Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Falun Gong 2

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Main case page (Talk) — Evidence (Talk) — Workshop (Talk) — Proposed decision (Talk)

Case clerk: AlexandrDmitri (Talk) Drafting arbitrators: Hersfold (Talk) & Elen of the Roads (Talk)

Case Opened on 04:07, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Case Closed on 14:16, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Case Amended on 16:45, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Case Amended by motion on 11:36, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Watchlist all case pages: 1, 2, 3, 4

Please do not edit this page directly unless you are either 1) an Arbitrator, 2) an Arbitration Clerk, or 3) adding yourself to this case. Statements on this page are original comments provided when the Committee was initially requested to Arbitrate this page (at Requests for arbitration), and serve as opening statements; as such, they should not be altered. Any evidence you wish to provide to the Arbitrators should go on the /Evidence subpage.

Arbitrators, the parties, and other editors may suggest proposed principles, findings, and remedies at /Workshop. That page may also be used for general comments on the evidence. Arbitrators will then vote on a final decision in the case at /Proposed decision.

Once the case is closed, editors may add to the #Log of blocks, bans, and restrictions as needed, but this page should not be edited otherwise. Please raise any questions at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration#Requests for clarification, and report violations of remedies at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Arbitration enforcement.

Involved parties[edit]

Statement by Timotheus Canens[edit]

On 19 May 2012, TheSoundAndTheFury filed a voluminous AE request against three editors: Ohconfucius, Colipon, Shrigley, making various allegations and providing almost a hundred diffs as evidence. The responses of the three editors naturally deny those allegations, and also make their own allegations of POV pushing against TheSoundAndTheFury, Homunculus, and Zujine. On a brief look, neither side of the competing claims of POV pushing is frivolous, but definite resolution of these claims would require investment of considerable time beyond the capacity of AE to undertake. The size of the thread, while perhaps normal for arbitration evidence, is also rather excessive for AE. In short, AE simply is not well-equipped to deal with matters of this sort. Accordingly, and with the agreement of the other admin looking at this request (User:The Blade of the Northern Lights), I'm referring this matter to the Committee, and recommend that the Committee to either open a full case or a review to examine the competing allegations of biased editing. T. Canens (talk) 10:05, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Statement by TheSoundAndTheFury[edit]

Note to Committee members: I'm not familiar with this process, but just to clarify: the AE I filed was not about POV-pushing. The problem was not with these editors' points of view per se. Although the case I filed was voluminous and had too much explanation (esp. of the content issues), it was fundamentally about behavior, and I primarily presented evidence of behavioral problems. I offered to refile as three individual cases with clearer evidence, and am still willing to do that if that is considered a preferable option. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 14:32, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Statement by Homunculus[edit]

I’m not sure I would characterize the nexus of dispute in quite the same manner T. Canens has done. I don’t believe the question here is about POV-pushing, and it seems that it would be difficult for the Arbitration Committee to assess the merits of POV-pushing claims, as doing so may necessitate judgements on content.

I do believe there are problems with the manner in which some editors have contributed in this namespace. I’ve tried addressing my concerns with their behavior, and so have others, but to no avail. Perhaps this process could help. I think it may also be valuable to re-articulate and refine some of the principles that govern this space.

That said, I must caution against blowing everything up. By and large, the articles in the Falun Gong namespace are actually quite stable and steadily improving. There are subject matter experts involved. When substantial changes are made, they are generally proposed and discussed on talk pages first. Most people are able to assume good faith, refrain from personal comments, and focus on content. There are weird flare-ups, but not usually of a POV-nature. As the AE case argued, some editors seem to regularly transgress community standards, but I do not believe that their transgressions should cast a pall on the entirety of this namespace, or on the other editors involved.

There are editors here who have worked very hard get past the partisan bickering that once dominated this space. For my part, I’ve tried to adopt the approach of 1) talking about content, not contributors; 2) focusing on improving quality holistically; 3) Being mindful of talking and editing; 4) Trying to adhere to NPOV. Though I’m far from perfect, this approach has enabled me to raise the quality of several articles on this topic considerably; in a few cases, former battlefield articles have been made stable and solid, just by virtue of their quality being raised.

Having worked hard on improving articles on this namespace, I’m just a tad put-off by insinuations that this namespace is an irredeemable ideological battlefield, a waste. It’s not. The continued belief that this namespace is hopelessly dominated by partisans—and the accompanying refusal to assume good faith or collaborate—is a self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s one that I reject.

Ultimately, I’m not sure whether this is the right forum for this case. I also had the thought of refiling AE cases against the named individuals with clearer, concise evidence, and as individual cases. But I’m happy to participate in whatever process is necessary to resolve these issues. Homunculus (duihua) 19:20, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Statement by Colipon[edit]

I want to thank the presiding admin for forwarding this to ArbCom. Upon review, this case seems to be a fairly 'typical' occurrence of WP:ACTIVIST on the part of editors linked to Falun Gong. Serious problems on Falun Gong articles date back to 2006, and all channels of dispute resolution have since been exhausted. Focusing on the letter of the policies is ineffective; even ARBFLG has done little to combat problematic editing, despite the large number of sanctions levied to date. The articles' POV nature should be evident when one gives the article even a cursory read-through. Arbcom allows for a diversity of opinions, and allows third parties 'untainted' by emotion to jump into the fray, something that I've been pleading for years. It is the best (and final) channel for everyone to get a fair outcome. I'm very confident that upon reviewing evidence, ArbCom and the Wikipedia community will gain a clear understanding of the sheer magnitude of problems of Wikipedia's articles on Falun Gong. Colipon+(Talk) 17:33, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

The title should most definitely be neutral, such as "Falun Gong 2". I would also like a clarification that this ArbCom case will be examining behavior of all involved parties and the Falun Gong subject area in full, and not merely making a judgment on the AE request, which places undue emphasis on the three editors and ignores the much more serious problems of the namespace as a whole. Colipon+(Talk) 03:56, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Statement by Shrigley[edit]

None of the parties to this case were involved in the original ARBFLG case, nor were any of us sanctioned by subsequent ARBFLG enforcement actions. I don't think it can be listed as former dispute resolution, or that a review would make sense. In fact, there has been very little dispute resolution between the named parties; the original AE case omitted the required section in which you are supposed to show preliminary efforts at "resolving the dispute". I only remember a couple of article RfCs in 2010 and a formal mediation request in April which fizzled out due to inactivity. As I argued at AE, I think TheSoundAndTheFury's jump to AE was premature, much less Arbcom!

Please don't name this case or limit the scope to "Ohconfucius, Colipon, Shrigley", whether you open it as a review or a full case. Many more users were mentioned in the AE statements, whose behavior was alleged to be equally or more egregious than the first named. Choose rather a neutral title, like "Falun Gong 2". The personalized titles, which should be deprecated anyway, gives the filer of the AE request an unfair first-mover advantage, wherein a partisan selects whose behavior is scrutinized and whose is not. Judge whose hands are clean and whose are dirty after accepting the evidence, rather than prejudicing the proceedings in the title. Shrigley (talk) 23:54, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Statement by Ohconfucius[edit]

Based on my knowledge of past Arbcom cases, I have little confidence that Arbcom will deliver anything but shared misery, so forgive my cynicism. I'm already all set to forget about justice if the current scope is determined. The motions below are hopelessly one-sided, and regrettably already give me a foretaste in that my actions as well as those of Colipon (talk · contribs) and Shrigley (talk · contribs) will be scrutinised; yet there's no indication that those of Homunculus (talk · contribs) or TheSoundAndTheFury (talk · contribs) will be given anything other than a cursory look. Here the actions of three well-established editors of good standing, specifically named, will be put under the Arbcom microscope without considering of countervailing factors or forces. Naturally, I oppose the case under those terms.

It's clear that AE doesn't want the hot potato (although it treated a very similar one in November 2011), and it seems, from the wording of the motions that arbs may be seeking an alternate bout of sacking of editors from opposite sides [Excuse the Parody: "ummm... let's see, last time we banned three Falun Gong sockpuppets, now its the other side's turn! "]. Per Arb:AGK, the "acceptance" that because nobody filed a case on the wider substantial issue is a terrific cop-out; of course Arbcom is within its power to widen the scope, and it really ought to. Even if it were given a wider scope of all articles regarding Falun Gong, I would still oppose it for the above reasons, but much less strongly. It's the very same issues are at play, but the game now is on a different scale and on a larger pitch. To consider the case properly, I would suggest that arbitrators acquaint themselves with The Epoch Times and the modus operandi of Falun Gong and other activist groups. If all the fissile material so far put up is to be properly considered by Arbcom, we already have the prerequisites of mutual assured destruction. Nevertheless, only a full scope enquiry would allow the problem to be dealt with macroscopically, decisively, and 'definitively' (using the term advisedly, of course). --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 02:42, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Preliminary decisions[edit]

Arbitrators' opinion on hearing this matter (7/0/1/1)[edit]

  • Awaiting statements, but inclined towards acceptance in order to assist the enforcement team. AGK [•] 10:30, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Accept as a review, with the scope broadly as set down here but to be refined soon after the case opens. AGK [•] 21:39, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Colipon: The case will examine the wider topic area, as well as the conduct with which the AE request was concerned. AGK [•] 22:51, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I have worked in dispute resolution in the Falun Gong topic for some years and have worked extensively on some articles to ensure they had a neutral point of view. I don't think I have a biased view of any of the named parties, either positive or negative, though I will recuse if anyone feels that would be more appropriate. SilkTork ✔Tea time 13:38, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
I will recuse. SilkTork ✔Tea time 20:59, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Well, I'm not inclined to doubt the word of the administrators who put in so much time and effort into trying to keep the peace in troubled areas like AE. If they say it's grown out of control so much that they cannot handle a request, then it's time that the Committee Accept this case. SirFozzie (talk) 13:53, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Given the presentation and the idea that AE admins don't refer things here unless there's something worth examining at this level. Accept Courcelles 13:57, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Awaiting further statements, including any by the editors whose conduct was challenged at AE, but leaning toward acceptance per SirFozzie and Courcelles. Newyorkbrad (talk) 15:18, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Accept per SirFozzie and Courcelles. PhilKnight (talk) 20:15, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Accept  Roger Davies talk 20:50, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Accept. Kirill [talk] 22:39, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Motion (Falun Gong: full case)[edit]

For this motion, there are 13 active arbitrators, so 7 support votes are a majority.

1) A case named Falun Gong 2 is opened, to examine the behaviour of Ohconfucius, Colipon, and Shrigley, and other issues relating to pages which were within the scope of Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Falun Gong.

Support
  1. Proposed in order to determine whether we want a review that will examine only the AE thread in question, or a case about the wider topic area. (This is my second choice. If there is a tie, I will oppose this motion.) AGK [•] 22:19, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  2. Kirill [talk] 22:36, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  3. Prefer a full case. PhilKnight (talk) 22:37, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  4. Only choice. Courcelles 23:05, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  5. due to duration of time between cases, first choice. Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:19, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
  6. Yes,  Roger Davies talk 03:21, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
  7. This is necessary. SirFozzie (talk) 14:43, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
  8. This one Elen of the Roads (talk) 17:57, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
  9. If we're going to examine it, I prefer the case approach. Jclemens (talk) 01:59, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  10. First choice. Newyorkbrad (talk) 03:16, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  11. First and only choice; at this point, a review is essentially a new case anyway. I also don't see the need to limit ourselves to only reviewing the behaviour of three editors; if the evidence leads us to look at others, or at the topic area as a whole, we should follow it. Risker (talk) 03:39, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Oppose
Abstain
Comments by arbitrators

Temporary injunction (none)[edit]

Final decision[edit]

Principles[edit]

Wikipedia is not a battleground[edit]

1) Wikipedia is a reference work. Use of the site for ideological struggle accompanied by harassment of opponents is extremely disruptive.

Passed 11 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a soapbox[edit]

2) Wikipedia is not a soapbox for propaganda or activist editing.

Passed 11 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Consensus[edit]

3) Wikipedia works by building consensus through the use of polite discussion. The request for comment process is designed to assist consensus-building when normal talk page communication has not worked. Sustained edit-warring is not an appropriate method of resolving disputes, is wasteful of resources and destructive to morale, and makes enforcement of policies and arbitration remedies difficult.

Passed 11 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Neutral point of view[edit]

4) Wikipedia:Neutral point of view requires fair representation of all significant points of view regarding a subject.

Passed 11 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Editor conduct[edit]

5) Wikipedia editors are expected to behave reasonably, calmly, and courteously in their interactions with other editors; to approach even difficult situations in a dignified fashion and with a constructive and collaborative outlook; and to avoid acting in a manner that brings the project into disrepute. Unseemly conduct, such as personal attacks, incivility, assumptions of bad faith, harassment, disruptive point-making, and gaming the system, is prohibited.

Passed 11 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

At wit's end[edit]

6) In cases where all reasonable attempts to control the spread of disruption arising from long-term disputes have failed, the Committee may be forced to adopt seemingly draconian measures as a last resort for preventing further damage to the encyclopedia.

Passed 11 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Findings of fact[edit]

Point of View Editing[edit]

Homunculus[edit]

1) Homunculus (talk · contribs) has been active in editing articles related to the Falun Gong movement. His edits have the result of improving the appearance of the Falun Gong movement, and to discredit the Communist Party of China, its members, and attempts by the group to take action against Falun Gong and its practitioners. [1] [2] [3]

Passed 10 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Ohconfucius[edit]

2) Ohconfucius (talk · contribs) has been active in editing articles related to the Falun Gong movement. When doing so, his edits have the result of improving the appearance of the Communist Party of China, its members, and attempts by the group to take action against Falun Gong and its practitioners; and to discredit the Falun Gong movement. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Passed 8 to 2, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Colipon[edit]

3) Colipon (talk · contribs) has been active in editing articles related to the Falun Gong movement. When doing so, his edits have the result of improving the appearance of the Communist Party of China, its members, and attempts by the group to take action against Falun Gong and its practitioners; and to discredit the Falun Gong movement. [10] [11] [12]

Passed 8 to 2, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit warring[edit]

4) Both Homunculus and Ohconfucius have engaged in edit wars on Falun Gong-related topics, including articles such as Bo Xilai and Cult suicide.

Passed 10 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Ohconfucius has engaged in incivil conduct[edit]

5) Ohconfucius has made incivil comments in edit summaries and on talk pages: [13] [14] [15]

Passed 10 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Nature of the dispute[edit]

7) Disputes concerning user conduct relating to Falun Gong content have escalated to the point where administrators at Arbitration Enforcement no longer feel equipped to handle the situation themselves. This case was opened following a referral from Arbitration Enforcement administrators.

Passed 11 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Remedies[edit]

Note: All remedies that refer to a period of time, for example to a ban of X months or a revert parole of Y months, are to run concurrently unless otherwise stated.

Homunculus topic-banned[edit]

1) Homunculus is banned from editing and/or discussing topics related to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed, across all namespaces, for a period of one year.

Passed 6 to 5, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Ohconfucius topic-banned[edit]

2) Ohconfucius is indefinitely banned from editing and/or discussing topics related to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed, across all namespaces.

Passed 6 to 5, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Superseded by motion on 11:36, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Mandated external review[edit]

4) At the discretion of any uninvolved administrator, editors may be placed on mandated external review for all articles relating to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed. Editors on mandated external review must observe the following restrictions on editing within the designated subject area:

  1. Any major edit (defined as any edit that goes beyond simple and uncontroversial spelling, grammatical, and/or stylistic corrections to article content) must be proposed on the article's talk page. This proposal must be discussed by interested editors until a consensus to make the edit is formed.
  2. Once consensus has been reached in support of the edit, the proposal must be reviewed by an uninvolved editor for neutrality and verifiability of the information presented.
  3. When approval is received from the uninvolved editor, the editor subject to mandated external review may make the edit to the article.

Violations of these restrictions may be reported to Arbitration Enforcement.

Passed 11 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Stricken by [16] at 16:45, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Homunculus subject to mandated external review[edit]

5) Homunculus is subject to mandated external review as outlined in remedy 4, with respect to articles relating to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed. Homunculus is subject to mandated external review as outlined at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Mandated external review, with respect to articles relating to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed. Application of mandated external review in this subject area may only be appealed directly to the Arbitration Committee via a request for amendment.

Passed 9 to 0, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Amended by motion at 16:45, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Vacated by motion 12 to 0, 21:27, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Ohconfucius subject to mandated external review[edit]

6) Ohconfucius is subject to mandated external review as outlined in remedy 4, with respect to articles relating to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed. Ohconfucius is subject to mandated external review as outlined at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Mandated external review, with respect to articles relating to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed. Application of mandated external review in this subject area may only be appealed directly to the Arbitration Committee via a request for amendment.

Passed 8 to 1, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Amended by motion at 16:45, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Vacated by motion 12 to 0, 21:27, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Colipon subject to mandated external review[edit]

7) Colipon is subject to mandated external review as outlined in remedy 4, with respect to articles relating to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed. Colipon is subject to mandated external review as outlined at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Mandated external review, with respect to articles relating to the Falun Gong movement and/or the persecution thereof, broadly construed. Application of mandated external review in this subject area may only be appealed directly to the Arbitration Committee via a request for amendment.

Passed 8 to 1, 14:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Amended by motion at 16:45, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Vacated by motion 12 to 0, 21:27, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Enforcement[edit]

Enforcement of restrictions

0) Should any user subject to a restriction in this case violate that restriction, that user may be blocked, initially for up to one month, and then with blocks increasing in duration to a maximum of one year.

Per the procedure for the standard enforcement provision adopted 3 May 2014, this provision did not require a vote.

Appeals and modifications

0) 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.
  3. All enforcement actions are presumed valid and proper, so the provisions relating to modifying or overturning sanctions apply, until an appeal is successful.
Per the procedure for the standard appeals and modifications provision adopted 3 May 2014, this provision did not require a vote.

Amendments by motion[edit]

May 2014[edit]

The Committee resolves that remedy 2 (Ohconfucius topic-banned) in the Falun Gong 2 arbitration case is suspended for the period of one year from the date of passage of this motion. During the period of suspension, any uninvolved administrator may, as an arbitration enforcement action, reinstate the topic ban on Ohconfucius should Ohconfucius fail to follow Wikipedia behavior and editing standards while editing in the topic area covered by the suspended restriction. In addition, the topic ban will be reinstated should Ohconfucius be validly blocked by any uninvolved administrator for misconduct in the topic area covered by the suspended restriction. Such a reinstatement may be appealed via the normal process for appealing arbitration enforcement actions. After one year from the date of passage of this motion, if the ban has not been reinstated or any reinstatements have been successfully appealed, the topic ban will be repealed.

Passed by motion, 7 to 0, 11:36, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Log of blocks, bans, and restrictions[edit]

Log any block, restriction, ban or extension under any remedy in this decision here. Minimum information includes name of administrator, date and time, what was done and the basis for doing it.