The Arbitration Committee closed one case this week, bringing the number of open cases to one; that one open case is also in the process of being closed. When that happens, it will be the first time in twenty-two months that the Arbitration Committee would have no cases pending.
A review of the Race and intelligence case was opened in mid-March as a compromise between starting a new case and proceeding with a ruling by motion. The review was intended to be a simplified form of a full case, and had the stated scope of conduct issues that have purportedly arisen since the closure of the 2010 case.
The final decision includes principles that clarify harassment policies and sockpuppet investigation procedures.
Specifically, a passing principle states that it is not harassment for one editor to warn another about disruption or incivility if the warning is presented civilly, in good faith, and in an attempt to resolve rather than escalate a dispute.
The decision lists a long series of findings of fact, which form the basis of sanctions against several editors.
In the last days of the case, new proposals were posted. This caused some controversy on the case talk page because the new proposals added new parties to the case. One involved party told the Signpost by email that the new parties "weren't notified of the review until after the voting for them to be sanctioned had already started, so they didn't have the chance to respond to the evidence against them or present any of their own." Drafting arbitrator Roger Davies responded to such criticism on the case talk page by arguing that the committee should not ignore "compelling new evidence that goes to the heart of the case purely on procedural grounds." He explained that he did in fact notify the new parties of these developments, over a week before the case closed.
When asked about the length of the case review and the delay in posting these new findings, Roger Davies explained to the Signpost that "the main difficulty has been that the case spans about three years, with thirty-plus dispute related processes". On the case talk page he directed specific blame for the delay on one party. "Not only has Ferahgo made an unprecedented number of private submissions, but they have been engaging in serial canvassing and serial procedural manoeuvring. The effect has been to delay the case by two, perhaps three, weeks."
The closure of the case comes more than a month after the review's estimated final decision time.
A case involving accusations of disruptive editing against Rich Farmbrough has ended with the editor's desysopping and a bar on his use of automation.
A motion to close was adopted with the support of five arbitrators on 13 May.
The final decision was drafted by arbitrator Kirill Lokshin. The decision's framework centers around principles of collegiality and behavior with automation tools. The decision removes full administrative privileges from Rich on the qualification that he can seek a new RfA at any time. His ban on using automation is to be imposed in a very strict manner. According to the decision, "... any edits that reasonably appear to be automated shall be assumed to be so."
Significantly, Rich Farmbrough was just desysopped rather than banned. Only two arbitrators maintained their support for a ban throughout the voting. Kirill Lokshin gave his reason for supporting the ban: "Given Rich's history of using automation without disclosing it ... it is apparent that we have no effective means of enforcing [the] remedy [without] ban from editing entirely." However, arbitrator Courcelles described the ban proposal as "too draconian". Rich Farmbrough told the Signpost via email that he considered the site-ban option "extreme", but the Signpost received no comment on the decision to desysop alone.
Smaller chambers of the BASC
Other requests and committee action
Ban appeal successful
Altenmann won an appeal to the Ban Appeals Subcommittee (BASC). After agreeing to a series of restrictions on his editing, and with the blessing of community consensus, Altenmann was formally unblocked by the subcommittee on 9 May. Community comments were largely positive, with one editor detailing how "Altenmann was a valuable, intelligent contributor and a reliable, sensible admin."
A small minority of editors did oppose the unban proposal.
'Secret mailing list' case rejected
An editor's request for arbitration was rejected last week, after seven sitting arbitrators voted to reject the case. Anupam alleged that other named editors were using a mailing list to coordinate disruptive editing. However, no material evidence was provided to substantiate the claim, leading arbitrator SirFozzie to say "I strongly suggest that if they can't show such evidence, that they not make such remarks. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."