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Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions

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  • The committee is the Arbitration Committee.
  • AE ("arbitration enforcement noticeboard”) is the venue for requesting, applying, discussing and appealing most enforcement requests.
  • AN ("administrators’ noticeboard") is the alternative venue for appeals.
  • ARCA ("Requests for Amendment") is the venue for appealing to the committee.
  • An alert is the formal alert notice that informs editors an area of conflict is covered by discretionary sanctions.
  • An appeal includes any request for the reconsideration, reduction, or removal of a sanction.
  • An area of conflict is a topic or group of topics in which the use of discretionary sanctions has been authorised by the committee.
  • An editor is anyone and everyone who may edit and has edited the encyclopedia.
  • The enforcing administrator is the administrator who places sanctions authorised in this procedure.
  • A sanction includes any sanction, restriction, or other remedy placed under this procedure.


Amended on 20 January 2015

auth.authDiscretionary sanctions may be authorised either as part of the final decision of an arbitration case or by committee motion. When it becomes apparent that discretionary sanctions are no longer necessary for a particular area of conflict, only the committee may rescind the authorisation of them, either at the request of any editor at ARCA or of its own initiative. Unless the committee specifies otherwise, after rescinding the authorisation all sanctions remain in force.

auth.conflictWhere there is a conflict between any individual provision authorising standard discretionary sanctions for an area of conflict and any provision in the standard discretionary sanctions procedure, the provision in the standard procedure will control.

auth.logA log of the areas of conflict for which discretionary sanctions have been authorised is maintained at the discretionary sanctions main page.

Guidance for editors



Amended on 20 January 2015

The availability of discretionary sanctions is not intended to prevent free and candid discussion, but sanctions may be imposed if an editor severely or persistently disrupts discussion. Within the area of conflict, editors are expected to edit carefully and constructively, to not disrupt the encyclopedia, and to:

  1. adhere to the purposes of Wikipedia;
  2. comply with all applicable policies and guidelines;
  3. follow editorial and behavioural best practice;
  4. comply with any page restrictions in force within the area of conflict; and
  5. refrain from gaming the system.

Any editor whose edits do not meet these requirements may wish to restrict their editing to other topics in order to avoid the possibility of sanctions.


guide.decor Certain pages (typically, AE, AN, and ARCA) are used for the fair, well-informed, and timely resolution of discretionary sanction enforcement cases. Editors participating in enforcement cases must disclose fully their involvement (if any). While good-faith statements are welcome, editors are expected to discuss only evidence and procedure; they are not expected to trade insults or engage in character assassination. Insults and personal attacks, soapboxing and casting aspersions are as unacceptable in enforcement discussions as elsewhere on Wikipedia. Uninvolved administrators are asked to ensure that enforcement cases are not disrupted; and may remove statements, or restrict or block editors, as necessary to address inappropriate conduct.

Awareness and alerts


aware.aware No editor may be sanctioned unless they are aware that discretionary sanctions are in force for the area of conflict. An editor is aware if:

  1. They were mentioned by name in the applicable Final Decision; or
  2. They have ever been sanctioned within the area of conflict (and at least one of such sanctions has not been successfully appealed); or
  3. In the last twelve months, the editor has given and/or received an alert for the area of conflict; or
  4. In the last twelve months, the editor has participated in any process about the area of conflict at arbitration requests or arbitration enforcement; or
  5. In the last twelve months, the editor has successfully appealed all their own sanctions relating to the area of conflict.



Amended on 20 January 2015

Any editor may advise any other editor that discretionary sanctions are in force for an area of conflict. However, these only count as the formal notifications required by this procedure if the standard template message – currently {{Ds/alert}} – is placed unmodified on the talk page of the editor being alerted. An alert:

  • is purely informational and neither implies nor expresses a finding of fault,
  • cannot be rescinded or appealed, and
  • automatically expires twelve months after issue.

As {{Ds/alert}} template is part of this procedure, it may be modified only with the committee's explicit consent.

aware.relatedAn editor who has an unexpired alert in one area under discretionary sanctions may be sanctioned for edits in another separate but related topic, which is also under discretionary sanctions, provided the nature or the content of the edits – broadly but reasonably construed – in the two topics are similar.

alert.dupEditors issuing alerts are expected to ensure that no editor receives more than one alert per area of conflict per year. Any editor who issues alerts disruptively may be sanctioned.

Role of administrators

admin.expectWhen deciding whether to sanction an editor, and which sanctions may be appropriate, the enforcing administrator’s objective should be to create an acceptable collaborative editing environment for even our most contentious articles. To this end, administrators are expected to use their experience and judgment to balance the need to assume good faith, to avoid biting genuine newcomers and to allow responsible contributors maximum editing freedom with the need to keep edit-warring, battleground conduct, and disruptive behaviour to a minimum.

admin.notWhile discretionary sanctions give administrators necessary latitude, they must not:

  1. impose a sanction when involved;
  2. modify a sanction out of process;
  3. repeatedly fail to properly explain their enforcement actions;
  4. repeatedly fail to log sanctions or page restrictions; or
  5. repeatedly issue significantly disproportionate sanctions or issue a grossly disproportionate sanction.

admin.remedyAdministrators who fail to meet these expectations may be subject to any remedy the committee consider appropriate, including desysopping. Administrative actions may be peer-reviewed using the regular appeal processes.

admin.toolsTo act in enforcement, an administrator must at all relevant times have their access to the tools enabled. Former administrators – that is, editors who have temporarily or permanently relinquished the tools or have been desysopped – may neither act as administrators in arbitration enforcement nor reverse their own previous administrative actions.

Expectations of administrators

This section was moved to the Arbitration Committee's Procedures page, and so applies to all enforcement decisions, on 21 April 2017

Placing sanctions and page restrictions

Broadly construed

broadly.construed When considering whether edits fall within the scope of discretionary sanctions, administrators should be guided by the principles outlined in the topic ban policy.


sanctions.user Any uninvolved administrator is authorised to place: revert and move restrictions, interaction bans, topic bans, and blocks of up to one year in duration, or other reasonable measures that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

sanctions.caveatsPrior to placing sanctions that are likely to be controversial, administrators are advised to elicit the opinions of other administrators at AE. For the avoidance of doubt, enforcing administrators are not authorised to issue site bans; to require the removal of user rights that cannot be granted by an administrator or to restrict their usage; nor to enforce discretionary sanctions beyond their reasonable scope.

sanctions.noticeThe enforcing administrator must provide a notice on the sanctioned editor’s talk page specifying the misconduct for which the sanction has been issued as well as the appeal process. The enforcing administrator must also log the sanction.

Page restrictions Any uninvolved administrator may impose on any page or set of pages relating to the area of conflict semi-protection, full protection, move protection, revert restrictions, and prohibitions on the addition or removal of certain content (except when consensus for the edit exists). Editors ignoring page restrictions may be sanctioned by any uninvolved administrator. The enforcing administrator must log page restrictions they place.

Best practice is to add editnotices to restricted pages where appropriate, using the standard template ({{ds/editnotice}}).


sanctions.enforcement Should any editor ignore or breach any sanction placed under this procedure, that editor may, at the discretion of any uninvolved administrator, receive a fresh further sanction. The further sanction must be logged on the appropriate page and the standard appeal arrangements apply.



Amended on 26 March 2017

Discretionary sanctions are to be recorded on the appropriate page of the centralised arbitration enforcement log. Notifications and warnings issued prior to the introduction of the current procedure on 3 May 2014 are not sanctions and remain on the individual case page logs.

Dismissing an enforcement request

This section was moved to the Arbitration Committee's Procedures page, and so applies to all enforcement decisions, on 21 April 2017

Appeals and modifications

Appeals by sanctioned editors

sanctions.appeals Modified on 4 June 2017 Appeals may be made only by the editor under sanction and only for a currently active sanction. Requests for modification of page restrictions may be made by any editor. 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

Modifications by administrators

sanctions.modify Modified on 4 June 2017

No administrator may modify or remove 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).

sanctions.outofprocessAdministrators modifying sanctions out of process may at the discretion of the committee be desysopped.

sanctions.freshNothing 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:appeals.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.


cont.noappealNothing in this current version of the discretionary sanctions process constitutes grounds for appeal of a remedy or restriction imposed under prior versions of it.

cont.alertsAll sanctions and restrictions imposed under earlier versions of this process remain in force. Warnings issued under earlier procedures are not sanctions and become alerts for twelve months from the date of the passing of the motion authorising this procedure (3 May 2014 [1]), then expire.

cont.pendingappealsAppeals open at the time this version is adopted will be handled using the prior appeals procedure, but this current process will thereafter govern appeals.

Current areas of conflict

The following list is stored at Template:Ds/topics.

Discretionary sanctions with the wording listed on this page are authorised for the following topic areas (the italicised link after each topic names the associated arbitration decision):

Discretionary sanctions with the wording listed on this page were previously authorised for the following topic areas (the italicised link after each topic names the associated arbitration decision):

See also