Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Charles Darwin-Lincoln dispute

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Case Opened on 25 January 2005

Case Closed on 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Please do not edit this page directly unless you wish to become a participant in this case; editing this page implicitly authorizes the other participants to enter a complaint against you which may be considered by the Arbitrators as may your behavior. Comments are very welcome on the Talk page, and will be read, in full. Evidence, no matter who can provide it, is very welcome at /Evidence. Evidence is more useful than comments.

Arbitrators will be working on a proposed decision at /Proposed decision.

The parties[edit]

This case relates to a dispute over whether a factoid regarding the coincidence of the birthdays of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln should be added to Charles Darwin and the edit war resulting.

I believe User:218.176.34.86 was User:Vfp15 himself, and present evidence for this. -- Curps 23:31, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Statement of complaint[edit]

Request done by Adraeus

Previous to the enabling of protection, Vincent consistently injected trivial, coincidental, useless and irrelevant data concerning Darwin and Lincoln’s sharing of birthdates into the article.

Vincent: a) claims legitimate albeit abusive operation via adherence to the 3RR Rule, b) openly declared that he will not relent until administrative action occurs, c) demonstrated that he will not be dissuaded from his behavior through the addition of said data an estimated thirty-seven (37) times, d) acknowledges that said data is “silly” and irrelevant, e) acknowledges that an estimated thirty-two (32) editors are against inclusion of the aforementioned data, and f) made no effort to compromise or improve the article while playing the role of the poor, unfortunate victim championing a cause against a horde of tyrannical oppressors.

Vincent's behavior—perceived as trollish, vandalistic and/or abusive—resulted in an edit war, which recently led to the article's protection. Adraeus 23:59, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

f My complaint is that User:Vop15 is conducting a pointless and sterile edit war. -- Curps 10:17, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Statement by mildly confused almost-bystander[edit]

Since I'm listed as a party I assume I get to have my say here, as opposed to on talk:? I'm not quite sure where this is supposed to go, if someone has a better location feel free to move this comment.

I'm unhappy with the fact that I'm listed as a party in this RfAr. I did not participate in the filing of this RfAr, nor am I accused of anything. My only involvement is that in the course of RC-patrolling I reverted edits that were (in my view) clearly in opposition to consensus on the talk page, something I do frequently and which in no way implies any further involvement with the page or its disputes. Unless someone wants to add a complaint about my conduct to this case, I request I be removed from the list of parties. --fvw* 04:14, 2005 Jan 25 (UTC)


I filed the original RfC, but I haven't wanted to be too much more involved than that. I feel that this whole thing has been a massive waste of time over something which is admitted to be—by all parties—trivial. It would be nice if the ArbCom would simply give out some rules over how decisions of this sort—simply trivial, simply stylistic (not a matter of accuracy or POV in the traditional sense)—should be decided in the future. A vote was conducted at some point on the Talk page of the article in question which showed a clear majority of interested editors against its inclusion—should it have ended there? Or should it be held to a higher "judicial" standard? I filed the originally RfC because I could see that discussion among the existing editors weren't getting close to resolution, and I thought if the opinion of observing parties was clearly on the side of the exclusion (which I assumed would be true, and I was right about), then this thing could resolve itself. Unfortunately this has not been true, and now the article is protected over as silly an issue as this, keeping legitimate work on it from occurring. The larger lesson from this dispute is that if more users acted like User:Vfp15 has when confronted with an editorial disagreement (much less decrying basic democratic procedures as "majoriocratic" and "bullying"), this project would be at a continuous standstill, mired in slow bureaucracy and constantly seeking "higher" opinions to resolve relatively pointless disagreements. One can advocate community opinion without being a vulgar populist. --Fastfission 05:17, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Statement by affected party[edit]

Please limit your statement to 500 words

Request done by Neigel von Teighen, advocate of User:Vfp15

User:Vfp15 is defending to put a factoid concerning the coincidence on Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. This 'factoid' has been reverted and unreverted several times leading to the protection of the page by User:AllyUnion (see [1]). This has been requested for mediation (Wikipedia:Requests_for_mediation#User:Vfp15_vs_Many_on_Charles_Darwin_dispute) and for arbitration before, but the situation of personal attacks (like [2], [3]) has increased (see [4]) into unacceptable (see [5], calling Vfp15 a lunatic) levels. Hope you arbitrators don't reject this. --Neigel von Teighen 22:36, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I would personally request that comments such as this be looked into. Sam Spade (talk · contribs) 23:57, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
...and I would personally request that User:Sam Spade be permanently banned from Wikipedia for bigotry demonstrated in the archives of his own Talk page and in Talk:atheism, which he caused to be protected three times for edit warring and vandalism. Adraeus 00:06, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I likewise encourage such review. Sam Spade (talk · contribs) 00:10, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'm really annoyed: I'm only defending Vincent because I'm in the AMA! I never did any edit in Charles Darwin (seeSpecial:Contributions/Imaglang, you won't find any edit in the article, but in the talk page) and Adraeus calls me a 'troll' ([6])!?? --Neigel von Teighen 17:39, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Statement by User:Vfp15[edit]

I am now preparing my defence and will post it in the next few days. I will keep it short and to the point.

The main argument will be that the factoid is being deleted by an abusive and uncompromising majority that has from the start heeped abuse and ridicule first on the inclusion of the factoid, and then on me personally.

A lesser argument will be that I based my stance on Wiki guidelines: factuality and the Google test. The opposition bases it's stance on a subjective interpreatation of relevance This is POV. In this argument I will avoid mentioning what the factoid is since arbitration is not about content. However, arbitration is about behaviour, and I believe it matters how the content is chosen.

Many people wonder why this is important to me. I see that a group of people has formed and has decided to get their way. Unmoderated debate will seldom change anyone's mind, and when the majority is wrong, debate becomes mob rule. Mob rule is what I'm against and this is a test case. Vincent 23:58, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Preliminary decision[edit]

Arbitrators' opinions on hearing this matter (4/0/1/0)[edit]

Accept. Mediation has failed and this dispute seems to need attention. →Raul654 00:18, Jan 25, 2005 (UTC)
Accept. This needs to be looked at, and others have not managed to deal with it. -- Grunt 🇪🇺 01:19, 2005 Jan 25 (UTC)
Accept - with a caution that content disputes are outside our remit - this will have to be about behavior only -- sannse (talk) 01:38, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Accept Fred Bauder 01:42, Jan 25, 2005 (UTC)
Recuse - I voted in the poll. Neutralitytalk 00:48, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

Temporary injunction (none)[edit]

Final decision[edit]

All numbering based on /Proposed decision (vote counts are there as well)

Principles[edit]

Consensus[edit]

1) As put forward in Wikipedia:Dispute resolution, Wikipedia works by building consensus. This is done through the use of polite discussion, in an attempt to develop a consensus regarding proper application of Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines such as Wikipedia:Neutral point of view. Surveys and the Request for comment process are designed to assist consensus-building when normal talk page communication has not worked.

Passed 7 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

No personal attacks[edit]

2) No personal attacks.

Passed 7 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Don't disrupt Wikipedia to make a point[edit]

3) Wikipedia:Don't disrupt Wikipedia to make a point.

Passed 6 to 0 with 1 abstention at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

3RR is not an entitlement[edit]

4) The three revert rule is an electric fence, not an entitlement. The 3RR is intended as a means to stop sterile edit wars. It does not grant users an inalienable right to three reverts every twenty-four hours or endorse reverts as an editing technique. Persistent reversion remains strongly discouraged and is unlikely to constitute working properly with others.

Passed 6 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Findings of Fact[edit]

Vfp15's working against consensus[edit]

1.1) Vfp15 has failed to work cooperatively with other editors. He has made insufficient attempts to seek consensus on issues related to the inclusion of trivia in the Charles Darwin article. This lack of cooperation with other editors has caused significant disruption to the article in question.

Passed 7 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Adraeus's personal attacks[edit]

2) Adraeus has engaged in personal attacks during the course of this debate. See [7], [8], [9] (also see this for background. ).

Passed 7 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Vfp15's view of the 3RR[edit]

3) Vfp15 has stated that he regards the 3RR as an entitlement to revert. [10] [11]

Passed 6 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Remedies[edit]

Vfp15 prohibited from editing Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln[edit]

1.2) For significant disruption relating to the articles Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, Vfp15 is banned from both articles or their talk pages for one year. 1) ...

Passed 6 to 0 with 1 abstention at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Adraeus banned for personal attacks[edit]

2.1) For engaging in deliberate personal attacks, Adraeus is banned for one month.

Passed 6 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Vfp15 banned for being uncooperative[edit]

3.1) Vfp15 is banned for one month for failing to work cooperatively with other editors over a long period of time.

Passed 7 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Thanks to User:Imaglang[edit]

4) The arbitration committee thanks User:Imaglang for his assistance in acting as advocate for User:Vfp15 in this matter

Passed 7 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

3 month revert injunction for Vfp15[edit]

5) For as period of three months, to be served after successfully serving any bans that pass, Vfp15 is limited to 0 reverts per day (obvious vandalism excluded: See Wikipedia:Vandalism definition). Admins can regard any non-vandalism revert as a violation of the 3RR and act accordingly. 'Gaming' this by making trivial changes before reverting, is also covered under this injunction unless those changes are a good faith attempt at compromise.

Passed 7 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Enforcement[edit]

Vfp15's attempts to edit Charles Darwin or Abraham Lincoln[edit]

1) If Vfp15 attempts to edit Charles Darwin or Abraham Lincoln, he may be reverted immediately and blocked for up to 24 hours.

Passed 7 to 0 at 14:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)