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

Case clerks: GoldenRing (Talk) & L235 (Talk) & Cthomas3 (Talk) Drafting arbitrator: Committee as a whole

Case opened on 10:15, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

Case closed on 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Watchlist all case (and talk) pages: Front, Ev., Wshp., PD.

Case information[edit]

Involved parties[edit]

Drafting arbitrators[edit]

The committee as a whole will draft the proposed decision in this case. It will be posted on-wiki; where the decision refers to evidence that is not public, a placeholder will be used.

Preliminary statements[edit]

Statement from the Arbitration Committee[edit]

Further to the Arbitration Committee's open letter to the board, the Wikimedia Foundation's Trust and Safety team (T&S) has provided the committee with their materials concerning Fram. The 70-page document is partially redacted, so the committee is not able to see the names of the complainants, nor their correspondence with T&S.

The committee accepts that it should open a full case to investigate the interactions of Fram with other editors over the past three years. The case will be held in camera, with a public decision posted at the end. Editors who wish to provide evidence or workshop suggestions may do so by emailing them to (Arbcom "B" List). Evidence and workshop suggestions provided by the community will be summarised and anonymised before being posted publicly and provided to Fram for comment. If you have any concerns about your evidence being posted publicly, please email the Arbcom "B" List to discuss it.

Note that now, per this statement, the process for the workshop phase is under review but it is currently anticipated that the workshop will be open and run from 21-28 August. GoldenRing (talk) 12:31, 8 August 2019 (UTC)
Updated: The workshop phase is now open as a public case phase. GoldenRing (talk) 10:50, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

Final decision[edit]

Clerk notes[edit]

Arbitrators' opinions on hearing this matter[edit]

The decision to hear this matter was made on the arbitration mailing list. GoldenRing (talk) 10:15, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

Temporary injunction[edit]

1) The committee has resolved that:

Remedy 1a of this decision and its supporting principles and findings are passing, and so Fram shall be unbanned immediately, without awaiting the close of the case. The remainder of the decision remains pending. As the status of Fram's sysop rights has not been decided, Fram is not to be resysopped during this interim period.
For the Arbitration Committee WormTT(talk) 17:08, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Final decision[edit]

All tallies are based the votes at /Proposed decision, where comments and discussion from the voting phase is also available.


User conduct[edit]

1) Editors on the English Wikipedia are expected to abide by the site's policies and guidelines. When an editor seriously or repeatedly violates these expectations, sanctions may be imposed, in accordance with policy, by an uninvolved administrator, by community consensus after discussion on a noticeboard, or by the Arbitration Committee. Administrators are also expected to abide by the applicable policies and guidelines and to exercise good judgement, especially in connection with major administrator actions such as blocking a good-faith editor, and for failure to do so may be subject to sanctions including desysopping by the Committee.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation role[edit]

2) The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), sometimes referred to as the "Office," is the legal owner of the English Wikipedia website and infrastructure. Working through professional staff, many of whom also have experience as volunteer editors and community members, the Office plays an important and necessary role in administering the site. Historically, however, the Office has not intervened directly in day-to-day English Wikipedia project governance, and in particular has not handled user-conduct complaints involving on-wiki conduct, except in narrow circumstances that are unsuited for resolution by community volunteers. In the past, the Arbitration Committee has expressly asked that the Office handle certain narrow categories of misconduct complaints, but not that it take on a broader supervisory role regarding on-wiki day-to-day user or administrator conduct.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)


3) Editors are expected to show reasonable courtesy to one another, even during contentious situations and disagreements. See Wikipedia:Civility and Wikipedia:No personal attacks.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)


4) Editors must not harass other editors either on or off Wikipedia. Although some types of misconduct will clearly constitute harassment and warrant sanctions, in other cases whether harassment has occurred may be more borderline or subjective. The views and feelings of editors who believe in good faith that they are being or have been harassed are to be respected and fully considered, whether or not it is ultimately concluded that harassment actually occurred. Because the word "harassment" spans a wide variety of types of behavior, and because this word as used off-wiki can carry serious legal and human-resources overtones, at times it may be better to describe allegedly problematic on-wiki behavior such as "wikihounding" with more specific terminology.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Following another editor's contributions[edit]

5) It is important, though it can sometimes be difficult, to distinguish between an editor's reviewing and, as appropriate, correcting or commenting on the edits of a fellow editor making problematic edits, which is acceptable and in some cases even necessary, and the practice referred to as "wikihounding" or "wikistalking," which constitutes a form of harassment and is prohibited. See Wikipedia:Harassment#Wikihounding. While the line separating proper from improper behavior in this area may not always be sharply defined, relevant factors include whether the subject editor's contributions are actually viewed as problematic by multiple users or the community; whether the concerned editor raises concerns appropriately on talkpages or noticeboards and explains why the edits are problematic; and ultimately, whether the concerns raised reasonably appear to be motivated by good-faith, substantiated concerns about the quality of the encyclopedia, rather than personal animus against a particular editor.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Administrators' pursuit of issues[edit]

6) Administrators should bear in mind that they have many colleagues. If an administrator finds themself in repeated disagreement with another good-faith but allegedly problematic editor, or if other editors disagree with the administrator's actions regarding that editor, it may be better practice for the administrator to request input or review from others, such as by posting on the appropriate noticeboard, rather than continue to address the issue unilaterally. This can be true even if the administrator may not formally be "involved" in a dispute with that editor. Whether to handle a matter oneself or seek broader input can be a judgment call as in more clear-cut instances, an individual administrator may be justified in addressing the problem decisively on their own. The question to be asked can be whether bringing more voices into the discussion will enhance the chances of a fair and well-informed resolution that will be respected as such by the affected editor and by others. A corollary is that this approach can work only if other admins and experienced editors are prepared to invest the time and effort needed to review a situation and provide input when asked to do so.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Administrator conduct[edit]

7) Administrators are expected to lead by example and to behave in a respectful, civil manner in their interactions with others. Administrators are expected to follow Wikipedia policies and to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Occasional mistakes are entirely compatible with adminship; administrators are not expected to be perfect. However, sustained or serious disruption of Wikipedia is incompatible with the expectations and responsibilities of administrators, and consistent or egregious poor judgment may result in the removal of administrator tools. Administrators should strive to model appropriate standards of courtesy and civility to other editors. (WP:ADMINCOND)

Passed 7 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Proportionality of sanctions[edit]

8) No matter who is the sanctioning authority, any sanctions imposed on an editor or administrator for misconduct should be proportionate to the nature and severity of the conduct. Relevant factors to consider may also include how recently the misconduct took place, how clear it is that the behavior constituted misconduct, whether the editor has expressed or carried out an intent to improve their conduct, and whether lesser sanctions have been employed without success in trying to resolve the problem. For example, a lengthy site-ban will usually not be the appropriate sanction for on-wiki conduct by an experienced, good-faith contributor who has never previously been blocked at all.

Passed 8 to 1 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Purpose of sanctions[edit]

9) Users are sanctioned to stop disruptive conduct, usually in the hope that they will adjust their behaviour in response and continue to contribute to the project. Sanctions may be lifted on appeal if the committee is satisfied that the disruptive conduct will not be repeated. Where a sanction removes the administrator right, the user may regain it after demonstrating that they again have the community's trust through a successful request for adminship. In order for a user to adjust their behaviour, it must be clear what conduct led to the sanction.

Passed 8 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Age of evidence[edit]

10) The arbitration policy does not place strict limits on the age of evidence that may be submitted in an arbitration case, although the Arbitration Committee will sometimes preemptively limit the scope of a case to a specific period of time. The Committee may choose to disregard or give less weight to evidence that is not recent.

Passed 8 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Private evidence[edit]

11) The arbitration policy allows people to submit evidence privately in an arbitration case when there are compelling reasons for it not to be submitted publicly. When the Arbitration Committee admits privately-submitted evidence, existing policy requires a private hearing, where parties are "notified of the private hearing and be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them before a decision is made."

Passed 8 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Consideration of evidence[edit]

12) When deciding what evidence to consider, the severity of the behavior is an important factor. If evidence is old or, in this exceptional case, not allowed to be examined in its entirety or discussed with the accused party, it should be considered only if it demonstrates severe abusive behavior. Conversely, if the behavior in question is not severe abusive behavior, evidence from long ago should be disregarded or given lesser weight unless it is as background to a pattern of misbehavior that has continued recently, and evidence that cannot be examined in full or shared with the accused party should be disregarded.

Passed 4 to 2 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Findings of fact[edit]


1) Fram is a long-time active editor and administrator on the English Wikipedia. They have been a high-profile administrator and a party to various disputes over the years, but had never been blocked prior to the events that prompted this case ([1]). The Arbitration Committee declined several times to accept requests for arbitration filed against them (2018, 2016) and, where they were involved in cases, have not produced findings against them. The WMF Office sent a "conduct warning" to Fram in April 2018, and a reminder of that warning in March 2019. The Committee has seen copies of the warnings sent to Fram, as well as Fram's response.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Fram had pledged to improve their behavior[edit]

2) In March 2018, Fram pledged to improve their behavior in a comment at an arbitration case request, quoted in part: "I obviously need to dial things back a few notches and rethink some of my approaches. I still think that my underlying motivations were right and my concerns about policy violations generally correct..., but the way I addressed some issues and people was over the top, unnecessarily unfriendly and unconstructive. I'll do my best to work on these things and to again become the 'blunt but fair' admin (and editor) I usually was until relatively recently."([2])

Passed 8 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Office ban of Fram[edit]

3) On June 10, 2019, the WMF Office announced that Fram was banned from the English Wikipedia for a period of one year, effective immediately, as a non-appealable Office action. No detailed public rationale was provided for the action at that time and the Office has explained that a full explanation cannot be provided as non-public information was involved. As part of the same Office action, Fram's administrator status on English Wikipedia was revoked. Unlike almost all "Office action" bans in the past, the ban was limited in duration and did not affect Fram's participation on other Wikimedia Foundation projects such as Commons and Meta.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Events following the ban[edit]

4) The Office's one-year ban of Fram led to extensive discussion within the English Wikipedia community. While a variety of views were expressed, a consensus emerged that the English Wikipedia community wishes to retain its role, including the role of the community-elected Arbitration Committee where necessary, in regulating user conduct on this wiki, rather than have the Office undertake that role in cases that can be handled through existing on-wiki or ArbCom processes. In an open letter, the Committee directly expressed to the Office a similar view. In response, the WMF Board and Katherine Maher, on behalf of the Foundation agreed to provide case materials to facilitate the Committee's review of the scope and length of Fram's ban.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Community-provided evidence[edit]

5) In addition to receiving the information provided by the Office on a confidential basis, the Arbitration Committee invited members of the community to submit relevant evidence directly to the Committee by e-mail. On August 19, 2019, the Committee posted a summary of the community-provided evidence, as well as Fram's reply to that evidence. The Committee was not authorized to post, and therefore did not post to Fram or the community at large, the case materials provided by the Office or a summary of that evidence.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Evaluation of community-provided evidence[edit]

6) The evidence provided by the community, as summarized on the evidence page, reveals instances of incivility or lack of decorum on Fram's part, but does not reflect any conduct for which a site-ban would be a proportionate response. In addition, the evidence reveals instances in which Fram has made mistakes as an administrator, including the overturned blocks of Martinevans and GorillaWarfare, but does not constitute misuse of administrative tools.

Passed 5 to 2 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Evaluation of community-provided evidence (2)[edit]

7) Out of the evidence that was allowed to be made public to Fram and the community, there were two incidents following Fram's pledge to improve their behavior and the WMF conduct warning in which Fram was disrespectful or uncivil ([3], [4]).

There is also evidence that some members of the community have ongoing concerns with Fram's behavior (some expressed in past discussions examined as evidence: [5], [6], [7], [8]; and some expressed in conversations following the Office action, for example: [9], [10]).

Passed 8 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Evaluation of Office-provided case materials[edit]

8) The Office provided case materials to the Arbitration Committee, upon which they based their conduct warnings and ban. The materials were partially redacted, notably removing the initial complaints as well as other information within the file. The unredacted parts of the materials show a pattern of borderline harassment against multiple individuals, through hounding the individuals and excessively highlighting their failures. In the period after receiving their second private conduct warning, Fram was abusive towards the Committee as a whole and specific members. The Office subsequently enacted a 1-year ban and desysopped Fram.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

No off-wiki misconduct[edit]

9) There was no evidence of off-wiki misconduct in either the Office provided case materials, or the community provided evidence.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Remaining issues[edit]

10) Beyond the specifics of Fram's case, there is a broadly shared view that Wikipedia/Wikimedia processes for raising and addressing harassment-related issues warrant continued review and potential improvement. However, there is a consensus that on-wiki issues on English Wikipedia should generally remain within the purview of the English Wikipedia volunteer community, including this Committee, unless there are specific reasons that the Office should address a particular concern or type of concern.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Community consultation[edit]

11) Whilst this case was ongoing, the Office drafted a "Community consultation on partial and temporary office actions". The full consultation is expected in September 2019.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Fram's conduct as an administrator[edit]

12) The Arbitration Committee has received public and privately submitted evidence about Fram's conduct, including the Office provided case materials and a number of individual submissions. The accumulated evidence (public and private) supports the view that Fram's conduct was not consistent with WP:ADMINCOND. Due to confidentiality restrictions, especially with respect to the T&S report, a significant and substantive portion of the evidence submitted cannot be disclosed to either Fram or the community at large as would typically be expected in a standard Arbitration proceeding.

Passed 7 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)


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.

Fram's 1 year ban is vacated[edit]

1) The Committee decides that Fram's ban was not required, and therefore vacates it.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Removal of sysop user-rights[edit]

2) The behaviour shown in the case materials falls below the standards expected for an administrator. Accordingly, the committee takes over the decision to remove Fram's administrator tools. They may regain the administrative tools at any time via a successful request for adminship.

Passed 6 to 3 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Arbcom RfC regarding on-wiki harassment[edit]

3) A Request for Comment will be opened under the Arbitration space, and managed by the Arbitration Clerks. This RfC will focus on how harassment and private complaints should be handled in the future.

Passed 9 to 0 at 19:16, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Enforcement log[edit]

Any block, restriction, ban, or sanction performed under the authorisation of a remedy for this case must be logged at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log, not here.