Wikipedia:A request for enforcement over a salad
|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.||
|This page in a nutshell: When reporting for Arbitration Enforcement, make sure the report has merit, in letter and spirit. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone's time, including yours.|
Often in contentious topic areas, in particular those with general sanctions, editors become keen watchers of the behavior of other editors, in particular those they have disagreed with. This often has a positive effect, because enforcing sanctions is addressing why the sanctions were placed in the first place. For example, the topic area under WP:ARBPIA sanctions is often a result of good reports, that help establish good admin actions that improve the encyclopedia by limiting disruptive behavior.
However, it can also result in spurious reports, such as a request by an editor to enforce sanctions over the editing of the article on tabbouleh salad. Now, there could be legitimate reasons for requesting that, no matter the topic. However, if behavior in editing is not linked to the spirit of the sanctions, most likely it makes no sense to request enforcement. Yes, the letter of the rule might be broken, but improving the encyclopedia is still the goal of even those in topic ban. If no harm is done, and no controversy addressed, its better to let it slide, unless edit warring or other disruptive misbehavior does emerge.
Some possible motives for spurious reports:
- Misunderstanding the purpose of the sanctions
- Looking to harm the editor to advance your position in other controversies, or even for personal reasons
- Making a point using the enforcement process
- Trying to game the system to gain a real or perceived advantage in editing
Sanctions are not meant to punish, but to protect the project from disruption. Violating topic bans is disruptive and to be taken seriously. However, not all articles are created equal. A peripheral article to the area of the topic ban will be seen as less serious as one of the core controversies. Repeated spurious requests can be seen as disruptive themselves, and your behavior is not immune from scrutiny even if this is your first report. We are not arguing that topic bans can be ignored in the edges, just that reporting them as a "gotcha" strategy to deal with your opponents is often worse than the actual violation reported, and seen as such by uninvolved admins. It can also have unintended consequences for you, not only in terms of loss of credibility and possible short-term source of laughter, but also because the motives that violate rules themselves are often obvious, and can result in sanctions being applied back to you. This is why we should "assume good faith" even with problematic editors: often just a gentle reminder about a topic ban actually applying from an uninvolved admin is better than a formal request for enforcement. And often it is not a good idea for involved editors to make requests if they are not clear (i.e. violations of 1RR) or if they are not disruptive.
Bottom line: make sure your report is solid, and that your motives are in line with the spirit of a sanction. Otherwise admins might not respond to them in a positive fashion: don't waste anyone's time.
- Policies and Guidelines
- Wikipedia:Ignore all rules
- Wikipedia:Assume good faith
- Wikipedia:Gaming the system
- Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point