The figurehead point of controversy appears to be the name, Senkaku Islands, which, as the Japanese name, has been alleged as supportive of the Japanese side in the dispute. As a result, a handful of editors have been pushing for the Chinese name instead, and many arguing for the anglicized The Pinnacle Islands as a correct, NPOV descriptor. The point has seen many discussions, an RFC, and mediation. Since 2005 the article on the Senkaku Islands has been moved eleven times, but is now back where it started. To what extent the article should acknowledge the other names of the islands has also been a point of edit warring, with the current text including significant coverage. Comparisons to the dispute of the name of the Liancourt Rocks—islands claimed by both Japan and South Korea—have been drawn. In that dispute, an anglicized name was chosen over the Korean or Japanese names, although the dominant consensus has consistently been that "Senkaku Islands" is the name most commonly used in English publications for the islands. Edit warring in the body of the two articles has also been significant, with many users feeling that the article endorses the Japanese claim to the islands.
The dispute has seen established users in good standing on both sides of the issue.
The request was opened on August 13 by Qwyrxian who wrote that (s)he has "come to believe that until the behavioral problems are corrected, we will be unable to make constructive progress on the article content". Eleven parties gave statements and the case was accepted unanimously by eight arbitrators with one recusal. Arbitrator Coren wrote in his acceptance that the Senkaku Islands dispute is "a relatively simple case where it's likely consensus could be reached if everyone behaved and where Arbcom could help by making sure everybody does."
Since its opening on August 17 it has seen little activity so far; STSC and Penwhale have presented brief statements of support for the position that 'Senkaku Islands' is not NPOV. Tenmei has posted some stock principles in the workshop.
The case, which centers on the naming of abortion-related articles and related behavioral issues, proceeded into its second week. Three more uses have presented evidence this week:
MastCell wrote that Wikipedia has difficulties dealing with agenda-driven accounts. He accused DMSBel, Anythingyouwant, NYyankees51 and Haymaker of being such accounts, writing that "most people have an opinion about abortion, and those opinions don't disqualify anyone from editing the topic. However, I think in each of these cases there is clear evidence that the editor's personal views on abortion have overwhelmed their ability to edit within policy on the topic." Anythingyouwant and NYyankees51 have disputed MastCell's allegations.
SarekOfVulcan presented a few diffs of the general behavior that he felt was inhibiting progress.
NuclearWarfare noted that "This case is simply an amalgamation of two cases: the dispute over the naming of the pro-choice / pro-life articles and the lead sentence of abortion, as well as some smaller matters" and then gave a lengthy narrative of his work on the lead sentence of Abortion (where he reports that after extensive research he concluded that using the word death in the lead was not NPOV). He also pleaded for strict action from the committee, writing that he "doesn't know what will help solve this dispute in a reasonable fashion, but [he] guarantee[s] that a simple 'everyone go play nice and remember to reread WP:OR and WP:NPOV' will not suffice."
In the workshop Steven Zhang proposed some very broad principles and remedies, Anythingyouwant and HuskyHuskie proposed principles, findings of fact, and remedies in line with their respective sides of the dispute.
Cirt, apologizing for the presenting evidence so late (citing real-life circumstances), said that he was "astonished by the length and intensity of complaints" and that "I’ve reflected on my past behavior and I realize that these complaints have some validity" but countered that he had resolved the issues writing "This case, and the previous RfC and RFAR, have been a learning experience for me, and I’ve already stated at those forums that I’ve withdrawn from the areas in which my editing has been at issue. I undertake to edit in good faith to benefit the project, and to be sensitive to any complaints that might arise concerning my editing." Cirt endorsed proposals by Cbrick77 for a topic ban against himself, covering "new religious movements or their members, and political BLPs, broadly construed", as well as an interaction ban between himself and Jayen466.
The case, which was broken off from the Cirt and Jayen466 case to be a somewhat unusual investigation of BLP policy, proceeds into its third week. The sluggish addition of actual evidence submitted remarked upon last week appears to have ameliorated. This week nearly twice as much evidence was presented as in the first two weeks of the case combined.
Wnt wrote "it is difficult to give evidence for such a very wide-ranging proceeding" then went on to challenge the prevailing notion of the case arguing that the real issue is not "diminish[ing] or increas[ing] particular reputations" but that it is instead "almost purely a Wikipolitical conflict between deletionists and inclusionists", alleging that "one side makes use of every policy, including BLP, to oppose what they don't like, while the other defends Wikipedia's breadth of coverage." He suggests that "it should be made clear that Wikipedia policies apply to removal of text just as much as addition", for example that "removing mention of open homosexuality from someone's page because you personally think it's a 'negative' thing violates WP:NPOV"—such removal runs quite contrary to current BLP best practices.
FuFoFuEd wrote that he was being "misrepresented as a champion of BLP violations" and countered various assertions.
Tryptofish championed two recommendations: that a guideline to deal with subtle search engine optimization editing be developed, and that the committee establish clear guidelines related to arbitrator recusal, citing SlimVirgin's request in June that Shell Kinney recuse herself during a previous request for arbitration, which Shell Kinney refused, as evidence that clearer guidelines are needed.
Waalkes, a new user with only 36 edits, accused Will Beback and SlimVirgin of BLP violations on Lyndon LaRouche and LaRouche movement, starting off by noting that "BLP policy discourages the use of insinuation and allegations against living persons attributed to anonymous sources", then accusing of them of using such sources.
Prioryman accused Delicious carbuncle of disrupting a BLP to make a point—for which he was given a topic ban earlier this year, although it has since been overturned—and using Wikipedia Review for off-wiki hounding in a campaign against Cirt.
Count Iblis has thrown up the section headings "The BLP policy leads to censorship and should therefore be abolished" and "Implementing the BLP policy provokes edit warring", promising evidence at a later date.
The workshop saw little new this week, a few very pointed questions—with the subtext that the case was being unfair to Cirt—for Cla68 from Jehochman and another pointed question from Prioryman for Delicious Carbuncle listing a post of his on Wikipedia Review and asking him to explain. Also a Mathsci posted two standard "proposed principles" adapted from previous ArbCom cases on Decorum and Conduct on arbitration pages, urging civility.
Committee resolves to channel comments into votes
Last week John Vandenberg noted a trend where abstention votes were being increasingly used to give vote-like opinions, which he noted was "causing elements of arbitration cases and motions to technically pass or fail while the abstain section contains many arbitrator votes consisting of comments heavily leaning for or against". He stated that "The Arbitration Committee needs to review its use of abstention in order to ensure that the committee position on an issue is clear and that they have the requisite support to provide legitimacy for that position." This has been the first time the issue has surfaced around ARBCOM, and the need for a motion was questioned. "Well, I probably would have gone for discussion before writing motions, but meh" wrote Risker, however John Vanderberg's proposal did lead somewhere; after going through six drafts, the motion passed, creating a new "comments" section in addition to the support, oppose, and abstain sections, and advising arbitrators that "abstention votes as a vehicle for comments [... are] not recommended". The motion also guarded against slacktavism, stating "an arbitrator who posts a comment is also expected to vote on the proposal".