Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Archive 14

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Clarification request: Discretionary sanctions appeals procedure

Original - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 14:29, 9 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moved directly from Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions to this page by AGK [•] on 23:35, 9 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edit needed?

The lead section states: "Arbitrators are neither Wikimedia Foundation employees or agents, nor Wikipedia executives."

In view of Coren's situation, could use some wordsmithing.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 18:19, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Made an edit to address. NE Ent 18:23, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Coren is a contractor, working in a technical role, not an employee, agent or executive of the Foundation. Coren no more represents the Foundation than an electrical contractor working on my house represents me. ​—DoRD (talk)​ 18:39, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I accept your point that he is a contractor, not an employee. Agents are typically not employees; I don't know whether Coren is or is not an agent, but I can imagine that he might be. In any event, the NE Ent edit, if it sticks, resolves the problem.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 18:56, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
NE Ent's change to WP:AC was this edit. EdJohnston (talk) 19:12, 1 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looks good to me. --MZMcBride (talk) 10:07, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's functional, but IMO looses a bit of substance (sorry I didn't comment earlier, I hadn't noticed this thread before). How about adding "[...] and do not act on behalf of [the Foundation] in this role" or some suitably similar verbiage? I think the point should be that what ArbCom does isn't at the behest of the foundation. — Coren (talk) 04:17, 9 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Concerning a particularly punitive block, and an appeal against it.

On 23 January ArbCom received an appeal from an editor in which he made a pretty strong case for an unblock and topic ban lifting. He was informed at the time that it could take a week or two, because in the words of the replying arbitrator, Arbcom was very busy at the moment; it had a single on-project case at the time.

Almost 6 weeks have passed, and this editor is still being subjected to what is quite obviously a punitive block and topic ban, and Arbcom has only gotten busier.

In fact, if you look at onwiki Arbcom work, I see that numerous Arbitrators are acting in timely fashion at places such as Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Clarification and Amendment and Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Motions, but in this case one is only hearing crickets from the place where Arbitrators should be heard.

You know, and I know, and many in the uninvolved community knows, that the block and topic ban was a complete and utter over-reaction and blatantly punitive in nature. You have seen the evidence on just how punitive this block and topic ban are, and here is Arbcom seemingly deliberately dragging its feet on the issue, only extending the punitive nature of the block.

Arbcom is able to hear complex and lengthy arbitration cases with a 2.5 week time frame from the beginning of the case to a proposed decision; yet here Arbcom is unable to deal with a clearly punitive block in a timely fashion.

Either Arbcom deal with this immediately, or allow an uninvolved admin to step in and do what needs to be done; in which case the editor would have been unblocked months and months ago. This community - this project as a whole - is only losing by keeping this editor blocked.

Arbcom, for the love of whatever deity you happen to worship, Step up to the plate, and do the right thing.

FishBarking? 22:39, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you have submitted this plea on behalf of the appellant, then it would be fair to the people who watch this page to specify the appellant's name. Although no non-arbitrators will, I think I know who you mean—and if we are thinking of the same appeal, then I can confirm we have moved to a vote on the matter. We prioritise cases and on-site proceedings over ban or block appeals, particularly when the appeal concerns a ban or block that has itself already been appealed to the community, which explains the delay. Also, in this case and by an unhappy coincidence, we had one other matter to dispose of that was very urgent and time-consuming (but that would not, as a matter of confidential nature, be apparent to the appellant or editors not sitting on the committee). AGK [•] 22:59, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your reply, AGK, and for the news that you are proceeding to a vote on the aforementioned issue - I confirm to you that I am NOT submitting this reply either on behalf of, or at the direct or indirect request of, the appellant. I am submitting it because I am aware of the appeal since the appellant and I communicate regularly outside of Wikipedia, and I am unhappy as to the length of time this has taken, when this person could really be making a big difference here. The appellant is doing excellent work on other projects where I am active, and it seems almost a crime to prevent them from bringing that work and knowledge back here. I am not at this time, prepared to identify the appellant without consulting them first, since they have no prior knowledge of my leaving this message. Thanks :) FishBarking? 23:19, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, but who is it you're talking about or equivalently what is it that you expect the ArbCom to do? Unban some unknown person based o your comment? Volunteer Marek 23:38, 8 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've requested appeal

I've requested a restriction appeal at here -- GoodDay (talk) 15:19, 21 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Inappropriate iconography

Scales of Justitia
Just kidding!
WP:AE "Cutting the baby in half"

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If "Arbitration is not a legal process", why then has the Arbitration Committee adopted as its logo a symbol that represents the judicial system?

Time to pick something more appropriate, guys. — Hex (❝?!❞) 10:52, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It tickles my sense of irony, but not everyone will get/share that. I've invited alternatives here before and didn't get very far. We usually get a few highly pointy ones. It really is difficult coming up with something memorable and neutral. This is the last discussion.

On as related subject, I'd really like to ditch use of the word "appeal" too. They're rarely actually appeals and instead usually a request for reconsideration and/or (and I hate to use yet another quasi-legal expression but I can't think of a succinct synonym) clemency. However, appeal is probably too ingrained in the community psyche ....  Roger Davies talk 12:37, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Roger, I'm glad you've given some attention to this. Maybe a design contest is in order? Everybody loves a design contest. It would also be a nice indicator of ArbCom wanting to be straightforward and easier to deal with. I also appreciate that you have concerns over some of the language that's used. — Hex (❝?!❞) 15:01, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that would be a fine idea. I've been meaning to propose one myself for ages, but the moment never seemed right moment ...  Roger Davies talk 16:36, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Hex; ArbCom itself frequently uses legal terms in its comments and public deliberations. For example, "on behalf of the appellant", "remanded to community", and many more. Even Wikipedia:Arbitration says "adjudicating serious disputes"; Adjudicating; v: "To hear and settle (a case) by judicial procedure." Their conduct and structure are inescapably tied to a court like system. This is a major source of angst among people who interact with ArbCom in one form or another. Such people are frequently expecting a legal type process with concepts of fairness and due process which do not exist here, despite the logo of ArbCom implying concepts of fairness. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:28, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, I'd like to see that kind of language done away with as well. Perhaps a worthy project would be for a glossary of all arbitration-related terms created, then translated into more appropriate language; then enshrined as a style guide for proceedings. I think the atmosphere around arbitration would benefit from that. — Hex (❝?!❞) 15:00, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Ditto, though curiously Hammersoft himself slips into legalese with his "public deliberations". I don't know about my colleagues but while I sometimes think things through, sometimes muse about, I don't think I've ever conscously deliberated.  Roger Davies talk 16:25, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is inevitable that a quasi-legal process will attract legalese, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't stamp it out in some cases. I wouldn't bother going through random comments and redacting them, but surely the main image on the main page deserves some editing. I'm not sure what it should be, but I think Hex makes a valid point. I'll also agree that the word appeal perhaps should be avoided, although I recognize the lack of perfect substitutes. Request for reconsideration? Simply "reconsideration"?--SPhilbrick(Talk) 15:08, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The more troublesome term is "arbitration" because it isn't, but that may be too much of an inertial mountain to move.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 15:09, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think it's the perfect word either but I think we're just stuck with that.  Roger Davies talk 16:25, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The entire system is a massive inertial mountain. Despite all the ruckus over the last few weeks about major mistakes made by ArbCom and/or its members, nothing has changed. I think we can reasonably expect that nothing will change. As to the logo; simple is an alternative; how about no logo at all? Is there a reason there has to be a logo? As to the "appeal" language; this is a misnomer. An "appeal" implies a request of a higher court to consider and possibly overturn a lower court's decision. That structure doesn't exist here. There is no means of appeal for ArbCom's decisions, language to that effect notwithstanding. You might get them to reconsider or review a decision, but you can't appeal their decisions. To that end, changing "appeal" wherever it appears to "reconsider/review", with appropriate tenses, is in order. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:40, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, it is a misnomer. I said so above an hour or so ago. Though that's a victim of wikipedialese. It's entered the site's sociolect/ethnolect] and is shorthand for review/reconsideration. Incidentally, I've been thinking about your remark about appearances above. Do you really think that people believe that ArbCom's a court in the conventional sense. Okay, courts come in all shapes and sizes, with wildly differing approaches and procedures, but I've never come across one where just anybody can turn up and make a speech; make snide remarks to the judges; or camp outside the judges' houses and shout things through their letterboxes.  Roger Davies talk 16:34, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • That it has entered into common usage as a shorthand doesn't erase its burden as a misnomer. I pumped 'judge threatened' (not in quotes) into Google News and got back 39,000 results. --Hammersoft (talk) 17:10, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • With over 250,000 whits, changing appeal, misnomer or not, is likely an uphill battle.

    It's not very clear what your other point is ... you're surely not saying it's okay to threaten arbitrators because threatening judges happens in the real world?  Roger Davies talk 17:54, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Come on Roger, of course not! My point is that criticism comes with the territory. You indicated you'd never come across such things for real life judges. My intent was to show you it is otherwise. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:41, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Perhaps then it was off the mark to search on "judge threatened" which is illegal practically everywhere, apples and oranges?  Roger Davies talk 21:53, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Some time ago, I tried to remove the scales of justice from the ArbCom information page; somebody chided me and reverted my edit. Needless to say, I still think it is a wholly inappropriate (and unnecessary) icon. AGK [•] 20:15, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree that there are probably better options out there, although looking at the history of the template, the previously expressed choices weren't all that much better. I'm not a fan of anything that implies a court (or Snidely Whiplash, as in the previous public attempt to find a new icon). At this point, I can't help wondering if we aren't just better off with no image at all. Risker (talk) 20:27, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apparently a previous Committee (the 2011 one?) felt very strongly otherwise, but I agree that no image is preferable. NW (Talk) 20:44, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd prefer a logo of some description, to brighten the page up. I'd welcome alternatives,  Roger Davies talk 21:53, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There are plenty of stylistic things that could be done to 'brighten the page up'. This should not be a reason to provide a logo that is misleading, as is the current state. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:59, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For a logo, maybe some kind of image of people around a table, having a discussion? For the (ingrained) language, perhaps an essay, clarifying the resulting misunderstandings, could be created and linked from the page? --Tryptofish (talk) 23:12, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's about balance and wisdom, not "justice"

The primary function of the committee is to resolve difficult cases where the "right" of a situation isn't easy to find (it if were, the community should've addressed the situation before it got to the committee). Often, conflicting interests must be balanced, I suggest Yin and Yang to represent the quest for balance. NE Ent 01:35, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mailing list

The following was un-archived by NE Ent. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:00, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Back at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Archive 13#Thinking about the mailing list, I started a discussion about mailing list policy, and I'd like to re-start it. At the time, some of the Arbs wanted to wait until January, more or less, and I think we are clearly there (also, from more than a week ago, User talk:Risker#Checking if the time is OK and User talk:Tryptofish#Mailing lists). Really, I hope this doesn't come across as pushing anyone before they are ready. But I think the nature of institutions like this is that it can be helpful to make sure that things don't slip through the cracks, and that's the spirit in which I bring it up again. No pressure, just trying to help!

Here's what I said then:

... 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]

The response back then seemed to be positive, so let's look into this further. Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:39, 11 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Support per proposer. NE Ent 23:59, 11 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment: Thanks Tryptofish for raising the issue of mailing lists again. I think we can now honestly say that there's no such thing as a good time to raise these sorts of issues; with three open cases and a few other serious tidbits to review, we have a pretty full plate. Having said that, after your prod on my talk page, I have initiated a discussion amongst arbitrators to examine the mailing list "alternatives" that we saw in early November 2012 that the WMF is able to support. Many of the issues that we have with incoming mail are stymied by the use of the inflexible Mailman software (for example, we can't delete anything from archives without adversely affecting the posts that remain), and we have too many mailing lists for everyone to keep track of effectively. I won't say that response to my discussion has been enthusiastic, but I'm not giving up hope!

    I think it might be helpful to try to figure out some examples of information that might be considered "suitable for release", both from the arbitrator side and from the community side. I think you might be surprised at how much actually shows up onwiki that is simply a reiteration of the positions of individual arbitrators; the most recent example would have been the motion on withdrawing cases, where there was pretty solid correlation between what people said onwiki and what they said on the mailing list, and indeed some were more expansive here onwiki. Risker (talk) 00:41, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Thanks Risker, and I'm certainly very sympathetic to how much you and the others have to deal with. Two suggestions: (1) what I'm talking about here is really unrelated to the technology of how the list works, instead focusing on how the humans deal with the material, so I recommend looking at it that way; (2) maybe the best way to figure out what is suitable for release is to start by determining the opposite: what must be kept confidential, because what does not need to be kept confidential becomes suitable for consideration for release. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:30, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Once my colleagues with more knowledge of this issue have had the opportunity to weigh in, I might offer some comments; but for now, I'll keep out of this discussion. Nevertheless, I'd like to thank Tryptofish for how thoughtfully and generously he has framed these issues, and to assure him that I do not consider him to be badgering us in any way. AGK [•] 02:14, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks, AGK, that's very nice of you. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:59, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've been thinking about something along these lines myself. I'd say that Tryptofish's proposal is heading in roughly the right direction, but without an explicit, compulsory separation between ArbCom business and ArbCom chatting that is applied to every message, the Committee is going to get itself into trouble again when its members use a 'business' list for 'personal' activities.

I would be inclined to propose two lists, along the lines of
  1. Arbcom-en-L The current list, to be used exclusively for material directly related to carrying out ArbCom's responsibilities. Primarily for material related to ongoing case deliberations. -en-L would continue to enjoy its completely privileged status; its messages and contents cannot be released or discussed outside the list (or the other areas similarly sealed to ArbCom) without the clearly expressed, explicit, obtained-in-advance permission of message authors—or as released by the mechanism described below. Arbitrators are expected not to 'game' the protections of this list by, for example, appending significant 'non-business' content on to 'core business' messages. Arbitrators who repeatedly or egregiously abuse the protected, privileged list should be sanctioned: public censure, temporary loss of list privileges, or even removal from the ArbCom.
  2. Arbcom-chat A mailing list to which all of the Arbitrators are subscribed, to be used to broadcast messages to the entire Committee that aren't directly related to carrying out the current business of ArbCom. Message content on this list isn't restricted. Arbs are welcome to use it as they see fit, though they are expected to confine official business to Arbcom-en-L as much as possible. This is the list where Arbs can carry out general conversations, discuss changes to policies that aren't directly under ArbCom's control, engage in electioneering, and talk about who is going to bring the potato salad to the ArbCom Picnic. Messages sent to Arbcom-chat are treated exactly the same way as messages sent between Wikipedia editors using the 'Email this user' function, or sent to a fellow editor's private email address. Arbitrators who repeatedly post private, case-related matter to Arbcom-chat should be sanctioned: public censure, temporary loss of list privileges, or even removal from the ArbCom.
What are the practical ramifications?
  • Arbitrators who are using the existing Arbcom-en-L list appropriately and solely for its intended purpose now will face essentially no changes.
  • It should go without saying that Wikipedia's privacy policy continues to apply to material on both lists—and to private material whenever and wherever Arbs may handle it on- or off-wiki.
  • Material on the Arbcom-chat list enjoys the same protections – and limits to those protections – as regular email between editors. Under the current policy, if Coren mentions on Arbcom-en-L that he will be bringing the potato salad to the ArbCom picnic, and then Newyorkbrad mentions Coren's potato salad on-wiki, it is a technical violation of the list rules for which Newyorkbrad could face sanctions. Under my proposed policy, the picnic and its potato salad would be discussed on Arbcom-chat, and Newyorkbrad could mention it on-wiki without precipitating a crisis.
  • Arbitrators who repeat or describe, in whole or in part, content from Arbcom-chat to individuals outside of ArbCom remain fully and personally responsible for the content of what they post, as they would for information (privacy-policy-governed or not) or messages they receive by email. In other words, they are expected to use discretion and good judgement, and not do things like repost or forward full messages without a damn good reason. As part of that discretion and good judgement, Arbs are expected to recognize when their fellows have used the wrong list, and treat the occasional bit of ArbCom business on Arbcom-chat accordingly.
Finally, we have the situations where an Arbitrator has used the Arbcom-en-L list inappropriately, for one or more messages which ought to be on Arbcom-chat. Messages, or portions thereof, can be copied from Arbcom-en-L to Arbcom-chat under the following circumstances (numbers and timing are suggestions, subject to tweaking):
  1. With the clearly expressed, explicit permission of the message's author(s);
  2. Upon receiving the support of a majority of sitting, active Arbitrators; or
  3. If the Arbitrator requesting the transfer identifies his request as 'urgent', with the support of at least two-thirds of the Arbitrators voting within 48 hours (or such longer time as the Arb may request) of the request for a vote.
In all but the most time-sensitive situations, this provides a mechanism by which abuse of the Arbcom-en-L can be moved somewhere where it can be mentioned publicly if necessary. (For example, this would have permitted members of ArbCom to publicly discuss, or at least acknowledge, Jclemens' attempt to use the privacy of Arbcom-en-L to manipulate the 2012 ArbCom elections.) Arbitrators are encouraged to use method #1 informally wherever appropriate and possible.

It's still rough around the edges, but I think establishing a clear demarcation between ArbCom business and Arbitrator chatting (and the appropriate level of secrecy or privilege for each) requires that material be confined to separate lists. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 03:33, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I get where you're going. A couple of issues: So if I post to the list saying that I will be on very reduced activity because I'm going on an exotic vacation, is that business or chat? [Hint: arbitrator absence is business, personal information like holiday plans is confidential, and it will inevitably evolve into chat when a group of people who are friendly with each other have the chance to say "pics or it didn't happen", for example.] Secondly....oh god not another mailing list. Please not another mailing list. Especially not another Mailman mailing list. Risker (talk) 04:14, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Appending: It is not physically possible to "move" messages from one mailing list to another. We are physically unable to delete "wrong list" messages from the archives without irreparably damaging other posts. At best, one can redirect the *response* to a "wrong list" email to the right list (which we do if an unblock request comes to the main mailing list), but one has to be very very careful to strip off previous messages that are in the right place, which is darn hard to do from one's smartphone. And if anyone thinks that ANY arbcom list is suitable for electioneering, then I think it's time to pack up the committee and go home. That's possibly the saddest thing I've read on this page, ever. Risker (talk) 04:21, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Obviously 'move' is a figure of speech, rather than a literal, technical expectation. To 'move' a message to the other list simply means to 'copy without violating policy'. I'm sure that that interpretation is understood. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 04:46, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) Perhaps -chat isn't the best name for the list; perhaps the two lists should be Arbcom-private and Arbcom-mail or something of that sort. Go ahead and hash out a reasonable division. Maybe declarations of absence should be cross-posted. (Sure, arbitrator absence is business, but it is business that should be shared with the community; the mere fact that you're unavailable doesn't trigger the need for secrecy.) Maybe warnings of an upcoming absence should be kept private on en-L at the discretion of the Arb involved, pending their chosen time to announce it.
I'm sure you noticed I explicitly acknowledge that the 'non-private' list still maintains the usual protections afforded by the privacy policy—your fellow Arbs would be in trouble if they told the community where and when to go to rob your house while you were away, regardless of where you posted your messages. Your fellow Arbs should also be able to demonstrate the responsibility and discretion to confine their "pics or it didn't happen" requests to a 'chat' list. Honestly, this new level of care may seem onerous at first, but I expect that you'll quickly get used to it. Further, there's no obligation to participate in, mail to, or even subscribe to the 'chat' list. If important business is appearing only on the -chat list, then there's something wrong.
In all seriousness, if you don't want to get stuck with another mailing list, make an alternative suggestion. When Jclemens abused your current list (in an attempt) to manipulate an important public Wikipoedia process – nominations for the ArbCom election – it took weeks for the ArbCom to come up with any sort of public statement, that came too late to be much use (inasmuch as it was released well after the close of the nomination period), and even then it appears that the ArbCom's principle concern was the leak and not the abuse of their private list. (In techincal terms, this is what we call 'not getting it'.) You're facing these proposals now because it's clear that having an absolutely-inviolably-secret mailing list is too much responsibility. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 04:46, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Right now we have three all-Arb mailing lists, plus the functionaries list to which all arbs are subscribed, plus the appeals mailing list to which almost all arbs are subscribed. Some arbs are also on the AUSC, oversight, and global checkuser list on top of that. What you're proposing is sending messages to a mailing list that...nobody even subscribes to? Nobody can ever make a joke with their colleagues in this brave new world, without risk of being publicly censured? Would you also ban introductory emails to the list? I am relatively certain that if we had done the "right thing" about Jclemens' inappropriate use of the mailing list (and there are multiple interpretations of what that "right thing" would have been, ranging from telling him not to be a jerk to banning him from the project, both of which were suggested by respected members of the community, with several points in between), a significant and equally loud portion of the community would have been just as ticked off at us for making a "political" decision about that, too. We "get" a lot more than we're given credit for. A separate mailing list isn't the solution, and wouldn't have been a solution even if it had been in existence at the time. It seems to me that the problem you're "solving" is the development of any sense of internal community within the committee, rather than how to deal with arbitrators who abuse their position wherever they may do so. Risker (talk) 05:39, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I understand your frustration, but I trust that you also understand that there's as much frustration outside the Committee. Based on Jclemens' comment in Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard/Archive 19#Where were the rest of the Arbitrators during all this, and what do they see as their responsibility to the community?, the response of the Committee to his use of the mailing list for his own electioneering – attempting to intimidate potential competitors in the then-upcoming election – was a stern finger-wagging from "a few" other Arbs, followed by utter silence. The ArbCom (according to Jclemens) considered the matter "a resolved issue". Things apparently rested that way for five-plus days, until the ArbCom became aware of the leak by Elen—even then it took two more weeks for the ArbCom to release any statement. A sitting Arbitrator had made a credible attempt to use his privileges to manipulate an election for his own benefit, but the ArbCom was content to keep the community entirely in the dark on the matter.
As someone without access to ArbCom mailing lists, I don't know if this type of abuse is a regular occurrence or not. I doubt that it is, and I fervently hope that it isn't. But right now, the ArbCom is batting 0 for 1 in the sole case that the Wikipedia community knows about. The only thing that the community can see is that the ArbCom didn't take any visible action until weeks after they were aware the matter had been leaked.
You've said that if the ArbCom had handled the matter differently, there would have been a different pool of editors crying for your blood, and I certainly am not naive enough to dispute that. (Sometimes you really are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Being an Arbitrator can really suck, and I wouldn't stand up and volunteer for that misery even in the unlikely event that the community offered it to me.) The unfortunate impression that those of us on the 'outside' get, however, is that the ArbCom's initial choice in the matter wasn't between pissing off Group A and pissing off Group B. Instead, it was between pissing off Group A, and not doing much of anything while relying on the secrecy of the mailing list to protect everyone on the ArbCom from any fallout. To be clear, I doubt that anyone on the Committee was consciously engaging in that sort of deliberate political calculation; rather, I suspect that the ArbCom just plain failed to recognize that they needed to make any decision at all. We are told that "a few" Arbitrators took it on themselves to criticize Jclemens, but did any Arbitrator take any positive step to discuss or direct an appropriate response by the ArbCom as a whole? Forget bringing anything to a vote, did anyone even sketch a motion, or suggest in any more than the vaguest way that ArbCom might be obliged to make an announcement or take other publicly-visible, collective action? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:33, 13 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I encourage the committee to do as much discussion and deliberation onwiki as feasible per the study referenced in the SignPost last October: ""the reported use of interaction channels outside the Wikipedia platform (e.g., e-mail) is a cause for concern." That said, arbcom-l must exist to handle information not suitable for public dissemination.
  • With regard to the list itself: too much overthinking. Not supposed to a bureaucracy here. Existing policy, to wit,

Committee deliberations are often held privately though the Committee will make public detailed rationales for decisions related to cases, unless the matter is unsuitable for public discussion for privacy, legal or similar reasons. The Committee treats as private all communications sent to it, or sent by a Committee member in the performance of their duties. is fine. What's lacking is simply a protocol to determine whether a arbitrator sent communication is "in the performance of their duties." Logically, only the committee can decide that because the rest of us shouldn't see it until a determination is made. So simply add a protocol that if one of ya'll think an email is outside the bounds of "performance of their duties" a majority vote can determine it can be revealed.

  • I do not care about, and would actually prefer not to know, details of the "potato salad" nature. TMI. NE Ent 14:09, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • As I compare and contrast the approaches in my suggestion and in TenOfAllTrades', a lot of it comes down to technology versus human judgment, and that's actually something that also arises in Risker's first reply to me. I kind of think that anything that relies on technology, whether that means two separate lists as TenOfAllTrades proposed, or various technological upgrades to the list system, as have come up at various times before, won't really get at the key issue. What matters is letting a consensus of Arbitrators determine whether something on the list should be made public or be kept confidential. I trust collective judgment about that, in a way that I don't trust the judgment of any single individual. If you look back at the archived discussion, you'll see an exchange between me and SandyGeorgia, in which we both agreed that: (1) a single Arb should not decide unilaterally to release something, and (2) a single Arb should not be able to unilaterally prevent the majority of the Committee from releasing something. If there's a decision about which of two lists to post to, that decision will always be made by a single individual. I'd rather have something like a majority vote of Arbs, to decide whether to lift confidentiality for any particular message. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:11, 12 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Timestamp. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:16, 19 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this might have run its course. There are a number of cases etc taking up the attention. I think the solution is much simpler.
  1. There is a list.
  2. No-one should send personally identifying information to it, because any mechanism that fires messages into the private mailboxes of individuals is by definition not secure. Send it to an Arb you trust, and tell them not to share it, only to summarise it
  3. The list should only be used for official business. Any use for other business should not expect the level of privacy afforded to official business, and should be showered with sardines.
  4. If someone announces that they are unavailable due to surgery/visit to Venice etc, and other Arbs want to know more information, that's what personal email is for.
  5. my personal view is that it's bloody ludicrous that Arbcom should expect to keep its own deliberations secret after the fact, and I don't know how it ever got from the base premises of the Wikipedia founders to that position. But that's my personal view, and not relevant here. Elen of the Roads (talk) 22:57, 19 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, Elen – as always, it's good to hear from you. I certainly didn't expect that to be the reaction to my timestamp. In my opinion, what I've proposed has not run its course. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:17, 19 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Although we don't run a justice system per nojustice, we can choose to be informed by concepts taken from justice system. In the context of the US Constitution 6th Admendment, a Connecticut public defender notes:

"The right to an open court in criminal proceedings is “an effective restraint on possible abuse of judicial power,” In re Oliver, 333 U.S. 257, 270 (1948), which functions for “the benefit of the accused; that the public may see he is fairly dealt with and not unjustly condemned.” Waller v. Georgia, 467 U.S. 39, 46 (1984).

and Wikipedia specific research has found "ensuring participation and transparency is crucial for maintaining the stability of self-governing communities." NE Ent 23:44, 19 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is the end of the content that had been archived. The following has been added new, after the restoration of the thread. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:00, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mailing list section break

In a justice system, you get to see the evidence presented against you. You don't get to read the judges' notes during the case or listen in on the conversations they have with their clerks. NW (Talk) 02:38, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
True, but what should be done when one judge is using the tools of his office to secretly manipulate the selection of his peers? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 02:46, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd venture to say whatever it is, it's not "each of the other judges gets to personally select the excerpts they think make that first judge look the worst, and submit them anonymously to one reporter of their choice, under the condition the reporter not write about it" or "all the other judges publish the entirety of the case's notes, discussions, and private evidence, with no eye to which items are relevant to misuse." That is to say, any system of handling questionable mailing list (or just routine "FOA"-type disclosure about what goes on on the mailing list) use needs to be a) concerned with retaining privacy in any issues that require it b) determined by the committee as a whole, not presented as a fait accompli by the first arb to decide a message is "misuse" and release it.

I do happen to agree, however, with those who are urging Arbcom to focus more on onwiki deliberations. Private matters need to be handled privately, but everything else - and I'd venture that that "everything else" is probably a vast majority of the discussions that go on - should be happening onwiki. That includes proposing draft/working motions; fighting with each other over which remedies, FoFs, etc should pass; hashing out the wording of things; etc. There is no benefit to keeping those things socked away on a mailing list just because there's a tradition of posting a mostly-cohesive PD onwiki at a later date instead. The community knows you all disagree a lot; for most disagreements among arbs, it is of benefit to the community to see who thinks what and what is going into the committee's convergence on a given PD/motion/etc.A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 15:07, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't disagree. Your point about leaking as a respone to misconduct is one that I touched on way back in November—"I hope I don't...see this mailing list dispute turn into Team Jclemens versus Team Elen. In practice, both of them screwed up in different ways, and neither deserved to be excused for their conduct nor held up as a 'victim'." Pretending that either of them handled themselves particularly well, or that either's conduct should be a template for future policy, is obviously ridiculous.
As a matter of the ArbCom's response to the situation, misuse of the mailing list in an attempt to manipulate the candidate pool for a public election was insufficiently serious to prompt a public statement, motion of censure, or any other address to the community. (As far as I can tell from the mostly-stony-silence we've been getting from the ArbCom, nobody even considered making any sort of public statement.) Release of material from the mailing list – material which wasn't related to ArbCom business and contained no personal information – was considered sufficiently serious to prompt a public ArbCom response. I don't know if that's because the ArbCom thinks leaking is more serious than misuse of the ArbCom tools, or if the ArbCom only wants to publicly acknowledge misconduct that's already public knowledge, or if the ArbCom was just plain asleep at the switch and hasn't got a clue how to properly respond to Arbitrator misconduct. So far, though, I'm still waiting to see any Arbitrator offer a suggestion about how to approach any of those possibilities, or offer any alternative explanation for the way they handled things. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:57, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm willing to let explanations of what happened in the past go as water under the bridge, but I strongly agree with TenOfAllTrades that it really behooves the Arbitrators to start commenting publicly (here would be ideal) on what they will do in the future. That's really what I'm trying to get to by pushing this discussion.
It seems to me that the kinds of problems discussed just above arise when a single person on the Committee decides to leak something, and the other members are left having to figure out what to do after it happens, or when a single member of the Committee believes that the community would be served by making something public, but cannot. We know that some things on the mailing list need to be kept private, and some other things do not.
I think the way forward does not lie in anything technological, but rather, in human judgment. But the judgment should be collective, and I trust the Committee, as a group, to make those judgments (perhaps other editors disagree). What I want to avoid is: (1) one Committee member decides unilaterally to release something, and (2) one Committee member can veto the release of something that the Committee as a whole believes ought to be made public. My pre-proposal in the yellowish box near the top seeks to avoid both (1) and (2). --Tryptofish (talk) 23:12, 28 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I hope that the members of the Committee will comment here on ways to move forward, because I think that it would be regrettable if you simply wait until the next crisis. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:41, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I realize that the Arbitrators have a lot of people talking at you, and consequently find it hard to attend to this discussion thread. But I'll keep on timestamping here until we get some progress. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:31, 8 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Another timestamp, another ping. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:13, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Hey Trypto, could you perhaps spell out what steps you're looking for? Insofar as current procedures, I don't necessarily see any obstacle to arbs releasing email threads with the consent of all parties (including whoever else is on the thread, assuming it's not just intra-arb stuff.) Doing it by a majority gets a bit more grey, since that's essentially the email participants relinquishing their rights to privileged correspondence sight unseen, and would definitely require a motion, I suppose. That really can't be asked of non-arbs, so I guess your proposal would have to be restricted to solely arb discussion.
The other issue I'm seeing with the proposal is the line that "anyone" could make such a request. I'm not sure how we could honor those requests, however. Editors don't have citation information for an email, after all (or I suppose if they did, that would mean they were either a participant in the email, and thus the above proposal is irrelevant in that we could release it by agreement as mentioned above, or else it was leaked to them and thus a violation of confidentiality already), and "I want to know everything that happened on December 20-January 15" just enables fishing expeditions or wastes a lot of time trying to figure out if it's acceptable to publish, what needs to be redacted, what has or hasn't been redacted (and should be) before it's posted, etc.) If you have any suggestions on how that would work, I'd love to hear them.
(TL,DR version: it seems like you're suggesting essentially a Freedom of Information Act-type setup, I'm concerned about some pitfalls that may not be initially forseen.) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 20:07, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The TL,DR version of my reply is that the next step I want to see is the kind of reply that you just provided! (Per my talk page, Risker is also planning to discuss it.)
My understanding of the ArbCom policy as it exists now is that everything on the mailing list is considered private, so making it possible to release anything on the list will require some revision of policy. Therefore, such a revision is what we should ultimately be aiming for. I agree with you that something can be released if everyone involved in the discussion agrees – meaning the entire Committee and everyone else, outside the Committee, who was involved in that discussion. As a practical matter, that is something that happens infrequently.
Although none of us wants to re-litigate the mess that happened just before the last election, it's an example of where existing policy doesn't work, and I hope that this is painfully obvious without going into the gory details. There needs to be a way to agree that something can be made public when it's in the community's interest to do so, even when one member of the Committee is standing in the way. At the same time, there needs to be a way for one or more Committee members who, arguably, want to blow the whistle on something to be able to make it public, but without doing so unilaterally and in potential violation of privacy. I've suggested a majority vote. I see from your comment that you are concerned about what that kind of vote would mean for the minority who dissent. That's a worthwhile question. The Committee is composed of people who have been vetted by community vote; perhaps we can trust a majority of them to do the right thing in such instances? Or perhaps you can come up with a better method – but the status quo isn't it!
Yes, I can see that a freedom-of-information type process would be a troll's delight. That's an example of how my posting is an attempt to generate a discussion, as opposed to being a completed proposal. But there's a TL,DR reply to the question of how the Committee can deal with requests that are just fishing expeditions: say no to them. There should not be anything in any policy change that would obligate the Committee to release anything on demand! People can ask, but they can get a negative reply. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:35, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ent version: Arbcom-l (or it's technical successor) is to be used for official arbcom business and the stuff on it is private. If an arb attempts to use it for other purposes, it's not private. Whether a particular post is official biz or not is decided by a majority vote of the committee. NE Ent 20:40, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree fully with that. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:43, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
With the additional observation that, when the majority decides that something is not official biz, they don't have to release it publicly, but they should be able to do so when there is community interest in doing so. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:46, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. Not private = releasable upon an arb's judgement, not "must be released." I'd greatly prefer the committee not release the who's bringing the potato salad stuff. NE Ent 20:50, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's fine by me, I hate mayo. I wasn't particularly concerned for the minority of theoretical arbs in this release scenario, assuming that the policy has been changed, but more how the actual process would work. I can see it working fine from the arb POV (in that someone wants to bring the discussion to a wider fora, so we all vote to publish a transcript of what's discussed so far), it's that opening it up to community requests (which would in my opinion from list discussions be a more valuable aspect) brings up the aforementioned cans o' worms. I'm not sure "just say no!" works in this instance, because then we're left with a lot of annoyed people wondering why we denied their requests, and we're not in the position to say why beyond very general (and unsatisfying) reasons.
I suppose the ultimate issue I have with the proposal, the more I think about it, is that I'm not sure it's really solving many problems. From my estimation the lists aren't used for gossiping and chatter about who's bringing what to the picnic that much. I feel like the bigger issue that this proposal was obliquely trying to tackle is the matter of making sure deliberations made on-list are appropriately and transparently explained on-wiki. While your proposed policy change could enable arbs to expedite some of that via outright publishing of the emails, I think it requires something a little less legislative in that we (the arbs) should all be more proactive about pushing each other to explain our reasonings beyond the (useful, if dry) list of supports and abstains. Unless I'm completely misinterpreting the impetus of the initial thread, which is always possible. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 21:08, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's about JClemens attempting to run an anti-Malleus campaign on arbcom-l and Elen getting her hand caught in the cookie jar trying to figure what the heck to do about it. It shouldn't be something that comes very often, if ever again. While I've commented elsewhere about the desire for AC to be more transparent in certain circumstances, I don't think overly complicated procedures / protocols for the discussion list is the way to go. I want ya to be able to do you jobs efficiently, which includes being able to speak frankly without wondering "oh will this end up be posted onwiki someday?" We just don't want a member to be to abuse the privilege cause there's no safety valve in the system. NE Ent 21:22, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair enough. While I've been responding to Trypto's comments above, are there any particular actions you think the Committee should take beyond stridently calling out the behavior you described? Does Trypto's proposal count as your safety valve or are you thinking of something else? Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 21:27, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) For me, from outside the Committee, I very much disagree with the suggestion that it doesn't solve any problems. I'm pretty sure that you will find that a lot of us on the outside came away from what happened last fall believing that there is a problem that ought to lead to policy improvements. Working harder to provide better explanations – sure, no one would say that that's a bad thing! But we're talking about human beings, and it's easy to say that, but difficult to make it happen. I'm uninterested in the potato salad, too, so that's not the issue. And it really isn't simply a matter of greater transparency about how decisions were arrived at. After all, that does belong on proposed decision pages. It's more about clearing things up after something discussed on the list appears to have gone wrong. On the other hand, you've offered your own solution to those people who are annoyed by having their requests turned down: give them better-written explanations.
But maybe it would be a mistake to say that anyone can request. Maybe it should be limited to people who took part in the communications and members of the Committee (the latter, of course, potentially responding to community interest). What would be the arguments for and against that? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:32, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) Tryptofish's proposal would suffice, although I think it goes farther than necessary. Don't see a need to support external requests for release; unless there was a leak they'd essentially be fishing expeditions and the committee is already tasked with many responsibilities; don't see any need to add more. NE Ent 21:37, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well thanks for your thoughts. I'm going to be busy this weekend with drafting but adapting what you've got into something the committee can vote on will be on my plate for the near future. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 02:50, 15 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. I'll be looking forward to it. (And no need for potato salad on that plate.) --Tryptofish (talk) 23:07, 15 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have to make another observation. Potato salad notwithstanding, is there something in the water? I just read Coren's resignation, coming just after Hersfold's. I get the distinct feeling that the Committee needs some more transparency, for its own good. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:45, 15 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(Disclaimer: Strong criticism ahead. Those with no interest in wikipolitics may not wish to read ahead, but I think this needs to be said.) My colleagues may beg to differ, but I consider Coren's resignation to be the rankest drama-mongering. What you saw when he resigned was an editor, whose judgement was otherwise satisfactory, throwing the toys from the pram because the community has moved on and the arbitrators who now staff the committee were not quite willing to go along with his extreme views on running ArbCom. I wouldn't pay it too much attention. As for Hersfold's resignation, I think it should be clear that his primary reason for resigning has very little to do with the committee in general, a little to do with a vocal minority of the community who will remain unbranded, a little to do with the people at WO, and a lot to do with the fact that he simply doesn't want to spend his nights doing what it is arbitrators do for the project. OMMV. AGK [•] 00:12, 16 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not surprised by the language in Coren's statement, seen it before; but I am surprised he's actually walked away this time. Elen of the Roads (talk) 02:24, 18 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Considering how he was dragged through the mud on Jimbo's talk page...I'm not.--Amadscientist (talk) 03:39, 18 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it's time to get back to the main issue of this discussion thread – something along the lines of what I suggested at the top – as well as time for me to try again to forestall the archive bot. I'll also comment on something that occurred to me during more recent discussions. Earlier in this section, I agreed with NE Ent that there's an important difference between ArbCom business on the mailing list, and stuff that really isn't ArbCom business. That's still a valid point, but it subsequently occurred to me that there is legitimate ArbCom business that, nonetheless, really does not need to be considered automatically private. For example, deliberations of the form "if I modify the proposed sanction in such-and-such a way, would you then support it?" are things I bet happen a lot on the list, and are clearly legitimate business, but they don't necessarily need to be kept secret (very different from personally identifying material, for instance), and there are times when they could just as well take place on-Wiki. It's my impression from things I've seen recently that treating such discussions as secret leads to a tendency to worry too much about putting a wrong appearance in front of the community, and that tendency can be counterproductive. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:15, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Believe it or not, Tryptofish, I've actually drafted something up for the review of my colleagues; it needs some serious copy editing before it comes onwiki here, but we're not forgetting about this issue. I've structured it into two parts: the first part discusses what we do with emails from third parties (i.e., anyone who is not an arbitrator) including how those emails may be redistributed to other private mailing lists, and the second part discusses what we can do with internal discussion. Within the past hour, I've just sent an email to the mailing list outlining ongoing and outstanding activities (where we need to vote/draft/comment, other decisions that need to be made, etc), and I have included asking my colleagues to review and copy edit this draft. Thank you for making sure this stays on the table. Risker (talk) 01:32, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good, thanks! (Minor observation: per my last comment, there can be downsides to worrying too much about copyediting and so forth before putting something on-Wiki. It's human nature to want everything in good shape before exposing it to public criticism, but Committee members can, after all, also review something that is posted on site.) --Tryptofish (talk) 21:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, there is one section that I know doesn't say what it should say, and there is no way I am going to put it on this project as it is. You know full well that people will attack any arbitrator that dares to try to improve the wording, viewing it as somehow taking away their hypothetical right to know everything about anything we ever talk about. I know that sounds cynical, but given how abusive the climate has been for the last month, it is the least I can expect. Indeed, every time I have tried to talk to editors about the constant use of the language of abuse, I have been told that I deserve it for having the (insert favoured abusive phrase here, ranging from "stupidity" to "power hunger") to be a member of this committee. Even your post there, "public criticism" instead of "public comment" or even "collaborative comment", is an example. Tryptofish, I might have to urge you to stay away from Arbcom-related pages so that your wise and positive spirit is not further corrupted. ;-) Risker (talk) 22:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, thinking that I'm either wise or positive is clearly evidence of your unsuitability to be in a position of power. Either that, or I have to start screaming that you are owning the page and telling me to go away. Face-smile.svg Seriously though, sometimes the antidote to nasty speech is intelligent speech. I remember DGG saying that he doesn't try to convince the editor he is discussing something with, so much as trying to convince third parties who are reading. The Wiki model of writing stuff doesn't keep the peanut gallery away, but it should never discourage editors of good faith from writing what they want and letting anyone see it and try to improve it. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:03, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But telling me that I should spend more time on content editing is advice I really need to follow, alas! ;-) --Tryptofish (talk) 23:07, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia:Arbs are people too

I have written the above essay as a reminder to all concerned in ArbCom disputes that arbitrators are people too. Perhaps this should be considered more often. AutomaticStrikeout (TC) 23:50, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you very much. I for one appreciate the sentiment. Regards, AGK [•] 00:13, 16 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Star Trek Tos OF10 (alt).png The Kobayashi Maru Award
Awarded jointly to all members of the 2013 arbcom, for earnest, diligent and responsible efforts to find the best possible solution to a no win situation. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:11, 17 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have to hope that conflict resolution is not a "No win scenario" on Wikipedia, but good call Demiurge1000, AutomaticStrikeout and AGK!--Amadscientist (talk) 03:34, 18 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I will endorse that so far 2013 has been a vast improvement on 2012. I still have major reservations about this year's case actions, mainly sanctioning users on historical problems, rather than being forward looking. However while negative outcomes continue to be the norm, at least they are not in the extreme vein of many (indeed, possibly all) 2012 outcomes, and it is good to see positive steps to re-integrate valuable editors into the community, and to remove some of the really old and outdated remedies from years ago. Rich Farmbrough, 03:13, 20 March 2013 (UTC).

OK I have reviewed some of the 2013 actions I wasn't aware of. I can now say that we are closer than I thought to the old model where the community would be best served by implementing the direct opposite of what ArbCom first decides. Rich Farmbrough, 08:01, 20 March 2013 (UTC).

I am actually not sure what 'Arbs are people too' actually means. Sure, Arbs are people, but 'Wikipedia:Admins are people too'; 'Wikipedia:Bot-owners are people too'; 'Wikipedia:Spammers are people too' (at least, most of the time); 'Wikipedia:Vandals are people too' ... maybe that is also something that should be considered more often. --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:19, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"It's easier to be an asshole to words than people" WormTT(talk) 11:45, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Exactly, WTT. --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:54, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have been and remain heavily critical of ArbCom as a body (as opposed to its members). I grant they are people too. So is everyone else on this project; something that is lost on many people, not just the members of ArbCom and the people who are critical of ArbCom members. Where people tread on criticizing individual members of ArbCom, them being people too applies. Where such criticism is towards ArbCom as a body, it does not. ArbCom as a body has for years now been woefully inadequate to the tasks laid before it. The structure that is in place to deal with final conflict resolution on this project is in abstract, in my opinion, a serious detriment to the furtherance of the project. ArbCom has been brought to the well many times over the last many years to fix the inherent problems in their structure and conduct. To date, ArbCom has refused to drink on almost every occasion. A serious, deliberative, and professional overhaul of the final dispute resolution steps on this project is extremely overdue. As is, this latest series of dust ups will be swept under the rug, and nothing will be done to learn from it, to improve the process. These problems will continue to arise. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:19, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I'll repeat what I've said to you before, Hammersoft. There will not be a "professional" arbitration body on this project or any other unless and until someone draws up the proposal, including costs, and effectively presents it to the WMF in a way that persuades them this is necessary. The individual projects have no budget, and in particular the Arbitration Committee definitely doesn't have a budget. We're certainly the gorilla in the room, but we're still just one of hundreds of projects, so any proposal will have to bear that in mind. Risker (talk) 01:37, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • On the sports field, players who repeatedly foul or attack other players are sure to get a yellow or red flag. The excuse that a player is "important" and "has a clean slate" and so should not be penalized for repeated fouls and attacks on other players is laughable. But threats/attacks on referees (or unarmed peacekeepers) are taken much more seriously—players (or spectator cronies of players) who threaten the referee to try to get a penalty reversed are likely to be removed from games for the whole season. It's a similar story for threats or attempted attacks on democratically-elected heads of state and the like in some countries. Maybe WP needs similar rules? Criticism is not forbidden, but maybe personal attacks and intimidation directed at the referees should be dealt with more severely? LittleBen (talk) 02:56, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Risker; and I'll repeat myself as well. It's not necessary to 'hire' people as a professional arbitration panel, nor is it even necessary for their to be costs associated with professionalizing the committee. As is, the committee is a group of amateurs* with no training, no background, and no particular abilities within dispute resolution. This is by design. The output from this committee is in abstract quite predictable. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:32, 25 March 2013 (UTC) * - I mean no disrespect in any sense; this is simply categorization of the reality.Reply[reply]
It's perhaps worth mentioning that arbcom, or at least some current members of it, have quite regularly criticised ordinary editors for not acting in a "professional" manner. This should perhaps be avoided, in the future, if the word "professional" is not really appropriate for arbcom itself. (I'm aware the word has various shades of meaning, but that's exactly why it's problematic to use it.) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 14:37, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It occurs to me that the word "professional", as we use it in this discussion, means having the expertise or credentials of a learned profession. In contrast, when users are sometimes told to conduct themselves in a professional manner, the word means something else: to conduct oneself in a responsible and adult manner, as one would do at a job, pretty much any job, not just a job requiring special expertise. It's really two different things, and I don't think it's inappropriate to encourage all editors to behave professionally, even though we are not professional editors. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:52, 26 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Short Staffing on the Arbcom

I couldn't help but notice the latest sad resignations from the Arbcom, and I am deeply concerned about the extra workload that must have placed on the remaining Arbs. It seems to me that they need to co-opt on a new member, and as Sandstein already seems to do all the Arbcom's dirty work (without guidance or supervision) it would be a good idea if he became an Arbitrator-Extraordinaire - a sort of flying assassin. His unchecked blocking would negate the need for so many cases and his zealous and conscientious executions following cases would certainly quieten the encyclopaedia down. Obviously, he already behaves with full Arbcom sanction, but it would be nice if the Arbcom gave him their official blessing because I don't think they are being quite fair to him. So co-opt him on to the committee and bless him. The other advantage is that once a person is on that committee, the writing is on the wall for them.  Giano  10:14, 29 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No. Newyorkbrad (talk) 15:20, 29 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This comment, honestly, seems like little more than rhetorical soapboxing. Having said that, here engaging in what might seem a little rhetorical soapboxing myself, to more or less support something I suggested earlier, I really think it might be a good idea to establish some sort of "inferior" ArbCom, or lower court, where people who might be potentially interested in seeing if they want to be arbitrators could get an idea of what is involved, and also develop a bit of history prior to perhaps running for ArbCom which would allow others to be able to see how they would act in that capacity. Also, in the event that short staffing like the current happened in those circumstances, it might, conceivably, be possible to assign some overflow cases to these lower courts, which, if the results were questionable, might be immediately kicked upstairs to ArbCom for more thorough review. Otherwise, Sandstein does a pretty good job at AE, like some others, including The Blade of the Northern Lights, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for being willing to engage in those generally thankless efforts. John Carter (talk) 15:56, 29 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for your input. Editors wanting a sample of typical arbitrator tasks can gain some perspective by (1) reviewing evidence and drafting workshop proposals in pending cases, (2) participating in discussion threads on noticeboards (in particular, sanctions threads on AN and ANI have some parallels with some of the work ArbCom does), and (3) especially for administrators, participating in the arbitration enforcement function. There is also the option of offering to clerk for the Committee. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:10, 29 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That sounds too much like work! How about an anti-Arbcom...they could pass preliminary verdicts that will be bound to cause considerable drama...then a week after the dramafest is done, the real arbcom can pass motions that are sane in comparison.--MONGO 16:27, 29 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nah ... I can usually (but not always, of course) grok which way an AN & ANI thread will go after the first four posts or so, but trying to decipher the ways of ArbCom is the Churchillian "riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." It's always baffled me how a group of Wikipedians who are, individually, relatively reasonable can function as a group that is, with unfortunate regularity, not so sensible. NE Ent 17:12, 29 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I for one hope that Giano was joking. I think Arbcom needs to reel Sandstein in and talk to him about imposing reasonable blocks, not promote him. KumiokoCleanStart (talk) 00:59, 30 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Kumi, Giano is a master of irony. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 01:38, 30 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm still learning.:-) Kumioko (talk) 01:45, 30 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed changes to the ArbCom election system

I want to start a discussion about making changes to the way we elect ArbCom. The current system puts way too much emphasis on the qualities of individual editors as potential Arbitrators while the problems with ArbCom are i.m.o. (and also what Coren mentioned in his resignation letter), due to the Arbitrators not collaborating well enough with each other. Therefore, it seems to be that the system can be improved when different groups of editors run together based on different platforms. The winner of the election will be that group that wins the most votes, so you get an ArbCom consisting of people who share the same ideas, who can work together as a group much better.

I.m.o. this will hugely improve the way cases are handled. If I were part of collaborative group, but I don't share some of the fundamental ideas of a few of the other members, then dividing up a big task into separate parts will be difficult. If I can't trust the judgement of someone who has looked into certain issues, then I want to see for myself a lot of the details. But if I don't really have the time to look into everything then I'll tend to take decisions based on only part of the available information.

In the present system, decisions can be the result of tactical games. E.g. ArbCom initially didn't want to put the desysopping of Cirt to a vote (presumably because for such a big decision, you want to have a degree of consensus that wasn't there). But then JClemens started to play games, he didn't what to support decisions he actually agreed on unless the desysopping was put to a vote. This lead to Cirt being desysopped by a very slim margin.

What I'm proposing looks like politicizing the ArbCom system, but one has to consider that it's already severely politicized, the problems are caused by not dealing with this fact well enough. The outcome of the US elections was not that Obama and Romney had to form a government together, I don't understand why on Wikipedia we assume that such a system can work. Count Iblis (talk) 16:39, 25 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A tyranny of the majority may be faster and smoother, but I'm not persuaded that the cosmetic improvement of 'making the trains run on time' outweighs the problems likely to arise. Instead of being able to choose individuals on their own merits, the community would be forced to choose among pre-assembled slates—each of which might have a few 'star' candidates bundled with a bunch of seat-warming 'padding'. Given that we already have trouble finding enough barely-acceptable candidates – and the now-recurring problem of seating sub-70%-approval candidates suggests that this is a serious problem indeed – deliberately diluting the quality of the committee seems counterproductive. Looking at the list of candidates from the most recent election, would we really have had a better ArbCom this year if we had dropped half of the 'winners' and picked three or four names from the bottom of the list instead? This proposal isn't really a way to get a smoother-running ArbCom; it's a recipe for seating otherwise unelectable and untrustworthy candidates.
Secondly, even if a slate of candidates seemed to be able to work together (or claimed to be able to work together) before the election, there is no guarantee that they would still be able to do so a year, or a month, into the job. Finally, if ArbCom members continued to be elected on staggered two-year terms – a practice which is almost certainly a Good Thing, as it preserves at least some experience and institutional memory from one year to the next, and it means that there can be some arbitrators who can do their jobs instead of just electioneering in November and December of each year – then each year's election will mean the creation of very clear new-versus-old, us-versus-them lines. You would be trading ad hoc alliances for pitched battles. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:26, 26 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't consider an inability to work with one another to be a significant problem on the committee. While it is certainly true that Coren was not easy to work with, he's gone now (and things are a lot less tightly-wound as a result). The rest of us arbitrators seem to work together effectively enough. While we regularly (and sometimes vociferously) disagree, such is the nature of a committee. The premise of your proposal is that the committee's problems derive from the fact that arbitrators cannot work together, but considering my experience on ArbCom I would consider that premise to be incorrect. I've set out an alternative argument as to what is wrong with ArbCom today, at this page, if you are interested in the subject, and I suspect it's not the election we need to fix—but what ArbCom does during the rest of the year. AGK [•] 15:27, 26 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just responding to AGK's userspace page, I think that it's a very good start towards something that is important to pursue. I'd like to see it discussed and developed some more. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:56, 26 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
TenOfAllTrades, I understand your arguments, but I think we now have democracy at the wrong level. At the highest ArbCom level, the Arbs deliberate and decide by majority, which isn't a very profesional way of making decisions. If we have a system along the lines I'm proposing, you'll have a lot more discussion at the community level before and during the elections. The winning team will have had a lot more discussions with the community about their program.
AGK, I'll look at your page and give my feedback. But note that the current system is adapted to the current situation. So, doing business as usual may not lead to much problems with disagreeing Arbs, but one can ask if ArbCom should do its job differently. Count Iblis (talk) 23:52, 27 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am sorry but this is a horrendous idea. It is essential that we have different perspectives and points of view within the Committee, based on our different Wikipedia experiences, our different wikiphilosophies, and our different real-world skills and interests. That is one of the two reasons (the sheer workload being the other) to have a Committee in the first place, rather than a single decision-maker. Beyond that, if the community wishes to elect candidates who have common points of view on various issues, as reflected in their candidate statements, their answers to questions, and their editing histories, then of course the community can do so. But to mandate that candidates form alliances in advance is guaranteed to be counterproductive, not to mention fundamentally at odds with every aspect of how this project operates. Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:00, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We already saw the last time around how abysmal a failure your attempt at a party system was, Iblis. Your attempts at restating it in even more vague terms remains just as clueless. If you had even the most basic understanding of party politics, you would realize that your idea would achieve the complete opposite of what you expect. You want to change the qualities of individual arbiters to the qualities of parties - making individual arbiters subservient to whatever insiders control whatever party they represent. You argue that factionalization and "tactical games" within arbcom is problematic, yet propose to entrench those same problems. The only thing you could hope to accomplish is to formalize various divides that exist, serving only to undermine both arbcom and the community itself. Resolute 00:10, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Wow, what an Americocentric point of view from Count Iblis; however, the fundamental problem with this theory is that party politics are (sometimes) useful for governance, and the Arbitration Committee is not a governance body. It handles a very tiny number of disputes (fewer in a year than are handled by frontline editors in an hour), and a few bureaucratic tasks, almost all of which we share as much as possible with the community and/or the WMF. I've recently posted that it would be fantastic if the community found a process to select editors to review non-Arbcom/non-AE blocks and bans and take that load off the committee. I see no takers. Risker (talk) 02:47, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Aside from the idea that Count Iblis presents, valid or not, it does bring a fundamental problem to light and that is that there is a growing concern in the community about how Arbcom works and more and more individuals interested in changing it. I doubt that anyone would argue that some type of Arbcom process is needed, even me, but the one we have, in the manner that it has been utilized, simply will no longer do. The haphazard nature of how the cases are carried out, the vague dialogue used in the cases and the lack of interaction between the Arbcom members and people commenting in the cases and at AE all need work. Maybe that means that cases take a little longer or that more members are needed to help disperse the work or in a complete overhaul of the process (maybe some combination of the above plus others). Whatever the case, Arbcom is increasingly viewed as the Gorilla in the room and that perception, in my opinion, needs to change. KumiokoCleanStart (talk) 03:00, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would really love to see you propose something then. It would certainly be more productive than your constant whining. Resolute 05:59, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok Resolute, here is a couple suggestions although I have serious doubts that it will change anything.
  1. When the Arbcom writes a decree, it should be clear and precise. Not vague and open to interpretation. Their lack of ability to describe what constitutes automation is a huge problem in the Rich F case.
  2. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the Arb Enforcement process. There needs to be lateral limits to the punishments inflicted. 1 year blocks shouldn't be handed out like candy.
  3. A pool of editors should be established that can act as the jury to the Arbcom's judge and the AE's executioner. Surely there are some level headed folks among the community that would sign up. Of course these folks would need to be uninvolved in the case. For example I myself, Fram or CBM wouldn't be able to participate in the Rich F case because we are involved but someone else like The Rambling Man or some other random user might. Perhaps as part of the Admin role they are open to request to participate in Arbcom cases as "Jury" members.
  4. The Arbcom needs to undo the perception that a user case that gets accepted ends in Wikideath for that user. Right or wrong that is the perception of many so there is little reason to spend much time arguing ones case.
  5. AE shouldn't be a one man show. That needs to change.
  6. There needs to be changes made to the length of comments. If an infinite number of accusers are allowed to comment and the accused is only limited to a 1000 word rebuttal, some information usually isn't covered.
I would also note that being smart enough to question stupid decisions made by smart people who should know better isn't whining. Just because I choose not to fall in line and fallow bad decisions doesn't make me a whiner. It means that I am not just going to sit idly by while others are doing things I think are against the greater good of the project. Even if those comments are unpopular or hurt their feelings on occassion. I kept quite for a long time and now we have serious problems with the culture largely because those of us that saw it did nothing. I feel just as responsible for allowing these problems to continue without saying anything as those that perpetuate them should. A lot of people know there are problems, even many of the Arb members have stated as such but no one does anything to fix it. You don't agree, fine. You don't like my ideas? Thats fine too. But don't mistake my lack of desire to go along with the problems as whining. KumiokoCleanStart (talk) 14:48, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I myself have some reservations about the first of the proposals above, because, unfortunately, making statements which are perhaps too limited opens the possibility that sanctioned editors would be able to lawyer the system and engage in edits which violate the spirit of the ruling, if only because the problematic editor thought of some new way of getting around the narrowly phrased decision. Otherwise, I can and do think that most of the other comments above are at least reasonable points, and would be interested in seeing them addressed in some way. John Carter (talk) 15:50, 29 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your right but ultra vague determinations like "Automation" without defining what automation is with any reasonable accuracy isn't helpful either. Half the drama around the Rich F case is based on the unnecessarily vagueness of automation. Does 4 ~'s constitute automation or must he manually type in his signature? Can he use the Cite your references links and other wiki formatting that shows up under the edit window? These are just as much automation as using twinkle or cutting and pasting, or finding and replacing. Probably more so. I'm certainly not saying that someone would wiggle out of some rulings but we shouldn't be worried about that IMO. Its better to leave a couple holes than to make a ruling so open that if asked 10 editors would give 10 different interpretations. I would say that Arb enforcement with few exceptions should never require a year block. I can only envision a few scenarios where more than 3 months is required. If the AE process is meant to be quick and painful as others have said then it shouldn't be that big of a problem if they have to block the user again in three months. Year long blocks for accusations without some physical meaningful proof is not the message we should be sending. That tells people to stay away and don't edit here. KumiokoCleanStart (talk) 00:57, 30 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, we made it quite clear to Rich. "Anything other then what a new user would get by hitting Edit and Typing changes into the resulting window". The Four ~ thing is something that any new user would have, so that's a red herring. What happened here is Rich is insistent doing things his way, and refused to change. We gave him numerous attempts to work with various folks on Wikipedia, and he threw each and every one of them away. It's a shame, but to be quite honest, under the terms that he was unblocked LAST time he was caught crossing the line, it shouldn't be a one year AE-block, it should be an indefinite site ban. SirFozzie (talk) 08:00, 1 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another proposal: Random selection

I believe that history has shown that the Peter Principle applies to ArbCom. We are electing editors who usually have a long and respected history of contributions as editors and administrators; people who have proven themselves competent in those roles. Yet when they are promoted to ArbCom many have no competence in constantly dealing with the disputes, and some of them snap. As a result there are several arbitrators who were elected with very strong support, but after their term ended they had almost completely lost trust in the community and were overwhelmeingly defeated in their reelection bid. Unfortunately, they are now remembered for their missteps as arbitrator instead of their achievements as editors and administrators, for instance Jclemens is associated with his "not a Wikipedian" comment, and not his countless valuable contributions to articles, and that is harmful in the long run.

The problem stems from the fact that we are electing ArbCom members based on merits that are frequently irrelevant to dispute resolution. So we end up turning competent editors into incompetent arbitrators, a complete loss that harms Wikipedia's efficiency. Indeed, in Physica A, Pluchino, Rapisardo, and Garofalo write the best way of promoting efficiency is to promote agents at random, or even to promote at random the best and worst performers [7].

Obviously, as an all-volunteer project we cannot force people onto the committee. So a real world like jury system where citizens are summoned to jury duty at random would not work, but we can select the volunteer candidates at random. I am not proposing abolishing the annual ArbCom elections, because they provide an entertaining popularity contest (and Wikipedia is already severely lacking in entertainment) and it is also good that the candidates gain feedback on how they are perceived by the community. However, using the support and oppose votes to determine who actually gets put on ArbCom is a very bad idea. It is much better to pick as many candidates we need at random from the list of volunteer candidates. Sure, we will still end up with a share of incompetent ArbCom members, but we will not be depleting our roster of highly competent regular editors and admins by assigning them to ArbCom. Sjakkalle (Check!) 07:19, 1 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I heartily agree with your comments. ArbCom has entirely too much power. ArbCom itself disrupts the very nature of a community based project by being a very tiny group of Wikipedians that has no oversight, no obedience to community will, and is directly opposite to the spirit of what Wikipedia is supposed to be. If we were to implement some system of a volunteer pool of 'jurors', we could have 100-200 people willing to sit cases. Then clerks could randomly assign jurors to accepted cases. Dispute resolution would then effectively return to the community, where it belongs. The power of ArbCom would return to the community, where it belongs. That said, I'll be the first to stab my idea in the back. It's an idea without what I constantly preach about; the need to identify the problems that need to be solved. What is clear is that as constituted, ArbCom is a miserable failure. That's not the fault of ArbCom, but of all of Wikipedia. We can do better. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:13, 1 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Disclosure of Will Beback ban appeal votes

Several of us are requesting disclosure of the results of Will Beback's ban appeal over at Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee/Ban_Appeals_Subcommittee#Summary_and_vote_or_public_revote. Thanks. I hope this is not perceived as an attack, as I appreciate the time and effort you guys put into this project. II | (t - c) 03:35, 25 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Could one of you folks please clue me in? Cause I'd really like to know who's running the show here. — Ched :  ?  10:39, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No one. Wikipedia is somewhat like schools of fish that will turn as a group in response to a predator or prey based on heuristics between individuals (see How fish school). Of course, humans are little more complicated but the general idea is the same. The fact that is so often works and produces the Best Encyclopedia, Ever, is pretty cool. That it also produces conflict and political disagreements is an unfortunate side effect of the human condition. NE Ent 12:40, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
TY for a reply Ent — Ched :  ?  17:08, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Question: I recall that in past cases the term "recidivism" was used in the final determination of a case (or cases); could someone please point me to that? — Ched :  ?  17:08, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You can search the archives for the term. isaacl (talk) 17:21, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you: [8]Ched :  ?  17:42, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Computer problems

I have a lot of problems with my computer. I have a much easier time reading and editing Wikipedia, than getting my email. Usually, I wait to go to my public library once or so a week. Most times I am completely unable to get my email. It does appear that I will be forced to ask the arbitration committee for my user privileged back, due to a topic ban in the very near future. So, basically I have enough problems. Is there some way that I can conduct my communication with the committee on some talk page here? The policy sure doesn't seem to provide for such an accommodation. Greg Bard (talk) 10:04, 2 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you wish to have your restriction re-examined by the Arbitration Committee, I'd say you can file a request here. Please note, however, that there is no guarantee that your case will be heard – a request can be summarily declined or, alternatively, be resolved by motion. Also, if you submit a case request, any editor can comment and, should a case be open, provide evidence. Salvio Let's talk about it! 14:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some of Greg's computer difficulties came up at the Village pump a while back: Why are new edits introducing seemingly random errors into previous page content?. The last post in that conversation was a suggestion that Greg might have some malware on his computer. That's a possibility worth pursuing, IMO. --Orlady (talk) 15:24, 2 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm willing to offer some suggestions in that technical area if he is interested. (primarily Microsoft operating systems) — Ched :  ?  07:28, 3 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RFC regarding the scope of the Ombudsman Commission

The Ombudsman Commission is currently holding a request for comment. Currently, the Commission only hears complaints regarding the privacy policy. We propose to change the scope of the Commission to also include hearing complaints about the global Checkuser and m:Oversight policy policies.

For more information please visit the RFC, which can be found at m:Requests for comment/Scope of Ombudsman Commission. Please direct all questions and comments there.

For the Ombudsman Commission,

--(ʞɿɐʇ) ɐuɐʞsǝp 21:24, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I just noticed that User:GoodDay had his talk page privileges revoked. I recall seeing a thread somewhere in which there was a question regarding his "block" due to a ban, but I'm not really sure where that discussion occurred. (ban link). Has it become the custom to remove talk page rights from all users who have been banned? I didn't see any "abuse" on the talk page when looking at one recent version before another user manually archived all of their talk - but perhaps I missed something. If so, could someone point me to it? I'll add a notification courtesy link to User:Richwales since he is the one who performed the removal. If there is some "private" information to which I'm not privy (and I do understand that Rich recently received those abilities), then I'm fine with that as a response as well. If not, then I'd wish to mention another banned user; but I suppose I can bring that up with Rich depending upon the response from the committee on what current practices are. Thank you. — Ched :  ?  06:46, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I revoked GoodDay's talk page access because, in my judgment, he had continued to be argumentative on his talk page even after having been site-banned by ArbCom, and he was showing no signs of "getting the point" and amending his misbehaviour on his own. (See here, paying specific attention to the edit summary — as well as here.) Since any request on GoodDay's part to have his ban lifted should, at this point, go directly and exclusively to ArbCom, he has (IMO) no valid reason or need to be messing with his talk page, period. I did not base this action on any private information. I believe I acted appropriately, but if there is a consensus that I went overboard, I won't object if this action on my part gets undone. — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 07:02, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the broader case (I had written something longer, but it makes no sense after RichWales comment above) removal of talk page access isn't automatic for an Arbcom ban. I can think of quite a few who still have their talk page access. Courcelles 07:14, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Rich, by that same logic Will Beback's talk page should be locked out. So why is there another case of eerily similar cases not being treated the same? (disclaimer: I am fully aware wiki does not treat users equally). I'm not saying Will's should be locked or not locked, I'm saying this cases are so similar they both should be in the same state re talk pages. PumpkinSky talk 09:59, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't follow that editor's talk page, but as far as I know, it has been used only in pursuit of appealing his site ban, which matches the restrictions described in Wikipedia:BAN#Site ban. GoodDay was using his talk page as he ordinarily did, which is a technical violation of his site ban; he even made a comment which was in contravention of his topic ban. Since the site ban is intended to stop this behaviour, it seems consistent to block talk page access at this point. isaacl (talk) 12:07, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And that what Will keeps doing, so why aren't these guys treated the same?PumpkinSky talk 13:08, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps I'm mistaken; my impression, from reading his talk page, is that his edits are for the purpose of appealing his site ban, which is not the case for GoodDay. isaacl (talk) 13:33, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's more to it, but Rich et al know exatly what I'm talking about and I've said what I have to say.PumpkinSky talk 15:06, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:UNBAN specifically allows the appeal of all bans, including AC, via talk page: Editors who cannot edit any page except their talk page may:
Post an appeal or comment there and ask (by email or other off-site means) for it to be reposted to the appropriate discussion. This is a voluntary act, and should not be abused or used to excess. So automatic removal of talk page access simply because an editor was banned is contrary to policy. NE Ent 22:23, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

With regards to the greater issue of "forbidden" use of Good Day's talk page, Wikipedia:Ban#Evasion and enforcement elucidates: Wikipedia's approach to enforcing bans balances a number of competing concerns:

  • Maximizing the quality of the encyclopedia
  • Avoiding inconvenience or aggravation to any victims of mistaken identity
  • Maximizing the number of editors who can edit Wikipedia
  • Avoiding conflict within the community over banned editors
  • Dissuading or preventing banned editors from editing Wikipedia or the relevant area of the ban

As a result, enforcement has a number of aspects. While all editors are expected to respect the enforcement of policies by not undermining or sabotaging them, no editor is personally obligated to help enforce any ban.

The goal of all enforcement is (supposed to be) preventative, not punitive. Good Day "violating" the ban by saying making statements such as I fully accept Arbcom's decision & have already resolved to reform my behaviour/conduct isn't hurting or disrupting anything. Presumably the long term goal is for Good Day to be able to contribute the encyclopedia after the ban expires; positive support from editors at this point furthers this goal. Given that a user talk page doesn't affect an editor unless they have it watchlisted or are monitoring otherwise, the logical action for users not interested in such activity would be to unwatch the page. Enforcing rules for the sake of enforcing rules is not what Wikipedia should be about. NE Ent 22:23, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the arbitration case, I made the argument that GoodDay's words can be ignored and have been ignored to good effect (the edit warring actions and edits against consensus, on the other hand, cannot). Nonetheless, others have agreed upon restricting GoodDay's participation on this site, first with a topic ban, and then with a site ban. As referenced above, GoodDay broke his site ban in order to break his topic ban, which is unfortunate. isaacl (talk) 23:11, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @ Rich. As mentioned above, indeed Will was one of the editors I had in mind, along with at least 3 others. Now naturally I don't expect you to take any action regarding Will, if for no other reason than he was your first RfA nom. My original post here was a request for clarification, and was not an attempt to further pester the arbs with a situation which they have already addressed. I have looked at your links, and I simply find NO disruption, or attacks in anything posted by GoodDay. Why another editor who is not even an admin. or appointed functionary, felt the need to "manage" GoodDay's talk page is beyond me, and the fact that User:GoodDay chose to return the talk page to the original state I find in no way a compelling reason to withdraw his talk page privileges. Somewhere in the archives of WT:BAN you will find my support of allowing Will the dignity of keeping both his user and talk page with a minimal amount of "scarlet letter" tagging. Regardless of my own personal views, I try to treat ALL editors equally. I'd ask that you do likewise and consider lifting the enhanced restriction. In my view GoodDay has accepted his sanction with grace and dignity, and I find no disruption or violation of policy by communicating with those who wish him well.
In response to any "consensus", NO, I will not be taking this to the community. It would be needless drama that would not benefit in the enhancement of the project, and it would not be in the spirit of collaborative editing. Not only do I not care to break lances in this case, but I do honestly try to respect another administrator's efforts even if I don't agree with their views. I am also not demanding that you do anything now, I'm simply asking you to please reconsider. Thank you for your time and consideration. — Ched :  ?  03:10, 7 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Per WP:BAN#Site ban, a site-banned editor "is forbidden from making any edit, anywhere on Wikipedia, via any account or as an unregistered user, under any and all circumstances. The only exception is that editors with talk page access may appeal" their ban per the provisions at WP:UNBAN. Even assuming (for the sake of discussion) that an ArbCom-banned editor has a valid reason to put forth an appeal of his ban on his talk page (as opposed to sending the appeal by e-mail directly to the ArbCom ban appeals subcommittee), I can't see how this exception can be viewed as allowing continued use of a talk page to challenge or try to evade a ban.
In my view, this comment by GoodDay (proposing the creation of a mechanism which would allow users the option of viewing Wikipedia pages without any diacritics being displayed) constituted a clear violation of the remedies imposed on GoodDay in last June's ArbCom decision, wherein he was "indefinitely prohibited from making any edits concerning diacritics, or participating in any discussions about the same, anywhere on the English Wikipedia". The fact that he subsequently removed his comment does not excuse the fact that he must have realized he should not have made it in the first place. GoodDay had been given more than ample notice, several months ago, that his topic ban encompassed activity on his own user talk page; one could reasonably conclude that he either simply does not get the point or simply does not want to change his behaviour.
The other edit by GoodDay which I cited above — wherein he deleted Callanecc's warning about his site ban with the edit summary "Please let my archiving bot carry out its functions" — also indicated to me that GoodDay was continuing to actively flout his site ban. If he had wanted to keep something on his talk page in order that, in due course, it would be automatically archived, that might have made sense; but wanting to manually delete something on his talk page for the sake of automatic archival could (IMO) only mean that he wanted to keep Callanecc's warning out of the archives (for all the good that does, of course — though we do understand that aggressively deleting material from one's own talk page, even if technically permitted, can make it harder for others to keep track of how a contentious situation has been progressing). So, again, I feel I am being reasonable when I see this particular deletion by GoodDay as an indication that he intends to keep on misbehaving.
I acknowledge (per Courcelles' comment above) that, in practice, a site ban does not automatically mean revocation of a user's access to their own talk page. And I can see some potential value in NE Ent's suggestion that people who are upset at GoodDay's talk page comments should simply unwatch his talk page, thereby stopping themselves from being offended by him, as well as denying him an audience. But we also acknowledge (see WP:UPNOT) that there are limits to what someone can have on their user page or their talk page, and it's well accepted that someone who misuses their talk page during a ban or block can have their talk page access revoked. As I've tried to explain above, I believe this principle applied to this case.
I also believe the question of GoodDay's talk page access rightly stands on its own. To those who have suggested that if GoodDay is to lose his talk page access, Will Beback should as well, I would say that WBB's case is different in my opinion — WBB's recent comments were (IMO) confined reasonably narrowly to the subject of his (ultimately unsuccessful) effort to have his indefinite site ban lifted. In any case, I believe questions of whether WBB, or any other currently site-banned user, should lose their talk page access should be dealt with separately from the question of GoodDay's access to his talk page. As for whether I am capable of acting appropriately toward WBB, given that he and I have had friendly dealings in the past, I'll repeat things I've said before: my past interactions with WBB were a long time ago; I do in fact believe I am able to deal with WBB evenhandedly; but if people believe my impartiality is in question w/r/t WBB, I'm willing to recuse myself and let others deal with him as they see fit. However, I do not accept the suggestion that because some people might question my impartiality w/r/t WBB, I therefore cannot take any action w/r/t GoodDay; the cases are completely separate and unrelated in my view. — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 05:13, 7 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

History and authority

I am researching ArbCom's history vis-à-vis its formal authority. I am aware of the Jimbo email on 4 December 2003:

Arbitration -- people who are volunteering to get involved in arbitrating user disputes, with the results of the arbitration being formally binding in the sense that it is at least possible for the arbitration committee to vote to ban someone or take some lesser action to enforce their decision


In any event, I'm holding as a 'reserved power' the right to pardon anyone who is banned by the arbitration committee, in the unlikely event that the process seems to be going astray.

Also, just to be really clear on this, I'm also holding as a reserved power to "disband parliament" if problems appear to be made worse overall by this change. We can always go back to our current 'benevolent dictator' model, if it works out better. (But it's really exhausting for me to try to figure out that someone needs to be banned.)

Was ArbCom ever authorized by the Board of Trustees, by resolution or otherwise? Or is Jimbo the sole source of ArbCom's formal authority? Was there any other formal delegation besides that email? Int21h (talk) 06:23, 22 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Given the date, it would seem unlikely that anyone thought it necessary for anything other than an email from Jimbo to be needed. Foundation:Resolutions#Before 2006 shows that before that year it did not keep a formal record of its resolutions, indeed the first minutes of a Foundation board meeting date from 4 July 2004. The foundation itself only came into existence in 2003.
Wikipedia was a different animal back then - in the early days it was entirely possible for Jimbo to be a hands on "Benevolent dictator", but as Wikipedia grew so did both his workload and the scope for interpersonal disputes, so he gradually had to let things go as Wikipedia matured. Back then there was probably little thought that the Foundation would have any need to involve itself in things like policies on-wiki - indeed, History of Wikipedia#2004 indicates that the development of the ArbCom and the Foundation was roughly contemporary. Anthere and Fred Bauder may have useful memories of this era. Thryduulf (talk) 07:48, 22 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There were a couple on on-Wiki discussions formalising things. These were in Feb 2004 and July 2004. The first election was in July 2004.  Roger Davies talk 07:55, 22 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia is a self-organized community at this point, and prior to that was organized principally by Jimbo, who thus has/had authority over it. The Foundation has stayed out of mandating policy; it hosts the servers. I'm not sure where or why you're drawing this line from the Foundation to Wikipedia? The Foundation doesn't get involved in dispute resolution. II | (t - c) 08:09, 22 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The foundation does have input into some high level policies (principally ones with legal issues, e.g. WP:OFFICE, WP:COPYVIO), and arbitrators do have to declare their identity to the foundation, so it's not an off-the-wall linkage. Thryduulf (talk) 08:16, 22 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the past year or two, Arbitration Committees have been authorised by the Wikimedia Foundation's Terms of Use (s. 10, "Management of Websites"). Those terms require that Wikipedia users "agree to comply with the final decisions of dispute resolution bodies that are established by the community for the specific Project editions (such as arbitration committees)". We also have the arbitration policy that the community ratified after a lengthy consultation and drafting process. Before those two documents came into being, I do not think the legitimacy or authority of the committee was formally codified – because, as others have already said, nothing much on Wikipedia was formally codified during the early years. AGK [•] 15:58, 22 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For many years, the Foundation has had a resolution or policy (not sure of the correct term) providing that checkusers and oversighters may be appointeed by the Arbitration Committee, on projects (such as En-WP) that have an Arbitration Committee. That obviously presumes that the Foundation knows that ArbComs exist and approves of their existing. But prior to the TOS I'm not aware of any formal Foundation documents recognizing the role of ArbComs as a means of dispute resolution. Not saying there weren't any, but suffice it to say that if I'm not aware of such a thing after five-plus years on the Committee, then if it exists, it isn't playing a role in our actual operations. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:11, 23 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The WMF was created in 2003, but its first board was constituted of Jimbo, Michael and Tim. Though they were vaguely around, they never involved themselves in community stuff. They probably never knew of these two committees. That was not their business and not what Jimbo asked them help for. The first board with community members (Angela and I) was created in October 2004. I know for a fact that the two committee (arbitration and mediation) were discussed then officially created significantly prior to this first community elected board. Both committees were created roughly at the same time, I remember asking Jimbo to be on the mediation one and many months went by afterward before the elections issue came around. According to Wikipedia, they were created in January 2004. That fits with my memories. I spent an enormous amount of time in the set up of rules and discussing offline with editors in dispute. And 10 years later... I think it was hardly useful at all (eck, we tried !). If my memory is correct, the first group of volunteers to join the arbcom were only guys. I remember "complaining" to Jimbo about that and his answer was that no lady proposed herself. We used to ask Jimbo to decide in case of conflict and he could not manage it anymore. Hence, he decided, as leader of the community, to delegate this power to a group of people rather to manage it alone. However, some feared that the benevolence that Jimbo showed might not be respected in an arbcom. Hence the decision to create the mediation committee, which was originally a mandatory step before any case to be turned upon to the arbcom. It was actually a bad move as it meant that the mediation com had to deal with all the real jerks before officially turning them to the arbcom.
The arbcom/medcom was completely unrelated to the WMF as it existed at that time. It was not even an issue. At that time, the WMF was essentially a bank account, a couple of bills paid by Jimbo, a couple of domain names and less than 10 servers. The WMF was Jimbo. Period.

Did it make a difference after the community election in october ? No. No, because we (well, at least I. But I think Angela agreed) wanted very strongly for WMF to just stay a mother ship providing only what the community could not provide itself. Actually, the WMF was the "contact point" between the (very virtual at that time) community and the "real world" (with servers, bills, bank accounts and so on). I very strongly considered that the WMF should not at all get involved into the way Wikipedia was run (we had no legal problems at that time... we had to get involved later on as host provider. But at that time, it was not yet an issue). So not only did I never push for WMF to get involved in the arbcom, but I would have opposed strongly if it was suggested. As such, it went on being "handled" by Jimbo, until it faded due to his lack of time (probably around 2006, when it also became obvious to the WMF board that Jimbo just could not go on as president due to his public obligations) and/or lesser interest. But it was an involvement as "moral leader", not as WMF board member.

The involvement of WMF in the arbcom came much later and is largely due to its responsibility as host provider, its care for private data confidentiality and so on. I think you should consider it independently from Jimbo's involvement. However, I would like to kick in an idea. Other linguistic communities also created arbcom. None of these arbcom ever had such as relation with Jimbo, for obvious reasons including lack of common language and sometimes "epidermic reaction against the americans". They chose different election processes, not involving either Jimbo, nor the WMF. Free wheel :) From time to time, I remember in particular the French and the German communities would ask board members some input. We tried to stay as vague as possible. I remember in particular many many requests from the Dutch community. Again... we tried to avoid taking positions. I think it is normal that nothing has been formalized between the WMF and the communities within the first years. We explicitely tried to stay away as much as possible and taking any particular stance one way or another would have been broken the status-quo. The very notion that the WMF would "allow" an arbcom is very wrong to me. The community knows what it needs, it does have the keys. It does not need the WMF to tell it was to do. The WMF does not know better on such matters.

My own view is that as soon as the community was a little bit more organized (in 2005), Jimbo should have dropped his special relation with the arbcom. But it was his baby and I know it is hard to let a baby go :) Anthere (talk) 11:31, 24 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's very interesting reading, thank you :) Thryduulf (talk) 19:48, 24 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is the problem with allowing unilateral sanctions on ANY page

People abuse it freely. There is currently a discussion about potential abuse of that authority. See this.

Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee/Procedures#Discretionary_sanctions says:

"4. Warnings should be clear and unambiguous, link to the decision authorising the sanctions, identify misconduct and advise how the editor may mend their ways;"

This is the warning and explanation I received. Whatever I do is framed as bias, tendentious editing. Here one edit from me, one probable miscalculation of weight is being framed as a justification for a unilateral six months block while other, far greater violations from another editor are gleefully neglected. Thus far only one edit is being cited as a justification. user:Salvio_giuliano we can discuss it on ANI or AN so that is taking place there. Please comment! This is only the tip of the iceberg. Mr T(Talk?) 11:44, 24 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You've got mail(ing list)

I figure that time has passed (actually, probably long-past by now), and I ought to stop by and yell at harass check with you about how things are going with developing a new and improved policy about the mailing list. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:24, 10 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Anyone? --Tryptofish (talk) 20:23, 12 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is a thread on the mailing list with us evaluating the options that we could switch to, but I think it's complicated by the fact that (i) there isn't even a weak agreement on which software (if any) we should switch to, (ii) there are some key inactivities right now, and (iii) not all the Arbs have chimed in as to their preference. We're barely (read: not even) even managing to get through the usual work, let along new mailing list software. As far as new mailing list policy goes: I was unaware that there were any under consideration. Do you mean the idea of making the archives public after a time, or something else? NW (Talk) 20:40, 12 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, I wasn't talking about the software at all. Please see: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Archive 14#Mailing list. It sounds to me like you all are over-burdened; I'm so sorry about that. If you'd like any help with drafting what is discussed in that archived link, please let me know. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:10, 12 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, yes, that discussion I remember. I think the big stumbling block is not many on the Committee to my knowledge is that desirous for a policy change, and as such, no one really has the inclination to spearhead a policy proposal if they think it isn't going to pass. Risker seems to have drafted something (per that discussion), but I have not seen a copy of it (and she has not fully been able to participate in our discussions recently for a number of reasons). NW (Talk) 13:35, 13 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, thanks. My reading of the now-archived discussion is that the community would probably support a change, whereas the Committee may be where the lack of enthusiasm resides. If I'm right about that, then this will probably go to me opening an RfC, perhaps at the Village Pump, that could lead to the community enacting a policy revision. But there is no deadline. So, while waiting for Risker to be active again, I'll invite any members of the Committee who have reservations about a policy change to describe those reservations here, if they haven't already. I'd be quite happy to take those concerns into account before making any proposals, as it could only be a good thing to try to address them. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:02, 13 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm happy to see that Risker has returned to active status, so I'll use this post as a ping about re-starting this discussion. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:14, 29 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

{od} Rather than cross-referring to an archived discussion, could you summarise please changes you'd like to see?  Roger Davies talk 11:39, 30 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You can make that cross-link much less tl;dr by just focusing on what it says in the yellowish box there. But, very briefly, it comes down to this: having a procedure whereby a majority of the Committee can determine that something from the mailing list (with private material redacted as needed) can be made public on-Wiki. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:10, 30 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment: Tryptofish, you have proposed we adopt a policy that regulates the sending (and subsequent publication) of private communications between arbitrators. You proposed this policy as a result of a situation in which one arbitrator misused the mailing list for political purposes, and to prevent other arbitrators abusing their position. On the face of it, that all seems eminently reasonable – but on further examination, it seems to me like an impractical and pointless proposal. I think so for three reasons. First, trying to regulate the wide and varied spectrum of communications is a nearly impossible task. Some of our e-mails are plainly unsuited to being shared with non-arbitrators, some are routinely, rightfully shared on Wikipedia, some are shared with functionaries or other experienced people as part of our daily business, and a large number fall somewhere in between those categories. Our mailing list lets us do our job with minimal fuss (which is what volunteers need), and it works well – but I don't think it lends itself to a list of criteria that specify whether each e-mail can be published or should never be published. Secondly, the arbitrator in question was the first committee member to act so unconscionably for quite a few years – and his actions do not reflect how volunteers on the committee usually conduct themselves. You are going to fix what isn't really broken. Lastly, adopting such a policy to prevent abusive arbitrators from being abusive would not resolve the underlying issue (that they need to be removed from office) – and would yield little benefit in exchange for a great cost to the ease with which we do our jobs. The answer to last year's "leak" is not to try to govern the ungovernable by having a regulation for every iota of data; it is to be careful not to elect another crank. AGK [•] 20:25, 30 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You say: "some [e-mails] are routinely, rightfully shared on Wikipedia". I'm very surprised to hear that! My understanding has been that the policy is that every communication on the mailing list is strictly confidential, full stop. Although that unfortunate incident was, as you say, the impetus that got discussion of change going, it's not in principle the only reason for considering a policy change (example: what you, yourself, just said about the need that the community not elect or re-elect someone who behaves incorrectly). Also, I do agree with you about not needing a "list of criteria", but one doesn't need such a list in order to allow a majority of the Committee to vote to make something public. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:33, 30 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On thinking about it further, it occurs to me to add some further interpretation to AGK's summary of what happened. It's true that a single arbitrator did the things on the mailing list that precipitated the earlier discussions. But it's just as true that a second arbitrator attracted a lot of attention regarding public discussion of what happened on the mailing list. And in my opinion, the rest of you who were on the Committee at that time ended up looking (again, in my opinion) like you didn't really know what to do about that second arbitrator. So the conclusion that I'm drawing is that, first, it simply is not true that "some [e-mails] are routinely, rightfully shared on Wikipedia" as a matter of policy consensus, and second, that it would do all the Committee members some good to have something written down that indicates what is or isn't acceptable. As I see it, those facts take this issue beyond simply being a one-off that happened almost a year ago, to something that does, indeed, justify some revision of policy. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:07, 1 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I think there's something to be said for a "declassification" process in one form or another, I think the majority vote mechanism proposed here is potentially rather problematic, at least when taken in isolation. The mailing list is confidential for two main reasons:
(1) To preserve the confidentiality of material covered by the various applicable privacy policies, as well as third-party correspondence sent to the committee.
(2) To allow the arbitrators to engage in open and frank discussion—including, at times, discussion of potentially unpopular or unpalatable ideas—without fear of harassment or retaliation.
The first purpose is, in my opinion, not likely to prove overly problematic in practice; regardless of any internal disputes, arbitrators are generally (and have generally been, historically speaking) on basically the same page when it comes to such matters.
The second purpose, however, is far more problematic, in that it inherently has a political context. It's not all that difficult, given the nature of the discussions in question, to find materials that, if released, would damage the reputation of a particular arbitrator or former arbitrator, particularly when one is free to release extracts quite selectively. And it's not inconceivable that some future committee might decide to do just that (for reasons that may or may not be entirely aboveboard), with the individual in question being unable to effectively respond due to the confidentiality rules prohibiting them from individually releasing any material.
The likely outcome of such a system, then, is that some or all of the arbitrators would refrain from engaging in truly open discussion on the mailing list, for fear that such comments would subsequently be released. Whether this would necessarily be a bad thing is a subjective question, of course; but I tend to think that it would. Kirill [talk] 02:07, 2 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, Kirill, for those very insightful comments, as they are very helpful. My reason for (repeatedly) bringing this discussion up on this talk page, before presenting any kind of formal proposal, is that I'm trying to get exactly those kinds of pointers about what might or might not work. I'm still interested in figuring something out that will work, so let's explore that second purpose some more.
It's easy for me to see how one or two hypothetical members of a future Committee might do what you just described. On the other hand, would it really be a majority of the Committee? I think there's a distinction to be made, between individual members feeling free, as they should, to share individual unpopular opinions with the rest of the Committee – versus individual members of the Committee acting in a manner that the rest of the Committee views as disruptive, in a manner that would damage the reputation of that individual if made public. It seems to me that if we cannot trust a majority of the Committee to know the difference between those two things, then we shouldn't trust a majority of the Committee to arbitrate cases! We require a quorum to make arbitration decisions, for the good reason that there is some "averaging out" of individual views, but we also put you all through an election with a lot of scrutiny in the hopes that the Committee membership, collectively, won't generally get things wrong.
As you say, a majority system would create a sort of asymmetry, in that an individual member would not be free to release other material to "respond" to what the majority released. Of course, my intention was to prevent a single individual from either releasing something unilaterally, or vetoing the release of something that needs to be released. It seems to me that, either, there is a situation where pretty much the entire rest of the Committee sees that individual as being way out of line, or there is a situation where the individual really does have a legitimate concern. If it's the latter, there will likely be members who were not in the majority but who nonetheless will chose to comment publicly on that individual member's behalf. And even if that individual cannot unilaterally release some other e-mail, the released material will be public and can be publicly refuted.
And remember, once we get to that stage, we've gone pretty far down the rabbit hole, with a very dysfunctional committee membership. Normally, we're dealing with situations that will be nothing like that. Normally, we will be dealing with situations where more than a simple majority of the Committee will be people who aren't going to be dickish. Although I agree with you that "purpose two" is to facilitate efficient discussion, I think it's possible that we may find that the community believes that it is not to shield the Committee members, individually or collectively, from transparency or from possible embarrassment. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:07, 2 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tryptofish has pinged me at my talk page to remind me of this discussion, now that I am getting back up to speed. A few points that are crossing my mind here as I'm reading through:

  • One of the things that happens on the mailing list, particularly if speedy decisions need to be made, is drafting of notices to the community about various things, or a discussion about a specific point. The result of that "discussion" is published onwiki, but not the entire email "thread".
  • The huge, overwhelming, vast, enormous majority of emails to Arbcom-related mailing lists never make it past moderation (at least 85%, and probably close to 95%).
  • As we've seen from leaks of the Arbcom-L lists before, it is incredibly easy to damage the reputation of individuals with selective quoting and incomplete context. (And yes, much of what has been leaked has been extremely selective and in many cases the posts were edited in a way that reflected particularly badly on one or more individuals.)
  • I've worked out what we do with the vast majority of the emails that hit our mailing list, and that's pretty much ready for publication. My colleagues dealt with other things while I was off electioning, so we're looking at it again now.
  • I think that the natural human tendency to try to make rules about everything is something that this project has had a great deal of difficulty in quelling; not having a huge number of rules is what built the project, and having so many rules now that they actively contradict each other is having a significantly negative impact now; we missed the happy medium, and too many individuals within the community are vested in their particular area of interest to let their pet rule be set aside. People make bad decisions sometimes. All the rules in the world won't prevent that. The episode that has led to this is because a couple of people made bad decisions.
  • I'm going to be steering my colleagues back to looking at different systems for mail management over the next two months, because Mailman sucks. (There's no other way to put it.) It is quite possible to move some of our "other" mailing lists over to other systems first as a "trial balloon" to see how it works out before moving the "big stuff". We also have a gazillion years of archives, most of which are useless but some of which may still be useful to future arbitrators as they look back to see what led to some of the "old" decisions they have had to review. Depending on how we do with the CRM systems, I may have some further proposals specific to this.

So, just a few terribly random thoughts at this point. Risker (talk) 23:25, 5 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For what it's worth, I'm in general agreement with Risker's comments above. Newyorkbrad (talk) 14:58, 6 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, Risker and Brad. I'll make some comments, pretty much organized according to Risker's bullet points.
  • I agree, and I'm not interested in changing that.
  • Ditto.
  • That's true, and it's a compelling reason why leaks are a bad thing. In my opinion, however, we should be able to trust a majority of the Committee not to release anything in a manner that would cause that kind of harm, and to trust a majority to know the difference between what is or is not constructive to make public.
  • This bullet point I'm going to come back to, at the end of my comments.
  • Well, I can't really disagree with you about that, and I think we all understand WP:CREEP. At the same time, I'm going to argue that, to some extent, the entire Committee made, if not bad decisions, at least awkward decisions at that "incident". Strictly speaking, one member of the Committee made what most of us think were some bad decisions. Then, another member became concerned about those bad decisions, and arguably made a further bad decision, but did so because there was no clear policy guidance about what to do. Then, the rest of the Committee as of that time had what I will characterize as not one of your finest hours. Sorry, but that's how I see it. And it's not because everyone was really making bad decisions. It's because no one really had a clear idea of what to do, when the only thing that was set in stone was that nothing from the list could be released, no matter what.
  • That's fine. I'm happy to leave the technical stuff to you, but I'm concerned specifically about a behavioral process, one that I just described, and one that I think can be expected to recur in the future.
So, about those things that Risker is going to steer back to, I'm not exactly sure what you meant in the fourth bullet point, about "pretty much ready for publication" and "we're looking at it again now". It's unclear to me whether you all are working internally only on replacing Mailman, or whether it also involves some things that are related to what I've been raising here (especially since some of the other Arbs have expressed some opposition in this discussion). I'm trying to work with you in a cooperative way, so if it's helpful for me to give you some time to look "at it again now", that's fine. But I would also be happy to draft some specific words of my own, and post them here on this talk page for your feedback. I've been keeping careful track of what all of you have been saying, and I sincerely believe that I can propose something that actually will work with all of the concerns that have been raised. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:45, 6 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If anyone here is are looking for a good alternative to Mailman, you might want to take a look at Sympa. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:03, 6 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Template indicating case status

Could you please weigh in at Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee/Clerks#Closed_case_template. Thanks, Cenarium (talk) 16:23, 9 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Inactive Arbs

According to policy, only "active, non-recused arbitrators" are part of the decision making process. AGK is listed as "inactive", yet voted to accept an arbitration request (in which I am named as a party). That vote was recorded. Clearly, inactive Arbs should either be inactive and not participate in cases, or declare themselves to be active. Can someone strike AGK's improper vote and ask the clerks to be a little more careful? Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 13:31, 24 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An arbitrator who votes on a matter thereby becomes active on that matter, regardless of his or her status on other matters. Newyorkbrad (talk) 13:42, 24 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is that what the policy says? I can't see it and it is not an implication that I read into the policy. If Arbs have declared themselves to be "inactive", I think the community expects that they have done so for valid reasons (overwhelming personal commitments, etc). If they are simply picking and choosing which cases they find interesting or important, I would hope that the rest of the committee would encourage them to resign their seat so that it may be filled by someone more willing or able to participate fully. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 02:48, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is my first extended absence in two years, so I think you are alone in that hope. Your reading of policy is also incorrect: arbitrators are expected to "Participate conscientiously in the Committee's activities and deliberations", which is why I voted in the recent case requests, and to "[advise] the Committee of upcoming inactivity if that inactivity will likely last more than a week", which is the only reason I have listed myself as inactive. All this accords fully with convention and policy, and my vote will not be withdrawn. AGK [•] 10:25, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AGK, I was not suggesting that you resign from the committee because you are temporarily inactive, but hoping that the committee does not encourage prolonged absences or arbiters who only wish to represent the community when it suits them. As for your vote, I quoted the relevant part of the policy. According to that, you should not be participating in decisions when you have declared yourself inactive. You are apparently also "on a wikibreak" right now, according to your talk page. If I understand it, you are free to declare yourself "active" at any time and your vote will stand, but if "convention" is that inactive Arbs can participate in decisions, this appears to be contrary to policy as it exists. I suggest the "convention" be changed, perhaps after polling the community as to their feelings about how they wish to be represented. I am asking for the vote to be struck according to policy. If there is a policy-based reason for not doing so, please point me towards it. Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:29, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would be inclined to argue that AGK is signalling a return to activity by participating in the case voting. The failure to update his status at WP:AC deserves a bit of a wrist-slap – it is important for the community to be aware which of their elected Arbitrators is available to carry out the duties for which those Arbs volunteered – but I'd file it as a 'paperwork' issue, rather than a failure of the Arbitration process. If it is AGK's intention to remain on the 'inactive' list for the near future (but he anticipates being 'active' before the case gets past its opening stages, and thus able to participate fully in the case), then it behooves him to offer a clarifying explanation to the community. That's not to say that I expect (or want) a detailed description of his plans; I really don't care if he is visiting his grandmother, or busy at work, or building a Death Ray in his backyard. What he should be offering is a brief summary of his anticipated availability level during the 'inactive' period, and the estimated duration of the 'inactivity'.
I am much more concerned about the Arbs who remain inactive for an entire case – whether an officially declared period of inactivity or just silently not editing – before popping in at the last second to swing substantial remedies one way or the other a couple hours before the case closes. An Arbitrator who isn't present for the case opening, and who hasn't participated in any perceptible way during the evidence or workshopping phases, has precious little moral authority to vote on the case's outcome. Even inactive Arbs still retain the ability to lobby both publicly and behind the scenes on the private mailing list; if they can't be seen to 'show up for work', then they shouldn't be dropping by to add swing votes. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 12:49, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I trust we are all sympathetic to the fact that real life sometimes has to take precedence over Wikipedia activities, and if there is an extended period of inactivity expected, with an expectation that one will return, it is entirely appropriate to identify oneself as inactive for the purposes of counting.
However, while I can imagine the following real-life situation:

I am really, really busy with real life challenges and cannot fully participate in ArbCom, so I request being treat as inactive for the purposes of the count, but I just noticed a case request, and while I do not have the time to look at other cases, I can find a little time and look at this one.

I am very uncomfortable with this situation, as it is all but indistinguishable from the undesirable - "I'll pick and choose which cases I want to be involved with"
I'll hasten to emphasize that I have no knowledge of AGK personal circumstances, and I'm not implying that my hypothetical was on target, I do feel that there is value in requiring that an arb either be active or inactive, and not allow an intermediate status, even though it is possible to imagine such a situation in real life.
As an alternative, if we want to reflect the realities of real life, we should revisit the concept of the binary active/inactive, but that ought to be done as a broader review of process, not as a discussion of this specific situation.
This means my short-term request is that if user:AGK intends to participate in this case, the status should be changed to active, and the long-term request is debate whether a change in process is warranted.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 14:24, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The way I've always understood it is that per this section of the Arbitration procedures voting on any aspect of a case renders an otherwise inactive arbiter active on that case, including for the purposes of majorities, etc. Ks0stm (TCGE) 15:51, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, yes, they've codified this practice for themselves, and there's no logistical or feasible way to remove AGK from the case at this point, I think continuing to advocate for that specific outcome is fruitless. But being able to "re-activate" oneself simply by accepting a case does give credence to the point raised here, which was that it has the appearance of picking and choosing what cases to take what which to essentially ignore. Tarc (talk) 15:59, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for that link. In the particular case that I brought up, they have made themselves "active" by voting but they are on a wikibreak, so they are considered to be "inactive" according to procedure. AGK is free to vote to accept a case, but if he does so, he is, according to the procedural document, then considered to be "active" (except he's on a wikibreak). Can someone ask him whether he wants to be "active" or "inactive" and either strike his vote or update his status. He can be one or the other, but not both. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:18, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except this is how it has always been done. Certain Arbitrators mark themselves as inactive for a wide range of matters (e.g. ban appeals, anything to do with CU/OS, sockpuppetry, child protection [that would be me]). If AGK has five hours a week to dedicate to Wikipedia, and that means that he is doing ban appeals work for 2 hours and reading DC case material for 3 more, than I would be happy to have have him as a participant in that case even if he is unable to participate in Infoboxes. NW (Talk) 17:10, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whether or not this is "how it has always been done", it is not compliant with policy. An Arb cannot be both "active" and "inactive". If AGK wants to be "inactive", their vote will not be counted. If they want to be "active", their status should be updated. The act of voting, according to policy and procedure, has made them active. If that is not what they want, they can strike their vote. It seems simple enough. Anyone who stood for election to ArbCom but is not willing to carry out the duties of ArbCom (such as enforcing WP:CHILDPROTECT) should resign from the committee or be asked to leave. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:03, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
DC, aren't you implying that an arbitrator's workload must be all-or-nothing, and they should have no discretion to decide which of their duties or cases they should spend time on? It seems absurd, but if not, then there must necessarily be some picking and choosing. alanyst 18:09, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not certain what policy you are referring to, DC. I do not recall any policy on Wikipedia that requires volunteers to participate in 100% of any type of activity or not do it at all. Risker (talk) 18:39, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think what DC is asking for is that arbs declare themselves to be "Active" (able to participate in (almost) all arb work, subject to recusals and unexpected Real Life), "Inactive" (not able to participate in any arb work, or at best only trivially contribute to something less than a full case), or "Semi-Active" (able to spend a limited amount of time on Arb work but not enough to fully participate in all cases). I don't know whether that has any benefits over the current practice, but that is what I believe is being asked for.
In relation to the comments about coming in at the last minute, that doesn't necessarily mean they haven't been reading everything but because we can't tell when you (arbs) are reading and digesting evidence it can feel like being ignored at times. To remedy this it would be very reassuring if when you are doing so you could post a note on a relevant case page. Just saying something like "currently looking into the evidence presented by Foo", or "We are discussing proposed the remedies suggested on the mailing list". You don't really need to say what you are doing, just let us know that you are doing something. While reading a dozen mailing list posts a day it is obvious to you that you are working on the case, but all we see is silence and we can't tell the difference between working hard off-wiki and sipping cocktails on the beach in Tahiti. Thryduulf (talk) 19:56, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hopefully it's the former, but it certainly isn't the latter. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:00, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I seem to recall past conversations where people said that we had one or two situations where an inactive arbitrator decided to suddenly become active and join the voting in the last stages of a case, after having been marked inactive throughout the entire duration of the case. For example, there was a discussion to that effect on this page last year. In the course of this discussion, AGK said to Wehwalt, "Whilst I could understand your concerns if an otherwise-inactive arbitrator moved to active only on one given case, I cannot agree with you with respect to an arbitrator who becomes active again on everything." What he says now seems somewhat different, as he is doing something very similar to what he said last year would justify a concern: he has remained officially inactive, yet chose to vote on a single case request. Seen from that perspective, I do understand the concern expressed here to some extent. Andreas JN466 01:18, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Remember that not all work takes place onwiki. An Arbitrator not active on all cases might also choose to work into ArbCom's off-wiki and pre-wiki processes: ban appeals, CU/OS appointments, liaising with clerks, dealing with functionary issues, discretionary sanctions reform, etc. Frankly, this entire thread smacks of political opportunism; had AGK voted to decline the case request, I am certain that we wouldn't be having this conversation. NW (Talk) 02:10, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not trying to be funny here, but the charge of political opportunism is a two-pointed arrow: you can point it at AGK as easily as you can at DC, especially given AGK's comment last year. The more salient point here is that if an inactive arbitrator had voted to decline, someone else (e.g. the person filing the case request) would likely have complained. The smoothest and most rational way for ArbCom to avoid this entire recurring scenario in situations that are already highly charged is for inactive arbitrators not to become suddenly active just to participate in an ongoing vote. Andreas JN466 02:38, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) That's quite true, NW—if an arbitrator hadn't done something that struck some editors as questionable, it is very unlikely that those editors would have questioned it. I'm not sure that that's a terribly earth-shattering conjecture, however, nor one that warrants the inference of "political opportunism".
Sphilbrick raises what I think is an interesting question about what the community's expectations are regarding an Arbitrator's responsibility to participate in cases, versus their opportunity to pick and choose. Thryduulf's read on DC's comments – regarding the value of arbitrators being more communicative about their level of activity and participation in cases – is constructive and worthy of further exploration. My concerns about the perception of fairness (or lack thereof) when apparently inactive arbitrators don't communicate – or don't believe that they should, or need to, communicate – regarding their participation in cases are, I think, valid. NW, you've mentioned that Arbs regularly mark themselves as (essentially permanently?) inactive for certain entire classes of ArbCom tasks and responsibilities; I'm not sure that that's actually something the community is widely aware of.
I don't know why it's a bad thing, or something to be written off as "political opportunism", when the ArbCom has an opportunity to help the community understand how the committee works, or to perhaps attempt to identify and address any disjoint between the community and the ArbCom's understanding of the ArbCom's roles and responsibilities. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 03:12, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
People wanting a precise definition of how Arbcom works are not grasping that it consists of a bunch of volunteers trying to herd cats in an organization that has no constitution. If anyone wants to suggest that an arb has done something wrong, please spell it out (what outcome would you have preferred, and why, and why was the arb wrong?). Johnuniq (talk) 04:18, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Jayen466, I returned from my holiday on the day I voted on the DC case request, so it marked the beginning of my returning to general activity. I am not yet caught up enough that I can move to active on everything, which is why I am still inactive on new matters or matters I haven't yet voted on. Johnuniq: Very well said. AGK [•] 09:41, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just updated your job description so that you no longer have to try to herd cats. Instead, you get to try to nail Jell-O to a tree. I hope this helps. :) --Guy Macon (talk) 12:12, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AGK, let's cut the bullshit. Between the time that you declared yourself to be on a wikibreak and "inactive", you made several actions regarding ArbCom cases, including over a dozen votes. All that was before you voted to accept "my" case. By policy, you were active as soon as you made that first vote. Obviously, no one expects Arbs to necessarily be involved in each and every case, but this facade of "inactive" is simply posturing. Arguing about it when the policies are clear is making everyone in this conversation look rather silly at this point. I have nothing to gain by asking you to follow policy, since your vote will be recorded if you simply declare yourself "active". It is hardly to my advantage to annoy the Arbs who will be deciding whether or not to accept PinkAmpersand's latest attempt to have me banned. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:11, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AGK, the fact remains that you are now doing what you said last year would raise understandable concerns:
"I could understand your concerns if an otherwise-inactive arbitrator moved to active only on one given case ..."
The only difference between the hypothetical situation you discussed then and the practical situation that has arisen now is that this time it is you who has a desire to cast a vote. And of course, nobody can really stop you. But what is so difficult or disagreeable about following a simple rule that if an arbitrator is marked inactive at the beginning of an ArbCom vote, they should sit it out rather than popping out of inactivity in the middle of it to affect the result? To oppose a rule that is so evidently fair seems like pure selfishness.
Like it or not, ArbCom is not just a bunch of volunteers. That sounds so charming and belittling. You are not volunteers tinkering with the website of a village football club. ArbCom is the top dispute resolution body of the world's most widely accessed source of knowledge, one with publicly declared ambitions to take on an even more central global role in curating and disseminating knowledge ("the platform of choice for the entire world"). It no longer behooves Wikipedia(ns) to say, "Aw, we're just mucking about here." Being the world's no. 7 website is serious business. The public relying on Wikipedia has a right to expect professionalism and the highest ethical standards in its administration. One look at the goings-on at AN/I shows how far this site is from having an administration that upholds that ideal, and how much more it has in common with Lord of the Flies. ArbCom should lead by example. Andreas JN466 18:15, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm sorry, but IMO you're veering into the absurd now. The are just volunteers, that fact doesn't change if the website is the 7th most-trafficked or the 877th. If Arbcom were to live up to the responsibility and standards to which you seem to expect them to, then I'd expect to see the WMF cutting each member a stipend every month. At the end of the day, they login here, do stuff, then logout, just like the rest of us do. Or take a few days off, just like we can. Until being an Arb member is literally defined and funded as an actual job, you don't get to call them out for not acting like more than volunteers. Tarc (talk) 19:20, 26 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my earlier comment, I forget to mention that Arbcom has no paid office staff. The clerks do terrific work, but the Arbitration Committee of the world's #7 website should have paid staff to attend to details such as drafting the regulations asked for above, dealing with incoming mail and trolling, and a lot more. Johnuniq (talk) 01:22, 27 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You know, I don't actually see how that would be at all helpful. Instead of that, how about the community come up with a process for dealing with the final block appeals of non-Arbcom/non-AE blocks? That would do more for arbcom, by a long shot. I think we've been dropping hints about this for...oh, 2-3 years? Risker (talk) 01:48, 27 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Risker, the blocking policy is used as a weapon at times, as I have noted in this discussion. Some admins act in a rulers-and-ruled mode with clear disdain for editors, so community consensus on final block appeals is going to remain difficult and controversial. ArbCom could choose to act on the general issue but just chose to do nothing when offered a chance. I, for one, am unimpressed. EdChem (talk) 02:40, 27 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]