Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-12-01/Arbitration report

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The Wikipedia Signpost

The Report on Lengthy Litigation

By Ral315 and seresin, 1 December 2008

The Arbitration Committee opened one case and closed one case this week, leaving three open. The Committee also passed a series of high-profile motions in response to an unblocking of Giano II by SlimVirgin, including the temporary desysopping of SlimVirgin, and a restriction on administrators' ability to enforce Giano's civility parole.

Notably, the Committee did not close any cases in November, the first month since the committee's inception in February 2004 that no cases were closed. This is partially due to decreased caseload; through the first eleven months of 2008, the Committee closed just thirty-five cases, compared to ninety-one in 2007 and one-hundred-and-sixteen cases in 2006.


On February 9, 2008, the Committee placed editor Giano under a civility parole through the "IRC" request for arbitration case. The civility parole terms allowed Giano to continue participating in Wikipedia, but conditioned that participation on Giano not making "uncivil, personal attacks, or assumptions of bad faith" edits. The Committee made the civility parole enforcible on-the-spot through blocking by any administrator. After 5 blocks, the enforcement guideline provide by the Committee increase the authorized block length from a maximum of one week to a maximum of one month.

On November 23, 2008, FT2 became the seventh administrator to block Giano since the civility parole was set in place nine months prior. FT2 set the November 23rd block to expire after 55 hours, but the block was lifted seven hours later by administrator SlimVirgin, who reasoned in her edit summary that "all this block achieves is an increase in drama; blocks should be prevent, not punish". Approximately thirty minutes after the block was lifted, FT2 made a formal proposal for actions to the Committee regarding the unblock by SlimVirgin. The Committee passed several motions one a week later on November 27th, including:

  • The desysopping of SlimVirgin for six months, "[b]ecause of her disruption of the arbitration enforcement process, her continuing assumptions of bad faith towards her fellow administrators, and in light of numerous prior warnings related to conduct unbecoming an administrator." After six months, her access will be automatically restored; a harsher remedy that would not have restored SlimVirgin's adminship was defeated, 5-3.
  • "Until further notice, no enforcement action relating to Giano's civility parole shall be taken without the explicit written agreement of the Committee." FT2's block, and SlimVirgin's unblock, are hardly the first invocations of Giano's civility parole to receive criticism; since the institution of the parole, Giano has been blocked eleven times. Of those, only three blocks, one 31-hour block and two 3-hour blocks, were served in duration without another administrator unblocking Giano or reducing the duration of the block. On those blocks that were reversed, Giano served an average of 105 minutes before the block was removed.
  • A remedy noting that administrators are prohibited from overturning administrative actions explicitly taken as part of an active arbitration remedy, such as a civility parole, without written authorization from the Committee or a "clear, substantial, and active community consensus" to do so.

Closed case

  • Kuban kazak: A case involving a dispute between Hillock65 and Kuban kazak. As a result of the case, Kuban kazak was banned from editing Wikipedia for one year. The case was formerly titled "Kuban Kazak-Hillock65", but was renamed upon closure, as no findings were made against Hillock65.

New case

  • PHG: A case brought by PHG, involving a prior case against PHG, Franco-Mongol alliance. This case will review the prior case, and may impose new sanctions, or repeal current sanctions, as necessary.

Evidence phase

Voting phase

  • Piotrus 2: The latest in a series of cases involving alleged edit-warring and other misconduct by numerous editors on articles pertaining to Eastern Europe. The case, which has been open for over three months, involves a large number of users not originally named as parties to the case, but named in a proposed decision drafted by arbitrator Kirill Lokshin. Among the thirty-seven proposed remedies are findings banning certain named editors and imposing various restrictions on others, while noting that allegations of misconduct against still other users were not established by the evidence. Arbitrator voting on several of the remedy proposals is split.

Also this week:

ArbCom elections — In the news — WikiProject report — Features and admins — Arbitration report

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