Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Arbitration cases

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There have been a number of Arbitration cases heard in the topic area covered by the Fringe theories guideline. Arbitration Committee rulings constitute the final step in the dispute resolution process. Most such cases have dealt with limited disruption from a small number of editors, but in a few cases the committee has interpreted policy concerning an entire topic or subtopic. These latter are outlined below.

Pseudoscience[edit]

This case is the source for the original wording of WP:PSCI, as well as clarifying the differences that the Neutral point of view policy requires in encyclopedic coverage of pseudosciences as opposed to "significant alternatives to scientific orthodoxy". It further encourages administrators to apply discretionary sanctions to prevent disruption in articles related to pseudoscience and fringe science broadly construed. Application of sanctions requires prior formal notification, for instance {{subst:Ds/alert}}, to be issued by an uninvolved administrator and logged at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Martinphi-ScienceApologist#Log of notifications. Any sanctions applied for continued disruption should be logged at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience#Log of blocks and bans.

In 2012, a motion extended the discretionary sanctions to "all articles relating to pseudoscience and fringe science, broadly interpreted." A few old cases were modified to use the new standard discretionary sanctions.

Paranormal[edit]

This case emphasizes that Wikipedia should include subjects generally regarded as non-existent by the scientific community when there is significant coverage by other independent sources. Per WP:REDFLAG, exceptional claims require exceptional sources, and ideas should not be misleadingly characterized as generally accepted. Editing under a conflict of interest and off-wiki campaigning are treated. The role of categorization is also discussed, concluding that if there is a significant sourced viewpoint that a topic is pseudoscience, it is an aid to the reader to so categorize it.

Fringe science[edit]

This case covers advocacy and suppression, patterns of tendentious and disruptive editing, the abuse of dispute resolution as an attempt to intimidate editors or further rather than solve a dispute, and the damage to the encyclopedia that is caused by polarization of editors into vociferous opposing camps. Other salient points include that Wikipedia articles should not speculate on possible future levels of acceptance of fringe theories, and there is no WP:TRUTH exception for disruptive behavior. This case also emphasizes that a topic ban means "entirely prohibited from editing articles within the topic".

Sub-topics[edit]

  • Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Homeopathy: Advocacy, unseemly conduct, and inappropriate sourcing are to be avoided. The topic area (broadly construed) is subject to discretionary sanctions. Novel approaches are encouraged to further the creation of high-quality content while minimizing disruption.
  • Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion: Views should be represented according to their prominence in the relevant scholarly community; polarized sources should be replaced with higher quality independent sources rather than "balanced" with equally polarized sources. Edit warring is not part of the consensus-building process. Advocacy and other unseemly conduct interfere with building comprehensive neutral articles.
  • Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Longevity Longevity is on discretionary sanctions, broadly construed. In this case, membership of a fringe group about a topic area, did not necessarily equate to a conflict of interest with respect to the fringe topic area.