Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Conduct of Mister Wiki editors/Workshop

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Main case page (Talk) — Evidence (Talk) — Workshop (Talk) — Proposed decision (Talk)

Case clerks: Kostas20142 (Talk) & Amortias (Talk) & L235 (Talk) Drafting arbitrators: Euryalus (Talk) & Newyorkbrad (Talk)

Contents

Motions and requests by the parties[edit]

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Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:

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Proposed temporary injunctions[edit]

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Comment by Arbitrators:
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Questions to the parties[edit]

Arbitrators may ask questions of the parties in this section.

Proposed final decision[edit]

Proposals by User:Alanscottwalker[edit]

Proposed principles[edit]

[edit]

1) Paid editors "have no authority beyond that of any volunteer editor." Wikipedia:Conflict of interest#Miscellaneous

Comment by Arbitrators:
True, but is that what's being asserted here? Salvidrim! says he felt his experience/admin status gave him a better handle on avoiding COI than might be the case with other editors; in hindsight that might have been mistaken. I don't know that he or Soetermans have asserted that their status as paid editors gave them greater authority than other editors. But other views welcome, especially if I've misunderstood the point you're making here. -- Euryalus (talk) 00:29, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker: Thanks. I'd argue the assignation of userrights to Salvidrim! (paid) was on the basis that as an administrator and highly experienced editor, Salvidrim! felt he could sufficiently handle the accompanying COI. Obviously, he's since acknowledged that this was an error on his part. If we were going to advance a principle along these lines, I'd suggest something like this: "Administrators have no authority beyond that of any volunteer editor when dealing with personal conflicts of interest" -- Euryalus (talk) 12:48, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker: Yes, I think we agree on the principle even if we dispute the semantics. -- Euryalus (talk) 14:15, 7 December 2017 (UTC)


Comment by parties:
Alanscottwalker I completely understand where you are coming from but I think this opens up a bigger can of worms than we need here. Euralyus' wording is somewhat more helpful but i don't think anyone (including Salvidrim!) has argued that as an admin Salvidrim was somehow exempt from COI management. My sense from what he has written is that he thought that he, as a Wikipedian in general, would not be affected by COI in his paid editing activity. That is what he wrote here on my TP for example. I framed the principles about COI generally in my set of principles below, and I think that is where we should aim it. Jytdog (talk) 22:38, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • The context for this is the frequent assertions of subject of articles written with paid or unpaid coi, that they have the right to control what is said about them Anyone on OTRS has seen many examples. I do not see how it has any relevance to paid editing as such, A paid editor might (rather foolishly)assert that because he represents the subject he has a right to ownership, but it wouldn't be because he had been paid. DGG ( talk ) 22:46, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
  • Proposed -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:20, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
    • Might add in there "...beyond that of any unprivileged volunteer editor."--v/r - TP 19:02, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Euryalus What is being asserted here is the principle. How you apply that principle depends on the facts the committee finds, but as I understand it, we already have an assertion of authorization to assign rights to alternate accounts by a paid editor, whereas that is beyond the authority of just any volunteer editor. As I understand it, it is also beyond the authority of just any volunteer editor to approve conflicted articles in the article creation review process. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:09, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Euryalus: Your argument is not actually relevant. It's like having a principle 'don't go there', and responding saying, 'but, but, but he did not mean any harm going there'. The principle is exogenous to any reason or excuse you would ascribe or find. All that maters to the principle is that the paid editor (Salvidrim!) by deed asserted authority/authorization beyond that of just any editor. The assigning of rights is beyond the authority of just any editor. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:56, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I understand that point, but did Salvidrim! by deed assert authority/authorization as a paid editor? No, it was admin authority he misused, not any hypothetical paid editor authority. I do get what's being suggested here and I agree in substance, but I think the wording suggested by Euryalus captures it more accurately. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 21:15, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
It cannot be split up like that, he is one editor - and if the allegations are true, he is a paid editor, he misused the authority as a paid editor, whatever else he might be, he still misused the authority in service of his paying gig. The whole purpose and spirit of the guideline is paid blurs all lines irretrievably -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 02:09, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't think that's relevant here -- that's directed at communications with clients, not wikipedia. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 14:57, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    Your comment is ridiculous and unethical, they can't represent something to clients and something different to Wikipedia -- the dishonesty is stunning. Nor can Wikipedia in the guideline publicly represent something to the world and then something different here. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:16, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    The full quote you referenced is In any solicitation sent to a prospective client, paid editors should disclose the following information: Paid editors do not represent the Wikimedia Foundation nor the Wikipedia editing community, and they have no authority beyond that of any volunteer editor - in other words, just because you're getting paid doesn't give your edits more weight than anyone else's. If Salvidrim had violated this (and I haven't seen any evidence that he has), it would have been between him and the client, and would not fall under the remit of Arbcom.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 21:25, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    That's a Wikipedia guideline, it expressly falls under the remit of Arbcom -- it's a representation of Wikipedia to the world about paid editors, that they cannot assert any authority whatsoever beyond that of just editors -- here, if the facts are true, he did assert authority to assign rights in service of his paying gig. Your argument is just plainly unethical and wrong about Arbcom's remit. Alanscottwalker (talk) 02:09, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Jytdog: In your diff you have this representation by Salvradrim!: "I wouldn't do or say anything against payment that I would not do as a volunteer." Here, we know that is untrue, as he would not by deed have asserted the authority to assign rights, here, but for being a paid editor - the very purpose of authorizing the rights of the alternate was to further the paying job.
He is an editor governed by WP:PAID policy, which explicitly requires that he is "regulated" by the WP:COI guideline, and the COI guideline explicitly regulates paid editors by, among other things, holding they have no such authority beyond that of just any editor. The fact that he is also an editor governed by WP:ADMINCOND means he is further "expected" to be even more scrupulous. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:55, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your note. I think that Salvidrim meant exactly what he wrote there. I wrote the following elsewhere and will copy it here:

It is sometimss is easy to spot paid edits, for sure. It is very easy in health and medicine for example, where we have high standards for N and a very clearly differentiated literature for sourcing, and we have a culture of high sourcing standards. But much of WP is not like that.

In my view KDS444 generally had low standards for N and for sourcing (and a lot of editors do) and i think he honestly was baffled that the work he disclosed was rejected, because it actually was just like his volunteer work (with the exception of the Levenson article). Was Conso International Corporation undisclosed paid work or did he really write it because the company makes frilly stuff that goes on hats, which KDS444 obviously cares about per the pic on his userpage and as he said here? We can never know. But we deleted that article and I wonder how many of his nonpaid articles we would delete if we looked at them?

I'll also note that Salvidrim and Soetermans both normally edit a lot about video games and pop culture, topics where N is very low and sources are mostly crappy blogs or entertainment magazines, and many editors are fans or haters and advocacy is rife... and there is almost no boundary between Wikipedia and the blogosphere. Salvidrim and Soetermans are likely in the same boat as KDS4444 there, where edits they normally make and edits they would make for pay look the same, but the disclosed edits are very likely to look trashy when independent editors review them.

I think he honestly saw the pagemoves as noncontroversial, that wouldn't have made him blink if he saw anybody doing that exact move, and that he would have implemented if somebody requested it out of the blue and he happened to be looking at the requested moves page as as admin.
He just completely blew off the COI guideline and edited and did page moves directly, as he would in his every day editing.
I agree that he should not have given his paid account any privileges -- he should have requested the privileges with his paid account, and the requests would very likely have been denied. In which case he would have had to do a move request, etc. Jytdog (talk) 00:34, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
That he placed his paid judgement in the situation you describe is itself the corruption of judgement - otherwise, all authorities granted by the community are for sale, the only safeguard we have is the policy-induced, guided trust they will not, must not be sold. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:57, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't think the issue here is claiming additional authority as a result of being a paid editor. It's using the additional authority of being an admin to facilitate paid edits. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:23, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Doesn't matter. If he is a paid editor, he has according to the guideline "no" authority in to "facilitate paid edits." And User:DGG, you are plainly wrong that it does not have to do with paid editors -- that part of the guideline specifically and explicitly deals solely with "paid" editors, and you do not get to rewrite it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 02:00, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
no one paid or unpaid has the right to "facilitate" paid edits. If I do it for my friend it is almost equally wrong. And WP:OWN applies to everybody, paid or unpaid. It is almost equally wrong if done for conviction as for money. DGG ( talk ) 06:38, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
Facilitating paid edits is what paid editors do when they take their actions on Wikipedia - the guideline and the principle is explicitly addressed to the subject of paid editors - paid editors have no authority beyond that of just any editor - so they cannot exercise authority beyond that of just any editor. WP:OWN is not even mentioned in that part of the guideline but just because WP:OWN applies to everybody, does not mean that every editor does not in fact own every action they take on Wikipedia, they are not only responsible but accountable, and required to licence them. The guideline is addressed to assertion and use of authority by paid editors, regardless of rights. Your broader principle, whatever its value, about someone who is not paid is not relevant to the case, here, both the principle and this case deal with a paid editor, and that editor's use of authority - not someone else. For admins specifically, this should not at all be that hard to get, we have a parllell concept in INVOLVED, which deprives no admin of any right but does disable them from exercising authority because of a relationship. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:12, 18 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposals by User:ToThAc[edit]

Proposed remedies[edit]

Note: All remedies that refer to a period of time, for example to a ban of X months or a revert parole of Y months, are to run concurrently unless otherwise stated.

Salvidrim! desysopped[edit]

1) For breaching the community's trust as described in WP:ADMINACCT, Salvidrim! (talk · contribs) is to be desysopped. He may regain the tools at any time via a successful request for adminship.

Comment by Arbitrators:
On the evidence so far, "repeatedly" is a big stretch. No comment yet on the rest. -- Euryalus (talk) 00:09, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Euryalus: Fixed ToThAc (talk) 01:56, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Iridescent: Admonishments are a waste of time, as I've been saying since 2015. Can't speak for the other po-faces, but I personally don't intend to include one in the PD. On desysopping: as a statement of the obvious, this isn't a case where the facts are much in doubt, it's about whether we think they're unforgiveable errors; and/or whether there's a pattern of misjudgement behind them. Evidence remains open, but I'm not presently seeing enough to support the "pattern" argument despite extensive discussion of it on this page. If anyone has more to add to this argument, please do so via the /Evidence page or by email if it contains private info.
I do think a desysop motion is likely, and I support it being proposed for no better reason than this needs an on-the-record vote. Supporting its proposition is not an indication that I would personally vote for it or against it, and I don't necessarily agree that it will pass. The idea of a reconfirmation RfA is interesting but might be a distinction without a difference - let's see what others think. But either way, we're not helping anyone by toothless admonishments, or by ducking responsibility for voting on one of the key points raised in this workshop. -- Euryalus (talk) 06:47, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
I think it goes without saying that I support a desysop, but if need be, I'll repeat it here. My one tweak is that I don't think repeatedly is needed. If the committee wants to examine other things, thats fine, but I think this whole episode standing on its own is enough. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:42, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: Fixed ToThAc (talk) 01:56, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
To Iri's point, I think one of the tough things about this case is that there is general agreement from everyone involved (maybe even Salv himself, I can't really tell from his responses about taking time off to think), that the best possible solution to this whole matter would be for Salvidrim! to resign as a sysop voluntarily. I'm not sure if we have any precedent for something like this, where an administrator continuing on to serve as an admin after a fuckup was a horrible idea, but they admitted they were wrong, and wanted an indefinite period of time to decide whether or not they should resign. Its a tough situation because you want to give someone who has been a valuable member of the community the option of doing it voluntarily, but if they don't do it voluntarily, the only way to do it is through having ArbCom remove. My preference is still for Salvidrim! resigning on his own, because I think this would be best for both him and Wikipedia, but if he isn't willing to do that, I think the only other option is for ArbCom to desysop. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I mean, at this point even if I resign, everybody would see it as trying to evade ArbCom and "save my skin" from worse sanctions; whether I resign or am desysopped at this point is basically the same cloud-wise. I'm certainly not opposed to the idea and if ArbCom think it is justified I'll gladly accept it. Perhaps, as many have pointed out, I'm not in the best position to have clear-headed judgement and decide whether or not there is desysoppability, so I think it's in everyone's benefit to know ArbCom's neutral take on it. Plus I wouldn't want to make any announcement that risks short-circuiting proceedings. Ben · Salvidrim!  22:06, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
It sounds like you are trying to get a read from Arbcom on their eventual decision and I do not think you are going to get that nor is it appropriate to ask for it in my view - the purpose of this proceeding is for Arbcom to get input, which they will then weigh - that is another two weeks for all of us and then an additional week for Arbcom based on the posted schedule. If you want to continue this proceeding arguing to keep your bit then please do so. If you want to resign then please do so and state your reasons why. I can tell you that if you do, I will strike every proposal I have made below and will ask that this be closed. I wish that you had posted a different message at COIN and that this had never started. Jytdog (talk) 22:39, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
A starter remedy in case evidence is clear enough to warrant this. ToThAc (talk) 17:19, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
Lord help me since I agree with pretty much everything TonyBallioni has said throughout this case, but I'm going to object to this as a remedy (although I think it's almost certainly going both to be proposed and to pass). While Salvidrim screwed up, it seems fairly clear that he thought he was being helpful, and as soon as concerns were raised he stopped. We don't expect admins to be perfect (hell, there's at least one member of the current Arbcom to whom I've issued a conduct warning); we expect admins to have the common sense to follow all consensuses they should reasonably have been aware of. In recent times, when Arbcom has reached for the block or desysop blunt instruments it's been because the editor in question has indicated that they'd likely continue to cause problems if direct action isn't taken to prevent it. While I do entirely sympathize with the common complaint that adminship is de facto a lifetime appointment, we should also be wary of going too far the other way. Setting a "one slip and you fall straight down the hole" precedent would have potentially severe unintended consequences; while Arbcom theoretically doesn't operate by precedent, if this went through people would in future rightly be aggrieved if other admins who fuck up (and we all fuck something up at some point) weren't also desysopped. (It isn't something that the current po-faced committee—with their unhealthy attachment to the pointless term "admonish"—will ever consider, but if I were drafting the PD for this case I'd be inclined to have Salvidrim is reminded that his every administrative action from now on will be picked over relentlessly both on- and off-wiki, and it is suggested in the strongest terms that he voluntarily resigns and spends a year or so in uncontroversial obscurity before even thinking of getting back on this particular horse. This is a case that needed be be accepted to have some kind of coherent and formal decision on exactly how we interpret implied-but-unwritten policy, but just because a case exists doesn't automatically mean that at least one of the parties needs to be thrown to the lions to keep the mob happy.) ‑ Iridescent 20:26, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
That is what I wish Salvidrim would have agreed to do (and I still wish he would do. We could perhaps stop this proceeding right now if he did) instead of writing this. It is that comment that has led me to support removing all advanced rights. He has been unwilling to put the community's interests first and has extravagantly consumed our time and attention. Jytdog (talk) 21:14, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm still hoping that will happen too. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 22:03, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
  • @Jytdog: Gents, I know this is a tense time for both of you, but this page is for discussing remedies, principals, and findings of fact. If you wish to discuss whether Salv should resign voluntarily, please do so on the talk page.--v/r - TP 00:55, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Iridescent above, per what I said earlier. Kurtis (talk) 06:07, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't agree that this desysop is needed. Perhaps a time-limited ban on advanced permissions. He may regain the tools at any time via a successful request for adminship is the unicorn of RfAs. It doesn't exist and should be struck as a facade. --DHeyward (talk) 13:36, 8 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposals by TonyBallioni[edit]

Proposed principles[edit]

[edit]

1) Editors who receive payment for their edits or actions on the English Wikipedia must comply with both the Wikimedia Foundation's Terms of Use and the local policies and guidelines of the English Wikipedia.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Correct and important point, should be included in decision. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:30, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
This was added (by me) to WP:PAID discussion at either WT:COIN or WT:COI after the Salv case came to light. I think this is a basic principle here that applied before the case and before it was added explicitly: Salvidrim! thought that he was following the rules because he followed the WMF TOU, but he was also not following local en.wiki policies and guidelines. The case is not about paid editing, but this principle is at the very heart of the dispute: the English Wikipedia is allowed to set its own policies and guidelines, and simply following the minimum standard for hitting the save button (the TOU) is not enough if the actions don't go along with en.wiki policies and guidelines. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:42, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
DGG, I think your comment below was made for this section, so I will reply here. You and I are in complete agreement. My primary reason for proposing this principle was not to imply that the TOU alone were sufficient. Indeed, my intent in proposing this was for the arbitration committee to make clear that simple compliance with the TOU requirement on disclosure is not enough for a paid editor, and that the local policies and guidelines implemented by the English Wikipedia community must be followed as well. I think that there is some confusion with paid editors that disclosure is the only requirement, and having the committee reaffirm that this has never been the case is one of the most important aspects of this case in my opinion, regardless of the outcome regarding specific editors. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:08, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I agree with this as a principle, but it's worth noting that failing to do so should not automatically result in sanction as good faith mistakes are entirely possible and biting new editors editing in good faith but not aware of everything they should be doing is no more acceptable than biting any other new user editing in good faith. Thryduulf (talk) 18:01, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Adminship based upon community trust[edit]

2) Functioning as an administrator is based upon maintaining the trust of the English Wikipedia community.

Comment by Arbitrators:
TonyBillioni, it involves both a violation of the TOU and our rules on COI. Our rules predate the specification on paid editing in the TOU. / I have no objection to mentioning the TOU, but the basis of this is the extent of the violation of COI. The com``munity has the right and responsibility to enforce the TOU, but we have our rules for doing that at WP:COI, which enforces she relevant part of the TOU and goes further to regulate other forms of COI. DGG ( talk ) 22:53, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
ToThAc, since this case involves the global terms of use, I think it is important to note the local project here. The committee also only has jurisdiction over the English Wikipedia, and not other projects. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:11, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I'm not sure if we should mention just the English Wikipedia as it pretty much applies to all foreign-language Wikipedias as well. ToThAc (talk) 14:30, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: Thanks, that makes more sense! ToThAc (talk) 16:12, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Given that we don't really know the level of trust that exists in the community right now, it may be better to construct this around accountability to the community. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:26, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

[edit]

3) A paid editor has a conflict of interest on any subject that has retained their firm to edit Wikipedia, even if they were not directly paid to take actions on behalf of the subject.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Generally correct. (I can imagine a situation in which an editor doesn't know that another person or company is a client of the editing firm and edits the latter's article coincidentally, but that would presumably be rare.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:31, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Generally correct, but I can imagine circumstance where they would not apply. Yes, if A & B cooperate or work jointly to violate our rules, they are of equally responsible. But if Firm X hires paid editors A and B, and assigns them separate jobs, A is not responsible for B's failure to observe the rule. both X and B however is responsible.(to the extent X is within our jurisdiction) If X issues instruction to C which are not compatible with our rules, if C followa them he is responsible, but so also is X (to the extent X is within our jurisdiction) DGG ( talk ) 22:57, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Pretty simple principle: if a client retains your firm, you have a conflict of interest in regards to them, even if they have never paid your. You are more likely to think that actions by other editors paid by your firm are okay, and aren't truly a neutral party. Money doesn't need to change hands for a conflict of interest to exist. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:56, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Strongly support. This is a notion in particular which I did not pay enough credence to and led to the fuckup. This is what I was getting at in the last paragraph at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Conduct of Mister Wiki editors/Evidence#AfC reviews were not "paid", but... -- anything even remotely related to an employer, their other contractors or their other clients is under a conflict of interest, because anything that is done, even if not specifically done against a specific mandate or payment, is done to maintain a business relationship and "under the expectation of future paid work", even if yet undefined. It is specifically because this principle wasn't heeded that I somehow led myself to believe that Soetermans' reviewing AfC drafts I had been paid to clean-up was kind of okay "because he wasn't paid for it directly", which is rubbish. Ben · Salvidrim!  22:08, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
In fact I'd even replace "any subject that has retained their firm to edit Wikipedia" with something more like "any matter related to their current or past employers, their employers' other contractors, or their employers' past, present or prospective clients" -- PR firms can pay an editor for stuff in order to get a client to retain their service afterwards, which would not be covered under your wording. Ben · Salvidrim!  22:11, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Iridescent, what do you think of A paid editor has a conflict of interest on any subject they are aware has retained their firm to edit Wikipedia, even if they were not directly paid to take actions on behalf of the subject. I think it addresses your (very valid) concerns, but is a bit more firm. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:47, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I've been toying with the idea of restating this even more broadly, that if you accept money to edit Wikipedia then you have a project-wide conflict of interest, based on the overcompensation counterargument to the virtue-centric approach (as described in WP:COI), and this would have particular implications for administrators. But for the time being I endorse this. I think it's clear that Soetermans did not understand that reviewing articles on a client of the firm that paid him was in conflict of interest, even though he himself was not evidently paid for those reviews. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 20:35, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Change that to "A paid editor has a potential conflict of interest". COI is a slippery beast and if this net is case too wide it has the potential to cause serious problems later on. I can see multiple potential issues with a "COI always exists" position; the obvious one is that most of this particular writing-on-commission type of paid editing takes place on Elance and similar sites, and in most of those cases Editor A won't even be aware that Editor B is being paid by the same agency even if both editors are being absolutely scrupulous about disclosing that they're editing for pay. (While not directly relevant to this case, it's worth reiterating that this particular "I will pay you to write an article about me" model is relatively unusual; the overwhelming majority of COI editing is people writing in good faith about their school or employer, and even with 'true' paid editing freelancers writing from scratch is a tiny minority. Let's not lose sight of the fact that the real paid editing problem is with the PR departments of record labels, pharmaceutical companies and local government bodies, and that while the freelancing sockfarms are high-profile, their impact is negligible.) ‑ Iridescent 20:42, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Apart from the issue raised by Iridescent, this also assumes that "paid editing" is always of the form of PR firms being hired to write articles for third parties, which we know not to be the case. Lankiveil (speak to me) 05:27, 8 December 2017 (UTC).
I disagree with Iridescent here. Being paid to edit is an absolute conflict of interest: a paid editor edits with a goal of getting paid, not with a goal to build an encyclopedia, and payment is an incredibly powerful motivator. Other COI situations not involving compensation for editing (such as writing an article about your family or friends or employer where you have no expectation of direct payment) are cases of potential conflict of interest. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 15:18, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't want to get in the weeds here too much but no, actually editing about your family/friends is a conflict of interest structurally as much as getting paid to edit. If you have an external relationship that influences you (your dad, hate for the farmer next door (real case, here), pay from the digital marketing company you contracted with), you are in a situation of conflict of interest. It is "potential" when you are not editing that topic yet -- there is probably no editor in WP who doesn't have a potential COI with some topic in WP; the question is whether you actually write about that topic. We can speculate about what kinds of COI and what kinds of advocacy are more prevalent or harmful but that is not another discussion.
But actually editing for pay representing a client, is definitely is a COI situation. Jytdog (talk) 16:12, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
But the point isn't whether a potential COI exists per se—the wording being proposed is A paid editor has a conflict of interest on any subject that has retained their firm to edit Wikipedia, and I don't agree either that it's the case, or that it would be workable. In the case of Elance or similar agencies where the editors work behind a veil of anonymity, we're essentially punishing the paid editors for not disclosing a connection they couldn't possibly have known. (If I had my way Elance and others that follow its don't ask don't tell model would be shown the door, but we're not at that stage yet—even MisterWiki, who are being held up as something of a good model of disclosure, don't have any listing I can see of who they employ to edit what. Ironically, given subsequent events, the only paid editing firm I can think of that did have a decent model of transparency was MyWikiBiz.) ‑ Iridescent 20:26, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
The list is here: JacobMW; FWIW, since the ArbCom case started, and thanks to some mentoring on the intricacies of wikicode and formatting (he's a quick learner), Jacob has started drafting & posting edit requests himself instead of contracting editors. Ben · Salvidrim!  20:39, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
User:Iridescent, I was only addressing the comment directly above mine. I agree that the proposed principle is too broad.. the situation here is not generalizable to any paid editor, just as you say. Jytdog (talk) 21:23, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with other editors that this is not a matter of potential COI, but rather de facto COI. I also think the wording could maybe be simplified to something like: "A paid editor has a conflict of interest on any edit on Wikipedia related to their client, even if they were not directly paid to take actions on behalf of the client." --Tryptofish (talk) 21:33, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
@Tryptofish: this is still assuming that all paid editing is of the form of person or organisation A hiring or otherwise paying editor B specifically to write about A, but this is only one of many actual and potential paid editing relationships. This suggestion, like the initial proposal, might work for some but will be incredibly messy and possibly even harmful for others. Thryduulf (talk) 18:15, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@Thryduulf: I guess this is a matter of the word "client", but I think that a generalization can be made that whenever there is any sort of paid editing, someone is always paying for it. And a de facto COI always results from that. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:37, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
And that is why the WMF Terms of Use require disclosure for all kinds of paid editing. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:00, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
"Whenever there is any sort of paid editing, someone is always paying for it." yes, but that's tautology. "[A] de facto COI always results from that" not ways, and even when it does its not always a simple one. Example 1: Company A hires editor B to write about C, a client of A - B has a clear and simple COI with A and C. Example 2: Company D hires editor E to write NPOV articles about the English Civil War - E has a conflict of interest with regards D but this is generally not relevant as they are not writing about D, they have an interest in more neutral articles being written about the English Civil War but is that really a conflict of interest? It could be if they were writing neutral articles about non-notable aspects of the topic, but generally it's not going to be. Example 3: Editor F is writing articles about women in geology, company G publishes the books written by a notable deceased female geologist (H), G sends F a free copy of these (normally very expensive) books so F can improve the Wikipedia article - F has a conflict of interest with G but isn't writing anything about G and G's books would be cited regardless. A better article about a notable female scientist is in the interests of both F and Wikipedia and doesn't harm G (or H) in the slightest - so is there a conflict? If the book was purchased with a grant from a Wikimedia chapter there would be no question of a COI, so does the money coming from a commercial organisation make a difference? I suspect that some people would say yes and some would say no. This is what I mean - simple cases are simple, but not all cases are simple. Thryduulf (talk) 23:08, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Interestingly, I've been using just those kinds of examples to argue that we should not ban all paid editing. But here, I'm not saying that all paid editing is bad. I'm saying that all paid editing creates some things that the paid editor is going to be thinking about, which is why our guidelines encourage proposing paid edits in talk instead of making the edits directly. (Yes, of course I knew it was a tautology, but I was trying to explain the point.) --Tryptofish (talk) 23:42, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Editors must exercise independent judgement[edit]

4) Editors who do not exercise sufficient independence in judgement or actions may be treated as one party in situations regarding conflict of interest.

Comment by Arbitrators:
I dislike the wording to the extent it suggests that we would treat two different people as if they weren't two different people. Perhaps the gist here is that if A has a conflict on article X and A asks B to do something specific on article X, then B is subject to A's conflict? Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:26, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
I am basing this off of the principle held by the committee at Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Regarding_Ted_Kennedy#Sockpuppets. This would hopefully address Euryalus and Newyorkbrad's points below that the MEAT policy is fuzzy, while also recognizing what Euryalus pointed out, which is that in principle, we enforce the MEAT policy as if it applies to COI and not just discussion. I also don't think that this would be the committee making policy, but recognizing a principle that is already applied in practice as Ivanvector has demonstrated. Also, please see my proposed finding of fact #5 below that goes hand-in-hand with this point. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:24, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Newyorkbrad, yes, I think that's it. I'm not sure what a good wording to suggest that would be, but I'll try to think if I can tweak it later. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:35, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Thryduulf, good point. I think it would be something such as scenarios when A and B are both paid by company X to edit Wikipedia, editor B cannot reasonably be said to exercise independent judgement (or if you prefer the wording shares a conflict of interest with editor A that could also work). We aren't talking about situations where I as a COI/PAID editor ask a neutral party for a review (I'm involved with several of these cases now), but when parties ask a non-neutral editor to assess. That was what happened in this case, and I think we need to find a principle that addresses this. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:57, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Thryduulf, I think we are going to disagree on the independence point: I think it quite clearly does mean that, and our disagreements seem to stem from different epistemologies. That being said I'm all for finding a "working consensus" proposal on this point since I think it is at the heart of the case. Perhaps something such as Editors with a conflict of interest cannot provide an neutral review of work by editors who share the same conflict of interest. Neutral gets around the independence/conflicted question and is hopefully a word everyone can get behind. @Thryduulf and Newyorkbrad: if you all both this this wording might be better to work from, I can have it as a new proposal. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:15, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
While I agree with the principle, I disagree with the relevance to this case. Per my explanations elsewhere, I see no evidence of anybody failing to exercise sufficient independence in judgement. Two people making the same mistake does not make them not independent of each other. Thryduulf (talk) 10:58, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
@Newyorkbrad: they can be, but not always. If A asks B to do X and then B does X blindly without thinking about it, then yes. If however B critically appraises whether it's a good idea to do X, then they are independent even if they do do X. For example if editor A is paid by company C who issue a press release, then editor A asks editor B to add (a summary of) the press release to the article, editor B does not lose their independence just because they do add it. This is true whether adding the press release is a good thing (e.g. it's the company's response to serious allegations already mentioned in the article) or a bad idea (e.g. it's the company accusing a non-notable individual of serious criminal activities). Just because two (or more) editors make the same judgement does not mean they are one person. Also, "do something specific" is too broad - "please can you correct the markup of my latest edit" is specific, "I've made a suggestion on the talk page, please can you add it to the article if you agree." is arguably so, but neither transfer a COI onto editor B. Thryduulf (talk) 16:53, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: I think the point you're trying to make is that if editors A and B have the same COI, then editor B cannot provide a non-conflicted review of editor A's (potentially) conflicted edits (and vice versa). This however does not mean they cannot exercise judgement independent of each other or that they are automatically responsible for actions taken by the other. Thryduulf (talk) 17:07, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Thinking about Brad's comment, I suggest that it's best not to get concerned with treating a given number of users as a different number of "parties", but rather to focus on how, when editors share a COI, it's a problem if they are less than transparent about working together. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:47, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
I think I agree with the underlying sentiment, but I have two concerns. Like Brad, I'm uncomfortable with the implied solution ('treated as one party”), but I also have some concerns with Brad's alternative : “if A has a conflict on article X and A asks B to do something specific on article X, then B is subject to A's conflict”. My concern arising from personal experience: I've been asked by a paid editor to look at a proposed edit, and I have done so. On the one hand, one might argue that being asked to look at something is general, not specific, another one might argue that a paid editor proposing the exact wording to be inserted is about as specific as one can be. I'm on board with the distinction made by @Thryduulf: that it matters whether B's action are critical assessment of the issue versus blindly acceding to the request, but ascertaining that might not be easy. In my particular case, I've tried to add text explaining my actions, but I don't know that everyone actioning a coi edit request does so. Our guidance WP:COIRESPONSE talks about steps such an editor should take, but doesn't suggest what documentation (if any) is necessary, or what, in general, should be done to avoid problems.--S Philbrick(Talk) 16:34, 20 December 2017 (UTC)

COIN is the preferred venue for discussing issues with conflict of interest[edit]

5) The conflict of interest noticeboard is the preferred venue for discussing community concerns involving paid editing and conflict of interest.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Relevant since Salv intentionally sent the articles back to AfC to avoid review at COIN. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:14, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes. WP:PRIVACY explicitly mentions COIN as the acceptable venue for these discussions when potentially private information is involved. Since most COI cases have the potential to involve privacy concerns, it is much better to have the discussion at COIN where you are dealing with editors who know the rules involved with balancing privacy and COI concerns. This was added to the privacy policy in the last major RfC we had discussing PAID issues and was the only concrete proposal to gain acceptance [1]. This demonstrates current community concensus that COIN is the only named forum where matters involving off-wiki agreements and external information may be discussed in relation to paid editing. Because many of these cases do in fact involve external sites, COIN is the logical place to have the discussion, and the place that the community has endorsed. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:42, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
No policy exists because the community has specifically rejected having a place to discuss community confidence in an editor to hold administrative tools outside of RfA, and that includes the noticeboards you are suggesting have that authority: they don't. The question that ArbCom has to answer is whether Salv's actions rose to the level where he has violated the trust the community places in administrators. Since the conduct here was Salvidrim!'s actions in regard to conflict of interest, COIN was the correct venue to deal with it. ArbCom is the correct venue for admin conduct disputes, especially when they are divisive. Arb policy does not require things to be discussed at the administrators noticeboard, and WP:ADMINABUSE is clear that the committee has jurisdiction even if dispute resolution was not attempted (which it was here, at COIN): However, if the matter is serious enough, the Arbitration Committee may intervene early on. The committee determined in accepting the case that Salvidrim!'s actions merited review, and that either dispute resolution had occurred and failed (my position), or that it was serious enough a question for them to intervene. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:33, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
Sphilbrick: there really wouldn't be any appropriate forum on en.wiki for that discussion, IMO. That is best left handled by OTRS admins. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:47, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
Exactly, which illustratres why the current wording needs some tweaking.--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:54, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Do you have a policy to back this up since there are policies that exist that contradict this assertion?--v/r - TP 16:36, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Awesome, per your policy I accept that COIN is a great place to discuss conflicts of interest. Now, where is the policy that says you discuss whether an admin has lost the trust of the community or administrator misconduct at COIN? Got one of those?--v/r - TP 04:21, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
I support TP's observation. While I support COIN as a venue for discussion of COI issues (narrowly), it isn't at all obvious that COIN is the right venue for broader issues, such as which rights, if any, can be held by a paid editor. As an OTRS agent, I would disagree that COIN is the right place to discuss whether such an editor can remain an OTRS agent. It is clearly an issue related to “discussing community concerns involving paid editing and conflict of interest”, but I don't think it belongs at COIN.--S Philbrick(Talk) 16:42, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Obviously.Even, if there's broader concerns as to removal of rights, (which happen very frequently as a resultant of these discussions), it can be challenged at AN. OTRS≠en.wiki flags/rights.And if you mean that every right-removal, which in many cases (rollback etc.) are often uni-discretionary needs to be brought before AN, well.....Winged BladesGodric 10:07, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • @T/P:--Even, if I alone believe, that User:XYZ shan't be a sysop anymore and has lost the community trust(which I agree is somewhat illusory in WP circles) and open a request for ArbCom case, where every other editor vehemently disagree with me and my assertions, the ArbCom can still theoretically choose to bring his behaviour under scrutiny.Also, noting that in many cases, we haven't explicitly opened AN threads titled Has XYZ lost community trust before reaching for the Arbs.And, AFAIK, no-body made a grand-standing section-closure/summary on the original COIN thread in the likes of The community has lost trust in Salvidrim's actions.So we are moving together to ArbCom. and the statement he has lost a substantial amount of trust etc. has been proposed by certain editors, in their individual capacities in this case and may be very debatable but other subsections are the optimal place to debate that since this one does not even touch upon anything rel. to whether an admin has lost the trust of the community or administrator misconduct at COIN.Normal discussions on poor conduct of high profile users at any notice-board are bound to raise issues of trust.Also, currently, any part. noticeboard does not have the privilege of being the sole-valid place to house the review the conducts of any sysop/editor.You may think that to be mandatory but that's not.Winged BladesGodric 10:07, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Template[edit]

6) {text of Proposed principle}

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:

Proposed findings of fact[edit]

Salvidrim! violated the community's trust[edit]

1) Salvidrim! has acted in a manner that violates the trust the community places in administrators.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Pretty simple here: it doesn't make a claim as to whether or not Salv still has the trust of the community, but it points out the fact that his actions are inconsistent with the trust the community places in administrators when it selects them. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:09, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:

Salvidrim! and Soetermans violated the sock puppetry policy[edit]

2) While serving as a sock puppet investigations clerk, Salvidrim! requested that Soetermans review articles for creation drafts that Salvidrim! had been paid to remove the maintenance templates from.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Personal view: the issue here is COI, more than socking. And in passing I think the "letter of the law" in our meatpuppetry policy is narrower than the "spirit" in which it is often (appropriately) applied. Could do with a rewrite and/or RfC. -- Euryalus (talk) 00:03, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree that "sockpuppetry" is not what happened here. "Meatpuppetry" might be closer, but I've always found it to be vague concept and would prefer to avoid this label in favor of a more specific description of what took place. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:33, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
I don't wanna belabor the point I've made in /Evidence, but I still think the AfC collusion has nothing to do with sockpuppetry (or meatpuppetry) policy. There was no deception as who was who, and there was no (1) support each other in discusions (WP:MEAT/WP:CANVASS) nor (2) a pattern of similar/identical behaviour (WP:SPAs), which are the metrics by which WP:MEAT is measured. I'd be careful about attempting to retrofit "editors asking each other for help" into a new interpretation of sockpuppetry policy, unless you intend to declare all IRC/Discord/FB/Mailing list collaborations as "meatpuppetry"; just today, we discussed and collaborated on Nintendo mobile games, Dust II and others. The problem here is that the collaboration resulted in a bypassing of proper AfC review, but not the fact that there was collaboration. If I had asked Soetermans to help me clean-up the references on my article The Mummy Demastered, for example, and he had done it, that wouldn't be a problem, it would be constructive collaboration. WP:MEAT/WP:CANVASS refer to behaviour in discussions for a reason. Ben · Salvidrim!  21:42, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I echo the comments by GreenMeansGo, in his evidence section here. If we have come to the point of WikiLawyering over whether private conversations where contractors for the same paid advocacy firm discuss off-wiki moving pages by a client into mainspace without changes and without review is a sock puppetry violation, then we should go ahead and send the sockpuppetry policy to MfD, as it is useless. The fact that you compare this to simple collaboration on a page where there is no conflict of interest I think shows that you still don't understand the depth of the problem here. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:50, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm not defending the collusion we did, I'm just saying the problem is what we collaborated on (an AfC review were we both biased about), not with the fact we collaborated via FB and I'm worried that labelling such collaboration as meatpuppetry is not supported by policy. What we did would have been just inappropriate even if it had happened on Soetermans' talk page!!!!!!!! Just my 2¢... ArbCom are the ones tasked with evaluating our divergence in opinion. :) Ben · Salvidrim!  22:00, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Euryalus, thanks for the feedback. I think one of the issues here is that as an SPI clerk Salv should have known how we, as you say, appropriately apply the spirit of the sock policy. As Ivanvector pointed out in his evidence statement, this would have resulted in a block for anyone else who had been reported at SPI (1 week not being out of the question for a first offense). I think that this should be reflected in the findings of fact in some way. Perhaps something like While serving as a sock puppet investigations clerk, Salvidrim! requested that Soetermans review articles for creation drafts that Salvidrim! had been paid to remove the maintenance templates from in a manner that is inconsistent with the sock puppetry policy. and change the header to be something about inconsistent. That way we get at the point that for any normal SPI, it would have been treated as a violation, while leaving the question as if it was a technical MEAT violation to an RfC or discussion on the page. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:53, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Tony, I don't know that it is productive to get into the weeds on this. Are you OK with the more result-driven way I framed it here? The real issue is the thwarting of AfC by two conflicted editors. Whether it is actual MEAT or just GANG, the corruption of AfC was the problem, as well as the subsequent citing of it as though it were valid. Nobody is contesting those things. Jytdog (talk) 17:58, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I think it is a fairly big deal that an SPI clerk is acting in a way that would get him blocked at SPI, and that getting the wording right on that for a finding of fact is important. The corruption of AfC is a problem, yes, but the fact that he is an admin SPI clerk that could not see his actions would have led other users to a block goes to the judgement question and I think is critical to this case. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:06, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I very much hear you on the whatever-it-was being essential (especially in light of Salvidrim being an SPI clerk), but I don't think it is worth our time to precisely define this as a SOCK violation per se. Euryalus has said clearly that this activity violated the spirt of SOCK and that is really all we need, in my view. As for me, I am unhappy with this whole thing being put into this legalistic framework that is intended to protect admins in their service of the community, and going down this rabbit hole is just...making that worse. The stench around the AfC is strong enough; everybody (including Salvidrim and Soetermans) has said it was very wrong. We don't need the legalism beyond that, in my view. I won't write further here - you will use your own judgement, of course! Jytdog (talk) 18:19, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, we're in agreement on most of the things (including the legalisms, etc.) I just think having some finding of fact stating clearly that his actions in this regard fell foul of the standards we hold other users to at SPI is important. I don't know the best way to frame that, but I think its worth trying. Thanks for your feedback. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:33, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Ivanvector, yep this kind of large-scale badness is something even people who are away over on the "privacy" side of the privacy/integrity divide find very problematic. And I agree that Salvidrim!'s "arguments" here are more self-serving wikilawyering that are digging his hole deeper. Similar to what he wrote on the evidence page about PAID not explicitly mentioning page moves.
The precedent you bring here makes me comfortable calling this a MEAT violation. I hope it persuades the Arbs. (and Tony I am now with you!) Jytdog (talk) 19:00, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I suppose I'm an "other", but since I was pinged, I don't plan on being active on this page. The sheer weight of the bureaucracy is beyond my patience. I trust the Arbs are of average or better intelligence, and I'm not sure they really need me to help spell out the alternatives available. The wikilawyering is embarrassing. The question of whether we can put together enough scotch tape and glue to form an editing restriction to save a sysop from themselves is... something that could be described with many words and none of them are "good". GMGtalk 22:15, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I've noted elsewhere already that I disagree with Salvidrim!'s interpretation of the sockpuppetry policy with respect to meatpuppetry. Allow me to introduce this workshop to Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/PlikoraT, a case from about a year ago involving multiple individuals with undisclosed financial interests coordinating to promote articles to mainspace, and importantly, predating the new page patroller userright (at the time, anyone could patrol new pages). The typical behaviour was this: one editor would create an article in Draft space, followed by a second editor adding maintenance tags and marking the page patrolled, an action intended to remove the page from the new pages feed so it would not actually be reviewed. One of the two or even a third editor would then move the page to mainspace and remove the maintenance tags. Technical evidence showed that the creator and tagger were often technically distinct, the roles reversed frequently, and other known PR firms were occasionally involved. Their behaviour was clearly intended to prevent the new articles going through community review processes. I say "was" because as soon as new page patrol became a user privilege, it prevented this coordination and the behaviour ceased. As an aside I have no confidence they've stopped editing, more likely they just found a different loophole to exploit.
By Salvidrim!'s interpretation, although the PlikoraT editors clearly conspired offline to evade community review, they aren't meatpuppets because none of them ever participated in a discussion. Should I go unblock them now? No, of course not, because meatpuppetry is not limited to participating in discussions, and particularly not so when you conspire to avoid discussions. It is just as properly defined as meatpuppetry to ask (or accept an offer from) someone who you know is being paid by the same firm as you to review your paid article so that it comes off as a "neutral" review, as both PlikoraT and Salvidrim! did. In fact I've had this case in my mind since this came to light in the first place, and the only difference between the two that I've seen so far is that Salv and Soetermans made proper disclosures. Other than that PlikoraT created hundreds of accounts. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 18:37, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Salvidrim!'s apparent belief that colluding off-wiki to move articles to Draft and back in order to remove maintenance tags at the request of their employer (and so evade actual community independent review at AFC) is not a breach of sock/meat policy... well, it staggers me. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:52, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
    • @Boing! said Zebedee: Colluding to evade scrutiny should be a breach of policy, but unless he deceptively used multiple accounts then it is not (and should not be) a breach of the sockpuppetry policy. Meat puppetry is a greyer area, but if all parties acted in the full knowledge of what they were doing and take full responsibility for their own actions, then I don't see how it would apply. That the collusion happened off-wiki is not relevant. In the real world, if A and B conspire with each other to commit murder, that makes them both guilty of conspiracy to murder but does not make either of them guilty of impersonating the other, and it doesn't matter whether they conspired in London or Manchester. Thryduulf (talk) 18:49, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Rather than parsing WP:MEAT, it may be simpler to regard this issue in terms of WP:CANVASS. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:37, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I think this proposal conflates several different issues that shouldn't be conflated:
    1. Avoiding AfC scrutiny - this is bad whoever does it, it is not bad simply because the person who did it was an AFC clerk and/or an admin.
    2. Breaching the trust placed in them as an admin/AFC clerk - the actions Salvidrim! took are simply the method in which he breached the trust, but this is not the only way he could have done this. I think this and point 1 would work better as separate points in the final decision.
    3. Off-wiki collaboration - this is not inherently bad, and in most cases serves to improve the encyclopaedia. Even collaboration (on or off wiki) with someone you know to also have a COI with the subject is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it is not done to evade scrutiny or bypass processes - indeed in some circumstances it can be a good thing - e.g. if A are B both employed by C, about whom A writes an article and then collaborates with B to ensure that the rules related to paid editing are followed. In terms of this case, the bad thing is what Salvidrim! did not the method in which he did it. Thryduulf (talk) 18:40, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Salvidrim! used his admin tools to evade community oversight[edit]

3) Salvidrim! granted Salvidrim! (paid) the extendedmover permission which he then used to move Studio 71 to Studio71, as he had been paid to do by a client, without community oversight.

Comment by Arbitrators:
What Tryptofish said (again). Also Mz7. The page move itself is no big deal as a content edit; it's that it was done via a permission granted by an admin to their own alt, in order to facilitate an edit for pay. This raises two issues - one: whether an independent admin would have granted that same right to a paid editing account (with or without a community process); and two: whether the move itself was a breach of the spirit of WP:PAY and should have been done via an RM. And then, I suppose, three: how serious an issue this actually is and what should be done about it. -- Euryalus (talk) 23:52, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
@Salvidrim!: yes thats why I removed it - what I was saying was incorrect. I was trying to think of a way of addressing the transparency argument being put below, but there isn't really one. Suffice to say I don't see it as relevant to this section.-- Euryalus (talk) 00:15, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
re Ivanvector well I used page-mover for a round-robin WP:PM/C#4 move but it was my first time without the admin tools and I forgot to suppress-redirect on one of the steps, so yes I had to tag something as G6 for an admin to finalize the move (and Mx7 happened to be the one to patrol eventually. Ben · Salvidrim!  15:09, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Ivanvector: the norm here would have been an RM to discuss whether or not it was a stylization change that should have occurred. Salv also did use extendedmover in the draftifications. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:16, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • re Euryalus - I wanna answer the the bit you removed (ostensibly for rewording): "it's true that Salvidrim! didn't make clear that the specific move was for money, but that could be reasonably inferred from the alt's overall paid editing disclosure"; I assume the alt's username is what you mean by "overall paid editing disclosure", however the page was it was explicitly and specifically, even including details of the specific mandate (which disclosures don't have too include) -- hell, it was even disclosed before the move happened (although we're talking seconds here). Ben · Salvidrim!  00:12, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
And Studio71 is the name of the article today. We're not a bureaucracy. Using his paid account made it transparent. The move itself is correct and the use of the paid account is also correct. --DHeyward (talk) 13:43, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
You are, again, about the only person who thinks that. Jytdog (talk) 13:52, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Just to clarify again, the use of extendedmover came where Salvidrim! (paid) moved the article to draft space without leaving a redirect, and overwrote the redirect which had nontrivial history (WP:PM/C#4). Also it seems Mz7 actually completed the move? Otherwise any editor could have performed this move. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:55, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
@Tony: I agree, RM would have been proper, but I mean that technically any user would have been able to perform the move if not for the nontrivial redirect history. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 18:51, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, as I mentioned in my preliminary statement for this case, which is mentioned by Salvidrim in his evidence section, when Salvidrim performed this move, he forgot to suppress his redirect at one step of the process, so he could not complete his round-robin move – as a result, I completed it for him by deleting the redirect he had left behind at Studio 71 and moving his temporary page Draft:Move/Studio71 to Studio 71. Per WP:COIEDIT, as a matter of best practice, Salvidrim should have created RMs for every move he expected to be paid for, even for ones he thought were obvious as a kind of sanity check. I think everyone agrees here that Salvidrim did not fully uphold those best practices for this page move.
However, I think it would misunderstand Salvidrim to say that he intended to "evade community oversight" – the BOLD, revert, discuss cycle is a common way for editors to propose changes they aren't sure are controversial and receive community feedback if they aren't, and there is nothing that prohibits its application to moves. This move was never reverted, and there has been no follow-up discussion as to the appropriateness of the move itself (here we've only been discussing the appropriateness of the way in which the move was performed). Finally, as others have mentioned, Salvidrim was fully transparent about his status as paid editor.
I don't want to defend like a wiki-lawyer what clearly had a better alternative approach (i.e. RM), but I would keep all this in mind when deciding how far we want to sanction Salvidrim as a result of this specific page move. If Salvidrim had never been transparent that he was paid for this move (i.e. if we did not know this move was a paid contribution), would we still be discussing it today? Mz7 (talk) 20:37, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that it would be more precise to frame this around Salvidrim!'s failure to utilize the RM process when he should have known that he should have done so, instead of around deliberate evasion, not sure how to word it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:42, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
    • They're both legit issues, separate but related. We cannot overlook the self-granting of a bit, that requires role trust, to a role account without the trust – a bit which would have been denied by any competent admin at WP:PERM/PM if requested through proper channels for the "(paid)" account. That doesn't go away just because in this one particular case it was also a manual-move-versus-full-RM-process judgement call. Frankly, I'd consider the former an order of magnitude bigger a deal than the latter, since a bad or even faintly questionable manual page move can be rapidly and pretty much without question reverted by anyone at WP:RM/TR#Requests to revert undiscussed moves, even if they can't directly revert the move themselves.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:48, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Soetermans requested articles for creation access to review Salvidrim!'s drafts[edit]

3) Soetermans requested access to the articles for creation helper script only after he had been asked by Salvidrim! to review drafts that Salvidrim! had been paid to work on by Mister Wiki.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Thryduulf, it shows that Soetermans only requested access to a de facto user right to abuse it, and that Salv asked him to do so. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:21, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
This is factual but I don't understand why it is relevant? Thryduulf (talk) 11:01, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Agreed with TonyB's assessment.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:48, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Salvidrim! used the articles for creation process to evade community scrutiny[edit]

4) Salvidrim! was paid by Mister Wiki to remove maintenance tags questioning notability and raising conflict of interest concerns from Reza Izad and Dan Weinstein (business executive). He did this by moving them to draft space and asking Soetermans to review them, preventing oversight from neutral community members.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Salvidrim!, got any views on this? -- Euryalus (talk) 19:15, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Euryalus I think the specific tags were notability+NPOV and not COI, and perhaps "mentioning them to Soetermans who offered to review them" might be slightly more accurate than "asking Soetermans" (but perhaps that would be an unecessary detail since the intent in the FB conversation was, I think, pretty see-through). Other than that I think this is amongst the most straightforward and factual FoFs in this case. Ben · Salvidrim!  19:20, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I think this is important. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:45, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
This is the heart of the matter. Thryduulf (talk) 11:06, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes. SO much yes. Shearonink (talk) 15:13, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

Salvidrim! and Soetermans did not act independently[edit]

5) Salvidrim! and Soetermans did not act independently or exercise independent judgement when they collaborated off-wiki on article for creations submissions for Mister Wiki clients.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Since the question of sock/meat has come up and is murky, I'll posit this as an alternative that states what happened in plain terms. This works in concert with my proposed principle 4 above, but I think could be acceptable wording even if that is not used. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:29, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Thryduulf: What makes someone a meat puppet is when they edit on someone else's behalf in order to distort consensus by presenting one opinion as two different ones. That is exactly what happened here. Salv asked Soetermans to review his article to present it as if it was reviewed by someone who was independent, when it wasn't. They presented one opinion (that of the Mister Wiki firm) as that of two editors. This is also avoiding the meat puppet verbiage as Newyorkbrad has expressed that he thinks it too vague. It is simply expressing the fact that the two of them did not act independently in their editing. The difference here between the edits that you showed is that you and DePiep are not both contractors for a paid editing firm who viewed the actions as returning favours. Collaboration is one thing, but there is a fine line between collaboration and not excercising independent judgement. In my view, this pretty clearly crossed the line into the latter, as Salvidrim! could reasonably expect Soetermans to be willing to send articles to mainspace for him since he Salv had done the exact same thing for the same firm for Soetermans a month ago. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:20, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@Thryduulf and Tryptofish: Soetermans has described this as "returning the favor" and in his evidence submission referred to it as a quid pro quo. This is distinct from the question as to whether or not coworkers for the same firm can truly ever be independent of each other: if this case did not involve an admin, the answer would be a clear no. I really don't think we should invent a new definition of independent for Salvidrim. The MEAT policy might be a grey area, but I can't think of any reasonable definition of independent action that this could possibly fall under. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:03, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Tryptofish: that's a distinction without meaning when two people are paid by the same employer. I can't prove the state of someone's mind, but I can prove coordination, and I think we can have moral certainty that being paid by the same firm impedes independence from a mental state. I could not be reasonably said to be acting independent if I were to review an AfC draft written by the marketing director for a real world client of mine, even if they did not pay me for that action. At some point, we have to have common sense here and make reasonable inferences from the evidence presented. There will be no smoking gun, but there is more than enough in evidence to show that calling this independent is making up a new definition for the term. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:17, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Thryduulf, we seem to have edit conflicted. None of your examples involve payment, which is a huge difference. A quid pro quo that involves payment is prima facie evidence of lack of independence and a COI and is treated as such by every organization I know. A board member of an organization cannot vote on contracts where he might be a vendor for this reason: it would mean that the board is not acting as an independent overseer. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:26, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Thryduulf: I don't see how this is anything other than 2+2=4. We are probably just going to have to agree to disagree on this. There is no possible way to reasonably present these as independent actions. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:46, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@TParis: no, I disagree with everything you said. Reasonable people should be expected to be able to make inferences from evidence presented, and when as a group they agree on that, it can become a finding of fact. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:30, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I don't think this is the case. Just because another editor asks you to do something does not make you a meat puppet of them, even if you then do what they asked. For example, I was asked to make this edit by a friend (who doesn't edit Wikipedia), but that does not make me a meat puppet - I evaluated the request and made it because I agreed with it, taking full responsibility for it. Similarly DePiep is not my meat puppet even though this edit was made at my request. What makes someone a meat puppet is when they edit on someone else's behalf in order to distort consensus by presenting one opinion as two different ones. What Salvidrim! and Soetermans did was unquestionably wrong, but it was not meat puppetry and it was not a failure to exercise independent judgement - it was two people independently exercising bad judgement. Thryduulf (talk) 19:04, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Do you have any evidence that Soetermans did not exercise his independent judgement? I still see two editors independently exercising the same bad judgement, not one editor blindly following the instructions of another. Thryduulf (talk) 19:31, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Thryduulf that this was really the exercise of independent bad judgment. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:44, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@Tony: Nobody questions that it was coordinated, but "independent" goes to what they were thinking. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:07, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@Tony, you are right about that, and maybe I was parsing words too narrowly. But I think a larger point is that the problem is not that two editors were in something resembling complete agreement, but that they engaged in a non-transparent sort of mutual canvassing. When referring to "did not act independently", what's most important is what was concealed. In other words, they acted non-independently without making it transparent to other editors. Any way one works with that, there is the ambiguity of MEAT that you cite in your first comment in this section, and simply finding another word for it ("not independently") doesn't really fix it, which I why I've been recommending CANVASS instead of MEAT. There's no question that they made requests to one another off-site. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:35, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: "QuidProQuo" is exactly how DYK reviews work, and (at least in the military history project) is done for FA reviews as well (I'll review your article if you review mine). That does not mean the editors doing those reviews not independent of one another. There are many occasions where I've looked at articles/edits as a favour to another editor (often in the form of "I think X about Y, can you take a look and see if you agree?") and other editors have done the same for me - often these requests are made on facebook or by email, this doesn't mean that we are not acting independently of one another. Thryduulf (talk) 23:14, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: there is evidence that Salvidrim! and Soetermans have the same conflict of interest, there is no evidence that they do not have responsibility for their own actions. The fact that their COI derives from being paid does not alter this. As to inferring things not presented in evidence, in limited circumstances this is OK - e.g. it is perfectly fine to infer that 2 + 2 = 4, but you are inferring that 2 + 2 = 6, which is not acceptable. Thryduulf (talk) 23:43, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: "Common sense" is used to justify a lot of bad ideas. It was used heavily in the Manning naming dispute to misgender Manning. Let's just agree that common sense doesn't exist. Now, to the meat of the matter: what you infer is not what everyone else will infer. That's why implied or inferred information is not accepted at Arbcom. We use findings of fact. You can't know the state of their minds or where their values lie. You don't know whether they prioritize Wikipedia over this minor gig, or if this gig is their only source of income and they're desperate to exploit Wikipedia just to eat. You don't know. You seem to be assuming the latter. That is the problem with some of the COI battlemasters here, there is a lot of ABF toward editors who make good faith efforts and mess up.--v/r - TP 23:26, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: As I've already said to Jytdog several times, I see no reason to argue. I'm telling you how Arbcom works. If you don't believe me, I have but to sit and wait for it to be so. And it will be too late for you to adjust your bearings. Or, you could take my advice now and put together a proposal that might actually pass. Either way, I'm not interested in a back and forth.--v/r - TP 03:54, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

Template[edit]

6) {text of proposed finding of fact}

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:

Proposed remedies[edit]

Note: All remedies that refer to a period of time, for example to a ban of X months or a revert parole of Y months, are to run concurrently unless otherwise stated.

Salvidrim! removed as SPI clerk[edit]

1) Salvidrim! is removed as an SPI clerk for behavior inconsistent with the expectations of that position.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Idle question - why would this not be more a matter for consensus among the SPI clerks, via a discussion at the Clerks Noticeboard? -- Euryalus (talk) 00:01, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@Salvidrim!: Thanks. -- Euryalus (talk) 00:16, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
I've tweaked this a bit per my comments above. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:19, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
re Euryalus FWIW, Clerk appointments (training and confirmation) are usually done by enwiki's CU team. My training, appointment as trainee and confirmation were all by DeltaQuad (currently sitting on ArbCom but marked inactive anyways), although the confirmation from trainee to full clerk was after a discussion amongst CUs, I seem to recall. Ben · Salvidrim!  00:12, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Strongly support - we can't have the henhouse guarded by a fox. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:55, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Oppose as I stated in a different section. Additionally, SPI clerking has peer review built into the process: the clerk procedures advise clerks not to change the status flag of a case if they were the clerk who changed it most recently, and should not archive cases that they close, with the idea being that clerks always review each other's actions. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:45, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Ivanvector about the built-in peer review. I also think that what happened is so far removed from the abusive use of multiple accounts that it probably does not belong as part of the decision. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:48, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I strongly disagree with this notion, as a former SPI clerk. We trust our SPI clerks to properly evaluate behavioral evidence and use good judgment. It is a significant handicap to the entire process if another clerk has to go through and re-evaluate the evidence simply because there are clouds lingering over another clerk. --Rschen7754 19:17, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Do you mean that you disagree with the notion of removing Salv from clerking, or with the notion that clerking is a peer-reviewed process? I perhaps spoke too broadly: SPI clerking is not a process where each clerk's decisions are painstakingly scrutinized by other clerks; we (the community) do trust that clerks have sufficient experience and good judgement to make good decisions. The built-in peer review ensures certain technical matters are taken care of, like blocking and tagging and archiving, and endorsing (or not) the use of CheckUser. However, my point was that each investigation therefore has many eyes on it, regularly at least the reporter, the accused, and at least two clerks. Thus I find it unlikely that a malicious clerk could significantly derail the process. And also I reiterate that I've seen no evidence to indicate that Salvidrim! would act in such a malicious fashion, neither deliberately nor carelessly. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:48, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
Oppose. I understand Boing's fox/henhouse parallel, but I disagree with it. Salvidrim took pains to make the paid editing obvious, so I don't think there's anything that indicates he can't properly evaluate SPI clerking matters. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 18:18, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Oppose. I don't see any evidence that Salvidrim! has opposed his position as an SPI clerk or has engaged in sockpuppetry. If he has lost the trust of the other SPI clerks or of checkusers then they should be able to remove him from his position independently of this case (although if he is removed as a clerk before this case is closed it should be recorded as a finding of fact). Thryduulf (talk) 19:12, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Arbitration committee to alert other projects[edit]

2) The arbitration committee will make a good faith effort to alert other projects where Salvidrim! holds a position of trust of the outcome of this case.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Jytdog, I like this better than your "request removal of OTRS access" remedy. OTRS is a meta thing that is handled on its own, so really the best ArbCom can do is alert the OTRS admins to the outcome here. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:00, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I got that from this old thing: it would be possible for ArbCom to discuss with OTRS admins an access to the OTRS-en queue for a user. What is wrong with having Arbcom make the direct request to OTRS admins? Jytdog (talk) 19:10, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
That is a good point. I tend to try to avoid us making direct requests to other projects because I don't like the idea of other projects bringing their drama here. I was unaware of that previous request, so I think yours is a fine proposal too. It might be a good idea to let ArbCom vote on both. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:24, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Striking this as OTRS admins are already aware. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:54, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
While I sympathise with the idea of simply informing other projects and leaving it to them to decide what, if anything, to do, Meta is very much open to requests from other projects and I don't see a problem with ArbCom making a request relating to OTRS. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 20:00, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
If it's just OTRS, then just say OTRS. The only other right Salvidrim has according to Special:CentralAuth/Salvidrim! is autopatrolled on Meta (which just means you're not a vandal). --Rschen7754 06:09, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree fully with Rschen7754. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:49, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

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3) {text of proposed remedy}

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Proposed enforcement[edit]

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1) {text of proposed enforcement}

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2) {text of proposed enforcement}

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Proposals by Salvidrim[edit]

Proposed principles[edit]

Policy changes[edit]

1) Significant policy changes must be done via well-attended/advertised RfCs that result in clear WP:CONSENSUS

Comment by Arbitrators:
@Salvidrim: Is there a specific change to a policy or guideline whose validity you are questioning? Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:35, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Policy is not just what is written, but also the way in which it is interpreted. DGG ( talk ) 02:09, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Just throwing it out there since this case involves policies/guidelines actively under fluid discussions in locations like Wikipedia talk:Paid-contribution disclosure and Wikipedia talk:Conflict of interest with no RfC tags and thus presumably attracting mostly editors already involved in the topic on some level; also there have been allegations of policy violations for stuff not-yet-written into policy and with varying degrees of consensus supporting their additions (some very strong, some more hotly debated), and I'm sure there will be a FoF on the topic, so reminding of this principle probably cannot hurt? Ben · Salvidrim!  16:46, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't think this has any relevance to this case. The normal method for consensus, even on policy and guidelines pages, is consensus through lack of opposition. Additionally, your conduct here would have been unacceptable 6 months ago just as much as it was last month, so I don't see what you are trying to get at here. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:18, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
re Newyorkbrad not with any implemented policy change, but with proposed policy changes still being discussed at Wikipedia talk:Paid-contribution disclosure and Wikipedia talk:Conflict of interest amongst potentially biased anti-PE and pro-PE editors, with no RfC tags, WP:CENT advertisement and little "wider community" involvement, and which are highly relevant to this case since the proposed changes (referred to as "unwritten policy" or "common sense practice") have been cited in evidence and proposed principles as if they were a fact of life; for example "can admins use tools for pay" (that one pretty much has consensus for a strong no, although language remains to be agreed upon and implemented), "can admins edit for pay by using a separate 'firewalled' account", "are paid editors allowed to use the page mover user-right (and others)", "is 'prior review' for COI/paid edits and articles a strong recommendation or actually required", and a few other sparse odds and ends of COI/paid editing policy updates. Not just talking about myself, but it is at least somewhat awkward to try to hold editors accountable for following details of policy that aren't yet agreed upon and written into policy. Ben · Salvidrim!  21:54, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I think that's a good point, but I don't think that is within the scope of this case, and that adding it to the final decision will muddy the waters. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:02, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. This sounds very much like an attempt to use the lack of a formal policy to wave away the fact that the community's attitude to paid editing is ambivalent, at best, and becoming less permissive if anything. Guy (Help!) 00:11, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't like the way that this makes it sound like the problem was that policy, as currently written, needs to be changed. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:51, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

It's also a serious WP:EDITING policy problem. Long-term WP:P&G editors frequently make "significant" changes to policypages, most often by way of clarification, but sometimes also codifying things that have been long-term de facto consensus but weren't written down or (less often) removing small bits that no longer match site-wide practice. These changes often do not stick, but they do stick more often than the average editor might think. More importantly, the vast majority of policy was actually written this way, not by RfCs. WP:BRD exists for a reason, and is followed most of the time for a reason (call it the intersection of WP:Common sense and WP:Consensus), despite technically being an essay. This process works just fine. While I think that as WP slowly transitions into a more "mature" phase of the organizational lifecycle that policy edits will become less likely to stick without prior discussion, actually banning their being changed without "permission" would be a major shift in internal self-governance away from what it means to be a wiki.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:33, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposed findings of fact[edit]

Divided community[edit]

1) Paid editing, and especially paid editing in relation to user-rights and adminship, is a topic that remains controversial and divisive amongst the community, with several discussions on several venues that involve various suggested policy changes.

Comment by Arbitrators:
A few links to the (past or present) discussions you consider most relevant might be useful. Newyorkbrad (talk) 06:22, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Perhaps this FoF could be improved to point out specific points on which the community is divided? Ben · Salvidrim!  16:46, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
re Newyorkbrad -
  1. 2015, no consensus Wikipedia talk:Administrators/Archive 15#Proposed change - No paid editing for admins
  2. Incoming 2018 Arbitrators answers (colliged here Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Conduct of Mister Wiki editors/Evidence#User-rights, adminship and paid editing)
  3. Ongoing Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Should Wikipedians be allowed to use community granted tools in exchange for money?
  4. Ongoing Wikipedia talk:Paid-contribution disclosure#Proposed RfC on adding prior review
  5. Ongoing Wikipedia talk:Conflict of interest#Interesting proposal by Opabinia regalis
None of the ongoing discussions have RfC tags, WP:CENT or other advertisement, and only the one on VPP is on "neutral ground" so to speak. The ongoing discussions haven't resulted (yet) in any consensus that can result in actionable changes to the wording of policies, and opinions vary wildly all the way from outright banning paid editing/editors[2] to always allowing editors to solicit payments[3], with most falling into some sort of middle ground. Ben · Salvidrim!  06:45, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I want to re-iterate what I said in my evidence section. The community has been divided in abstract discussions of paid editing - these conversations inevitably derail as people have very strong pre-conceived Positions on it.
But I am unaware of the community giving admin or other advanced privileges to anybody who disclosed ahead of time that they edited for pay commercially (not talking about GLAM/WIR, which the community has always distinguished from commercial paid editing). The problems that have arisen, have all happened when people got those privileges while they were doing undisclosed commercial paid editing, or started doing commercial paid editing afterwards.
If anybody is aware of the community giving admin or other advanced privileges to anybody who disclosed that they edited for pay commercially and this was discussed as part of the privilege granting-process, I would be keenly interested to see links to that.
The purpose of saying this, is that in practice we don't give privileges to people who edit for pay commercially. It is structurally an unwise thing to do. This is common sense, and not at all personal. We would have to trust somebody a lot (an extra lot) to do so -- the granting of privileges to somebody who disclosed they edited for pay commercially, would be personal - it would be an exception to normal practice because we exceptionally trusted that person's judgement.
I'll also add that this case, is actually a very poor "test case" from which to generalize, since Salvidrim did only one thing right (clearly disclosing through the paid account) but made so many very basic mistakes stemming from bad judgement, and then compounded them all by triggering this case by refusing to go to RfA, which was also bad judgement. Jytdog (talk) 01:06, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I have did a search of RfAs for "paid" - the results are here. I remain interested to hear of anyone aware of the community giving privileges to anyone who declared they edit for pay commercially. Jytdog (talk) 03:54, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
User:Thryduulf I did a search of RfAs for "paid" - the results are here. There was a paid editor very recently who applied to be a NPP person after receiving one of many mass invites, and was denied; see here. It is hard to search the permissions page due to the way things are archived. I am aware that you are a very strict "content not contributor" person so your perspective there is not surprising. I remain interested to hear examples of the community giving privileges to anyone who declared they edit for pay commercially when they were granted permissions. Jytdog (talk) 04:12, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
TParis, yep, you have read what I wrote. No examples of somebody who discloses that they edit for pay commercially even trying to get confirmed as an admin; one person failing to win consensus for being too fierce. Lots of questions to candidates looking to hear how they think about COI/paid editing. My very strong sense of the community (mine) is that people want COI/paid editing managed sensibly and this is what people at RfA are listening for. Nobody likes poor content and poor behavior that conflicted editors tend to produce; nobody wants excessive drama over it either. Everybody respects privacy. Working on these issues means threading all that, and admins end up dealing with these issues. To repeat myself, I think the community would have trust someone immensely to give them privileges if they disclosed beforehand that they were editing for pay commercially. And thank you for your kind words. Jytdog (talk) 04:26, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
User:Thryduulf thanks for your reply and I understand what you see and the argument you are making based on what you see. Jytdog (talk) 16:20, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
I concur in Jytdog’s analysis. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:20, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I concur with Thryduulf's assessment of my actions: they were an individual choice in this case, but they follow what the practice has been at AfC (where Primefac handles the overwhelming majority of the requests), and I'm pretty confident I've also seen Alex Shih or another admin deny NPR for a similar reason. They can correct me if I'm wrong on my assessment of the situation As I said in my comment there, there is no clear community consensus for removing rights dealing with new content from paid editors, but recent practice has been that we don't grant it. There was also a discussion on the NPP project page about it during the KDS4444 situation that was very much in the negative on flags in these situations (see Wikipedia_talk:New_pages_patrol/Reviewers/Archive_13#Conflict_of_Interest_-_of_a_different_kind). It was a unilateral action, like any PERM request is, but it is within our standard practice for advanced permissions involving new content. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:54, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Just a note to Salv and SMcCandlish, the more relevant RfC was the one that was started yesterday at Wikipedia_talk:Administrators#RfC_about_paid_use_of_administrator_tools. I think it makes it pretty clear that the community is not divided at all on the use of tools for pay question, and that the consensus existed before this case, but that it wasn't formalized. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:05, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that is pretty much what I just said lower. Use of tools for pay is clearly against consensus (and soon written policy as well), and admins editing for pay at all is what there are still strong disagreements are about. Ben · Salvidrim!  19:14, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for pointer; I hadn't see that yet (I don't watchlist WT:ADMIN).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  19:17, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Jytdog is right. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:53, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I also agree. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 15:48, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
We have a lot of examples of reasons that people do not go up at RfA. The absence of a successful RfA for a candidate that does paid editing can be explained by a myriad of those reasons. Absence does not prove that the community is against it, though. Does Jytdog have examples of candidates that have failed primarily due to disclosed paid editing? I'm sure some exist, let's see them.--v/r - TP 16:15, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Looking over those examples, I see none for editors involved in paid editing. I do see an over-zealous COI, umm, patroller (for lack of a better term?). Would that be an accurate description of what you've found? I meant to add before I hit the edit button: thank you for taking the time to compile that and then publishing the results. Once again, your character impresses me.--v/r - TP 04:01, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Endorse Jytdog's comments completely, excluding their final paragraph. I've expressed reservations elsewhere about the reasonableness of insisting that the "right thing to do" is/was to stand for a reconfirmation RfA while under significant pressure to resign, or whether such an exercise would be a show trial or trial by ordeal. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:16, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • @Jytdog: "But I am unaware of the community giving admin or other advanced privileges to anybody who disclosed ahead of time that they edited for pay commercially (not talking about GLAM/WIR, which the community has always distinguished from commercial paid editing)." do you have links to any discussion where someone who was currently or formerly a paid editor has requested advanced privileges and been rejected because of their paid editing? I'm not aware of any instances where this has occurred, which means that it is not possible to state the community's attitude to this with any certainty. Speaking personally, I would hold undisclosed paid editing as a negative factor but disclosed paid editing would be entirely neutral in the absence of any actual problems with their content or behaviour. Thryduulf (talk) 19:24, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • @Jytdog: thank you for those links. What I see is nobody who has said they edit/have edited for pay (other than GLAM/WIR) applying for adminship, meaning that it is not possible to state what the community's views about it are. The one, very recent, NPP request linked shows a couple of people saying "perhaps we ought to wait until, relevant newly-started discussions have concluded before saying yes or no" and then TonyBallioni (who as a party to this case has a COI with regards AFC and paid editors) unilaterally saying "no, because we don't give paid editors a related right you didn't ask for". So again, I see no evidence that the community has a position (for or against) on granting such rights to paid editors. Thryduulf (talk) 10:55, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Use multiple sentences that make clearer, severable statements. E.g., part of this parses as flat-out incorrect: "paid editing in relation to ... adminship, is a topic that remains ... divisive amongst the community" is not true. The community is solidly against this idea. See Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Should Wikipedians be allowed to use community granted tools in exchange for money? (will later get archived, probably in archive 139 or 140). Of the three editors opposing the addition of the proposed explicit rule against it, one supports in theory but things the draft wording is vague, and the other two are mistaking it for a statement against all paid editing (and one of these in the poll above the wording clarifies their !vote with a ?. It's a WP:SNOW otherwise.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:40, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Use of admin tools is indeed likely to be soon disallowed by written policy as per the RfC you linked to (some may argue the community has always generally been againt it), but whether admins can edit for pay at all (such as with a firewalled alt) remains a topic of strong disagreements. Most incoming Arbs have opined that it would be the only plausible way, but the exact policy and rules surrounding the idea are far, far from being agreed upon amongst the wider community. Ben · Salvidrim!  18:52, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposed remedies[edit]

Note: All remedies that refer to a period of time, for example to a ban of X months or a revert parole of Y months, are to run concurrently unless otherwise stated.

Salvidrim banned from paid editing[edit]

1) Salvidrim is indefinitely banned from engaging in any form of paid editing.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Paid editing by an admin isn't uniformly against policy (alas). Breaching COI regarding userrights and AfC reviews is against policy. I think that's reasonably accepted by all parties, though there's disagreement over how serious this specific set of instances is (hence the discussion about "patterns of poor judgement"). -- Euryalus (talk) 08:58, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
This isn;t a statement that all admins are banned from paid editing--that would be a separate statement. It's a statement that this particular person is, whether an admin or not. DGG ( talk ) 18:48, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
I'm like 99% something like this is justified and will be passed anyways. However I'd rather see this than a "paid editing TBAN" since I do think I can still contribute to discussions on the topic (and perhaps with a unique perspective, even) Ben · Salvidrim!  16:46, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't think the committee has the jurisdiction to do this. Paid editing is not banned by policy. The actions we are discussing here were caused by poor judgement in this regard, but I think that if this were passed it would be used as a way of getting around the larger administrator conduct issues. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:32, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Sure they can. They can pretty much impose any restriction on editing privileges, from a single-page-ban or one-way IBAN all the way to a full siteban. Ben · Salvidrim!  20:53, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
  • What would be way more meaningful would be a statement from you as to whether you intend to continue editing for pay, or whether you will stop, and if you want to keep your options open to restart in the future, what you will do before you start again (for example, get consensus that it is OK with people for you to have whatever bits/positions you have at that time and to edit for pay). As I noted elsewhere the problems all have arisen when people either didn't disclose that they were editing for pay commercially when they got whatever position of trust they had, or they started editing for pay after they got it. Jytdog (talk) 01:00, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I'm somewhat opposed to this as a remedy. For the most part you approached paid editing in all the right ways: you disclosed and were transparent about what you were doing. It's just that, like many paid editors, you failed to see that your financial conflict of interest clouded your judgement as to what would be uncontroversial, and then you skipped the queue on a couple of processes that are meant to catch that common pitfall. In my opinion banning you from paid editing outright is overreaching. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 19:52, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't really like this as a remedy, or anything else that singles you out. Either paid editing from an admin is acceptable or it isn't, and the remedy should be "pick one and give up the other". If the remedy is narrowly about you rather than about policy, we'll just be back here again next time someone else gets caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. Yes, Arbcom can't make policy, but what it can do is determine whether you actually breached the spirit of any existing policy. ‑ Iridescent 20:43, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
re "pick one and give up the other", I suspect a similar thought might have crossed the committee's mind but I still think it's worthy of evaluation because I could totally see them doing any combination of desysop+PE-ban, no-desysop+PE-ban or no-desysop+no-PE-ban or anything other sanction. Of course any remedy must follow naturally from whatever policy violations are first established in FoFs, you're right that the "policy violation allegations" must be settled first; but they could totally conclude that "paid editing by an admin without usage of admin tools isn't conclusively against policy" and still opt to desysop or PE-ban or whatever, one isn't absolutely reliant on the other. (At least IMO). Ben · Salvidrim!  20:53, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Disagree with this one. Should be a "pick one" remedy. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 15:05, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Not an okay direction to give someone, since neither disclosed paid editing nor earning a living by editing Wikipedia are against policy. Arbcom, despite its denials, operates using precedent all the time, and the community tends to take Arbcom decisions as essentially statements of policy. We have all kinds of people who do that, and many of them are recognized as making valuable contributions to the encyclopedia. There is a reason that editing for remuneration or other benefit is not banned, either locally or throughout Wikimedia projects. Risker (talk) 06:29, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
I just wanna make sure your comment isn't based on a misunderstanding -- this remedy concerns a specific restriction applied stricty to one user. If someone is abusing page moves, ArbCom (or the community) is perfectlyy able to apply restrictions forbidding them for moving pages. Same with stuff like "discussing WP:COSMETIC" or TBANs or IBANs -- none of the restricted actions are defined anywhere as against policy (if they were, there would be no point to apply a restriction)....... Ben · Salvidrim!  06:49, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
No misunderstanding on my part. I was on Arbcom for 5 years, and have followed it before and since. Arbcom repeatedly says that that it doesn't follow precedent, but it follows precedent on the overwhelming majority of its decisions, and its decisions have become project policy on a routine basis. That this is a proposed sanction against one user is irrelevant here; it is the precedent that will cause damage. Two years from now, such a precedent would very likely be used against someone whose "paid editing" activities are, in December 2017 terms, considered benign, and everyone will point to Arbcom banning editors from getting paid. It's happened before when the sanction was pointed at one person and was subsequently applied as a general position. If you're feeling guilty about it all, you can just promise not to do it any more - every edit you make for the next year is going to be scrutinized anyway. Weirdly enough....this case is not just about you. Risker (talk) 01:40, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I wish that Salvidrim! would just say that he will never engage in paid editing again, full stop, and have that as a finding of fact. I suppose there could then be a remedy that he will be sanctioned if he does not keep that promise. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:56, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I do not think that arbcom should be even remotely considering dictating how an editor earns their living. Thryduulf (talk) 19:27, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
This isn't about telling a user how to earn their living. It's about telling them how to edit. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:46, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
It's very much telling Salivdrim! that they may not earn any money from their Wikipedia activities, in any way. Restrictions like not accepting AFC drafts are telling him how to edit. Thryduulf (talk) 23:32, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
But Salvidrim! is the person who made this proposal, so I guess he's telling himself. This is why I said what I said about wishing he would just voluntarily state his future intentions. (And for that matter, God help anyone who depends upon editing here to put food on the table!) --Tryptofish (talk) 23:48, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
As Risker notes the precedent it sets is important, and I feel very strongly that specifying how someone should or should not earn money is not something that is or should ever be within ArbCom's remit. Thryduulf (talk) 11:12, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
I guess we just disagree about this, and about the enforcement proposal below. The Arbs can see both of our opinions and make their own decision. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:26, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Concur with Thryduulf. It wasn't paid editing that was the issue anyway, but misuse of admin tools in furtherance of that rather than of the project's goals.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:52, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Salvidrim restricted from accepting paid editor requests[edit]

2) Salvidrim is banned restricted from accepting requests made by paid editors, such as AfC, PERM, COI-edit-requests, unblock requests, REFUND.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
This is liable to require a bit more consideration but I see two reasons for this: (1) a way forward to continue as an admin (assuming there isn't a desysop, in which case this'd probably be obsolete) while reassuring the community that since I've demonstrated that I let myself mishandle by own COI, I should not be using adminship to help others who must also manage their COI, and also (2) this is specifically worded to continue allowing me to work as an SPI Clerk, UTRS Toolambassador, patrolling ESPs/EPs, PERM, AfC, etc. but only disallows approving paid editors' requests. Blocking paid sockfarms, declining unblocks of paid editors, hardblocking corp-spammers from UAA, etc. might still be fine since it couldn't be perceived as "aiding and abetting" (don't like that wording though) paid editors which is one thing the community has expressed concerns about. Ben · Salvidrim!  16:46, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Again, I think this is missing the point. I wouldn't oppose this, but the problems existed because Salv found ways around following policies and guidelines. If he were to do the same actions again, they'd be sanctionable with or without this ban, so it doesn't matter. There is no issue with him accepting an AfC draft of someone he has no connection to that is a paid editor. To me, this is a sanction without any real meaning because anything that would be objectionable Salv already can't do. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:44, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
This should probably spell out declared paid editors, or you could get in trouble later if you're found to have helped a non-obvious undeclared editor. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 21:01, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with SarekOfVulcan - you shouldn't be held responsible for someone else's failure to follow the rules. More generally I'm not certain whether this is necessary, but I don't oppose it. Thryduulf (talk) 19:33, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Salvidrim banned from accepting AfC drafts[edit]

3) Salvidrim is banned from accepting AfC drafts

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
This can be an alternative or complement to the above remedy or even alternative or complement to a desysop. I'm not sure if this would be justified since, other than the three articles involved here, there hasn't been any issues with any other of my AfC approvals (however few there are; latest would be Matthías Matthíasson), but still might be worth discussing. Ben · Salvidrim!  16:46, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't think this is a major issue because Salv never really reviewed AfC drafts that frequently to begin with. I wouldn't oppose it, but I also don't see it as a good alternative to the fundamental issues of trust and accountability to the community that are required of admins. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:37, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I'd change "accepting" to "reviewing". --Tryptofish (talk) 21:58, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
With Tryptofish's change, I agree with this as it is the heart of the problems. Thryduulf (talk) 19:44, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposed enforcement[edit]

Enforcement[edit]

1) The alternate account Salvidrim! (paid) is indefinitely blocked.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
The only reason I haven't done this myself already is because, out of an abundance of caution, I haven't used any admin tools anywhere near anything related to this case to avoid any appearance of impropriety or short-circuiting "the process". Ben · Salvidrim!  16:46, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Clarification that this would only be to enforce the above proposed "PE-ban" remedy (unless the committee comes up with a single-account-restriction but I don't think that's even in consideration here without undisclosed socking). Ben · Salvidrim!  21:16, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
My only comment is that I think the committee should not pay any attention to whether or not actions here would encourage or discourage paid editing disclosure. This case is about violations of local en.wiki policies and guidelines, not about promoting proper disclosure or discouraging paid editing. I have no opinion on this either way, but wanted to comment as I don't think Thryduulf's point here has any relevance. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:37, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I agree with this, and it gets pretty close to a statement that he intends never to engage in paid editing again. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:59, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Oppose. This gives the message that there is a problem with disclosing you are a paid editor, which is very much not the road we want to do down (per Deryck Chan's evidence). Thryduulf (talk) 19:43, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm not seeing that message here, although I understand why you say it. If the account had been undisclosed, it would be subject to blocking nonetheless, in fact even more so. There is a lot of discussion at other pages about whether restrictions on paid editing would just drive it underground, and there are lots of instances where that argument just isn't sufficient reason to say that we shouldn't make the restriction (although it's undeniably a factor that must be considered when contemplating any restriction). --Tryptofish (talk) 22:52, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
If the account was intentionally undisclosed (and not just through lack of knowledge that it needed to be) then it would be blocked as being in violation of our policy on undisclosed paid editing. Disclosed paid editing accounts cannot, by definition, be in violation of that policy. Likewise this account would be blocked if it were in violation of the sockpuppetry policy, but it is not. Paid editing will happen regardless of our policies on the matter - there is literally nothing we can do will change this short of locking the entire wiki. What we need to do is encourage that editing to be disclosed rather than undisclosed, and blocking this account (while not blocking Salvidrim! altogether, which nobody is suggesting) would not encourage that. Thryduulf (talk) 23:30, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Seriously, do you see any evidence that Salvidrim! wants to keep using that account? (This is not a proposal to block all alt paid accounts.) --Tryptofish (talk) 23:50, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Whether Salvidrim! wants to continue using this account is completely irrelevant to everything I've said above. Thryduulf (talk) 11:13, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm ambivalent as to whether Salvidrim bans his "(paid)" account and whether he should ever undertake any paid editing in the future. It's fine if Salvidrim wants to retire his "(paid)" account and block it. However, I don't want it to be an ArbCom resolution because (1) readers of Arb proceedings only see the remedy and not the rationale, so this may give the false impression that we're punishing disclosure as Thryduulf has said; and (2) it doesn't make sense for a trusted user to request ArbCom to restrict them, because they should be trusted to self-restrict. Deryck C. 14:02, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposals by User:DHeyward[edit]

Proposed principles[edit]

Transparency[edit]

1) Transparency, above all other considerations, is the fundamental backbone defining COI, sock/meat puppetry and administrative actions.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
This statement of principle doesn't make sense to me. These are three different things, in which "transparency" functions in different ways in each of them. Disclosure is essential for our process of managing COI for sure, along with prior review. We want people to voluntarily do both. Sock/meat puppetry is the action of being nontransparent - hiding a single person or hiding collusion. Yes administrative actions are automatically and involuntarily logged so they are auditable, and that is a form of transparency. Jytdog (talk) 16:37, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
That's incorrect. Declared socks are transparent. An administrator that grants his own declared sock advanced privileges is transparent both as a sock and as the administrator. If we are here because people disliked what transparency revealed, when all the requirements have been met, it goes against AGF to presume the acts were nefarious or counterproductive. Users face ridiculous admin actions every day but we assume their intentions, while ignorant, are in the best interest of the project. --DHeyward (talk) 19:31, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
There is no concern with the alt account being a "sock". That was a legit alt account. The SOCK issues in this case are MEAT, related to the corruption of the AFC process. It is unclear to me if you understand what is driving this particular case; it would be good if you would review the timeline at COIN if you haven't and if you really want to dig, please see the discussion at my talk page. It is clear that you are passionate about paid editing but paid editing per se is not the core issue of this case. Very locally it is unmanaged COI; more deeply it is about Salvidrim's poor judgement, of which the unmanaged COI over three weeks is the most recent. Salvidrim has fully acknowledged that he used bad judgement with respect to his COI. Jytdog (talk) 20:02, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I understand it and my points are that transparency is the cure and not part of the problem. Whatever behind the scenes collusion occurred, punishing an obvious declared sock is not an answer. It simply discourages future editos from creating declared socks. I'm also rather indifferent to paid editing, but I recognize that tangible benefits like future jobs, scholarships and college admissions are benefits. Anyone that is in a graded class to create articles is editing in their own interest. The better metric is whether the edits themselves improve the project.
No one is punishing Salvidrim for disclosing. Everyone is satisfied with that. Jytdog (talk) 00:54, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Nope. Transparency is far from the only concern with COI and admin actions, nor is it the primary one. It is one of many. I don't see this as being relevant to the case as this is not a case about a TOU violation, which is what requires disclosure. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:02, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I think there's confusion about the use of "sock" here. In practice and in policy, an alternate account becomes a sockpuppet only when it is used for an illegitimate purpose, otherwise an alternate account is not a sockpuppet. Properly disclosed and legitimate alternate accounts are just that, alternates; we also refer to them in practice as doppelgangers even though by the policy a doppelganger also has a similar username. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 18:59, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with this. Transparency is essential in almost everything we do as admins (the only exceptions are when it is important to avoid the Streisand effect when removing material that should not be on the site, but that is irrelevant to this case). Thryduulf (talk) 19:47, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

[edit]

1)"Paid editing" is nebulous. Many editors that edit Wikipedia use their employers or schools resources. Many have received attention for their editing that will make their way to job applications, resumes, and other benefits that have monetary value. In fact, we have Wikipedians that are so well-known they have their own article. It would likely to be difficult to find a WMF employee that didn't get hired in part through their commitment to Wikipedia. These are not imaginary benefits, they are tangible and have financial impact. From a self-interest COI, there is substantially no difference from accepting cash or other benefits simply for investing time in the project.

Comment by Arbitrators:
I've certainly observed before that "COI" or even "paid editing" can incorporate a number of gray areas. However, I think there is a consensus that a transaction in which an editor receives cash consideration from or on behalf of an entity with which he or she had no prior affiliation, to edit the article concerning that entity, is at the core of the concept of "paid editing." And this is true even though a (say) $10 payment is slight in the grand scheme of things. We can't administer a paid-editing policy at all if we can't identify even the clearest cases. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:42, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
To the extent that "paid editing" is relevant here, this is very clearly commercial paid editing. The COI guideline and the PAID policy both make very clear distinctions between GLAM/WIR paid editing and commercial paid editing. This is fighting some dead battle that was solved a long time ago in the practice of the community as well as in policies and guidelines. Jytdog (talk) 20:23, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I concur with Jytdog and NYB. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:03, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Disagree it's nebulous. The defining line is, "does someone else direct what or how you edit, in exchange for cash or similar value"? If you get a work/school computer than you can use as you like, and decide to use it to edit Wikipedia, that's not paid editing; you get value but not direction. If you then write an article about the Company or University that gave you the computer, that's a conflict of interest, since presumably you feel grateful, but not paid editing, unless the Company or University specifically told you to do it (there are plenty of conflicts of interest that don't involve paid editing, writing about your personal friends or foes for example). If you get famous for writing, that's again, not paid editing, because no one told you whether to write about topic X or topic Y, you could presumably get famous whatever you wrote about. If you're writing because you're hoping to get hired by a company, that's again a conflict of interest, but not paid editing unless the company told you to do it so you'd get hired. In this case, as Newyorkbrad writes, it's clear, the company said "write about us", with at least the strong implication (if not explicit statement) "and make us sound good"; but even in the general case, it's not nearly as nebulous as this proposal makes it sound. --GRuban (talk) 22:53, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I think the core of this proposal is that "paid editing" and "conflicts of interest" are overlapping but not identical concepts and it is the latter which is the problem not the former. In the simplest cases, paid editing is indeed simple to define and does generate a clear conflict of interest, but there are also many cases that are not simple and conflicts of interest are less easy to identify. For example controversial and unquestionably notable company A employs editor B in a role that doesn't involve editing Wikipedia. C, who is B's boss but not a senior manager, asks B to "keep an eye on" A's article and make sure it's free of vandalism. B does not get any extra money for doing this, and will not lose money if they do not do it (but may, or may perceive, that . Is B a paid editor? Do they have a greater conflict of interest regarding company A than any other employee does? Are they acting independently of C if they remove an uncited claim that company A's CEO kills kittens? I think the decision needs to reflect that while the type of paid editing and resulting COI involved in this case is simple that this is not always the case and that grey areas do exist. The idea being to discourage this decision being seen as applicable to every case involving paid editing. Thryduulf (talk) 20:21, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Agree that paid editing is a simpler bright line, it's one of the more obvious kinds of conflict of interest. Just working for company A is a sufficient CoI that you shouldn't remove anything but the most obvious vandalism on an article about company A. But it does get more nebulous - what if your uncle works for company A? What if your uncle's hairdresser's third cousin's boyfriend works for company A? (At this level we would all have some CoI in every article.) Fortunately we don't have to decide all CoI issues here, just the paid editing ones. Which are, thankfully, simpler. --GRuban (talk) 19:34, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
The simple cases of paid editing are indeed simple, but "paid editing" doesn't simply mean "receiving money to edit Wikipedia" as the way the term is commonly used it generally excludes those people paid by GLAM organisations (as just one example). Where the line is drawn between someone being paid to add content to Wikipedia on behalf of a GLAM to increase exposure of and access to its resources and someone being paid to add content to Wikipedia on behalf of a company to increase exposure of and access to its resources is nowhere near as clear cut as the hardline anti-paid editors would have you believe. Just like conflicts of interest are shades of grey, so are the forms of paid editing, so are the actions of paid editors, so are the motivations of paid editors. Thryduulf (talk) 21:17, 18 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposed findings of fact[edit]

Conduct was transparent[edit]

1) At no time did Salvidrim act in a manner that was not transparent. This is fundamental in determining whether his actions are sanctionable.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Mm. Some might argue that much of the transparency was well after the fact - for example in relation to offwiki communication re the AfC review. It's also possible to be transparent and in breach of policies like COI and tool misuse, though the transparency on the latter is certainly a mitigating factor. -- Euryalus (talk) 23:43, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
It would be counterproductive to declare that COI can exist with transparency. We rely on transparency to enforce COI and using transparency against an editor breaches AGF. Likewise, punishing transparent use of tools is counterproductive when the violation only depends on the relationship the admin has with the target. We allow mistakes and it's a serious breach of AGF to punish transparency. --DHeyward (talk) 12:23, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
note, replied to this below, in the "comments by parties" section, and that was in turn replied to Jytdog (talk) 18:17, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Yea, maybe at best this could be worded more like "made a good faith attempt to act with transparency (...)" or something similar because I'm sure most would agree that the AfC collusion was specifically a failure of transparency and due process. Ben · Salvidrim!  23:47, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by Jytdog:
Not supportable. The citing of the AfCs first at JJMC89's talk page (diff) where he wrote After you initially tagged the two articles with maintenance templates I negotiated their return to draftspace by talking with their creator (who turned out to be a paid editor as I suspected and I got him to disclose that fact properly as well) so that they could go through the AfC process and be reviewed for neutrality and notability before being published in order to avoid vague, lingering tags. I noticed you have re-added both notability tags but still without explaining what issues you may believe the pages have. Please revert the vague unexplained tags or even better, post your detailed analysis and concerns on the respective talk pages so that they articles can be improved this week and cease being tainted by unexplained maintenance tags. and then at each of the AfDs (diff, diff) where he wrote the same thing at each one the original request was "what can you do to get these maintenance tags off the article?" and such maintenance clean up is desirable overall for the project -- my solution was (1) get the original UPE creator to disclose correctly and (2) send the articles back to AfC to be reviewed, and if found acceptable, approved to mainspace without tags.
And in those AfDs Salvidrim also cited his "integrity" (diff) and said I hold Wikipedia's policies in the highest possible regard and would never dream of bullshitting diff).
... all done when he knew that the AfC was not any kind of true "peer review" as is obvious and as we all now know hat Salvidrim and Soetermans knew, due to the disclosed messenger chat.
The exact strategy to get the paid task done, was executed with a corrupt tactic that Salvidrim tried to gloss over with bullshit about his integrity. I think Salvidrim believed his own bullshit, but that is another matter.
Likewise, Salvidrim's first response to me when I directly asked him about Soetermans' doing the AfC reviews was Nothing to add to what you've said. (diff). This too was not transparent and was bullshit. Likewise every response he gave me that day. (the "transparency" came the next day, after I had figured out what had gone on, more or less)
Outside of that, the fact that Salvidrim was editing for pay was disclosed which is a form of transparency. Doing the paid edits with the labelled-paid account was also a form of transparency. I have not actually gone to look, to see if Salvidrim did edits with his normal account that were part of the paid work. (the edits on DGG's talk page here were made from Salvidrim's normal account, and in my view should have been made with the paid account, but whatever).
But the proposed statement is not supportable. Something like "Salvidrim disclosed that he was editing for pay" is supportable. Jytdog (talk) 05:09, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
DHeyward gad zoiks. about your comment here. If Salvidrim had allowed his declared COI to be managed and had not colluded on the AfCs we would not be here. This has nothing - and I mean nothing - to do with "punishing transparency". If you have followed what I have done here, I was ready to let this go until Salvidrim dug in heels and refused to submit to RfA to confirm the community's trust, when it was very clear that people were ready to file an Arbcom case if he didn't. For all I know the community would have confirmed him and I would probably !voted to confirm as well. We will never know now. Jytdog (talk) 19:34, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
My comment was meant mostly as rubbutal to your assertion that socks are not transparent. If Salvadrim created a sock for paid editing and says so, that is transparent. The sock is not a COI breach in and of itself. Neither was his granting the sock advanced permissions a COI. This is similar to a bot account being created and granted permission to run willy-nilly over the encyclopedia. The concern isn't the permissions or the bot account as both are allowed. Whether the admin acted with due diligence or competence is different than a blanket finding that socks are inherently not transparent. really, what I would like to know is if this case required Barney Fife or Sherlock Holmes to solve. I'm not worried if it was Barney Fife that solved the plain and obvious but would be concerned if it took Sherlock Holmes. --DHeyward (talk) 20:08, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Nobody has called the alt account a "sock". That is just barking up the wrong tree. Socks are hidden, invalid alt accounts created to avoid scrutiny. Nobody is saying that the "paid" account was created to avoid scrutiny. Nobody. About granting permissions to the alt account, I think you are the only person who does not see that as unmanaged COI. Jytdog (talk) 20:19, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Thryduulf below. This finding of fact would not serve a purpose. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:04, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Agree with Jytdog: as worded, this is unsupportable. First, it should be worded in the affirmative (as in "Salvidrim! acted in a manner that was transparent"), and second, the "this is fundamental" bit is not a finding of fact, it's an opinion about process. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:25, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Jytdog said it best. The off-wiki draft/AFC collusion was the very opposite of transparent. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 20:08, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Remind me again, how is off-wiki collusion between paid editors "transparent"? Guy (Help!) 00:15, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Salvidrim! has sometimes acted with full transparency, sometimes with partial transparency (whatever the intent), and sometimes without transparency. I don't think therefore that a finding about his transparency in general is useful. Thryduulf (talk) 20:27, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposals by User:Jytdog[edit]

Proposed principles[edit]

Expectations of admins[edit]

1) Administrators are expected to use the tools with careful judgment and to lead by example, are accountable to the community, and are meant to be extremely careful with the security of their accounts. Administrators serve the community.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
I think this is important, and the right approach to take. I would suggest, however, framing it in terms of WP:ADMINACCT. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:02, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Is there any question that the security of Salvidrim!'s account has been (potentially) compromised (I don't recall any)? If not I would remove that clause as irrelevant. The rest I agree with. Thryduulf (talk) 20:32, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I would remove that part too. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:54, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Imp. point.Agree completely, except on the issue of security.Winged BladesGodric 09:09, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

2) Administrators who seriously, or repeatedly, act in a problematic manner or have lost the trust or confidence of the community may be sanctioned or have their administrator rights removed.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
Fairly standard. Thryduulf (talk) 20:32, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Protections for admins[edit]

3) The community has intentionally created a fairly high bar to remove administrative privileges in order to protect administrators who make difficult decisions in the course of serving the community.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:

SPI clerks[edit]

4) SPI clerks are are editors with proven experience and judgment of English Wikipedia policy and practice, especially in the area of sock puppetry and are expected to show a high standard of mature and thoughtful behavior within Wikipedia.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
Endorse. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:25, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't really like this one. What happened is very far removed from using multiple accounts, or anything that SPI would investigate. (Consider: checkuser would not have been useful.) Better to have a principle about WP:CANVASS. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:05, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
What Tryptofish said. Drmies (talk) 18:57, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I too agree with Trypotofish. See also my comments elsewhere re SPI. Thryduulf (talk) 20:34, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Volunteer response team membership[edit]

5) OTRS is administered on meta. Access to OTRS is given to volunteers in all projects who are sufficiently trusted to give courteous and knowledgeable replies.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
I don't see this as at all relevant. Arbcom has no jurisdiction over Meta or OTRS, and the actions in this case have nothing to do with either Meta or OTRS, and there has been no evidence presented that call into question Salvidrim!'s courtesy or knowledge (only his judgement). Further, it is entirely possible for the same user to be trusted on one project but not on another - for example there are multiple cases of users banned on en.wp being administrators in good standing at Commons. Thryduulf (talk) 20:35, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
His knowledge of WP:COI has been definitely found to be lacking but as I stated a few days back, in a related case, IMO, OTRS is almost entirely out of purview of ArbCom unless there's some highly serious actions including the likes of bans et al and there needs to be a conveyance of basic facts to the OTRS sysops etc.Winged BladesGodric 09:07, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Conflict of interest[edit]

6) Managing conflict of interest is essential in knowledge-publishing institutions throughout the world, including Wikipedia, in order to retain the public's trust.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
Yes, this is central to the case. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:06, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, what Tryptofish said. Thryduulf (talk) 20:41, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

7) Managing conflict of interest in Wikipedia is challenging, due to the open nature of the project, our deep respect for privacy, and the diversity of views in the editing community on how to maintain the integrity of Wikipedia content. We rely on editors voluntarily complying with WP's conflict management procedures, namely disclosure and prior review.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
What is COI? If an editor contributes in such a way that they receive a paid job from their editing, is that a COI? Should we forbid listing wikipedia editing from school entrance applications or job application's or resume/CV's? What about editors seeking employment with WMF or using their corporate computers, networks and cell phones? Who declares such things so they can be managed? --DHeyward (talk) 20:17, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Answering your second question only. Yes - COI means having an external interest that conflicts with one's obligations to pursue WP's mission and edit according to the policies and guidelines, including PROMO, NPOV, and the sourcing guidelines. Commercial clients hire paid editors in order to market/promote themselves or their products. Commercial paid editors want to get paid - so two layers of external interest. I talked with JacobMW who owns Mister Wiki and he was very clear (when we started talking, which was well after he had engaged Soetermans and Salvidrim and they had started working) that his goal was 100% to promote his clients - to him, Wikipedia was (and perhaps still is) a vital platform for promotion. That was not even a little ambiguous. I recommend you talk with clueful commercial paid editors like MaryGaulke or FacultiesIntact about the negotiations they have to have with their clients and how many they turn away because the client will not understand what they, as Wikipedia editors, can and cannot even try to do in WP. Those are both clueful paid editors who are a tiny minority. I have talked with lots of paid editors and listened to them.
I will say again that both Soetermans and Salvidrim have acknowledged that they acted in their clients' and their own interest and not in Wikipedia's.
The other stuff you are raising is all irrelevant to the core issues around commercial paid editing in Wikipedia. Jytdog (talk) 20:40, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
The second question was about editing in a way that attracts personal gain. There are many. They edit wikipedia in a way that benefits them, but everyone edits for their own personal reasons. How many WMF employees are there that have never edited Wikipedia? How many WMF editors have been banned from Wikipedia? I suspect their jobs included a review of their edits and standing in the community, if only because they attempte gain by referencing it in their resume. That's a COI in your broad definition but it's unsupportable in the real world. They don't have jobs without Wikipedia yet they continue to improve it despite your interpretation that such financially self-serving activity is a COI. --02:56, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
The "analysis" you are doing is silly. Conflicted editors tend to edit badly - promotionally, with bad or no sources, leaving negative content out (or the flip side if their COI is driving negative editing). It always starts with content. It ends with content. In the middle, is disclosing and prior review. It is way less complicated than you are making it. Jytdog (talk) 03:29, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Except you are only dealing with the subset of COI that you are interested in, not the entirety of things that full under your (or anyone else's) definition of COI. Thryduulf (talk) 20:46, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Volunteer time[edit]

8) Volunteer time is the lifeblood of Wikipedia.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Like Tryptofish I don't see the need for this either. Drmies (talk) 18:58, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
Not needed. Anything that reaches ArbCom has already taken up too much volunteer time, and this case much less so than most. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:08, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Agree with Tryptofish. Thryduulf (talk) 20:47, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Whilst true, I don't understand the relevancy.So, agree with Tryptofish and hence, it's not needed.Winged BladesGodric 09:02, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposed findings of fact[edit]

Made admin[edit]

1) Salvidrim! was granted access to administrative tools via his RfA in 2013.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
Relevant. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:09, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Highly relevant.Winged BladesGodric 09:01, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Granted OTRS access[edit]

2) Salvidrim! was granted access to OTRS on meta in July 2015

Comment by Arbitrators:
I suppose this goes to "trust", but again, meh. Drmies (talk) 18:59, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
Not relevant. Just focus on the actual use of admin tools. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:10, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
OTRS is completely irrelevant to this case. Thryduulf (talk) 11:18, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Agree that OTRS is irrelevant.Winged BladesGodric 07:47, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Confirmed as SPI clerk[edit]

2) Salvidrim! was confirmed as an SPI clerk in July 2015

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
Not relevant. WP:KISS. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:11, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Once again, SPI is not relevant to this case. Thryduulf (talk) 20:48, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Same as OTRS.Not relevant.There may be some aspects of contrast of his clerkship with his meat-puppeting but that doesn't convince me.Winged BladesGodric 07:48, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Account compromise[edit]

4) Salvidrim! allowed his account to be compromised in November 2015, although he had been warned to improve his password.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Does not appear relevant. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:23, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
This is looking for nails at low tide. Drmies (talk) 19:00, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
I reiterate that the "he had been warned to improve his password before being compromised" bit is a specific claim of specific negligence that needs to be supported by diffs in evidence, which still isn't the case. Ben · Salvidrim!  07:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I've struck the end of this for now. User:Beeblebrox in your evidence you mentioned . This was after a previous wave of admin accounts being compromised, after which all admins were urged to strengthen their passwords, but this advice was clearly not heeded. Can you please link to that? Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 15:46, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
This looks like throwing mud at the wall and has nothing to do with this case.--v/r - TP 15:24, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
It is one step in a series of carelessness/bad judgements. Jytdog (talk) 15:29, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Mmm, I'll let Arbcom be the judge but these seems a lot like digging up every mistake that anyone could make, and no one else is blamed for, to "throw mud" to try to improve a weak argument. Your argument looks stronger without it. With it, it looks like you're trying too hard.--v/r - TP 16:05, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm kind of with TP on this one, but on the other hand it was brought up on the evidence page that the incident represents part of a pattern of misjudgement, and that pattern may make its way into a finding or remedy. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 20:07, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Agree with TP. Even the wording seems to be a passive/aggressive statement. As far as I can tell, the compromise occured after a hack external to wikipedia. I've yet to see an exploitation to be foisted upon the victim. "Actress X allowed her personal account selfies to be compromised" is not an attribution I've ever heard. No one "allows" any such thing. --DHeyward (talk) 00:33, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
You are taking an... interesting stance here. So - in the WP:ADMIN policy, admins are warned to use very strong passwords and not to use the password anywhere else. If you go back and read what happened, you will see that Salvidrim! was using the same password here as he used at another site, that was hacked. Because he uses his real name everywhere, a white hat hacker was able to see what WP account was his, and tried the stolen-then-published password, and was able to access his admin account. Salvidrim, by using the same password here as he uses elsewhere, and by using his real name everywhere, allowed his account here to be compromised. This is not ambiguous. This apparently happened not too long after a similar incident, according to Beelblebrox, when all admins were freshly warned to secure their admin accounts.
If arbcom does not want to look at a broader pattern of carelessness, that is their call. That is a different matter. Jytdog (talk) 00:46, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Listen, of course what you said makes sense, but I just want to insure accuracy -- WP:ADMIN does not mention "not using the password anywhere else" as you say it does. Nor does WP:STRONGPASS (which was created after my account was compromised). FWIW, I think it should and agree that it is a basic security concept, but I think it's important that statements such as "policy X says Y" must not be inaccurate. Ben · Salvidrim!  00:58, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
you are correct so struck. But as you said yes, this is common sense. Jytdog (talk) 14:48, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
This seems to me to be too trivial to include in the decision. I understand the argument about what we expect of admins, but it just isn't needed. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:13, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Pretty much Drmies.And, using common passwords etc. do not raise to the point of mis-judgement.Keep the case confined to his paid-editor cum admin saga.Winged BladesGodric 07:51, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

RfB[edit]

5) At his RfB in July 2017, Salvidrim! expressed a lack of seriousness about the privileges he was seeking to gain, and disreputable off-WP behavior of Salvidrim! was discussed, each of which led to failure of the RfB.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Does not appear relevant. Certainly a perceived "lack of seriousness" is not. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:23, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
As before, and it begs the question of interpretation, point of view, etc. If there is a case against Salvidrim, it need not depend on ... well, mud thrown at the wall. Drmies (talk) 19:01, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
It does not seem relevant to me either DGG ( talk ) 00:21, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
In response to the "meh"s, a reason to de-sysop is a pattern of bad judgement. It is hard to say there is a pattern if people take the individual instances and say "meh". This happened just the summer and was careless/casual from the self-nomination onwards. Jytdog (talk) 02:17, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
TParis. What I just said. I understand that you want nothing to happen here. Jytdog (talk) 02:31, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
This looks like throwing mud at the wall and has nothing to do with this case.--v/r - TP 15:24, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Nope. You are not following the argument this whole series of things is making. There has been a series of careless, self-serving actions culminating in the three week trainwreck while he worked for Mister Wiki and then his fateful "statement". Putting himself in that situation of conflict of interest, put him to the test, and things became clear that were not so clear before. It is exactly in difficult situations where following the spirit of the policies and guidelines is even more important, and when one's ability to judge well, is really made clear. The RfB and password incidents look different now. Jytdog (talk) 18:28, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I actually have followed it. That you spent more time talking about other issues about the case rather than the RfB pretty much seals my opinion that this is just throwing mud and hoping to make the original case stronger. You might honestly think it's relevant but that's because you're deeply invested in the case.--v/r - TP 18:53, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I have tried to make it clear, in everything I have written here, at my Talk page, and at COIN, that this case is about Salvidrim!'s poor judgement (and as my thinking developed, about whose interests he has been serving, which is related to his poor judgement here in WP). I am being entirely consistent and honest in that. It is not about paid editing. Others think it is. Jytdog (talk) 19:12, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Eh, your argument isn't helped by the title of the case. If the case were opened about Salvidrim! specifically, it'd be easier to discuss broader judgement issues. In this case, the primary issue is collusive paid editing and an admin that used his permissions related to that. That's a serious issue by itself and injecting this just muddies it. Like I said above, I think the case is stronger without these two proposals.--v/r - TP 19:36, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes I realize what the case was entitled. As I said on the evidence page I am emphasizing Point #3 of the scope. Jytdog (talk) 20:15, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: You've got the process wrong. We don't come to a conclusion and then try to dig up support for it. We develop findings of fact and then develop remedies based off of them. If the findings of fact don't support the remedies, then the remedy shouldn't exist. We don't conclude the remedy is required and then get upset when the evidence is declared to be weak. That's backwards.--v/r - TP 02:27, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: This side position probably belongs on the talk page since we're moving on a tangent away from the FoF, but, it's not that I want nothing done. It's that I want the right thing done. I've already expressed my opinions to Salv privately and they're more supportive of your position than you might realize.--v/r - TP 03:14, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
I really dislike this one. We have to be careful about setting an expectation that users should not make applications for permissions in case they made a mistake in applying. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:15, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Utterly irrelevant and, per Tryptofish, possibly harmful. Thryduulf (talk) 20:51, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Agree with Thryduulf and Tryptofish.The primary scope of the case is sufficient enough.We don't need to load our slingshots with every variety of mud to side-bolster the case and turn this into some sort of character-assasination of Salvidrim, as Iri has pointed out.KISS applies.Winged BladesGodric 07:55, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Voluntarily entered into commercial conflict of interest after being made admin[edit]

6) In the fall ofOctober 2017, Salvidrim! voluntarily entered into a relationship with the commercial paid editing firm, Mister Wiki to edit Wikipedia on behalf of Mister Wiki and its clients, which put him in a conflict of interest, specifically between his obligation to pursue Wikipedia's mission and to follow and enforce community policies and guidelines on the one hand, and on the other, the commercial interests of Mister Wiki's clients and his own financial interest.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Mildly, it's not "fall" everywhere. -- Euryalus (talk) 10:06, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
"Fall of 2017" should be refined to "on October 22nd, 2017" (supported by private evidence, my e-mails with Jacob were submitted to ArbCom, including the very first contact), which is especially relevant when trying to evaluate the actions that have been taken againt policy that was and still is in the middle of fluid discussions and evolution. After having spent so much time on the timeline, I'm sure you can appreciate the importance of timing. The first contact was an e-mail dated October 22nd, 10:40 EDT. Ben · Salvidrim!  07:06, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Corrected to "October". If arbcom wants to go with the exact date they can do that of course. Jytdog (talk) 14:52, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
This is way to broad. If such a statement were true, there would never be out-of-court settlements as trial is much more lucrative for an attorney that bills by the hour. The presumption should be be that a Wikipedia editor/admin is always looking out for the project and would not accept a job that conflicts with that primary obligation even if it means they may not earn money. The presumption of conflict might be a "best practices" but it is not, in and of itself evidence of COI --DHeyward (talk) 00:48, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I added a "clarification" but it is obvious that if you don't edit, you don't get paid. The hyperbole is getting thick. You are ignoring the fact that all three articles involved in the corrupt AfCs have been deleted for failing N and Salvidrim even retracted his keep !votes at the AfDs after he started to awaken to his own COI. Jytdog (talk) 04:37, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Did Mr Wiki only have those three articles? Was Salvadrim able to choose which articles to work on? AGF would presume he added articles beneficial to both. I've had articles deleted that I thought should be kept. My reasons for keeping aren't out of line with the interests of Wikipedia. Being overruled doesn't equate with being nefarious. --DHeyward (talk) 14:03, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
You are confusing "bad judgement due to being in a conflicted situation" with "nefarious". What was the more problematic bad judgement was purposefully ignoring the COI management process, thinking he was somehow unaffected by this very basic human thing. You know, Salvidrim used to have the same Position as you and talk almost exactly like you before this all happened, as he did here in 2016 and even here while he was in the midst of this. His position now is of course on his userpage (an update from the prior version). It is almost like he is talking to you in the current version with his picking up of "nefarious" -- you are the only person who has used that word on this page.Jytdog (talk) 14:24, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I use "nefarious" all the time so you are reading WAY too much. We allow "bad judgement." We don't allow "nefarious." Punishment for simply having bad judgement has a much higher ar than nefarious. It seems to me that while couching "paid editing" as "bad judgement," you are really trying to say "paid editing" is "nefarious." It comes through in the remedies section quite different than what is in the findings of fact. --DHeyward (talk) 21:57, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Unmanaged COI generally causes problems with content and behavior. I do not believe that paid editing is "nefarious" or anything like that. If you do care what I think please read my userpage. Jytdog (talk) 23:24, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
"Voluntarily" goes without saying, but some version of this is important to include. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:17, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
This is much too broad. Editing in the interests of a commercial firm and/or its clients certainly gives you a conflict of interest, but the interests of the company and/or clients are not necessarily at odds with the mission of Wikipedia. Even if the interests are not the same, it is possible for them to align or overlap. Where interests are the same it is still possible to have disagreements on whether a given thing does or does not support those interests (for example commenters at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/WingtraOne all (presumably) agree that it is in Wikipedia's interest to have articles about notable aircraft, but they disagree about whether this is one or not). Thryduulf (talk) 21:03, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Some slightly-nuanced version of this (without giving some sort of automatic impression that every paid-editor is standing up against Wikipedia's mission, which is yet to gain community consensus) needs to be included very clearly.Winged BladesGodric 07:59, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Granting privileges to alt account[edit]

7) Salvidrim! created an alternative "paid" account through which he intended to do his paid work, and used his administrative tools to grant privileges to the "paid" account.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Salvidrim, if in other proposals I criticized the proposer for including relatively minor or irrelevant things in order to build a case with mud, then the same applies here. Drmies (talk) 19:05, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Thoroughness can't be done halfway -- this should specify which user-rights were granted (confirmed, rollback, reviewer, page mover), only the latter of which was used for paid editing and the use of which has proven controversial in later discussions. Might also be worth mentioning here or later that I myself reverted the granting of these user-rights once questioned about them (except for confirmed, which was removed earlier by a patroller since the account became autoconfirmed). Ben · Salvidrim!  07:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
This is important. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:18, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
If this is to be included then it should be split into two findings of fact. Creating an alternative account to use for paid editing is absolutely the correct thing to do (if one is going to engage in paid editing of course), and "Salvidrim! (paid)" is a very good example of how to name such an account. Using admin tools to grant privileges (certainly anything greater than confirmed) to that account however is a very good example of what not to do. Thryduulf (talk) 21:08, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Thrydulff has elaborated very clearly.Granting Confirmed was good but granting the rest of flags was just damn worse.Winged BladesGodric 08:02, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Unmanaged COI[edit]

8) Salvidrim! did not permit the community to manage his conflict of interest as described in the COI guideline, but instead edited in mainspace directly, and used the privileges of his paid account to move pages, all without submitting content or move proposals to the community for independent prior review.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
I think it's fair to replace "described" with a more accurate and exact representation of policy, such as "recommended". Ben · Salvidrim!  07:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
COI is a guideline, which are ""best practices that are supported by consensus. Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply". The COI guideline says "you are strongly discouraged from editing affected articles directly.". We expect admins to have WP:CLUE. We expect admins to lead by example. Jytdog (talk) 07:11, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, the COI version at the time before the more recent discusions said in its lede "COI editors are generally advised not to edit affected articles directly, and to propose changes on talk pages instead." and in its body "If you receive or expect to receive compensation (money, goods or services) for your contributions to Wikipedia, you must declare that, and should put edits through peer review instead of editing articles directly", and "you are very strongly discouraged from editing affected articles directly". The ongoing discussion (not RfC tagged) is at Wikipedia talk:Paid-contribution disclosure#Proposed RfC on adding prior review (wherein I've actually supported strengthening policy to require prior review instead of strongly recommending it, as is currently the case). I still think "described" above should be replaced with the more accurate "(strongly) recommended". When relaying the current policies, using the same words instead of trying to find creative synonyms can be a benefit to exactitude. :) Ben · Salvidrim!  07:24, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
The part I quoted has been there a long time. You had not actually thought through what COI is, what it does, or how it is managed before you put yourself in a conflicted situation. You have already acknowledged that almost every decision you made while you were conflicted was incorrect. You even backed off your defense of the notability of the two articles at AfD. diff, diff. Jytdog (talk) 07:34, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Yup there's no disagreement on what you just said :) Ben · Salvidrim!  07:47, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Which account/s were used to edit mainspace articles? --DHeyward (talk) 01:02, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
This is important. It should be reworded, however. It's not about the community managing anything, but about adhering to the guideline. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:20, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Concur with Trptofish's proposed changes.That Salvidrim heavily dis-regarded WP:COI is very clear-cut.Winged BladesGodric 08:04, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Thwarting AfC process[edit]

9) Salvidrim! coordinated off-WP with Soetermans to pass three articles through AfC on behalf of Mister Wiki, a task for which Soetermans intended to be paid for one, and Salvidrim! for two. All three articles were subsequently deleted via AfD discussions. These actions violated the spirit and letter of the COI guideline and the purpose of WP:AFC, and were somewhere between WP:GANG and WP:MEAT/WP:CANVASS behavior.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
amended. am now fine calling this MEAT. Jytdog (talk) 19:03, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
User:TParis, actually the people I am aware of who are the loudest about hating paid editing do almost no work at COIN (that includes those who have hounded you). The people who do the bulk of the work there don't have time for that sort of grandstanding as there is so much work to do cleaning things up. When I do work there, or work that I do more quietly without escalating to COIN, I make sure that any edits I make to articles comply with the content and policies and guidelines, and I believe that other people who do work on the ground there, also carefully follow them.
Along with getting conflicts of interest properly disclosed and educating people, a big part of the work at COIN is to do the "review" step of the COI management process when conflicted or paid editors directly edit and skip that step. So yes, it is true that conflicted edits get reviewed there with the COI (or APPARENTCOI) in mind. That is an essential community function. Some people take that work as some kind of attack or "criticism" but it is part of standard COI management. It happens every day around the world when scientific manuscripts are peer reviewed prior to publication, with disclosed conflicts of interest of authors in mind. And I do think that when Salvidrim wrote about avoiding COIN, he exactly did want to avoid review of the edits with the COI in mind. This happened anyway, since the paid nature of the original article and of Salvidrim's advocacy were both disclosed and discussed in the AfDs.
What review at COIN means concretely, is looking out for puffery, looking out for unsourced content, looking out for padding with low quality refs, looking out for omission of negative content (which means going and looking for independent refs and seeing what they say), and considering whether the article is really notable. There is an essay in development discussing hallmarks of PR: WP:Identifying PR. Sometimes we nominate articles for deletion if notability is marginal, which provides an additional process of community review. Things like that. Jytdog (talk) 17:47, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • User:Tryptofish Thanks for bringing up the CANVASS issue. I agree and I have added that above. What Ivanvector wrote above about the PlikoraT situation reads directly on this too, however -- it is also MEAT. Wrong when looked at through several lens, yes. Jytdog (talk) 19:08, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Only want to clarify the timeline because I think the implications matter. The two Studio71 execs' articles were tagged in mainspace, at which time Salv's first interactions with both were moving them to draftspace and removing the maintenance tags, and it appears it was only after that point that Soetermans offered his "quid pro quo" review although that's an offline conversation. As such it may be that Soetermans was not aware that the articles had been tagged at all. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 20:15, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
User:Ivanvector, in the facebook chatlog in which Salvidrim and Soetermans agreed that Soetermans would do the AfC review on the articles about the two executives, Salvidrim! wrote The whole point of moving them back to draftspace was so they could be afc-okayed and mainspaced again without the NPOV tags without having to go through COIN. I never noticed the last bit there about avoiding COIN. Makes the evasion of scrutiny even more clear. Jytdog (talk) 21:04, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
It probably won't be worth much for you even if I say this, but I meant to avoid COIN not to "avoid the community's eyes" but to "avoid asking for a neutrality review from a notoriously anti-paid-editing venue" -- of course, that doesn't mean it was a good or acceptable idea anyways, but I just thought I'd clarify my intentions. Ben · Salvidrim!  21:16, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
The value judgement that WP:COIN is "a notoriously anti-paid-editing venue" would benefit from being backed up with evidence. If COIN is predisposed to rejecting paid edits, it is just as easily argued that this results from paid edits being notoriously non-neutral. It may be worthwhile for this case to examine the situation. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:28, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
What kind of evidence would you like? Do you want to see diffs of editors who hang out at COIN and WT:COI make comments that would display a predisposition against paid editing such as "Wikipedia is no place for any paid editor...ever"? Or do you want to see diffs of hyperbolic and non-AGF accusations about other editors beliefs and desires? Because both of that exists, some even on this page. And was refactored after some good discussion, thankfully.--v/r - TP 16:53, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Perhaps you're right, it could've been my involvement that drew them that times I've looked there.--v/r - TP 18:39, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
@TParis: well, yes. If there are a few editors that hang out there and try to work against accepting any editing that appears to be paid, they're working outside our current consensus on paid editing and they should be kicked out. If the issue is that COIN itself is set up as unduly biased against all paid editing, that's a different kind of problem and one that should be urgently fixed. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 21:18, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Those people are mostly at WT:COI, not WP:COIN. It is at WT:COI where TParis has encountered them and I believe that TParis will confirm that. Jytdog (talk) 21:25, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Jytdog would know better than me, I'll defer to his recollection on this. I might just strike my comments.--v/r - TP 23:09, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Which accounts were used here for article creation? --DHeyward (talk) 01:05, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Well, technically the Datari Turner draft was created by Jlauren22 (whose only edits this was), then expanded & resubmitted to AfC by Soetermans and we colluded for me to approve them (prior to my involvement in paid editing); Reza Izad and Dan Weinstein (business executive) were created by WolvesS straight in mainspace as undisclosed paid editing directly for Studio71. Later, Studio71 hired Jacob from MisterWiki to have the articles cleaned up, and Jacob in turn hired me for that mandate. First I got in touch with WolvesS and ensured he properly disclosed his paid editing, then I moved the articles to draftspace and submitted them without change for AfC, and colluded with Soetermans so that he would approve them to mainspace, again without changes. Ben · Salvidrim!  01:17, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
This is important, but more about WP:CANVASS (albeit mutual) than WP:MEAT. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:23, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Hi, thanks. About the balance between CANVASS and MEAT, I'm aware that some Arbs may feel that MEAT, as it exists, is too nebulous to use here, and I figure it's best to leave it up to them how they end up constructing this. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:27, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

Citing his integrity and reputation even while citing thwarted AfCs[edit]

10) Salvidrim! specifically cited his integrity, reputation, and respect for Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, even as he cited the corrupt AfC process, in two AfD discussions, and he cited the AfC at the Talk page of an independent editor who had tagged the two articles when he asked for the tags to be removed or discussed.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
First I got neckdeep into the paid editing swamp... then went fully underwater with this fuckup. Holy shit how blind to my own failure was I. Nothing to add but a statement of my shame here.. Ben · Salvidrim!  07:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Not to pile on, but I agree this actually might be one of the bigger problems. A lot of the perceived "power" of being an admin comes from the trust the community places in admins, and trading off of that trust to influence discussions and sway them in a way a client would prefer is in many ways equally as concerning as any potential misuse of tools. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:38, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • User:Tryptofish, about your second remark. (note, I will follow just one of the two AfDs here, he wrote the same in both). Salvidrim first cited his reputation, integrity, etc in response to the deletion rationale, which was There is a lack of independent in-depth coverage of Izad himself to establish notability. Izad is mentioned in routine coverage and has been interviewed as a company exec about the company he works for. The article was paid for by Studio71. That is not criticism in any way that I understand it. His reply is here, and addressed the notability concern and also included (Disclosure, I was asked by a Studio71 contractor to try to cleanup the article, but I would not compromise my integrity and defend any article which I do not believe honestly meets Wikipedia's inclusion policies.. The next comment at AfD was I have grave concerns about a properly declared paid editor defending an article at AfD. This is a very strong COI and I would strongly urge the closing admin to disregard the keep argument above (which is reasonable about the structure of the situation, and not at all personal) and in response to that, Salvidrim dug deeper in discussing his personal integrity and his admin status, here where he wrote Thanks for pointing this out -- two details I'd like to point: (1) since the situation is fully disclosed I think the closer and any future commenter is able to make up their own mind about the strength of my arguments regardless of who is presenting them, and (2) I hope I can reassure anyone involved in this AfD that I would not accept payment to say things or present arguments I do not truly believe in. Everything I've said here, I would have said just the same if I was commenting from my volunteer admin account. I hold Wikipedia's policies in the highest possible regard and would never dream of bullshitting the community for money.. And he wrote this while he was fully aware of the nature of the AfC. Jytdog (talk) 17:36, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I agree with this. In many ways, it is really central to what happened. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:24, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm having second thoughts about my earlier comment here. Not sure: maybe we should give users some slack in how they initially respond to criticism. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:16, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: I agree with you that there is an abundance of solid evidence. It's a judgment call about how much of it to attribute to failure to be accountable, and how much is just the very human tendency to start by defending oneself. To some extent, there has been a progression during this case, in which Salvidrim! has increasingly demonstrated that he recognizes his mistakes and does not intend to repeat them. On the other hand, that has been a bumpy road, to put it mildly. I just want to leave it to others to figure out how much it has been of each of these, because it's something I'm a little unsure about myself. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:35, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

Diligently pursuing his clients' interests and his own, while not pursuing the community's[edit]

11) Salvidrim! was diligent in pursuing his client's interests (and his own financial interest), following up with the independent editor after the initial inquiry about the tags, adding pictures of the two executives to the Studio71 article when the articles about them were being deleted, and was immediately talking to DGG when DGG stumbled in deleting the articles. Salvidrim! added the pictures and engaged with DGG about the deletion logistics even as the discussion about his unmanaged conflicted behavior was advancing at COIN. At no point did Salvidrim! himself act to protect the integrity of the AfC process, and his efforts to get the tags removed (not determine if the articles were indeed notable, but simply remove the tags which was the paid task) also ran counter to his responsibility as an admin to uphold/enforce the WP:PROMO policy and WP:N, which implements the WP:NOTINDISCRIMINATE policy.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
Adding pictures, filling out details and responding to deficiencies are processes that happen during AfD. That serves the interest of the project and is not interfering with the process or a conflict of interest. Removing tags is a different story but this should be trimmed to eliminate actions not detrimental to the project. Adding pictures is not detrimental. --DHeyward (talk) 01:20, 8 December 2017 (UTC).
THe key point is here is that Salvirdrim pursued his clients interest vigorously, including following up with a volunteer at that volunteer's talk page twice. I find it especially icky that he pestered the volunteer so he could get his paid task done quicker and bullshit the fake AfC past the community. If this were your every day paid editor the diligence wouldn't bother me (so much.. it is not cool for paid editors to pester the community but a follow up a day later isn't horrible). That this is an admin citing his reputation and respect for the policies and guidelines, and explicitly claiming "no bullshit", while exactly bullshitting, is what is so distasteful. You are swinging and missing every time here. The thing about the pictures and the follow up with DGG, is even while the community was throwing red flags all over the place at COIN he kept at it, working for his client. That was quite surprising to me. Anybody thinking straight would have pulled up short well before that. Jytdog (talk) 02:38, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
True. Can be worded better: "Put his clients' interests and his own ahead of the community's". --Tryptofish (talk) 22:26, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

Lack of accountability[edit]

12) When questions were raised about his trustworthiness at WP:COIN given all of the above, with clear communication that an arbcom case would be filed if he did not take action himself to confirm that he had the community's trust, Salvidrim! did not do so, but instead put his own judgement that he was still trustworthy first, leading to this proceeding.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
I... I'm not sure exactly how best to word this, and I can certainly say that this appears correct on the face of it, and perhaps it is due to my own lack of clarity in my communication, but I didn't "refuse a resignation or reRFA" -- I intended to take time off to reflect and come back after a thorough introspection and, yes, probably submit to a new RfA or resign altogether. However it definitely wasn't made clear that my "not today, not tommorrow, not this week" did not mean "I refuse, not ever" but instead implied "after my break, probably", which led to this ArbCom case being opened immediately. Also, the phrasing "put his own judgement first" doesn't seem to mean allege to anything specific... maybe I'm dissecting stuff to much again :( Ben · Salvidrim!  07:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
What you actually wrote: I don't think there was a pattern of abuse of tools of behaviour unbecoming of an admin (which is what ArbCom usually looks for). I do think there was a mishandling and underestimating of how strongly and openly COI needs to be tackled and reviewed, and am happy to discuss what restrictions should be put in place to ensure it doesn't become a recurrent problem. This is probably the last I'll say for a while on-wiki unless there is agreement to resolve this with community sanctions (to be agreed upon), or if I end up having to defend at ArbCom. You put that totally on legalistic grounds and were not hearing about the core issue of trust. That was a very important posting and if it was only half-baked that just re-inforces my lack of trust in your judgement. Jytdog (talk) 07:27, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Salv, please consider how deciding to take a Wikibreak of indeterminate length for introspection rather than answer the immediate questions being posed to you regarding trust by the community looks to anyone other than yourself. To me, that looks like trying to dodge any accountability in hopes that the storm would blow over. It looked like we might have a case where an admin goes on wikibreak for a year to avoid a desysop case. The only reason we are likely getting answers now is because of the case. I’m trying my best to take you at your word here, but solely based on your actions and statements, I was under the impression that you were trying to avoid accountability as well. TonyBallioni (talk) 07:50, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
This is not the place to have that conversation. It should be taken to the talk page.--v/r - TP 16:02, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
  • User:Tryptofish I would be interested to see how you would frame the ADMINACCT principle and I hope you suggest something on your own or propose an amendment. Thx Jytdog (talk) 21:29, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
This is important, and should be framed in terms of WP:ADMINACCT. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:27, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Thanks for the interest in how I might write it, but I do not intend to make any workshop proposals of my own. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:41, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Concur, that ADMINACCT was breached.While I may very-well choose to believe Salvidrim's intents about retrospection et al, that was not at all conveyed by his poorly choosen words and sub-optimal responses.His actions were pretty equivalent to old tales of admins being affected by Arbcom-flu and going on long vacations, after having commited some massive fuck-up.Winged BladesGodric 08:54, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Self-serving[edit]

FoF stricken by proposer and restated--Kostas20142 (talk) 18:18, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
13) The events directly preceding this case arose from Salvidrim!'s personal desire to make money using his editing privileges and the additional privileges he gave to his alt account. This proceeding itself has been driven by Salvidrim!'s desire to retain his administrator status by forcing the community to work through the procedures put in place to protect administrators who serve the community and who make difficult decisions while serving the community, instead of simply and directly asking if he still had the community's trust by resigning and submitting to RfA or doing a "confirmation RfA". This behavior does not demonstrate a committment to serving the community and putting the community's needs first. Uncovering his activities, discussing them, and this proceeding have all absorbed the time and attention of the volunteer community, which could otherwise have been spent building the encyclopedia. None of this demonstrates Salvidrim! serving the community, or putting the community's interests first, but rather demonstrates putting his own interests first. The money, the prestige of the bit and clerkship. The careless bid to add 'crat to his list of titles.

13) In the three weeks of unmanaged conflict of interest editing and in his rejection of the call at COIN for him to ask the community to confirm its trust in him as an administrator, Salvidrim! has not served the community but rather himself.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Arbitration decisions focus on editors' behavior, and perhaps to some extent to good or bad faith underlying the behavior, but we do not cast judgments on what editors' "desires" should be or engage in this degree of value-judgments. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:28, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:
This contains a lot of supposition. Needs to be refined to actual and demonstrable facts. Salv's desires and drives are not demonstrable facts.--v/r - TP 15:26, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Serving the community, is why we have admins and why we grant them tools. Why do people edit for pay? What is this proceeding about other than Salvidrim! legalistically trying to keep his bit instead of simply asking if the community still trusts him, as you advised him to do? The motivations have not been stated but are clearly infer-able. I do agree that the writing above is too.. florid and I have redacted. Jytdog (talk) 16:07, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
This is a "finding of *fact*" section. This proposal basis way too much on your perceptions, values, and own motivations projected on Salvidrim! to be considered a fact. Facts are based on diffs. Unless you can find quotes describing these motivations from him, then this is not an acceptable finding of fact. If you'd like to talk more about this, we can do it on the talk page. But I feel no need to discuss this, personally, because I'm 100% certain that the Arbs will agree with me and I don't need to point out the obvious to them.--v/r - TP 16:11, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
We'll see what arbs say. This is inference. It is summer and I have been hard at work inside my house. Everything outside was dry this morning but the sky was heavy and overcast when I went to get the newspaper, and this afternoon when I went for a walk, everything was wet. I didn't hear or see it rain but I know that it did.
This is the fundamental issue I have with Salvidrim!'s pattern of behavior in all of this. This exact point. The findings of fact show a pattern of him putting his own interests above the community's and using bad judgement in doing so. We rely on admins to serve the community. Jytdog (talk) 16:44, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
  • TParis your read was accurate at least with respect to Newyorkbrad, both here and in the preceeding two events (the RfB and the password). I have restated this to make it tighter and following the lead that Newyorkbrad left. Jytdog (talk) 21:40, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
    • I appreciate the refactor. I've still got some opinions on it, but at least it's a chew-able version now so I'll hold my peace.--v/r - TP 02:30, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Better to leave this out and focus on WP:COI. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:29, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Don't agree personally about such a broad-statement and additionally, it still seems to be pretty poorly written.Winged BladesGodric 08:59, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposed remedies[edit]

Note: All remedies that refer to a period of time, for example to a ban of X months or a revert parole of Y months, are to run concurrently unless otherwise stated.

Desysop[edit]

1) Salvidrim!'s administrator status is removed.

Comment by Arbitrators:
The role of arb com is to determine if the level of trust in an existing admin is such that reconfirmation by the community would be necessary--there is no other mechanism at WP for making this determination. In a sense, it's our specific and unique function. The eventual decision on whether to restore the admin status is made by the community. Arb com can remove admin status; it cannot grant it. DGG ( talk ) 00:30, 14 December 2017 (UTC) Specifying a little further, we can also require that the individual get our approval before starteda new RfA--I think this has been done in special cass, such as those based on private evidence. I suppose we could also supendsomeone'sadmin rights. . DGG ( talk ) 05:04, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
  • User:TParis yes RfA is hard and sometimes ugly. But I am not so sure about the projected future of that narrative. Imagine if, at COIN, after his break to think, instead of writing this, Salvidrim had written something like: "I've been thinking about all this. I used to have some strong ideas about COI and paid editing in WP and about myself, and what has unfolded over the past few days has been a real eye opener for me. I made some very serious bad judgements, and I understand how those mistakes might affect how people see me and whether they can still trust me. I am going to stop paid editing and ask that my paid account be indeffed. I am also going to resign the bit and put myself up for RfA. I want to serve the community as an admin, and I understand that the privilege of the tools is based on trust. I will see you all at RfA. I apologize for my mistakes, and having taken up everybody's time with this". And then written something similar at his RfA with something additional like "In the future if I ever decide to try to editing for pay again, I will get consensus first that the community is OK with me having the bit at the same time as I do that". Or even if had not resigned and had said - "I will open a discussion at AN to get an assessment of the commmunity's level of trust in me and will resign if it is seriously damaged". Something responsive, listening, and clueful about the level of drama that follows an admin in whom trust is damaged.
That RfA (or AN query) might have been successful; the community respects clear signals that people are listening and it respects self-insight. We will never know now if that RfA would have been successful. Something similar might be successful now (I believe less possible now because of what has actually happened since Salvidrim wrote what he wrote at COIN and has written what he has written here and taken up our time with this, but still maybe). I doubt an RfA would fly immediately after this, if this goes through to a desysop. But maybe after a while. Jytdog (talk) 15:57, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I was addressing one thing, and one thing only namely this narrative that is popping up here and there about the community being a mindless pitchfork-bearing mob. This too is not relevant to Arbcom's decision but is very clearly intended to influence it.
What I described above is not how I would do things and this is not a fair characterization; it meant to describe the clueful, "I hear that" (as opposed to IDHT) response that the community always receives well as you and I have both seen happen many, many times.
This case will hinge around admin accountability and the level of trust admins need to have to get and keep the bit. Jytdog (talk) 17:46, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Yep we see this case differently. That diff triggered this case because no where in there was a willingness from Salvidrim to have trust in him assessed but rather he asserted his own evaluation. Everybody was saying that if he didn't have it assessed, there would be an Arbcom case, and it was brainless that Arbcom would accept it. Indeed, here we are. Jytdog (talk) 18:52, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
To TParis' point: we have to be comfortable with the committee determining whether or not an action is poor enough judgement that it violates the original trust that the community placed in the candidate at RfA, and thus cannot function as an administrator without demonstrating once again that you maintain it through RfA. It might not be a fair process, but it is the only process we have to determine the question. We do not need proof that there is a lack a trust, only proof that the trust the community placed in an editor has been violated. ArbCom cannot determine the exact level of trust an admin has, but they can make a judgement call as to whether they think someone should be able to function as an admin without a new RfA. That is what is being asked for here. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:36, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
DHeyward, when someone is desysoped, their rights need to be explicitly granted again. Removing the sysop bit would remove all those rights unless regranted. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:00, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I support this. If you want to see the level of trust that remains in our community, run an RfA afterwards. Ifnord (talk) 14:19, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't support this. RfA isn't a fair process. You want proof of that, see how much effort we've spent trying to reform it. Ask the legions of people who refuse to even attempt it. The community's distrust hasn't been demonstrated. A small niche of COI-focused editors have commented. A discussion at AN or the Village Pump would've been more appropriate to determining the community's level of trust. We don't chop off heads and then hold a trial.--v/r - TP 14:50, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: You keep harping on that diff and it's not going to make a difference in this case. Whether or not Salvidrim! handled things the way you would have isn't a policy violation or something Arbcom judges. I'm sorry, but it's not. That diff's importance and negativity is in the eye of the beholder. Your involvement influences how you perceive it. That's not something Arbcom can quantify. He didn't violate policy in that diff and that is all Arbcom is going to weigh here.--v/r - TP 16:48, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
But, once again, you haven't demonstrated that trust is lost. WP:COIN is not the appropriate noticeboard for that. Please do not speak on behalf of the community when you do not have the community's voice bestowed upon you. Your perception of Salv's response has been used several times throughout this process to support your claims and I'm trying to give you a heads up that if you're hinging on that, and the persistence by which you've linked the diff suggests you are, then you may be disappointed with the outcome. Once again, this isn't a point of argument. The Arbs will decide and I don't see a point in arguing to convince each other that they'll eventually decide in our favor. We can just watch and see. But I suspect that diff won't be used heavily, or maybe even at all, in the final decision.--v/r - TP 17:53, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
This needs to be in the proposed decision so that arbitrators explicitly answer the question (it should possibly be so in every case involving admin accountability, even where nobody's head has been called for). If I were an arbitrator I'd be leaning towards supporting it, but I don't know whether I actually would or not per TP. Thryduulf (talk) 21:46, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
@DGG: ArbCom does have the power to sysop and (as would be the case here) resysop. In recent times it has not used that power for any reason other than reinstate someone who was temporarily desysopped (e.g. as a precaution when accounts were possibly compromised), but when desysopping for cause it used to be for a given time or after an appeal to the Committee rather than until an RFA was passed (I'll find examples if anyone wants) - that this has (rightly, imho) fallen out of favour does not mean the committee could not do it if it so chose. The Committee can also sysop someone who has not passed an RFA, should it be able to articulate a reason for doing so - I have a vague recollection that it has done so on a temporary basis at least once since I joined the Committee at the start of 2015, possibly in connection with an election or some technical reason why a WMF person would benefit from it, but I could be wrong about that. Thryduulf (talk) 02:38, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
This is a strong remedy that isn't directly connected to the problem. Many admins give advanced permissions to editors and when editors misuse the permissions, we don't desysop the admin that granted them. In this case, the error isn't the granting of advanced permissions, it's how those permissions were used. Removing the bit doesn't improve anything as Salvidrim! would presumably still retain all the advanced permissions that he allegedly abused. Why would ArbCom remove the admin bit but still keep all the privileges that are cited as abused? It seems that removing rollbacker, reviewer, autoconfirmed etc, would be the abused permissions and a remedy that retains those permissions while revoking sysop is purely punitive and isn't a reflection of a loss of trust since all the paid account permissions are retained. --DHeyward (talk) 06:04, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
@DHeyward: removing rollbacker, reviewer and autoconfirmed without removing admin would be entirely symbolic as all the rights those give you ("rollback", "patrol" and "autopatrol") are included in the administrator group (see Special:ListGroupRights). Thryduulf (talk) 11:31, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Of course. That was my point. Just taking away admin bit would leave all those tools in place. Desysopping would not address the main complaint of what the paid account did. It would leave Salvadrim!'s account with the exact set of privileges that the paid account had. It's a longstanding rule that actions apply to the person, not the account. It would contradict that understanding to find that the paid account violated the trust for advanced permissions and turn around and leave any advanced permissions including admin, rollback, patrol, autopatrol, etc. Either all are revoked or none are revoked. My preference would be to not desysop but the proposal to only desysop is mere retribution. If the paid account did something that caused the community to lose trust, then all the privileges should be revoked but what I am reading suggests no one distrusts Salvadrim! with any of the permissions the paid account had. If that is the case, there is no justification to remove the admin bit either. --DHeyward (talk) 12:44, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
I understand your point now. I still think the proposal to desysop is something that the committee should explicitly vote on, even if they all oppose it. Thryduulf (talk) 13:18, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
This misses the point entirely. I don't see any reason to believe that any editor with an alternative paid account who asked for these at PERM for use on their main account, for the purpose of volunteer work wouldn't probably get them given similar experience and tenure as Sal has. There's no reason they wouldn't. Permissions are a dime a dozen anyway for anyone with a clue who is going to use them to improve the project, and work with that as their primary goal, and readers as their primary constituency.
However, it is unlikely to laughable to suggest that a paid editing only account would ever get them, regardless of the face behind the screen. They serve no purpose for a paid account other than to avoid scrutiny. There's no reason for a paid account to have them, and so no reason for an uninvolved admin to grant them.
The argument made somewhere in this nearly unreadable page, that rights are granted to the person and not the account falls immediately flat when one has registered a paid alt account precisely to quarantine paid editing from the advantages given a sysop. That effect was nearly immediately undermined by the granting of scrutiny avoiding privilege no non sysop would have had access to.
The only reason these other rights should need to be removed from the main account would be if we expected Sal was want to engage in undisclosed paid editing using those right on their main. If that's the case then we should be considering a block and not the removal of rights to begin with. GMGtalk 16:56, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Why doesn't it also follow that the admin bit should be removed if we expected Sal to engage in undisclosed paid editing? Isn't that the only question and criteria upon which desysop should be based? --DHeyward (talk) 22:55, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand the question. We remove or grant the bit based on observable behavior, given an appreciation for how it may be abused. When we see it has been abused, we tend to remove it. When we see someone knowingly engages in undisclosed paid editing, we tend to block them. Is there a part of that that is non obbvious? GMGtalk 23:14, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo:, no, "we" don't remove the bit with such cavalier standards. There is no process where the community can remove the bit. It's been rejected many times. A community consensus on "Loss of community trust" at an RfC will not result in a community based desysop. The general method for removing the bit by ArbCom case is to have a finding of specific administrator misconduct. We enerally don't even let editor misconduct such as NPA or 3RR to affect admin status. --DHeyward (talk) 07:40, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
@DHeyward: By "we" I meant Wikipedia, of which ArbCom is a part. As to NPA and 3RR, I can think of users who have been desysopped for both just off the top of my head, so I believe you are mistaken. GMGtalk 12:27, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
@DHeyward: "Isn't that [undisclosed paid editing] the only question and criteria upon which desysop should be based?" No. The question is "were Salvidrim!'s actions sufficiently bad that either (a) he clearly no longer has the trust of the community to be an admin, or (b) it is significantly unclear whether he still has the trust of the community to be an admin?". If the answer to either is yes then he should be desysopped, if the answer to both is no then he should not be. If there is suspicion that he will engage in undisclosed paid editing then there should be a warning against doing this (to signpost that this is something others should watch for, and a discouragement to Salvidrim! to do it, not that I personally think he would), only if he actually does engage in it would there be any punishment for it (almost certainly blocking). Thryduulf (talk) 10:48, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
@Thryduulf: I am not sure the "community trust" standard applies here. If such a standard did exist, the community would defacto have a desysop process that the community could implement. An RfC on "Has the community lost trust in Admin:A?" would be a binding desysop upon a consensus. I can understand lowering the bar for emergency desysop by ARBCOM (a la Everyking) but the idea that the community can desysop has been rejected by the community. When ARBCOM invokes "loss of trust," it's supposed stop abuse before it occurs or stop ongoing abuse when time is of the essence. Here, all the activity has taken place so the finding should be about misconduct, not loss of trust. Is there other "loss of trust" criteria outside level 1/2 desysops? Certainly no one would entertain a binding "loss of trust" noticeboard report or RfC discussion. --DHeyward (talk) 07:29, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
@DGG: Often when ArbCom makes a desysop call, the standard is reconfirmation by community (sometimes with a minimum wait period) or by appeal to ArbCom itself for reinstatement - one exception, off the top of my head, is the Alkivar case where the former admin was explicitly denied the by-community reinstatement option Dax Bane 20:37, 20 December 2017 (UTC)

Desysopping seems the one outcome that's inevitable, for reasons I gave already. That said, the "instead of writing this, Salvidrim had written something like: 'I've been thinking about all this ...'" thing has actually been addressed with this, I would think. It's not a get-out-of-jail-free card, but indicates the kind of admission of error and the self-reflection that gets people their adminship back after a while.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:59, 21 December 2017 (UTC); revised 19:04, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

De-clerking[edit]

1) Salvidrim!'s SPI clerk status is removed.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Please specify why, for clarity? Ben · Salvidrim!  07:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I've added a principle about expectations of SPI clerks. You have shown bad judgement repeatedly, and in doing the GANG/MEAT thing yourself with Soetermans you have shown that you do not have respect for the letter and spirit of SOCK, which is at the end of the day about ensuring the integrity of WP discussions and processes.Jytdog (talk) 07:47, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I've tweaked my above proposal of the same thing above. It specifies a reason without getting into the weeds on the MEAT/SOCK/GANG/CANVASS question. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:22, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
To re-iterate, it is structurally unsound to have someone who edits for pay, commercially, to clerk at SPI. That part is not personal.
What is personal, is the extremely poor judgement that Salvidrim demonstrated by engaging in MEAT/canvassing/whatever at AfC, citing that corrupt process later as though it were valid, and then dissembling about this for a whole day at my Talk page when I stumbled across this. As cited in my evidence, when I first asked Salvidrim about this, he wrote Nothing to add to what you've said. (diff). The interaction at my talk page, was exactly like the dissembling behavior of people who violate the SOCK policy, as people who work at SPI are very, very well aware. A person who acts like that themselves, should not be clerking SPI.
That he did this for pay, just makes it all the more ugly. But it already was. Jytdog (talk) 22:38, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
I'm opposed to this, to be honest. Salv and I disagree on the meatpuppetry aspect but otherwise he's an excellent and trustworthy clerk, and I think it's more evident that his COI and presumption of integrity clouded his judgement with respect to his own behaviour than that he maliciously violated the policy. More importantly Salv is one of only six active admin clerks (I'm not counting myself) and nine non-trainee clerks overall, working in a process of clear importance to the project that has been backlogged as long as I've been involved with it. I don't see this as being in the interest of Wikipedia. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 20:23, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Yeah - being an SPI clerk and an admin means he must've thought that there's obviously no way he could violate that sort of policy, when he did. Galobtter (pingó mió) 09:48, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I also agree with Ivanvector here. Better for the decision to focus on administrator status. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:31, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Oppose, as I said above. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 18:19, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Oppose, nothing in this case has any relevance to his conduct as an SPI clerk. This is of course without prejudice to action by CUs and the other clerks if they see fit. Thryduulf (talk) 21:48, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose.He is a very good SPI clerk and I don't believe that his shades of meatpuppetry in this saga, shows a stunning lack of knowledge and/or will affect his work.Winged BladesGodric 09:12, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Request removal of OTRS access[edit]

1) The committee requests that Salvidrim!'s OTRS user rights be removed on Meta.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Per Tryptofish. Not up to us in my view, and not necessary to resolve this dispute on en-WP. -- Euryalus (talk) 19:35, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
The decision on whether orn ot to remove them is not up to us, but we can and should give our opinion about whether or not they should be removed. OTRS is separate from enWP, but not unrelated. DGG ( talk ) 05:13, 13 December 2017 (UTC)


Comment by parties:
I want to clarify this. Salvidrim started editing for pay commercially after he was granted OTRS access. Salvidrim has not said that he is quitting paid editing (which I find remarkable) nor has he said that he will seek consensus to retain privileges there or here or anywhere as long as he is editing for pay (or if he has quit and intends to start again).
At minimum, Arbcom should inform the OTRS admins that Salvidrim is editing for pay commercially, especially following the KDS4444 incident in which cross-project communication was less than stellar, but I think Arbcom should recommend that OTRS access be removed as long as Salvidrim is editing for pay commercially.
It is not a structurally sound situation; it is not personal.
As to this whole "it is a meta thing", see on-WP WP:Volunteer Response Team, which has a link to Wikipedia:Contact us (us) as well as Wikipedia:OTRS noticeboard. OTRS and Wikipedia are very, very intimately linked and it is not OK to legalistically pretend otherwise. Jytdog (talk) 22:33, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Not needed, and not really in ArbCom's remit. Any user can make a complaint to meta. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:32, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Not needed, not relevant and and not in ArbCom's remit - arbcom (as a body) should not even have an opinion about whether someone should or should not hold OTRS permissions unless they have been shown evidence of abuse of OTRS by that user or evidence that the user obtained those rights by deception. Thryduulf (talk) 21:53, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
OTRS has been notified (access required to view diff). That's all that really needs to happen here. GMGtalk 23:29, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
Note - OTRS access has been suspended according to the inactivity policy. Per that policy, Sal may reapply and access may be granted if it is determined he is still a suitable candidate. GMGtalk 11:24, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, your statement is either mistaken or a lie. In the removal e-mail I was sent, no mention of inactivity policy was made, and indeed I was an active OTRS responder by any metrics in the policy you linked to. I've offered OTRS-admins to wait until the final ArbCom decision is agreed upon, and then, if warranted, to discuss the way forward, since no OTRS action was under question or review. The discusion is under ticket:2017121910005291 but I assume it's in the OTRS-admin queue so might not be visible to anyone else. :) Ben · Salvidrim!  15:04, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it appears the log entry itself was not correct. I have posted an invitation to comment for clarification here. I do not want to interpret other's rationales for them, and would have said nothing if it did not appear to be more-or-less uncontroversial house keeping. GMGtalk 15:22, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
  • What should have been done, has been done.I am talking about the notification, not commenting on the merits of removal etc.It's in the table of OTRS sysops and ArbCom has precisely nothing to do in the regard.On a side-note, the OTRS log-entry was incorrect.Winged BladesGodric 09:20, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposed enforcement[edit]

Template[edit]

1) {text of proposed enforcement}

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:

Template[edit]

2) {text of proposed enforcement}

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Comment by others:

Proposals by User:Ivanvector[edit]

Proposed principles[edit]

Neutral point of view[edit]

1) Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Well yes. -- Euryalus (talk) 21:45, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Ivanvector good point. It might also be worth combining this with the other relevant principle from WP:5P and having it as Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view and is not a means of promotion. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:37, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Thryduulf, correct, but Wikipedia itself is not a means of promotion. Per our licenses we do explicitly encourage commercial use of our work, so in that sense, yes, Wikipedia articles can be used for promotional purposes off of Wikipedia, but editing Wikipedia with the intent to promote is incompatible with our principles and policies. Since ArbCom's remit is only en.wiki, they can make that clear here. What people do off-wiki after a non-promotional article has been written isn't relevant to the principle. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:03, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
The second fundamental principle. Should go without saying, but nobody's said it yet. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:33, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Actually it's written to reflect a NPOV. It is written by editors that include various points of view. --DHeyward (talk) 14:19, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that's a good point. Suggest this be restated to read "written to reflect a neutral point of view." Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:23, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
This does need to be said. @TonyBallioni: Wikipedia's articles are not, and should not, be written from a promotional point of view or with the intent of being used in promotion, but it's not quite correct that it is not used in promotion - many musical artist biographies cite or include (portions of) their Wikipedia article in promotional material, even when the articles are completely NPOV. Thryduulf (talk) 21:58, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
This. I was trying to think of a way to say exactly this, Thryduulf just did it much better than I would have. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:24, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Would make more sense to work this into another statement or finding, since the purpose of these things isn't to browbeat us all with the obvious. "Because Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view, [something case-relevant here]."  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  18:57, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Conflicted editors cannot act objectively[edit]

2) Wikipedia editors with a conflict of interest cannot know the extent to which they have been influenced.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
I strongly support this as a principle. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:35, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Risker has convinced me that this principle deserves more discussion that is best to take place outside an ArbCom case. I also don't think it is essential to dealing with the concerns that this case has raised. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:37, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
The principle should be "Wikipedia editors with a conflict of interest tend to be biased and the nature of COI is that a conflicted person often does not know the extent to which he or she has been influenced."
In any case, the thing that is unknown is not "if they have a COI" but rather, "the extent to which they are influenced by it". This is what COI does - it skews judgement. This is not hard to understand. Stuff below is just more FUD. We do not consider professionals writing about their profession, generally, to have a COI. Rather they are experts. Writing about their own practices or themselves, or citing themselves, or abusing their editing privileges to try to advance their RW positions on controversial issues in their fields, are different matters. Jytdog (talk) 21:35, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
The "cannot know the extent" wording is taken directly from the 4 November 2017 revision of the conflict of interest guideline, although it has not changed in the current revision, and wording similar to this has been in the guideline since at least early 2013. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:33, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I strongly agree with the principle. The wording quoted from COI is kind of kludgy, though. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:34, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I broadly agree with the principle but not with the wording. It is possible to know that your COI has pushed you over the line of being able to objectively evaluate something, and it is equally possible to be certain that something is blatant vandalism regardless of how much of a COI you have. I'd much rather this be phrased along the lines of "It is very difficult for an editor with a conflict of interest to know the extent to which they have been influenced, so it is important that they act with extreme caution." (I'm not certain I like the word "extreme", but the only alternative coming to mind is "excessive" which is definitely wrong). Thryduulf (talk) 22:12, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
This actually highlights parts of the problem. Strong convictions with hard boundaries make things appear black and white. In reality, it's gray with all sorts of textures. If a Wikipedia editor can't know the level of their COI, how can they know if there is a COI? There are certainly cut and dry examples but it requires an editor to know the level of COI to even start understanding it. As an example earlier, I used an example of a well-known ER doctor who edits wikipedia - does he have a conflict of interest if he puts a boilerplate "don't use WP for medical advice, go to the ER?" He makes his living off of people going to the ER. I think we all recognize that the good doctor is quite capable of assessing his COI and may even be obligated to use the boilerplate despite how he gets paid. --DHeyward (talk) 06:28, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm not sure this makes sense as an arbitration case principle. If we presume that conflicted editors don't know how much they're conflicted, how can an editor know whether they're conflicted and act appropriately? Taken too literally, it can even lead to a conclusion that any editor with significant COI (but who judges how much is "significant"?) shall be banned from editing articles within their interest. It is unhelpful to have a principle that presumes incompetence without a clear threshold. Deryck C. 15:16, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as a formal principle. I'm aware that Editors with a COI cannot know whether or how much it has influenced their editing is a direct quote from WP:COI but in my opinion it's an unhealthy attitude. Formalizing it by giving it the Arbcom imprimatur would mean that Wikipedia would henceforth have a de facto formal policy which, if taken to extremes, could be interpreted as "nobody should write about anything on which they have an opinion". We need to get away from the mindset that COI is automatically a symptom of a problem; serving members of the military often are better qualified to write about weapons and tactics, the president of the Britney Spears Fan Club is better qualified to write about Britney Spears, and the curator of the Museum of Modern Art does know more than you or I about Mark Rothko. The issue with COI is to ensure the relationships are disclosed in order that other people can monitor for problems, not to treat it as some kind of evil that needs to be driven from Wikipedia. If this case is going to serve a useful function, it will be in helping to draw the line separating inappropriate paid editing from legitimate editing with a COI. ‑ Iridescent 16:51, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Whether or not this is needed as a principle, the only thing "unhealthy" is the oppositions above, indeed they are downright silly. First, the guideline says what it says, whether any editor likes it or not. And substantively, if anyone is so opposed to arbcom repeating what is in a guideline because it will be "taken to extremes" - they are just arguing the Arbcom cannot repeat Wikipedia policy and guidelines because everything to the objector will result in their parade of horribles. The reason this is not needed as a principle, as worded, is because this case is not about general COI (which the oppositions above really do not appear to understand, in the least (being a fan of Brittany Spears is not a COI with Brittany Spears, being her manager is; being a modern art expert is not a coi with Rothko, being his art dealer is; being a member of the military is not a COI with weapons and tactics, being the maker or seller of the weapon is), but this case is about paid editing, editors who are subject to WP:PAID and thus by policy "regulated" by WP:COI, but other than that, this proposal is just as a matter of the facts of COI - and really has nothing to do with 'driving' anyone anywhere, it's just the way all experts on conflicts-of-interest understand how conflicts-of-interest generally work - and any opposition to such an anodyne statement is just determined not to understand conflicts-of-interest, or is determined to render conflicts-of-interest meaningless, but the guideline does not allow such practiced obfuscation or misunderstanding. . Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:25, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Re the guideline says what it says, whether any editor likes it or not, you are aware that "anyone can edit" applies to WP-space and that these pages are the result of whoever happened to edit it last, not some kind of immutable moral code? That "editors cannot be aware…" stuff was added a couple of years ago by SlimVirgin; it's not something that was brought down by Larry Sanger on stone tablets. ‑ Iridescent 17:46, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
You are aware that your "anyone can edit" whinge in an attempt to discard guidelines is just nonsense right (the last refuge of the wikilawyer) - we all know what policies and guidelines are. But really that point is not even the most ridiculous thing about the oppose comments, just one of them. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:36, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
Please don't even start trying to stomp the status of WP:COI as a guideline. A handful of no more than a half-dozen editors took over that guideline and have been forming local consensus amongst themselves without seeking wider input for vast and wide changes. Then they pat themselves on the back and start over. If you push on that topic, we might just need a finding of fact that WP:COI hasn't received enough input and too many changes have been made that it should lose it's status as a guideline. It no longer reflects community practice, but instead is trying to dictate new practice to the community. It reflects the pet peeves of a handful of editors right now, and that's about it.--v/r - TP 04:13, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
It's always the Wikilawyer that wants to disestablish guidelines, when the rubber hits the road. But no, this is not the place to disestablish guidelines. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:43, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as stated mainly per DerickC; yes, the line is in there, but just quoting it takes it out of context, and the context includes such things as using common sense to determine whether a conflict is present. What the rule as a whole is trying to say is that, once you have established that you have a CoI, then stay away from everything but the most obvious. But establishing whether or not you have a CoI isn't impossible. --GRuban (talk) 19:55, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
  • If that's what the guideline says, then the guideline needs to be fixed. This is possibly the silliest thing I have ever heard associated with the discussion of conflict of interest - and I've heard an awful lot of silly things over the course of 12 years on this topic. It's nonsense; lots of users editing with a COI know that they are editing with a COI. The majority of editors develop content on topics that hold a personal interest; one could say they have been "influenced", even though they don't formally have a financial or material COI. There are few scholars who have not been "influenced" by the teachings of various experts in their field; if they're writing in their scholarly subject area, there's a good chance that influence may show. The majority of people who are "influenced" are not editing with a COI, and I think the majority of COI editors are either (a) aware that they have been influenced or (b) are just doing it for the money, and haven't actually been influenced. Risker (talk) 03:33, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
It can only be "silly" because you have not read it or do not understand it. The issue is explicitly not 'knowing they are influenced', the issue is knowing the extent of the influence. Conflicts-of-interests is not a concept invented by Wikipedians, it is the subject of extensive study, and law, and regulation. Your FUD about how everyone is influenced is irrelevant, it's just the usual 'everyone is biased' argument that is used to discredit many articles, policies and guidelines, indeed all of Wikipedia itself, from time to time. Even if accepted as true, 'everyone is biased' would not mean every bias is the same. Conflicts-of-interests is a particularized domain of influence identified by the real world that is demonstrably studied and treated in a particularized manner by the real world, requiring, inter alia, formalized practices of education, circumspection, disclosure, and regulated separation. Ameliorating bias at its source, is not done by pretending conflicts-of-interests don't exist, don't matter, and have no characteristics - rather, the opposite, it would only tend to increase practices of bias in those without coi, by removing from their knowledge or view exemplary, well-known, real world practices of correction in a defined situation. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:43, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
You're saying that Risker, one of our most valued editors and Arbitrators, does not understand the COI policy? Mansplain much? Do you realize that she out-qualifies you to understand the COI policy by, like, a trillion?--v/r - TP 00:29, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Your comment is nonsense-on-stilts. You're the one who is making this about Risker, who no, has no personal authority here. She does not get a pass for not demonstrating understanding in her argument, by not addressing the word "extent" in her argument. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:07, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
You just told her she doesn't know how to read.--v/r - TP 13:52, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
Like I said, nonsense, because that's not what I said. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:02, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I not only understand the guideline, I have just finished commenting on the talk page about that very section, which boils down to absolutely classic pseudo-scientific psychobabble. The guideline as it currently stands has become so unwieldy and convoluted that it is essentially unenforceable, unreadable, and counterproductive. Most of it is the work of a small handful of editors who are close to having a conflict of interest in their over-concentration on the conflict of interest guideline; anyone with ideas that don't fit their perspective are roundly chased away. WP:OWN is more useful in addressing conflict of interest than is the guideline - and it applies to the guideline itself. Risker (talk) 03:58, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
It's plainly absurd to argue on the one hand that you understand it and then to argue it's unreadable - if you are saying you understand something in the guideline, you do have to be able to read it first - if you wish to rewrite the guideline go ahead, be bold and get consensus for your re-write. At any rate, as someone else said above, policies and guidelines are always written by editors - this is a wiki. Whining about how other unnammed editors won't agree to your changes you have not bothered to propose gets you nowhere, and if you can't convince other editors to go along with your changes, you'll just have to accept that you were unconvincing, and don't blame others. Moreover, casting aspersions on unnamed editors is not the way to go about anything -- if you wish to take an editor/editors to ANI for OWNing violations do it and prove up your case, don't cast aspersions here. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:07, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Edits by conflicted editors must be peer reviewed[edit]

3) To uphold the fundamental principle of neutrality, content contributed by editors with a conflict of interest must be reviewed by neutral Wikipedia editors.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Agree as a statement of principle. -- Euryalus (talk) 21:45, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I get the concept, but as phrased the wording is overbroad, partly because the concept of COI in the wiki context has some very fuzzy edges. Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:18, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Euryalus et al. - Passing this with the language "must be" might be frowned upon as ArbCom supervoting the eventual outcome of the RfC proposed here: Wikipedia talk:Paid-contribution disclosure#Proposed RfC on adding prior review, which I support but has not proven unanimous and should be left for the community to decide whether the existing "strongly recommended" language should be upgraded to "absolutely required". Ben · Salvidrim!  22:00, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
First, the principle is overstated. "Should" is plenty and has been in the COI guideline for many years now. And it should be "independent" not "neutral".
Second, the hardcore "content not contributors" folks have really come out to play in the discussion here, with the boringly elaborate FUD that they bring out in these discussions, that have been debunked many, many times and that are not relevant when we actually do the work.
The process of managing COI via "disclosure and prior review" is not difficult to understand and is practiced around the world every day in academic publishing.
The facts of the matter here are equally simple and clear. Salvdrim was well aware of what the guideline called for and ignored it. He considered himself uninfluenced by his COI. This arose from a combination of a Position on paid editing that was not thought through, and a lack of self-awareness. He bitterly regrets that he ignored it as he has said many times.
Enough with the FUD, please. Jytdog (talk) 21:12, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
The WP:COI guideline currently advises this in several variations ("generally advised not to edit articles directly", "you are strongly discouraged from editing articles directly" [emphasis in original], "you should put new articles through the articles for creation process" [emphasis added]), but always steps over itself to not make it a requirement. But in all common sense some level of neutral review is required: if editors with a conflict of interest can't understand the extent that they've been influenced, then it can't be taken for granted that their contributions aren't likewise influenced by their external interest. This principle isn't saying that we have to force all COI edits through a review process, but it is saying that review needs to happen for those edits to be considered NPOV. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:33, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
@Salv et al: I'm open to suggestions on this. My intent is to create a principle of understanding that content that's created by editors with a known COI (not merely biased as we all are, and not limited to paid COI) can't be presumed neutral unless the content is reviewed by editors who are not themselves externally conflicted. The principle is simply common sense, it remains up to the community to deal with the implications. It's not directly proposing a change of policy or procedure, it may very well be that peer review simply happens as a matter of course, assuming that neutral editors will eventually see the non-neutral content and correct it. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:35, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
The concept here is important. The "must" issue would be an overreach for ArbCom. Instead, just quote from WP:COI in terms of best practice or community norms. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:36, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I think this would be OK with "should" replacing "must". Thryduulf (talk) 22:14, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't think that "should" would be an adequate fix. That's like ArbCom establishing a new guideline, and raises the question of whether not doing as one "should" is sanctionable. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:58, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm clearly failing to get my point across here. It's just a general principle: any edit made by an editor with an external motivation (i.e. a motivation which is not building a neutral encyclopedia) is an edit made by an editor who cannot know (the principle above) whether or not or to what extent their objectivity is compromised by their conflict. The edit is therefore non-neutral, or non-objective if you prefer. That's it. It doesn't mean that edit is automatically bad or that the editor is breaking a rule, and there is no intent here to "trick" the Committee into enforcing some kind of formalized review process or dictating a change in policies. It's just common sense, a basic statement of logic. We simply must recognize that this condition exists, if we have any interest at all in addressing it. There's nothing else to read into that statement.
As I said above, I'm not a good ... words ... guy, and I'm open to suggestions as to how to rephrase this. But changing "must" to "should" defeats the statement of principle entirely. I've never heard anyone say "one plus one should equal two", nor "the sky ought to be blue", and I consider "edits by conflicted editors are not neutral" to be an equivalent statement of fact. If you disagree, well then let's debate that, but there is no "should" in any of these basic statements. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 00:25, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
An edit by someone with a conflict of interest is not automatically non-neutral or not objective. The person making such edits is generally in a poor position to determine whether content edits they make (i.e. excluding things like blatant vandalism reversion, typo fixing, etc, and proposals/requests on talk pages) are neutral/objective or not and such edits do need to be reviewed by editors without a COI to the subject, but that does not mean they are necessarily any less neutral than an non-conflicted editor's work. I don't think this is at all controversial, and the way I'm reading the objections is that people do not disagree with this review being good practice, but that stating it "must" happen implies that there is a policy which says this when there is isn't and thus ArbCom would be creating a policy, which it cannot do. Thryduulf (talk) 02:57, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Who are these peers who will be reviewing the edits? This is a serious question. We don't have enough editors to review all of the recent changes - most of them are reviewed by bots, and have been for many years. It's an unrealistic expectation; most edits are "reviewed" by someone else watching the page and, depending on the subject area, many of those editors have conflicting interests too, even if they aren't getting any money or other benefits for their edits. Risker (talk) 03:33, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
    • @Risker: This is probably a subject for a side discussion, but somewhere on this project a few weeks ago, someone suggested a "This is a COI edit" checkbox on the edit screen next to the "This is a minor edit". It would do nothing technically but set a flag that would show up in recent changes. Bots, and editors, could then put special attention toward these types of edits.--v/r - TP 14:19, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
    • I think that the concept here is really more about the existing guideline at WP:COI, that non-trivial COI edits should be proposed on the article talk page, rather than making the edit directly without peer review. It would probably be better to word this in terms of talk page posting instead of review. Obviously, we don't actually have a user group of such reviewers. We do have Template:Request edit, as a mechanism for asking for a reply when the talk page isn't sufficiently active. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:34, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
      • That's not what this proposal says at all. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this proposal would negate the practice of "strongly encouraging" COI edits to be made to the article talk page. In any case, the vast majority of COI editors (a) don't think they have a COI and (b) are extremely unlikely to read the actual policy, let alone some Arbcom document that isn't google-able. However, this does come across as Arbcom trying to make policy again. Risker (talk) 01:27, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
        • That's a good point. Most editors who have been paid explicitly to write specific content should know they have a conflict of interest, but this group is only a (probably very small) proportion of editors with a conflict of interest. Remember that the larger group includes everybody who is employed by an organisation, everyone who is a fan of a sports team, everyone who holds strong political views, etc. This of course only comes into play with articles related to that COI, but this is also true of paid editors - someone paid to edit by say Monsanto has no conflict of interest (due to being paid) when editing about 18th century folk music in their own time, whatever account they use. Thryduulf (talk) 11:21, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
          • Yes, I think both of you are correct about that. In retrospect, my comment was more about what I think the intention of the proposal was, but I believe that it is becoming increasingly clear that the wording here is the wrong way to express what is actually an important concept. Maybe something like, instead, "When editors have a COI about a topic and want to make a substantive edit about that topic, it is best if they propose the edit on the talk page instead of making the edit directly", and go on to cite WP:COI. Or something to that effect. I agree that it is important that ArbCom do not go beyond what WP:COI and WP:PAID actually say at this time, while also reflecting what the community has determined there. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:10, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
        • In thinking about this further, I think that the whole must/should business can be avoided by basing the principle on how the wrong kind of conduct is harmful, as opposed to what the right kind of conduct would be. Something like: "When editors with a COI change content without consultation with independent editors, the legitimacy of Wikipedia is undermined." --Tryptofish (talk) 21:51, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
  • It's okay but "reviewed" doesn't mean "approved." That makes it meaningless as all edits are reviewable and subject to sourcing and consensus. This statement has as much teeth as saying "all content must have consensus." As a second concern, there are editors so opposed to paid editing that they themselves end up having a conflict when reviewing paid content. Wikipedia being a collection of information is rather indifferent as to how that information is collected and distilled. Nothing made that point more strongly than the whole monkey selfie kerfuffle. That highlighted a very basic fact about wikipedia: that despite the community having a wide range of views, the process favors the extreme with little room for flexibility even if a moderate view is more sustainable. --DHeyward (talk) 06:49, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposals by User:TParis[edit]

Proposed principles[edit]

Venue for measuring community trust[edit]

1) Reviewing administrative actions is typically done at the Administrators' noticeboard where it can receive broad community input. If not at AN or the Village Pump, discussions seeking community input should be advertised at the centralized discussion template or as a watchlist notice.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Not relevant. COI actions are typically reviewed at COIN, not AN, making it a legitimate forum here. Additionally, the only forum that is available to measure community trust in an admin is RfA, and ArbCom is the only body able to determine if a breach of it has occurred. The community has always rejected community based desysoping via RFC/U or even a reconfirmation RfA. The question is not whether or not Salv still has the trust: that can only be measured at RfA. The question is if Salv's actions have demonstrated a lack of judgement or breach of that trust to the point where the community's confidence in him need to be measured again before he uses the tools. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:46, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Nonsense. See below WP:ADMINABUSE lists the admin noticeboards as only one venue. It doesn't limit it to that, and COIN is a valid noticeboard to discuss these issues. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:56, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
ArbCom obviously disagreed with you because they accepted this case, which means that they judged the previous discussion to meet the requirements for filing for arbitration. This is an irrelevant finding of fact because only RfA can judge what the actual community confidence is. There is nothing in policy that requires actions be reviewed at AN or the village pump, and because of the inability for a community-based desysop, which would likely have been supported if I had gone there, requesting arbitration was the only available next step in the dispute resolution process: there was literally nothing that could have happened at any of the other forums, and there were enough users suggesting a resignation that a case was necessary to see if it was justified. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:04, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
Endorse the first sentence. But is the second suggesting we should use WP:CENT for WP:ADMINACCT discussions? That seems undue, we don't advertise RfAs on CENT, and there's a handful of accusations of admin abuse every day on ANI: CENT would be easily flooded. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:20, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
We used to advertise RFC/Us on CENT. That was where I derived the principal from.--v/r - TP 14:24, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I believe that RfA are listed at CENT. Beyond My Ken (talk) 18:54, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
There's an RfA open now, and it's listed at CENT. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:59, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
Although it has now been withdrawn after only a few hours, which is why anyone looking at WP:CENT right now will not see it. Thryduulf (talk) 11:05, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: Your argument isn't supported by policy. WP:ADMIN is policy and WP:COI is a guideline.--v/r - TP 14:51, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
That sounds like a desperate attempt to justify yourself. No, COIN does not have nearly the attention or community involvement as AN, ANI, or VP. It's not valid for weighing an admin's mistakes nor is it suitable as dispute resolution before coming to Arbcom.--v/r - TP 14:58, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Nonsense.If you think that this case was resultant of mal-formed consensus and should not have been brought before the Arbs, and that a horde of like-minded folks were present at COIN as well as the Case-Request-Board, you're wrong by a mile.Winged BladesGodric 17:18, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
The WP:ADMIN policy outweights WP:COI, period dot. The rest of just a bit of good ol' fashioned common sense that ain't very common.--v/r - TP 23:19, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Guidelines for seeking Arbitration[edit]

2) Users seeking Arbitration for an administrative action should attempt dispute resolution at the administrators' noticeboard.

Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Not supported by policy. WP:ADMINABUSE allows AN as one potential venue, but it is only one option, and the arbitration policy is the same. Other valid venues for discussing issues exist, and when the issue involves COI, COIN is an equally valid place to have that discussion, in fact, it is likely preferred as it is set up specifically for that purpose. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:56, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Copying this from above, but worth noting since WP:ADMINABUSE is being cited to say that ArbCom should not have taken this case. That policy makes clear that ArbCom has jurisdiction in administrator conduct issues if they deem it serious enough However, if the matter is serious enough, the Arbitration Committee may intervene early on. Even if COIN was not an acceptable dispute resolution forum (which it is, and I have demonstrated in my principle that the community views it as such for COI issues), ArbCom would still have the authority to intervene here because of how serious the actions are. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:37, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:

Proposed findings of fact[edit]

Community Involvement at Noticeboards[edit]

1) WP:ANI is the most suitable location for discussing administrator misconduct.

  • WP:COIN has 12K pageviews per month from 108 editors and has 1.6K watchers and attracts editors with a predisposition toward a particular topic. [4]
  • WP:AN has 34K page views per month from 218 editors and has 4.4K watchers and is topic neutral. [5]
  • WP:ANI has 153K page views per month from 694 editors and has 7.2K watchers and is topic neutral. [6]
Comment by Arbitrators:
Comment by parties:
Not relevant and a distraction from the actual issues at hand. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:12, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
No. That is not how I've cornerstoned my argument, and have explained that multiple times: I said he has acted in a way that demonstrates poor judgement and has violated the trust the community places in administrator in such a manner that he is unable to act unless he demonstrates he has it. The only way to do so is through RfA, not through any of the forums that the community has explicitly rejected for doing so, and that also excludes COIN. This is not relevant to the case and is a distraction from the core issues. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:18, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
@TonyBallioni: You've cornerstoned your argument on your assertion that Salv has lost community trust. This finding of fact and the supporting principals addresses that issue and determines that you never followed the process to actually determine that. It's a strong counterargument to your central point. It addresses 4.3.1.2 and 4.3.2.1 of your proposals.--v/r - TP 15:15, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
@TParis: do you have any stats on what proportion of those watchers for each page are editors who commented once and were blocked, or are sockpuppets of such editors? I can think of one or two LTA cases that on their own likely account for several hundred of those "watchers": Category:Wikipedia sockpuppets of Nsmutte alone accounts for about 450 accounts watching AN/I. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 15:34, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
The number of watchers correlates within a reasonable margin of error to the monthly unique editors. I believe it's accurate. If you're concerned with blocked editors, it may be possible to run a query on WMFLabs to filter them out and I believe I still have access to it.--v/r - TP 16:01, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
I'd be interested to see the data, although it might be off-topic for the case. My thought is that you're right w/r/t correlation, but I suspect AN/I specifically is likely an extreme outlier owing to its propensity to attract comments from accounts that are about to be blocked, as well as (including?) an actually small number of sockpuppeteers with numerous accounts. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:37, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
I'll see if I have access tonight. Maybe I can also filter out watchers with < 500 edits. That's generally what we consider a community membership threshold, would you agree?--v/r - TP 16:41, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
@Ivanvector: I gave it a try, but it turns out that you can see how many people watch a page but not who those users are. This prevents someone from enumerating a user's watchlist, I guess. So, I can't get data about those users.--v/r - TP 17:52, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
The actual "Number of page watchers who visited recent edits" figures—i.e. the number of editors who are actually currently engaged with the pages—are 301 for COIN, 856 for AN, and 1272 for ANI. For comparison, WP:Arbitration/Requests has 474 at the time of writing. To get a rough idea of how many people watch each board, the stats are at Wikipedia:Database reports/Most-watched pages by namespace#Wikipedia / Wikipedia talk, albeit not broken down by which watchers are currently active on the page. ‑ Iridescent 11:15, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • The pageview information given implies, perhaps unintentionally, that disputes should go to the most-watched page, rather than to the most appropriate page. One of the problems faced on ANI is that it has become the dumping ground for just about everything, much of which should be immediately transferred to a more appropriate location. I'd go with the Administrators noticeboard over ANI for concerns about an administrator's actions. Number of watchers is probably almost meaningless, as the majority of editors are only there on very rare occasions. I probably look at ANI once a month, and plenty of admins never look there at all. Risker (talk) 06:14, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposals by Softlavender[edit]

Proposed findings of fact[edit]

Salvidrim lost community trust during his July RfB, and lost further trust after his COI activities[edit]

1) Salvidrim lost community trust during his July RfB, and lost further trust after his COI activities. There is a cumulative continuum of loss of community trust.

Comment by Arbitrators:
  • I don't perceive the RfB as relevant, and it's unlikely we'd use this in this form. Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:14, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Understand the reason this has been raised, but as with NYB I don't agree that the failed RfB is a sign that the community has (or should have) lost trust in admin status or the ability to edit neutrally in COI matters. There's been a lot of discussion on the RfB page but we're always coming back to the same point, about whether the RfBs perceived "lack of seriousness," or details of Salvidrim!'s offwiki conduct, are meaningful examples of a pattern of misjudgement on-wiki. Fair warning that the answer on this specific issue is likely to be no - there's other evidence and proposals to consider (and any arbitrator is welcome to add their own proposals) but from my perspective the RfB is unlikely to loom large in the PD. -- Euryalus (talk) 19:12, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by parties:
Tryptofish that is interesting rhetoric. It is true that people have opposed my similar motion but the stance that "this has been dealt with" is excessive. And the fact that Salvidrim refused to voluntarily obtain "truly meaningful evidence of the views of the community as a whole" via an RfA is exactly why we are here, and the fact that there is indeed some evidence of the kind of behavior that causes a loss of trust is why Arbcom took this case. I understand that in this legalistc/adversarial context there is temptation to black-and-whitify, but...
In any case, the line of reasoning in my proposals springs from the very condensed statement that Softlavender gave in the case request phase. I found that compelling then and still do.
This finding of fact is stated well - it does not say "destroyed trust" or "lost all trust" but rather, simply, "lost trust". If further modulation is needed then make it "lost some community trust". Jytdog (talk) 17:19, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
TParis, I do understand the argument you are making but it is moot. The case was brought and Arbcom could have denied it saying "go do some more DR somewhere". They didn't. They might say "all we wanted to hear about was the screwups around paid editing. As for the 'loss of trust business', you all go deal with that elsewhere when this is done." If that is the plan that would be... unfortunate, as it appears to me that we could end up right back here (say we do an AN on confidence in Salvidrim... say there is a strong split instead of some clear consensus... Salvidrim says "I will keep my bit..."... then where are we? But maybe that is the round robin we need to travel. We'll see. Jytdog (talk) 20:01, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
No comment on the RfB question in general: I don't think it should be the main focus of the case, but it technically is within the scope. Just commenting to again point out that TParis has claimed that the noticeboards are for something that the community has rejected: handling questions of community trust and confidence in an admin as a whole. If ArbCom were to accept his premise, they would be making policy. The only forum we have that explicitly asks that question and is endorsed as such by the community is RfX. ArbCom is the only body that is allowed to determine if desysoping is warranted, and they can do so on the grounds that an individual's actions call into question whether or not they have the trust of the community: it doesn't need to be proven that they don't, because under our current system, that is impossible. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:00, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm trying to not get too involved in the back and forth discussions underneath but I feel compelled to address a very specific point: Softlavender mentions 4 opposers in my RfB who specifically also called into question my adminship. Even if we totally gloss over the supporters and opposers who made no specific mention of adminship (although we can probably assume all supporters & most opposers who didn't mention adminship wouldn't have sought desysopping), there were at least 1, 2, 3, 4, and a few more post mortem who specifically opposed bureaucratship while supporting continued adminship. I don't think anybody is arguing against the fact that some editors have spoken out in favor of desysopping (during the RfB and later at COIN), but I think presenting that position as significant or as being "the community position" is very creative. If RfAs can pass with 30+ opposers, desysoppings should not happen on the basis of even fewer editors asking for it, no matter how vocal and insistent they are. Ben · Salvidrim!  20:12, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
Comment by others:
During the July RfB, 3 editors requested Salvidrim's desysyop, and a 4th, an admin and bureaucrat, suggested it. During the COIN thread which preceded the RFAR, 8 highly experienced editors, including 6 administrators, requested Salvidrim to resign his bit. During the RFAR, at least 19 editors, including 7 admins, called for his desysop. Softlavender (talk) 02:40, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
Not a finding of fact. Community trust, as has been discussed here, is weighed at a noticeboard like AN or ANI. RFAR always draws out drama mongers screaming "desysop". And you forget to mention that 27 people supported elevated rights and additional trust at his RfB. And you do not mention any of the people not calling for his desysop here. They're part of the community too. Cherry picking numbers do not "findings of fact" make and neither do appeals to authority.--v/r - TP 02:59, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
Salvidrim withdrew the RfB 20 hours after opening it with a tally of 28/41/3. Softlavender (talk) 07:28, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
So? Someone supporting or not supporting him for a 'crat role in July has absolutely no bearing on whether they do or do not think he is suitable as an administrator in December following actions that took place in October and November. His RfB is completely irrelevant here. Thryduulf (talk) 10:53, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
In my opinion it is very relevant, as the loss of community buy-in and trust was significant (significant enough for even a bureaucrat to question his adminship). Please see the evidence I presented during the Evidence phase. Softlavender (talk) 11:01, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
Once again, I find myself telling those who wish to see him desysop'd that I find no reason to argue with you. Your "evidence" is so trivial that it borders on petty. The Arbs are all smart people and I know they won't pay any mind to what you've said. So, I'm going to shrug and move on. There's nothing of importance here.--v/r - TP 14:30, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree entirely with TParis and Thryduulf (both people I'm not normally in the habit of agreeing with), and I'd also add that opposition to someone being given one position has no bearing on their suitability for another position even if there's some similarity (if I fail my helicopter piloting test, it doesn't mean they take away my driving license). RfB in particular is a very specific test of the ability to interact with others without being controversial or saying anything to upset anyone, and has no relevance to one's suitability for adminship—most if not all members of Arbcom would fail RfB at WP:SNOW levels. Softlavender, please consider withdrawing this FoF; there's surely enough undisputed evidence regarding Salvidrim's actions that this kind of "run everything up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes" approach isn't necessary. This case is regarding the actions of specific people in a specific situation, not WP:Requests for Character Assassination. ‑ Iridescent 11:08, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
Please read the Evidence I provided. Since the scope of this case is "the community's trust in his continuing holding admin tools", that evidence is relevant, particularly in view of its recency. Softlavender (talk) 11:20, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
@Iridescent: Most admins would fail at RfB at WP:SNOW levels - me, most definitely, being one of them. In fact, I'm fairly certain most of us, especially me, would WP:SNOW fail at RfA these days, so, there's that too.--v/r - TP 14:33, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: The onus isn't on Salv to prove he retains community trust. The onus was on those making the allegation he lost it. No one has used an appropriate noticeboard to prove that. Instead resorting to cherry picking numbers and dragging up irrelevant mud from the past. At any point, you could've started a discussion at an appropriate noticeboard that the community recognizes as appropriate. Or, you could've advertised the discussion in the appropriate locations. There is no policy that says Salv had to resign the bit, there is policy that says you should've started a discussion at the appropriate place.--v/r - TP 17:48, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
Obviously inappropriate to the final decision, and the inappropriateness of considering the RfB has already been dealt with in earlier discussions on this page, as has the absence of truly meaningful evidence of the views of the community as a whole. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:03, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: I'm glad that you found it interesting. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:40, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  • If RfAs can pass with 30+ opposers, desysoppings should not happen on the basis of even fewer editors asking for it, no matter how vocal and insistent they are. ... That's really just entirely circular logic to the effect of "In order to determine whether someone should need to stand for a confirmation RfA in order to determine whether they have the level of community trust in order to retain the tools, ArbCom should first determine whether they would pass an RfA to determine whether they have the level of community trust in order to retain the tools".
The standard is not whether a confirmation RfA should be successful, but whether it is needed, because, for example, there has been a series of fundamentally poor judgments made so as to cast a cloud on any at all controversial administrative decisions a user makes, to the effect of "I happen to be personally offended over some such thing and you're only an administrator because ArbCom wouldn't let the community decide" and likely "let's drag otherwise unrelated decisions into the most public and time wasting forums possible to try to get it overturned, because the cloud makes me think I might be more successful in doing so." And if you think that every spurned editor who's had an article tagged, merged, deleted, etc. by an admin who has been TBANNED from AfC (which seems likely to the point of certainty to happen regardless), or received a block for advertising or COI, isn't going to immediately appeal based on the grounds of this case alone, then you have a level of blissful faith bordering on willful blindness. And there we have reached a level where you may only administrate by proxy because you need every decision to be reviewed by a neutral third party, and the only answer to that is reconfirmation. GMGtalk 15:26, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo: I think you've missed the point of Salvidrim!'s comment. He was (as I read it) saying that because an RFA can be passed with 30+ people in opposition it's nonsense to suggest that a desysop needs to happen just because there a smaller number of people calling for it later, no matter how loud or insistent they are. This isn't to say that a desysopping should or should not happen, either in this case or generally, but that the number of people who are shouting about it shouldn't be a factor in the decision. Thryduulf (talk) 16:05, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
@Thryduulf: It seems like you've mostly restated and not expounded upon the previous comment in any significant way, and I read it pretty much the same way as I did previously. The question of how many opposes one may pass an RfA with is entirely irrelevant to the question of whether someone has made a series of poor decision making that calls into question their judgement. It's worse than a non-argument; it's a type of logic that makes less sense the more consistently it's applied: Samuel passed his RfA despite 85 opposes. That 40 editors are calling into question his good judgement is not important. ... Alison passed her RfA with only a single oppose. That 10 editors are calling into question her good judgement is important. GMGtalk 17:31, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
Two things: One, I don't see you having the same opinion regarding the opposes that those seeking to desysop Salv have referenced, and two, an Arb (a quite influential one) has already said the RfB is irrelevant.--v/r - TP 17:34, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo: indeed the number of people calling for someone to be desyopped is irrelevant, what matters is the arguments about why they should be desysopped. 100 people saying X should be desysopped for making a typo is not going to lead to someone loosing the bit, 1 person saying Y should be desysopped for deliberately and repeatedly restoring copyright vios with severe BLP problems is almost certain to lead to there being one fewer admin on the project. Thryduulf (talk) 17:48, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
@TParis: I haven't addressed the original argument; I have addressed the counterargument to say that it isn't one. But I will address the RfB below.
@Thryduulf: the number of people calling for someone to be desyopped is irrelevant, what matters is the arguments about why they should be desysopped. Yes, which is why this makes no sense: If RfAs can pass with 30+ opposers, desysoppings should not happen on the basis of even fewer editors asking for it. So we appear to agree.
More to the point, the counterargument doesn't confine itself to the RfB, but generalizes to the COIN thread, and by implication, to this case as an extension. The argument (made variously) that the concerns raised may be dismissed as a rabid minority (the heart of the counter-non-argument) is at best a baseless hypothetical, and is probably rendered at least ironic by the simultaneous argument (made somewhere else in this mess of contradictory formatting across pages) that a reconfirmation would be a show trial, because the the well would be poisoned against what the community "really thinks". Taken together they have about as much internal consistency as a conspiracy theory, where evidence in either direction supports the conclusion that was reached before the discussion even began.
As to the RfB itself, I don't believe it's anything that would vitally tip the scales. But what it does do is render dumb (literally) any argument to the effect that this is the first time anything has arisen that has called into question fitness. That is potentially persuasive, and it being unavailable is not a minor thing. GMGtalk 19:21, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
This finding, regardless of whether its true, is not relevant to any sort of remedy available to ArbCom Removing the bit has and should be limited to misconduct. Even poor decisions aren't necessarily misconduct. Whether an administrator is popular enough to withstand another RfA is not relevant. It's the reason we don't entertain mandatory recalls. If this type of finding were relevant, it would mean the community could force a desysop through a type of RfC where community trust is measured. That is not the case however so determining the community trust is not a useful metric for remedies. --DHeyward (talk) 02:16, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Pretty much echo Iridescent.The RFB has very minimal (if any) relevance over here asnd pretty much looks like loading the slingshot with some old mud.Winged BladesGodric 16:53, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

Proposals by User:Example[edit]

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I hesitated to even post anything on this page but I have been following the discussions from afar and was told earlier this month on the Talk:Workshop page that this was the proper place to contribute.
I hesitate even now and am coming onto this page with some trepidation, not as one of the principals involved - not a "member of the Board", not any of the editors involved, I'm not sure I have ever commented on pages of a similar proceeding. But these are my thoughts - not as a longtime denizen of these particular Wiki-halls, just as an editor. That's it, a plain editor.
The issue for me is that this wasn't just that one thing that happened, it was a whole long chain of poor judgement and skirting the rules but knowing better then doing it anyway thinking it was alright "because..." And. And. And.
I am not adept at parsing all the Wiki-language others have wielded here and on the associated pages but I am plainly telling you, as an editor, that if this situation isn't fixed, if this situation isn't healed then Wikipedia will continue to suffer the repercussions in ways that none of us can probably imagine. The only reasons people want to pay for editing, the only reasons Wikipedia undergoes a relentless assault of POV-warriors, from businesses and individuals and special-interest groups wanting WP-articles is because:
  1. the project enjoys a sterling reputation of sorts: NO ads. NO infesting-cookies. NO outside links. and
  2. that the project is cross-linked onto Google's search pages as the primary link for most subjects. and
  3. that the project itself is not a business - a business of harvesting cookies, a business of harvesting site-visits, a business of harvesting people's interests, whatever...but a business.
If Wikipedia ever overall becomes sufficiently tainted in the public's mind with the broad and caustic paid-advocacy brush, then the project itself will be doomed. No one will care about the quality of the articles, no one will care if articles are riddled with POV content because if we lose the public's trust, if we lose any more of our vision for Wikipedia then no one will care. If we drop off of the first page of Google's Search? ...what is done here won't matter because no one will notice. WP will simply become the Goose that was Killed for its Golden Egg. Shearonink (talk) 19:39, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
@Shearonink: While I understand your point, it is vitally important to avoid falling into the trap (that many editors with a bee in their bonnet about paid editing have) of equating paid editing with advocacy. Advocacy, pair or unpaid, is a problem; neutral editing, paid or unpaid, is not. Many editor who are paid are also engaging in advocacy, but not all are. Being paid can make it more difficult to judge what is an is not neutral, but this is not an issue when edits (and especially suggested or requested edits) are reviewed by independent editors. This is why the big issue in this case is not that Salvidrim! was paid, but that he acted in such a way that bypassed such independent review. Thryduulf (talk) 22:59, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
this is not an issue when edits (and especially suggested or requested edits) are reviewed by independent editors - That review in and of itself is problematic, and mostly time wasting, and I have a hard time believing most editors at AfC wouldn't honestly rather be doing something else, but are there because it needs done, like I imagine most people contributing to most fairly mundane maintenance tasks are. The task is not rewarding, but having an encyclopedia with integrity is, and so it needs to be done, and someone has to do it.
The more toxic point that Shearonink almost, but doesn't quite hit on, is that paid editors, paid advocates, are not just monetizing their skill in creating or editing articles, they're monetizing the fact that we have built something together that is valuable. All respect to those on the projects, but I don't see that there's people lining up to pay for articles on simple wiki or old English wiki, precisely because those projects haven't yet become, through millions of hours of volunteer contributions, one of the most valuable resources for human knowledge that tens of millions of people turn to every day. We built that here together. We created the market by making something genuinely valuable, and someone who sells that isn't just selling themselves; they're taking the thing that we all made and making it a product to be sold. That is fundamentally out of line with the purpose of the project, and the reason we were all here to begin with, to make something valuable in the first place. GMGtalk 23:23, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
As someone who does a lot of things that might be considered "fairly mundane maintenance tasks", saying that people do these but would rather be doing something else is not right. Every task is voluntary, and if someone doesn't want to do it then it doesn't get done - just look at how different the backlogs for different tasks are. Not everybody wants to write articles. Thryduulf (talk) 23:56, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Thryduulf You misunderstand me, sir. Did I say anything in my initial statement (see, maybe I was right about feeling some trepidation about wading into these deep waters) about paid-editing itself being somehow "bad"? I'll repeat here what I posted above (with some added bolding):
"The issue for me is that this wasn't just that one thing that happened, it was a whole long chain of poor judgement and skirting the rules but knowing better then doing it anyway thinking it was alright "because..." And. And. And."
I was attempting to only speak to my general unease and my thoughts that our community's trust has been mangled and damaged by the particular chain of events that is being discussed here and elsewhere within Wikipedia. And if the editorial community's trust has been damaged, and if the public's trust is also sufficiently damaged, if in the future Google decides to eventually drop Wikipedia off its frontpage because we have at that point in time lost our NPOV/somewhat bright-and-shiny reputation, then the project won't matter anymore to most people because no one will care. Shearonink (talk) 23:47, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
If we do drop off Google's rankings it wont be because of losing NPOV, but because some other website becomes better at giving people what they want to read (prose or facts). That in turn might come about because we lose NPOV, but equally it might not. My point is that it is advocacy and other forms of non-neutral editing that reduces neutrality, not being paid. Thryduulf (talk) 23:56, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't disagree, point-taken. Shearonink (talk) 00:38, 22 December 2017 (UTC)