Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-11-14/Unbanning and mentorship

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Two users unbanned and assigned mentors

By Redwolf24, 14 November 2005

In an unusual move, two banned users have been accepted back into the community. JarlaxleArtemis and MARMOT have been welcomed back to Wikipedia, under certain terms and conditions, crafted mostly by Linuxbeak.

Although theoretically even the most difficult editors are considered redeemable, including those who vandalize articles, rehabilitation of banned users is extremely rare. The last such instance (in August 2004) involved Michael, one of Wikipedia's most notorious vandals, who was allowed to resume editing as Mike Garcia.

In this situation, both users were originally banned by community consensus rather than the Arbitration Committee, although Jarlaxle had been the subject of an arbitration case at the time. Jarlaxle was banned after a CheckUser showed he created over 50 abusive usernames on Wikipedia, and even some on non-Wikipedia MediaWiki projects. Board member Anthere had banned JarlaxleArtemis Wikimedia wide. Jarlaxle has also been blocked from the Wikia project Uncyclopedia, a ban which has not been lifted as of press time.

MARMOT, meanwhile, was banned after writing the code for the Love Virus vandal bot. MARMOT also participated in creating inflammatory user names. It has been recommended that after a few months, a CheckUser is performed on the two to confirm no abusive names are created.

Second chance offered

Linuxbeak, who had been in contact with both, originally offered JarlaxleArtemis a chance to be unbanned if he changed his behavior. Jarlaxle reluctantly accepted Linuxbeak's offer, and after first apologizing on Wikimedia IRC channels, his main user account was unblocked and his user and talk pages were unprotected.

MARMOT then contacted Linuxbeak asking to be unbanned, a request made numerous times previously. Instead of ignoring the request, Linuxbeak decided to give MARMOT a chance as well.

Linuxbeak commented, "Jarlaxle seems to have learned that being good is better than being evil, and hopefully MARMOT has as well. I am all for useful contributors coming back after they have learned how to behave themselves." The arrangement was discussed with arbitrator David Gerard, who passed on the information to the Arbitration Committee mailing list, where no serious objections were raised.

Mentorship organization launched

The newly organized Mentorship Committee will help supervise the users for a period of one year. The Mentorship Committee was created especially for the purpose, and hopes to serve as a resource for the Arbitration Committee generally. The launch of this committee prompted some to raise concerns on the mailing list, but these seemed to be allayed once the situation was explained. Cool Cat also worried that unbanning these users might encourage vandals. To help with the supervision, Cool Cat has developed a bot that shows each edit by an editor under mentorship.

The specific terms applied to the two editors as a condition of being unbanned are as follows:

For JarlaxleArtemis:

  • Mediation/Mentorship
  • A formal apology given to Linuxbeak, Psychonaut, Anthere, NicholasTurnbull and anyone else who he may have caused harm
  • Repair any damage caused by acts of sockpuppetry/impersonation on other Wikis
  • A probationary period for as long as his defunct ArbCom case originally had set as the penal period (one year)

For MARMOT:

  • A formal and open apology written to Linuxbeak, Phroziac, Cool Cat, and others that he has caused harm to
  • Mentorship/mediation, which is to be pursued immediately
  • A probation sentence of one full year from the moment of his unbanning
  • Ceasing of all harmful activity against Wikipedia and its users (including IRC)
  • An indication of behavioral improvement, marked by an RFC, after three months
Also this week: Editor's note

CheckUserArbCom electionArbCom seat openUsers unbannedArticle evaluationsSearch changesNews and notesPress coverageFeatures and admins

T.R.O.L.L.