As one door closes, a (Gamer)Gate opens
In the wake of the annual elections, 2015's arbitration committee consists of:
- AGK (talk · contribs)
- Courcelles (talk · contribs)
- DeltaQuad (talk · contribs)
- DGG (talk · contribs)
- Dougweller (talk · contribs)
- Euryalus (talk · contribs)
- GorillaWarfare (talk · contribs)
- Guerillero (talk · contribs)
- LFaraone (talk · contribs)
- NativeForeigner (talk · contribs)
- Roger Davies (talk · contribs)
- Salvio giuliano (talk · contribs)
- Seraphimblade (talk · contribs)
- Thryduulf (talk · contribs)
- Yunshui (talk · contribs)
Additionally, outgoing arbitrators Beeblebrox, David Fuchs, Newyorkbrad, and Timotheus Canens remain on the committee until the conclusion of the GamerGate case, which was opened during their terms. As has become customary over the years, the new committee has had plenty of work to do in its first few weeks, including several motions and clarification requests as well as three cases.
There are no pending case requests at the time of writing. Three cases remain open and one was closed by motion.
What started as an Internet row has developed into an extremely vitriolic dispute between a large number of Wikipedians and ultimately into one of the largest arbitration cases of recent times. Given the involvement of several prominent editors with lengthy track records (including involvement in multiple previous arbitration cases) and the sheer number of parties (27), the case is likely to be an important landmark with an impact reaching significantly beyond the GamerGate controversy article and its various daughter articles.
After repeated delays, the arbitrators' proposed decision was made public on 19 January (two days ahead of the revised target date), and the talk page was significantly re-structured to allow individual editors to make statements but to prevent threaded discussion. Among the proposed remedies, sitebans are proposed for five editors (two parties are currently indefinitely blocked), while other proposed remedies range from reminders and admonishments to topic bans, the breadth of which has been the subject of much discussion between arbitrators.
A much narrower case than GamerGate, but one which may also have important ramifications. The case concerns allegations that administrator Wifione (talk · contribs) has engaged in undisclosed paid advocacy to advance a public relations and reputation management campaign on Wikipedia, and that he has possibly abused his access or status as an administrator, particularly with regard to articles about and editors acting on behalf of competitors.
The evidence phase closed on 16 January and the case has now entered the workshop phase, which is open until 23 January. The target date for the proposed decision is 30 January.
Whereas in previous eras arbitration cases mainly revolved around geo-political conflicts such as Israel-Palestine, Eastern Europe, and the "Troubles", the hot topics of the current era appear to revolve around gender and sexuality, and this case is no exception. With ArbCom previously having adjudicated on disputes concerning abortion, the gender gap, sexology, and the Manning naming dispute, and the GamerGate case wrapping up, we now have a case about articles relating to the intersection of Christianity and sexuality (though the case scope was widened upon acceptance from Catholicism and homosexuality).
Although nothing on the scale of GamerGate, this is a relatively large case, with 13 named parties. The case is currently in the evidence phase, which remains open until 2 February, while the current target date for the proposed decision is 16 February. At the time of writing, only one editor has thus far presented evidence.
The Acupuncture case was accepted and closed by motion on 12 January. The motion authorises standard discretionary sanctions for the topic area of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in addition to the existing discretionary sanctions on pseudoscience and fringe science authorised in the 2006 Pseudoscience case.
- The Fæ case was amended to allow Fæ to operate legitimate bots as necessary, subject to approval by the Bot Approvals Group .
- A clarification request regarding the definition of "outside eyes" as pertains to the Landmark Worldwide case is currently open.
- A clarification request regarding the scope of a topic ban imposed in the infoboxes case is currently open.
- A motion to create a central log for all discretionary sanctions was passed on 20 January; all discretionary sanctions are now logged at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions/Log rather than on individual case pages. Additionally, each year's log will be blanked after five years.
- Voting is underway on motions to rename two historic cases with active discretionary sanctions provisions.
- Sphilbrick (talk · contribs) has been promoted from a trainee to a substantive arbitration clerk.
- The clerks team is seeking new volunteers to assist in its work; interested editors are asked to email the clerks' mailing list (clerks-llists.wikimedia.org).
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