Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard

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This noticeboard is for announcements and statements made by the Arbitration Committee. Only members of the Arbitration Committee or the Committee's Clerks may post on this page, but all editors are encouraged to comment on the talk page.
Announcement archives: 0 · 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10· 11· 12

Open letter to the WMF Board

The Arbitration Committee has sent the following open letter to the WMF Board of Trustees, regarding the WMF ban of Fram.

OPEN LETTER TO THE WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES FROM THE ENGLISH WIKIPEDIA ARBITRATION COMMITTEE

30 June 2019

On 10 June 2019, the administrator Fram was banned from the English Wikipedia for one year as an office action initiated by the Wikimedia Foundation’s (WMF) Trust and Safety team (T&S). In a later statement, T&S Lead Manager Jan Eissfeldt clarified that Fram was banned for harassment, citing the passage of the WMF Terms of Use prohibiting “[e]ngaging in harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism.” The Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) has followed with concern the English Wikipedia community’s reaction to this action. We have received three related arbitration case requests, and multiple editors have asked us to intervene on the community’s behalf. As of 30 June, two bureaucrats, 18 administrators, an ArbCom clerk, and a number of other editors have resigned their positions and/or retired from Wikipedia editing in relation to this issue.

ArbCom is a group of volunteers elected by the community to adjudicate serious conduct disputes in accordance with the English Wikipedia’s arbitration policy. This policy also delegates matters unsuitable for public discussion to ArbCom, and all members of the committee are required to meet and agree to the WMF’s access to non-public personal data policy. Over the years, ArbCom has passed responsibility for some matters, including child protection issues, legal matters, and threats of violence, to the WMF’s Legal and T&S teams. We are grateful for T&S’ assistance on these difficult cases and for their efforts to support ArbCom’s work in general. However, despite requests, we have not seen any indication that Fram’s case falls into one of the categories of issues that T&S normally handles, otherwise lies outside of our remit, or was handled by them due to a lack of trust in our ability to handle harassment cases. Rather, we must conclude that T&S’ action is an attempt to extend the use of office actions into enforcing behavioural norms in local communities, an area conventionally left to community self-governance.

Together with a large section of the community, we have been awaiting an adequate response to these concerns from the WMF since 10 June. The Board has yet to issue a statement, and sporadic comments by individual WMF employees (including the Executive Director Katherine Maher) have been non-committal with regard to the substance of the dispute. In the last public statement by Jan Eissfeldt (21 June) and in our private meetings, T&S have reiterated that they are not willing to reconsider the ban, nor will they turn the full evidence over to the community or ArbCom for review. The ban itself was actioned using a recently-introduced T&S process for local, time-limited bans, which although announced in T&S’ 2018–2019 Annual Plan, was not adequately communicated to the English Wikipedia community, and not subject to any form of community consultation.

We understand that this change in policy from T&S comes in the context of efforts to tackle harassment and hostility in the Wikimedia movement. Individually and as a committee, we fully support this initiative. We also acknowledge that ArbCom has struggled to handle civility and harassment complaints in a way that adequately balances privacy against transparency, and due process to the accused against victim protection. However, if the WMF have also been concerned about ArbCom’s ability to handle harassment complaints, they have not communicated this concern with us, nor have they provided any suggestions for changing our policies or procedures. If Fram’s ban—an unappealable sanction issued from above with no community consultation—represents the WMF’s new strategy for dealing with harassment on the English Wikipedia, it is one that is fundamentally misaligned with the Wikimedia movement’s principles of openness, consensus, and self-governance.

We ask that the WMF commits to leaving behavioural complaints pertaining solely to the English Wikipedia to established local processes. Those unsuitable for public discussion should be referred to the Arbitration Committee. We will solicit comment from the community and the WMF to develop clear procedures for dealing with confidential allegations of harassment, based on the existing provision for private hearings in the arbitration policy. Complaints that can be discussed publicly should be referred to an appropriate community dispute resolution process. If the Trust & Safety team seeks to assume responsibility for these cases, they should do so by proposing an amendment to the arbitration policy, or an equivalent process of community consensus-building. Otherwise, we would appreciate the WMF’s continued support in improving our response to harassment and hostility on the English Wikipedia.

We feel strongly that this commitment is necessary for the Arbitration Committee to continue to perform the role it is assigned by the English Wikipedia community. If we are unable to find a satisfactory resolution, at least four members of the committee have expressed the intention to resign.

Yours sincerely,

The undersigned members of the Arbitration Committee,

Molly White (GorillaWarfare)
Joe Roe
KrakatoaKatie
Mkdw
Opabinia regalis
Premeditated Chaos
RickinBaltimore
Steve Pereira (SilkTork)
Dave Craven (Worm That Turned)

For the Arbitration Committee, – Joe (talk) 08:16, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

Archived discussion at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard/Archive 42#Open letter to the WMF Board

Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Reversion of office actions resolved by motion

The Arbitration Committee has accepted the WJBscribe case request under the title Reversion of office actions and resolved it by motion as follows:

Community advised

Office actions are actions taken by Wikimedia Foundation staff, and are normally expected not to be reversed or modified by members of the community even if they have the technical ability to do so. In this case an office action was taken against Fram (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA), who was blocked and whose administrator rights were removed by the role account User:WMFOffice in implementing a Partial Foundation ban ([1]). No similar action had been taken before on the English Wikipedia, and it proved highly controversial.

In response, Floquenbeam (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) and Bishonen (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) both used their administrator user rights to unblock Fram ([2]). Floquenbeam's administrator rights were temporarily removed by WMFOffice (talk · contribs) ([3]). WJBscribe (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) used his bureaucrat rights first to restore Floquenbeam's administrator rights, and later to restore Fram's ([4]).

Although official WMF policy states that Unauthorized modifications to office actions will not only be reverted, but may lead to sanctions by the Foundation, such as revocation of the rights of the individual involved, JEissfeldt (WMF) (talk · contribs) indicated that the WMF would not implement further sanctions against the admins involved in reversing these actions ([5]). In recognition of that decision, and of the exceptional nature of the circumstances, the committee notes without comment this series of events. The community is advised that administrators and bureaucrats are normally expected not to act when they know they do not have all of the relevant facts, and that this is especially important with regard to office actions where those facts may be highly sensitive. As a general rule, wheel warring may be grounds for removal of administrative rights by the committee as well as by the WMF. Lack of sanctions under these exceptional circumstances should not set expectations around similar future actions.

For the Arbitration Committee, – bradv🍁 02:18, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

Archived discussion at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard/Archive 42#Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Reversion of office actions resolved by motion

Update from the Arbitration Committee

The Committee have received from Trust & Safety (T&S) their detailed report on Fram, with names and identifying information redacted. The Committee are still discussing the report; however we have agreed that the report is sufficiently detailed and minimally redacted such that we can open a case on Fram. The format and scope are yet to be decided, as we are trying to find the appropriate balance between being transparent with our proceedings, and protecting any parties from harassment. We would like to invite open feedback on how best to achieve this balance. We will be accepting additional evidence about Fram's behaviour from the community, however we ask that you please refrain from sending it until we formally open the case. We will keep the community updated with our progress.

For the Arbitration Committee,
GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:45, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

Discuss this at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard#Update from the Arbitration Committee

Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Canadian politics closed

An arbitration case regarding Canadian politics has now closed and the final decision is viewable at the link above. The following remedies have been enacted:

  1. Curly Turkey is prohibited from editing SNC-Lavalin affair and its talk page for a period of six months. This restriction may be appealed at WP:ARCA after three months.
  2. Curly Turkey is warned that future violations of Wikipedia's conduct policies and guidelines, including WP:BATTLEGROUND and WP:ASPERSIONS, may result in blocks or bans.
  3. Curly Turkey, Darryl Kerrigan, Legacypac, Littleolive oil, PavelShk, Safrolic, and SWL36 are admonished for edit warring.
  4. All editors are reminded to seek dispute resolution and to use appropriate resources, such as the dispute resolution noticeboard, for outside opinions and suggestions for resolving problems.

For the Arbitration Committee, SQLQuery me! 03:46, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Discuss this at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard#Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Canadian politics closed

Motion: Discretionary Sanctions: Awareness and alerts

The following change to discretionary sanctions awareness requirements has been passed and enacted by motion:

The Awareness section of the discretionary sanctions procedure is modified to the following:

No editor may be sanctioned unless they are aware that discretionary sanctions are in force for the area of conflict. An editor is aware if:

  1. They were mentioned by name in the applicable Final Decision; or
  2. They have ever been sanctioned within the area of conflict (and at least one of such sanctions has not been successfully appealed); or
  3. In the last twelve months, the editor has given and/or received an alert for the area of conflict; or
  4. In the last twelve months, the editor has participated in any process about the area of conflict at arbitration requests or arbitration enforcement; or
  5. In the last twelve months, the editor has successfully appealed all their own sanctions relating to the area of conflict; or
  6. They have placed a {{DS/Aware}} template for the area(s) of conflict on their own talk page.
For the arbitration committee, GoldenRing (talk) 12:25, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Discuss this at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard#Motion: Discretionary Sanctions: Awareness and alerts