Kiefer.Wolfowitz and Ironholds case closes; invitation to comment on applicants for checkuser and oversight ends 16 August
The Kiefer.Wolfowitz and Ironholds case has closed, with a unanimous decision to desysop a Wikimedia Foundation employee and indefinitely ban another editor. The Tea Party movement case has stalled yet again, in the wake of a controversial proposal to ban 14 editors. A proposed decision in the Infoboxes case was scheduled to be posted on 14 August.
In a unanimous decision, the committee voted to indefinitely ban Kiefer Wolfowitz and desysop Ironholds, the original account of Wikimedia Foundation employee Oliver Keyes. The case involved a dispute between the two that began on-wiki and escalated in off-wiki forums, ending with statements that could be interpreted as threats of violence.
The committee passed findings of fact that Ironholds has "a history of making highly inappropriate remarks both on-wiki and off-wiki on the various IRC channels, where he has often used violent and sexual language (evidence for this has been submitted and discussed in private). Moreover, on at least two occasions, he also logged out to engage in vandalism and to make personal attacks on other editors on other Wikimedia projects."
ArbCom concluded that Kiefer.Wolfowitz "has an extensive history of making comments which are below the level of civility that is expected on Wikipedia, which include personal attacks, often made in an attempt to belittle other editors ... and carefully worded remarks which insinuate misconduct on the part of others without actually asserting it openly. He has also made on-wiki allegations that other editors may have violated the policy on the protection of children."
The following remedies were passed:
||1) For conduct unbecoming an administrator, and for bringing the project into disrepute, Ironholds is desysopped and may regain the tools via a request for adminship.
2.2) For his history of incivility, which includes logging out to engage in vandalism and to make personal attacks on other editors on other Wikimedia projects, Ironholds is strongly admonished.
3) For numerous violations of Wikipedia's norms and policies, Kiefer.Wolfowitz is indefinitely banned from the English Language Wikipedia. He may request reconsideration of the ban twelve months after the enactment of this remedy, and every six months thereafter.
Stronger remedies against Ironholds for a fixed-term or indefinite ban failed to gain traction, in spite of the noted severity of the infractions. Various arbitrators pointed out that getting the Ironholds account unbanned at a later date "would not be much of an uphill battle", and that reviewing such a contentious request would set up a difficult situation for a new committee. Others noted that the committee "lacks the authority to tell the Foundation how to manage their personnel" and that previous cases have established that "interference in real-world employment is grounds for removing editors from the project for extended periods if not permanently".
Some concern was expressed that not addressing the issue of Ironhold's second account might be misunderstood, but it was claimed that the lack of support for any banning motions was not so much a wish for Ironholds not to stay off en.WP as much as not to run afoul of the WMF.
The Tea Party movement case has stalled again after a contentious proposal (see last week's Arbitration Report) was put forward to ban 14 editors. The vote on the "Motion for a final decision" which last week appeared to be passing, is now tied, with five arbitrators voting to support and five arbitrators voting to oppose, after Carcharoth returned from wikibreak and added himself to the list of active arbitrators, and Newyorkbrad voted against the proposal he had co-authored, writing: "... within the past couple of days, some of my colleagues have stated, both here and on our mailing list, that they believe they can complete the preparation of a more traditional decision including specific findings and remedies against specific editors who have behaved poorly."
The case has had a tumultuous history. It was initiated by KillerChihuahua on February 25, 2013, after an acrimonious ANI degenerated into incivility, and concerns were expressed over WikiProject Conservatism being "canvassed for backup support for disruptions" on other articles and the possibility of "the same editors finding their way into the same conflicts over U.S. politics, religion, and homosexuality".
The case was accepted March 6, but faltered briefly as the initial ANI was re-opened and re-closed with no resolution. A proposed final decision was posted on May 6, but by the end of the month, only three of the eleven active arbitrators had voted on findings regarding any individuals. With the proposer of the case now participating from a hospital bed, the case was officially suspended for one month, from June 1 to July 1, to allow for an attempted moderated discussion on the talk page, with arbitrator SilkTork acting as moderator. After the month-long hiatus, voting resumed on the proposed decision, but there was little headway.
To break the impasse, arbitrator AGK put forward the "Proposed motion to close", naming 14 editors in a ban proposal that he described as "draconian". SilkTork, one of the co-drafters of the case, paradoxically added his own name as a party to the case. While the stated reason for this was an attempt to assert that inclusion on the list of banned editors did not reflect misconduct, the addition of an arbitrator's name to the list may have served as a poison pill—as one arbitrator wrote: "I don't think it is appropriate to include an arbitrator in such a motion."
This case, brought by Ched, involves the issue of who should make the decision to include an infobox in an article and to determine its formatting (right margin, footer, both, etc)—whether the preferences of the original author should be taken into consideration, if the decision should be made by various WikiProjects to promote uniformity between articles, or whether each article should be decided on a case-by-case basis after discussion. It also involves what is perceived by some to be an aggressive addition or reverting of infoboxes to articles without discussion by some editors, in areas where they do not normally edit. Areas that have seen disputes over infoboxes include opera, the Classical Music and Composers project, and featured articles.
The evidence and workshop phases of the case have closed, and a proposed decision was scheduled to have been posted 14 August 2013.
Other requests and committee action
- Invitation to comment: checkuser and oversight candidates: Nomination statements and answers to questions from the community for potential appointees for checkuser and oversight permissions will be available for comment until August 16.
- Amendment request: Argentine History: A request made by MarshalN20 for an amendment to a topic ban for history-related sections of the Falkland Islands article was closed with an exemption to the restriction.
- Clarification request: Argentine History: A request was made by Cambalachero for a clarification of whether a topic ban on pages related to the history of Latin America applies to articles about recent politics or a brief mention of historical context in non-historical articles.