Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee

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What this page is for: 
This page is focused on discussing the information on the page attached to this one, and also for limited discussion of the Arbitration Committee itself. Requesting that a case be taken up here isn't likely to help you, but those in the dispute resolution community would be happy to assist.
This page isn't for requesting arbitration
Wikipedia:Resolving disputes contains the official policy on dispute resolution for English Wikipedia. Arbitration is generally the last step, when a dispute cannot be resolved by any other means including informal or formal mediation, or by asking the community its opinion on the matter.
File an arbitration case • Guide to arbitration.

AC/DS "alerts" system is broken, and how to fix it[edit]

The fact that WP:AC/DS requires a silly {{Ds/alert}} notice-delivery bureaucracy is a serious WP:GAMING problem. It should instead be scrapped, with the assumption that anyone who participates with X number of posts or over Y amount of time at a page with a DS banner on its talk page is considered "aware" of the DS that apply to that topic area. Unless and until that happens, involved editors are often able to escape sanctions on a technicality. I recently had that happen in a failed dispute resolution; the other side was "immune" to DS, despite being in the top-5 editors in the topic in question, because their last formal DS notice had been more than 1 year ago. Yet there is absolutely no question that the editor was well aware of the DS, having discussed them openly before. A sanctions system that anyone can loophole their way out of simply by being just barely civil enough to not trigger someone into delivering an alert to them on time is a pointless system, tailor made for system-gaming. At bare minimum, any of the following should constitute "awareness" of, and thus jurisdiction under, the DS for any given topic, based on simple WP:COMMONSENSE:

  • Posted more than 5 times over 3 months (but not all in the same day) to a talk page with a DS banner.
  • Edited non-trivially more than 5 times over 3 months (but not all in the same day) at a page subject to DS the talk page of which bears a DS banner. (Bot, AWB, and typo/gnome edits don't count.)
  • Edited non-trivially more than 10 times over 6 months (but not all in the same day) at such a page.
  • Mentioned, discussed, or reminded someone of the DS pertaining to that topic within the last year.
  • Informally reminded of those DS within the last year, by more than one editor (on own talk page, or on another page in a thread they later posted to again, indicating having read the preceding posts).
  • Informally reminded of those DS within the last year, by any administrator, arbitrator, or mediator (acting as such).
  • Ever added to a page the DS banner relating to that topic (editor is aware in perpetuity).
  • Altered or attempted to remove such a banner (editor is aware for one year).
  • Was a party in the RfArb case that lead to those DS, or any ARCA that sought to clarify/modify them (editor is aware in perpetuity).
  • Ever was sanctioned with DS pertaining to that topic (editor is aware in perpetuity).
  • Ever sought, imposed, or warned/threatened sanctioning of another with DS pertaining to that topic (editor is aware in perpetuity).
  • A current long-term regular editor of any page the talk page of which has a DS banner – one year or longer, contiguous, with more than 20 edits to the page or its talk page in the last two years, at least some within the last year.
  • Received or delivered a formal AD/DS alert for that topic within the last year, following the instructions at Template:Ds/alert (if the template is retained at all).
  • Aware of the DS pertaining to the topic generally, per any of the above, and editing a page clearly within the scope, narrowly defined, which does not yet have a DS banner, such as a recently split-off new article.
  • Otherwise demonstrating awareness, or any pattern of editing that would be expected to ensure awareness. Especially includes wikilawyering at the page then feigning lack of awareness of the DS.

If we're going to bother keeping the Ds/alert template, we should also have a bot that identifies all posters who qualify under X posts and/or Y time span of participation (the criteria that can be machine-calculated), and auto-delivers them all the Ds/alert for the topic in question, and re-delivers it a year later if they're still participating within any of the thresholds. Zero editors who are in reality well aware of the DS should be able to escape those DS on the "I wasn't alerted exactly so" technicality. Otherwise, this alert bureaucracy is ideal for exploitation by long-game "civil-PoV", "slow-editwar" pushers, to lure good-faith editors into disputes in which they'll be punished one-sidedly while the pusher uses the loophole to evade any repercussions and just "win" through a war of attrition.

PS: A much simpler system – We assume anyone who has edited more than trivially at a page the talk page of which has a DS banner, or anyone ever told of or discussing DS relating to that topic, is aware of the DS, and doesn't magically become "dis-aware" of them on day 366.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:49, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure about your suggestions, but I don't like the 'past year' qualification. And "Ever added to a page the DS banner relating to that topic (editor is aware in perpetuity)" makes a lot of sense. Need to think about the rest. Doug Weller (talk) 16:33, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "past year"; I did not use that exact text string anywhere. The present Template:Ds/alert expires after one year, so I've tied some of the suggestions above to a one year span, out of verisimilitude, though personally I think anyone made aware of sanctions in an area, ever, should just be considered aware of them, period. I put time limits on some of the suggestions because the extant template has them, and there was presumably a discussion in favor of such time limits that I wasn't party to, that's all. Also, the list is not meant to be absolute or 100% exhaustive; the important part is "get rid of the expired-alert loophole.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:05, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
I suggest waiting until arbcom 2016 is seated to review AC/DS. NE Ent 16:41, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
Why? This is a problem now (and for some time), and is not a problem tied to personalities on the current committee, but is simply a process logic problem.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:05, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
While I am certain that you've presented concerns about potential gaming in good faith, are there any actual examples of this occurring in a real and substantive way? And is a loosening of the notification requirements actually the best way to go about dealing with it? A few thoughts—
  • In areas that I edit which happen to be covered by DS (fringe science and biomedical topics), the 'regular' editors tend to be fairly proactive about providing formal DS notifications to new (or 'new') editors and accounts who seem to be headed off the rails.
  • If an editor's conduct is problematic enough to warrant the imposition of a block (or other restriction) under DS, it is certainly possible to bring that conduct to another noticeboard to ask for the same remedy. If Alice and Bob were edit warring, I could block both of them even if only Alice had been notified of DS. I could choose to protect the article and make sure that both editors were on the same 'notification' status going forward. The DS framework imposes specific requirements for undoing or reversing certain administrative actions; it doesn't prevent admins from taking ordinary admin actions completely independently of whatever DS may apply to a given topic.
  • Similarly, I strongly suspect that the admins at the DS noticeboard would raise their eyebrows awfully high if an experienced editor tried to pull the "ha ha my notification is 12 months plus two weeks old, so I'm not notified" card, or play some other sort of silly buggers.
  • If an editor is engaging in behavior pre-notification (or post-notification-expiry) that would lead to sanctions under DS, then notify and warn them. ("By the way, these articles are under discretionary sanctions. If you pull any more nonsense then the following things will happen....") Either they shape up, or they get topic banned the following week: win-win.
  • Finally, I'm reluctant to expand the "presumed-to-be-notified" criteria, or to pull back the "notification expiry" criteria. Yes, we might whack a few more editors with sanctions, but I can see good-faith editors genuinely being unaware of banners. There are a number of talk pages where I pretty much always jump to the active discussion (at the bottom of the page) using the direct link from my watchlist; I could go years without looking at the top of the page. And if I did happen to catch a peek of the top of the page, I'd probably not notice the DS banner anyway, since it's lost in a sea of other notices and banners. (Talk:Cold fusion has at least 11 yellow boxes, some of which have sub-boxes; Talk:Homeopathy has at least a dozen, amounting to more than a screenful of text.) And I'm a heck of a lot more attuned to the bureacratic side of Wikipedia than most folks. Regular, non-policy-wonk editors – the ones who don't read pages like this one – aren't going to know or care about ArbCom sanctions unless those sanctions are specifically drawn to their attention. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 02:45, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
  • A case could be made for a mass removal of tags from many articles on the grounds of overloading the user and interfering with important notices. Also, WP:CREEP comes to mind as a similar phenomenon.
Does every reader of Talk:Cold fusion really need to know it was merged into, mentioned in an On this day, the subject of mediation (6 years ago) or a former featured article (11 years ago)? Or mentioned by a media organization in 2009? Do we really need to give WikiProjects free advertising in the talk page banners of so many articles? --Guy Macon (talk) 23:02, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
This is a side topic, but I agree that "article history" trivia would be best put into a right-hand sidebar box like the archives; this should probably be proposed at Village Pump since it would affect so many pages.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:05, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)@TenOfAllTrades: Taking these in order: I feel comfortable linking to one specific recent instance of the loophole resulting in it being impossible to apply sanctions evenly despite administrative intent do so, since it does not actually imply willful gaming by the "beneficiary" of the loophole: [1]. I flatly refuse to point fingers accusing anyone in particular of gaming, since the most common DS sanction other than for editwarring is for personalizing disputes and casting aspersions (and twice I've had Sandstein apply sanctions to me, in WP:AE, for precisely that, despite the fact that AE exists to raise user behavior issues!), so that's a pitfall I'm going to steer clear of here. It should be enough that I've been observing the effect of these notices and their gameability, and am sufficiently alarmed by it to propose the changes I have in this level of detail. (FYI, I first drafted this in August 2015, but decided to sit on it, and see if the situation improved, or if I was misperceiving. It did not, and I was not.) And anyway, most of the gaming would be hard to detect, as detailed below.
  • The very fact that would-be guardians of a topic go around throwing Ds/alerts at people (often new editors), usually in a confrontational manner, is generally considered problematic by a lot of editors; it's a current topic of discussion on the proposed decision page in the e-cigs case, for example. And in many other topic areas where DS have been applied, it is not normal practice to hand out Ds/alerts. It's seen as aggressive and fight-picking (one such [internal] topic area is article titles policy and the MoS, per WP:ARBATC. The #1 complaint about this whole WP:POLICY area is that many editors feel it is too controlled by a small number of editors. If they were to adopt the habitual use of Ds/alerts to "notify" incoming editors (no matter what their intentions in doing so) it would be interpreted as WP:OWN behavior. If a bot does it by automated process, instead of editors delivering them when they feel like it, this problem would be mitigated. A decreased reliance of Ds/alert notices to begin with would also ameliorate the "User so-and-so is threatening me with this notice, so I'm not going to participate in these discussions" effect.
  • It is not really plausible that someone who has escaped DS on a technicality and just received some kind of finger-wagging warning in lieu of DS can then be dragged to, e.g., WP:ANI and subjected to a double jeopardy "trial" there. That would be blatant WP:Forum shopping, and would be be perceived as vexatious, pointy, aggressive battlegrounding. In the case I did link to, the ongoing noticeboard dispute resolution was actually shut down, unresolved, by the DS-applying admin; the request to reopen it for proper resolution was ignored. Once DS has been applied to anyone in a dispute, that seems to shut the matter down completely. I've said before and will use this opportunity to do so again: DS should not be applicable within dispute resolution forums, like AE, ANI, ANEW, etc., since they are dispute resolution processes that necessarily entail raising of problems with other editors and presenting evidence of them, while DS is an alternative DR process of last resort. I'm unaware of any ArbCom decision or even discussion in which it was ever suggested that the purpose of DS is to short-circuit other DR processes as some kind of "everyone STFU" supervote. It's an authoritarian interference with WP's internal self-governance process. But that's perhaps another matter for another time.
  • It does not require that someone be a sneering asshat holding up a "ha ha" card. The procedural instructions for DS require that admins thinking of employing them verify the potential recipient's notification status. That's why this is so gameable. If you know you have no valid "alert", you can simply be disruptive in ways that would be subject to DS but which would probably not quite result in ANI action, and get away with it, without ever giving the impression that you even know that DS apply or exist. It's a loophole that the system will apply for you without you making a peep.
  • Yes someone can be given the alert belatedly and then be dealt with via DS if they continue to be disruptive, but this does nothing about the fact that sanctions applied to multiple editors in the original dispute, who all really were already aware, will end up being disproportionate if one or another of them is "magically immune" to DS. (As a side matter, topic-banning someone is not really a win-win. DS does not have to result in a topic ban, and topic bans are generally pretty detrimental to the project when used as a means of punishing usually-productive editors who sometimes lose their cool. It's not a preventative measure but a punitive one in such cases (vs cases of shutting down SPA PoV pushers on a mission to warp neutral coverage of their pet topic). Short-term blocks are usually far more effective in "you've lost your temper and crossed the line" cases, and well within DS authority.)
  • If we really think that talk page top banners about DS are insufficient notice, then make them editnotices so no one can miss them; problem solved. They're certainly far more important than "this article uses British English" WP:ENGVAR claim-staking, the most common use of article and article talk editnotices. The issue all of this is about is that anyone who is a long-term, regular participant in an area subject to DS already knows that the area is subject to DS, and it's counterproductive to suppose that they are not because they didn't get a recent user talk posting about it that was formatted just so. Aside from editnotices, use of a bot to auto-deliver Ds/alerts to all editors whose participation passes a threshold level of involvement would also help ensure that people are aware. I agree that casual participants on a talk page of an article subject to DS might be unaware of the DS; my numbers were just examples, and could be raised, e.g. to "Posted more than 10 times over 2 months", or whatever. The particulars are not really important.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:05, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
  • The requirement that editors be notified that discretionary sanctions apply to a topic area before they are sanctions was first proposed by me, several years ago, in response to genuine instances of editors responding to a block or restriction imposed under DS with "um, what are you talking about?" What I wrote at the time was, "Prior to any sanctions being imposed, the editor in question shall be given a warning with a link to this decision; and, where appropriate, should be counseled on specific steps that he or she can take to improve his or her editing in accordance with relevant policies and guidelines." There may be too many topic-areas under DS and too many worn-out admins right now for detailed counseling to be practicable, though it would still be a best practice, at least in the case of clearly good-faith editors. But the purpose was always intended to be to promote real communication with editors, not creating a form to fill out for its own sake.
I agree with TenOfAllTrades that blatant game-playing with notification technicalities hasn't been a huge problem that I've noticed. If an editor avoids a sanction once because he or she hadn't been warned before, but gets warned now, then one of two things will happen: either the editing will improve, in which case the purpose of DS has been served better than a block would have done, or the editing won't improve, in which case the sanction can then be imposed. Newyorkbrad (talk) 02:55, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
As I explain above, the gaming would largely not be noticeable, because any admin following the DS instructions will automatically conclude that a no-notice or expired-notice editor cannot be subject to the DS, without the editor ever having to say anything about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:05, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
I think this clause might be a problem: 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... (several other possible condition involving appeals and arbitration). If I was writing a proposal, I would argue that if, for example, I received a BLP DS alert in 2014, I don't need to receive another one in 2016 for an admin to impose a sanction on me. And, yet, that's the way the Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions#Awareness and alerts is written. I assume this is a policy because the sanctions might change over time but I think those cases are the exception rather than the rule. Liz Read! Talk! 23:37, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Having the alerts expire after 12 months is Arbcom's preference. They could change this with a wave of their hand. They could choose a different interval or declare that alerts never expire. I haven't seen much evidence that this is a problem, though. In his comment above SMcCandlish may be referring to a dispute from September 2015 that was handled under Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Article titles and capitalisation. In that case the 12-month expiry would have made no difference because the other party had never been notified. EdJohnston (talk) 00:14, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
It's just one instance, but is why I dug out my August draft of this and posted it; the one-sided use of DS (one-sided only because of this loophole, and unfair enough that WP:AN voided the DS that were applied to me), and the use of DS to shut down ongoing dispute resolution at WP:ANEW, was a serious enough case of bureaucracy resulting in unjust and impractical results that I couldn't in good conscience not try to effectuate some useful DS-related change. Under what I propose, the loophole would not have applied to that editor, because no formal notice would have been needed. Their daily participation on a page that's had a big DS banner atop it for 2+ years would be more than enough "awareness" (the editor in question is among the top-5 most frequent posters there, so their awareness is unquestionable). Logically speaking, we all know that it is more than enough, and an administrator who believes that DS should have been applied to that party should not have had their hands bureaucratically tied and prevented from applying them because of this "no alert or expired alert" get-out-of-jail-free card (even if said admin also should not have shut down the ANEW case that was open, a separate issue). This really isn't about that particular dispute, though (I normally get along fine with that other editor, and the underlying dispute can actually be resolved with a shipload of citations to reliable sources); it was just a catalyst for my posting here about the DS bureaucracy problems.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:05, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Re: talk page banners about DS being sufficient notice, I'll quote admin Sandstein on that, from an actual WP:AN request: "However the page in question has a very clear notification of AC/DS - I'd consider that sufficient constructive warning for all involved" [2]. So, if AN enforcers of DS are already interpreting the DS talk banners as sufficient notice, and have been doing so since at least early 2012, why would they not be actually sufficient?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:43, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
    • Further datapoint showing that people notice the talk page DS banners and take note of them: [3], from Talk:Caitlyn Jenner.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:33, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

How did this "twelve month expiry" clause sneak in? Notifications were never originally interpreted that way, and I don't recall any discussion about this when the instructions were rewritten. I can't see any good reason for a twelve month expiry clause. It has often been argued that alerts themselves are unnecessarily bureaucratic as they can sometimes prevent appropriate sanctions being applied; expecting that they now be renewed every twelve months for every user active in a DS-listed topic area before a sanction can be applied is needless red tape that is only likely to allow users to escape legitimate sanction on a technicality. Gatoclass (talk) 04:46, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Right. This actually happening already is what brought me here. AFIAK, the one-year expiry was introduced in the 2013 discretionary sanctions review that was spearheaded by Roger Davies, and was added by ArbCom based on concerns that someone alerted to DS in a topic area they don't really frequent much is not apt to remember the fact very long, and 1 year seemed like a reasonable cut-off. The most obvious problem with this is that it has nothing to do with 99% of the editors to whom DS might be expected to be applied, who are continuing, regular participants in the topic area in question, and quite well aware that DS applies there. Indeed, it's pretty unlikely that someone incidentally notified of DS about Azerbaijan-related topics who has only edited there once would be strongly sanctioned under DS a long time later they finally entered another Azerbaijan-related thread and "personalized" a comment or was assumed to have assumed bad faith. (Don't get me started on how vague and gameable that is. The problems with DS go way beyond this template bureaucracy. WP does not need a thoughtcrime enforcement system.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:33, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

@SMcCandlish: Just something to think about ... The edit notice system you propose is also open to gaming. As a simple example, for example, it won't apply to the creation of POV-pushing articles because at the point of creation they will bear no edit notice nor will it apply to the addition of, for instance, POV-pushing sections into previously unaffected (BLPs are the usual target for this). It won't ever be possible to place edit notices on all article content tangentially covered by the DS. In some areas (Palestine/Israel, for instance), the number of articles with edit notices will run into thousands and still not be complete. Even just adding the edit notices is itself a Herculean task. The only solution is to target the editor and not the article. Which is what the current Alerts system attempts to do.  Roger Davies talk 12:04, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

@Roger Davies: I don't see how that would actually be a loophole, because the "problem editors" (as well as non-problematic active editors alike) in these overall topic areas would be editing on enough of the "big ticket" pages subject to the DS in question that they'd be "aware" of the DS and its scope. Because DS are (unless specified otherwise) applied in a "broadly construed" manner, even under the present system, no one who is aware/notified can wikilawyer their way out of DS by engaging in DS-encompassed jackassery on a new page or a new section of a previous not-subject page, since those activities are auto-covered by the broad construal. Otherwise these clowns would PoV-fork like mad to game the system every day already. So, it's only necessary to DS/notice tag the major pages, e.g. Talk:Palestine, etc., not every Israeli bio's talk page, to continue with that case as an example. As for targeting specific editors, the proposed bot (to auto-notify all editors who edit "regularly enough", by some algorithm, at pages central to a DS-encompassed dispute), would deal with that. I didn't propose one solution versus the other; they were not meant to be mutually exclusive. The point about the article talk page banners is that regular editors at pages bearing them are aware of the DS (or are willfully ignoring a prominent alert they should not be), and it's farcical to pretend that they're not and prevent admins from applying DS in such cases on the technicality of a missing/expired Ds/alert in user talk. I'm certainly not proposing the addition of the WP:ARBIP Ds/notice to 10,000 articles! LOL.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼ 
My own personal experience is that it is almost impossible to keep up with related articles with edit notices. I tried this in the Syrian Civil War area which was extended to cover anything ISIS-related, and it became an impossible task as new articles were being created so quickly. Doug Weller (talk) 13:36, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
@Doug Weller: Which brings us back to the central issue: The "notice"/"awareness" approach It's a WP:BUREAUCRACY problem, and we all already understand as a WP:COMMONSENSE matter than anyone regularly editing in the "ISIS-related, broadly construed" topic area is already "aware and notified" of the DS that apply to that topic area. Ergo, no super-persnicketty templating needs to happen in order for an admin to apply DS to disruptive editing by that editor in that topic area – not user-talk templates, and not banner templates on minor articles. I've not really framed it this way before or seen anyone else do so, but here's another way of looking at it:

If we're going to continue with DS or something like it indefinitely, and we consider this to, necessarily, thus be a part of established Wikipedia policy and procedure, the several years of this being in operation are long enough for editors to absorb the idea and to be smart enough to a) understand that they should suspect DS could be applicable to any area that seems highly controversial, and b) that the main policies generally enforced under DS (WP:CIVIL, WP:NPA, and WP:AGF) are not optional essays but enforceable policies, ergo they should already be moderating any tendencies they have towards jackassery. Meanwhile we also know in practice that AE and admins generally do not dump a ton[ne] of enforcement bricks on people for a first infraction; they get a simple warning/admonition as a first enforcement action under DS anyway. That is, the need to be certain of individual awareness doesn't really exist. The initial warning isn't going to knock anyone's head off, and that warning will in fact ensure the desired awareness automatically. So the whole super-precise user templating system is a solution in search of a problem.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:08, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

A 2015/2016 DS review[edit]

I'm thinking that what is needed is another comprehensive, structured review of the DS system so we can see how the whole thing is working in practice. The 2013 review's changes have had plenty of time to settle in so there should be enough actual evidence to distinguish systematic issues from temporary glitches and to be able to distinguish fundamental problems that require a rethink of the system from those problems that arise from things which just require clarification. It needs to be well structured as the presentation of the problems above do not lead to any easy way to discuss or investigate individual issues.
The question is whether it is better to start this review before or after the election - now may see arbs working on it after their terms expire and this is not the committee's quietest moment. After the election though there is no guarantee the committee will be less busy, and we will have up to 9 inexperienced new arbitrators learning the ropes. My feeling is that on-balance a start before the election is better, especially considering SMcCandlish's comments directly addressing this question on 10 November. Thryduulf (talk) 13:49, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Strongly concur on all points. If the discussion gets started now, it can be shaped to an extent by people who've had to work with it more directly, before being handed off to those who'll have to live with it for a long spell henceforth. The only risk I see in this is just the ball being dropped entirely after the election, but a few of us pinging should be enough to keep it in play.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:00, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • If this is going to happen (and I hope my colleagues will also be commenting in favour here) it is important to do a good job of it. Perhaps @SMcCandlish:, and anyone else interested, would take some time to take a look at the 2013 review and see what worked and what didn't from a process point of view and offer suggestions here for how to structure this review. It would seem silly to repeat any mistakes made last time. Thryduulf (talk) 09:26, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • @Thryduulf: I've worked on this, from my point of view, about what the specific issues are/were (and as much about the current AC/DS as the 2013 review). In the draft, I've broken it up into a series of topical sections. The way I write, it's of course turned into a huge essay, so I'd have to think of some way to distill it to a "PowerPoint version" (I've nutshelled one section already toward that end). I've put this at User:SMcCandlish/Discretionary sanctions/2013–2015 review. I gave each section a descriptive title, so the ToC at least serves as a bullet-point outline, albeit an op-ed one. To me, the matters for a 2015/2016 DS overhaul are more to do with rationale, scope, approach, and results, than with specific, isolated failures in the 2013 review process per se (and I realize that Roger was largely herding cats in trying to manage that in the first place). It wasn't really so much a review of AC/DS, as a section-by-section polishing of the prose. While it did have the effect of significantly changing various line-items, with some real-wikiworld results (including positive ones) the entire process proceeded from the assumption that the overall nature of it all was just fine and only needed minor tweaking. This pre-determined conclusion that only adjustments needed to be made, instead of an examination of the entire approach, and consideration of its possible replacement or abandonment, is key to why so few of the problems identified before the review began, and raised during it, have been addressed, or could have been, given the review's structure and nature. I've also identified a couple of cognitive dissonance problems – "rules" that do not in fact reflect reality. And addressed some of the administrative, appeals-process, and other fallout of DS not working so well. Anyway, the present copy of my "post-mortem" on it is a several-hour brain dump, and probably a 15-minute read (if you just plough through it without replying with demurrers), but its a start towards IDing at least my own views of what the issues are, and laying out some proposals for improvement. I've tried to keep old butthurt out of it, but there are a few grumbles I may need to weed out that probably aren't as illustrative as they seemed when I added them.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:08, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

History of the sanctions system[edit]

I've started writing a history of the sanctions system, which I think some people here might be interested in. It is much easier to understand the system if one takes a look at its history. RGloucester 14:47, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

@RGloucester: +1! The real detail-devils are in the original implementation of the WP:AC/DS page, the 2013 revision, and the seemingly less community-involving 2014 revision. It's quite a lot of material to diff (in broader, off-WP sense) and analyze. PS: Given that Kirill Lokshin essentially invented DS, I would hope to see that editor's input regarding the ways in which its been working vs. failing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:16, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, I asked for his opinion. However, he did not respond to my request. Whilst the present system may leave something to be desired, I do give Kirill credit for thinking up and implementing such a regime. That's more problem solving than we ever see in ArbCom today, regardless of whether it has worked out in practice. RGloucester 17:13, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

Motion: Removal of Unused Sanctions (November 2015)[edit]

Original discussion
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

For this motion there are 11 active arbitrators, not counting 1 who is inactive and 2 who have abstained or recused, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.

Every so often, it becomes reasonable to terminate sanctions that are no longer necessary,

  1. Remedy 1 of the Lapsed Pacifist 2 case is rescinded;
  2. Remedy 2 of the Mantanmoreland case is rescinded;
  3. Remedy 1 of the Waterboarding case is rescinded;
  4. Remedy 1 of the Vivaldi case is rescinded;
  5. Nothing in this motion provides grounds for appeal of remedies or restrictions imposed while article probations for the foregoing cases were in force. Such appeals or requests to lift or modify such sanctions may be made under the same terms as any other appeal;
  6. In the event that disruptive editing resumes in any of these topic-areas, a request to consider reinstating discretionary sanctions in that topic-area may be made on the clarifications and amendments page.
Enacted - --L235 (alt / t / c / ping in reply) 20:59, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
For this motion there are 12 active arbitrators, not counting 2 who are inactive, so 7 support or oppose votes are a majority.
  1. --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 23:05, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
    Yunshui  11:38, 23 September 2015 (UTC)  Clerk note: This arbitrator has resigned. L235 (t / c / ping in reply) 22:17, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
  2. Per Yunshi's comment below, I think the small risk that this will flare up without the threat of sanctions is small enough and easily countered enough (cf our recent motion regarding Longevity) that we can take it. Thryduulf (talk) 15:07, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  3. AGK [•] 23:22, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. Support recision except for Mantanmoreland. It's very old, but let's do nothing to encourage its return. Editor misconduct in the other three areas can be more easily responded to via usual dispute resolution mechanisms. -- Euryalus (talk) 07:33, 1 November 2015 (UTC). Amended in the spirit of compromise. -- Euryalus (talk) 08:32, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
  5. Support since point 6 makes it possible to restore sanctions without having to go through a full case. Doug Weller (talk) 13:41, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
  6. DGG ( talk ) 04:36, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
  7. As the committee retains jurisdiction, these can always be reinstated by motion if the need arises.  Roger Davies talk 06:42, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
  8. I'm not sure I see a huge benefit to removing these particular remedies, but I do agree with removing unused sanctions (with the understanding that they can be reinstated at ARCA). GorillaWarfare (talk) 13:58, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
  1. Enough of these have the potential to flare up that I think this is a bad idea. Courcelles (talk) 19:00, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
  2. Salvio Let's talk about it! 14:10, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  1. LFaraone 17:36, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. Want to expedite things but havne't adequately reviewed to satisfaction. NativeForeigner Talk 03:41, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

Discussion by arbitrators (removal of unused sanctions)[edit]

Proposed --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 23:05, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm going to wait for any community comments before opining here. Thryduulf (talk) 23:22, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • These are all pretty old, and a review of the relevant article histories suggests that they may no longer be needed; however I'm mindful of the fact that the sanctions may be the reason that the articles have been so quiet recently. I'm leaning towards supporting this motion, but like Thryduulf would be happier to wait until a few more opinions are in. Yunshui  08:33, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
Sod it, I think the benefits outweigh the risks. The option of reinstatement by request at ARCA does, as Harry points out, make this a reasonably safe gamble. Yunshui  11:38, 23 September 2015 (UTC)

Community comments (removal of unused sanctions)[edit]

  • Noting Courcelles' objection, but I would have thought that point 6 (allowing the sanctions to be reinstated by request at ARCA if necessary) covers everyone in the event that disruption returns. Some topic areas won't quieten down until real-world events do (the obvious example being Israel-Palestine), but we shouldn't keep discretionary sanctions lingering around where they're no longer necessary or useful. The alerts and warning notices that editors see whenever they edit an affected article potentially deter valuable contributions and give an impression of a dispute that is no longer there. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 13:33, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Given the state of the US and its jaunts into the middle-east (as well as its treatment of Muslims at home) object to the waterboarding being lifted (no comment on the others). 'Closely related pages' effectively means anything involving state-sanctioned torture. Totally cant see how THAT might flare up... Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:23, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
    • But the last sanction imposed pursuant to a remedy in that case was nearly five years ago (by strange coincidence, I was the admin imposing it), and the sanctions can always be re-imposed if necessary. Besides, most subjects to do with waterboarding as it relates to the United States' foreign policy would probably be covered by the discretionary sanctions on American politics. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 19:07, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
      • Well I would generally follow the school of thought that states 'Its calm because of the sanctions'. However you are right American Politics would (probably, someone will argue otherwise no doubt) cover any US based torture problems. Sadly the US does not have a monopoly in torture. Only in death does duty end (talk) 19:20, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I hate to keep bringing up essentially the same thing every time, but once again we have a problem (a minor one this time, but entirely avoidable) this time caused by someone referring to the "last" item on a list that is still having items added and removed. This small issue and a number of large issues to come can be avoided by the simple idea of designing procedures and sticking to them instead of winging it every time. To be specific, in this particular situation, anyone commenting on a list item should refer to "item number 6" instead of "the last item. Anyone removing an item should replace it with "6. (removed) instead of deleting it and letting a new item take the #6 slot. Please Arbom, there are members of the community who are experts at designing these sorts of procedures. Let us help. We won't step on your authority and you will get to approve all procedures. Whether because of lack of skills, lack of time, or lack of interest, you really suck at this. Just give the word and I will start recruiting experts and drafting procedures (on-wiki, so you can comment and veto at any point in the process). --Guy Macon (talk)
Re "easily corrected"; it was corrected while I composed the above. My point about procedures still stands though. If anyone wants to dispute this, I can document previous problems that weren't so easy to fix. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:19, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: What are you talking about? You are the first person to edit this page in over two days --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 03:27, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Oops. When I went back to look at the page I looked at "Motion: Removal of Unused Sanctions" (which doesn't have the problem) instead of "Motion: Overlap of Sanctions" (which does have the problem -- in the oppose section) and assumed it had been fixed. Sorry for the error. Does anyone wish to comment on my offer? --Guy Macon (talk) 03:59, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't think so. See you next time the lack of procedures causes a problem, and I hope it is a minor problem like this one. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:25, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Even after your post above, I still do not understand what your comment relates to. Thryduulf (talk) 12:31, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Regardless of the merits of the numbering in this motion, you'd like us to comment on your view that Arbcoms (now and in the past) kind of suck at concise and accurate wording. You're completely correct. At risk of sounding like the tedious bureaucrat that I actually am, there is a reason for administrative writing and this is it - for precision, and to avoid doubt when the material is read later by people other than those who drafted it. Whenever there is a badly worded motion, please feel free to offer suggested changes. If they're good, the Committee should adopt them (or explain why not). -- Euryalus (talk) 07:40, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

@L235: Can you clarify if Yunshui explicitly removed his support for this motion? He was active at the time of his vote and comments. I don't see why his retirement would affect his position on the matter. Mike VTalk 23:18, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

@Mike V: I was not told if Yunshui explicitly removed his support. However, I was explicitly directed to strike his votes on all matters and recalculate majorities by an arbitrator on clerks-l. Thanks, L235 (t / c / ping in reply) 23:21, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
  • L235@ Liz@ Isn't this a motion that has passed now (6 is a majority and 7/8 have voted support)? Would be nice to see some more sanction-cruft removed. Face-smile.svg All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:17, 16 November 2015 (UTC).
  • The majority is 7 (I just corrected it), and the conditions set by Euryalus haven't been met so their support isn't counted. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 02:35, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
    • Ive amended my vote in the spirit of compromise, and to get this resolution moving along. -- Euryalus (talk) 08:32, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Informal poll[edit]

Comments are welcome at User talk:Tryptofish#Informal advisory poll. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:56, 20 November 2015 (UTC)