you got me issuing the block. It's not like I went out on a hunt alone, I asked people to check my work. If I'm at fault for that, so be it, but i'm not going to resign for a mistake that I made and apologized for sincerely, nonetheless in the presence of asking all of ArbCom to resign. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 02:38, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Everyone on the arbitration committee should step down because one person made a mistake with checkuser? A person who has since apologized? Antandrus (talk) 02:33, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, because we know that DeltaQuad is not going to step down, nor are they going to in any way remedy the situation so that it doesn't happen again, that much is clear to me. This happended months ago, yet they see nothing wrong. No audit, even though they have known about this situation since day 1. If they didn't, as I emailed most arbcom lists, they should have. All I got was a "not my problem so sorry" reply. What [censored]. If they don't see anything to be corrected, then they must be corrected. Its that simple: do your job or step down. That and all the forgoing reasons I have given above, including those in my replies. Int21h (talk) 03:02, 27 February 2013 (UTC) Int21h (talk) 03:03, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Letting off steam can be good, so perhaps the OP will get some small benefit from this thread. However, it is important to acknowledge that the WMF has provided minimal support to assist with their lofty goal of "anyone can edit". There are lots of tools, and MediaWiki is good, but fundamentally we rely on the judgment of a handful of hard working individuals to prevent chaos. The remarks above suggesting people should resign are incredibly destructive—if there is any evidence to support starting an investigation, that evidence should be presented and considered. After replies have been given and considered, people might like to offer opinions on what should happen. However, it would also be destructive to publicly explore the limitations of CU, so I suggest that people privately consider whether there is a pattern showing a problem that needs to be addressed before raising the stakes. Anyone demanding that no CU action ever be taken unless there is a 100% guarantee of the diagnosis does not understand the limitations of the system. We either accept occasional problems or declare the place open to trolls and POV merchants (and that problem is bad enough now). Johnuniq (talk) 03:09, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Like I said, its not as if I will necessarily oppose their re-election. But what you said could just have easily applied to all the others that will be Arbiters in their stead. And since there is no time limit on their term, its not as if I can just wait for their term to expire and take this to the "voters".
And no, the evidence should have been provided before it even came to this, not after, and not even here. But that moment is gone, they missed it, and this is the result. Its not as if I can do anything besides bring the matter to the community. No, wait, I am not even sure the community can do anything about it... Except possibly de-admin them. Int21h (talk) 03:16, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In mitigation, I should mention that the checkuser operator involved is hardworking and conscientious, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time. In this instance, the technical errors were identified by another functionary enabling the block to be undone. The original checkuser operator, when unblocking, apologised personally to you and I take this opportunity to apologise to you also on behalf of the committee. However, without in any way diminishing my regret, I remain a little curious why you have left it six weeks to raise this, and have then chosen to do so in such a dramatic manner. That said, lessons have been learned which will help inform both future use of the tool and the granting of block exemptions.  Roger Davies talk 03:32, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wanted to cool down, to take some time off. I would have waited longer, just to make sure I could really put alot of thought into my reaction, but I just knew I would be rejected because I took too long. Int21h (talk) 03:40, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And you can apologize all you want, but all its going to do it make you angry, because neither do I care nor will I accept it. And even if I was prepared to accept it, or I even thought you should apologize, this is not the place. Save your apologies for your request to be an ArbCom member, after you've resigned. This is not about public displays of sorrow, this is about the future of the projects. I, personally, don't want apologies, I want change. I want to get this done before more editors find they have been accidentally banned for life when they're in the middle of an edit. Int21h (talk) 03:47, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ArbCom members do have term limits (2 years), the schedule is hereRyan Vesey 03:27, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
First positive thing I've read in a couple months now. Int21h (talk) 03:36, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User:Int21h is clearly overreacting, but it would seem to me that a reasonable remedy would be for the blocking CU (User:DeltaQuad) to volunteer to be blocked for the same length of period as the bad block of Int21h. --Surturz (talk) 03:26, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is that going to prevent? Ryan Vesey 03:27, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict)It will prevent Int21h going on and on about this until he gets blocked. How is it that multiple CUs sign off on indef blocking a six-year-old account and get it wrong? I don't think a simple apology is enough here. Mistakes of this magnitude reduce the legitimacy of the admin corps. If the harm done to Int21h really is not that big, then DeltaQuad should be happy to suffer the same amount of harm as a good will gesture, and to demonstrate that admins that make mistakes do not get off scott free. --Surturz (talk) 03:49, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You know, I was thinking about DeltaQuad in the beginning. I was definitely fixated on him. But then I thought, what was that going to solve? Unlike ArbCom, as far as can tell, he does not rely on the community to hold his position. And the whole point of this is that he obviously does not possess the skills to hold the CheckUser right. And he's apparently is not alone (ArbCom really knows how to pick 'em), and ArbCom sees nothing wrong with this. My fear with that solution is there will just be another DeltaQuad and his 3 amigos to fill his place. I want a permanent solution, not some free swing at an editor. Int21h (talk) 03:36, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think some people are missing the point here. An analogy. A person goes to a shady neighborhood dressed gang-type clothing. There are other people there who are also dressed in the same way. I'm pretty sure most if not all people would think that there is something malicious going on here. So what would you do? It's not like the DQ or committee were acting rashly. There was consultation before any action was taken. IMO, if you're going to edit using prohibited IPs, then you should be willing to accept the consequences. I understand for some people it's a must, but you have to give some leeway. After all, you are not being totally truthful in identifying yourself. Elockid (Talk) 03:39, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If he's allowed to edit using Tor, I presume that there is a good reason. The one thing that does concern me is that he had previously been granted an IP block exemption. Was that taken into consideration when the block was made? Ryan Vesey 03:48, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except assume that the "person goes to a shady neighborhood dressed gang-type clothing" told the "people" he was going to be there, gardening, and gave a unmistakable description such that you knew who it was and what they were doing at all times. Like wearing an ankle bracelet unmistakable. And DQ did what he did anyways. Like I said from the beginning, if not malice, then incompetence. Int21h (talk) 03:57, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ryan: I wasn't there/I didn't participate when the block was made so I don't know. The IP block exemption right was not logged at Wikipedia talk:IP block exemption/log and not everyone has access to the request he/she made. For other people, this could be treated as given in error.
@Int: The email (request for IP block exempt) you gave did not give any technical details. Basing solely on this, the IPs that you were going to be using or what your useragent was were not provided. So no, you most certainly did not give an "unmistakable description". Elockid (Talk) 04:01, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then, like I said in the first place, that should have been the start of all this. That discussion. Any [censored] discussion. A permaban should not have been the opening sequence. All this, until now, has been, like everything else I said before this demand, thoroughly ignored. Not least of which ignored by these members of ArbCom. Int21h (talk) 04:18, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not believe that they simply "ignored" you. The involved users already sincerely apologized to you for what happened. The reason an indefinite block was enacted was because you exactly matched the technical descriptions as the other socks. Per policy, sock accounts are indefinitely blocked. This is what happened. Like I said before, you failed to provide sufficient information to prevent this situation from happening. This isn't a competence issue by any means. Elockid (Talk) 04:27, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I most certainly disagree. Calling this whole discussion as proof I was not ignored is disingenuous. They apologized after. They apologized after I went through all the effort of refuting absolutely zero "verified" evidence. Do you know how difficult it is to refute nothing? I think you downplay it. Well, let me tell you from (this) experience, very. It is by pure luck, IMO, I was able to determine what the so-called "evidence" was. Pure luck. It was pure luck because, as I said, my pleas to be provided evidence (and procedures etc.) were simply ignored. There was the block, a refusal to help by some uninvolved parties, a denial of an appeal, and an unblock. (Along with some minor "we received your messages" messages.) I consider that "ignored". The "technical descriptions" should have come up by now. They still have not. I am at this point assuming it was the HTTP header? The User-Agent header to be exact? Combined or not combined with an IP? I still am being ignored IMO. No one has told me anything, besides as you say an apology, which as I say is beside the point.
What if I had forgotten to mention the User-Agent headers? What if I had been blocked my talk page before I mentioned that? Does anyone seriously think if I would still be here? Int21h (talk) 17:41, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a website. The people who edit it do so in their spare time. They are human, so they sometimes make mistakes. I see no evidence whatsoever of malice on anyone's part directed at you, and consequently your belligerent, confrontational, self-important tone is totally unwarranted. Even had you been wrongly found guilty of a crime in a real-life court of law, you would not get all of (the equivalent of) what you are asking for here, on a website. Unless you can show that DeltaQuad intentionally misrepresented the checkuser data, and that the Arbitration Committee both knew and deliberately ignored this, your "demands" are completely nonsensical. What was warranted here was what was given, an unblock and a sincere apology (which you have evidently rebuffed despite exactly zero evidence that it was given flippantly). If there is evidence that DeltaQuad is unfit to be a checkuser (as demonstrated by a systemic misuse or abuse of the checkuser tool), you should provide evidence of this (I believe there is none), and then and only then should any other actions be taken.
  • DeltaQuad's mistake was just that - a mistake, for which he apologized.
  • DeltaQuad is not a paid employee - he is a volunteer, and he presumably contributes in his spare time. He is not expected to be perfect, and he is not expected to know everything. In the absence of evidence that this is an ongoing problem, he is expected only to own up when he makes a mistake. That is exactly what he has done.
  • The Arbitration Committee is not tasked with ensuring that all CheckUsers never make any mistakes, as you imply. They are, at most, tasked with dealing with abuse and/or recurring misuse of advanced permissions.
  • Your claim that since the Arbitration Committee oversees the CheckUsers on this project, they should be held responsible for a single (acknowledged) mistake that a checkuser makes is like saying that the CIO of a company should be held responsible when an IT team member blocks an attempt by a user to access the corporate network via an anonymous proxy (without telling anyone he is going to do this, but not against policy), resulting in the user's account being locked out of the network. In other words, it is totally idiotic.
  • This is a website, which matters not one whit in real life, and on which all actions can be undone (with the exception of a few that are completely irrelevant to this matter).
  • You were not "wronged" in any way that actually matters, and you have no right to act in the pompous, self-important manner that you are.
(Personal attack removed) and stop taking yourself so seriously. J.delanoygabsadds 04:24, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, and to cut you off at the pass, no, I was not one of the checkusers who confirmed DQ's results. The first I knew of this was seeing this thread pop up in my watchlist. J.delanoygabsadds 04:31, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Any consideration he receives or doesn't receive is irrelevant. At this point, DeltaQuad is irrelevant. What evidence could I possibly provide? I can't even provide evidence of my own innocence! I couldn't even refute the evidence against me. When I pleaded for this board on guidance, for discussion, they blew me off. Right off the get, before I even got angry, before I "went off" so to speak. They're job is to arbitrate disputes, and to oversee those who the community cannot overrule. I wasn't able to take my argument to anyone besides ArbCom, and ArbCom told me to go [censored] myself because its not their fault, they're just volunteers. Well, ArbCom members, go be volunteers like the rest of us, without your ArbCom responsibilities. Because, as much as you want to resist the notion, those responsibilities carry a heavy burden. If you can't handle the heat get outta the kitchen. Its not some else's problem, its yours. The buck stops here. And, to match quip with quip, I honestly believe when people grow up they forget the way. Int21h (talk) 04:47, 27 February 2013 (UTC) Int21h (talk) 05:04, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Int21h, asking Arbcom members to resign every time they fail to rein in the incompetence of Wikipedia's administration, over which they exercise governing authority, is futile, as they would all have to resign on a weekly basis. It's not completely their fault, however, because they get almost no professional support from Wikipedia's umbrella organization, the WMF. Anyway, I invite you to check out and consider becoming a member of an independent forum that critiques Wikipedia, called Wikipediocracy, the members of which quite understand your pain. Cla68 (talk) 04:58, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's just it, it wasn't an administrator. DeltaQuad is above reproach by any mere administrator. He answers to no one but ArbCom.
So that's it then? He did nothing wrong? Not our problem that our subordinate did wrong go away? Its all over now next time you get banned oh well? What about the next poor sap who can't make an irrefutable case? What about next time? How many mistakes make it not OK? Int21h (talk) 05:04, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I also think you hit on an important point: there is obviously a problem. An entire website has sprung up around the problem. If they won't provide a solution, or even work towards a solution, or even admit there is a problem, its time to go, and let someone else try. Int21h (talk) 05:06, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) The evidence I am speaking of is evidence that DeltaQuad demonstrates consistent lack of knowledge of how to use the checkuser tool. If he made similar mistakes on other occasions, and the users he (hypothetically) erroneously blocked raised even a tenth of the shitstorm you have over this, such evidence would be tremendously easy to find. The argument that I gave that he is a volunteer is to say that people (yes, even functionaries) are not going to be raked over the coals for making a single mistake. Therefore, given that there is no evidence of any systemic misconduct, nothing more is warranted other than an apology, which he has offered. There is no further reprimand needed. This also applies to the Arbitration Committee - they have been presented with no evidence that this is anything more than a mistake; it is not part of a pattern of misuse. Since DeltaQuad apologized for his error, no further action will (or should) be taken on this matter.
To reply to your most recent comments, no checkuser block is above reproach, nor do they have to . Checkusers can and do check each others work. The global checkuser policy states that "On any wiki, there must be at least two users with CheckUser status, or none at all. This is so that they can mutually control and confirm their actions. In the case where only one CheckUser is left on a wiki (when the only other one retires, or is removed), the community must appoint a new CheckUser immediately (so that the number of CheckUsers is at least two)." In case you are wondering if I claim to be perfect, I have made a few outright errors using the tool (including one particularly egregious one near the start of my tenure), and I have had other checkusers correct and/or question my actions on a number of occasions.
No human is ever going to be perfect. An active checkuser like DeltaQuad will make hundreds, if not thousands of checks in a month. No matter how hard we try to avoid making mistakes, they will happen. One mistake, by the most active checkuser for the past six months, due to extremely unusual circumstances, does not warrant your endless soapboxing.
I have never really liked this essay, but in nearly six years of active editing I have never seen anyone so completely fit its description. You were blocked, mistakenly, on a website (can I stress any more that Wikipedia is a website?), because you were (apparently) editing via a method that many sockmasters use to evade their blocks. When it was realized that you were not socking, you were unblocked, and a sincere apology was offered. Given that (once again) there is no evidence that DeltaQuad is incompetent, and that this incident is not part of a pattern of misuse or abuse, there is nothing further to say or do on this matter. Your vigorous, needless "demands", cross posting, grandstanding, cajoling, your single-minded refusal to even read what people are saying to you, and your complete and utter lack of any perspective whatsoever are not helpful in the slightest.
What you are asking for, when taken next to what has been done to you, cannot, to my mind, stem from anything other than simple coarse vindictiveness. J.delanoygabsadds 06:04, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Int21h's histrionics have torpedoed any chance he has for further satisfaction, but I do think you are understating the scale of the error that was made here. Int21h's account is six years old and had a clean block log. How does any admin indef block an account like that without being very, very, sure that they are making the right call? And without giving the account a chance to defend themself? Usually blocked accounts are allowed to edit their own talkpage to appeal the block, but Int21h's talk page rights were also blocked. --Surturz (talk) 06:15, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I say close the discussion, for a whole bunch of linkable reasons.—My76Strat (talk) 06:32, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I concur with Surturz, My76Strat. Blocked the talk page... really? This matter raises some serious questions. In my five plus years here I have taken care to never be blocked, and while I am not an admirer of the way Int21h has come here to bluster, I must say that if I were in their shoes, I'd be pretty steamed as well. Greater care should have been taken, and there should be some real accountability here. And attempting to shut down this discussion looks pretty self-serving, in my view. Jusdafax 06:53, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about ArbCom appoint a panel of three administrators to examine what happened, then issue a report with recommendations on how to prevent it from happening again, including a formal apology to Int and a request to the developer to erase his block log? Because, that would make too much sense and would threaten the chaotic and inefficient way that this website is run and which so many of its regular administrators prefer. Cla68 (talk) 06:54, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Surturz: I'm not dismissing that an error on this scale is bad. Yes, I made a bad block, probably the worst block I've ever made. You ask "How does any admin indef block an account like that without being very, very, sure that they are making the right call?", well, your answer is in the question. At the time, I was sure I was making the right call, and that a version of good hand , bad hand was playing out. The reason why I could not present the evidence yet because the investigation I was doing got extremely big, and I wasted a few days work (non-stop work) on it now that I know I'm wrong, so I couldn't present the evidence to the user directly. The talkpage was revoked due to persistent personal attacks that occurred, and I did not remove their right to that. I understand that it is upsetting to be blocked and that's why I never asked for any apology back.
@Jusdafax: Just so we are clear, I'm not attempting to evade scrutiny here or not be accountable for my actions, that's why I posted what I felt was a very personal apology to them and why I'm answering your questions here. The last thing I want is this to be something thrown under the rug and hidden, but I'm not going to stand down as a CU for one mistake. You say that there should be "real accountability here", what exactly are you proposing? Should I step down and give in to Int21h? I am willing to talk to Int21h in a civil manner and try and explain how things folded out, but "My personal attacks ended as soon as your personal attack ended. I do not accept your apology nor will I tender one. The fact that ArbCom has let 3 other CheckUsers that obviously made the same ridiculously outrageous mistake just adds fuel to my fire. I will not troll them: I will seek to have their CheckUser status revoked. Please, please do not confuse the two." said by Int21h on my talkpage is accusing me of more things, and battling even after I have apologized, and then continues to say that they will seek after more CUs to be dragged down. Int21h has further committed to taking me and ArbCom down with no alternative and no chance on talking it out. I can't work with people who put a stone wall up in front of me.
@Cla68: That is not going to work because it involves private CheckUser data. I already posted to the global CheckUser list about how I made my mistake to help prevent other CUs globally from making the same mistake I did. Furthermore, I have made a direct formal appology to Int21h already and he has declined it. He's also vowed to take me down as a CU. Getting the block log oversighted also shoves the issue under the carpet (which again is the last thing I want to do) and it's still accessible here, so what's the point in hiding my mistake? -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 07:30, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • DQ, first off allow me to say that I appreciate both your work here, which is of a much higher order than anything I have attempted, and your reply, which is both patient and civil. I reacted to My76Strat's comment, which I continue to feel was insensitive under the circumstances. I do not condone Int21h's mania, which is self-evidently over the top ...way over the top. What I ask is some consideration as to how this previously block-free editor got turned into an embittered whack job, as I can only help but feel, "There but for the grace of God go I." I am hardly suggesting that you step down, as I have seen ample evidence of your good work. I also give a nod to your efforts to prevent further mistakes via the global CU list. I do suggest that you accept a warning to take care from someone or some body here that has more clout than I do, and that some further time be given to Int21h to calm down. If they are still at this level of rage next week, or if they make threats (they have come very very close to that bright line) then I will understand a position like My76Strat's. Again, my thanks for taking the time here to address concerns. Jusdafax 08:00, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thanks for your reply. I do feel bad about the block, and you bet this is going to make me a lot more careful with running over my CU results when similar situations apply again. I also won't hold a time clock against Int21h, and if it takes 2 days, 6 months, or 5 years before the civil conversation can happen to cool down from this, and as long as I'm still around, I'll have that conversation I promised any time. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 08:14, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I apologize for dropping such a curt response and then getting sidetracked in another area. Otherwise I would have sooner qualified my response. I'm certainly not trying to stifle a productive discussion, nor ignore that valid points have been made. I simply did not see the productive discourse and I frankly carried some of the insult. Lest I be one of the three Amigos.—My76Strat (talk) 09:03, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • DQ, you made a good apology on the user's page, IMO. But quite apart from Int21h's posts here, you might have given more thought to your posted unblock reason, because what you wrote there looks more freezingly bureaucratic than apologetic.[19] Of course you realize that Int21h, a long-time editor, wouldn't even have a block log for but for the error made, so choice of words in the last log item, the unblock reason, kind of mattered. [Going into inappropriate analysis of user's internal processes mode :] I expect you simply impulsively wanted to unblock as quickly as possible, once you realized there was a mistake? But, after several weeks, five minutes taken to shine up the unblock reason, and inject a warmer tone, would have been well spent. I say this not to pile on you further, but to encourage all admins to be careful of every user's block log, because it's permanent. Bishonen | talk 13:51, 27 February 2013 (UTC).Reply[reply]
  • Bishonen, thank you for your response. I hadn't really considered the unblock reason, and I do see it now as bureaucratic. So if I read correctly you think an unblocked reason more like "My apologies, the original block was a mistake" would be better? -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 18:20, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Well, that kind of thing, or maybe even more personal, like the way you wrote on the user's page. Mutatis mutandis of course. The note in the block log is the trace of your regret that lasts. Bishonen | talk 18:36, 27 February 2013 (UTC).Reply[reply]
  • I was probably one of the checkusers DQ asked for confirmation in this case, although I do not remember the specific check: DQ is very conscientious and regularly asks for a second pair of eyes when there is doubt.

    I think this discussion here is missing the elephant in the room: why was Int21h using TOR at all? There is a very good reason why we disallow editing through open proxies (including TOR): it makes it impossible to prevent socking and abuse from taking place. While we very occasionally grant exceptions for editors who really need the extra anonimity, they must always do so with the understanding that since they are going to be mixed up with the /b/ crowd and other persistent vandals, they will have to suffer friendly fire at times.

    I'm not clear how Int21h came to be granted this exception in the first place. — Coren (talk) 14:05, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed. I would guess there should be some record in OTRS, based on the log entry
2011-12-27T02:03:12 TParis (talk | contribs | block) changed group membership for User:Int21h from autopatrolled to autopatrolled and IP block exempt (User request via unblock-en-l)
Once I realized that the cause for this is that the user was using Tor to edit, I had more sympathy for the mistake - anyone using Tor has to realize that it is disallowed in general, and only allowed in exceptional circumstances, and thus there may be mix ups from time to time, particularly if the user is spoofing their user agent. It seems we do need to clarify how a checkuser should verify the reason for an ip-block-exempt flag, to see whether Tor is specifically allowed for the user. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:38, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • After a search of the archives, it seems that int21h has been granted IPBE because he wanted to use TOR to circumvent port 80 blocking (which is not sufficient cause since https remains an option) and because he may travel to China. I can see why Tparis granted the flag in good faith, but it would seem that int21h wasn't given the speech about what the bit entails, nor did the necessary regular review of whether the bit was still needed take place.

    I think continued need to edit through TOR needs to be demonstrated at this point, as well as a clear understanding from int21h that doing so necessarily entails the probability that he may be caught again alongside vandals and sockmasters if he retains it. — Coren (talk) 15:14, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Coren, it is not my understanding that "we disallow editing through open proxies (including TOR)" (italics yours) - can you give me a policy reference for this? WP:PROXY currently says "While this may affect legitimate users, they are not the intended targets and may freely use proxies until those are blocked". Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:25, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You want Wikipedia:IPBE#Used for anonymous proxy editing, and WP:TOR. You are correct insofar that editing through open proxies isn't disallowed until the proxy gets blocked (which we do systematically as they are found), but using IPBE to do so through the block is only allowed in very limited circumstances (and, indeed, entirely forbidden if you were granted IPBE to edit through a normal rangeblock). — Coren (talk) 15:31, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Also, per WP:BLOCK, proxies are typically hard blocked when they are found, which prevents both logged-out and logged-in editing. A logged-in editor will be autoblocked unless they have IPBE. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:41, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • So I'm correct insofar that editing through open proxies is not disallowed, which was my point. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:53, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • Yes, it is disallowed - when we discover someone is editing through an open proxy, we hard block the IP address of the proxy. It is true that we do not additionally go back and block every username that has edited with the proxy, but the method of enforcement should not be interpreted to mean that editing through open proxies is "allowed" in any active sense. The language in WP:PROXY is not very clear about the difference between our rule about open proxies (we do not permit them) and the way we enforce the rule (by blocking the proxy rather than directly blocking logged-in users). One reason for the odd language is the ancient hard-block/soft-block debate which went on for a while in the past. — Carl (CBM · talk) 18:56, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • freely use proxies isn't ambiguous, it's explicitly clear. Reasoning explained here. NE Ent 19:05, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
            • You are probably equally aware of the debate about proxies and soft blocking from back then. I would say it is incongruous to claim a practice is "freely allowed" while at the same time saying "but if we see you do it we will stop you" - which is basically the definition of "it isn't allowed". Some editors back in 2007 really did want to allow users to use open proxies as long as the users didn't to anything wrong, and to only soft-block the proxy IPs when they were blocked - but the consensus was never on their side about that. The blocking policy is that open proxies can be hard blocked on sight even if no abuse has happened. In 2008, the TorBlock extension was added to blocks Tor nodes even before any human administrator notices them. So it is misleading to tell new editors that we "allow" the use of Tor and other open proxies, because they are likely to end up autoblocked for using them. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:32, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oh, excellent! Let's take a user who has apparently never done anything wrong, is pissed off for being blocked incorrectly for 2 weeks, and who is bringing up valid concern in a mildly un-useful way because they're pissed off, and calm the whole thing down by removing their IPBE flag. That will work spectacularly well. --Floquenbeam (talk) 15:38, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • It seems it was a mistaken reliance on the IPBE flag to use Tor, instead of using another method to edit, that led to the problem in the first place, so resolving the root of the problem is the best fix. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:41, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • (e/c) Flo, any editor who edits through open proxies needs to be aware that being blocked as collateral of a sock sweep is always a possibility. He has taken steps to make certain he is not distinguishable from the people who abuse the same proxy he goes through, that he may end up not distinguished should occur as no great shock. Now, it may well be that TParis forgot to explain that to him when he granted the bit; but even if he retains IPBE the possibility that he gets blocked again remains exactly as high as it was, and subject to the same risks.

      He wasn't blocked incorrectly. He was blocked correctly, and unblocked correctly on good faith alone. — Coren (talk) 15:48, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

      • Well, "blocked incorrectly" in the sense that a productive editor was blocked when it turns out they didn't need to be. I'm not on the anti-DQ and anti-AC bandwagon here. Managing their expectations about the future of editing thru Tor is a good idea. Musing in this thread that it would probably be appropriate to take IPBE away is, at best, tone deaf, and at worst, looks like showing someone who's mouthing off to their betters their proper place. --Floquenbeam (talk) 16:08, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Few thoughts. It is unreasonable to expect whole Arbcom to resign every time some fuckup happens. On other hand, sometimes editors who are willing to "challenge the establishment" all the way up are needed to point out issues that could otherwise easily go unnoticed. Lets face it, in similar circumstances many editors would have simply quited wikipedia for good, with extremely bitter taste in mouth, and never returned. Being declared a sockpuppet by CU is basically "game over" message in 99% of cases.--Staberinde (talk) 15:45, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I actually meant for this to get some actual responses (ney, conversation) by ArbCom members, but for the rest of you, here is a tale of Christmas past:

Hello Int21h,

At this time, the English Wikipedia Unblock team is declining your unblock request, and will not hear your case anymore. Your next and final step of the appeal process is to email the Ban Appeals Subcommittee of the Arbitration committee at

King of Hearts

English Wikipedia Administrator

Emphasis added. Int21h (talk) 21:24, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And to those of you who will inevitably claim my requests for redress, my future proposals when each fails in turn, that my reasoned discussions in the proper forums are climbing the reichstag dressed as Spiderman (Germany jeez don't get me started), you will ultimately get your wish to have me banned from Wikimedia. Have no doubt. ArbCom is at beast not able to do anything but offer silence to my cries. I don't care that you unblocked me. I want the problem recognized and fixed.

I was required to do things, things that were required by ArbCom should I face a ban, like "community discussion" and emailing obviously incompetent users about their apparent malicious ban (to no avail mind you, what you've seen in replies from DQ is what I got). Any all administrators were forbidden from reviewing DQ's (and his three amigos) obviously wrong and inappropriately carried out surprise permaban. Oh yeah, the community discussion is required even though your banned and no one can do anything about it--because of ArbCom. ArbCom has consistently and purposely consolidated power, taking away any power for the community, administrators included, to do anything about it. They have purposely consolidated procedure such that any and all discretion about surprise permabans rests with them and them alone, and any and all public discussion or activity to the contrary will be met with--more permabans.

It is not just my ban, but everything around it. ArbComs procedures, their power grab, their destruction by lawfare. If left unchecked ArbCom will continue to place more and more restrictions on Wikipedia editing until any action could be (correctly) viewed as something to be punished, leaving them with unfettered discretion to punish who, how and whenever they please. (Germany for the win! Take that Spiderman!) Int21h (talk) 21:47, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What if the mistake had never been discovered? What if that had been me?

OK I've checked DQ's original block message and I think more than a simple apology is required here. This is DQ's original block message[20]. DQ provides no evidence at all for the block for Int21h to refute. DQ claims other CUs have corroborated his verdict but does not name them. DQ does not even name the sock accounts that Int21h is supposedly using as socks. A look at the contrib history for Int21h prior to the block reveals no disruptive behaviour nor anything that would benefit from socking (eg RfA, edit warring). There is nothing to indicate that blocking a six-year-old account in good standing without warning or explanation was warranted.

The complaints about TOR usage are a smokescreen and irrelevant. We encourage anonymous editing here - most editors use handles, not real names, and expect some level of privacy. Genuine privacy, not social-media-website privacy.

I'm happy to believe that DQ was not malicious, is generally competent, and this is a one-off mistake. I am sure his apology was genuine. Words, however, are cheap. This mistake is so bad - and CU accountability so obviously absent - that DQ should be encouraged to actively demonstrate contrition. I think a self-imposed wikibreak of three weeks and one day (the same amount of time as Int21h was blocked) would be appropriate for DQ, as a matter of honour.

If that is not forthcoming, I think ArbCom should site ban DQ for the same period. Incidents such as this and Durova's CU fishing expedition harm the admin corps' reputation. ArbCom should take all necessary steps to restore that reputation. "An eye for an eye" isn't the best justice system around, but at least it

is easily understood and easily enforced.

Ideally Int21h's clean block log should also be reinstated. It's seems bizarre to me that Coren used revdel on Int21h's complaints, but not on the bad block. Arbitrators are supposed to protect editors from CUs, not the other way around. --Surturz (talk) 23:42, 27 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I find the compensation unreasonable and vindictive. Basically what you're saying is that let's choose someone to take the entire blame. There is no single person, group or party to blame. IMHO, both parties here are to blame. Int21h for failing to give the exact technical specifics he was going to use (if he only sent the info to Unblock-en-l, then that is another fault for him/her, if he sent an email to arbcom/the functionaries list, I invite them to send me a copy), and the whole administrative process. Not only are the two parties to blame but other parties are also involved. Proper procedure was not followed when giving IP block exemption and other admins declined his request. All of these are contributing factors. The reason the Tor usage is such a big deal is because Tor usage is most associated with sockpuppetry, disruption, vandalism, etc. It was found that other users were editing from the same IPs and using the same technical details as Int21h. Since Int21h failed to provide the "specifics" to distinguish himself/herself, it's gonna come up that he/she's related to those sock accounts. Also, since information was not made readily available (Coren and actually myself until yesterday didn't know why IPBE was granted), we can think that it was given in error/there was no justification or verification. The block was bad, yes. But the reasoning behind it is not based on one party. If we're going to put a blame and consequences on someone, then it shouldn't be just on DQ. Elockid (Talk) 02:12, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The "eye for an eye" idea is at least as bad of an idea as having the entire committee step down. I'd go ahead and say it's worse because it's more likely to create a horrendous precedent and it flies in the face of policy (if it were to be a block). Ryan Vesey 02:17, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that the "eye for an eye" sanction suggested is needlessly harsh. My thinking was more along the lines of an official warning, and the victim's clean block record reinstated. It is something many of us value highly, you know. Jusdafax 02:47, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Needlessly harsh" is putting it extremely mildly. There is no possible way to view such a suggestion as being a good faith attempt at resolving a concern. Resolute 03:13, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The purpose of blocking and banning is to protect the encyclopedia from harm that would result from a user's continued participation in the project. DQ has acknowledged that he made a mistake, and surely has resolved to be more careful in the future. What more will further action accomplish? Deterrence? I don't think that makes sense unless we can show DQ's culpability in the wrongful block was more than simple negligence (presuming any culpability even stands here). And we must consider that punishing for what well may be an honest mistake would serve to weaken CU determinations in the future... should we risk weakening this important investigatory tool? I say not based on what we've seen in this case. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 09:24, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is pretty obvious that from rational point of view blocking DQ would be pointless (him voluntarily accepting some punishment is matter of personal taste). What some people seem to be missing here, is that more or less similar rational reasoning should be also employed before blocking long time user in good standing. If Int21h had been an admin or even higher, then most likely whole thing would have been approached far more cautiously and error spotted before actually reaching to block. But because he was simply an ordinary user in good standing, execution was performed swiftly and effectively, even though there doesn't seem to have been any indication that his account was being actively used to harm the encyclopedia.--Staberinde (talk) 11:29, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I understand it, there was indeed such an indication: int21h was editing from the same IP address(es), and with the same browser info, as disruptive accounts. In this case, it seems that two mistakes were made: (1) giving the IPBE flag to int21h when it was not needed, and not alerting him then that using the IPBE flag to edit with Tor has a significant risk of this sort of block; (2) not adequately investigating the reason for the IPBE flag before the checkuser block. The way forward is clear: int21h needs to stop editing with Tor, and the checkusers need to develop a system to check the reason for an IPBE flag. — Carl (CBM · talk) 12:16, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, that simply means that there was indication of account possibly being controlled by same person that was causing disruption with other accounts, but no indication that account User:Int21h itself was being actively used to harm encyclopedia requiring quick and decisive action. Not to mention that 6 year old sockpuppet accounts with 11k edits must be quite rare.--Staberinde (talk) 13:15, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We don't require confirmation that all of a sockmaster's accounts are actively being used for disruption before blocking them all. Moroever, as a general principle, there is nothing to stop an editor from having a "good hand" account and also having several "bad hand" accounts used for disruption. An editor who edits with IPBE needs to be clearly informed that it may cause them to be suspected of association with other accounts. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:38, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do agree partially with that. Sure, the possibilities of good hand / bad hand accounts exist, and socks should be blocked. But on the other hand, if an account has IPBE and is overlapping with a sockfarm, then that should first trigger the question whether that is an abused right, or whether it is co-incidental. Some people have a good reason to use IPBE (I have it globally on this account .. and though it can be guessed, I'd rather be asked why first than blindly blocked - there may be a good reason). --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:10, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I think that this situation shows the need for better handling of IPBE - checkusers need to make sure to check for it, and they need check the reason why it was given (this is usually going to be in OTRS rather than onwiki). — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:29, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't know where my case is recorded, it is given to me after a private discussion with a bureaucrat discussing what I had problems with. In any case, the granting bureaucrat can be found, and they can be asked. And otherwise, the CheckUser can ask the editor themselves (though I understand that for a real sockpuppet that is likely going to give an evasive answer .. ). --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:40, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At the time of the block, it is known that the user had IPBE. The problem here is that the CUs did not realize that the particular (rather popular) Tor software package used spoofs the useragent to something that is quite rare in people who do not use Tor. Now imagine that you see a user with IPBE, editing from a number of Tor nodes, each of which has socks from the same sockmaster, and they all share the same, rarely seen, UA. I think you know where this is headed... T. Canens (talk) 16:05, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is exactly why the user in question needs to switch to something other than Tor. — Carl (CBM · talk) 16:08, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Beetstra: The more difficult issue for you is that you don't have IPBE specifically on enwiki. I believe you that it is assigned globally, but it does not show up at all on enwiki - even in the "user rights management" screen and even in the toolserver database. So the chance anyone would know you have IBPE is quite low, unless it is recorded in OTRS and the go out of their way to do a search. With Int21h, at least is shows up in the rights list on enwiki. — Carl (CBM · talk) 16:08, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nice additional problem. Indeed, my admin account anyway does not show that I have IPBE, it is intrinsic to the adminbit anyway. --Dirk Beetstra T C 16:57, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And I say above, not just discovered, but discovered by me. What if I had forgot to mention (and make a point out of it) the User-Agent header? What if I had been blocked from editing my talk page before I did? Just another mistake? Just another accident? And I am making an assumption here, making an assumption it was the User-Agent HTTP headers that was the "verified" evidence, because no one has told me anything. Still. Not DQ. Not ArbCom. You are all basing your discussion on information I still do not have access to. Why was I banned? Why? I don't want an apology! I want answers! I want fixes! I demand it! ArbCom must step down, or be removed, if they are going to continue to sidestep the issues here! Int21h (talk) 17:46, 28 February 2013 (UTC) Int21h (talk) 17:48, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hasn't this been explained by now? You were apparently blocked because you connect through TOR, which is at times used by vandals and trolls to cause problems in the project. If you insist on editing via such a connection, then things like this should be expected. Perhaps the question that shjuold be asked is, why do you insist on using such a connection? Tarc (talk) 18:05, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree that "things like this should be expected" by users who employ reasonable privacy measures. No one should be forced to choose between their privacy and the risk of being blocked without practical recourse. That doesn't necessarily mean heads must roll over it this time around, but we clearly need to have a discussion about how to best make sure other upstanding members of our community aren't systematically eradicated in the future. Also, we have no business questioning the basis of a user's privacy practices unless they are applying for sensitive permissions.   — C M B J   15:26, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, the exact same thing would have happened. I was the one looking into the CU data for BASC, and I didn't really look at your vociferous on-wiki appeals, by then well buried in your talk page history, and the single mention of UA buried inside a bunch of other irrelevant info. T. Canens (talk) 18:21, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So what changed your mind(s)? Int21h (talk) 19:09, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wasn't involved in the original block, so there's nothing to change. When I ran the BASC checks, I found some accounts that are behaviorally unrelated but have the same UA, and I happened to have used the software package at issue before, so I suspected that it might be a shared, spoofed UA. From there, confirming the suspicion is rather easy. I pointed it out to DQ, who happened to be online at the time, and he promptly unblocked. T. Canens (talk) 20:37, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, thank you. Int21h (talk) 21:36, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I know that I have always been a critic of the ArbCom system, but this situation reminds me of two things:

  1. The ScottyBerg / Mantanmoreland Sock situation, one blocked by ArbCom as a sock of the other. These two editors had, according to ArbCom/CU, as only overlap that they were editing from the same geographical area (and not even from the same internet providers). The rest of the evidence is completely public. That further evidence amounted to having numerous overlapping articles they edited (though mostly cases which are necessarily non-coincidental - e.g. articles relating to their geographical area, which they obviously share and articles where one does a vandal revert and the second edits significantly), and some overlapping traits (which were anyway not completely uncommon - other editors who are obviously unrelated had the same traits ..). Purely a game of statistics, and I, for one, am still not convinced that they are socks (but please, convince me otherwise).
  2. As we know, ArbCom does not require ANY form of formal training. The tools are just given to you when you get the trust of the community. We, the community, simply have to trust that someone is competent enough. --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:10, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The last point isn't quite true. I don't know what the exact procedures are now, but when I applied for checkuser, I was sent the famous "Essjay questionnaire" which included a large number of technical questions pertaining to checkuser usage. If you know enough to be able to answer those questions, then it is highly likely that you know how to operate the checkuser tool. It's not training, but it's not quite blind faith either. --(ʞɿɐʇ) ɐuɐʞsǝp 15:46, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, I forgot the reference: Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee/Archive_12#ArbCom_training - and what you describe, Deskana, is NOT formal training. Question, what happens if one is not capable to answer the questions correctly? And did all the Arbs here at least have to do this (and how do we know that they did this?), and what were the results (did they all pass?)? --Dirk Beetstra T C 16:49, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For Arbitrators (not CheckUsers) it is all on the job training; there is nothing formal. I ended up asking Hersfold if he could teach me the basics of checkuser because I didn't want to cause a huge conniption my first month in office. We ended up doing it by checkusering my account and IP addresses.

Thankfully, most Arbitrators have the common sense to not get involved with checkuser unless they know what they are doing. NW (Talk) 17:25, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That you say 'most Arbitrators' here is telling, NuclearWarfare. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:43, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When I said most Arbitrators, that should be interpreted as "all current and a significant portion of past Arbitrators." I am not an expert on the past history of ArbCom, but I recall that one of the old hands said, when we were considering the motions that are now on WP:A/R/M, something along the lines of, "it is worth keeping in mind that the CheckUsers who have caused us problems in the past were predominantly past Arbitrators and not appointed CheckUsers." NW (Talk) 01:31, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't comment on that when I first read it, but since it's being restated here in public, I'll simply say that one has to keep in mind that, prior to 2008, almost all users who had ever held the checkuser permission were current or former arbitrators (with a few bureaucrats thrown in, and one or two others). No checkuser has had his permission removed involuntarily in several years; the majority who held the permission and no longer do, either had it removed for inactivity, or voluntarily resigned. Occasionally there is a concern that is significant enough to have a "discussion" with a checkuser (done either by an AUSC member as a result of a concern, or an arbitrator if the committee has concerns), and that has resolved many situations before serious problems occurred. In other words, starting in 2009 Arbcom started putting into place the structures that more quickly identify concerns about individual checkusers, and are able to address them in a more timely manner. Risker (talk) 05:11, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I understood fully what you meant, NuclearWarfare, and I do still think it is telling - and that expansion to it "... CheckUsers who have caused us problems in the past were predominantly past Arbitrators and not appointed CheckUsers" does not actually help the cause .. Yeah, none of the Arbitrators are appointed CheckUsers (or OverSighters, for that matter), still you get the right automatically, and you all automatically retain those rights when you are not an Arbitrator anymore (whether that is because other candidates got more !votes than you in an election, because you simply did not get enough !votes in a next election, or whether the public simply did not trust you anymore (the latter hard or impossible to distinguish from the forelast). That you now say that not-appointed CheckUser cause more problems, and that they, as we know, do not get a formal training and can even collectively miss the point an make mistakes all adds to my call for a more strict, and maybe formal, training. I think the last elections made clear that it does happen that the public simply does not trust an editor anymore when they perform certain actions ..
Risker, that is an extension to what NuclearWarfare is saying, and I thank you for those thoughts. I know that ArbCom has structures in place to check on the CheckUsers and Oversighters, still they themselves are auto-appointed. Massive exaggeration warning: in the land of the blind .... --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:50, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, no, it's not an extension of what NW is saying. Whether people want to admit it or not, the use of the checkuser tool is very easy to teach and to learn; it is in the interpretation of results, and the actions taken on those results, where complications lay. The correct action for *any* Wikipedian (arbitrator or not) to take when learning a new skill is to ask questions of knowledgeable individuals, which is exactly what NuclearWarfare did. I am personally inclined to develop a considerably more complete education program for new checkusers including arbitrators when I complete my committee term; the suggestions here aren't being ignored. Arbitrators, however, do have regular exposure to checkuser results as part of their usual work and either need to develop a level of competency or to rely on the good judgment of their colleagues on these matters, as is true for many other skill sets within the committee. For example, I regularly rely on the good judgment of my peers with respect to almost all unblock requests, and generally only comment on those that relate to blocks/bans issued by Arbcom or under AE. The committee as a whole relies on the judgment of mailing list administrators to ensure that legitimate emails pass moderation and the spam does not. Most arbitrators are self-aware enough to refrain from participating in areas where they have no interest. Risker (talk) 06:18, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I applaud that initiative, Risker, thank you for that. I hope that you get to it sooner rather than later.
That is what I understand of the CheckUser tool indeed, it is just quite limited, giving limited info. It is indeed in the interpretation. Maybe we should in the previous discussion see 'CheckUser Tool' as a shorthand for 'CheckUser Tool, other CheckUser-relevant information, and the interpretation of that information'. It also needs a standard operating procedure and procedures of initiating totally independent, unbiased review.
Point remains, that some of the 'problems' (whether with CheckUser, with administrative procedures, or with Arbitration procedures) that occur can be seen coming, in hindsight sometimes, for a long time (often unnoticed because the problem does not actually surface - take e.g. the situation of deletions of the main-page .. one knew it could happen, and no-one expected it to take out Wikipedia for a significant part of the day .. still, it did). Wikipedia does have a problem with not always formalizing these things properly (well, we're not a bureaucracy ..), but the higher up the problems occur, the larger the consequences are (a wrong deletion of a page is not as damaging to Wikipedia as the realization that one can be blocked 'on sight' after being a long-term editor without any warning because someone (accidentally) uses the CheckUser-tool while missing important points (I still think that this situation we have seen here has probably happened before, and I have no reason to expect that this will not happen in the future). In fact, several people here have suggested that it is a possibility that one gets blocked because one is just looking too much like another editor who is abusing multiple accounts, and one just happens to live in the same geographical area and has somewhat overlapping interests. Our goal should be to avoid that, not to shrug and say 'It's just a hobby, get over it, nobody cares' .. and the 'higher' up the ladder, the more important it is to (pro-actively) try to avoid things from happening (again) - take out the near misses, and you will get less real misses. --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:39, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IPBE review

There are about 400 accounts on enwiki with IPBE enabled. Is there any interest in arbcom in reviewing which of them are no longer active (e.g. User:BillLeecn), and which of them have appropriate documentation in OTRS? That review is something that would need to be carried out internally, because the OTRS records won't be available. It would make sense to me to make a requirement that IPBE has to be given by OTRS so that the reason can be documented, and so that checkusers have a guaranteed place to look for the reason it was granted. — Carl (CBM · talk) 16:13, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It certainly does appear through this that policies regarding IPBE, granting of and relationship with CU need to be clarified and improved. Resolute 16:49, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds like a good idea to me. -DJSasso (talk) 16:50, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would be news to me that there are OTRS records related to this; however, our Checkusers have periodically reviewed the list and winnowed it down in the past. It's past due now, and I'll see if I can round up a couple of checkusers to go through the list. We can work out a way of tracking reason, possibly on the checkuser wiki, that doesn't involve adding IP addresses. I am very much of the opinion that IPBE is handed out inappropriately in some cases, and without consideration of the responsibility and increased scrutiny in other cases. Risker (talk) 17:00, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Glad to hear this is already something that is done - thanks. — Carl (CBM · talk) 18:30, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you mean UTRS, because OTRS does not handle this sort of thing. --Rschen7754 17:12, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I think you're right; I didn't realize they had migrated unblock-en-l to a different system. When I said "OTRS" what I had in mind is unblock-en-l or its successor. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:59, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Just for information: the Checkuser team is currently reviewing all IPBE grants, and has already removed a very significant number where, for example, the underlying IP/range block is no longer in force, the editor is no longer active, there is no identifiable reason for its granting, etc. Risker (talk) 00:10, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What changes should be made?

I must admit I'm somewhat dismayed at the response that Int21h (talk · contribs) has received from the community. Wikipedia has a bad reputation for treating its users poorly and bad blocks certainly don't help the problem we have with editor retention. Some of the old-timers here may remember a few short years ago when bad blocks would lead to RfC/U's, ArbCom cases and even desysopings because the community was outraged at bad blocks. Obviously, that's not the case anymore. But enough of that, we should be trying to fix the problem.

I thank DeltaQuad (talk · contribs) for stepping up and apologizing and also for notifying the CU list to not make the same mistake. I think this is the proper direction to follow and I would like to get input from the community on how to move forward to make sure these things don't happen so often. Perhaps adding a cautionary note to the blocking policy would be a good first step.

It's obvious that changes are required. So what changes do you think should be made to make sure these things happen as little as possible? (talk) 04:38, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I already pointed out what I think is the main issues: checkusers should be have a way to check the reason for an IPBE bit, and users who have IPBE should be educated that they may receive extra scrutiny, and possibly even be temporarily blocked, if they use IPBE to edit in ways that make themselves indistinguishable from other disruptive editors. The root of the present situation was the granting of the IPBE bit when, according to the reason given above, it was not needed. — Carl (CBM · talk) 12:25, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I can't speak for Int21h, and without prejudice to anyone currently bearing the ArbCom banner, his experience and sentiment embodies a perception shared by many (if not most) experienced users at one point or another: that there is an intrinsic lack of tangible recourse available if/when a body like ArbCom overreaches or makes mistakes. I know I've personally refrained from commenting on a couple of arbitration proceedings in years past where I thought that speaking up would not only do absolutely nothing to help, but also be a very costly mistake, and that's also indicative of a serious long-term problem in my mind. Perhaps we might eventually consider moving toward something like a triennial proceeding to reaffirm the community's continued consent for the Committee as a whole, a collective reconfirmation if you will, if for no other reason than to offer everyone the peace of mind that there is meaningful accountability of the greater acting body.   — C M B J   13:53, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think that would become merely a rubber stamp procedure, if the intent is to treat such a reconfirmation in the abstract. What is needed is a legitimate method by with ArbCom's decisions can be overturned. Such a method would have to be structured carefully so as to avoid ArbCom not becoming the second to last court of last resort. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:14, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Clarifying I just wanted to clarify what I meant by changes. I think it's probably unlikely that changes to ArbCom will gain community support. So I was thinking in terms of updating the procedures in the blocking policy and the related templates. The basic problem I see is that the community will AGF on the part of the blocker and not so much on the part of the blockee. When an editor is wrongly blocked, the people reviewing the block often give it a quick look and dismiss it. As of now, Wikipedia:Blocking policy#Block reviews is strongly skewed towards a belief that all blocks are 100% correct. It doesn't even mention what to do if a block was a mistake (good faith or otherwise) and the blocking admin refuses to understand that. This is what should be changed. Mistakes will happen, but they need to be corrected quickly so it does not harm our project and its reputation. Thanks. (talk) 21:14, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Block log revdel suggestion

I saw a suggestion above that User:Int21h's block log should be rev-deled, but the subject changed.

I think that suggestion deserves more discussion. I'm inclined to support, but would be interested in arguments pro and con. A clean block log is something that many editor maintain with pride. While some may think the pride misplaced, I do not. I do not like the fact that a block log can be muddied through no fault of the user, and I think in such situations, we should remedy it.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 18:47, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Absolutely. Yes. NE Ent 18:55, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment This certainly seems justifiable and I would support it, but I think it's currently not allowed per the policy at Wikipedia:Revision deletion#Misuse, which states

    RevisionDelete does not exist to remove "ordinary" offensive comments and incivility, or unwise choices of wording between users, nor to redact block log entries.

    A related discussion is at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Proposal:Create a capability and process to expunge a block from someone's record when all agree that it was an error. Perhaps that should be changed. (talk) 21:37, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I, too, would very much like to see an improvement of this sort. Those editors who contribute in good faith often feel, quite justifiably, proud of having a clean block log, and telling someone that a bad block is no big deal is disingenuous to the point of being insulting. I see that the discussion at the Village Pump has yielded a consensus to implement something like this, and the limiting step at this moment may be implementation by developers. A minor variation that I'd like to suggest is to allow for adding an entry to a block log after unblocking, but not merely a "dummy" block-and-unblock, in which a clear statement could be made to clarify a previous unblock. One part of the problem here is when the unblocking admin enters an unblock reason in good faith, but subsequent discussion indicates that a further explanation is needed (example: "this was determined to have been an incorrect block, and the user should be considered to have a clean log"), particularly to address the blocked user's feelings of mistreatment, so we need to add a capability to add such a thing to a block log. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:00, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • telling someone that a bad block is no big deal is disingenuous to the point of being insulting I agree 100%. Walk a mile in another person's shoes... Believing you understand what another person feels because of a bad block and actually experiencing it are two completely different things. I think WP:IAR should override the WP:REVDEL policy in this case. (talk) 22:30, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • An FYI on this discussion: based upon the earlier discussion on the Village Pump, there is an outstanding Bugzilla request (#44759) that people interested in this issue may want to express their voices to the MediaWiki developers. --Robert Horning (talk) 22:42, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't have a Bugzilla login because I keep my e-mail private. Could you or someone editing there perhaps be so kind as to place a link to this discussion on the bug page? Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:48, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Done. — Hex (❝?!❞)  FREE KEVIN  22:31, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hex, thank you very much. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:54, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, this would be one very important step in moving forward. We really do need a way to facilitate record expungements, because, no matter how much we would like to believe that mistaken incidents have no effect on a user's community standing, they inevitably do, and it isn't right that anyone should be subjected to such an unjustified and arbitrary hardship.   — C M B J   05:04, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Well, no. There are at least a hundred thousand accounts, if not more, that are blocked indefinitely and will always remain so, and many of them have been blocked indefinitely for more than 5 years. Their block logs must remain so that admins and users in the future will be able to confirm that they're blocked, why, and when they were blocked. Risker (talk) 05:39, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What? We're only discussing situations where specific blocks should be fully undone to prevent reputation scarring.   — C M B J   05:58, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You're quite correct; on reviewing why this post didn't really fit in, I realise that I was responding to one of the suggestions on the bugzilla that blocklogs should be routinely expunged after 5 years. On the other hand, I do not believe that this block was incorrect, so I do not understand all this sturm und drang about an appropriate block, and I would object to its being removed from the user's block log. In my view, it was a perfectly correct block, because the checkuser had every reason to believe that there was a single user operating multiple accounts including a mix of good hand and bad hand accounts. Using Tor is a choice; it comes with risks, including the risk of the Tor exit node being blocked, and the risk of one's account being permanently associated with some of the most destructive vandals known to the project. If one doesn't want to take that risk, one doesn't use Tor.

    The actual solution here is to more strongly word theWP:IPBE page to make it dramatically clear that all IPBE users will be checkusered, that they may be subject to direct or collateral blocks if they or other users on the same proxy IPs meet the criteria for checkuser review; and that the use of anonymizing proxies is particularly likely to result in direct or collateral blocks to their accounts, which will not be remediated other than to unblock the account. In an ideal world, only checkusers would be able to grant IPBE, because in almost every instance where people felt they had special protection from blocking (rather than heightened risk) the IPBE was granted by an admin without review from a checkuser; however, I'm realistic enough to know that nothing ever gets taken out of the admin toolbox. Risker (talk) 06:42, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Appropriate block (admin decision) and appropriate block (user fault) are two fundamentally different concepts. It's one thing to say that an administrator's decision to block someone innocent was rational, but it's another thing to suggest that an innocent user deserves to bear the brunt of that action.
I also take real issue with the suggestion that anyone using security software like Tor should accept that they may be penalized or systematically eradicated for no other reason. I've personally deployed that very same tool on someone's machine who had never even heard of Wikipedia because of national censorship. It is not unexpected that similar measures would be utilized to protect some users whose contributions might otherwise compromise their identities, or threaten their freedom, or endanger their lives.
If anything, the IPBE policy should be made more considerate of non-problematic contributors who need special protection from direct and collateral blocks, not less, but there is definitely an issue of expungement that exists independently of that specific subset of users.   — C M B J   09:27, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • My opinion is that it really is up to the CheckUser admin to get it right. Making it the responsibility of the TOR user is simply punishing the victim. The CheckUser admin has the specialty knowledge, while an IPBE account might simply be a student contributing from a university, or someone editing from behind the great firewall. Letting a "Good Hand" account continue making reasonably useful contributions is a lesser evil than blocking an innocent editor. And clean block logs are very, very, valuable to some of us that have them. --Surturz (talk) 09:52, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree here with CMBJ and Surturz. I find it very disturbing that the Arbitration Committee finds it correct to block good editors just because they look like a sockpuppet. There are many legitimate reasons, as pointed out here, to edit through a proxy or other form of protection. I, for one, simply cannot access parts of Wikipedia if I am not using one of those, and that would hinder my possibilities to work on cross-wiki spam hunting (obviously, the same is true for some of the sites that are spammed, they are inaccessible for me as well). Luckily (or maybe not), my admin-bit, any admin-bit, here on en.wikipedia comes with it built-in .. but I have to be afraid to be blocked at any moment now if a CheckUser misses that point.
A point behind this, is that this this time is brought forward. Obviously, the only way to fight this is through the same entity that is performing the block (BASC is not a totally independent entity), and others may not get through anymore to appeal their block, or have the technical understanding of what went wrong (obviously, for those that actually did nothing wrong, they will never know what hit them). Hiding that behind the idea that if it is a sockpuppet, it was a good block is also disturbing, as well as the possibility that there are others out there still blocked without reason.
And obviously, DQ did not get any training before being let loose on the tool. Others are shown how to use the tool, but there is no real, let alone formal, training. We just have to trust that the Arbitration Committee will do their jobs right (and I am sorry, I have no reassurance that any of you actually have had any real training and will not, accidentally, make the same mistake). Notwithstanding, the technical means that you have with CheckUser are minimal, and require analysis of editing patterns. That runs the risk of biased statistics. Question, and I have asked this before in other cases, did the 'several [other] CheckUsers [who] have already looked into this offwiki and have verified the results' ([21]) do this independently (so unbiased trying to find other socks based on an initial point - i.e. 'find socks for editor A'), or did they get presented a request to check whether Int21h was the same as someone else (so presented with a whole set of socks which including Int21h, and were asked to check whether the conclusions were valid - i.e. 'can you confirm that A and Int21h are socks')? --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:18, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No block where blocked editor caused no harm to encyclopedia can be described as "perfectly correct block". It is possible that admin who did the block may have acted correctly according to current standard procedures and guidelines, but that simply means that there is error in procedures.--Staberinde (talk) 12:16, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Staberinde: Yes, I who made the bad block was not informed enough about the spoofed technical data that Tor gives out to know that I was acting in error. So it appeared at the time like a good block. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 13:44, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Dirk: When I asked for the initial two cents of checkusers (which was the only time as my investigation did not conclude before the block was reversed) I told them with 1) a single TOR IP address that Int24h had used that in my opinion best showed the evidence at that point with only a handful of IPs out of the total I looked at 2) the sockmaster that was operating on that Tor node and held the same technical information as Int21h 3) The unblock-en-l email (which all administrators who were subscribed to the list at the time had access to) where Int21h asked for the IPBE 4) Three statements I asked them to give their opinion on, that was comprised of my opinion already. 3/4 CUs (the 4th being myself) agreed to block at this point with the evidence we had. It was also stated that while we had an apparent connection to a serial sockmaster, that we needed to look into that connection further before naming it off. Now I'm trying my hardest not to read into your comment, but you express the statement that I was 'let loose on the tool' without any training. That sounds like I knowing that I knew absolutely nothing, went out on the tool with no experience, and was set loose to disrupt with the tool as I saw fit. That is incredibly insulting. Computers and computer networking have always been my top interest in life, and I've perused it because that's the area I'm best in. I'm also now a fair chunk through my second year of a Computer Networking degree. So my previous knowledge has no value? no worth? Also, I've only come across 1 (Tim, the one who corrected me) CU who had knowledge of this spoofing that Tor does to the technical data. And Tim wasn't even a CU before the beginning of the year. So essentially either there was no one who had this prior knowledge to educate the rest of us, or they were not active enough to see the case, notice it, and point it out. I hope that all the above answers the questions that you have. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 13:44, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I apologize for the remark that could be read as insulting, that was certainly not my intention. I really do not think that you were set loose to cause disruption, I think that that was not at all your intention, and this is not an attack on any you, or any other ArbCom member personally, but a criticism of the system. My aim here is to get the thought through that there needs to be some form of formal training for Arbitrators, and not only for the use of the tools that come with the package but for the whole (and I, and others, have suggested that before).
The use of these tools seems to need proper training (so that e.g. the information of TOR technical data spoofing is known, technical limits, etc.). You say "... either there was no one who had this prior knowledge to educate the rest of us, or they were not active enough to see the case, notice it, and point it out" shows that even more. You, with prior knowledge of Computer Networking, did not know about the limits, and that is not your fault, it is the fault of the lack of proper training. I hope this explains. --Dirk Beetstra T C 14:15, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thank you, this explains things and puts a smile on my face, and I 100% agree with you that some sort of training should become standard even for non-Arbs, though I do feel it's more prevalent for non-Arbs. Also the guide that is given to us at CU wiki also could use some updating, reformatting, and cleanup but i've been struggling to find the extra time to do so. But yes, we need to learn from the mistakes we make, build, and continue on learning as best we can so we try and avoid mistakes like these. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 15:55, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I know that my remarks are often in response to the 'fuckup' of one editor, and maybe I am writing things a bit too personal then (my apologies). I know that when I comment, that it generally is something that can happen to anyone. I do however hope that there will be a public follow-up to avoid it further (can we please have the guarantee that there will be a 'tutorial' and/or a 'what you need to know before doing this', and such documentation is expanded pro-actively; for me that can be on your private CheckUser Wiki, but the CheckUser policy here should clearly point to that type of documentation). I am however sorry to see that ArbCom sometimes seems to respond to repeated complaints by adapting their way of handling, but hardly ever formalize it (and it may be a matter of time that it ebbs away and restarts).
This time it was you, DQ, but we will maybe never know how often in the past things went wrong, and I am afraid that this will happen again in the future (and I agree, that may happen as well when it is formalized, but at least, when multiple CUs are reviewing it is more likely that some know these things because they remembered the training or necessary reading). --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:36, 3 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • (edit conflict) Insulted? A good faith fuckup is still a fuckup. Tor (anonymity network) describes the operation of the network and notes "When browsing the Web, Tor is often coupled with Polipo or Privoxy proxy servers. Privoxy is a filtering proxy server that aims to add privacy at the application layer." Following the Privoxy link follows we find "filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy, modifying web page data and HTTP headers." So the knowledge DQ lacked was pretty much already documented on Wikipedia. In context, it is Int21h who should be insulted and DQ should (continue to be) apologetic, and the block log revdel'd. That said, calls for DQ to do penance of some sort provide no benefit to Wikipedia and should not be pursued. NE Ent 14:24, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • NE Ent, "pretty much" doesn't go far enough. I knew it modified web page data and HTTP headers. The IP is in the HTTP header and it is modified. I followed that and understood that through the course of my investigation. What I didn't understand is that the useragent is completely spoofed. And you obviously haven't read my already existing apology statements. I've have been apologetic but Int21h doesn't want to accept it, so I am not going to force him to, yet I still have the original statement there on his talk. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 15:55, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • (edit conflict) Yes, well we all know that now, but the user agent spoofing was simply not something that was considered at the time because it wasn't common knowledge. I saw the data and thought I was seeing someone with a really out of date browser. Every CU had access to the data, and though I don't know how many reviewed it, not a single one of us who did realized what we were seeing. So, yeah, the block was a mistake, but it's not as if DQ was alone in thinking that Int21h was socking.
To those who have commented here, I have this to say about some of the reactions to this block: Int21h was blocked (not banned, as some keep saying) from editing a website. He was prevented from practicing a hobby. He was not locked away in Guantanamo, but some critics on this page and elsewhere seem to think that this block is a similar injustice. This is a website, a hobby, and we should all keep that fact in mind and to try to maintain proper perspective. ​—DoRD (talk)​ 16:14, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Why is the onus on Int21h et. al to maintain proper perspective instead of those who made the mistake? NE Ent 16:24, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Did I not say, "we should all"? ​—DoRD (talk)​ 16:34, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • My point is that it is not a bad block, or even a mistake. Anyone who's using Tor is likely to be blocked, good user or not, because it is impossible to differentiate them from seriously problematic users. We have far too much granting of IPBE, sometimes without any rationale at all (see the Education Program's dispensing of IPBE as part of the "rights" for that program, with absolutely no reason given at all), that the entire purpose of the IPBE program has been eroded. It is intended to give a little bit of leeway to those who are editing from countries where there is a long history of government interference in internet connection, not so that people can edit using anonymizing proxies as a routine. "I might be going to China" should never be accepted as a reason for granting IPBE, nor should "I am editing from work/my local coffee shop"; "I am going to China from May to September" is a good reason. The problem here is that we are not warning people who are granted IPBE that they *will* be checked, and if there are abusive users on the same IP/using the same user agent etc, they will be blocked at least until the issue is clarified. IPBE should always be considered a tool of last resort to permit editing under circumstances where the user is at risk, and with the understanding that it is far more likely to result in *precautionary blocks*. Those aren't mistakes. Risker (talk) 16:41, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • CU hints and tips clearly states: "CheckUser is not magic wiki pixie dust. Almost all queries about IPs will be because two editors were behaving the same way or an editor was behaving in a way that appears suggestive of possible disruption. An editing pattern match is the important thing; the IP match is really just extra evidence (or not)." (emphasis mine). Was any evidence Int21h's editing pattern matched that of the sockpuppeter? NE Ent 16:58, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Wikipedia isn't just a hobby. We have countless contributors here who exhibit the same vigor and rigor that they do in their professional lives. Many contributors do so selflessly and with the express intent of advancing open access to human knowledge. In some cases, contributors do so at significant risk to their career or safety.
It's greatly disrespectful for us to pretend that such contributors are hobbyists who can handle a little timeout here and there. It's similarly disingenuous for us to assume that every contributor will persist through the abuse described above. The reality is that most people have a fairly low breaking point, especially when they're being stonewalled over false accusations of misconduct in their capacity as a volunteer, and for every Int21h there are a dozen (if not more) people who will just say "I'm done with this" and be, along with their knowledge, gone forever.
There is little doubt in my mind that everyone involved acted in good faith. However, the fact that this outcome continues to be defended as acceptable or trivial by so many different administrators is astonishing. If that's really the attitude around this neck of the woods, then the problem is a lot more severe than anyone even wants to imagine, because there is nothing remotely acceptable about what happened here at a systemic level.   — C M B J   12:30, 3 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • So, ArbCom is admitting here that good editors can just be blocked. If you use TOR you have a bigger risk, but this suggests that they do not have a problem with blocking good-faith, long-standing, productive editors without any proof of disruption just because they are maybe (or 'likely'?) the sock of another editor. I know that these investigations and blocking are not used lightly, but that is all it takes. But this is going back to the perennial dilemma for which there is no way out. --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:36, 3 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Absolutely, this should be done. I've seen more than enough discussions here with 'you have a long block log', where most if not all of the blocks were overturned for good reasons, bad blocks do count against you, up to the point that bad blocks are used as evidence of bad behaviour by ArbCom itself. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:20, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Well that is an interesting sentiment. Who will be the first admin to step up with a scalpel and begin the pruning of Malleus' block log? Tarc (talk) 14:52, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • That's a false dilemma with respect to anything proposed here. The task of expungement should be performed (a) at the blocking administrator's discretion, or (b) upon the blocked user's appeal in accordance with a procedure. In either case, there is no such consequence.   — C M B J   06:10, 3 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • I don't think it should be admins who have that scalpel, this is a typical thing that should be exclusive to oversighters, and maybe instigated by an ArbCom quick motion for some cases. --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:36, 3 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Questioning "Tor abuse" justification I keep seeing people mention that bad blocks are justified because of the abuse we get from Tor and I really have to question this rationale. For the last few years we have been using mw:Extension:TorBlock which automatically blocks Tor exit nodes as soon as they pop up. Between that extension and ProcseeBot (talk · contribs) I don't believe we have massive amount of Tor abuse that people are inferring. So I am not certain this justification is valid. Please correct me if I'm wrong. (talk) 10:27, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The extension has been known to not work sometimes. It looks like it's malfunctioning again. Just take a look at how many Tor nodes I blocked the other day. Secondly, ProcseeBot blocks proxies, not Tor nodes. Elockid (Talk) 13:37, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Since we're talking about proxies, ProcseeBot doesn't get all of them. IMO it blocks only a small percentage of the proxies out there. I mean I find myself blocking a number of open proxies. Elockid (Talk) 13:41, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I, for one, am entirely satisfied that DQ didn't do anything with malicious intent, and I think we need to move past the post-mortem of this single block, to look instead at what can be done to improve things in the future, because otherwise this is just spinning wheels. Yes, it would be helpful to provide better advice to editors who consider using IPBE. But more importantly, let's get back to the original idea of this sub-thread: ways to correct information in the block logs of good-faith editors whose blocks were subsequently found to have been incorrect. This isn't about putting a bad mark on the logs of blocking admins. It's about correcting (not necessarily removing, as in revdel, but just correcting) the bad marks on the logs of editors who actually didn't do anything wrong. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:35, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Agree with Tryptofish. We have an opportunity to fix one of the problems with the way Wikipedia operates. If the conversation degenerates, we will lose this opportunity. (talk) 21:42, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by NE Ent

Reviewing the situation, the onwiki evidence indidicates Int21h was minding their own business, using the open proxy (Tor) specifically allowed by Wikipedia, using an exemption/permission they had requested and been granted. Then they got fucked over. Not out of maliciousness nor general incompetence, but lack of big picture thinking and unfamiliarity with a little used tool. When a seven year, 10,000 / 82% mainspace editor with no disciplinary issues gets blocked out of nowhere, something is wrong. The danger of IPBE plus Tor being used for socking was discussed five years ago and dismissed as not a significant issue.

CU hints and tips clearly states: "CheckUser is not magic wiki pixie dust. Almost all queries about IPs will be because two editors were behaving the same way or an editor was behaving in a way that appears suggestive of possible disruption. An editing pattern match is the important thing; the IP match is really just extra evidence (or not)." (emphasis mine). No evidence has been presented Int21h was disrupting anything.

It's a hard thing. Allowing socks and trolls to disrupt and discourage editors is bad for Wikipedia, but false positive blocks and harassment harm Wikipedia, too. Taking Int21h offline for at least two weeks affects content; that harms Wikipedia. Now, there's loose talking of sanctioning Int21h further by removing the IPBE exemption -- for what? For still caring enough to try to contribute when a reasonable person would have simply said "fuck this shit" and just gone away? Oh my, they not only used intemperate words, but intemperate words in bold letters! What a mature community would give them is tolerance and empathy; "Yes, we fucked up, we apologize again, sorry." They should be thanked and barnstarred for giving Wikipedia a second chance. Instead they get circle the wagons behavior and more shit. They get ridiculous statements like "show evidence of checkuser abuse" -- how are they supposed to do that when CU is all Star chamber? Does anyone here with a wikibrain really think DQ's position as CU is going to be threatened, or that someone saying "ArbCom should step down" is going to have a negative effect on anything? No articles have been harmed during the running of this thread.

For some editors, sock hunting has become The Great White Whale, to be pursued and destroyed at all costs. The damage -- the number of false positive editors lost as collateral damage is both unknown and unknowable. The way I understand the accounts here (and User_talk:DQ and Int21h) is that, except for the serendipitous election of TC and his reviewing of logs, account Int21h would still be bearing the Sock puppeteer Badge of Shame with the infallible CheckUser imprimatur. And some editors continue to assert this was a "good block," or that editors who are granted Exemption to Blocking due to the IP address they use need to be warned they may be blocked due to the IP address they use.

I'll spare you the dissertation on the appropriateness of let's skip SPI and WP:DUCK block newbies we don't like.

In the real world, "security through obscurity" has been throughly discredited.

Cryptography has been espousing open source ideals for decades, although we call it "using public algorithms and protocols." The idea is simple: cryptography is hard to do right, and the only way to know if something was done right is to be able to examine it.
— Bruce Schneier[1]

It's a sad irony that open source written and open source licensed Wikipedia uses a small closed circle of users to try to solve the sock problem. Aren't we supposed to be a Bazaar, not a "Cathedral"? Open up the problem to the community, without revealing IPs and account names, of course. This meme that openly discussing checkuser protocols will enable socks is really just admission how inadequate those protocols are. This is not the fault of the CUs, of course -- the Internet was designed to connect university and contractor computers, not the whole world; national firewalls are beyond our control and the anybody can edit is WMF's thing.

Of course, I have good enough grasp of wiki politics and vested interests to know this is highly unlikely to happen. But would it really be too much to ask editors with advanced permissions to show a little humility and tolerance for the proletariat??? No, "We apologized, now shut the fuck up and get over it," doesn't count.


This discussion cannot be allowed to die

  • We have meaningful consensus developing here. Let's proceed.   — C M B J   19:40, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @CMBJ. With respect, motion will most likely not happen on this point. I believe this thread will die and nothing will happen. I hope I am wrong, but past behavior strongly suggests I am right. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:12, 5 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We are the community and we can fix this problem—or any problem, for that matter. There are at least six of us (64.40.*.*, CMBJ, Dirk Beetstra, Surturz, Tryptofish, NE Ent) in agreement that action needs to be taken in this area. I cannot at a glance count even one participant as being plainly opposed to this particular measure. We just need to follow through at this point.   — C M B J   08:46, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What exactly are you looking for? To suspend ArbCom or something? No one is discussing it because it's not going to happen. Did you bother to count the other side of people who didn't bring it up? The horse has been beat, and is dead. Why i'm still even commenting here, I don't know... -- DQ on the road (ʞlɐʇ) 15:58, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @CMBJ: The situation as it stands is that ArbCom is the ultimate authority here. To change this would require ArbCom to consider removing themselves, in toto, as the chief governing body on the project. The community can not force them to do so, and lacks any control now to effect such change. Since ArbCom won't do it, and the community is powerless to do so, the situation as it currently stands will remain. It isn't a question of absolute power corrupting absolutely. It's a question of an intractable situation. It's a self enforcing system. As people become aware of the governance situation and become either a victim of it or become disgusted at someone else being a victim of it, they tend to leave the project. The result is the community left behind on the project still thinks well of ArbCom. This thread will die and nothing will come of it. Even if 100 people agreed with you and only a smattering disagreed, the thread would die with no change. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:14, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If you had 99 people with you you could file a petition for change in arbitration policy -- but I don't think it likely we'd get the numbers necessary. They're not supposed to be a governing body, of course. We can affect change through feedback -- just because folks don't respond publicly doesn't mean you're not having influence -- and through the election process. NE Ent 16:20, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • ArbCom has violated the policy regarding them in the past. I don't look to the policy as a means of effecting change because of that fact. The elections can change the people on ArbCom, but it effects no change in any concrete form. It is nebulous at best. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:41, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • While I believe that the community can suspend ArbCom's ranks if it so resolves, that is not at all what this subsection was originally intended to be about. The best way to right wrongs is not to pursue revenge, but to ensure that others are not subjected to the same pitfalls again and again and again. To that point, it is very important that we don't allow this discussion to die before commensurate measures are taken in moving forward. I will further expand on this below in an actionable format.   — C M B J   06:54, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Measure 1: Ensure that blocks don't unnecessarily tarnish the reputations of users in good standing

This measure, as proposed by SPhilbrick, enjoyed support from 64.40.*.*, CMBJ, Dirk Beetstra, Surturz, Tryptofish, and NE Ent and saw no substantial opposition. It also received extensive support in an earlier village pump proposal and exists as unconfirmed bug as a result. In summary, it would either allow expungement or reasonably equivalent correction of a user's permanent record.

As recompense for what has happened to Int21h, we, the community, hereby resolve that we will take all necessary measures to help ensure that this solution becomes a reality (in some form or fashion) by 31 December 2013.

  • Support   — C M B J   06:54, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment I certainly support this, but IPs can not !vote for obvious reasons. This should only be considered a comment and not a !vote. It is my belief that the vast majority of people agree that A) Int21h (talk · contribs) did nothing to deserve being blocked and B) it is reasonable that these specific block entries should never be used against Int21h at any point in the future by anybody and C) if at some point in the future these entries can be removed, then they should be. (talk) 08:27, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as useless (though I have no idea why we're !voting about this on the Arbitration Committee talk. Surely there are more appropriate venues?). We already have a "reasonably equivalent" ability that's quite commonly used: a one-second block with a block summary explaining the error. That strategy is in wide use and is not disputed as a strategy for correcting the record on an erroneous block; seeking to use a strategy that literally blanks the block log instead would obstruct any effort at transparency for either user behavior, case history, or blocking admin behavior. There is nothing magical about having a block log empty of content, as opposed to a block log with an error and then a correction in it. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 15:09, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support It would be really nice if Fluffernutter was correct; in my observation block log lengths are routinely used as "evidence" in disputes. NE Ent 21:30, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Measure 2: Safeguard good contributors who need IPBE

Many upstanding contributors make use of advanced or uncommon networking schemes. This may be done for a variety of valid reasons, including but not limited to overcoming censorship schemes, avoiding systematic persecution, protecting career prospects, ensuring personal privacy, and upholding principles of conscience.

While such network schemes may inadvertently make such contributors appear technically related to disruptive users, and may occasionally even lead to accidental misidentification, we reaffirm that contributors should never fear systematic eradication on this basis alone. Accordingly, we will continue discussion at Wikipedia:IP block exemption and pursue better safeguards for those who need them.

  • Support   — C M B J   07:46, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment I agree with this, but IPs can not !vote for obvious reasons. This should only be considered a comment and not a !vote. There is good reason that Wikimedia developers created WP:IPBE. The reason is so that the project will not be harmed by the blocking of good editors because of a rangeblock. IPBE has an important function in limiting damage caused to the project from good editors leaving because of a bad block. I'll also not that there is currently a discussion on IPBE at Wikipedia:Village Pump (proposals)#Restrict the granting of IP block exemption to CheckUsers that is related to this topic. (talk) 08:43, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What? This is an impassioned argument and all, but it doesn't argue for anything in particular. We already have policy that governs when and how IPBE is appropriate. Nobody is "systematically eradicating" anyone, and the fact that that phrase is being used here makes me think this is more about making a dramatic show than about fixing any weakness in policy that might exist. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 15:11, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The argument for action is in the second paragraph: that we acknowledge a problem here, and that as a response we will go out of our way to hold an appropriate conversation (i.e., at WP:IPBE) about how to address it. We do have a policy that governs when and how IPBE is appropriate, and that policy has clearly failed us here. We took a good user, arbitrarily blocked them one day, repeatedly denied their appeals to be unblocked, and then silenced them from even defending themself on their own talk page. This course of action was so logical and routine that no one involved even did anything wrong. The term "systematically eradicated" was used here both because of its use earlier in the discussion and because of its accuracy as a descriptor.   — C M B J   21:26, 7 March 2013 (UTC)