Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-06-30/ArbCom announcements

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Other ArbCom announcements reviewed in wake of controversy

By Ral315, 30 June, 2008

In the wake of controversy over a since-vacated private arbitration case against Orangemarlin (see related story), most of the other announcements made at the same time by FT2 were largely ignored. These announcements are likely to be revisited by the Committee, as FT2 and fellow arbitrator Thebainer temporarily blanked the announcements page. Prior to this blanking, Charles Matthews revisited these announcements, adding a few more proposals and suggesting a rough timetable for when each proposal will be implemented or discussed; it's unclear what the Committee plans to do with the individual proposals at this time.

Appeal review committee

The announcement suggested an Appeals Review Committee (ARC), a committee working under and alongside the Arbitration Committee on indefinite block, ban, and routine administrator abuse appeals. The ARC would "assist in the review of cases where Arbcom would open a case now", by reviewing evidence and reporting concerns to the Committee, and suggesting whether the Committee should open a case. The Arbitration Committee would make the final decision whether to open a full case.

The Arbitration Committee would retain the ability to take such cases directly as desired, or where significant privacy or neutrality concerns are evident. According to the timetable posted by Charles Matthews, this proposal would have been scheduled to be "worked up" and put into action soon. As with the other announcements made by the Committee, however, this proposal is subject to significant change as the Committee continues to discuss the merit of these proposals.

Checkuser appointments

The announcement clarified the Committee's plans regarding the granting of the CheckUser right, which has historically been given rather conservatively, with Committee members and a few hand-picked users holding the right at any time. The Committee identified the possibility of appointing up to four or five new checkusers. While checkuser appointment would continue to be hand-picked by the Committee, the announcement suggested that after the Committee picked candidates for the position, community input would be solicited before users were given the right. This was labeled by Matthews as "current for discussion", with the appointments to be dealt with by the Committee in the "near future".

This would mark a sharp contrast to the current policy, where all users with the right are either members of the Arbitration Committee, or were appointed without community input. The appointment of checkusers has been controversial recently; last week, former arbitrator Raul654 requested the granting of checkuser access to bureaucrat Kingturtle; however, after discussion and criticism of the choice by some, the request was removed by Daniel as an apparent "misunderstanding".

Other announcements

  • A definition of the role of the Committee; however, this definition may be scrutinized by the Committee given the controversy over the last few days, particularly given concerns that the Committee has overstepped its boundaries in some areas.
  • A guidance regarding the enforcement of the biographies of living persons policy, and sourcing and NPOV disputes. While announced, the text of this guidance has not yet been posted.
  • The configuration of the Arbitration Committee's mailing list membership, and the definition of a "list coordinator" role, to be appointed later. These announcements were not part of FT2's original announcement, but were added by Matthews.
  • A formal protocol for on-wiki announcements by the Committee; the details on this have not yet been added, and this announcement was also added by Matthews.

On hold

Three of the proposals were listed by Matthews as "on hold", indicating that they would not be advanced immediately:

  • Views on consensus-seeking processes, including the possible addition of a "consensus commission", who would help to determine whether consensus exists on a particular issue. This is not a proposal for the Committee to implement this, but is instead a suggestion to the community from the Committee.
  • The activation of a new user right, "view-deleted-pages", which would allow trusted non-administrators to view pages that have been deleted, but not to delete or undelete pages. This is now possible within MediaWiki, and the Committee suggested that some users involved in dispute resolution or long-term involvement in public noticeboards or deletion processes, where this right could be useful. This would also be community-led, and is merely a suggestion by the Committee.
  • A possible new approach for dealing with "skilled content warriors"; the Committee proposes that in lieu of asking users not to edit-war or forbidding them from editing an article, they would try in some cases to require that a user either edit the article positively and collaborate with other users, or not edit it at all.

Also this week:

ArbCom and Orangemarlin — ArbCom announcements — Taking up the mop — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — Dispatches — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

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