Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions

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Definitions

  • The committee is the Arbitration Committee.
  • AE ("arbitration enforcement noticeboard”) is the venue for requesting, applying, discussing and appealing most enforcement requests.
  • AN ("administrators’ noticeboard") is the alternative venue for appeals.
  • ARCA ("Requests for Amendment") is the venue for appealing to the committee.
  • An alert is the formal alert notice that informs editors an area of conflict is covered by discretionary sanctions.
  • An appeal includes any request for the reconsideration, reduction, or removal of a sanction.
  • An area of conflict is a topic or group of topics in which the use of discretionary sanctions has been authorised by the committee.
  • An editor is anyone and everyone who may edit and has edited the encyclopedia.
  • The enforcing administrator is the administrator who places sanctions authorised in this procedure.
  • A sanction includes any sanction, restriction, or other remedy placed under this procedure.

Authorisation

Discretionary sanctions may be authorised either as part of the final decision of an arbitration case or by committee motion. When it becomes apparent that discretionary sanctions are no longer necessary for a particular area of conflict, only the committee may rescind the authorisation of them, either at the request of any editor at ARCA or of its own initiative. Unless the committee specifies otherwise, after rescinding the authorisation all sanctions remain in force.

A log of the areas of conflict for which discretionary sanctions have been authorised is maintained at the discretionary sanctions main page.

Guidance for editors

Expectations

Within the area of conflict, editors are expected to edit carefully and constructively, to not disrupt the encyclopedia, and to:

  1. adhere to the purposes of Wikipedia;
  2. comply with all applicable policies and guidelines;
  3. follow editorial and behavioural best practice;
  4. comply with any page restrictions in force within the area of conflict; and
  5. refrain from gaming the system.

Any editor whose edits do not meet these requirements may wish to restrict their editing to other topics in order to avoid the possibility of sanctions.

Decorum

Certain pages (typically, AE, AN, and ARCA) are used for the fair, well-informed, and timely resolution of discretionary sanction enforcement cases. Editors participating in enforcement cases must disclose fully their involvement (if any). While good-faith statements are welcome, editors are expected to discuss only evidence and procedure; they are not expected to trade insults or engage in character assassination. Insults and personal attacks, soapboxing and casting aspersions are as unacceptable in enforcement discussions as elsewhere on Wikipedia. Uninvolved administrators are asked to ensure that enforcement cases are not disrupted; and may remove statements, or restrict or block editors, as necessary to address inappropriate conduct.

Awareness and alerts

No editor may be sanctioned unless they are aware that discretionary sanctions are in force for the area of conflict. An editor is aware if they were mentioned by name in the applicable Final Decision or have ever been sanctioned within the area of conflict (and at least one of such sanctions has not been successfully appealed). An editor is also considered aware if in the last twelve months:

  1. The editor has given and/or received an alert for the area of conflict; or
  2. The editor has participated in any process about the area of conflict at arbitration requests or arbitration enforcement; or
  3. The editor has successfully appealed all their own sanctions relating to the area of conflict.
Alerts

Any editor may advise any other editor that discretionary sanctions are in force for an area of conflict. However, these only count as the formal notifications required by this procedure if the standard template message – currently {{Ds/alert}} – is placed unmodified on the talk page of the editor being alerted. An alert:

  • is purely informational and neither implies nor expresses a finding of fault,
  • cannot be rescinded or appealed, and
  • automatically expires twelve months after issue.

As {{Ds/alert}} template is part of this procedure, it may be modified only with the committee's explicit consent.

Editors issuing alerts are expected to ensure that no editor receives more than one alert per area of conflict per year. Any editor who issues alerts disruptively may be sanctioned.

Role of administrators

When deciding whether to sanction an editor, and which sanctions may be appropriate, the enforcing administrator’s objective should be to create an acceptable collaborative editing environment for even our most contentious articles. To this end, administrators are expected to use their experience and judgment to balance the need to assume good faith, to avoid biting genuine newcomers and to allow responsible contributors maximum editing freedom with the need to keep edit-warring, battleground conduct, and disruptive behaviour to a minimum.

While discretionary sanctions give administrators necessary latitude, they must not:

  1. impose a sanction when involved;
  2. modify a sanction out of process;
  3. repeatedly fail to properly explain their enforcement actions;
  4. repeatedly fail to log sanctions or page restrictions; or
  5. repeatedly issue significantly disproportionate sanctions or issue a grossly disproportionate sanction.

Administrators who fail to meet these expectations may be subject to any remedy the committee consider appropriate, including desysopping. Administrative actions may be peer-reviewed using the regular appeal processes.

To act in enforcement, an administrator must at all relevant times have their access to the tools enabled. Former administrators – that is, editors who have temporarily or permanently relinquished the tools or have been desysopped – may neither act as administrators in arbitration enforcement nor reverse their own previous administrative actions.

Expectations of administrators

Enforcing administrators are accountable and must explain their enforcement actions; and they must not be involved. Prior routine enforcement interactions, prior administrator participation in enforcement discussions, or when an otherwise uninvolved administrator refers a matter to AE to elicit the opinion of other administrators or refers a matter to the committee at ARCA, do not constitute or create involvement.

Administrators may not adjudicate their own actions at any appeal though they are encouraged to provide statements and comments to assist in reaching a determination.

Enforcing administrators are expected to exercise good judgment by responding flexibly and proportionately when they intervene. When dealing with first or isolated instances of borderline misconduct, informal advice may be more effective in the long term than a sanction. Conversely, editors engaging in egregious or sustained misconduct should be dealt with robustly.

Placing sanctions and page restrictions

Broadly construed

When considering whether edits fall within the scope of discretionary sanctions, administrators should be guided by the principles outlined in the topic ban policy.

Sanctions

Any uninvolved administrator is authorised to place: revert and move restrictions, interaction bans, topic bans, and blocks of up to one year in duration, or other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

Prior to placing sanctions that are likely to be controversial, administrators are advised to elicit the opinions of other administrators at AE. For the avoidance of doubt, enforcing administrators are not authorised to issue site bans; to require the removal of user rights that cannot be granted by an administrator or to restrict their usage; nor to enforce discretionary sanction beyond their reasonable scope.

The enforcing administrator must provide a notice on the sanctioned editor’s talk page specifying the misconduct for which the sanction has been issued as well as the appeal process. The enforcing administrator must also log the sanction.

Page restrictions

Any uninvolved administrator may impose on any page or set of pages relating to the area of conflict semi-protection, full protection, move protection, revert restrictions, and prohibitions on the addition or removal of certain content (except when consensus for the edit exists). Editors ignoring page restrictions may be sanctioned by any uninvolved administrator. The enforcing administrator must log page restrictions they place.

Best practice is to add editnotices to restricted pages where appropriate, using the standard template ({{ds/editnotice}}).

Enforcement

Should any editor ignore or breach any sanction placed under this procedure, that editor may, at the discretion of any uninvolved administrator, receive a fresh further sanction. The further sanction must be logged on the appropriate page and the standard appeal arrangements apply.

Logging

All sanctions and page restrictions must be logged on the pages specified for the purpose in the authorising motion or decision. Whenever a sanction or page restriction is appealed or modified, the administrator amending it must append a note recording the amendment to the original log entry. While sanctions and page restrictions are not invalidated by a failure to log, repeated failure to log may result in sanctions. The log location may not be changed without the consent of the committee.

Appeals and modifications

Appeals by sanctioned editors

Appeals may be made only by the editor under sanction and only for a currently active sanction. The process has three possible stages (see "Important notes" below). The editor may:

  1. ask the enforcing administrator to reconsider their original decision;
  2. request review at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE") or at the administrators’ noticeboard ("AN"); and
  3. submit a request for amendment at "ARCA". If the editor is blocked, the appeal may be made by email through Special:EmailUser/Arbitration Committee (or, if email access is revoked, to arbcom-l@lists.wikimedia.org).
Modifications by administrators

No administrator may modify a sanction placed by another administrator without:

  1. the explicit prior affirmative consent of the enforcing administrator; or
  2. prior affirmative agreement for the modification at (a) AE or (b) AN or (c) ARCA (see "Important notes" below).

Administrators modifying sanctions out of process may at the discretion of the committee be desysopped.

Nothing in this section prevents an administrator from replacing an existing sanction issued by another administrator with a new sanction if fresh misconduct has taken place after the existing sanction was applied.

Important notes:

  1. For a request to succeed, either
(i) the clear and substantial consensus of (a) uninvolved administrators at AE or (b) uninvolved editors at AN or
(ii) a passing motion of arbitrators at ARCA
is required. If consensus at AE or AN is unclear, the status quo prevails.
  1. While asking the enforcing administrator and seeking reviews at AN or AE are not mandatory prior to seeking a decision from the committee, once the committee has reviewed a request, further substantive review at any forum is barred. The sole exception is editors under an active sanction who may still request an easing or removal of the sanction on the grounds that said sanction is no longer needed, but such requests may only be made once every six months, or whatever longer period the committee may specify.
  2. These provisions apply only to discretionary sanctions placed by administrators and to blocks placed by administrators to enforce arbitration case decisions. They do not apply to sanctions directly authorised by the committee, and enacted either by arbitrators or by arbitration clerks, or to special functionary blocks of whatever nature.

Continuity

Nothing in this current version of the discretionary sanctions process constitutes grounds for appeal of a remedy or restriction imposed under prior versions of it.

All sanctions and restrictions imposed under earlier versions of this process remain in force. Warnings issued under earlier procedures are not sanctions and become alerts for twelve months from the date of the passing of the motion authorising this procedure, then expire.

Appeals open at the time this version is adopted will be handled using the prior appeals procedure, but this current process will thereafter govern appeals.

Current areas of conflict

The following list is stored at Template:Ds/topics.

Discretionary sanctions with the wording listed on this page are authorised for the following topic areas (the italicised link after each topic names the associated arbitration decision):

See also