I have watched ArbCom on and off for many years. I have read Carcharoth's comments at the clarification and to Sandstein, and was shocked that the present block is your first - that's very rare for someone named in an ArbCom decision. The fact that you have been restricted, however, means that some things follow (whether fair or not):
Your contributions will be scrutinised by others with a less than sympathetic eye. This includes not only those who presented evidence against you.
If you are taken to AE (as you have been), benefit of any doubt is in short supply. Sandstein, for example, has a reputation for a strict interpretation of sanctions and admins at AE generally interpret edits close to the boundaries of sanctions as gaming of the system requiring a negative response. No matter whether you think something is allowed or not, exercise care. If you get too close (as happened with the block above), don't try and argue it, back away. A request to be unblocked promising to stay away from the area is much more likely to be well received than an argument that you were (just) on the allowed side of a boundary.
As far as I can see, your restriction does not apply to talk pages, so I would suggest if you see a comment that you think needs clarification, post an edit request on the talk page with a suggested change, and then leave it for others to decide. Don't argue for the change, just point it out and see if others agree. ArbCom is more likely to see this as persuasive than it is pushing on the article page or debating on the talk. Note: this advice applies only if my understanding of your restriction is accurate, the topic ban now in place may complicate this as topic bans often cover talk pages too. The point about suggesting and then allowing others to decide is to show that you can and will work within the consensus guidelines on which WP operates.
The fact that you have had a clean block log and string of GAs until now would have been seen as a reason to be more careful in sanctioning, erring towards advising and maybe short blocks. Post ArbCom, however, I suspect you risk being seen as lucky to have escaped sanction earlier for disruption and to be seen as having a long history of disruption and skirting the edge of sanctions. That is not fair, but I suspect it is true, nonetheless. Carcharoth's point about this being your first block is (in part) that you are moving into territory new to you but which others will assume you are familiar. Genuine inexperience / ignorance of this area may be seen as feigned. ArbCom should have noticed your clean block log, but it didn't happen and it is too late now. If you are unsure, I advise caution and seeking information from individuals willing to advise rather than posting "I don't understand" in more formal settings.
The advice to any ArbCom-sanction editor to edit in areas far from the topic is always good if you want to persuade ArbCom to relax sanctions. Show unproblematic editing of other topics, show a respect for consensus even if you disagree - you can argue for a position, sure, but if no one agrees, accept it - and you can move ArbCom. Even if they are wrong, they will not admit it and arguing (or wikilawyering) over technical points will be viewed poorly even if you are right.
This is free advice, others may disagree, and you are obviously free to accept or reject it in whole or in part. EdChem (talk) 07:31, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Thank you EdChem for your advice. Unfortunately it has come too late and I am blocked probably from the subject for nine months. However, I do appreciate your spending time and your interest. --Rskp (talk) 22:59, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Roslyn, the advice given by EdChem above is good and worth reading. I would add that arbitrators have a large workload and many things to deal with, so you can't expect a great deal of their time and it is best to focus on ways to move forward rather than arguing about what happened. This may all be a lot to take in right now, and as an arbitrator myself (even one who is recused here) I can't be too critical of the way the case turned out. I am giving you this advice not primarily for you as an editor, but to try and ensure that Wikipedia does not lose your content contributions. I will try and keep my suggestions simple:
(1) Decide whether or not you want to continue to contest the block (I see you have accepted it). You could spend the time doing other things, or working on article content and pictures offline or elsewhere (e.g. at Commons). You may also want to find some way of discussing with others to come to better understanding of what the restrictions you are under mean, it is critical that you understand what you are not allowed to do.
(2) When the block has ended do not do any editing that will in any way breach your topic ban. Your priority should be to file a request for clarification of the topic ban asking if the draft articles in your userspace are included and whether you are allowed to carry on editing and creating them. Sandstein said above that he thinks you can, but I think you need to ask for clarification. You also need to know whether you can move completed drafts into article space (moving them moves the edit history and makes it look like you have been editing in article space).
(3) The case contains a provision that you are not allowed to appeal the topic ban earlier than nine months. If at the clarification request you are allowed to work on articles in your userspace that are covered by the topic ban, you may want to ask for this appeal restriction to be reconsidered (I would suggest asking to be allowed to appeal after three months).
There are other things you could ask about (such as the Good Article nominations), but it is best to take things slowly. I wouldn't feel comfortable giving you more advice than this - I would suggest discussing further with someone like EdChem if he is willing. I need to move on from this now, though I will make a statement at a future request if needed. Carcharoth (talk) 23:26, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much for the advice. I really appreciate your help. --Rskp (talk) 23:35, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
@Carcharoth: thanks for the positive comment on my suggestion to Roslyn, it's nice to hear that an ArbCom member sees it as basically sound. EdChem (talk) 12:54, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Roslyn, I'm happy to offer an opinion if you want one on ArbCom-related issues, though you need to be aware that the Committee is not made up of clones and some will be much less sympathetic than others. They are also, as Carcharoth notes, time-poor and so when to approach them should be considered carefully - for example, an editor advised to ask the new Committee approached them on January 1 and has been criticised for making a request on their first day in office. ArbCom is unpredictable in its actions, and so it is unwise to approach them with a borderline case or at a time when they are obviously focused on an urgent issue.
PS: The option of an appeal to Sandstein with an acknowledgement that consensus was that you violated a restriction, and undertaking to respect the view you now comprehend, and to stay far away from the area might be viewed favourably. No guarantee, but it is possible... if you do this, however, expect to be asked to comment on what you now understand to be unacceptable about your edits. You don't have to agree with the view, but you do need to accept it is the consensus and be able to persuade him that you could recognise and avoid a similar mis-step in the future. If you can't do that, then I suggest that accepting the block is the wiser course, because an appeal that shows no comprehension of the consensus view is going to do more harm to your broader case. EdChem (talk) 12:52, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi. I've reverted your edit made here - this sort of thing would be better addressed to the user at their talk page. --Rschen7754 00:51, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Roslyn, I noticed the edit you made to the case page, mentioned by Rschen7754 above. Rschen7754 has left you this note in his capacity as an ArbCom clerk. Another clerk (Hac21) has moved your post to the case talk page (that is also the wrong location, IMO, as case talk pages are not used for active discussions after a case has closed). While this is sorted out, can I suggest you hold off on asking such questions and re-read the advice you were given by me and EdChem above? One of the things I've noticed here is that you don't always seem to know the right way to do things on arbitration pages (and other pages a long way from article space), partly I think because your focus is so heavily on article content and article talk pages. If EdChem is around, I suggest you discuss with him before going further as that will avoid potential confusion and misunderstandings all round. Carcharoth (talk) 01:53, 18 January 2014 (UTC) Please note that I'm commenting here as an editor, not as an arbitrator, as I recused in the case itself.
Sorry about that Raschen7754. Thanks for that Carcharoth, but I didn't think it was something to discuss as the content is seeking clarification of what Sandstein and JamesBWatson said.
Sandstein claims the block was for misconduct relating to Turkish military history
JamesBWatson states "All the other stuff you have written (such as the stuff about changing "Turkish" to "Ottoman") is irrelevant, as that is not the reason for the block."
The Arbitration Remedies state "if any uninvolved administrator blocks RoslynSKP for misconduct relating to Turkish military history" so if that was not the reason, the subject block should be lifted. Is this something which the committee can clarify? Or am I completely missing the point again? --Rskp (talk) 00:32, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
A couple of points:
(1) This talk page is not the place to get definitive answers to your questions. For that, you will need to ask JamesBWatson and Sandstein (I've pinged them - they may or may not chose to comment here). What I and others say here is just advice and opinions, nothing more.
(2) For definitive answers to your questions, you may eventually need to approach ArbCom and seek clarification from them, but it will help if you are clear what you are asking and whether such a clarification request will help in the long run. I think you need to be much clearer about what is going on here before you take that step.
(3) My reading of this (my personal opinion) is that JamesBWatson was acting as an administrator responding to your request for a review of the block Sandstein made as an AE action, so he may not have been completely familiar with the circumstances. The two processes are distinct (unblock requests should not normally be made in response to blocks made as a result of an AE action, but you clearly didn't know that, as it was your first block).
(4) Looking at the actual block itself and the responses to your unblock request, Sandstein made it clear in this edit why he made the block and imposed the topic ban. You then replied here that you accepted Sandstein's interpretation and the block. Why you have returned after the block and are trying to go back and contest that, I'm not sure.
(5) You shouldn't be trying to argue about whether certain actions were right or wrong. What you need to do is work out what you want to do and how to present things clearly and simply enough that those with the responsibility for this may agree to your requests.
(6) Your strength is quite clearly working on article drafts in your userspace (I am not sure how much of the approximately 80% of your edits to article space were actually made in userspace before being transferred over, but I suspect it is a lot - if there is a way to work out that figure, that may help people understand what you are asking for here).
My impression, from perusing your editing history, is that you have done an immense amount of work on the Sinai and Palestine campaigns of WWI simply by preparing articles in your userspace and moving them to article space when ready. I would like to see you able to continue doing that. I am not sure ArbCom were fully aware of the extent of your content work, or that userspace drafts featured so heavily in your way of working. At the moment, I am not sure whether you can continue doing that, which is why I think you need to request a clarification. I could help you with that if you ask me to, but it needs to be clear and succinct (I tend to write a lot, so that may not help). The one thing I can't emphasise enough is you need to focus on what you want to be able to do quietly (possibly on your own in your userspace), and not get distracted by arguments over things you disagree with. Carcharoth (talk) 01:43, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I was not trying to argue anything at all. I was simply confused by JamesBWatson's reason for declining the unblock, but couldn't raise it at the time with Abcom because of the block. --Rskp (talk) 01:10, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
It seems pretty clear to me that your block triggered the topic ban, because it was made because of your editing concerning Turkish military history. In the amendment request discussion linked to above, all who commented seemed to assume so, too. If you disagree, you can request clarification at WP:ARCA, but in my view the chance of receiving a different answer is small. Sandstein 07:08, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
I was not disagreeing with the block, but sought clarification from Abcom about JamesBWatson's reason for declining the unblock. If it had not been a mistake then it would have made the subject block an error. I just wanted this clarified. --Rskp (talk) 01:10, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
I made the unblock request decline in which I made the statement that you have quoted thirteen days ago, and I do not now recall exactly the thought processes that led to make that statement. It is possible that I was mistaken, and that the stuff about changing "Turkish" to "Ottoman" was indeed part of the reason for the block, in which case I apologise. However, that did not affect the result of the unblock request, as it would have been declined anyway, for the other reason which have been mentioned. JamesBWatson (talk) 08:35, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I just got confused because if it had been as you said then there would have been no reason for the continuing subject block. --Rskp (talk) 01:10, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Roslyn, I'm adding a further comment here as you have now received answers from Sandstein and JamesBWatson. This should help you decide what questions are worth asking of ArbCom. I've also corrected my comment above about Sinai and Gallipoli campaigns to Sinai and Palestine campaigns, as I see that is the focus of your article work. What I forgot to mention is that time differences may make it difficult to hold a proper conversation about this (I'm on UK time, UTC; I'm not sure what time zone you are in).
What I had hoped to do in the two weeks you were blocked was to take a closer look at your editing and see if my initial impressions were correct, but I didn't have time to do that. If you have time (some of the details are on your user page), may I suggest doing a summary page in your userspace to make it clearer what you have worked on in the past (giving dates where possible) and what you had planned to work on over the next nine months?
It may well be that ArbCom, even when asked for clarification, insist that you work on something else for the next nine months and that continuing work on planned Sinai and Palestine campaign articles in your userspace is not a practicable option, but I'm hoping that giving a clear listing of what you have worked on in the past and had intended to work on in the next nine months may help them decide. If they do state that the topic ban applies to your userspace as well, then the question arises of what should be done with your two existing userspace drafts - it would help to know how close they are to being ready.
The other question is whether you will be happy to only be able to edit the talk pages of such articles once they have been moved to article space, as other editors may make changes that you would normally correct or discuss with them. The key here, is whether you can work together with other editors who are active in this topic area - that, from what I can tell, is what the arbitration case was really about, and the 'naming' dispute was a symptom of that.
As I said above, I'm on UK time so I don't know when you will read this. I'm out for the rest of today, so will be around again in about 12 hours or so (I also tend to be around less during the week). Please don't feel you have to take this advice (which is essentially to prepare a clarification request in your userspace), you are free to take a different approach. If you do want to ask for clarification immediately, the correct page to go to is WP:ARCA. If you have problems filling in the templates there, please ask at the clerks noticeboard for help. Carcharoth (talk) 13:04, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
If the arbitration case was about "whether you can work together with other editors who are active in this topic area," then the work of the other editors would have been investigated. ArbCom were made aware of the scope of my work during the Arbitration process, but they didn't seem interested in that either. What it was really all about remains unclear to me.
Could an approach to ArbCom to lift or shorten the subject ban, be made on the basis of the flimsiness of the decision? Contrary to popular opinion, no term was changed, and although others have asserted that I was trying to argue for the rightness of one term above the other, this is simply not true. Two weeks' block and 9 months subject ban are a very heavy penalty for restating facts more clearly, which were already in the note.
The userspace articles can remain in stasis, but can anything be done about the three GARs, two of which require my input? --Rskp (talk) 01:10, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the responses Roslyn. I'll try and keep my replies brief.
(i) As far as I can tell from the decision, the arbitration case did look at conduct by all parties. The decision did name one other party (Jim Sweeney). From looking through your editing, from the arbitration case (in particular the statement by the filing party), and by looking at what is said on your user page, it is clear that you and he have had disagreements. This is a pity, because from what I've seen you both do good work in this topic area. If the case had looked more at the interactions between you both, it is possible that something like an interaction ban would have been suggested. As that didn't happen, this leaves open the possibility for you and he to be able to work together in the future on this topic (this would be the ideal outcome). For that to happen, you need to move on from this and let things calm down. A good start would be to remove the material on your user page referring to other editors and to the topic of the recent case. Taking this step would really help show to others that you are willing to move on. Once you have done that, then the next step would be to lay out what you have worked on and what to work on next.
(ii) As far as approaching ArbCom goes, that decision needs to be made by you. I can suggest and advise, but what to ask is something you need to decide. What I would suggest is that you draft a set of questions in your userspace, maybe setting up a subpage rather than using your talk page as we are doing now. My view is that even if you were not arguing for the rightness of one term above the other, you needed to stay away completely from that topic - and editing that footnote was breaching your ban, the block was clearly needed. What I disagree with is that there was a need for that to immediately trigger such a broad topic ban, still less for you to not be allowed to appeal that topic ban for nine months (if you re-read the decision, you will see that the topic ban is indefinite, the nine months refers only to the minimum time before you can appeal it). The best way forward, IMO, is to lay out plans for other topics to edit on in the coming three months (I can help with some suggestions there), see how things go, and reassess matters at that point.
(iii) On the Good Article Reviews, I agree with what the reviewer said at two of them (though I will point out to the reviewer that a bot left you messages from him about the reviews). You should not be editing those reviews as that is a breach of your topic ban. If you read WP:TBAN carefully, you will see that talk pages and discussions of article content (such as reviews) are included in topic bans. You should also not be editing at Talk:Battle of Rafa. Please request a clarification before carrying out such edits. I can help you with that, but you need to stop everything else and concentrate solely on that.
I was going to say more, but will leave that for later. Carcharoth (talk) 01:25, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for that. Wow, so the topic ban is indefinite! Ok! And I cannot appeal it for 9 months. So why are you talking about three months time? I've tried to withdraw the three GARs, which is the only sensible way forward, because already there has been one really weird edit. An editor cut a citation and compromised the whole article! If the three GARs can be withdrawn then there will be no need to request clarification. --Rskp (talk) 00:32, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm thinking of applying to the Guild of Copyeditors for some work. --Rskp (talk) 00:53, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
That sounds like a good plan, Roslyn, I hope that goes well (Sorry for not replying to this earlier, it was a busy weekend).
A couple of other things:
(i) you asked above why I talked about about three months time - if you re-read the case page and look at the full details here (rather than the summary posted on your talk page which omits the full details), the timing of the appeals for your restrictions were put at 12, 9, and 6 months. I think the intent there is for you to demonstrate you can work productively in other areas and then apply successively to have those restrictions lifted if there are no further problems and you understand why the restrictions were put in place. That is the usual intent anyway. I suggested three months as the logical point to ask early if you think things are going well enough to warrant that.
(ii) Given that you have withdrawn the GANs and are happy to leave the userspace drafts in stasis, you are right to say there is likely no need for clarifications. Some things that may help you move on to other things include tidying up your user page (I mentioned this earlier) and archiving this talk page (I can help with that if you ask me to).
Finally, I want to try and explain why I offered so much advice. I did this in part because on reading your userpage and seeing the family connection you mention to the topic area, that reminded me of one of the reasons I started editing in the WWI topic area (a great-grandfather killed serving in the BEF in the opening months of the war during the Battle of the Marne). In some ways such connections seem trivial (many people have such connections to the war), in other ways it brings history alive. If you do end up at some point writing about other WWI topics or campaign areas, I'd be happy to help out if asked. Carcharoth (talk) 00:22, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much for all that Carcharoth. I've made a note of the dates, which I hadn't really thought important, until you drew attention to them. Perhaps in a few months things may have changed somewhat. I've archived the talk page, but cutting the material relating to other editors on my user page which documents incidents of disruptive editing on Wikipedia, would only wipe their slates clean. The description of the campaign operations is complete, except for improving the quality of the articles, so as I haven't got any other research, are there other areas of Wikipedia I could get involved with, along with the copyediting? --Rskp (talk) 00:50, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for archiving your talk page. I do think you should reconsider your decision to leave the material on your user page referring to your disputes with other users. I've asked one of the (now former) arbitrators who was active on the case (his term ended recently) if he is willing to look at this and give advice (see here). I've asked him to take a look because I no longer have the time to do so, and me continuing to give you advice may make it awkward for me to work with others in this topic area. If he is not willing to give further advice, please do your best to find articles to edit - Wikipedia is a large place and there are many areas where it is possible to develop new interests or extend existing ones. Carcharoth (talk) 01:12, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much Carcharoth. I'm reluctant to cut the info on my userpage because it was the only way to deal with what was happening, and once it was noted, I was able to move on. Thanks a lot for asking SilkTork, as I need all the help I can get. But I really do appreciate all the time and effort you have expended on my behalf. All the best, --Rskp (talk) 05:39, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Hi there, I'm pleased to inform you that I've begun reviewing the article First Battle of Gaza you nominated for GA-status according to the criteria. This process may take up to 7 days. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have during this period. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Dana boomer -- Dana boomer(talk) 17:50, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
Roslyn, I'm starting a new section here (for you and others who may want to know the details) to summarise the situation with the three Good Article nominations you had in progress. As far as I can tell, policy and consensus at the moment is that these are covered by your topic ban and you should not be contributing to or commenting on the reviews, so please do not edit the talk pages of the articles or the reviews. If you disagree with this, you will need to get clarification from ArbCom.
(a) To expand on that last point: Sandstein said here and here that he thought the ban only applies to 'articles', but he cautions that his view is not definitive. Others take a different view: ChrisGualtieri has said here and here that participating in the review is violating your topic ban; Jim Sweeney indicated much the same thing here, here, and here with his notes on those three good article nominations. The critical thing to realise here is that even if one person (Sandstein) says you might be able to edit outside of article space, the fact that others disagree means you need to ask ArbCom for clarification.
(b) For the record, those good article nominations are: Talk:Third Battle of Gaza/GA1, nominated 23 September 2013, review started 6 January 2014; Talk:Battle of Rafa/GA1, nominated 13 October 2013, review started 6 January 2014; Talk:First Battle of Gaza/GA1, nominated 9 November 2013, review started 22 January 2014. One of those nominations you tried to withdraw (on 21 January), but were reverted by Jim Sweeney. The good article nominations are being discussed at WT:MILHIST, I'll leave a note there, and possibly at WT:GAN as well. I know it is difficult for you because of the work you have put in on those articles, but please be patient until it is clear how things should be handled.
That is all I have time for tonight. I had hoped to say a bit about WWI editing in general and ask you some questions about that. But discussing this with what looks like a 12-hour time difference between us is not easy. I would like to suggest other areas for you to edit in, but only if you are happy for me to do that. May I make some suggestions? Carcharoth (talk) 01:50, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I have attempted to withdraw them, which seems the only sensible way forward. --Rskp (talk) 00:01, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi Roslyn, I saw your copy-edits at Elena Paparizou and wondered whether you'd like to join our ranks. Good, committed copy-editors are always in short supply! :-)
Greetings from the Guild of Copy Editors, a WikiProject dedicated to improving Wikipedia articles through copy editing. You are receiving this invitation because someone has noticed the quality of your edits and your commitment to improving the content of Wikipedia. Please see our project page for more information and reasons to join. You may wish to join us during our backlog elimination drives, help fulfill editor requests, or simply become a part of our supportive community. We hope to help you so that you can help make Wikipedia a better place!
Thanks, but time is a bit of a problem. Glad to see your excellent work on the Paparizou article. --Rskp (talk) 06:16, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
No worries; the invitation is an open one, should you find yourself with the luxury of free time. :-) Cheers, Baffle gab1978 (talk) 19:53, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
I would really like to participate in the Guild but was embarrassed to admit at the time, I have an indefinite topic ban, an indefinite prohibition on making reverts, and I'm also banned from adding any maintenance tags until the end of December. So I don't know if there is much I can do, apart from the occasional casual edit. If there is please let me know. --Rskp (talk) 05:20, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Hi there, I'm transferring all the images you uploaded to EN wikipedia to Commons, where they will be more widely available. I note that your text for this image is "Railway line across the Wadi Sheria before it was destroyed" whereas the AWM's text is "A soldier standing on the railway bridge east of Tel el Sheria over Wady El Sheria which had been destroyed by the Turkish army and rebuilt by members of the Royal Engineers. Anti malarial operations were also conducted in this wady by 116 Sanitation Section". Obviously a major difference. Do you hold by your description ? In which case I normally contact the AWM and ask them to reconsider their caption. regards. Rod in Sydney. Rcbutcher (talk) 13:08, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Sorry I can't comment regarding this subject area. I suggest you have a look at the description of the campaign. --Rskp (talk) 03:46, 15 April 2014 (UTC)