Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee

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A statement from Jimbo Wales about recent events:

I have encouraged the ArbCom to move slowly and thoughtfully. Gather all the facts. Don't have a public argument with each other that confuses people or gives trolls the opportunity to turn more people against each other. Figure out what went wrong, correct it, apologize where beneficial to do so, and build a better framework going forward. You don't get all that done in a weekend, and you don't further that kind of thoughtful and mature process with a hasty statement. I think the important statement has been made: no secret trials, and no convictions without giving the opportunity to present a defense. That's just basic justice, and I will overturn any ArbCom decision to the contrary. (Although, I should point out, there is ZERO chance of the ArbCom doing this in the first place.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Contents

Organization[edit]

Due to size, some of the topics have been split out into their own sub-RfCs and a summary transcluded into here. A current list of sub-RfCs can be found here.

Introductory statement[edit]

Statement by Lawrence Cohen[edit]

What is the Arbitration Committee?

The Arbitration Committee was created in 2004 by Jimbo Wales to help deal with the growing number of serious disputes on Wikipedia that he could not moderate alone. Wales wrote in January 2004:

The Arbitration Committee [...] can impose a solution that I'll consider to be binding, with of course the exception that I reserve the right of executive clemency and indeed even to dissolve the whole thing if it turns out to be a disaster. But I regard that as unlikely, and I plan to do it about as often as the Queen of England dissolves Parliament against their wishes, i.e., basically never, but it is one last safety valve for our values.

In April 2007, Wales confirmed that the committee could overturn any decision he makes in his traditional capacity within Wikipedia. This effectively promoted the Arbitration Committee to the control of the community. Arbiters are directly voted on by the community in a yearly election process. Wales traditionally appoints all the top "winners" by percentage to the open Committee seats, and has not failed to do so; there is no precedent for what may or may not happen if he attempted to overrule the Community on the Election Process and was challenged on such an action. Some may say he has authority to override the community; however, some may say that per Wikipedia's Foundational principles that all matters not interfering with Foundation matters are settled by consensus (the election process) his "appointing" members to the AC may be just a formality of announcing them and no more. In practice, by our traditions, and by our community norms of all matters being settled by consensus, combined with Wales's statement that the Committee has authority over him, it is reasonable to assume that the Committee is now in practice autonomous and answerable only to itself, the Community that selects it, and the Wikimedia Foundation and board itself.

Traditionally, arbitration is the last step in the dispute resolution process — it is a last resort, only to be employed when all else has failed.

Reason for the RFC.

There has never been a Requests for comment (RFC) on the Arbitration Committee itself and its processes. Initially drafted and made by Jimbo Wales, and then modified over time by the Committee itself, it is historically isolated with all major Committee discussion "behind the scenes" over IRC, private e-mail lists, or other means. In recent times, across several cases, and historically, the role, purpose, workload, and function of the Committee has come under growing scrutiny. A major factor for the December 2007 elections was whether or not Arbiter prospects would have the time to perform the duties they were volunteering for. This RFC will provide an opportunity for the Community to interact in a central discussion, to help shape the future of the Committee, and for how it would and could best serve the Wikipedia community.

Signed: Lawrence Cohen | Talk 19:33, 14 March 2008


Users should only edit one summary or view, other than to endorse.

View by Durova[edit]

Per request from retiring Lawrence Cohen, I have moved this draft proposal from user space to Wikipedia space. This is a serious step, one which (partly at my request) Lawrence had delayed for several months. I ask all members of the community to proceed with decorum and dignity.

Various matters must come under discussion. I ask all community members to focus on systemic and procedural issues, rather than reopening particular grievances.

Matters worthy of consideration include:

  • Scope of the Arbitration Committee mandate
  • Appropriate circumstances for conducting arbitration cases privately
  • For editors under scrutiny, appropriate means of rebuttal and response
  • Appropriate circumstances for conducting arbitraton case reviews and clarifications privately
  • Appropriate timing for announcement of closed arbitration decisions
  • Decorum and conduct of arbitrators
  • Security and leaks of arbitration committee discussions
  • Scope of the Committee mandate for actions not directly related to sanctions on individual editors

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. DurovaCharge! 00:59, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. --Barberio (talk) 01:56, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Geoff Plourde (talk) 03:42, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. MaggotSyn 06:45, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. •Jim62sch•dissera! 15:17, 28 June 2008 (UTC) Wikipedia's Arbcomm should be striving for "transparency" not secrecy, fairness not "a pox on both your houses", objectivity in the finding of facts not a subjective "close enough, probably" type attitude, and so on.
  6. Yes to all concerns. Ameriquedialectics 15:20, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. DGG (talk) 16:25, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. We do need to look at this. Davewild (talk) 16:53, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Worth looking at. Kelly hi! 17:12, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. Guettarda (talk) 17:15, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. Open discussion cannot hurt. It's like the marketplace of ideas, First Am. and what not. JeanLatore (talk) 17:22, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. It is long overdue for the community to take a serious look at this issue, especially in some of its recent decisions/proposed decisions ArbCom has moved towards policy-making. I would say that the question of how and by whom the arbitration policy WP:AP can be modified should be considered as well. Nsk92 (talk) 17:32, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. Time is right for a wide ranging discussion on all the elements listed above RMHED (talk) 22:31, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Endorse looking at the 8 listed matters worthy of consideration, but there may be other items which should be considered. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:59, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. Naturally. However, this isn't an exhaustive list. Celarnor Talk to me 01:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. Chetblong (talk) 03:08, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  17. Yep, some re-tweaking definitely needed. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:06, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  18. Review is good. LessHeard vanU (talk) 15:19, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  19. Doc Tropics 15:27, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  20. Clear guidelines can only help. Fainites barley 18:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  21. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 04:04, 30 June 2008 (UTC) - I agree with Fainities.
  22. Neıl 10:51, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  23. Everyme (was Dorftrottel) (talk) 12:17, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  24. Miss Ann Thropie (talk) 19:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  25. No process ever improves by neglect. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 22:14, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  26. Sensible Alex Bakharev (talk) 10:52, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  27. Noroton (talk) 02:25, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  28. John Smith's (talk) 10:26, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  29. I strongly endorse looking at all these things. Unless it absolutely can't be, the processes here should be built from the bottom up. Since ArbCom wasn't created in a bottom up way, the community should approve of aspects that are good, and change the aspects that are bad.--SJP Chat 21:13, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  30.  RGTraynor  02:18, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  31. Wizardman 02:42, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  32. Agreed, regular check-ups are always good idea. --LaPianista! 03:02, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  33. --Fahrenheit451 (talk) 04:28, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  34. Endorse.Athaenara 05:50, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  35. --Michael X the White (talk) 15:03, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  36. StuffOfInterest (talk) 15:26, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  37. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 15:46, 9 July 2008 (UTC). Commonsensical.
  38. -- Perfect Proposal Speak Out! 19:11, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  39. JeremyMcCracken (talk) (contribs) 03:07, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  40. Paul August 18:02, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
  41. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:32, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


Statements about what works well in the current Arbitration Committee process[edit]

Views specifically about what you feel works well, and/or to the benefit and service of the community, under the current setup that we have.


To see, respond to, or add to the statements and responses in this section: Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee/Statements about what works well in the current Arbitration Committee process.


Statements about what does not work well in the current Arbitration Committee process[edit]

Views specifically about what you feel does not work well in the current Arbitration Committee process, and/or to the detriment and dissservice of the community, under the current setup that we have. This is not a forum to air grievances about specific past or present Arbiters, but perceived 'bad' actions may be cited as examples.

Views by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk)[edit]

First view by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk)[edit]

From the moment they are written down, there is a marked unwillingness to change wording of findings of fact and so on, even if part of it is demonstratably in error. For instance, in the "Franco-Mongol Alliance" case, a statement that good faith was presumed persisted, even in light of a statement by the user in question on the talk page that, in order to get around a technical copyvio problem on commons, he would avoid giving the source in future. The arbitrators tend to vote on whether it seems about right, and almost never change votes, leading to flawed and ill-phrased findings, once written down, to not be changed.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 02:44, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. •Jim62sch•dissera! 15:25, 28 June 2008 (UTC) Even the Supremes manage to reverse themselves or modify their decisions.
  3. JeanLatore (talk) 17:27, 28 June 2008 (UTC). Clarity and diction of arb cum rulings could improve. JeanLatore (talk) 17:27, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. The fact that they rarely if ever reverse themselves as new material is presented is prima facie evidence that the current system is broken, or at least not functioning optimally. Any reasonable person would be expected to be judging these cases based on the evidence presented, and the evidence is not presented all at once or even before the voting is commenced many times. Because Arbcomm does not seem to be open to reconsideration of their positions, the procedure does not look to be functioning well.--Filll (talk | wpc) 14:36, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who do not endorse this summary:

  1. I would have to disagree with that. Arbitrators do sometimes change their views, but just because they don't more than 50% of the time doesn't mean it's a problem. When giving sentence in the courts, judges don't change their minds halfway through reading judgment. They, like the arbitrators I'm sure, make their minds up beforehand. John Smith's (talk) 10:28, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Do not endorse because I believe a statement in the Franco-Mongol case was mischaracterized above and that good-faith interpretation was possible there. Endorsing same user's second view below. JJB 13:45, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. Arbitrators frequently disagree with statements of fact on case pages, or agree with them but amend them in their approval. Besides, I get the feeling that we don't always get to see the debate that goes on. Grandmasterka 04:32, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. In light of JJB's comments and the lack of evidence presented by Shoemaker's Holiday, I can't endorse this summary. "Presumptions of good faith" are particularly prone to being mischaracterized. I do think that ArbCom should always be open to revising its views in light of the facts -- there has just been no evidence presented that they don't already. II | (t - c) 04:56, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Comments:

  • I've seen dozens of rewordings and changed votes. Whether such numbers constitute too many times or too few, or "a marked unwillingness" or "almost never", I don't know. Paul August 18:57, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Second view by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk)[edit]

When mistakes are made, the arbitration committee handles dealing with them poorly. They often insist they were right after all, and refuse to make the simple apologies that would largely solve the problems. Their main alternative, silence as an official response, also does not help matters.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 15:42, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. "Ignore the trouble and maybe it'll go away". Or maybe refusing to validate certain worries with even a prefunctory response will just piss the worriers off even more. Who knows! --Badger Drink (talk) 23:49, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Endorse because I think the flaw in the Franco-Mongol case was ArbCom's failure to state which evidence it considered probative, rather than the failure alleged by this user; I stated this failure formally during the review of this case and would ask folks like John Smith's to review the review. JJB 13:45, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Arbcom's non-responsive response to this whole rigmarole (took week(s) of silence to get it, and to me, it reads like a lot of legalese basically saying "We handled OM the way we handled OM. What do you mean, that sentence is meaningless?" ) has only made this whole thing worse. keɪɑtɪk flʌfi (talk) 13:01, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:42, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who do not endorse this summary:

  1. I would certainly want to see evidence of this for such a serious allegation - I would have to oppose it in the meantime. John Smith's (talk) 10:33, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Third view by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk)[edit]

The arbitration committee has several times this year acted in ways that prevented or highly prejudiced a user who was not yet able to give evidence. The OrangeMarlin case came with a statement by FT2 that they did not feel like going through the effort to read the user's evidence: [1]. In the Durova and MatthewHoffman cases, highly prejudicial voting began against the accused before the accused - then administrators in good standing - were able to provide evidence.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 02:44, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I've seen this myself. They've even done some shoot-first-maybe-ask-questions-later proposals that have me concerned. -- Ned Scott 07:22, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Barberio (talk) 10:56, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Filll (talk | wpc) 14:11, 28 June 2008 (UTC) This is atrocious behavior. And editors are called "dogs" and worse, with no apologies, by sitting Arbcomm members.
  5. •Jim62sch•dissera! 15:25, 28 June 2008 (UTC) Yep.
  6. Chetblong (talk) 03:07, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:08, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    # (will strike if/when ArbCom confirms the FT2 ruling was bogus) Are we to believe ArbCom had so little trust in their own impartiality and investigative prowess, that they thought Orangemarlin would successfully "smoke" them if he had a chance to defend himself?!? --Jaysweet (talk) 15:16, 29 June 2008 (UTC) Struck as promised. According to this official statement, the Committee had agreed that secret action against OM was unwarranted. This is now an FT2 problem, not an ArbCom problem. --Jaysweet (talk) 16:46, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Doc Tropics 15:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. The MHoffman case was also out of process (there are other similarities, but I'll refrain from pointing that out here), one of the main differences being that it mostly took place out in the open. R. Baley (talk) 16:02, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. DGG (talk) 19:27, 29 June 2008 (UTC) This applies generally to all proceedings as well as the one that immediately gave rise to this RfC. It is not moot.
  11. Rocksanddirt (talk) 04:12, 30 June 2008 (UTC) - it seems to be simptomatic of a broader problem of not closely reviewing the workshop and talk page discussions of evidence. Where much of the real argumentation and explaination occurs.
  12. --Cube lurker (talk) 16:21, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  13. Kww (talk) 02:18, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  14. Very strongly endorse. — Athaenara 05:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  15. SashaNein (talk) 12:20, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  16. Endorse re the OrangeMarlin case. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 15:49, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  17. Strongly endorse. It is surely a basic requirement of any fair legal process that defendants must, without exception, be given a chance to defend themselves. --Merlinme (talk) 15:53, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  18. This view actually has hard facts to back it up. Grandmasterka 04:32, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  19. keɪɑtɪk flʌfi (talk) 13:04, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  20. Nsk92 (talk) 13:36, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Neutral view:

  1. I lack the knowledge of these cases, but certainly the process must be seen to be applied unless there are exceptional circumstances. John Smith's (talk) 10:36, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Don't know about this. JJB 13:45, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. No idea of what this is. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:43, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Comments:

  1. That's not how I see the Durova case. The facts in the case were very clear, and the direction we had to go was also pretty clear (though adding Giano issues to the mix muddled things up some). Though some people wanted to extend the case to issues involving the OMG sekrit list, the Committee from the start did not consider the nature of the list germane to the case. We knew what had occurred, and we knew what had to be done, and we did it. I was quite saddened that Durova desysopped herself; we certainly weren't going to do anything of the sort -- we sure don't desysop people for one bad block. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:00, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Seeing as you have decided to mention my name, let me join the party. "we certainly weren't going to do anything of the sort -- we sure don't desysop people for one bad block" are you sure that is the truth, jpgordon? So what exactly were you going to do? please don't answer unless you are going to tel the truth. Giano (talk) 22:33, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
    We were going to exactly what we did: recommend strongly she be more careful in the future. Why would we do otherwise? --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 23:57, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
    You went far beyond recommend strongly, JP. You censured me: the strongest action possible short of restrictive sanctions. And the Committee wrote up and voted upon that while a litany of other accusations against me were in formal evidence--many of which were frivolous--before it was physically possible for me to rebut them. You also allowed the situation to move from the start of RFC to voting over Thanksgiving weekend. Was arbitration even necessary? I had already undone the block with repeated apologies and done my best to make amends; I was demonstrating every sign of having learned from the mistake. Arbitration is supposed to be the final step in dispute resolution when other means fail: you denied those other means the chance of success, then denied me the opportunity to defend myself. DurovaCharge! 00:37, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
    Hm. Clearly I need to re-evaluate what transpired there. Thanks for the correction. (Though it does seem to me the specific language was "admonished"; I guess that might be vague enough that I saw it as a strong suggestion, but you saw it as a censure. I think I'll try to avoid "admonitions" in the future.) --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 05:18, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Guettarda[edit]

Twenty-seven hours after the Orangemarlin "decision" was posted, members of the arbcomm are apparently waiting for FT2 to explain his position. Only Kirill has chosen to speak up. And that's the problem with the arbcomm. I understand how that sort of a culture can develop - after all, everybody criticises their decisions at some time. Shared suffering builds bonds.

While I have disagreed with Jimbo on several occasions, he truly understands the value of keeping the community at large (and the content producers specifically) happy enough that they won't walk away. Too many people miss the fact that the community could evapourate overnight. In the end, it's held together by nothing but goodwill. The arbcomm (among others) seems to have developed a sense of entitlement, a civil service mentality in a volunteer project. And that, I think, poses a problem.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. I too am baffled by the silence of the arbs. Either they agree with FT2 that the postings were made in their name, or they agree with KL that they weren't. There is no need to wait for FT2, they should speak William M. Connolley (talk) 21:47, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Still waiting for lifesigns from the committee... Aunt Entropy (talk) 22:13, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 22:14, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Maybe they're all just too busy working on drafting those IRC policies and procedures! --Badger Drink (talk) 23:52, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Endorse it is taking far too long for the Arbcom members to respond. There have been a few gnomic comments, and pleas for patience, but no visible attempt (that I have seen) to respond to the community's concerns. DuncanHill (talk) 13:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. To the extent the Arbs remain silent and keep this so-called "decision" up, I cannot see how it is possible to maintain confidence in the institution. However, it apparently was their decision, and so it remains their option to rescind. In fact, the only hope for the institution to maintain any credibility in the eyes of many in the community is if they rescind. Otherwise, this RFC will naturally become less a project aimed at reform and more of a project aimed at the ArbCom's abolishment. Ameriquedialectics 15:01, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Endorse to a limited extent. I can understand why ArbCom would want to wait to make a full statement, and I'm okay with that. However, either the Committee or FT2 need to make a statement confirming the Orangemarlin ArbCom is bogus -- posthaste! --Jaysweet (talk) 15:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Endorse - I am hugely relieved by Jimbo's recent comments (below), and I agree fundamentally with the points he raised. However, Guettarda's original staement remains a source of significant concern, both short-term and long. Doc Tropics 15:49, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Partially Endorse - there was certainly a miscommunication between members of Arbcom and the general community. 27 h is much to long to give reports from individual members of Arbcom to their "electorates". Community then could have better understanding what was going on. I think the information blockade was a wrong step. Obviously 27 h is to little to give an official statement of the arbcom signed by a majority of members Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:05, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. Endorse. Specifically: "sense of entitlement" / "civil service mentality" may be gratifying for those who experience it but, when the arbitration which the encyclopedia needs is careless or convoluted and delayed, rather than expeditious and thorough, the encyclopedia is indirectly sabotaged. — Athaenara 06:17, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  11. SashaNein (talk) 12:21, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  12. --Michael X the White (talk) 15:08, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  13. True. I almost never see them on the case except for accepting/rejecting the findings.support

Neutral view:

  1. I would agree that just because it is a weekend doesn't mean arbitrators cannot comment. If they are active on wikipedia they should be able to address a matter. That does not mean they need to drop everything else, but if it is important they should state that they are aware of it. Silence is worrying, but even just saying "hello - yes I see the issue and I will get back on it after some thought" is helpful. John Smith's (talk) 10:42, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Per my comments below. I don;t think thios is as yet indicative of issues, but it is certainly an area where improvement is needed. Hiding T 09:53, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who do not endorse this summary

comment while a quicker response would have been preferable, the members of ArbCom ARE volunteers, it IS a weekend, and it IS summer in the northern hemisphere - a time when many people take vacations to get away from things- demands for immediate response are childish. -- The Red Pen of Doom 13:47, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Response This issue arose on Friday evening, it is now Sunday afternoon. Several arbitrators, including FT2, have been active on wikipedia during that time. We have had no indication of when an explanation will be forthcoming. There is nothing to prevent individual arbitrators commenting on their understanding of or participation in the OM case. DuncanHill (talk) 13:55, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
If the response by Kirill is any example of how individual statements by ArbCom members will 'help' the situation, it further strenghtens my belief that taking time is appropriate. (reformatting, my response ws not intended to be a direst reponse to DuncanHill.) -- The Red Pen of Doom 14:21, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. I have encouraged the ArbCom to move slowly and thoughtfully. Gather all the facts. Don't have a public argument with each other that confuses people or gives trolls the opportunity to turn more people against each other. Figure out what went wrong, correct it, apologize where beneficial to do so, and build a better framework going forward. You don't get all that done in a weekend, and you don't further that kind of thoughtful and mature process with a hasty statement. I think the important statement has been made: no secret trials, and no convictions without giving the opportunity to present a defense. That's just basic justice, and I will overturn any ArbCom decision to the contrary. (Although, I should point out, there is ZERO chance of the ArbCom doing this in the first place.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    I agree that a thoughtful response is better than a quick one, but if it wasn't for you speaking up we still wouldn't know whether to take FT2 at face value or Kirill. But my main point (which got lost in there) is that the first response from the committee seemed to be "I don't want to say anything until FT2 gets his chance to answer this". Considering the distress that the uncertainty was causing the community, that was the wrong approach. If just one other arb had come out and said something that supported Kirill's version of events, I think a lot of the drama could have been averted. At some point, responsibility to the community should trump everything else. It's great that you are here to reassure the community, but it suggests to me that the arbcomm's culture has become too inward-looking. Guettarda (talk) 14:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Comment – thanks, Jimbo, that important statement resolves the immediate issue, and we can look forward to a properly considered and measured explanation in due course. . dave souza, talk 14:42, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    I would be interested in clarification on how Jimbo concludes there is "ZERO chance" of the arbcom producing miscarriage of justice. I can easily think of half a dozen cases where the arbcom has failed spectacularly in "gathering all the facts" (or, since the facts were gathered for them, to grok them). The arbcom has turned into an apparatchik institution that can be routed around by community action in the best case, and that breeds wikilawyering and trolling in the worst. dab (𒁳) 07:21, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
    Circumstances do not always allow one the luxury of time. Let us not forget Howard Macmillan's famous "Events dear boy, events" comment regarding what blew governments off course. Yes the arbitration committee should have the luxury of time to consider how to move forwards, but in the immediate aftermath there should be more than stonewalling or a lack of communication. If the arbitration committee or anyone is afraid of uttering even a bland apology and commitment to rectify whatever issues are at hand in a timely manner because they are afraid of trolls, then the trolls have already won. Nobody is asking for a public argument. Honesty, decency and a commitment to doing the right thing are values that should be expected though. Hiding T 09:50, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Jimbo has summarised it above. Also, some of the comments I've seen regarding this matter seem to be passing judgement without gathering the facts in the exact same way. If the Committee (as a whole) were to adopt a style of making comments without careful thought, not only would it fail to be be effective in its purpose, but this project would also become a greater failure. Casting aspersions does not help. Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. I'm baffled by the suggestion that failure to issue immediate comments (and at a weekend, at that!) is in any way a failing of the committee. It was obviously intentional and equally obviously the correct thing to do. This RFC is full of accusations against arbcom that seem to reflect, rather, failings of perception on the part of the accuser. Where there isn't any urgency, quickfire responses are not to be encouraged. --Jenny (recently changed username) 20:13, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agree with Jimbo. ArbCom should discuss its statements and get the facts straight before speaking out all disorganized, and starting more drama. Keep things clean and concise so we can read more interesting things. II | (t - c) 05:06, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who think brand-new incidents should not receive undue weight:

  1. If this incident happened a month ago and it took 4 days for ARBCOM to acknowledge the problem but it was resolved within a week, it wouldn't be a major issue. Let's focus on problems that are old enough that they clearly indicate a problem. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 19:23, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Comments:

  1. Its size and the constraint of making decisions via email make it extremely difficult for the committee, as a body, to act quickly. Paul August 17:55, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Addendum to View by Guettarda[edit]

My main point was that there's something wrong with the culture of the arbcomm, a problem that was illustrated by the fact that they decided to give FT2 opportunity to respond, leaving it to Jimbo to try to calm the community. The committee is an arm of the community, not a body that's separate from the community. The "solution" that they have come up with shows this even more starkly. Rather than dealing with their own problems (an arb who posts fake "decisions", a major fuck up that allowed it to happen) they just vacate the decision and fast-track the issue. And, to add insult to injury, they don't even bother to abide by the rules they came up with for this case; after posting a statement that says that the arbs will wait 48 hours to decide whether to accept the case or not, Charles votes to accept.

Let's get this straight: giving FT2 a chance to respond was a failing of arbcom in your opinion? On "calming the community", well I think the passage of time, a bit of sleep, and a lot of people waking up feeling a little sheepish about what they wrote last night, has the necessary calming effect. --Jenny (recently changed username) 20:17, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
FT2 posted a fake "decision". Kirill said as much. But we were left with two conflicting accounts by arbs - all we knew was that one of them wasn't telling the truth. We were left with this pervasive uncertainty while the arbcomm circled the wagons. It would have been pretty simple for any arb to say what Jimbo said - we don't do secret trials. That would have cleared the air while they sorted things out. Instead, they said nothing, forcing Jimbo to intervene. This was a failing on their part - that they prioritised one of their members at the expense of the whole community. Guettarda (talk) 20:39, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
I'll take this discussion to the talk page. --Jenny (recently changed username) 21:47, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

View by Tony Sidaway (2)[edit]

The Committee is slow to deliberate and slow to act, which can lead to complacency and misunderstandings about policy. While this is balanced by the quality of the decisions, sometimes it doesn't work and sometimes people mistake inaction over time for lack of concern.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival, The 17:35, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I agree though quality of decisions is also sometimes lacking. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 04:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. They take WAY to long, ans sometimes, even the quality of the decisions isn't even that good. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:46, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. I do not believe that the "quality of the decisions" is sufficient - little care is spent in getting the phrasing of finding of facts right, often times only a few small parts of the evidence is looked at, and the rest ignored, and so on. The situation now, in my opinion, has editors waiting a very long time for a decision far worse and more slapdash than those that seemed to be the norm a few years ago. I don't want to name cases. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I agree with the above. While the writer implies that there isn't a lack of concern, merely an implied one, quotes by ArbCom members saying they "don't want to take the time" to look through the evidence seems to point in another direction. Celarnor Talk to me 08:39, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Arbcom is intended to be slow and give all the people involved a chance to show their versions of the disputes. There are other avenues for dispute resolution that designed to be fast but with higher possibility of error. Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:08, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agreed that speed is not the arbitration committee's priority. They should aim to get cases progressing whenever they can, but no one likes things to be rushed unless there is a key reason. John Smith's (talk) 10:43, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Oppose: we really don't need knee-jerk instadecisions from the presiding authority on Wikipedia. Like a number of others, I've gnashed my teeth waiting for ArbCom to make a ruling. However, however much the Internet has fostered the cult of immediacy, what's the rush? Let's get it right, not "right now."  RGTraynor  02:32, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Oppose: Sidaway's statement is baseless and history demonstrates otherwise; Fact finding requires adequate time to discover and verify relevant facts. Thoughtful decisions require adequate time to discuss facts, propose remedies, and reach a consensus. I add that I have observed some knee-jerk decisions from Tony Sidaway that were definitely not constructive.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 04:21, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. what Fahrenheit451 said. dab (𒁳) 07:02, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Comments:

  1. Some of the responses seem to miss what I interpret as Tony's point. For me, he's not saying we should act hastily or in a knee-jerk fashion; rather, he's saying that our deliberate slowness is sometimes too slow; and regardless, some people get the impression that we don't care. I do think we should be at least somewhat more engaged during the workshop process, to avoid that misconception and the resulting bad feelings. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:11, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Kelly[edit]

The current view that ArbCom decisions do not set precedent for future decisions is a major problem. I'm not arguing for a full-on application of stare decisis, but the current application lends itself to accusations of arbitrariness and a feeling of unpredictability when bringing questions to WP:RFAR. ArbCom decisions and findings should be able to be relied upon in regards to similar situations. I think this would reduce workload overall - in cases where applications of ArbCom precedent were unclear or controversial, they could be brought back "on appeal" - but admins and others should be able to rely on these decisions as policy wherever necessary.

  • Expansion - it may help if I give an example of my position - if, for example, ArbCom desysops someone for unjustified, unexplained page protections while involved in a dispute, then henceforth, a steward should be able to desysop another admin who commits an identical offense, simply citing Wikipedia:Request for Arbitration/Protection-crazy Admin. If the situation is different or more complex, of course it should go back to ArbCom. But why they should they re-hear cases over and over that involve identical offenses? Kelly hi! 19:18, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Kelly hi! 17:53, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Very sensible. DurovaCharge! 18:30, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. --Ghirla-трёп- 19:21, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agree - if we find things work (like the national dispute decisions) there should be no need to hold a case for each one of these disputes unless there's a significant difference. Shell babelfish 20:13, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. With the caveat that they may choose to take a case to clarify, amend or deprecate a previous precedent (which in itself would be a signal to admins/stewards to suspend applying precedent). LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:15, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 20:57, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Totally support. I brought this point up on WP:VPP recently and was just verbally chastised by various editors for it. JeanLatore (talk) 01:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Indeed. GizzaDiscuss © 01:51, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Giggy 04:02, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. A big step toward smooth running and impartial treatment. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:10, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. I think precedent should not bind (what I think stare decisis means, there's that pesky latin!). This is not a court or system of justice. But it should offer guidance and should be ignored only with some considerable thought and explanation. Hence I endorse Kelly's statement. However to Kelly's addendum, I do NOT agree that a Steward should ever desysop an admin (except in extreme emergency) on their own say-so on a wiki that has an arbcom or an active community. Regardless of precedent. ++Lar: t/c 14:35, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Certainly. LaraLove|Talk 16:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. Cla68 (talk) 01:18, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Definitely --Chetblong (talk) 03:44, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. a bit of restraint on what constitutes a precedent, but yes. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 04:17, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. Everyme (was Dorftrottel) (talk) 12:48, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  17. Works in real life (see common law), can work here. 5:15 00:13, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  18. Partially Endorsed - agree that precedents are important. Maybe Arbcom could list for a case all "precedents". Still every case is different one sysdamin locked a page he made a major rewrite a day go, another only fixed a few typos a year ago, the third may lock the page in the version opposite to his own during an article RFC, the fourth only did semiprotection, the fifth locked an article due to BLP issues, etc. Every case is different. Thus, mechanical application of remedies from a precedent is impossible. Still there should be similar punishments for similar crimes Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:18, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  19. Even before reading this statement I've believed that ArbCom rulings should set a precedent. We should look at cases for guidance, but we shouldn't blindly follow precedent. We should give this a try, but if people start to blindly follow it, we should strike it down.--SJP Chat 22:03, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  20. Partially Endorsed: I agree with the concept, but think there should be an associated noticeboard for all such actions to be reviewed by the community.
    Kww (talk) 02:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  21. Endorse in the main. — Athaenara 06:26, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  22. Largely Endorse. There should be some clear process where precedents are recorded for use in future cases. A couple of caveats: 1) The ArbCom is not infallible, so these may need to be over-ridden by community action on some occasions. 2) A future ArbComm might disagree with the previous ruling, which is fine as long as it gives its reasons. But in general, it should be reasonable to expect broadly similar circumstances to lead to broadly similar results. --Merlinme (talk) 15:50, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. A certain way to make things even worse. The commission is chosen because of their presumed ability to take account of the specific circumstances, and goes into great detail for each particular case. They do in general try to follow previous decisions by first declaring the principles at stake. No great art is actually necessary here, for the rules of behavior are well understand--though certainly not equally well followed. The difficulty is to apply this to individual cases. The ones where mechanical or obvious action is needed do not usually come to arb com. For the example Kelly mentions "desysopping someone for unjustified, unexplained page protections while involved in a dispute," a good deal depends on the circumstances. We rightly do not desysop for a single mistake unless it is clear that the person intends to set the rules at defiance--as has indeed sometimes happened. What we do in a case like this is unprotect the page and everyone at ANB/I slaps with a tout, and the person normally has learned better. If someone persists in it, then it is another matter--but still the question is to desysop altogether or suspend. This should not be mechanically applied. I think the quarrel here is over specific applications to individuals, where some of us may feel that arb com was too harsh or not harsh enough. (I think so too--the problem is we won't agree on just which one were wrong and in which direction.) That's why discretion is needed. If the present group is interpreting against the wishes of the community ,others will be chosen. To have a subsidiary officer do it following what he conceives as precedent is fairly sure to make things worse. There are no identical offenses here. DGG (talk) 21:29, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I think more use of things like "precedent" is a step backward in adapting arbcom to a changing community (we want it to change and then hold as still as possible?). While I have no problem with ArbCom making policy as part of their decisions, I don't think it should be a requirement. Cases should be decided on their own circumstances. Mr.Z-man 20:22, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. The problem with the idea of formalizing the "precedents" approach is that it squarely moves ArbCom into the realm of making new policy, and what is worse, creates two independent venues for policymaking (regular WP policy/guideline change and approval process on one hand and ArbCom decisions on the other hand). If we had a stable system of laws, where policies are changed very rarely, going by formal precendent might concievably work. But WP policies are very fluid and change quickly. How is one supposed to resolve differences between ArbCom precedents and decisions and between subsequent WP policy changes? Which ones have priority and who and how is going to decide this and reconcile these differences? Sounds rather like a recipe for a disaster to me. Nsk92 (talk) 14:37, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. No. In a nutshell: we throw too many bones to wikilawyering already. --Jenny 23:17, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Absolutely not. The Arbitration Committee is supposed to be an ugly and undesirable last-resort method to force a resolution to even uglier problems when conventional dispute resolution is failed. Previous decisions by the arbitration committee are not a short-circuit to dispute resolution in future cases, and we don't need admins citing previous ArbCom decisions as if they were SCOTUS rulings. Common sense is the only law on Wikipedia. We don't need a court system to systematize common sense for us; the lawyering that results only gets in the way of building an encyclopedia. --Ryan Delaney talk 03:17, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Surely the committee is free to make decisions as they feel are necessary? In the real world courts are only bound by those of the higher courts - those on the same level disagree all the time. Also arbitrators get replaced - it would be unfair to have the earliest ones bind all future ones. I see where the proponents of this are going but it's a bit too problematic for my view. John Smith's (talk) 10:46, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. Sorry Kelly, I usually agree with most of the comments you make, but not this. Since I have been editing on Wikipedia, I have seen nothing come from the Arbitration Committee that is inspiring or profound. In fact, I have seen nothing that makes me believe anyone of them, or the group as a whole, is even qualified to mediate, let alone set precedent. - Epousesquecido (talk) 01:57, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. I appreciate the thought in theory, but in practice, this is a horrible idea. The best way to perpetuate and multiply the damage done by a sloppy arbcom decision. dab (𒁳) 07:04, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. Precedent should never over-ride the merits of an individual case. We have always taken each case on its own merits, from article deletion through to editor behaviour. Basing decisions on past precedent has its own minefields, as can be seen in legal systems around the world. Our system is no less flawed, but it is ours and works better than the alternatives. Hiding T 09:56, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. An extraordinarily bad idea. ugen64 (talk) 16:49, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  11. I'm not against precedent setting but these should only be used by arbcom as a rationale for its own decisions. One of the problems with using precedents is that no two situations are ever exactly alike. Giving admins the additional authority to judge how 'alike' one situation (the new event) is with another (the precedent) is a bad idea because it not only expands admin powers but it also could, and will, lead to more endless discussions on the validity of particular admin actions. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 17:59, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  12. Precedent setting makes decision making to tedious and pressured. The particulars of case are important, and AC can change it's mind as well. I don't see it as some sort of "supreme court". Aaron Schulz 18:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  13. As others have said, this is a horrible idea. I don't want to have to hire "Wikipedia lawyers" who have been thoroughly trained in "Wikipedia case law". Next we'd have "Wikipedia judges", who are formally certified in their knowledge of ArbCom case law. No way. I have enough of a load on my back trying to be an active, informed citizen of my community. If ArbCom does want to make policy, they can do it the way that anyone else does: through the Village Pump, and through the editing of our existing policy pages. II | (t - c) 05:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Comment

  1. I don't think it's a particularly good idea, for many of the reasons cited above. We do use precedent; we're not bound by precedent, and without a full-blown Wikipedia legal system with full checks and balances, it's hard to see any good results coming from this idea. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:15, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

View by User:Filll on delays and early findings[edit]

Sometimes Arbcomm can act extremely precipitously, even violating their own rules, as they did in the Durova and MatthewHoffman cases when they started voting before there was any evidence. In other cases, Arbcomm is unreasonably dilatory and slow, and it creates mega cases that drag on for months. A lot of drama could be saved if Arbcomm made some clear announcements at the start of a case, like "We take the policy on coercion seriously", as a preliminary Finding of Fact (drawing an example from a current Arbcomm case that is languishing). The difficulty arises when there is clear evidence of policy violations, or that potential policy violations are involved, if Arbcomm does not signal to the participants that they consider policy X or Y important, they embolden editors to engage in improper behavior. Things can become worse during an Arbcomm proceeding because tensions are higher, and people want to "get even" with their perceived adversaries. And Arbcomm can act quickly if they want to, obviously. So why the long delays, even to produce some sort of innocuous general statements?


Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Filll (talk | wpc) 22:29, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. C68-FM-SV (t) 16 May 2008 --Badger Drink (talk) 23:55, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Endorse. Justice delayed is justice denied. DuncanHill (talk) 23:59, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Rocksanddirt (talk) 04:19, 30 June 2008 (UTC) - I think a number of cases would benifit from prelim findings or prelim priciples.
  5. Your example is incorrect, since the evidence you presented is viewed by many as counterfactual. However the principles you advance here of the desirability of giving guidance before a lot of time is invested in evidence that may not be relevant, of reasserting principles, and of trying to neither move too fast nor too slow, are all sound, and those I endorse, without giving any credence to your example or your evidence. ++Lar: t/c 14:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    In the example I presented, you will notice I did not suggest that a verdict should be rendered swiftly, particularly if there is some controversy involved. However, by creating confusion about whether a given principle is important, whether or not it is eventually determined that this principle was involved or even violated, Arbcomm helps to create a negative atmosphere. We should be encouraging respect for CIVILity and WP:NPA. The current system where Arbcomm is completely silent on some proceeding for weeks and even months is not helpful, and encourages bad behavior and further attacks and counterattacks by involved editors.--Filll (talk | wpc) 16:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Lar puts it perfectly. Everyme (was Dorftrottel) (talk) 12:51, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Conditional support. If it is true that voting started before any evidence had been provided. John Smith's (talk) 10:48, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. Per Lar. Hiding T 09:57, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. Agree (assuming I understood this correctly!). Arbcom should be quick in boundary setting but deliberate in judgement. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 18:02, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 18:30, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  11. --Mizu onna sango15/Discuss 03:58, 11 July 2008 (UTC).
  12. Support, especially the last sentence. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:48, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

User who oppose this summary

  1. As Lar has commented on the factual problems in the above, I'll leave those to one side here in favor of a simple statement that the community can act where clearly disruptive ongoing behavior is evident during a case, and such behavior or the possibility of such behavior arising, unless it clearly threatens the encyclopedia or the best interests of the community, should never be a reason to rush a case. An ongoing arbitration case is no reason for the community to sit paralysed. --Jenny 22:17, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Comments:

  1. Regarding being quick or slow to act, recognize that individual arbs can and sometimes do act quickly, the committee as a body, is inherently slow to act. Any actions requiring agreement by a majority of the active members of the committee, generally takes considerable time and effort on the part of the committee. Paul August 18:43, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

View by davidwr regarding private actions[edit]

Disclaimer: I am not a disinterested third party. I have a clear POV on this. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:53, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

The process for private arbcom action is broken. While there is a place for private arbcom action, the secrecy is easily abused. In 2007 I was caught up in an arbcom action that was correctly kept partially secret from the general public for the good of some of those involved. While this protected some or all of the individuals including me from harm, it caused some harm of its own to myself and others as well as to the project as a whole. This is a delicate issue and requires some finesse, but at a minimum, the process for doing private or semi-private arbcom action requires:

  • The opportunity to be heard in public if everyone who would benefit from privacy agrees. In practice, this will only apply to actions against a single editor, as all affected editors will have veto to keep things private.
  • The opportunity to participate in meaningful discussion and invite others into the discussion. This discussion does not have to be open to those who are not involved.
  • An extended group of editors, at least twice the size of ARBCOM, who have visibility to all private arbcom actions. This does not necessarily include the arbcom mailing lists, and it does not need to be the same group for each private action. The purpose of this group is to substitute for the general oversight that ARBCOM has for public discussions. It will be their job to raise a red flag in the unlikely event that ARBCOM ever abuses its authority in a private sanction. Their only "right of actions" will be to 1) grant clemency/reduce the sanctions, and 2) ask those involved if they want to make the case public after the fact. As a matter of practicality, Jimbo should sit on this panel either as a full member or ex-officio, without a vote. Existing and past arbcom members should also sit on it ex-officio, without a vote. Also, as a matter of practicality, only those otherwise eligible for ARBCOM membership and who could run a serious campaign to be on ARBCOM should run for or be appointed to this highly-trusted position.

Had such a procedure been in place in 2007, I would have elected to keep the case private, but having a discussion forum available would have greatly reduced stress on me and would likely have reduced the duration of my block and possibly that of others, which in turn would have helped the project.

To summarize: Private ARBCOM action should not be eliminated, but it must be improved.


Users who endorse this summary:

  1. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:53, 29 June 2008 (UTC) Disclaimer: I am not a disinterested third party. I have a clear POV on this.
  2. Private ARBCOM certainly has its place; however, the accused must be included in the process. Celarnor Talk to me 08:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. partial endorsement. I am not sure how the broader group could be convened or what it would mean to do so. It is hard enough to keep things private, even when privacy is clearly beneficial to all the parties, without including a broader group. But absolutely, privacy of actions exists to serve the interests of the parties involved and the wider community, and whenever those conditions don't hold, there is no reason for things to be private. However, I should point out, I am unaware of any cases where privacy of action has caused a serious problem per se. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. cautious endorsement. See my views about creating WP:BROWNACT under Section 6 below Low Sea (talk) 18:01, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. At first blush, oversight of private cases by trusted, non-voting parties seems like a good idea, particularly if they are required to certify due process after the case. Gnixon (talk) 23:44, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. I think if all parties agree to private hearings their wish should be granted (e.g. an admin caught socking might want to handle the case privately). If any party wants to have a public case their wish usually should be granted. Some evidence might be examined privately (e.g. personal communication) with an arbitrator or clerk briefly announcing the results of the private investigation for all participants Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:29, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    There are cases where real-world harm can occur if a person's involvement isn't kept completely confidential. If an editor makes such a claim, this claim should be taken seriously and every effort made to avoid harm. One example: Editor X edits a controversial issue under the account Y. His employer knows or could easily find out that he is X, and would retaliate if he found out that he edits under account Y. If the proceedings of the arbcom revealed or even hinted that X and Y were the same person, the person could suffer real-world consequences. This is a case where near-complete secrecy of X/Y's involvement is required even if other editors involved desire a public case. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 22:45, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. Partial support The principle is worthy, but the details are important. I can agree with the former but not the latter so far. John Smith's (talk) 10:51, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. I believe wikipedias should be as open as possible. Currently ArbCom isn't as open as it could be, and these suggestions would make the process more open, so of course I endorse it.--SJP Chat 23:27, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. Endorse if the group is a group of admins. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:50, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

View by davidwr regarding blocked users[edit]

Editors who are involved in a public arbcom discussion who are currently blocked have a very difficult time participating in the proceedings. There needs to be a way for otherwise-blocked editors to edit the discussion pages that involve their case.


Users who endorse this summary:

  1. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Endorse I have long felt that this is a significant weakness in the current system. DuncanHill (talk) 01:57, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. This has been a long-standing problem, and should be solved. Celarnor Talk to me 11:16, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. The process commented upon by Durova below seems to be a workable solution. LessHeard vanU (talk) 15:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Yes. Durova's suggestion would be facilitated by assigning advocates for blocked users. Gnixon (talk) 23:46, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Yes. There should be a way to allow a problem user to participate on his or her case without risking that he disrupts other areas of wiki Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:04, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. Agreed. Almost a minimal requirement of due process. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:24, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who comment upon this summary:

  1. Actually there's already a way to do this, although it's never been implemented at arbitration. While the community sanctions noticeboard was active it used a template to transclude posts from a blocked editor's talk page into the sanctions discussion. Generally this was useful. If the editor had useful evidence or a workable proposal for a milder remedy than was under consideration, the consensus often changed. If the blocked editor's post was uncollaborative it made the decision to sanction simpler and the template got removed if the privilege was actually abused. Theoretically that solution could be applied at any venue where a blocked editor is under consideration for further sanctions. DurovaCharge! 07:08, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I agree with Durova, ways exist to maximize participation of involved editors, and most editors (in my observation) are 'unblocked to participate in arbcom hearing.' Some then go back to the behavior, articles, or other pages that were the problem and get re-blocked. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 14:40, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. We have always been willing to unblock a user to participate in a case. This is of course conditional on an agreement not to continue the disputed behavior, or in some cases to not edit at all except for the arbitration case. If we have been lax in doing so, I apologize. I will not make a blanket guarantee that we will unblock anyone who wants to participate in an arbitration case, but certainly under normal circumstances any editor up for sanction who is currently blocked can be unblocked for that purpose. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 00:00, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agree with Durova and Matt. John Smith's (talk) 10:51, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Has any blocked editor in an active case before Arbcom ever been denied permission to participate in the appropriate discussions, if he or she asked?  RGTraynor  02:35, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Comments about this summary:

View by Celarnor[edit]

Invulnerability[edit]

For the most part, ArbCom handles its responsibilities well and doesn't overstep its boundaries. However, when/if they do, and when/if there is community consensus against such actions, there is no recourse for their actions other than to appeal to the Jimmy/the Foundation itself, both of which would and should only be used in the most egregious of abuses. Other than not electing them again--which doesn't help to deal with whatever issue they created--there's nothing that can be done for the more "ordinary" abuses.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Celarnor Talk to me 08:28, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:28, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:13, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Endorse TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:52, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who comment upon this summary:

  1. I agree that this is frustrating especially if you believe Arbcom's decision was incorrect but we cannot allow litigations to continue forever. So unless the due process was badly broken the Arbcom decisions should be final. As a brainstorming idea maybe recommend to reassess usefulness of remedies in a few months to see if they are working as expected Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:10, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. In (thankfully rare) cases of abuse of power by arbitrators, the community should be able to call for a vote of confidence through a petition for recall. Concordant with Jimbo's principle of refusing appointment to ArbCom candidates with less than 50% of the community's support, any arbitrator who can't garner at least 50% support in a vote of confidence should be recalled from the committee. Details can be worked out elsewhere, but I think the principle of being able to recall elected officials for abuses is important, especially in such a time-sensitive environment as Wikipedia. -- The_socialist talk? 13:24, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. A key principle of any process like this is that the decision makers have protection - otherwise they would vote against every FoF and remedy for fear of what would happen if they agreed and it went wrong. Or good-hearted people would stay away from elections and we'd only have people who want to push a POV around. That's not good. John Smith's (talk) 10:55, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Pretty much, yep. I'm all for our own version of sovereign immunity. Of course the ultimate arbiters have, well, the ultimate decision making authority. Any checks-and-balances measure put in would involve the power to overturn Arbcom, as I see your gist going ... so wouldn't they then become the ultimate authority, and who'd have say-so over their abuses? And so on. Welcome to a representative democracy.  RGTraynor  02:38, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. Democracy has evolved a way of dealing with this, as mentioned above. Do not elect them next time. If there is strong enough feeling in the community they will be replaced. You really do need people that have trust until they betray it. BananaFiend (talk) 09:34, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. The buck has to stop somewhere and if throwing the bums out is the only recourse available then so be it. (I don't oppose the summary but rather think it unactionable)--Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Comment

  1. We're kinda like judges in that regard; unless we commit downright egregious acts, we're immune from day-to-day community consensus; when dealing with some issues, our view has to be long-term rather than short-term, and if we feel we have to do something that pisses off the current vocal majority, I think we should feel free to do it. I'd certainly feel a chilling effect if, for example, an editor who I'd voted to sanction could turn around and demand some sort of action against me. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:23, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Checks[edit]

I see this as a problem, and I think there needs to be some kind of community-evolved check of ArbCom. While mob rule and raw consensus is the ideal solution from the wiki standpoint, for practical reasons and to prevent knee-jerk reactions due to controversial decisions and remedies, I don't think that a raw straw poll of "What should be done about x/x,y, and z?" is a good idea. However, I think that the election of some kind of oversight committee imbued with the power to take some kind of action on a case by ArbCom, either by forcing them to review the case and develop a different decision with recommendations on what decisions might be taken or overturning the decision entirely and issuing their own, with as much binding strength as ArbCom possesses. Both of these options are radically different, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, and I'm sure that there are others that could be developed, but whatever method of oversights can be thought up by the community, its clear that something is needed. No body so powerful and composed of so few individuals.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Celarnor Talk to me 08:28, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. Again, the pool from which any overseeing committee would need be drawn would be the same as ArbCom itself, or will have less gravitas, experience and community trust than the ArbCom itself, which again leads to a very similar animal. LessHeard vanU (talk) 15:32, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Why is that a problem? It just means that there's a safeguard in place intended to stop madness. Drawing from the same pool of experienced users doesn't seem like a negative here to me. Celarnor Talk to me 22:31, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. ArbCom has been appointed to be our supreme court - there not being any regular higher authority is kind of the whole point... we have Jimbo and the board to maintain a final check-and-balance against a military coup, and the knowledge that common sense will prevail if they're clearly going mad. Why do we need another level of bureaucracy? Happymelon 12:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. WP does not need another level of red-tape and civil-servants. Since ArbCom members are elected we have a process of removal but I think Niel's suggestions below about quantity and term length of arbiters is worth considering. Low Sea (talk) 18:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Polling does not work well in open communities. An ombudsman or some supervising committee might be helpful Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:13, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Per Lessheard. John Smith's (talk) 10:55, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. In the statement you said "I think there needs to be some kind of community-evolved check of ArbCom." I agree there should be a community involved check in this system, but we do have a community involved check. We elect the members of ArbCom, so if a member doesn't act in an appropriate manner, we don't have to re-elect them. That's a community involved check.--SJP Chat 23:46, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. Arbcom is the oversight committee. Any group set to oversee Arbcom would just be the new authority ... and no doubt then someone would complain that it was too powerful and didn't have enough checks and balances. Folks, the nature of the beast is that sometimes Arbcom is going to make a decision you don't like. That's the way of things.  RGTraynor  02:41, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. Adding another level of bureaucracy is probably counter-productive (this is a voluntary effort after all). Setting clear guidelines for openness and procedure for arbcom seems like a more productive way to go. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:29, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Appeals[edit]

In the current model, appeals are made to the same group that originally handled the case. This completely defeats the purpose of the appeal, rooted in the idea of having separate higher and lower courts. While one might argue that the elevation from MedCab and RFC is an appeal, I would disagree. ArbCom is the only form of dispute resolution that is actually binding, and that is what needs the safeguard of an appellate system other than "Uh, guys who banned me, please think about this again" more than anything else because of that. While it may be slightly less improper for ArbCom to hear appeals resulting from their delegation of power a la BLPSE, the idea of having only one binding judicial body where appeals are issued to itself undermines the most basic principles of the appeal.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Celarnor Talk to me 08:28, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Although I understand the reluctance to have a proliferation of bureaucracy and assorted administrative bodies, there might be some value to having some other body review extremely controversial decisions in extraordinary circumstances. I am not sure how this would be structured and it would have to be done carefully, but I think it is worth considering.--Filll (talk | wpc) 14:30, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Neutral comment about this summary

  1. I suppose that there are two ways around this. One could either establish a new body below the Arbitration Committee which will be a second-to-last step in the dispute resolution process for cases either when Mediation is rejected or when a binding decision is needed, or one could allow anybody who is aggrieved by an ArbCom decision to appeal to the Foundation board. (Needless to say, any decision of the Board can be presumed to set a precedent.) Bwrs (talk) 04:23, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. Well meaning, but with two areas of contention; Firstly ArbCom decide upon interpretation of policy, both in decisions and appeal and better arguments can prevail, so on what basis should appeals be judged? Secondly, the pool from which any Appeals Committee would be drawn would be the same as ArbCom itself, and will thus likely not deviate overmuch from ArbCom derived decisions. LessHeard vanU (talk) 15:32, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Oppose. There has to be a "court of last resort." While Jimbo nominally can override an ARBCOM decision, he hasn't in ages if ever and his recent statements indicate he won't in the future. Other proposals on this page involve creating "lesser courts" which should lighten ARBCOM's load considerably, allowing them to devote the right amount of energy to cases they do take while settling them within a week or so of getting them if they look at existing evidence, longer if they collect more. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 19:55, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Update: At the top of this page, there is a quote from Jimbo that he would override an arbcom decision in the interests of basic justice. Hopefully, this will never need to happen. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 20:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Oppose - we cannot drag a litigation forever. Maybe scheduling a review of remedies in a few months might help Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:16, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Per LessHeard. John Smith's (talk) 10:55, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. A body for appeals won't be of great help because there will be an inherent tendency to support arbcom decisions. And, adding overhead in a voluntary body is never a great idea. Far better to enforce openness in the arbcom process and let that openness serve as a self-correcting mechanism. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:35, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

View by User:Filll regarding holidays and other time concerns[edit]

Arbcomm seems to show a bad tendency to ignore holidays and other temporal constraints. In the case of the Durova situation, they held the case over Thanksgiving Weekend. In the MatthewHoffman case, Arbcomm did not want to allow time off for University exams or for a Christmas or New Year's break. In this current Orangemarlin case, they want to have an expedited RfAr (48 hours) and Arbcomm case (7 days) over a holiday week. In all three cases, voting commenced before there was any evidence available or a defense had even been mounted. Given that Arbcomm is so slow in many situations (in the C68-SV-FM case, reportedly none of them had even bothered to look at the accumulated evidence weeks after it was presented to them), why are they in such a frantic rush in other situations? And why do they have no respect for assorted temporal constraints of the accused, or of other interested parties?

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Filll (talk | wpc) 19:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Yes. --Badger Drink (talk) 20:22, 29 June 2008 (UTC
  3. It blows my mind the Committee cannot see that pursuing the reopened Orangemarlin case in such a rapid fashion will further damage trust rather than restore it. --Jaysweet (talk) 11:43, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:27, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. yes, especially the bizarre way some cases are "expedited" and others are dragged on over the course of several months seemingly at random. --Random832 (contribs) 15:14, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. The original OM faux-case is another example - while there's no way to determine when FT2 (and others?) launched this case, it almost certainly came after FT2's comment on the Sceptre-initiated RFAR. This latest example was especially bad though. And, of course, as Jaysweet says, immediately reinstating this case is incredibly tone deaf. Guettarda (talk) 16:16, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. --Cube lurker (talk) 16:28, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. Agree. Examples aside, the point is sensible. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:37, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. The point makes sense, and it might make sense for members of the committee to specifically ask in some cases (like maybe finals weeks?) if the matter should be delayed because of outside concerns. In some cases, people might not think to ask for such an extension, or might feel that it would be presumptuous to ask for it on their own. John Carter (talk) 00:56, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. Partially endorse, in relation to major holidays at least. However, I think that a better practice would be to avoid rushing through and precipitously closing cases of any kind, at any point in the calendar year. Nsk92 (talk) 04:15, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  11. Endorse Stop rushing things and take a break. The Arb Committee needs to understand this is a global committee, we're not in a world where everyone is thier faith. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:55, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who have some other opinion

  1. This is not a holiday week outside North America and Hong Kong. Please remember Wikipedia is global. Stifle (talk) 09:22, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
    Of course Wikipedia is global. So suppose the accused is in India, and required to respond over a short period which is during a holiday or festival in India, and the accused likely has other commitments and /or limited access to the internet? It does not matter what the temporal constraints are; it only matters that Arbcomm seems to have a bad habit of ignoring them, whatever they are.--Filll (talk | wpc) 15:44, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. If there is a problem, then the examples given are not helpful. The Matthew Hoffman arbitration went on for well over two months, and he had ample time to respond to any evidence presented. The Durova case has a special urgency for not one but a number of reasons. It was called in response to extensive community concern on a matter of abuse of administrator powers which was complicated by abusive posting of private correspondence by a third party. Administrators who perform bad blocks and fail to justify them, then plead that they can't hang around and defend or remeedy this failure, are not living up to the minimum standards required. Moreover Durova had misrepresented her actions as having the authority of the Committee. --Jenny 23:32, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    No, Tony. You are the one who misrepresents. I never claimed to have had that authority, and when questioned I immediately and consistently disavowed such a notion. DurovaCharge! 04:03, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
    I stand corrected. The Arbitration committee found that you blocked a certain user "!!" indefinitely "stating that the grounds for the block could not be discussed on-wiki and that any appeal must be routed to the Arbitration Committee." They further found that "The Arbitration Committee gave no prior approval to Durova to block !!. Durova did not have the consent of the Committee to direct discussion of the block to the Committee."(Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Durova#Findings_of_fact) So the reasonable impression was given that you believed you had the authority to refer the unblock to the Committee, but in fact you had no such authority. The arbitration committee's need to expedite what was a very straightforward but potentially damaging case seems obvious. --Jenny 04:29, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. Depends on what the situation is. If the case is active and awaiting a decision then it shouldn't be a problem. If a key matter needs to be raised then chances are people would only become aware of it if they had access to a PC. However, if we're talking about holding the evidence session over a holiday that the main parties will be under then that's a mistake. Again, if the holiday happens to be around during the session that's not a problem if there's plenty of time afterwards/before. But people shouldn't be forced to use their holidays to put evidence together. John Smith's (talk) 10:59, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

View by User:Kww[edit]

The Request for Clarification process is hopelessly broken. My experience with it lies here, and it quickly went from bad to surreal. In a nutshell, Rvelse and Vassyana issued blocks against TTN referring to the E&C2 arbitration case that I believed (and still believe) were for actions not prohibited by the language of the sanctions, and, in a case of plain arithmetic, exceeded the blocks available under the sanction (blocks up to one week were authorized for repeated misbehaviour, and a block of two weeks was issued).

I asked for clarification, explaining why I thought the language did not prohibit the behaviour, and asking for a clarification of intent. While this was being ignored for weeks, another bad block was issued, so I opened a second request for clarification on that issue.

My requests for clarification was never answered with a clarification. Instead, Kirill responded with a proposal to topic ban me from editing, commenting on, or otherwise having any involvement whatsoever with any article substantially related to a work of art or fiction (including, but not limited to, video games, movies, TV shows, novels, comic books, and so forth) or any element of such a work. My bottle of good faith elixir isn't big enough for me to view the proposed sanction as anything but retaliatory, for annoying Arbcom with the Episodes and Characters issues again. It touched off a flurry of comments from other editors, none of whom could see any justification.

Ultimately, both clarifications were simply aged off the page: no answer, no block, no action ... just ignored long enough that they went away. But not until I had spent over a month watching 4 Arbcom members endorse a topic ban motivated by spite.

I think two things need to happen, but I am placing them in two different sections so people can endorse or reject them separately. My first one:

  • Requests for clarifications need to be answered promptly, and with clarifications. Additional sanctions need to be proposed under a separate process, as they do not serve to clarify the existing language.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Kww (talk) 03:22, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. I remember this, and it frustrated me too. Hiding T 09:40, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. --Michael X the White (talk) 10:58, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 01:58, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Comment

  1. We need more structure to help us with that. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:25, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Umm, I didn't block TTN in that conflict. Sjakkalle (Check!) 10:39, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Comment Rechecked logs, and corrected statement. You're right, you didn't. I should have used the database, and not my memory.—Kww(talk) 11:08, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

View by User:Kww (2)[edit]

Based on the facts in my previous statement, there needs to be a commitment to reading the language of Arbcom sanctions reasonably literally, even when they include the deadly phrase "to be interpreted broadly". Editors have the right to know exactly what behaviour has been proscribed, and administrators should not feel free to expand on them without seeking some further level of consensus for their actions.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Kww (talk) 03:22, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

View by User:Hiding[edit]

Arb-Com does not engage with the community enough during cases. There is little input to case pages, and little chance for the community to understand the basis for each decision, principle and remedy. This leads to confusion within the community and creates a barrier between the community and the committee. Hiding T 10:02, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. JJB 14:57, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Agree. Whether it is or not, the community should be involved in the process. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:40, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. --Michael X the White (talk) 10:59, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agree. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:28, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Yes. This is one of the many things we should ideally do a better job of. Of course this all takes time and energy, things which are often in short supply. Paul August 18:58, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Enorse, especially the first sentence. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:08, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. Agree. On many cases the participants have explicitly tried to receive more feedback and updates from ArbCom, but failed to receive much response. Vassyana (talk) 01:45, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

View by User:KeithTyler[edit]

  1. The Arbitration Committee works best as a chute through which administrators can shunt through users who have been acting uppity in articles they care about, when the actions in the grey areas not covered by the constant increase in no-discuss powers and actions.
  2. If you are brought into an arbitration by an administrator, expect to be punished, most likely barred from involvement in the article you have been working on. Expect that nothing the administrator has done in the course of his/her dispute with you will be addressed. If you are also an administrator, make sure you have more, longer-lasting administrators on your side.
  3. There is a tremendous gap between Mediation and Arbitration. Arbitration has a steep severity bar, while Mediation has a steep ... well, I'm not sure what the bar is, as the last mediation involving me simply got dropped without discussion before it started. When mediation abandons a dispute, the dispute falls into this gap. Unless you are an administrator, of course, then you can simply haul your opponent before the ArbCom.
  4. No member can expect to have help defending themselves. (Not that any defense one could present or could have help presenting has ever mattered anyway.) A heavily entrenched member (such as an administrator) will always have the strong upper hand.
  5. The time and effort it takes to present and participate in an ArbCom case requires full-time effort by the average person, beyond the expectation of a moderately involved editor. This involves poring over the hundreds of edits in a multi-layered dispute to find the individual edits that represent what you are trying to point out. Without this effort, however, there is little hope for your viewpoint to be considered.
  6. Arguing the merit of a viewpoint only ever seems to annoy arbitrators. Particulary when it comes to your own perfectly reasonable understanding of guidlines and policies. If you attempt to show the arbitrators that a given interpretation of guidelines and policies or other guiding materials -- that they don't share -- is valid, you are branded with the peculiarly derogatory term "wikilawyering" and lose by default.
  7. There are clearly too many disputes for a single 9-person committee to handle, particularly given the high amount of material that a disputant needs to provide to have any hope of their "side" being considered. Perhaps more arbitrators are needed, in which a case only needs some smaller subset of such group of arbitrators to commence, and in which a second-chance review is allowed.
  8. There are areas in which Arbitration could expand.
  9. Arbitration should be made more accessible instead of being the realm of adminsitrators and career "prosecutors" (for lack of a better term) who by their nature can devote the time necessary to secure a successful outcome.
  10. Getting help, even organized help, in one's efforts in an arbitration should not be discouraged. Moreover, wanting to help others in these efforts should neither be discouraged.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Keith D. Tyler 21:51, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:10, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Rschen7754[edit]

So suffice it to say that ArbCom dragged its feet with Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Highways 2. That case should not have taken half as long as it did.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Rschen7754 (T C) 00:12, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Endorse TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 02:03, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

View by a user[edit]

This is a summary written by any active user. In the interests of conciseness, and to get a clear and hopefully uncluttered feel of the community, please leave shorter individual statements in the appropriate topic section, rather than one long condensed statement. This will allow users to endorse specific aspects more easily.

{Add summary here, but you must use the endorsement section below to sign. Users who edit or endorse this summary should not edit the other summaries.}

Users who endorse this summary:

Clarifications on limits of what the Arbitration Committee can do[edit]

Lately, ranging from the IRC case to the Mantanmoreland case, questions have arisen in a variety of forms of what the scope and limitations of the Arbitration Committee are. In theory, the Committee can "do" anything, but if they were to overstep their community approved mandate the community could simply rein them in. As this is a constant question, please post your thoughts, if any, of what would be considered by the community to be outside the realm of the Arbitration Committee as a body.

View by User:Barberio[edit]

No New Policy[edit]

The Arbitration Committee are not entitled to create binding rulings that institute new Wikipedia processes or policy, or substantial alter current Wikipedia processes or policy except by striking sections incompatible with Wikipedia Foundation requirements. They are not a legislature.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --Barberio (talk) 01:33, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. •Jim62sch•dissera! 15:35, 28 June 2008 (UTC) Nor should they be judge, jury and prosecution.
  3. Absolutely. The proper role of the ArbCom is to enforce existing policies, not to create new ones by an administrative fiat. If ArbCom members have a policy proposal, they could and should make it through the regular WP policy and guideline approval process. Nsk92 (talk) 17:37, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. A number of people have been trying to make this point for some time. The ArbCom itself did at one point agree with this. I don't know if that has changed or the notion of what constitutes makin g policy has changed but yeah. ArbCom is not in the business of making policy. JoshuaZ (talk) 19:28, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Endorse, it is for the community to make policy. DuncanHill (talk) 20:07, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 21:01, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. I would go further to say that Arbs must base their decisions on what would seem the most reasonable interpretation of stable policy, entirely and impartially in all cases of community conflict, and not on who seems to be anyone's friend. Arbs acting to protect certain interests from further public shame, that was painfully and obviously brought upon by their own misuse of the encyclopedia, seems to have entirely derailed the outcomes of some cases against both the letter and spirit of fundamental policies all must subscribe to for the community to be able to function smoothly. Ameriquedialectics 21:59, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Endorse - speaks for itself. --Dragon695 (talk) 22:07, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. -- Ned Scott 07:50, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. Doc Tropics 16:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. rootology (T) 16:48, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Yes, but this does leave the problem of how to resolve deadlocks. DGG (talk) 22:51, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    and also subject to Durova's comments below. DGG (talk) 20:58, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    Vote? rootology (T) 06:00, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. Obvious. Neıl 10:55, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Absolutely. J.delanoygabsadds 11:51, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. Separation of powers - eminent common sense. We make the policy, thankyou very much :D Happymelon 12:33, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. Endorse: Community decisions, not elected representatives. — MaggotSyn 15:36, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  17. On reflection I think this strong a statement is needed. Davewild (talk) 17:33, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  18. Of course. It's best to let the community to decide a consensus rather than letting a few people decide. OhanaUnitedTalk page 18:35, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  19. Strong Endorse. It may be a USA-centric model but if the ArbCom is our "Supreme Court" then they should be interpreting law (policy,etc) not creating it. Continuing the analogy: the ArbCom is the Judiciary, the Foundation is the Executive, and the whole Community is the Legislature (we don't have "representative government" at Wikipedia and that is a good thing). If ArbCom wants new law then they should suggest new laws to the Community for consensus or in the case of a "must have" rule ask the Foundation to implement it. Low Sea (talk) 18:50, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  20. Endorse. I trust the community in respecting our fundamental principles. It's the other way around that has been caused for concerns recently (secret trials, "desysop-ment" on command, etc). It doesn't mean that we don't trust the committee within its scope, though. Virtually speaking, coercion may happen to arbitrators likewise, but the community is big enough to prevent massive coercion. Jimbo and the foundation can take ultimate decisions, for example when they restricted non-talk page creation to registered users only. Cenarium Talk 21:01, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  21. --Cube lurker (talk) 16:33, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  22. This shouldn't need saying. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:30, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  23. Absolutely correct, and this is easy to forget. We need to keep this clearly in mind whenever we discuss the scope of the Arbitration Committee. ArbCom are not a "Supreme Court of Wikipedia." They are a last resort in the process of dispute resolution -- a process that is endorsed by community consensus, and nothing else. --Ryan Delaney talk 03:21, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Only if people can ignore Arbcom decisions they don't like, and which have not been proven to have achieved Wikipedia-wide consensus. Has that heretofore been the case? Otherwise, it's sophistry. Arbcom can make binding rulings and issue binding sanctions. That's what a court does.  RGTraynor  02:46, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  24. Like a High Court Arbcom should not create new policies. It can help in setting precednts in interpreting the existing policies though Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:20, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  25. As above. It should be ACs job to interpret existing policies to help solutions and remedies for particular cases. I don't feel that ArbCom are necessarily "bad" at doing their role, in some cases, they work well and it is necessary to have some form of committee which checks the community in exceptional circumstances. However, creating new policies and 'substantially altering current Wikipedia processes or policy except by striking sections incompatible with Wikipedia Foundation requirements' isn't in the job description as far as I'm concerned. Rudget (logs) 09:49, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
  26. Arbcomm should be deciding based on policy, not creating new policies. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 02:26, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  27. Endorse. I have a hard time envisioning Arbcom being the only people in Wikipedia whose grandparents aren't being held hostage.Kww (talk) 02:32, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  28. The policies we have are more than enough for every circumstance. Anything that is liable to see Wikipedia in court is a matter for the foundation to rule on, everything else is the community's decision, and if the community cannot decide, no decision should be forced upon it. That is the model of consensus. For arbitration to enforce a policy is to breach a core policy on Wikipedia. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Hiding T 10:08, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  29. --Michael X the White (talk) 15:12, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  30. Yep, this is how it should be. -- Anonymous DissidentTalk 16:17, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  31. Arbcom should not be creating policies. -Royalguard11(T) 17:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  32. Courts enforce laws which are enacted by legislators. The ArbCom enforces policies and guidelines which have been decided by the consensus of Wikipedians. The ArbCom cannot make policy, but they must enforce existing policy.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 05:19, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  33. -- Vision Thing -- 18:49, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  34. Paul August 19:01, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
  35. Support IF not only the Arb Committee and the changing admin agrees to this, but also, 2 other admins agree with the change. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 02:06, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Sorry, I misunderstood the proposal. I just endorse. ArbCom shouldn't be given that much power. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 02:08, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  36. nagle (talk · contribs) Recall the Wikipedia talk:Requests for arbitration/Footnoted quotes/Proposed decision, in which ArbCom went well beyond the issues brought to arbitration to effectively make policy on biography of living persons. Serious questions were raised as to whether ArbCom had exceeded their authority. --John Nagle (talk) 05:11, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
  37. ArbComm is supposed to interpret policies made by the community, not to create policy. There will be some tension here, but a valid interpretation will always be comprehensible by examining the history of the policy being interpreted, including the ways in which it stands in dynamic tension with other policies. There are too many problems with the same group making the rules and ruling on cases; that system of government was long ago discarded in the civilized world. See separation of powers. This is not an appropriate venue for a good discussion of wiki-political philosophy, but it needs to be noted that ArbComm is intended to be the judicial body of Wikipedia, not the legislative body. GRBerry 14:40, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. Tough oppose, because I come very close to agreeing with this. In theory, though, I'd still reserve a power for the rare situations where open community consensus is impossible. Parallel to ArbCom's ability to take cases offsite in extraordinary circumstances, it makes sense to have a body that may intervene under special conditions. By special conditions I mean something like forty administrators receiving photographs of their grandparents along with granny's home address from an anonymous source, and being told that to vote in a particular way in a Wikipedia discussion. Attempts at coercion do happen; it is necessary to have some check upon attempted exploitation in order to counter and discourage it and prevent its expansion. An arbitration committee that holds this power but uses it sparingly under readily defined and comprehensible circumstances is better than one that lacks it altogether. DurovaCharge! 17:55, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I agree with Durova. I'll write up a new proposal below. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 18:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Until we somehow achieve WP:Governance reform I would hate to see the only democratically mandated authority on English Wikipedia prevented from making policy from time to time. I would prefer to see a separation of powers in the long run, though. PaddyLeahy (talk) 19:07, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Can't fully agree. Durova makes a good point. John Smith's (talk) 11:07, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Disagree with this and agree with Durova's point. Arbcom is useless without power. If they lose credibility, that is a different problem. —Mattisse (Talk) 23:59, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. ugen64 (talk) 16:51, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. This goes just too far. No, the Arbitration Committee is not a legislature, but it is, like it or not, a supreme court. I think we should respect the principle of stare decisis in ArbCom rulings and see them as a kind of common law that informs parties in future disputes. -- The_socialist talk? 04:36, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. Some of the committee's best moments have come when it has cemented consensus as policy. All policy is subject to change, under consensus. --Jenny 23:20, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
    Your statement makes the fallacious assumption that ArbCom only acts on consensus; as you've said elsewhere, ArbCom is immune to the consequences of consensus when it so chooses to be, and have freely gone against it more than once, sometimes more egregiously than others; the question is whether their status as ArbCom entitles them to create policy against consensus. If there was consensus for it, there would be no necessity for the Committee to do such things anyway. Celarnor Talk to me 23:27, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. Oppose proposal, on a number of grounds (although I support aspects of what's said here, mostly in a theoretical sense, and on the basis of the project's / my principles). I had a very long rationale authored here, but I lost it in a freak browser slip-up (I'm not on my usual system here, so I've not yet tweaked things to guard against slip-ups like this). If anybody is interested, please let me know and I'll author you something close to what I had before. But I doubt anybody is: there's quite enough to be getting on with on this page! Anthøny 21:24, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

No New Policy (modified by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk))[edit]

The Arbitration Committee are not normally entitled to create binding rulings that institute new Wikipedia processes or policy, or substantially alter current Wikipedia processes or policy except by striking sections incompatible with Wikipedia Foundation or legal requirements. They are not a legislature, and should instead, as respected members of the community, direct said community to look into an issue and create policy on it. As members of the community, they may also help write it.

They may, however, be able to create or modify policy in exceptional circumstances, particularly where the community cannot act. These include dealing with situations where coercion, harassment campaigns, and other things make those in the community best knowledgeable about the issue unable to present public evidence. This is all in line with the arbitration committee's responsibility to protect members of the community.

This last responsibility may be spun off the arbcom's responsibilities to a new committee if desired, but it is absolutely necessary that some body is in place to protect the community where the community is being held hostage.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 18:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Yes, much better than above. Resolves the concerns. DurovaCharge! 21:53, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Seems to strike the type of balance that is necessary in order to have something workable. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 22:11, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 02:09, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. The original statement got it right: no new policy from ArbCom, period. I can forsee no kind of exceptional curcumstances where policy-making by ArbCom may be required and the hypothetical examples cited above are unpersuasive. In cases of coercion, harassment campaigns, etc, what is necessary and what will surely occur, is regular administrative action (bans, blocks, etc), rather than changes in policy. Moreover, there is simply no way to reconcile potential conflicts and discrepancies between policies adopted by the community through the regular policy change/approval process and between those adopted by ArbCom. Nsk92 (talk) 09:42, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. While on the face of it this seems reasonable, the past 7 years show us how "exceptional circumstances" can be stretched into tyranny.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 02:27, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. I don't disagree with durova above but the problem with exceptions is that they can (and, if history is any guide, will) be misused because it is impossible to list them in a specific enough manner. I don't see why we can't create a mechanism where arbcom (or any user for that matter) can outline the costs and benefits of a policy change and seek community support for that policy change. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:46, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Wikipedia has no deadline. In the real world, with constant deadlines, it is necessary to have someone with the power to respond instantly in order to stave off threats to physical security. In Wikipedia, we need no such person. We have the luxury of taking our time in making our decisions, so I see no situation which could entail such emergencies that the ArbCom would suddenly need to assume executive power.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 05:27, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Comment:Could you give an example of a situation where the community would be "held hostage" and the ArbCom would have the unique ability to act?

  1. I can't think of any reason where the community would be "held hostage", being such a big group of people. It is much easier for the Committee to be held hostage; it doesn't make sense to grant them extra power under those circumstances; if anything, it means that the community should have more power over ArbCom for when it gets "held hostage", not the other way around. Celarnor Talk to me 03:38, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

No Secret Trials[edit]

The Arbitration Policy clearly outlines the form that an Arbitration Case takes. It does not allow for the Arbitration Commity to convene in secret to determine a case based on proceedings conducted entirely in private. While they may accept confidential evidence, proceedings must be as open as they can be.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --Barberio (talk) 01:33, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Guettarda (talk) 03:55, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. This is a most basic requirement for any community I want to participate in. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 11:59, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Except in exceptional cases where there is a strong, compelling reason, such as to protect a young child faced with sexual harassment on-wiki. (A case I believe happened a few years back) Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 12:10, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    I think such cases would be better handled by the foundation. --Barberio (talk) 12:12, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    I think the foundation tends not to directly handle anything at all that is content related. It puts processes in place, yes, but never signs "by the foundation". The closest it comes would be WP:OFFICE I would say. I like the intent here though. ++Lar: t/c 17:18, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. •Jim62sch•dissera! 15:37, 28 June 2008 (UTC) Yes. One caveat: exceptional must be explicitly defined to avoid subjective usage of theconcept.
  6. The basic test of special circumstances for a summary proceeding is that the reason for it can be explained, and gets essentially universal concurrence by the community. DGG (talk) 16:27, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    #At the very least, a behind-closed-doors trial should still involve the accused (DERP! How obvious is this?), and probably anyone who is even tangentially related to the case should be given a chance to comment, even if they aren't involved beyond a quick one- or two-paragraph statement. --Jaysweet (talk) 17:12, 28 June 2008 (UTC) (Still basically an endorse, but see my view "Limitations on secret trials" below --Jaysweet (talk) 02:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. There should be a clear and compelling reason for any secret deliberation. "Don't want to deal with the ZOMGDRAMMAZ" is not one. And no one should ever be tried without notice. Aunt Entropy (talk) 17:36, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Exactly as Aunt Entropy says. Secret trials should be an extremely rare exception used only for the most exceptional and serious circumstances. As we've seen, it just doesn't work any other way. delldot talk 20:01, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Endorse wholly. DuncanHill (talk) 20:06, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. I agree. There may be exceptional cases where certain bits of evidence (possibly involving real life identities etc.) may be sent to the mailing list directly, but even then, I believe the fact that this evidence has been presented should be noted on the case pages. In no case should the community, much less the accused, be excluded entirely from the process. Shell babelfish 20:15, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. Endorse, although I can't help but wonder if it has been successfully used in the past; how would we know? LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:20, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Yes, it shouldn't operate as a star chamber. *Dan T.* (talk) 20:49, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 21:02, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Appearances of this can be prevented if Arbs become required to explain their individual reasoning on the cases they decide on, rather than allow one Arb speak for an consensus determined off-site. Ameriquedialectics 21:19, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. I understand the exhaustion of patience that the ID editors can cause with their megabytes of comments over ever minute detail, but now that I've had time to reflect, I can not turn my back on a fundamental principle. No secrets, especially trials. --Dragon695 (talk) 22:06, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. Secret hearings and their subsequent sanctions only create more drama and paranoia. This ultimately will lead to an ever greater sense of detatchment between the community and Arbcom. RMHED (talk) 22:12, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  17. Secrecy is an ever-increasing element in ArbCom's operations, originally introduced with a view to protecting privacy but now totally divorced from all reasonable considerations. Secrecy implies impunity, and that's the crux of it. --Ghirla-трёп- 22:17, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  18. Occasionally, under special circumstances, it has been necessary to conduct cases via e-mail. Although I do not object in principle to that practice, as DGG says the reasons must be compelling. And I must emphasize: this applies to reviews and clarifications as well as new cases. Reasons for offsite cases may include children's safety, the Foundation privacy policy, and other unavoidable obstacles. It is not enough to assert the putative likelihood that enough evidence is already available, or potential inconvenience to Committee members from running a regular case. If an editor violates policy while a case is ongoing, that editor may be blocked. At a time when ArbCom has the fewest number of open cases in its four year history, the convenience argument is particularly unconvincing. DurovaCharge! 22:29, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  19. Whether it's to protect the accused, or to damn them without interference from those pesky subversives, secret trials are not what I expect from a project of this magnitude. I also agree with Shoemaker (#4 above), but let's not confuse "protecting a twelve year old from violation" with "protecting our buddy from other people's anger", and let's try and not confuse either one with "protecting ourselves from drama". --Badger Drink (talk) 00:00, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  20. Endorse with particular reference to Durova's comment. If editors engage in block-worthy behavior while defending themselves before ArbCom, in camera or otherwise (legal threats, threats of violence, etc.), then I think it's reasonable to say they've forfeited the right to continue defending themselves. Pre-emptively disengaging them because committee members think they might do so, or might be annoying, is out of the question. (And is clearly not effective at reducing drama.) Choess (talk) 02:32, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  21. KillerChihuahua?!? 04:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  22. Chetblong (talk) 05:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  23. The above summary and supporting comments sum this up better than I can. -- Ned Scott 07:57, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  24. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  25. No secret trials at all, period. Everything need to be where we can see it. If there is an issue with privacy, that part of the case can be sent in via e-mail to an arb. — MaggotSyn 10:21, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  26. No secret trials. No not involving the accused. If there's something that can't be shared with the community, it can be sent in email. Celarnor Talk to me 12:53, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  27. Captain panda 13:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  28. Agree --CrohnieGalTalk 15:19, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  29. While there are circumstances in which private discussions might be in the best interests of individual editors and even the community as a whole, but a trial so secret that even the defendant didn't know about it until after the sentencing is not an acceptable process. Doc Tropics 16:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  30. Endorse, though I'm pretty sure the arbcom agrees with this already (the latest confusion nonwithstanding). Still it never hurts to make this clear (the extremely occasional and rare situation excepted -kinda like reverting 'obvious' vandalism, if the reason is not obvious to virtually everyone, it's not "obvious"). R. Baley (talk) 16:15, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  31. rootology (T) 16:49, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  32. No secret trials. This does not prevent occasional swift action to prevent possible harm, the continuation of which can then be discussed in proper form. Nor does it prevent occasional taking of private evidence for good reason. The accused must know what the case is against him so he can answer it. There are plenty of people on Wiki more than capable of making plausible sounding but entirely false allegations. Fainites barley 18:56, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  33. Neıl 10:55, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  34. Unless there is a very strong reason not to hold it in public, I see no reason why the ArbCom should convene in secret. J.delanoygabsadds 11:53, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  35. I'll hold to the letter of this: "as open as they can be". The committee should have the option to hear cases in private where this is genuinely best for the community and the parties, but never in absentia. Happymelon 12:38, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  36. Only in very restricted, well-defined and necessary circumstances with plenty of checks and balances.--Filll (talk | wpc) 14:24, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  37. Please don't turn Wikipedia into a secret court hearing in a communist country. OhanaUnitedTalk page 18:33, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  38. Cautious support. See my views about creating WP:BROWNACT under Section 6 below. Low Sea (talk) 18:55, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  39. Endorse, keeping in mind that privacy must be respected in any case. No need to rehash drama for the sake of transparency either. Secret discussions are acceptable, but a trial must give the chance for a party to defend one's cause, possibly privately on certain issues. Cenarium Talk 21:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  40. --Cube lurker (talk) 16:36, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  41. Support. There is no excuse for conducting secret trials where the accused are not allowed to defend themselves. Nsk92 (talk) 01:47, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  42. Well, duh. There is no need for secrecy in these parts. If something is so sensitive that it requires immediate action, then stewards should be the ones doing it; otherwise, public deliberation is the way to go. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:32, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  43. Agree, maybe modify to something like Except all the parties agree to private hearings If an admin is caught on abusive socking he might want to be deadminned quickly and privately rather than slowly with a lot of drama Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:30, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  44. Rudget (logs) 09:51, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
  45. Amen.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 02:28, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  46. This gives us all the chance to see if the process is fair. It's a no-brainier. futurebird (talk) 02:51, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  47. Endorsing the idea that there should be no secret trials to which the accused is not able to muster a defence and call his own witnesses, as such things apply on Wikipedia. Hiding T 10:11, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  48. I agree. Axl (talk) 13:22, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  49. Sure! Everything open, everything public.--Michael X the White (talk) 15:14, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  50. Cautious agreement. Aaron Schulz 19:01, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  51. Agree. Secret trials have no place in an open system. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:50, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  52. Support, per Durova's comments above. John Carter (talk) 23:11, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  53. Secret trials never, ever lead to good things. keɪɑtɪk flʌfi (talk) 13:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  54. This is the basic justice Jimmy was talking about, no more and no less. -- The_socialist talk? 04:44, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  55. Support, Wikipedia is free lets keep the content and the politics the same. Jeepday (talk) 09:33, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  56. Support TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 02:10, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  57. Mainly support, while there are certain circumstances which may require a greater or lesser degree of private discussion or deliberation, the following requirements should apply: Anyone accused of wrongdoing or facing possible sanction should be notified and given a chance to defend him/herself, including viewing all evidence presented against him/her, and except in extraordinary circumstances, being notified who presented it, the community should be notified of as much information as possible (at the VERY LEAST, that a private case is being considered, and if at all possible, a general explanation as to what justifies the privacy), and the community should at the very least be notified when the case is over. If sanctions are brought against an editor, we should, except in the rarest cases, know why. Requiring at absolute minimum a notification to the community when a private case is being considered will let us know, at the very least, how often this happens, and even that could give some idea if abuse may be occurring. And certainly the ArbCom cannot present to us that adding a tally mark to "How many secret cases we've handled" would violate anyone's privacy. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:54, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. I think Jimmy puts it better than this. [2]. His caveats and qualifications come from experience of what works and what doesn't. --Jenny 22:07, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    That quote doesn't seem to support an oppose to this point: "It is ok for the ArbCom to work quietly with people to resolve conflict in a way which preserves dignity and minimizes drama. We have done that a lot, both formally and informally, and it works well. It is not ok for us to have secret trials in which the people to be punished have not even been notified or offered the opportunity to defend themselves.". There's a pretty big difference between "quiet discussions", which may be required from time to time, and trying someone in absentia. Celarnor Talk to me 23:21, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    I probably cannot put it clearer than "Jimmy puts it better", but I'll try. The Committee may convene to determine a case entirely in private, exactly as Jimmy puts it, to wit: "to work quietly with people to resolve conflict in a way which preserves dignity and minimizes drama." The Committee should not conduct secret trials on secret evidence which I think is what is upsetting a lot of people. --Jenny 00:09, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Perhaps this should be "No trials in absentia", as you seem to be a bit confused about what people are talking about here. The goal is to keep it "as transparent as possible", not "completely transparent a hundred percent of the time." While I think it is completely appropriate to conduct a case in private from time to time in extenuating circumstances, it is grossly inappropriate not to offer the accused a chance to defend themselves, provide explanations and rationales to help him. Having quiet discussions via email is one thing; not including the accused at all in the process of his case is gross misconduct on the part of a judicial body. Celarnor Talk to me 08:35, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    I'm not confused, I'm just not going to agree with an imprecise statement when a more precise and accurate statement is available. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:15, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. See View by davidwr regarding private actions above, and the Jimbo citation in Jenny's endorsement. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Bstone (talk) 16:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Hmm, again can't agree. Courts and juries make their decisions in private - same should happen here. John Smith's (talk) 11:07, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Oppose, unenforcable. The same law has been applied to local governments who simply have a private 'discussion' meeting and then come out to publically take the vote. There is no way to prevent this and I'm sure this whole vote is rather amusing to the ArbCom members who prefer to do it.Yeago (talk) 02:58, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

No Individual Or Plurality Acts To Be Labelled As 'Arbitration Committee Action'[edit]

No individual, or plurality of Arbitrators should make announcements or declarations on behalf of the entire committee, they are to only be made by the plurality or the individual making them. Dissenting Arbitrators should be given an opportunity to voice their dissents to this action in public if they wish.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --Barberio (talk) 01:33, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Per Kirill's comment. LessHeard vanU (talk) 12:53, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. •Jim62sch•dissera! 15:41, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Unfortunately necessary. Davewild (talk) 16:28, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Absolutely. that's how it works in the real world (courts of appeal). JeanLatore (talk) 17:34, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 21:03, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Most definitely. This goes to the heart of a lot of problems. Ameriquedialectics 21:21, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Endorse the community deserves to be able to scrutinize the actions of those it elects to perform such duties. DuncanHill (talk) 21:53, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Stating what should be the stupefyingly obvious, but perhaps certain members of ArbCom, or ArbCom as a whole, could do with a reminder. --Badger Drink (talk) 01:02, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. Trivially endorse. This should go without saying. Why is this even an issue? Jenny asked for an example below, I concur. Absent an example or an objection, strike this entire section as "common sense, why bother discussing it." IMHO in the event of concurring or somewhat-concurring opinions, any portion which has a majority of votes counts as a majority rather than a plurality opinion and it counts as an official arbcom opinion. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. -- Ned Scott 08:00, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. agree, --CrohnieGalTalk 15:21, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. Limited endorse. Didn't the Committee used to do this, i.e. they showed a tally of which members supported and which opposed each point? That's all that's needed. This "nem.con." crap should be done away with immediately. There is no need to put excessive qualifiers on non-unanimous decisions -- we just need to go back to the old way where each member's vote is transparent. --Jaysweet (talk) 16:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Was reading through this page and decided to support this, but didn't read the comments above . . .now that I've read at least the one above mine, ditto what Jaysweet said. R. Baley (talk) 16:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. rootology (T) 16:49, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. As Jaysweet says - get rid of the nem con. rubbish, and show the entire list of supportees. If an Arbitrator is not happy with their decisions and "votes" being publicised, they should not be an Arbitrator. Neıl 10:57, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  17. I think the OM case shows very clearly why we need clear accounting of who supports what. MBisanz's essay has more examples of how this can lead to problems. Guettarda (talk) 16:20, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  18. Naturally. OhanaUnitedTalk page 18:34, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  19. partial support. I support at least part of the above, namely the idea that clearly written minority/disenting opinions (of Arbiters) ought to be made a valid part of the process so that future references to "cases" can be crystal clear on how ArbCom arrived at its decision. Low Sea (talk) 19:01, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  20. Agreed. Noroton (talk) 03:00, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  21. xDanielx T/C\R 06:47, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  22. --Cube lurker (talk) 16:38, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  23. "Nem con" was a mistake, even if done in good faith to expedite the process. At least a list of assenting arbs is needed; signatures are better. Gnixon (talk) 23:52, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  24. Duh Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:35, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  25. Endorse and would go further. While some discussions may need to occur in private, the ArbCom votes themselves must always be made in public, with the signatures of the arbitrators attached and available for verification through the history log. This way we will know exactly who voted and how, and there will be no room for speculation, error, rumor, misunderstanding, etc. If this principle had been followed, the entire unfortunate FT2 saga would not have occurred. I can see no plausible scenario under which an exception to this principle might concievably be warranted. Nsk92 (talk) 09:23, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  26. Endorse - unless a decision is made by a majority voting among active arbitrators it is not a decision of arbcom, it is a decision of an arbitrator or a plurality of ones Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:33, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  27. Endorse - Arbcom decisions should be public, even if some of the evidence isn't.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 02:31, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  28. Endorse.Kww (talk) 02:34, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  29. Absolutely. What this means is that we have none of this, "well, on the mailing list we've sort of agreed", or "speaking as a member of arb-com" or any of that. If an arbitrator wants to speak for the arbitration committee, put it on an arbitration page and let the other arbitrators endorse or reject. Any other comment is the comment of "just another user". No arbitrator speaks for the committee alone. Hiding T 10:14, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  30. The Committee must act as a committee at all aspects.--Michael X the White (talk) 16:50, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  31. - keɪɑtɪk flʌfi (talk) 13:13, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  32. Absolutely. This is common sense; it is sad that this isn't already in place. Celarnor Talk to me 03:40, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who don't know what the above means

  1. An example would help. Read one way, this only means that arbitrators shouldn't go off half-cocked as FT2 apparently did the other day. Read another way, it implies that unanimity is required for all arbitration committee decisions. Jenny 22:10, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    • I think it's talking about less than a majority. For example, if the committee split 4-3-3 with 4 in favor, 3 against, and 3 abstentions by non-recused members, or 4-3-3 with different, non-overlapping remedies, then there is no majority report. If it splits 6-4 then there is a majority and no problem. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
      • If the meaning of this resolution is as you state, it's superfluous. It's like expressing support for the excellent weather we've been having lately. FT2's recent gaffe notwithstanding, the Committee does not permit factions or individuals to represent their opinions as the opinion of the whole. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:19, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Too prone to wikilawyering. —Giggy 04:04, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Yes, what does this mean? John Smith's (talk) 11:07, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. I think that a dissenting ArbCom member is going to vent in public whether anyone likes it or not, if they feel strongly about something. Also, does this mean that an Arbitrator can no longer factually announce a final decision on WP:AN, as is customary? This statement makes no sense to me at all and doesn't seem well thought-out. Grandmasterka 04:51, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. First, I agree with the general sentiment. Second, I note that many people do not know what the word "plurality" means, and it might be helpful simply to talk about a "number less than a majority". Mainly, however, I must oppose this on grounds of practicality. If a majority cannot be obtained, what is to happen? When an appellate court (in the US) deadlocks in this way, the usual answer is the lower court decision stands. When a jury deadlocks (again, in the US), the case is tried with a different jury. However, for the Arbitration Committee there is often no "lower court" decision, and no fresh jury able to convene to which to appeal. If the ArbCom splits 4-4-1 with four recommending a permanent ban on someone, four recommending a 2-year ban, and 1 recommending a 1-month ban, should the result really be no ban at all? If you are to have such a rule, it needs to state what the result is in the event of a deadlock -- and be sure that it's something we can live with. Thesmothete (talk) 16:21, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

No Kafka[edit]

No Arbitrator is to act like a character from a Kafka novel. Especially not Gregor Samsa.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --Barberio (talk) 01:33, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. •Jim62sch•dissera! 15:41, 28 June 2008 (UTC) Even though a recent case reminds me more of Darkness at Noon


Users who oppose this summary:

  1. JeanLatore (talk) 17:33, 28 June 2008 (UTC). If an arbitrator wants to internalise a character from great literature, that is his business.
  2. Samsa? That wouldn't be too bad. What we don't want is the judge from The Trial, or, for that matter, the Jury in Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 22:29, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    Say what you like but remember that everyone went home happy after the verdict of the G&S Trial. So we didn't do too bad a job. -- Foreman of the Jury (talk) 02:43, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. per JeanLatore --Badger Drink (talk) 00:07, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Oppose as writtten/rewrite required. Not every editor knows who Kafka is. However, a standard of ethics for arbitrators wold be handy. This should be written in language understandable by all English-speakers, without unexplained cultural references. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:22, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Try to take this seriously, not everyone is going to get that, even if it is pretty hilarious. Celarnor Talk to me 07:58, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. This RfC shouldn't be a joke. John Smith's (talk) 11:07, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. Not a constructive way forward; using such a comparison that is not clear to everyone, and maybe open to multiple interpretations. Arnoutf (talk) 16:41, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who have no idea whats a Kafka novel and therefore neutral:

  1. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 02:12, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Celarnor (2)[edit]

I see the need for ArbCom as a binding form of dispute resolution, especially for problems involving admins that can't be handled by a community of editors without the tools to enforce their collective judgement. They have been useful in providing sanctions on editors and admins alike who have gone astray of the rules. However, I do not believe that ArbCom is within its powers to create "remedies" that aren't in the form of direct sanctions on editors and admins listed as being involved in a given case. What they have been doing of late goes well beyond that (The 'Sourcing Adjudication Board' and the 'BLP Special Enforcement' measures come to mind prominently); changing existing policy and creating new procedures is not part of the dispute resolution process; that is part of the governing process, and that is a responsibility that belongs with the community, decided by consensus. Not the consensus of a few elite editors, but the consensus of the project as a whole.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Celarnor Talk to me 02:30, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. --Barberio (talk) 02:33, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Guettarda (talk) 03:56, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Although the sourcing adjudication board might be a sensible idea in itself, I see no pressing need for the arbitration committee to institute it by fiat. Very possibly the community would have approved the idea if it had been proposed by individual arbitrators in the normal manner. What I find troubling is the readiness with which the present board redefines its own scope and mandate without consultation or approval from the community. DurovaCharge! 04:19, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Indeed. While steps may be necessary to reduce the workload of ArbCom, introducing a new system by fiat is not the solution. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:02, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Agreed completely. They're a dispute resoluton commitee and nothing else.--Serviam (talk) 12:31, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. MaggotSyn 12:54, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Many of their proposals would probably get fairly general agreement; the way to determine this is to propose them to the community. There would be nothing wrong with arb com as a body making such proposals--they are in a good position to formulate them. They are not, however, in an appropriate position to decide on them. DGG (talk) 16:30, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. •Jim62sch•dissera! 16:36, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. ArbCom has gone too far here recently, let the community decide and do not create new procedures without prior community consensus. No problem with ArbCom making proposals as long as it is explicit that it is the community that gets to decide by consensus. Davewild (talk) 16:57, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. ArbCom currently acts like a combined Supreme Court/Legislature, and it needs to stop. Until something better comes along, the community is the legislature. JeanLatore (talk) 17:38, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Certainly. No more legislating from the bench, please. Nsk92 (talk) 17:39, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. Yes, the decision making power should rest with the community. delldot talk 20:06, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Endorse, policy should be made by the community, and Arbcom does not (or should not) have the power to arrogate new powers to itself. DuncanHill (talk) 20:10, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. Endorse - I'm sure the community would welcome new ideas like the sourcing board, but lets run it through the regular community consensus processes instead of creating it by dictate. Shell babelfish 20:18, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 20:57, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  17. Endorse - policy is the remit of the community, not ArbCom. --Dragon695 (talk) 22:03, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  18. No problem agreeing with this, but I don't think it implies what the writer thinks it does. --Jenny 22:12, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    I don't really understand what you're saying; what do you think I think it implies? Celarnor Talk to me 23:54, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    I think it's intended to imply that the passing of the special provisions in the recent "Footnoted queries" case was ultra vires. That obviously isn't the case. --Jenny 00:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Like I said; I believe that's so far beyond the purview of a dispute resolution group that I'm somewhat shocked that people are supporting it. If they really are within their granted powers to do so, then it looks like rather than searching for a way to deal with their overstepping of power, then we should be rethinking what powers are necessary for a dispute resolution group to operate, and whether or not changing existing policy without the consensus of the rest of the community should be one of them. Celarnor Talk to me 00:19, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Well that's the problem, you see. The BLP is already policy. All the Committee did was to outline its view on how it may be enforced. That's very much in the purview of dispute resolution (in which arbcom has ultimate power) and policy enforcement (which is an arbcom power traditionally delegated to administrators). --Jenny 00:53, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    If that were true, I wouldn't have a problem with it. If they had posted to VP/P and said "Hey, we came up with his idea for BLP, maybe the community should consider it," sure. If BLPSE had a disclaimer saying "This isn't actually policy yet, it's just an idea for community discussion", sure. But that's not the case. It's pretty clear that they're modifying an existing policy. Celarnor Talk to me 01:09, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    You've misunderstood what I said. The arbitration committee doesn't (often) make suggestions of how a policy may be enforced, it specifies how this may be done. On that subject, it is the ultimate authority. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:22, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    That is precisely the problem that this comment was written to address. :) Celarnor Talk to me 10:57, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  19. Per Ms. Durova (#4) and Mr. Davewild (#10). --Badger Drink (talk) 00:09, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  20. Chetblong (talk) 05:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  21. I completely support this statement, and would also like to echo the comments made by Durova and Davewild. Arbcom is made up by experienced and trusted users, and we welcome their proposals. -- Ned Scott 08:02, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  22. Agree,--CrohnieGalTalk 15:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  23. R. Baley (talk) 16:23, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  24. Individually, ArbCom members are respected and trusted members of the community; as Ned Scott says, their proposals will always be welcome and most certainly given all due consideration. ArbCom itself however, is part of the DR process and not a legislature...that power rests only with the community. Doc Tropics 16:27, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  25. rootology (T) 16:47, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  26. They've definitely been exceeding their authority of late. RMHED (talk) 21:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  27. The "sourcing board" really scares me. Let the ArbCom rule on cases, not "legislate from the bench". J.delanoygabsadds 11:55, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  28. Strong support. Low Sea (talk) 19:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  29. --Cube lurker (talk) 16:42, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  30. We are not that unreasonable, so the ArbCom can propose things to the community, just like others do all the time. In fact, a proposal from the ArbCom is pretty much guaranteed quasi-universal scrutiny due to the body's high profile, so the "nobody cares problem" doesn't occur. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:39, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  31. Endorse - arbitrators can propose a new policy but it is up to community (or WMF) to adopt or reject the proposal Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:36, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  32. Endorse. There was no real need for a sourcing board to be proposed, just a hard line stance on WP:V, WP:NOR, WP:NPOV, WP:CIV, WP:EW and WP:C. That covers all the issues that were being sought to be determined with the adjudication board. Likewise with the BLP issue, WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:NOR, WP:BLP and WP:CSD should be enough to cover the issues. Arbitration needs to reflect the spirit of the policy as much as the letter. The BLP special provision seems to be to empower admins to do what they already have the power to do. It isn't needed. What is needed is the arbitration committee to say these are the policies. These editors are upholding them. These editors are not. What confuses the issue is where some editors uphold the content policies and not the behavioural ones. Arbitration should treat each even handedly. Content policy breaches should face stricter punishments, but behavioural ones should not be ignored. Hiding T 10:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  33. Agree. Arbcom is an arbitration panel, not a legislative body. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:56, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  34. New bureaucracy should be proposed to the community, and I wish ArbCom would do that sometimes. By the way, I still don't get the "BLP enforcement" fiasco; it changed NOTHING. ArbCom probably shouldn't have written it, but the community also didn't need to spazz out over it. Grandmasterka 05:00, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  35. - keɪɑtɪk flʌfi (talk) 13:16, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  36. Endorse, if the community does not come to a consensus that something should be policy, it is not. ArbCom exists to enforce policy, the community at large and the Foundation are the only bodies with the authority to create policy. That does not mean, of course, that ArbCom may not propose policy, and indeed I would like to see them take an active role in doing so. However, such policies would be required to gain consensus just as any other proposal from any other source would be required to do, and in the absence of such, would not be policy. I, for one, will happily support the RfA of anyone running to re-sysop if they are desysopped solely on grounds of reversing a questionable decision made under BLPSE, and will not assist in enforcing any other ArbCom created policies unless those truly do gain community consensus. I think the community has spoken clearly here—we want enforcement, not legislation, from the ArbCom. Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:09, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  37. Endorse ArbCom should interpert policy in their decisions, not create it. Ameriquedialectics 19:52, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. Actually, I endorse the spirit of it but not the letter. I look to elected bodies for leadership in things like suggesting new policies. In that sense, arbcom members, both individually and as a group, are "greatest among equals" of all editors. As a matter of practice, I would favor them replacing "written by the arbcom" with "written by these arbcom members and endorsed by the following editors..." to avoid the appearance of a power play. We elected these people. At the time of their election, they had the respect of the community. Barring a fall from grace, that should count for something. — Preceding unsigned comment added by davidwr (talkcontribs) 01:27, 29 June 2008
    But the community's respect for them was framed in the context of the responsibilities of the ArbCom as defined at the time of the election. To put it another way - I'd vote for Michael Jordan to play on my basketball team, but once he joins the White Sox, my vote of confidence would vanish. --Badger Drink (talk) 01:57, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Or if after I vote for Michael Jordan to play on my basketball team, at the beginning of the game a couple seasons later he says "I'm going to play by these rules" without consulting the league for his rule changes. Celarnor Talk to me 03:13, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    There is nothing that prevents arbcom members from proposing a policy change and then seeking community support for that policy change. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 21:56, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Arbcom enforces policy; it does not create it. Nor does it create new policies to enforce the old ones. This never happened until recently, which suggests the root cause for this is one or more of the latest recent Arbitrator appointees. Neıl 10:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    And the fact that the community's objections to those provisions have gone unnoticed by our regular check on ArbCom's power suggests that the existing checks are not enough; even if the problematic element is removed this time, that isn't going to help the next time it happens; it would be best to acknolwedge that ArbCom's unchecked power is a problem now and work to fix that rather than skirting the issue. Celarnor Talk to me 15:22, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. As the introduction to this page shows, Arbcom was clearly intended originally to deal with more general problems that dispute resolution between individual editors. Until we have some other method of dealing with systemic problems, I support Arbcom's recent attempts to re-assert its rights in these areas (although I'm not convinced by some specific remedies). PaddyLeahy (talk) 19:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Surely the arbitrators do need to be able to come up with whatever remedies they can. If the community is divided there's no one else around... John Smith's (talk) 11:07, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Thinking this through, I have to wonder about discretionary sanctions. They work very well in most venues to which they have been applied, but they appear to run counter to this. To the extent they function as telling admins that in certain areas disruptive editing is such a long standing problem that the existing rules should be more stringently enforced, discretionary sanctions don't create policy. To the extent they authorize admins to impose creative sanctions, I think they are encouraging the use of IAR to deal with a problem - with the usual corollary that if there is not a consensus to support the non-standard action then something else needs to be done instead. The sourcing board, however, would have been whole cloth policy creation, and the special BLP thing has been entirely unused (even admins who are regular arbitration enforcers aren't willing to test using it), so can be read as rejected by the community. GRBerry 14:47, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Somewhere inbetween.

  1. Policy - like law - is always carefully drafted with a view to covering every eventuality - but never does. Adjudicators therefore have to interpret and clarify it. This may appear to extend it. As for new ideas like Sources Adjudication - no, ArbCom should not impose it, but yes, these generally highly thought of members should certainly feel free to propose it and other new ideas or policies. Proposals from ArbCom should always be worthy of serious consideration by the community - otherwise we're electing the wrong people. Fainites barley 19:07, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
No it isn't. Wikipedia policy is descriptive, the law is prescirptive, tehre's a massive difference...--Serviam (talk) 18:40, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  1. While in general I would agree with the support !votes above, I can and do see how, in some extreme circumstances, it might be the case that some step which is apparently required is one which the community as a whole cannot agree on a single remedy to. Under such circumstances, I can and do see that it might be reasonable to allow for the creation of a new entity, while still allowing for changes to the specific definition of that entity to take place thereafter, to address the situation. John Carter (talk) 23:17, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) (1)[edit]

The arbcom's behaviour over the last few months has included behavour easily interpreted as repeated attempts to extend their authority, and isolate themselves from community input. These include trying to rewrite policy (the BLP addition to the Footnoted quotes case), and setting up major new extentions to their remit (the Sourcing Adjucation Board, Homeopathy case). Both of these have accepted, community-based ways for their creation that were rejected in favour of a by-fiat decision.. The secret trial of Orangemarlin, which asserted the right of the arbcom not to request evidence from the accused if they felt it would be inconvenient,[3] so badly overstepped the bounds, that Jimbo himself has sanctioned the Arbcom over it:

This last bit of evidence, of course, presumes that FT2's statements on the Orangemarlin case have any weight. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 00:22, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 00:04, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. The fact that at least one ArbCom member, Mr. FT2, busied himself with this ridiculous OM matter while the Homeopathy case lingered without an evidence page (for thirty-two fucking days - oversighting personal info does not take an entire month. Copy and paste a "sanitized" version without edit history as a temporary stopgap measure if you absolutely must) speaks volumes for the current Arbcom's terribly misplaced priorities. --Badger Drink (talk) 00:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Nsk92 (talk) 13:45, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. Events have proven this representation of the facts to be far wide of the mark. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

View by User:Jaysweet[edit]

Conditions on secret trials

Enough people objected to the "No Secret Trials" that was proposed above, that I decided to strike my endorsement (even though I still endorse the core sentiment) and provide this alternate. Under very particular circumstances, it may be desirable (or even necessary, if a lot of BLP issues are involved) for the ArbCom to hold a hearing entirely in secret from the community. However, the following conditions should apply:

  • Under no circumstances should the hearing be kept a secret from the accused and/or anyone who has a possibility of being sanctioned as a result of the hearing. If the person's behavior is so destructive that the Committee is afraid to involve them in their own hearing, probably the user should have already been banned.
  • The committee should make an effort to contact relevant parties in private to gather their thoughts. We should not see an ArbCom ruling that doesn't include statements from the community.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Me indaursez s3rf. --Jaysweet (talk) 02:19, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Yes, there's a difference between involving nobody and involving everybody. The current issue is with people who think their opinion is vital to every arbitration case - eliminate them and work with those who are actually relevant. —Giggy 04:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    I would like to imagine that the ArbCom could distinguish between signal and noise on their own, without the need for gated communities. --Badger Drink (talk) 04:44, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Support, discourage secret trials generally but if really necessary let those who may be sanctioned defend themselves before making a judgement. Davewild (talk) 07:41, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Yes, this provision is required although it is preferred it is never exercised. We must not limit the ArbCom from acting in the best interests of the community no matter how good faith the intent. LessHeard vanU (talk) 15:53, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Endorse. Especially 1st point. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:13, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. Prefer the older version (with Shoemaker addition, endorsement #4). A case that immediately springs to mind is Tango, where a relative bystander (i.e., someone who wasn't very active on the AN/I thread leading up to the RfAR) disclosed a list of tool-abuses that resulted in, as I recall, two or three ArbCom members changing their opinion on hearing the matter. I'm sure there's an even better example somewhere out there, where "drive-by" participation brought new perspective to the actual proposed decision - but, bottom line, as a general matter of principle, it's unwise to legitimize "secret meetings" any more than absolutely need be, as the possibility for salient, perspective-bringing points to go un-heard is far too great. Private evidence should be enough for nearly all dodgy circumstances (and even then, it would be nice to have some mention made on the public /Evidence page, perhaps along the lines of "Evidence presented by anonymous user: An anonymous user has emailed evidence to the committee on MM/DD/YY"). --Badger Drink (talk) 04:40, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Per Badger Drink. Nsk92 (talk) 13:47, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Durova (2)[edit]

Arbitration is the final step in dispute resolution. Except for emergency situations such as wheel wars, or appeals of community sanctions and other circumstances where dispute resolution is impractical, there needs to be prior formal dispute resolution. These options are:

These parameters have not been observed consistently. Formal dispute resolution should remain open long enough to have a reasonable chance of success before a request for arbitration is attempted. WP:AN and WP:ANI are not formal dispute resolution; informal mediation is not formal dispute resolution; block warnings are not formal dispute resolution; an e-mail exchange with an arbitrator is not formal dispute resolution. All of these informal methods have been offered and accepted at various times during RFAR. They should not be acceptable and, if proposed, should be removed by the clerks.

The reasons for going by the book are twofold. The exploitation of non-formal dispute resolution as a pretext for arbitration drags unwilling bystanders into cases and fosters drama. Arbitration is slow, time-consuming, and stressful. Editors deserve to interact with each other with reasonable expectations about when an arbitration case may be in the offing and when it is not.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. DurovaCharge! 07:49, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Kirill attempted to ban User:Kww from editing or discussing articles and matters related to fiction based primarily on a single comment [4]. I pointed out many times to Kirill that no steps in dispute resolution had even been taken with Kww. If it wasn't for us pleading with other arbs to reconsider the situation and to listen to evidence, the motion would have likely passed. -- Ned Scott 08:16, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Agree though I thought this was a natural common way to behave with any dispute. --CrohnieGalTalk 14:47, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. If the community decides that the dispute resolution protocol is no longer needed, the community should express that deliberately. Until then, let's continue to use these time-tested processes. Antelantalk 14:54, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. --Jaysweet (talk) 15:23, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. In addition, the formal resolution also makes sure the arbitration committee gets good evidence from nearly the start. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 16:00, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. While informal steps can always be taken in addition to formal steps, they should never be accepted as an outright substitute within the process itself. Doc Tropics 16:35, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Formal dispute resolution first is critical.--Filll (talk | wpc) 17:02, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. KillerChihuahua?!? 18:38, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. · AndonicO Engage. 20:23, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. Chetblong (talk) 03:53, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Absolutely; while some users aren't particularly open to the wiki way of collaboration and working together to solve problems and would rather have a powerful group of people say "yes" or "no" to something, that simply isn't practical; a binding form of dispute resolution should only ever be used in clear emergencies and when the community hasn't been able to come to a solution on its own. Celarnor Talk to me 15:26, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. Guettarda (talk) 16:23, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Mostly agree, but note that at least 3O, RfC, and WQA are useless where extensive investigation is needed. Gnixon (talk) 23:55, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  15. Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:38, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  16. Partial agree. Provided it doesn't limit the comm's ability to consider cases, I think it is important to try at least a couple of dispute resolution stages first. John Smith's (talk) 11:07, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  17. With the caveat that the Third opinion project is not designed to address complex disagreements between several editors and will therefore not be suitable for all disputes, I endorse the fundamental point here: don't take squabbles straight to ArbCom. — Athaenara 06:41, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  18. Agreed with central point, although I might expand the number of "emergency" situations delineated above. John Carter (talk) 23:20, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  19. Nsk92 (talk) 13:50, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  20. --Barberio (talk) 14:40, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  21. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:03, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  22. Having a DR chain weeds out cases that can be solved with community input. If the community can't solve the issues, use of DR at least clarifies whatever is to be arbitrated. Ameriquedialectics 20:05, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
  23. Mostly agree. My sole reservation lies in wording. While MedCab is something of a formal step in the dispute resolution process, it is explicitly an informal group of volunteers providing informal mediation. Historically, article RfCs and third opinion requests have also been considered informal means of dispute resolution (for example, see the instructions at MedCom's request for mediation page.) Vassyana (talk) 01:42, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. This is far too parsimonious. Community processes often break down and cause long-term, festering problems that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. I do agree on one point--insomuch as the administrators' noticeboards are used by certain parties as a substitute for dispute resolution, those parties abuse Wikipedia and the noticeboard. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:28, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

View by Anonymous Dissident[edit]

What can't ArbCom do? Anything that exceeds the powers pertaining to the position they were given by communal election, in my view. Well, that power is the ability to "impose binding solutions to Wikipedia disputes that neither communal discussion, administrators, nor mediation have been able to resolve" (see: Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee; opening statement.). Not to bend or create new policy, not to allow bias and personal prejudice to influence decisions, but to act as a functional and purposeful judging and arbitrating body that works based on good sense and for the common good. I advise that if ArbCom and its constituent arbitrators were to simply act within the lines of the position they hold, to remember what powers they have, the importance of the seat of arbitrator, under what conditions they hold this seat, and the parameters in which they operate in regards to this position, then RFAR would be much more fluid in its process and bettered in its decision-making. But, most of all, they need to remember why they hold it. It is their job to bring closure to the very worst disputes. The trials and the conflicts that no other medium of dispute resolution have been able to bring solution to. They need to remember how crucial a functional panel of final arbitration in a project such as Wikipedia is, and why it is important that every single member of that panel ensures that they operate in a way that is expressly inline with the boundaries of the powers they have in order that the functionality of this body can never again be questioned in a forum such as this. -- Anonymous DissidentTalk 11:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC) Edited due to a purely technical problem by davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) at 20:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)


People who agree with what was said above:

  1. Antelantalk 14:57, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Well said. The Arbitration Committee's role is to solve disputes, not to create new policies or to augment existing ones. Adding to existing policy in order to resolve a dispute between a few people seems silly to me. —Animum (talk) 15:55, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Completely agree with this, don't think it is so limiting as the author thinks it is. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:31, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. · AndonicO Engage. 20:24, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Not much else to add to this. J.delanoygabsadds 12:00, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Endorse. — MaggotSyn 15:39, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Guettarda (talk) 16:24, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Yes with emphasis on the 'Not to bend'. Davewild (talk) 17:36, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Endorse as per Animum: ArbCom's job is to resolve disputes, not to create policy. — Athaenara 06:52, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. Disputes that can't or haven't been resolved by communal discussion, administrators, or mediation include disputes over content and disputes over policy. Therefore the conclusion of this comment does not follow from its premises. Arbcom has traditionally gone out of its way to avoid issuing rulings in these areas, but current members seem to feel that content or policy disputes are the root cause of many of the most persistent disputes brought before them, and I agree. I also agree that this requires remedies that go well beyond sanctions on individual editors, and that ideally a different body than Arbcom would be responsible for resolving policy disputes where there is no consensus either way. PaddyLeahy (talk) 19:33, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I agree with everything said, but am unsure about how this translates into action.--Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 00:07, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Antelan[edit]

No content decisions[edit]

The Arbitration Committee is not empowered to make content decisions.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Proposed. Antelantalk 14:51, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Agree, --CrohnieGalTalk 14:55, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Have they ever? Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:23, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    They have decided content decisions previously. Whether they ever had the authority to do so is somewhat unclear. Antelantalk 04:36, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Agree that they are not empowered to do so now, but uncertain if that is feasible for the future. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Certainly not. They already have enough established powers. They need less, not more. Celarnor Talk to me 15:27, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Whenever possible. However I will add that in some cases this is unavoidable. futurebird (talk) 02:58, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who disagree with this summary:

  1. The arbitration committee is understandably reluctant to make content decisions, but is not barred in any way from doing so. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:33, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. The arbitration committee is not empowered to "make content decision" but it is empowered to authoritatively interpret ambiguous policies. One hopes that in the event of ambiguity it would do so in the most permissive manner and invite the community to tighten down, but this is not a requirement. As it happens, administrators have the power to make content decisions. They do so every time they permanently-protect an article due to an ongoing content dispute: Without "endorsing" the frozen version, they make a decision that no content will be changed without discussion and consensus. For contentious material without consensus, the administrators effectively "decide" that the version that happened to be there at the time of the protect is the one Wikipedia will show to the world. That may not be an intentional content decision, but it is a de facto one. Likewise, when ARBCOM sanctions individual editors and as a result, an article which previously had no consensus now has a consensus because certain editors have been barred from editing that article, it is a de facto content decision. While I hope it hasn't happened and I hope it never happens, it is theoretically possible for a future ARBCOM member to sanction or not sanction a user knowing good and well that this decision will influence an article in a way that the particular ARBCOM member prefers. Political games like these are possible in any court, and the only thing that can be done is to continue to elect people who have the moral backbone not to engage in such behavior. A better way of phrasing it: ARBCOM is not empowered to make decisions based on content except as necessary to enforce policy. ARBCOM should be cognizant that decisions to sanction particular editors may create a de facto content decision, and they should explicitly acknowledge this in their decisions and make it clear that non-disruptive editors posting similar content in accordance with the policies and guidelines of Wikipedia are not subject to sanctions. One would hope that policy-based content issues such as BLP or COPYVIO would never reach ARBCOM, they should be handled by the first available editor and repeated actions handled by blocks from the first available administrator. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 20:35, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Agree with Tony "Jenny" Sidaway. PaddyLeahy (talk) 19:37, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agree with David and Tony Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:41, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Agreed with the above. John Carter (talk) 23:22, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) - on content decisions[edit]

Sometimes, it would be useful to have content decisions - having someone step in and say "this is how it is going to be, for, say, one month, based on Wikipedia principles and academic rigour of sources" would be extremely useful at solving the perennial disputes at, say, Homeopathy. However, it would need to be hosted with academics, with access to a research library, and with a willingness to say "We don't know". None of this description applies to the arbcom.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 16:28, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. This is a good explanation of why the arbitration committee doesn't (often) make content rulings. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:34, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Guettarda (talk) 16:24, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agree some sort of field-specific expert committees are much better suited for content decisions than arbcom Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:44, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who wish to comment:

  • In general this is an interesting point, and at least tangentially related to the oft-suggested idea that we find some way to "lock" articles that have achieved a certain level of quality (usually FA status). It's a topic that certainly merits more discussion, but this probably isn't the best place for it (since the focus here should be on ArbCom). I'd suggest Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals) or Wikipedia:Village pump (policy). Doc Tropics 16:58, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Probably we do need to have a binding way of making content decisions; the current way is for one side to outmaneuver the other into a behavior violation. And then that's where arb com gets into the act. In practice, it can't and doesn't really consider the behavior violations in isolation--this is especially true when both sides of an issue have acted badly, as is usually the case in the really controversial and emotional topics. It would be more straightforward to have a direct way of doing this. Having some experience with academic disputes, I don't necessarily think that they are usually the answer--the problems here are as apt to be common sense as technicalities, and in those I've worked with, the solution is usually a simple compromise to express both views as opposed to the two sides each trying to suppress each other. (Sure, there are exceptions, but situations of a single person with a completely far fringe view are dealt with fairly well already.) I have some ideas about proper mechanics, but that's for later, when the community opens the discussion. I hope present and past arb com members will join in on that, for their experience in resolving disputes in general will be valuable. DGG (talk) 23:02, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I can and do think that it would be a good idea to have a body to deal with content decisions, but don't necessarily think ArbCom is necessarily that body. I tend to agree with Alex above that we would be better served by some other body handling such matters. John Carter (talk) 23:25, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who disagree with this summary:

  1. I see no reason why content needs a decision making body. There are sufficient controls at various levels and enough editors with restraint. And, of course, there is no reason at all to believe that arbcom members are particularly well qualified to decide what is the 'right' content. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 00:23, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Carcharoth[edit]

Changes to Arbitration policy[edit]

Wikipedia:Arbitration policy is not clear on how the policy should be changed. To quote from the messagebox:

"This page documents an official policy on the English Wikipedia. More so than other policies it should not be edited without considerable forethought and consensus among Committee members."

In the lead section we have:

"These policies are now fully adopted, but subject to amendment. [...] It has been indicated elsewhere (see e.g. the Arbitration policy ratification vote) that the "Arbitration Policy may be tweaked as the Committee gains experience and learns better ways of doing things". Jimbo Wales has also suggested that the policy is not subject to amendment by the community [citation needed] ."

The 'citation needed' tag has been on that page since November 2007. There have also been (very rare) edit wars on this policy page, where the arbitration committee have made clear that they are the ones that decide what the page says (see this one from September 2006: [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]). The policy has also been edited by Wikimedia Foundation officials and board members, such as here, and by arbitration committee members and clerks, as here and here and here and here. At the end of the arbitration policy page, we have the following, under the header of "Unresolved issues":

"Deliberately left unspecified at this time. See the sub-pages for discussion: Election of Arbitrators [and] Procedure for changing this policy"

The subpage Wikipedia:Arbitration policy/Procedure for changing this policy says:

"Arbitration policy is the jurisdiction of Jimbo Wales and the Arbitration Committee..."

The sub-subpage Wikipedia:Arbitration policy/Procedure for changing this policy/Old proposal also exists.

Given the above, in the context of this request for comment (RfC), more interaction between the community and the arbitration committee should take place, such as at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration policy (see also the archives of that talk page), and that any conclusions from this RfC should be presented at that talk page and a response requested from the arbitration committee and Jimbo Wales. The policy should also be updated to facilitate any future proposals to changes in the arbitration policy, and both the community and the arbitration committee should follow that page and its talk page more closely. It may also be beneficial to retain a core policy that is unchanging, but to allow more room for reform outside of that core policy.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Carcharoth (talk) 16:33, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Agree. This is quite an important point. I feel that the status of WP:AP needs to be clarified and some procedures for changing this policy by community consensus need to be adopted. It may perhaps be necessary to set some higher bars and a more restrictive process for changing WP:AP than we do for regular policies, e.g. actually requiring some sort of a vote and perhaps allowing only the bureaucrats to actually edit the page or something of the sort. However, I see no compelling reason for continuing the current practice where the community at large cannot affect changes in WP:AP. Unlike the privacy policy or, say, WP:NLT, arbitration is not a Foundation issue but an internal WP issue and Wikipedia community should be able to change WP:AP through a regular policy-changing process; in fact the recent events demonstrate the need for the community to have such ability. (And, incidentally, WP:NLT, which arguably may need to be more directly controlled by WMF, is actually subject to the regular community approval/change process). So the situation where only the arbitrators and Jimbo are apparently allowed to change WP:AP is both illogical and unacceptable. Nsk92 (talk) 02:10, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. My principal reason for proposing the suspension or closure of this RFC was that it's putting the cart before the horse. Get consensus on a method of changing the arbitration policy first, then we'll be in a position to propose changes in the policy. --Jenny 08:21, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Aye. Hiding T 10:29, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Excellent point. John Carter (talk) 23:31, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Concur. --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 13:33, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:16, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Nsk92[edit]

No secret votes[edit]

While it may be necessary for a portion of ArbCom discussions to occur in private (e.g. where privacy considerations and rela-life identities of some parties are concerned), the actual votes on all the ArbCom decisions by the ArbCom members must always be made in public, with the signatures of the arbitrators attached and available for verification through the history log. This way we will know exactly who voted and how, and there will be no room for speculation, error, rumor, misunderstanding, etc. I can see no plausible scenario under which an exception to this principle might concievably be warranted.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Nsk92 (talk) 10:08, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. DuncanHill (talk) 10:42, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. Agree, all people signing a decision should be known Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:46, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Endorse.Kww (talk) 02:38, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Absolutely. — Athaenara 06:54, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Aye. Part of the accountability process. Hiding T 10:30, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. --Michael X the White (talk) 16:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. rootology (T) 16:57, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. If we don't know who's doing what, there's no way we can evaluate a given arbitrator's performance keɪɑtɪk flʌfi (talk) 13:20, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. A no-brainer! --Regents Park (sink with the skaters) 13:34, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  11. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:05, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  12. - Diligent Terrier (and friends) 20:07, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  13. If I haven't already endorsed some version of this elsewhere, again for emphasis. Ameriquedialectics 20:08, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
  14. Even in a secret case, the proposed decision should be voted on publicly. Arbitrators must be free in that public vote to propose alternatives that they believe from the private conversation will fail to garner majority support. GRBerry 14:53, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
  15. Agree without qualification. Vassyana (talk) 01:49, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  16. -- Ned Scott 05:40, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

No new policy from ArbCom[edit]

While this point has already be made above, a number of issues require further elaboration. The proper role of the ArbCom is to settle disputes and to enforce the existing policy, not to create new one. Apart from anything else, they are too small of a group with too much workload on their hands to go through the necessary nitty-gritty of policymaking, where prolonged and in-depth discussions, with wide community participation, are necessary. Moreover, and crucially, there is no mechanism for reconciling potential conflicts and differences between the policies adopted/changed by the community through the regular policy making process and between policies adopted by ArbCom. Which ones are going to take precedence, who is going to decide on this, and how, etc? Suppose an ArbCom makes some kind of a policy decision (say regarding WP:V) and subsequently WP:V is modified by the community in a way that contradicts the ArbCom's decision. What are we to do then? Creating two independent and co-equal policy-making authorities (the community and the ArbCom) is a sure recipe for disaster.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Nsk92 (talk) 10:08, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who partially endorse this summary:

  1. I'd rather say that any changes to policy implemented by arbcom should be counted as just that - changes to policy. These may then be edited or modified just like any other change to policy. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 12:11, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Except in exceptional circumstances, no taking the case to voting before a week has passed (Shoemaker's Holiday (talk))[edit]

In MatthewHoffman, Durova, the new Giano case, and too many to count, the arbcom have engaged in an unseemly rush to voting on proposed decisions before named parties could provide their evidence. This prejudices the case, and circumvents due process for the users concerned.

This is inappropriate: The Arbcom must give due time for all parties to provide evidence, and not presume they can judge things in absentia of one party's input. As such, except where the Arbcom can provide a clear, convincing reason why the case must be settled more quickly, a moratorium on creating proposed decisions in the first week the case is open MUST be maintained.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 12:11, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. support the committee also holds the option of temporary injunctions if they see a matter as immediately troublesome. -- The Red Pen of Doom 15:21, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. New evidence can be presented in that time. TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 02:15, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Comment on above:

  1. The voting noted above is for the (non)acceptance of a case, and I do not think that it is prejudicial to vote for (non)acceptance at an early stage - and I have seen cases where Arbs have changed their vote as more evidence comes to light. LessHeard vanU (talk) 13:33, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
    Sorry, I wasn't clear: I meant the voting and preparation of Proposed decisions after the case is opened. Edited for clarity.Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:55, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

View by User:Hiding[edit]

The Arbitration Committee can get away with what the community let's them. The community holds the power which the Arbitration Committee wields. Moreover, arbitration should provide a binding solution. If cases are being revisited shortly after closing, arbitration is failing to provide binding decisions. The community has to decide whether it will respect the Arbitration Committee's decisions, accept them as binding and act accordingly, else the committee is a dead duck. Likewise, the committee needs to frame its decisions based on the core principles Wikipedia has, that we decide things through consensus, we don't like people who are dicking around, and we don't want people who are attempting to push a point of view. If we accept that compact between the community and the committee, we won;t go far wrong. If the committee or the community disrespects that power sharing basis, it's a dead duck. Arb-Com has no power to create policy. It has every power to enforce the eminently sensible policies that we already have. Hiding T 08:53, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:07, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

View by User:KeithTyler 2[edit]

  1. Arbitration Committee may not change any of its own rules. That should be done by the community. The arbitrations committee's interpretation of its own rules is not binding; clarifications based on those interpretations do not reflect consensus.
  2. There needs to be clear guidelines on recusals that are adhered to. An arbitrator can not simply treat a preexisting involvement or CoE or preconceived POV as an opportunity to recuse; but as an obligation to recuse. "I choose not to recuse myself" is not an acceptable decision; "I see no reason to recuse myself" is the only defensible position -- and one which should be open to dispute.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Keith D. Tyler 21:58, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Unsure about 1., since WP rules, policies etc are generally descriptive rather than prescriptive, and thus should be a codification of an evolving process - although the engine should be the communities requirements of ArbCom than the Committees determination of its own function. Absolutely agree on 2., though. A recusal request to an Arb needs to be succesfully challenged for it not to be effected. LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:00, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

View by User:Dlabtot[edit]

One of the five pillars of Wikipedia is: If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. This certainly should apply to the Arbitration Committee.


Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Dlabtot (talk) 05:34, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:17, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

View by John Carter[edit]

There are regular, reasonable, statements that we should try to avoid bureaucracy. In a sense, however, we already have a degree of bureaucracy, simply informal bureaucracy. Almost all of the various administrator noticeboards could be called, in effect, a form of bureaucracy. Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to perhaps add sections to the various noticeboards where the "regulars" could, as it were, rate each others' performance, maybe by something like informal "senior partner", "junior partner", or "associate" rankings. Also, as a citizen of the US, and thus used to bureaucracy, I wouldn't mind potentially changing the names of the noticeboards to something including "Committee", even if they are only informal committees. I do think the more "official" sound of that term might be one of the reasons people so quickly seek the more formal-sounding ArbCom.
We also, in effect, have four aspects of arbitration, including the noticeboards and similar, the Mediation Committee, the ArbCom itself, and Arbitration Enforcement. It might be reasonable to arrange a form of informal hierarchy among these entities. Thus, in effect, the noticeboards would be effectively the lowest level of scrutiny, the Mediation Committee and some other group, possibly ArbCom, possibly not, the "appeals" level for the noticeboards and the like, and some entity, possibly ArbCom possibly not, the "final" appeal, the equivalent of the Supreme Court, and AE what it basically already is, probation/parole. It might even be possible to arrange some sort of "preloaded" form to be filled out and then transcluded into the various noticeboards and whatever as appropriate. This would allow for easier tracking of such matters. Such a more formal setup might also make it easier for editors to choose individuals for the appeals entities, as the more clearly defined lower levels would allow for a bit more responsibility there. The "senior partners", or more respected contributors to a noticeboard, would be among the best and most likely to be confirmed candidates for the appeals committees, thus ensuring that there wouldn't be some rather unlikely selection of poorly qualified arbs. It would also make it easier to fill vacant positions on the appeals entities if and when such vacancies occurred.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. John Carter (talk) 19:45, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

View by SirFozzie[edit]

Ok, one thing I see that needs to change is that when a case hits the ArbCom, the socks come out and play, For many of our more active administrators/users, if a case that even peripherally involves them, then everyone who has a grudge to repay comes out of the woodwork, making accussations against that administrators,and attempting to drag the case off-topic, or worse yet, into the mud. (case in point, the WMC ArbCom case, where multiple socks of users who have clashed with WMC over past articles relating to Global Warming have shown up accusing WMC of all kinds of misdeeds, but will not let us know who they really are, so we can judge for ourselves the past issues). So how do we handle these socks with a grudge? (grudgesocks?)

Solutions for this can be varied:

A) Making ArbCom pages by default be semi-protected (locks out the newly-formed grudgesocks). The talk page would not be semi-protected normally. If a Grudgesock absolutely has to submit evidence or workshops, they can do so by emailing the Arbitrators mailing list, or working through an ArbCom clerk.

B) If in the eyes of the clerk of a case (or ArbCom), one of the users is making accusations based on past interactions, but refuses to declare the name under which past interactions took place, the ArbCom clerk/member can strike the section of workshop/proposals, or remove it entirely.

C) Anyone who participates in an ArbCom case should be ready to provide their bona fides (a list of past accounts, etcetera), on request of ArbCom. Anyone who is unwilling/unable to do so will have their sections removed from the ArbCom case until such time as they comply with the ArbCom request.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. SirFozzie (talk) 21:07, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. See related decision by ArbCom, plus there is discussion at WP:SOCK here on whether to update that policy. Merzbow (talk) 21:16, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. I note that the ArbCom has already acknowledged (further down this page) that they will accept submissions by email from parties who wish to avoid fomenting drama by posting on-wiki. There's no need whatsoever for any editor to create a sockpuppet to contribute to an Arbitration 'invisibly', unless their goal is to take cheap, cowardly shots from the gallery and generate additional conflict and suspicion. Far better for them to present their concerns - honestly and in their own name - by email. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 21:25, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. I view this as a real problem, but one we, ourselves, can fix. We're admins (many of us) - just handle these socks as you would any other obvious, disruptive sock. Block, revert, ignore. There's clear precedent to support this in projectspace. It's not that simple, but it could be. MastCell Talk 21:47, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. First, this isn't even really relevant to this discussion at hand, which is about the entity, not about the community parts of the process that it involves itself in. Even that aside; there's a big risk here in trusting someone else to post your evidence for you; you have no assurances that the Arbitration Committee is going to look at it, and you have no assurances that the clerk is going to post it for you. Since you can't post it yourself, you're in a very precarious position in an environment of systematic bias. If you have evidence to share, you should be able to share it; above all else, that is one of the most important elements of a trial, and throwing it away for any reason is an absolutely terrible idea that opens the door considerably for corruption to take in; that door is already wide enough, I don't think we need it to open any more. If there are problems with socks, continue the normal practices. They seem to have worked so far. Celarnor Talk to me 03:47, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

View by a user[edit]

This is a summary written by any active user. In the interests of conciseness, and to get a clear and hopefully uncluttered feel of the community, please leave shorter individual statements in the appropriate topic section, rather than one long condensed statement. This will allow users to endorse specific aspects more easily.

{Add summary here, but you must use the endorsement section below to sign. Users who edit or endorse this summary should not edit the other summaries.}

Users who endorse this summary:

The Arbitration Committee and scaling[edit]

When the AC was first created, Wikipedia was a much smaller place. Today, Wikipedia is a Top 10 website, and continues to grow all the time. There will soon be 2,000 administrators, and ever more users. This section will be for statements, ideas, and suggestions specifically for how the AC can deal with problems of scaling to the ever-growing size, ever-growing requests for cases, and ever-growing case load.

View by a User:Barberio[edit]

The arbitration committee currently lacks the manpower and time to address all issues brought to it in a timely manner. Many arbitration cases may have been concluded without voting arbitrators investigating all the evidence presented. Paradoxically, recent attempts have been made to merge cases together, providing large omnibus cases with too much evidence to present and too wide a scope. This has resulted in a large drift between what a case presents to the arbitration committee, and what they finally rule on. This is likely a symptom of the lack of manpower and time to address all cases in full.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --Barberio (talk) 14:03, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. --CrohnieGalTalk 14:56, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. It has nothing to do with manpower - this question has been responded to on multiple occasions by members of the Committee. My reasoning can be found at the page where someone made a proposal for a new arbitrator. Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Agreed. The rate of new Arbcom cases shows no obvious trend for growth: as noted elsewhere, despite "no precedent" clauses the admin community is learning from Arbcom case history issuing (usually) appropriate blocks without involving Arbcom. Moreover, the editing community is no longer growing exponentially. Will we really soon have 2000 admins? That would be 20% of those on EN:WP eligible to vote for the WMF board, and the standard at WP:RFA is much tougher than that. PaddyLeahy (talk) 19:51, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. There have been chronic complaints that arbitration takes too long. It can be protracted, true, but it can also move very fast when it needs to. Most cases for arbitration aren't at all urgent, and getting the right decision is more important than beating the clock. Manpower doesn't seem to be a problem since the quotas were topped up and the clerks were introduced in early 2006. From what I've seen, evidence is considered but unrealistic expectations often arise--that is, a number of observers may get an inaccurate view of what the case is about. In highly contentious cases, of which there are an increasing proportion as time passes and the community gets better at resolving piddling small disputes, there will always be a substantial faction that feels arbcom didn't give appropriate weight to the evidence. Editors must train themselves to be realistic in their expectations. Arbitrators aren't psychic, they don't like rambling sheaves of evidence they are not obliged to take the community's opinion of a case into account. A case only reaches arbcom because the community has failed in its task of avoiding or resolving disputes, so it's hardly surprising if the problem occasionally relates to inappropriate framing of the dispute. --Jenny 08:35, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

View by User:JeanLatore[edit]

Timeliness of the rulings is subjective. If the Arb com takes several months to over a year to decide a case, what's the big deal? Except in cases where emergency action is needed, we should let them take as long as they need, as long as their final rulings are logical and well-supported by research and deliberation.

Furthermore, as Wikipedia has grown over the last few years, I don't think it has fundamentally gotten more complex. Therefore, our administration processes need not grow more complex just because Wikipedia is getting larger. JeanLatore (talk) 17:43, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Note: User:JeanLatore has been blocked indefinitely for persistent disruptions and for admitting to being a sock for the previously banned User:Wiki_brah. See Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive443#Persistent disruptions by User:JeanLatore. Nsk92 (talk) 13:05, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who support this summary:

  1. I agree with the sentiment but I don't want arbitration cases to last "up to a year". We're a long, long way from that scenario. I agree with the statement about the problems being solvable by the existign machinery. Given a bit of ingenuity, that is. --Jenny 08:38, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. hbdragon88 (talk) 22:27, 28 June 2008 (UTC) If the ArbCom waits too long to act on a case, the dispute may get worse or editors may leave, etc. making the case worthless. What constitutes an "emergency"? There have only been two: Pedophilia userbox wheel war and Daniel Brandt deletion wheel war. Some are very long-term simmering disputes that need timely intervention before the dispute gets too bad.
  2. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 22:44, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Cases that reach ArbCom are by definition those too involved and rancorous to be sorted out by the action of individual admins. Letting them stew in Chancery for long periods is likely to lead to extensive collateral damage as affected parties burn out. Choess (talk) 02:47, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Due to the very nature of the disputes that ArbCom handles, it's very common that there will be little forward progress in a given area (usually an article) until a resolution is provided. Having articles and editors in a state of disarray and confusion for up to a year is clearly undesireable if there is any reasonable way for matters to be resolved more quickly. Doc Tropics 17:10, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Counter-view by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk)[edit]

In the recent Homeopathy case, Dana Ullman continued to be disruptive throughout the case, which dragged on for months, presumably because of the Sourcing Adjucation Committee proposal tied to it. Indeed, it appears that his ban (and a welcome step-back from the strange "had been active on the page one year before" definition of "involved administrator" set up in MatthewHoffman) will be the only substantive results from that case. When you get a highly disruptive editor up before arbcom, he may well continue trolling until such time as stopped, in such cases, delays only cause more people to be driven off - I for one stopped editing Homeopathy over the stress caused. If this was towards some good end, that would be one thing, but in the last year, attempts by arbcom to get wording right have almost completely disappeared, and the version that passes is almost always that which was drawn up by the first admin to write it up, and there is no real attempt to correct early misunderstandings in phrasing, so long as the gist is about right. This most often manifests in motives being assigned to the user being discussed that the Arbcom have no way of knowing, instead of factual statements, or in a statement overstepping the bounds of what the evidence states.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 22:44, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. With the probably-necessary "disclaimer" that, naturally, it's best to establish a golden mean between haste and diligence, making sure to give all evidence a thorough and educated examination, while making sure that cases such as Homeopathy and C68-FM-SV don't linger for months with seemingly no activity. --Badger Drink (talk) 04:55, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. The problem with very slow adjudication is that behaviors can be quite bad while the case goes on, and in fact even worse than normal because of the heightened tensions associated with an active open case. For example, in the Homeopathy case, large numbers of editors just walked away from the very unpleasant environment associated with homeopathy articles. This includes both pro-homeopathy editors and pro-mainstream science and pro-mainstream medicine editors; it just became nightmarish. Editors who have never edited controversial articles really have no basis on which to judge how unpleasant things can become. And for a website dependent on volunteer labor, actively driving away contributors is not what Wikipedia should be doing, and it cannot afford to do so ad infinitum.--Filll (talk | wpc) 20:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Guettarda (talk) 16:25, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who at one point were slightly confused:

  1. In the spirit of getting wordings right, could you verify that the above text, "Indeed, it appears that his ban (and welcome a step-back from the strange . . ." should in fact read as "Indeed, it appears that his ban (and a welcome step-back from the strange . . .)"? --Badger Drink (talk) 02:00, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Fixed. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 02:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Endorsed. --Badger Drink (talk) 04:55, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who can't make sense of this summary:

  1. I see that Dana was blocked for nearly three weeks a community topic ban in late May, about a month after the case opened, and unblocked in June after being warned about the terms of the ban. Didn't that resolve the disruption? As far as I can tell User:DanaUllman made only one edit in the whole of June, and that was to User talk:DanaUllman. Was sock puppetry involved? --Jenny 08:51, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    That had nothing whatsoever to do with Arbcom, and much more with him going so far over the top (Insisting to another person that that person agreed with him, and using selective quoting to change the meaning of said person's statement) that an admin finally stepped in. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 12:23, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Tony Sidaway (3)[edit]

The problems, such as they are, lie primarily within the community and the way it has failed to handle the problems facing the encyclopedia. The most important issue facing the encyclopedia dwarfs any community problems we might have: the reliability of our articles. The articles will exist long after this community has dissolved; they are the sole purpose for the existence of the community, and the community must always be secondary to the quality of the encyclopedia.

We have a policy stating that our articles, particularly on living people, must be written to the highest standards, but many editors still haven't woken up to this, and they treat the biographies of living persons policy (BLP) as an imposition or an optional extra, or something to be overturned. This has led to misperceptions within the community, which the arbitration committee has sought to remedy in the past (see for instance the Badlydrawnjeff case)). But the problems remain, and the Committee now grants the broadest possible remit to uninvolved administrators enforcing that policy anywhere on Wikipedia.

There has been a backlash, and as ever, misinformation and ignorance prevail. The problem is seen as a community issue when it is one of encyclopedic quality. But the new provision is largely simply a statement of intent: all members of the community now know, and cannot pretend that they don't, how seriously the Committee takes breaches of the BLP. Behind all the complaints that "new policy" is being made, there is an air of bewilderment: the bewilderment that the Wikipedia some people thought they'd signed up for is not the one they find themselves in. It isn't a free-for-all, and we don't get to set our own editing standards. We are being held to the highest standards because of a policy that demands it and an arbitration committee that means to use all of its powers to see it enforced.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Jenny 23:12, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Yes for BLP, but doesn't address scaling of the committee in any way? The community can't be broken, since they chose the committee. rootology (T) 23:18, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. I broadly agree with the statement above but I think that Tony is being far too polite in his characterization. CIreland (talk) 01:50, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Well said. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:16, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. If, as the writer asserts, the community has failed with regards to BLP, then the appropriate change of policy would come from the OFFICE, not from a group of editors elected to handle singles cases of dispute resolution. While BLPSE may help the encyclopedia in the long run once common sense and the realization that unlimited power is never a good thing prevail and it becomes clear that it should only be used in emergencies, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent; i.e, that a few editors elected to a binding form of medcab who deal with problems between other editors can sidestep community consensus and make broad, sweeping changes to policy. Power is a dangerous thing, and the fewer people that have it, the more dangerous it becomes. While it may pass under the radar now as a community issue, encyclopedic quality depends on the contributions of editors to the project. While it may come as somewhat of a shock to those who spend all their time in the mainspace, stuff doesn't just magically appear here out of nowhere. Someone has to write it. Usually, those someones collectively have a pretty good idea of how stuff should turn out. When they don't, the Foundation is always there, which I trust immensely more than I trust any subset of editors. Celarnor Talk to me 23:54, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    No, policy enforcement, including enforcement of the BLP, is not the remit of Wikipedia:Office actions, which, coming directly from the Foundation have nothing to do with local Wikipedia policy at all. Whenever there is a dispute over interpretation or enforcement of policy, that's always been an arbcom matter. --Jenny 00:57, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    True, but this isn't policy enforcement. This is at most creating new administrative policy and the very least policy modification, specifically BLOCK, moving the regular avenue of appeal out of AN and into AE. Celarnor Talk to me 08:01, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Strenously oppose Tony Sidaway's alarmist rhetoric. JeanLatore (talk) 01:17, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. See below. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:47, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Absolutely not. Tony is missing the point. BLP is always trumped by NPOV. The problem is not that people aren't aware of it, the problem is that some want to use it as a backdoor to slip SPOV into our policies. NPOV is not negotiable, period. --Dragon695 (talk) 23:16, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Oppose, particularly per Dragon695. Nsk92 (talk) 03:50, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Oppose, not the role of Arbcom Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:55, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. Oppose, Tony Sidaway is assigning a situation to the Wikipedia community that does not exist.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 04:42, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. appalling. While Tony Sidaway correctly states the purpose of Wikipedia, his perception of the relationship of the community vs. the arbcom is disconcerting. If this is the view prevalent within the arbcom, it is not surprising it is failing. The arbcom is here to serve the community, not vice versa. The community is learning to route around the arbcom, because of its failure to produce satisfactory results. As long as the community retains a basic sanity, the damage done by a broken arbcom is limited. If the community were to lose its sanity, even a working arbcom couldn't save the project. --dab (𒁳) 07:13, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. One cannot expect arbcom to become experts on any subject, blp or anything else. If BLP is such a problem, an advisory committee would do a far better job of advising on issues without arbitrating content. --Regents Park (paddle with the ducks) 22:57, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. Our founding, core principle is actually located behind door number one, NOT door number two. If BLP and NPOV come into conflict, it is always, in every case, NPOV which should win the day. Sometimes that means articles may contain material we personally find distasteful. Sometimes that means articles will contain material their subjects don't like. We write neutral articles based on the sources available, not puff pieces. Not ever and not for any reason. And on the slight, vanishing chance that this were ever to be changed, it is up to the community, not the Arbitration Committee, to discuss and make such a change (if even such were allowable, NPOV is a non-negotiable Foundation issue, BLP is not.) Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:10, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
  11. -- Ned Scott 05:44, 21 August 2008 (UTC)


Counter-view by Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) (2)[edit]

There are standard methods for creating a new policy, that are well-defined and not particularly difficult. It is entirely within the Arbcom's rights for them to use these methods, but strongly suggest the community pass the proposal - and, indeed, the community would have been likely to listen to them. However, instead, they created policy, and worse, created policy that cannot be modified by anyone but themselves - the exact opposite of the wiki way.

Users who endorse this summary

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:47, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. --Badger Drink (talk) 04:58, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Sensible Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:55, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:21, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary

  1. A couple of points here:
    • First, claims that the arbitration committee cannot make policy are not strictly correct--by adopting interpretations of policies the Committee has often substantially changed those policies. The effect is an overwhelmingly benign one, but it doesn't do to pretend that it doesn't exist.
    • Second, no evidence that "they created policy" is presented. Assertion is not proof. The objection here seems to be to the passing of enforcement measures for existing policy, which is in fact one of the Committee's principal tools for resolving disputes that involve user conduct. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:49, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Addendum to view above (Shoemaker's Holiday (talk))[edit]

The problems caused by delays could be solved by a more sensitive, open arbcom who was willing, and made the effort to take note of problematic behaviour that persists during arbitration, and provided temporary injunctions to stop the most problematic individuals.

Alternatively, the admin community could be more pro-active with dealing with disruption caused by people up at arbcom for the same type of disruption. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:39, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:37, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Yes, temporary injunctions should be used more widely Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:55, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal by User:JeanLatore[edit]

ArbCom was last "ratified" in a straw poll taken during one week in April 2004. Wikipedia was much smaller back then. I propose that the ArbCom system undergo re-ratification, as of now, July 2008. If the ratification vote fails, then the community will call the wikipedian equivalent of a Constitutional Convention, to re-write our governance and dispute resolution procedures from scratch. The former abriters and Jimbo's views will be welcome, but will not be binding per se. JeanLatore (talk) 01:16, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who support this view:

Users who oppose this view:

  1. The policies and procedures of Wikipedia, including ARBCOM, should be under continual fine-tuning. However, even if the entirety of Wikipedia said "enough" to ARBCOM, and the administrators and others with advanced rights stood by the populace, it's not necessarily grounds to start over from scratch. It would be grounds to sift through and see what could be kept and what should be tossed. In such a case, which by the way won't happen, the solution may be just to ask every ARBCOM member to resign and hold new elections, then work on changing the structure. Also, every year, those voting in ARBCOM elections implicitly endorse the current system. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:34, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. The idea that the community may have to "re-write our governance" is not currently feasible. The community may have the power to write policy but it long ago lost the ability. (Ironically, the reverse is true of ArbCom.) CIreland (talk) 01:41, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. As FT2 observed in his series of announcements, our community routinely struggles to achieve consensus on any large-scale policy changes. Trying to start over and re-write our governance from scratch is not likely to achieve a generally satisfactory result while this problem remains unresolved. Choess (talk) 02:55, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Unnecessary and, frankly, ridiculous. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:50, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Wikipedia is not a democracy, WMF and Jimbo if they disagree trump the community consensus Alex Bakharev (talk) 14:58, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who partially support this view:

  1. While it is certainly an admirable thing, and could, if it happened in a fantasy world where there exists objective measurement of subjective arguments and strength of logic, solve a lot of problems, the size of Wikipedia makes this essentially impossible. However, I think ArbCom itself needs a makeover pretty badly. Modifying a few things here and there may be just what we need. Celarnor Talk to me 11:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. While I agree with some comments in davidwr's oppose, I think that it would be highly useful to re-analyse a four-year old policy from back when the site was much smaller. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:40, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Comment:

  1. We seem to be doing just this, in our responses to Neil's proposals. DGG (talk) 21:03, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

View by RxS (talk)[edit]

As has been pointed out before Wikipedia is a high profile web site. A top ten destination and an influential presence on the Internet. It may be the most accessed encyclopedia in history. As the last stop in dispute resolution, Arbcom wields a lot of power here. When it's nut cutting time, the members of Arbcom are the ones making decisions that affect who edits here, how information is presented and how different points of view are expressed.

The root cause of the latest issue seems to be a disorganized group of people not focusing on the job at hand and at least one member misreading the groups intent. It's time to insist that members of Arbcom stay engaged in the issues before them, act on them in a timely basis and are replaced when they can't fulfill time commitments. They need to act as a organized and professional group that understands that communication is critical both within the group and among Wikipedia in general. No more disappearing acts, no more cases idling for weeks/months...no more dropping bombs like the one over the weekend and leaving. I know they are volunteers, I get that. But even unpaid volunteers in the groups I've been a part of have obligations and requirements, job descriptions that they need to fulfill. There is no reason this should be any different. If the workload is too high then find a replacement, increase the size of the group or restructure. But at this point, Wikipedia is way past the "hey guys let's write an encyclopedia!" stage. Arbcom needs to start acting like that understand that.

Users who endorse this summary:

Users who oppose this summary:

Users who wish to comment on this summary:

  1. The first paragraph is well-spoken, and everyone with the power to block or ban a user should keep that in mind at all times. I abstain from comments on the second paragraph, which is the substance of this view. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:25, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Well written, for the most part. However, if only hypothetically, Wikipedia should still be at the "hey guys let's write an encyclopedia!" stage. At the end of the day, this is what the project is all about. Most editors, however, have adopted that idea by now, but that is far from unanimous. --I'm an Editorofthewiki[citation needed] 20:12, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    I think 90% of Wikipedia editors should still be at that stage, in fact it's probably necessary for them to have that attitude. But at the place Wikipedia finds itself at these days, Arbcom needs to ratchet up the commitment and the professionalism they apply to the role. I'm making a distinction between editing and governance. All editors here need is enthusiasm and a little common sense. Arbcom members need a different kind of commitment. RxS (talk) 04:29, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

View by a User talk:TheRedPenOfDoom[edit]

Before 'opening' a case, the ArbCom (as the final step in the dispute reslution process) should clearly identify in one (or perhaps two) sentances the nature of the dispute that they are attempting to resolve by accepting the case. (i.e. The ArbCom will be addressing the dispute between/among IDENTIFY THE DISPUTANTS regarding NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE DISPUTE.) (The scope can obviously be changed due to new evidence; however, being the final step most evidence should have been surfaced previously.) -- The Red Pen of Doom 23:32, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. 'endorse - a clear statement of the purpose of opening the case will help to limit the work of the ArbCom as irrelevant materials will not be brought into the workshop/proposed remedies etc etc. (and if they are, they can be removed by the clerks). It will also give notice to the broader community if the ArbCom is going to be considering remedies that will have far wider scope than would be guessed from the initial filing. -- The Red Pen of Doom 23:32, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

View by a user[edit]

This is a summary written by any active user. In the interests of conciseness, and to get a clear and hopefully uncluttered feel of the community, please leave shorter individual statements in the appropriate topic section, rather than one long condensed statement. This will allow users to endorse specific aspects more easily.

{Add summary here, but you must use the endorsement section below to sign. Users who edit or endorse this summary should not edit the other summaries.}

Users who endorse this summary:

Arbitration Committee change and reform[edit]

Views specifically about what you feel should change about the current Arbitration Committee process, and why. Please don't list long winding new processes--be concise, and give summaries. Avoid unique formatting as much as possible. For issues specific to the questions of scaling and case volume, please post your views in the Scaling section above this one.

Views by User:Barberio (2)[edit]

Community-Arbitrator[edit]

To reduce load to the arbitration committee, the community should appoint 'lower' community-arbitrators, who will hear cases. The make up and operation of these community-arbitrators should be decided by the community. No policy currently bars this, and it does not need the arbitration committee's consent to do so.

As a suggestion, these community-arbitrator committees could hear cases as a panel of three members, chosen on the 'taxi rank' or 'first come first served' principle from a pool of community-arbitrators who are currently accepting cases. Their decisions would be binding, but limited solely to individual user conduct, and appeal would be to the arbitration committee.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --Barberio (talk) 14:10, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I proposed something similar during my quixotic bid for Arb back in 06. --R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 21:13, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Having a "lower court" might help matters, at the moment if the arbcom buggers things over, there is no real appeal. There is also no graceful way for the arbcom to admit they are wrong. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 22:34, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. A lower court, or at least a small panel of investigators with the power to collect evidence in a case and encourage mediation prior to bringing it to the full ARBCOM or recommending they refuse the case would help a lot. There is a downside risk that disputes which do reach ARBCOM will be open a longer time overall. Still, I endorse. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:38, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. I was going to propose something almost identical, but decided I would make sure nobody else beat me to it. I envision rotating membership as well, to combat burnout. --Jaysweet (talk) 02:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Agree with the basic idea, which I first heard about a year ago from a Wikipedian who has my highest respect. DurovaCharge! 06:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. As an appellate body only, the ArbCom could take their time to review cases that had already been decided by lower "circuit ArbComs" and select only the cases that were decided wrongly. There is a reason or two that many judicial systems work in this way. Antelantalk 15:03, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Agree, except this lower Arbcoms should be a selection of well established editors, not chosen by titles (ie: administrator, arbiter etc.) I think this way all editors can have the opportunity to help with only needing to be established, in good standing and I would also add a verified account (vs. just an IP log in.)--CrohnieGalTalk 15:16, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Agree, this seems to be worth more discussion. Doc Tropics 17:34, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. If we continue to grow we would need to have lower courts at some stage. If there would be ten times more cases we cannot expect all arbitrators to read all the cases. We can start it now if we have to start anyway Alex Bakharev (talk)
  11. Very soon, the need for several committees and several low courts will be great.Perhaps there should be a "specialisation" of lower courts ( historical, fictional, etc.)--Michael X the White (talk) 17:02, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  12. Support with the provisos that these individuals would themselves be elected/selected, possibly in the same way as Admins and Arbitrators are currently selected, that failure to recuse in a case where the individual is seen by others as clearly biased or other similar problems might be cause for loss of such status in an expeditious way, and that there be similar regulations on how this group would act as there are to ArbCom and others. John Carter (talk) 23:38, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  13. Support, but then what would be then differences between the two courts in power? TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:23, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. JeanLatore (talk) 17:45, 28 June 2008 (UTC). Panel decisions are inherently subject to speculation and second-guessing. If something is important enough to make it to Arb Com, it should be heard by the full Arb com. JeanLatore (talk) 17:45, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC) I like rotating arbcoms, but not heirarchical ones - agree with preceding. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. The argument that existing methods of dispute resolution are being bypassed and being too quickly promoted to RfARB will become more apparent if there was a "lower house" for hearing such matters i.e. other resolution systems will be deprecated by such a process. LessHeard vanU (talk) 16:07, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Per LHvU, I don't think adding more process is the way to go. Mr.Z-man 03:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Ugh, no. You are either capable of doing the job or you are not. No half-measures. Neıl 10:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Based on mistaken premise that Arbcom is overwhelmed by its workload. PaddyLeahy (talk) 19:54, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. The more committees, the worse, not the better. We have enough problems with one arb com--and I can predict that essentially very issue tried in a subordinate body will lead to an appeal to the full committee. DGG (talk) 23:09, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. No way. No more committees. John Smith's (talk) 11:25, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. Per John Smith. Hiding T 10:31, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. Addition of "pannels" and more organs would just make the procedure even more complex. No, I disagree.--Yannismarou (talk) 11:23, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  11. Per LessHeard vanU. -- Vision Thing -- 19:00, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  12. Arbitration should remain an extraordinary step that occurs after the failure of mediation and RfC. -- The_socialist talk? 06:22, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Reduce number of Arbitrators, Shorten Terms[edit]

The Arbitration Committee will be made up of nine members, elected in three staggered tranches of three, to serve 18 month terms.

Explanatory text[edit]

The current arbitration committee apparently contains members who are not confident in drafting proposals of their own, and this task seems delegated to a minority of arbitrators. In light of this, it seems that the number of seats on the Arbitration Committee exceeds the capability of the community to fill them with people qualified for the role. Those who are qualified seem to burn out very quickly, and become inactive and remain so until the next elections.

To rectify this, the membership should be reduced, so that fewer members are returned in elections. To rectify the problem of burn out, the terms should be reduced, to ensure new replacements for seats that have been essentially vacated.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --Barberio (talk) 22:14, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Dissent:

  1. As you just said not too far above, The arbitration committee currently lacks the manpower and time to address all issues brought to it in a timely manner. Reducing the number of arbitrators would only aggravate this. — CharlotteWebb 13:27, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Candidates are required to demonstrate their capacity[edit]

Candidates for election to the Arbitration Committee are required to demonstrate their capacity to draft opinions and their competency in working with others on Wikipedia.

Explanatory text[edit]

Semi-Alternative to the reduction proposal. Let's only elect people who can draft proposals and not alienate the community.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Barberio (talk) 22:31, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Dissent:

  1. This is excellent advice to voters in arbcom elections, but far too subjective to enforce as a policy of "who qualifies for an arbcom seat". — CharlotteWebb 13:24, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Kelly in regards to ArbCom service[edit]

Arbitration Committee members who are unable, for whatever reasons, to devote sufficient time to ArbCom matters should resign their position. In those cases, special elections should be held to select their replacements.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Kelly hi! 19:50, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 21:05, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. The quicker the process occurs, the better it will be. GizzaDiscuss © 02:00, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Giggy 04:06, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    It would be prudent to develop a better system of alternates than "well, these are the guys and gals that Jimbo's lookin' at if any of yew maggots gets kicked off the boat". A better-organized system of alternates (or "understudies") would better accomodate temporary absences (in the range of months), while making the decision to take a leave of absence less drastic for the member making said decision. It's the difference between taking maternity leave and quitting one's job altogether. What's important is that leaves of absence not result in an understaffed ArbCom. --Badger Drink (talk) 05:04, 29 June 2008 (UTC) Branching this off into its own statement, see below. --Badger Drink (talk) 05:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Yes, see my comments just above. But members need to be fully engaged and fulfill the time commitment needed for this role. RxS (talk) 04:47, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. SashaNein (talk) 04:48, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  7. Agree having to many inactive arbitrators is harmful for the process Alex Bakharev (talk) 15:05, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  8. --Michael X the White (talk) 09:19, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. Support. Why should we not simply pick the "next-in-line" from the list of runners-up of the last election? Things change fast on the wiki, and I for one wouldn't be comfortable slotting a new arbitrator into the Committee based on election results that have been out-dated as much as half a year or more. It has been done in the past, and worse (ie., unelected appointments), but I just don't think that the current situation of our community can afford such a course of action. No, best to hold another election and do things the proper way -- that way, we know we can be 100% confident in each of our arbitrators... The more backdated the support, the father advanced its value has depreciated, in my mind at least. Anthøny 20:11, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Users who comment on this summary:

  1. Why not just the next highest in the original arbcom election? If they decline, then the next highest etc. More time-effective. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:17, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. There are a number of situations (mostly revolving around home, family, or work) in which an ArbCom member might reasonably need to take an extended wiki-break, without necessarily giving up their seat. It's a good idea to have mechanisms in place for this kind of situation, but the above suggestion seems both drastic and cumbersome except in extremes. That being said, I agree very strongly with Kelly's central concept that ArbCom should always remain staffed at functional levels in order to ensure that cases can proceed at an appropriate pace and with due consideration. Doc Tropics 17:56, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Partial - Provided people aren't harrassed into giving up positions because they're not bouncing around all the time, yes. If someone honestly doesn't have the time for it there's nothing wrong with saying so. But don't hand down warnings too fast, otherwise some people may start taking hasty decisions. There needs to be an "official" process for dealing with this that is reasonably private. John Smith's (talk) 11:25, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Kelly in regards to Jimbo Wales[edit]

Jimbo Wales' service in establishing both the Wikipedia community and the Arbitration Committee is recognized and appreciated. However, Wikipedia has moved beyond the point in which one man should have control over the community's actions. Jimbo Wales' role in appointing members of the ArbCom should be revoked, and the authority placed solely with the community.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Kelly hi! 20:23, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I refused to vote for anyone but Giano at the last election on this basis. LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:48, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) (talk) 20:58, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Endorse on the basis that time and the community have moved on. DuncanHill (talk) 21:48, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Naerii 21:50, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Dragon695 (talk) 21:57, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Jimbo's personal friends in ArbCom have been part of the problem rather than part of the solution. It's time to move on. --Ghirla-трёп- 22:06, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. If an Arbcom is to be truly of and for the community, then the community should be the ones who decide its membership. One individual should not have the power to overrule them. RMHED (talk) 22:40, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Its just more fair. rootology (T) 00:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. Tentative support. Has Jimbo ever done anything more drastic than select the top five, though? From my memory of the 2007 elections, the resulting appointments would have been exactly the same if we had gone with a simple vote. --Badger Drink (talk) 00:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Note: I have since recalled the Essjay incident, and stand somewhat corrected. --Badger Drink (talk) 06:34, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. Support. Jimbo should have no say in Wikipedia policy anymore. His role as the leading booster of wikipedia to the press raises some real conflict of interest issues with any "admin"-like actions he might make. JeanLatore (talk) 01:08, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Shoemaker's Holiday: Jimbo pretty much always goes by vote anyway, so it's already a popularity contest. Durova: We can always do what the Italians did... —Giggy 03:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. This is also a key issue, in that the Arbs have on occasion completely countermanded community policies to support obvious COIs that Jimbo has, for whatever reason, stuck up for.[10] The outcome of the Mantanmoreland case is one example of how the Arb's fealty to the expressed wishes of "the God-King" allowed a notorious sockpuppeter to walk away from the most prodigious mass of empirical evidence ever assembled against any POV troll in Wikipedia history. Ameriquedialectics 15:42, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Cla68 (talk) 23:48, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. Obviously Jimbo hasn't used this authority in any questionable way, but there's no real benefit to him keeping it. Jimbo's knowledge of each candidate is probably about equal to that of the typical editor who voted for or against the candidate. — xDanielx T/C\R 06:59, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  16. SashaNein (talk) 04:48, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  17. Jimbo is no longer involved, and should not make decisions without full awareness of the day-to-day affairs on wiki. Yechiel (Shalom) Editor review 20:49, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  18. Definitely. Nsk92 (talk) 17:39, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  19. I agree. It is no more "one-man-show". Appointing members Jimbo wants, may give the impression that he tries to control the ArbCom and "form" the majority, which is suitable for him. "Popularity contest" is flawed, but "one man's rule| is even more flawed. And, Durova, the best check balancing for ArbCom's power are the rules that now per consensus we'll adpot, and the policies that the community will monitor. The unilateral right to dissolve the Committtee without the consent of the Community is also arbitrary IMO at the stage this project has evolved.--Yannismarou (talk) 11:26, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  20. Support 100%. Much love for Jimbo, nobody would be here if it weren't for him, but we should always progress towards more consensus-building and less absolutism. The only absolute, unquestionable power here should be OFFICE. Arbcom should run in elections (or whatever you'd like to call them) just like admins do. Nobody of Consequence (talk) 08:01, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  21. Support. No one person should exert too much control over a resource as important as Wikipedia. --Alecmconroy (talk) 12:52, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
  22. Support Jimbo's activity level is not sufficient to maintain his understanding of our community practices, policies, and other norms. He is too far detatched from the process by which the encyclopedia is built to continue functioning. (All this, of course, would be untrue if he had a cleverly disguised sockpuppet that he uses extensively without being detected - but his visible actions in the past couple years make it pretty clear that he actually does lack the necessary understanding.) GRBerry 14:59, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary

  1. On the one hand, yes - but on the other hand, that means that Arbcom is determined by popularity contest, which can't be the ideal way. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 23:54, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Bear in mind that under the current structure, Jimbo's ability to dissolve ArbCom is the main check balancing Arbcom's power. DurovaCharge! 00:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Perhaps a better check is needed, then? --Badger Drink (talk) 00:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    The community should and arguably already does have the ability to dissolve Arbcom should it so wish. RMHED (talk) 00:29, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    But there is no other mechanism to achieve it. Remember: even the construction of this RFC required considerable innovation. ArbCom was not constructed with provisions for performance review and community-based reform. DurovaCharge! 01:15, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Which is why we should all just ignore it, and the community can create its own replacement (if it deems it necessary) that is actually subject to the community, and a creation of the community. Kurt Weber (Go Colts!) 03:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    A wonderful idea. However, you would need the support of most of the active administrators, but especially the bureaucrats, who hold the tools to change other people's tool privileges and as such are the people you really have to worry about if we're going to go to war with ArbCom. :P Celarnor Talk to me 11:11, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    So um how do we design this new process for removing arbcoms members? And what happens, when we can't as we almost definitely won't be able to, agree on a way to actually approve this new process? Do we take it to the arbcom or Jimbo? Or do we ask the community to resolve the inability of the community to reach a decision? If you don't get it, we can't create a power vacuum and then work out a way to fill that vacuum when there is a almost 100% chance we won't be able to agree on a way to fill that power vacuum without having to turn to what is now a vacuum to resolve the disputes that arise. Nil Einne (talk) 20:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. Agree with Durova. We need to have a clearly defined check on the committee, someone who can act decisively. And the idea that we can get rid of what we have and "work out" something later makes no sense, especially given the current mess. Think about it - the arbcomm is silent. Granted, from what I've heard it's because they are trying to craft a good decision answer rather than a quick one. Not to mention, the committee really isn't set up to rule on itself. Jimbo, on the other hand, has made a pretty clear, direct statement. We're a project to write an encyclopaedia. All the administrative structures exist to further that goal. And the best way to further that goal is to keep the content generators happy and comfortable enough that they continue to generate high-quality content. Once we have the sum total of all knowledge down, then we can move on to phase II: creating the perfect community. Guettarda (talk) 03:32, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Jimbo is currently our only authoritative form of checks and balances for arbcom. I also believe that Jimbo could easily obtain formal community support, if needed, for the kinds of actions he has/would take. He still remains one of the most trusted and well respected editors of the site, and that's not just because he helped to start it. -- Ned Scott 08:22, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Agree with preceding. Also Jimbo has an intimate and longitudinal knowledge of the whole shebang which is of great value. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. If Jimbo was in touch with the community, he'd be brilliant, he'd stop crap like this happeing, unfortunatly he's spending much of his time at wikia, and doesn't seem to know much of what's going on here.--Serviam (talk) 12:46, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    To the contrary, Serviam. I am on the ArbCom mailing list and participate there actively. I am quite aware of what is going on. In the current case, there is this rumor floating around that the ArbCom conducted a secret trial. That is not what happened. There are no secret trials. The ArbCom does often, and quite properly, discuss matters with discretion, as a courtesy to involved parties, and in general this has worked very well all around.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:11, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Jimbo, are you saying that the Arbitration case on Orangemarlin was not conducted secretly and that Orangemarlin was informed of it and able to offer a defence? DuncanHill (talk) 14:13, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    The irony is that we actually, truly don't know if a secret closed ArbCom was held in regards to Orangemarlin -- because the Committee and Jimbo are being so secretive they won't even explain WTF happened on Friday! heh... I for one will continue to AGF to my maximum ability, and hope that all of this will be explained in a way that satisfies (most of) the community's concerns. Maybe they'll explain it all on Monday (please?). Until then, though, we are faced with the reality that the Committee is being secretive about whether they had a secret trial. --Jaysweet (talk) 14:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    Agree Durova. I might add that its obvious that Jimbo is in touch with the community, and has shown no move towards unbridled totalitarian decisions/actions.(olive (talk) 16:08, 29 June 2008 (UTC))
  7. Put simply, I trust Jimbo more than I trust an indeterminate group of unknown editors when it comes to having oversight and taking appropriate action. This view may change if he ever really screws the pooch, but for now I prefer a benevolent dictatorship : ) Doc Tropics 18:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. I agree with Doc Tropics. Better a benign dictator than the tyranny of the mob. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:53, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Can't support this. It would appear that the only real check on ArbCom at this time (aside from disgruntlement) is JW. It is doubtful that there can be a Jimbo replacement. R. Baley (talk) 11:00, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. Like it or not, Wikipedia is NOT of the community, it is Jimbo's project. I agree that we need better cehcks on the arbcom, but jimbo's check should be the ultimate. Samuel Sol (talk) 17:27, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. The balance-of-checking power has to rest with someone and Jimbo hasn't done a bad job at it. GizzaDiscuss © 01:22, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  12. Not without reforming the election process first. Mr.Z-man 20:55, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  13. Oppose with the open communities polling is dangerous and subject to manipulations, we have to have somebody for the manual control in the cases of emergency Alex Bakharev (talk) 15:11, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  14. Oppose Let's see how often Jimbo quotes show up anywhere after he no longer holds the stick. I would consider a reformed proposition where Jimbo's destroy functions were still entact.Yeago (talk) 02:51, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  15. Oppose Jimbo's quasi-sovereign powers are needed as a means of checks and balances against injustice.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 04:35, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  16. Wikipedia is not yet at the point that it can stand on its own, or only by the users' will. And the ArbCom is an internal force that should still be controllable by Jimbo.--Michael X the White (talk) 09:21, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  17. Strong oppose per Ned Scott. -- Vision Thing -- 19:05, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  18. Oppose, Jimbo has already stated on the mailing list that he will be subject to ArbCom judgments if ArbCom should choose to take a case involving him. I believe this is enough. Jimbo has (as one would expect) an intimate knowledge of the project from its very conception to its present day, and that does put him in a very unique position to take the lead when it is required. In practice, he very rarely does so, and mainly does leave things to the community. I think we also occasionally do need someone who can come in and put an end to a deadlock in a critical situation. I would not be willing to support this absent evidence of Jimbo abusing his authority, and none has been presented. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:29, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  19. Oppose Ned Scott put it very well. Chillum 20:24, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who abstain or withhold:

  1. I agree with Kelly on every level except for the fact that I don't like any of the alternatives. At this point I do not wish to endorse Jimmy's position, but nor do I want it removed. The checks and balances which hold Jimmy in check still seem to be holding, as Jimmy has yet to bring about his own downfall by opposing the community. Constitutional Monarchy is a flawed piece of poetry, but poetic none the less. We have a pretty witty king, Whose word no man relies on; He never said a foolish thing, Nor ever did a wise one. Hiding T 10:44, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Comment
When Wikback.com was functioning I recall we had some discussion on the possible alternatives to Arbcom. I think Kelly Martin may have contributed to the discussion of a jury type system, and there was some debate as to whether jurors should be chosen at random from those suitably experienced in the whole user base (say e.g. those with over 600 edits), or chosen from a panel of self-selected volunteers. IIRC the notion of self-selection was anathema to Kelly. .... Getting back to the notion of an appeal from an egregious decision, whether of Arbcom or of such a jury, it will be relatively simple to institute (as a 'for instance') an administrators appeals committee, say comprising those admins with over 3 years experience (either self-selected, or chosen at random say every 3 months). Perhaps appeals should only to be heard by decision of the committee, etc. Natural justice should always be paramount; transparency helps legitimacy and credibility -- luke (talk) 02:01, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

  1. Unhappy with this. He is one man, but I think he does a good job. I'm concerned that if he were "replaced" with something that didn't work out that change would be irreversable. John Smith's (talk) 11:25, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

View by Choess regarding evidence[edit]

As currently constituted, the ArbCom process offers a structural advantage to the side most willing to compile extensive diffs of others' supposed misbehavior. Attaching investigators to the ArbCom staff to compile all relevant evidence, positive or negative, regarding the actions of parties to the case, could help remedy this. Such evidence would complement that provided by the parties to the case.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Trial balloon for a non-adversarial system — I think the system is sufficiently adversarial as it is. Choess (talk) 03:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    This is interesting, but I don't know how feasible it would be. Not that the current system really is either. Guettarda (talk) 14:52, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. First off, if you go digging deep enough, you can find something on anyone. The arbcom has shown no signs that they can demonstrate perspective, looking over contributions as a whole. Also, frankly, the few times the arbcom have created evidence themselves, they have abused this. Have a read-up on the controversy regarding Finding of Fact #9 in the MatthewHoffman case. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 16:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Arbcom isn't an adversarial system, although quite often the participants mistake it for one and are disappointed when it doesn't act like one. On the substantive suggestion, as one of the first intake of arbcom clerks I recall that the idea that the clerks would be involved in compiling evidence was vigorously opposed. Any Wikipedian is entitled to submit relevant evidence to a case, so there's no need to give the impression that some evidence compilers are more privileged than others. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:56, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Giving too much power to a few individuals - they shouldn't be allowed to shape the arbs' views. John Smith's (talk) 11:25, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who Mu:

  1. If volunteers exist who want to do this, they can compile such evidence today. GRBerry 15:01, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

View by Badger Drink in regards to ArbCom service[edit]

Within the current system of ArbCom appointment, arbitrators faced with lengthy, but temporary, incidents or crises outside of Wikipedia are met with an "all-or-nothing" decision: 1) place their name under "inactive arbitrators", leaving the committee short-handed for a rather palpable length of time, or 2) resign from a position they may be very skilled at (perhaps even enjoy), having to re-gain said position entirely from scratch. While we may acknowledge and even whole-heartedly support the notion that one should be discouraged from seeing such positions as adminship, stewardom, ArbCom, et al as "status symbols", we also realize that arbitrators are, in fact, human beings, and as such are subject to all the foibles foisted upon humanity - namely, the nature of sentimental attachments to their roles and jobs. The current "all-or-nothing" system clashes with this sentimental capacity, resulting in arbitrators staying inactive for months on end so as not to lose their positions (!!), or resulting in profound regrets, heartache, and other troublesome bothers. The current state of affairs with regards to alternates (summed up as, "welp, these here are the guys and gals that Jimbo's lookin' at as replacements for any of yew maggots who gets yerselves kicked off the boat") is severely lacking. A better-organized system of alternates (or "understudies") committed to short-term, case-by-case substitution roles, would better accomodate temporary absences (in the range of months), while making the decision to take a leave of absence less drastically-affecting for all concerned. While the exact mechanics of such a system would, naturally, need to be worked out in more detail, what's most crucial is that leaves of absence need not result in an understaffed ArbCom.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. --Badger Drink (talk) 05:54, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Strong support for this idea! While the details and exact mechanisms would require extensive discussion, there's no real question that this would be a significant benefit to the process overall. Doc Tropics 18:33, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Why not do it like all Stewards are required to? Here: meta:Steward_policies#Inactivity. You have to participate (in public, voting, discussing) in so many cases per year, and so many in the past six months, or you're removed. Stewards (a more important gig than Arbcom) have to do so many tasks per year and six months I believe or they are stripped of the title. Since the Arbcom day to day may be more urgent, make it that Arbiters have to participate in public (voting) in so many cases per year, and so many per quarter, or 3 months. There are enough people that run each year. If someone is ever removed for inactivity, just "activate" if they're still interested the next person in line with the most votes from the last election to fill out the remainder of the demoted person's post. If that next person is unwilling to do it, move down the line. There will always be enough active arbiters then. If someone is too busy to participate in public by voting and deciding they don't need to be arbiters. rootology (T) 18:40, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    The one element that I would like to establish that I'm not sure the Steward process has is making re-appointment after a leave of absence a painless, casual process. This would hopefully discourage "silent disappearances" and arbitrators trying to juggle a caseload when they're really too busy to devote their full attention to pecularities. For example, ArbX mentions in November that he has exams and a vacation coming up, leaving him gone from December until February. He can finish up on the already-opened cases he's committed to while UnderstudyX steps into his slot, taking cases from December until February. Once ArbX returns, UnderstudyX cedes the position, though UnderstudyX continues to remain active on any lingering cases accepted during ArbX's vacation. If another ArbY then needs maternity leave after the return of ArbX, the next Understudy in line can slip in, thus ensuring that the load on understudies is relatively equally-spread. Depending on the exact form, of course, this could also double as a "trial run" for candidates the community isn't quite so sure about (the 55-70% voting range, for instance). --Badger Drink (talk) 19:06, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    I whole-heartedly agree with this idea. Not only would it make the arbcom processes more regular and efficient, allowing for holidays and the inevitable RL emergencies, it would also allow for a training of sorts. This would be a great help in elections as potential arbcommers would be able to cite their actions as understudies. -- Escape Artist Swyer Talk to me The mess I've made 14:30, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. It's worth thinking about. Not only for smoother, more regular proceedings, and a lighter load on currently active arbitrators, but also in order to lighten their individual weight a bit (which is a burden in itself). Regarding Jenny's opposing comment, perhaps the Committee is well staffed, but there have been signs indicating that the quality of judgement may be suffering because arbitrators can't (or won't) always dedicate the time, scrutiny, and reflection the job requires. Again, something that could be improved by distributing the task among a greater and varying number of trusted individuals. ---Sluzzelin talk 03:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. I think this is an excellent idea. There is a reason why juries in the United States convene with 14 members even though only 12 make the decision. J.delanoygabsadds 12:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. I think a system of "understudy" or "alternate" ArbCom members is an excellent idea. I would like to add that perhaps these "junior" members could assist with more participation from ArbCom members on Workshop pages while they may not be actively involved in substituting for an Arbitrator, a task which is understandably onerous for full Arbs who are also trying to sift and review evidence and work on a fair decision, but which would be immensely helpful for better engagement between community and Committee. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:37, 20 July 2008 (UTC)


Users who oppose this summary:

  1. There is already a system of alternates and I don't think it's necessary to change the current state of affairs. In latter years, indeed, the Committee seems to be well staffed. --Jenny (recently changed username) 19:59, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Per Jenny. John Smith's (talk) 11:25, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

View by SirFozzie[edit]

I (LaraLove) am posting this on behalf of SirFozzie by e-mail request (sent via Wikipedia interface and confirmed on IRC). This is a straight copy/paste from e-mail, as he wishes to remain on a break.

Reducing Burnout of ArbCom Members:

Right now, an ArbCom term is 3 years.

I dare you to find ANYONE in this world, who can immerse themselves in every single high drama, night mare conflict for that long and NOT burn out.

And to properly do your job as an ArbCom member, you do have to be hip deep in crap, if you'll forgive the saying.

So, what tends to happen and has been happening, is, the newer folks on the ArbCom do all the public facing work and indepth analysis (Kirill is rather recent, NewYorkBrad before he resigned and now FT2) The rest are generally seen by the community as a rubber stamp. They may discuss in the background, but nothing really happens publicly untill one or two people (usually the same one or two people) write a proposed decision, and 95% of the time, the rest of them come in and sign off on the decision.

This also leads to issues like the Episodes and Characters ArbCom case aftermath, where ANY arbitrator speaking up and clarifying terms of a remedy would have avoided weeks of drama later. No Arbitrator spoke up, and the issue at hand devolved, weeks later.

Or the Cla68/SV/FM/JzG monster case, where there was an admission from a sitting arbitrator that no one had really taken a look at the case, weeks into the case, because everyone was doing their own thing with the end of the school year, vacations, etcetera. At any one time, a quarter to a half of the Arbitration Committee is "inactive", and not doing the job they were elected for.

Perhaps reducing ArbCom terms would allow Arbitrators to devote more "energy"/Research into each case, with less risk of burnout.

I would suggest keeping the three staggered arbitrator groups, but reducing an ArbCom term to 12 months (that means elections every 4 months, which is frequent, but not an everyday situation) or 18 months (elections twice a year)

Once you finish a term as an ArbCom member, you have to sit out one election. (To recharge the batteries, reduce chance of burnout)

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. I think 18-month terms with bi-annual elections would be good. I'm not sure on sitting out an election. If an Arb remains active throughout their term and wishes to continue, I'm not sure it's best to prevent that. LaraLove|Talk 07:09, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. ViridaeTalk 07:12, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. What Lara said. —Giggy 07:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. With the caveats made by Lara. Davewild (talk) 07:46, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. I believe this would greatly benefit both arbcom and the community. -- Ned Scott 08:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Yes, with Lara's proviso. longitudinal experience is extremely valuable. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Agree, --CrohnieGalTalk 14:49, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. One of arbs said exactly the same about burnout on IRC. While Russian Wikipedia's custom of re-electing arbs twice a year is really extreme, most of them at least remain at least relatively active during their terms. One thing: there should not be more than one election per year, otherwise the distraction due to it will also increase. MaxSem(Han shot first!) 15:09, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. It may also have the side effect of making a couple of Arbs less imperious in their dealings with the hoi polloi (but may also mean that elections are even more of a popularity contest thus discouraging Arbs to make tough but potentially self damaging decisions... hmmm.. on this basis I am going neutral...) LessHeard vanU (talk) 16:19, 29 June 2008 (UTC) After consideration, I support the principle of reviewing the length of tenure with a view to shortening the period and how to ensure a fluent turnover of qualified arbitrators. LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:02, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. Absolutely. --Jaysweet (talk) 16:36, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. Very sensible. rootology (T) 16:44, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Some sort of burnout reduction strategy seems an excellent idea. ++Lar: t/c 18:23, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. While I don't agree with all the details of this suggestion, I do support the idea in general and strongly support further discussion of the topic. Doc Tropics 18:39, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. I'm not endorsing 12- or 18-month appointments, but I wholeheartedly agree with not serving more than 2 years without a break. A 24-month with mandatory break or 12-month with a 2-year term limit would be okay with me. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 20:46, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. The exact term is a matter for further discussion, but that it should be shorter than three years is pretty obvious. I have no objection, though, for someone to continue in successive terms if he can, and the community continues to support. The simplest change would simply be to 2 years, with half retiring each time unless reelected, and with people expected to resign if they become inactive,and replace from the previous runners-up if reasonable.DGG (talk) 23:07, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. Good idea. Cla68 (talk) 23:49, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  17. I think this is smart. I have noticed that once someone becomes an arbitrator, that is usually the last step before permanent burnout. There are exceptions, but it happens far too often: it's the red giant phase before becoming a brown dwarf and dwindling away forever (see No. 59). This proposal is a sensible way to take care of some of our best people; this job has got to be hell. Antandrus (talk) 03:26, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  18. Works too. Third endorse. Again, anything that helps improve the quality of decisions by reducing the burden. Burnout does seem to be a factor too. I really think a lot of these suggestions here would not only help the encyclopedia, but also improve the peace and tranquility of the individual fellow editors in the ArbCom who might enjoy doing some other work here, from time to time, without neglecting their duties. ---Sluzzelin talk 03:37, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  19. With caveats. I don't recognise the arbcom I know in the above description. The likes of James F, Morven, jpgordon and FloNight a rubber stamp? Yikes! That's just ridiculous. The three year term is daunting but those who are going to flake out do so in the first six months or so. Even relatively inactive arbitrators such as Raul654 tend to contribute a necessary balance (I still remember Raul's dissenting comments in the Badlydrawnjeff case, which showed that he was out of sync with the majority of the arbitrators, and I regard that as a good thing, precisely because he's obviously no rubber stamp). Having said that, reducing the term to two years or even one wouldn't do any harm (in practice very few arbitrators have made it through three whole years and I believe the majority haven't even made two). SirFozzie's claim about the Cla68 case is accurate as far as it goes, but the case is hardly an urgent one and all of the parties involved are good, well respected Wikipedians. This isn't like the days of the "Robert the Bruce" case where it was just a matter of bannng a POV pusher. Elections every four months? Impractical. Elections once per year are enough of a pain. Let's compromise at six-to-eight months with two tranches. No "sit out one term" rule--we need all the willing people we can get. --Jenny 03:53, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    Umm, Tony/Jenny, please note that Raul654 is not an arbitrator any longer, so your reference to him being an inactive arbitrator seems a bit out of place. Risker (talk) 04:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    Raul654 still contributes on the Arbcom mailing list; as long as cases are discussed off-Wiki, all former Arbitrators still on the mailing list may as well be considered inactive Arbitrators. Neıl 11:02, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    The Badlydrawnjeff case was quite a while ago, and during that case Raul654 was an arbitrator, though not a very active one in most cases. He did however take part in that one, and his comments were very useful. Sorry if my wording confused anybody. --Jenny 11:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  20. As long as the election process is shortened as well. Increasing the size of arbcom may also help. Mr.Z-man 04:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  21. Yes, there are plenty of you out there whom I would trust as Arbitrators; I don't think we'll have a shortage of good hands if we cycle through every 2, 1, or 0.5 years. Antelantalk 04:46, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  22. Some variation on the term of office is called for; this is not to criticise but to recognise that there is a world outside of Wikipedia, and that three years of daily exposure to the most drama-infested corners of the encyclopedia is not necessarily healthy. Risker (talk) 04:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  23. I would support anything that reduces burnout. I made an aalternative proposal further down this page. Neıl 11:02, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  24. I think that reducing the terms is a good idea. I have no opinion on the length or on such things as not being allowed to serve two consecutive terms. J.delanoygabsadds 12:09, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  25. I agree that the terms should be shorter; burnout is an obvious issue for arbcommers and we need to ensure that our law-lords are fresh-minded enough to be compentent judges. However, the elections should not be frequent enough to make them a popularity contest: if you're only going to serve one 12-month term, rather than a 36-month term with possibilty of re-election, you may be inclined to style over substance in election and self service in term. -- Escape Artist Swyer Talk to me The mess I've made 14:45, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  26. Endorse. Appears to be a productive idea. — MaggotSyn 15:54, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  27. --Cube lurker (talk) 16:52, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  28. I think 18 months would be a good compromise. GizzaDiscuss © 01:18, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  29. I prefer the ru.wiki option mentioned above, but this works as well. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:50, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  30. Makes sense. If an admin burns out and takes a break from using the tools, it's no big deal. But the Arbs need to maintain a reasonbly high level of activity, because there isn't anyone who can step up and fill their shoes. Shorter terms and more turnover might help. MastCell Talk 18:21, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  31. Endorse, but agree with DGG's comments that so long that it's shorter, the details are less important. I think the intervals between elections should be longer, and electing half of them each year for a two-year term would be fine, or perhaps every six months for an 18 month term, split the tranches in whatever way works best. I think this would work well together with an expansion of the number of arbitrators and division of the committee into smaller numbers of 3-9 arbs considering each case. Noroton (talk) 02:18, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  32. support - three years are to long Alex Bakharev (talk) 15:15, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  33. Agree that a three-year term is too long. —Mattisse (Talk) 16:43, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  34. Also agree that a three-year term is way too long and any reduction in its length would be an improvement. I am not sure, but a one-year term may be too short, and two years may be better. Nsk92 (talk) 16:49, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  35. Two years. John Smith's (talk) 11:25, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  36. I think one year is a good term size. I don't see the point in having elections every four months, though -- why not have them every year as usual but have all sitting arbs who wish to keep their positions stand for reelection? It would mean a few more candidates in each election, but it's not like votes are spread too thin in the status quo -- a couple hundred per candidate is more than enough.xDanielx T/C\R 04:20, 8 July 2008 (UTC) Struck part o comment per [11]xDanielx T/C\R 06:14, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  37. Endorse per Lara: 18-month terms, biannual elections. — Athaenara 07:03, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  38. There are the makings of a good idea here. Certainly there should be a break from office, and terms could well be shortened. Hiding T 10:48, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  39. Basic idea is sound, although the details down the line may well be problematic. John Carter (talk) 23:41, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  40. Support. I'm just wonderin,g is SirFozzie`s on break, how did he know about this --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:30, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  41. Sounds good to me. Ameriquedialectics 20:15, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
  42. Endorse view. We need to learn from experience, that the three year term is too long: we've generated a situation where (paradoxically) the harder an arbitrator works, the more likely they are to burn out due to the excessive terms we impose. The proposals by SirFozzie are but two of a number of possibilities, although the 18 month terms seem particularly apt; conversely, the 12 month term seems a little too short. Hopefully adjusting the length of terms of service will drive the arbitrators to act as less of a "rubber stamp" (although, as it happens, such a term is a little harsh; but, the general sentiment is understood) and encourage them to go that 'extra mile' (similar to Newyorkbrad, and the others Fozzie mentions)... Or, perhaps that's analysing a little too much. :) Either way, I agree with the majority of what's said here: it's simply a common sense remedy to the problems facing the current ArbCom set-up. Anthøny 14:14, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
  43. Strongly support with a tweak; I'd suggest a mandatory break for two tranches, whether there are two or three. People often recharge their batteries faster than they drain them. So my preference would be 18 month terms, three tranches every 6 months, and then a 12 month mandatory minimum break. Burnout and lack of new blood appears to be one of the major problems with the committee. Continuity can be provided as needed by former arbitrators commenting publicly. GRBerry 15:06, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

View by Moreschi[edit]

There are some things that work fairly well with ArbCom: many that don't. I'll expand on this in a series of pointers.

  • The terms are too long. It's very, very rare to find someone who can consistently handle the stress of being a arbitrator continually arbitrating, and not go slightly mad ("redirect to Clown"). SirFozzie talks well about this.
    • Solution: cut the terms down to one year, or perhaps a year and a half. This would also mean greater accountability.
  • ArbCom have too many responsibilities. Ban appeals, checkuser/oversight permissions, emergency desysops, "general sanctions" appeals, clarifications of their cases, requests to alter their cases - it's too much. All this in addition to their regular job of being the final stage of dispute resolution!
    • Solutions: either drastically expand the size of the Committee, or start hiving off some of these responsibilites. Checkuser and oversight, for example - there's no good reason for ArbCom to have the say over who gets these buttons. As on commons, it should be a community vote (not that you'll see me hunting after checkuser - I don't understand IPs well enough). Ban appeals could also be dealt with by a separate body, as I see FT2 has suggested. Again, you won't catch me on this body - what a boring job it sounds - but at least it's a step in the right direction.
  • ArbCom take too many cases. This is usually due to the failure of the community to properly solve problems on ANI and such places. See the kerfuffle surrounding User:Dzonatas for a classic example. In that instance, Durova felt compelled to go to ArbCom because nobody had even commented at ANI, because Dzonatas had posted heaps of confusing rubbish. It was only at RFAR that, because everyone's posts where in nicely segregated sections, that I was able to see that Durova was quite correct and Dzonatas had no case and needed to be kicked out.
    • Solutions: I suggest altering the format of ANI and AN to make posting there something a good deal more formal, a cross between the format of RFCs and RFAR, with a distinct "no posting in my section" rule. Admins need to be far more enterprising in using their tools and trying to save ArbCom cases.
  • And, finally, pretty much everything Dbachmann says here, but in particular these points:

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:29, 29 June 2008 (UTC) sanity has to prevail rather than mob rule. I can see real problems with fringe material if it is very popular. (and suggestion below is good,let's not have a scary AN/I...)
  2. Endorse all but the part about formalizing AN and AN/I. Noticeboards shouldn't be intimidating or complex. If complex cases arise where such a format is necessary, it should either be directed to RFC or perhaps a similar format produced on a subpage of AN/I. LaraLove|Talk 15:58, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Endorse as per LaraLove. One obvious solution is to double the size of ArbCom and enable arbitrators to divvy up the work in a less stressful way allowing each one more time to consider things in depth.Fainites barley 19:17, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Endorse. Such as the Supreme Court not taking every case they can, just the ones that would illustrate important points. JeanLatore (talk) 01:57, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Endorse. Basically everything that will reduce the load and fatigue on individual arbitrators promises improvement, more depth and focused competence on arbitrating where a dispute couldn't be resolved otherwise. Less side tasks. And less carelessness. Not sure about the AN/ANI thingy, or admins being more enterprising in general (not even sure I understand it), but I'm endorsing the other 88% of this statement. ---Sluzzelin talk 03:25, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Endorse, although I think AN and ANI are fine as they are (yes, they're a pain, but they're a easy go-to place, which we need, and I'm not convinced they need to be formalised -- yet.) Antandrus (talk) 03:31, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Endorse, though I think a restructure of RFC would be better than a restructure of ANI. Mr.Z-man 04:04, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Partial endorse -- I think making AN more structured is a bad idea (more distracting junk text to skip through), but I agree with the rest. — xDanielx T/C\R 07:15, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. These "solutions" can be improved upon as others have suggested here but they are definitely a step in the right direction. GizzaDiscuss © 01:17, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  10. Mostly endorse some points need commenting I would do it tomorrow Alex Bakharev (talk)
  11. Endorse: terms too long, too many disparate responsibilities, too many cases, endemic laziness / indifference / burnout ... — Athaenara 07:33, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Endorse.--TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:33, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


Users who wish to comment on this summary:

  1. Moreschi makes some great points, the problem is there are just too many of them. In a variation of "too long; didn't read", this is too long to reasonably reply to on a point-by-point basis and still keep the discussion coherent. While I agree with and support several of these ideas, there are a couple (including that pointed out by LaraLove, above), that I don't agree with. I'd really like to see the original post broken up into seperate sections (on this page or elsewhere) so that they could be dealth with individually, which they deserve. Note that at least a couple of these are already being handled individually elsewhere on this page, like the suggestion to shorten term lengths in order to minimize burn-out. Doc Tropics 19:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I'm with Doc here, from my review of the summary it appears some matters are already considered in part or in whole in other peoples summaries - where an endorsement may be used to clarify any minor difference - while there are still too many original points for me to want to endorse (or oppose) in totality. I am too aware of my own verbosity to wish to inflict a detailed response in any circumstance. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:28, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Totally wrong at oat least one major point, that "arbcom will need to judge which user has presented a better case in terms of representation of academic mainstream." That is none of arb coms business, and, in fact, not the business of wikipedia in the first pace. We are NPOV, not SPOV or APOV. there is nothing sacred about the academic mainstream, as I well know, having devoted a career to it. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is the sort of site that represents and ought to represent the academic mainstream. We represent the full range of responsible views, in proportion to their importance in the overall framework of the subject. We are furthermore totally and incapable of judging either academic consensus, or who presents it better. The academic world has enough blatant and obvious difficulties with it, even though the entire complex publication and rewards system there is devoted to doing just that. Why do we think we can do it better? People wanting the academic consensus should seek academic sources--where on disputed subjects they are very likely to find there is not quite as much consensus as they imagine. Anyway, most of what we talk about has very little to do with the academic world altogether. You're not going to find an academic consensus on nationalist conflicts. The academic consensus on homeopathy is pretty solid--the question is how much weight to give the small but vocal number of convinced proponents, and that's a question of proportion for the encyclopedia which no academic investigations are going to help with. Andthe entire idea is philosophically and ethically rather retrograde--it amounts to an appeal to authority. 23:24, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Agree with Doc and LessHeard vanU. Moreschi: Please look over what you propose, and re-submit those which are not already being discussed elsewhere so we can comment on them individually. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:34, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Per Doc. Some I agree. Some not. I cannot endorse as a whole.--Yannismarou (talk) 11:34, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

View by LessHeard vanU[edit]

The Proposed Final Decisions, Findings of Fact and Solutions that gain a sizeable majority of support in the Workshop must be adopted in the Proposed Decision page and voted upon by the Arbs, if there is to be any apparent use for the Workshop. It is extremely frustrating to find the good faith efforts of participants being disregarded by Committee members whose own wordings might not cover the breadth of concerns conveyed by the community, and the solutions considered. This is not to say Arbs cannot vote down these proposals, but they will be shown as having been considered.

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. LessHeard vanU (talk) 16:30, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Makes sense for the arbs to do what the community wants if there is wide support. rootology (T) 16:44, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Agree in general, but would put more positive emphasis in the last sentence, ie: "Arbs can always vote down any proposal, provided they have given it due consideration." ....just for the sake of clarity. Doc Tropics 19:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Endorse surely this is what should always have been done? DuncanHill (talk) 19:15, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Everyme (was Dorftrottel) (talk) 13:02, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Strongly, strongly support this. Neıl 13:22, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Giggy 13:26, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Workshop is broken as it stands. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 05:17, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  9. Excellent idea; helps to cement the mediation powers of the community, prevent the power of ArbCom from falling where it doesn't need to fall... I like it. Celarnor Talk to me 03:51, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this summary:

  1. Arbcom resolves the cases the community has been unable to resolve. If there were consensus on the workshop, the Committee could close the case without action and berate the participants for wasting their time when an RFC would have done the job. Workshop pages are useful for generating ideas and encouraging community involvement in the resolution of the case, but that's all they're for. The Community doesn't go around telling arbcom what motions to table or how to resolve a case. If the Community could do that it wouldn't need arbcom at all. --Jenny 23:46, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. When it comes down to it, that would just encourage people to shout louder. Workshop pages devolve into useless messes anyway. This would just make them worse. Guettarda (talk) 08:00, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
    Then I would question the need for community participation in the Workshop, in which case... Close it down!? LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:59, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. I saw cases there a group of editors were proposing massive amounts of absurd points on the workshop. There is no way Arbcom should vote it all Alex Bakharev (talk) 15:23, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
    Which is why I noted that only proposals with a good majority of support might be included. LessHeard vanU (talk) 22:08, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Great idea, but I think too potentially problematic. Sounds a bit like a popularity contest. Again, don't put pressure on the arbitrators. No one has to like a "judge"'s decision - they do what they think is proper in regards to Wikipedia rules. John Smith's (talk) 11:25, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

View by xDanielx[edit]

I think the shortcomings of the arbitration system can mostly be attributed to a couple easily-remedied problems:

  • three-year terms are far too long, and
  • keeping former arbitrators on the mailing list is problematic.

Essentially, the current practice is that unless an arbitrator does something outrageous, he or she serves for three years and retains a privileged position of influence indefinitely. Unfortunately, while elected arbitrators are highly trusted and respected community members, their behavior tends to follow a downward trend.

The results of the last election make this rather evident -- only one of five incumbent and twenty three former arbitrators sought reelection, and even Raul wasn't successful with his bid. Though we'll never know for sure, I'm fairly certain that none of the other twenty six would have been successful had they sought reelection.

Perhaps it's the systematic lack of accountability, or perhaps the disconnectedness that results from devoting so much time to a narrow, isolated area of the wiki. In any case, the remedy is a simple one. We should have all incumbent arbitrators stand for annual reelection (if they wish to continue serving), not just a third of them. It would mean about five additional candidates per election, but since candidates typically receive hundreds of votes, spreading out the vote distribution would not be a problem -- the sample size would still be more than adequate. We should also abrogate the traditional policy of keeping former arbitrators on the committee mailing list, or at least create a new list for current arbitrators only. (The latter was suggested some time ago at met with a rough consensus, but the proposal has yet to be enacted.)

Users who endorse this summary:

  1. xDanielx T/C\R 07:15, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Neıl 14:19, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. MaggotSyn 14:23, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Make sense though some sort of continuity is preferential. Maybe 18 month terms in three transhes would work Alex Bakharev (talk) 15:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Various suggestions by Neil[edit]

Moreschi, above, has identified one of the root problems. Arbcom has been unable to scale itself to the community, I believe due to the increase in size of the community, but also due to its maturation; it's not "the same as it was three years ago but twice as big". Things have changed, a lot, and Arbcom hasn't.

Arbcom is becoming increasingly more incompatible with the community it is supposed to serve. We need some form of higher dispute resolution beyond RFC, so let's operate on the assumption we need some form of Arbitration Committee, and there's plenty of evidence that the current one is not fit for purpose in the present day.

So, how can Arbcom change? I have borrowed an idea or two from above and fiddled with them, and added my own. I have split them into subheadings, as of course some ideas may be good, some may be bad. For clarity, and because some follow on from one another, I have put my suggestions together, rather than spatter them throughout this RFC.

I. Expansion[edit]

The three current Tranches are expanded from 5 members to 7. An additional Tranche Delta is created.

My thinking: The Arbcom is too small. More members are needed - presently we have just eleven active arbitrators. We need more. I suggest the simplest and most efficient way to address this is to expand the arbitrator Tranches, and add a further one.

I suggest an election be held as soon as is realistically possible, with each Tranche expanded from five Arbitrators to seven, and a further Tranche appointed (Tranche Delta). This would require 14 new arb appointeeships; 2 each for Tranches Gamma and Beta, 3 for Tranche Alpha (the extra one to replace Newyorkbrad) and 7 for the new Tranche Delta. The simplest way would be to appoint the 14 candidates with the highest percentage of votes.

This will give us a maximum of 28 Arbitrators rather than 15. This would still not be too unwieldy. If this still proves insufficient, we can always add a further Tranche.

I am aware the Arbcom has stated on numerous occasions that they do not need more Arbitrators; this ought not to be their decision to make, and the preponderance of evidence is that despite their protests, too many cases take too long to resolve, and receive insufficient Arbitrator scrutiny.

Users who endorse this suggestion:

  1. Neıl 10:48, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 11:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:27, 30 June 2008 (UTC) I think this is the simplest and most time-effective ways of improving the running of the whole she-bang. (as long as there are smaller teams looking at cases, so longer can be spent on each case and more can be done concurrently. see below)
  4. I dunno if we have 28 truly capable people but the idea is a good one. —Giggy 11:48, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. I think expanding the ArbCom is a good idea, but should we have an odd number of people? Otherwise what will happen in case of a tie? Will Jimbo cast the deciding vote like the U.S. Vice-President does in the Senate? J.delanoygabsadds 12:12, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    On the day that all 28 arbitrators make a vote, Satan will iceskate to work. As we never have every arbitrator active and acting on a case, roughly fifty percent of current Arbcom decisions are made by an even number of people; this is an unavoidable issue. Neıl 12:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Yes, more arbitrators are needed as various of the sitting ones are too irregular in their public contributions but continue to delay cases by implicitly preventing majorities, even though they never actually participate. This would really need to be worked in with something related to VIII below, though, or you'd soon have arbitrator disinterest and/or burnout even of the new appointees. Splash - tk 12:25, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. As long as the number of arbs on each case is limited. shoy 13:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Endorse a greater number of active arbitrators would not only make speedier action possible, but also expand the experience-base of the committee, which would have a beneficial effect on decision making. DuncanHill (talk) 13:08, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Endorse per my comments under II, below. UltraExactZZ Claims ~ Evidence 13:13, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. To almost double the number of Arbitrators at once may be a bit much, but certainly there is a need for more, as cases are sitting for months and half our current Arbs are inactive. LaraLove|Talk 14:21, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. I agree with the concept entirely. As Wikipedia gets bigger, the ArbCom needs to expand to handle the growing number of cases. However, I disagree with the idea of a snap election with the top fourteen becoming Arbcommers. It would mean half of the ArbCom were new. I would recommend the immediate election of Tranche Delta. Then after whatever length of time we agree on between elections has passed (see above sections for discussion), the next Tranche for election simply votes in seven instead of the usual five. This staggered approach would delay the sudden influx of inexperienced arbitrators and prevent what would almost certainly be a massively complex election. -- Escape Artist Swyer Talk to me The mess I've made 14:58, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    If and when the principle (expanding Arbcom to four tranches of seven Arbitrators) is agreed, then exactly how to appoint them is a seperate decision that can be addressed later, but the staggered approach you suggest is an excellent idea. Neıl 15:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Bstone (talk) 15:32, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. No number is set in stone, but more arbs would only be beneficial. — MaggotSyn 16:13, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Support some expansion of the ArbCom, inactivity is a problem sometimes. Davewild (talk) 17:44, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. Agree. I'd combine it with assigning a smaller number of arbitrators, each handling one or, at most, two cases at a time to concentrate their minds. It may be that you get a "too many cooks" syndrome going on behind the scenes, with more discussion than may be warranted. Noroton (talk) 17:58, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. Miss Ann Thropie (talk) 19:14, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  17. Support, but only if done in combination with your proposal for shorter terms. Low Sea (talk) 19:33, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  18. Mr.Z-man 20:20, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  19. I believe that an expansion is appropriate, but not in the way it is presented. I agree with DGG and PaddyLeahy who oppose this suggestion below; one cannot have a larger team all still trying to consider each case. This will just slow things down even more. What is needed are smaller more agile teams of fewer arbitrators examining each case. So suppose that there were a total of 20 arbitrators, organized into 3 teams of 5 each, with 5 alternates. A given case would be looked at by a team of 5, chosen by lot, and ruled on. The other 15 arbitrators would not look at this case at all. An arbitrator who was busy could be replaced by an alternate. Fewer arbitrators would be required to look at each case, making cases go more quickly. Each arbitrator would have to look at fewer cases, reducing caseload and workload for any given arbitrator. So if one implemented the expansion in this way, combined with a division of Arbcomm into smaller teams, then things might work better in several respects. And we would effectively increase substantially the number of cases Arbcomm could handle. This is also a scalable solution, of course.--Filll (talk | wpc) 23:45, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  20. Yes, in combination with II below. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:56, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  21. Yes. --I'm an Editorofthewiki[citation needed] 20:16, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  22. Maybe, but only if something along the lines of Filll's suggestion is implemented. I have been on quite a few committees in my life and in my experience no committee above the size of 12, maybe 14 tops, can operate and discuss things effectively on any single case without a very substantial amount of logistical support available (which we won't have). Nsk92 (talk) 04:35, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  23. Makes sense Alex Bakharev (talk) 15:30, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  24. Some change along these lines is needed although more thought needs to go into exactly what the best solution would be. —Mattisse (Talk) 16:04, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
  25. We could even go above 28 later on.--Michael X the White (talk) 11:13, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  26. Endorse. I like the tranche`idea, but just for aesthetics, call them something else? --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:38, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this suggestion:

  1. I don't think we're going to solve any of the current problems by throwing more arbitrators at them. --Conti| 15:12, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    There is no one quick fix - more arbitrators will not resolve issues such as accountability or when and how closed judgements will take place, but it will reduce the delay - take, for example, the Cla68-Felonious Monk-SlimVirgin RFArb, which has been open for over six weeks and has yet to recieve any significant input from a single Arbitrator. Neıl 15:24, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    I'm not sure if inactivity is a reason for that, tho. In similar contentious cases, the arbs simply didn't agree with each other on what to do, causing long delays. Adding more arbitrators would not fix this problem. On the contrary, finding a consensus amongst 28 people would take much longer than finding one amongst 15 people. A short "We're working on it"-message by an arbitrator in such cases would be nice, tho. --Conti| 15:40, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. This can only work if we allow Arbcom to split itself into subcommittees rather than expecting all active members to consider all cases as now. Otherwise adding more members will slow it down as Conti explains. I'm not convinced allowing Arbcom to split itself would be a good idea. PaddyLeahy (talk) 20:23, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. This at first glance rational proposal does not take into account the way arbcom operates. Its present method of requiring a majority of sitting arbitrators will be made worse, not better, by increasing the number of arbitrators--the more we have, the harder it will be to reach a decision. We need about the same number of people, but more active. Thus the idea of shortening the terms makes a great deal of sense, as Paddy just above me indicates, and is discussed further below. A three year term is for almost everyone more than can be undertaken successfully, DGG (talk) 23:29, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    Consider it in conjunction with the suggestions about reducing terms from 3 years to 2 and assigning a team of arbitrators to a case. Neıl 01:36, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  4. Oppose expansion as written, mainly because those who should know best - current and past arbitrators - say they don't need it. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:40, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
    They would say that - saying more arbitrators are needed could be seen as an implicit suggestion they are not doing their job properly. Neıl 10:52, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  5. Consensus between 28 people is harder to gather than consensus between 12. As the recent mishaps have been caused by poor communication, I don't think that expanding the number of people that have to be communicated to will improve anything much. Naerii 09:42, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
    ArbCom does not really operate by consensus but rather by a majority vote. Nsk92 (talk) 03:56, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
    And how will increasing the number of people required to gain a majority improve the speed of the committee? Naerii 00:01, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Opose, for reasons stated in my proposal above. I think we need less arbitrators, not more. "Too Many Cooks". --Barberio (talk) 22:20, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

II. Timescales[edit]

Arbitration Committee terms are reduced from three years to two years. Elections will be held every six months on a rotating basis.

My thinking: Three years is too long. Shorter terms are needed. Why is three years too long? I believe there are two main reasons. Firstly, fatigue of Arbitrators - easily observed by noting that the newest arbitrators are usually the most active. This would be addressed by both reducing the time served, and by increasing the numbers as detailed above.

Secondly, Arbitrators must have the faith of the community. While it is necessary for Arbitrators to make on occasion unpopular decisions (as what the community wants is not necessarily the sole concern in making decisions), the faith of the community to make those decisions must be maintained.

I suggest an Arbcom term be brought down from three years to two years. This would dovetail neatly with the expansion from 3 Tranches to 4. We should not presume an Arbitrator is incapable of serving longer than this; however, they will have to convince the community they are capable of serving a further two years.

This will necessitate an Arbitration Committee election every 6 months, rather than every 12 months. This is a bearable burden on the community. It would also enable an Arbitrator to, if they wished, to take six months off (a reasonable break) and return to arbitration six months later.

Users who endorse this suggestion:

  1. Neıl 10:48, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 11:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:27, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. To clarify, would every arbitrator be up for election every six months, or only some of them (and some of the seats)? —Giggy 11:49, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    In this proposal, each of the four Tranches would be up for election once every two years (so it would be a two year term). Sorry if that wasn't clear. Neıl 11:56, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. I think 18 months is long enough, and longer than most arbs have remained productive for (with a few notable exceptions). But yes, shorten the terms and roll more frequent elections. Splash - tk 12:25, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. shoy 13:05, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. Endorse for freshness and to demonstrate the continuing trust that is essential for the Arbcom to function effectively. DuncanHill (talk) 13:11, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Endorse. Elections every six months should not cause problems, particularly if only 1/4 of the committee was up at a time. I'll comment more on this later, maybe - but I see no procedural objection. UltraExactZZ Claims ~ Evidence 13:13, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. I endorse this fully if a Tranche Delta is added. If it should remain at three Tranches, I think it should be 18 month terms. LaraLove|Talk 14:24, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    Agree with LauraLove's logistics. A sensible comment. -- Escape Artist Swyer Talk to me The mess I've made 15:04, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. Endorse. Very sensible, especially with Lara's addition. — MaggotSyn 16:18, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. As with my support on SirFozzie's view shorter terms are necessary. Davewild (talk) 17:46, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. endorse shorter terms but the problem is that each election offers us two months of activity, and having this twice a year might be too much. The only alternative would be two tranches, at year intervals. The need for renewal in the middle could be met by have alternates for replacing inactive arbitrators--there are always a few who become inactive midway in a year. DGG (talk) 18:52, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. Miss Ann Thropie (talk) 19:16, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  14. Support, and also like the idea of "alternates" per DGG above. Low Sea (talk) 19:35, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  15. Mr.Z-man 20:21, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  16. Yes, in combination with I above. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:57, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  17. Yes, two years is sufficient for a new Arb to become infused with the ethos of ArbCom (whatever that may turn out to be following this) and yet having new(ish) blood every six months should not disrupt the work of the committee - on the basis that departing Arbs will continue on cases they were involved in while on the committee. LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  18. Agree, and I agree with DGG's two-tranch idea. Once-a-year elections are better than every six months. And agree with DGG's alternates-at-the-ready idea. Shorter terms and ready alternates would help with the (apparent) burnout problem. Noroton (talk) 01:56, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  19. Support, and also support DGG's two-tranch and use of alternates suggestions. Nsk92 (talk) 03:59, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  20. Support, maybe shorten the terms even stronger Alex Bakharev (talk) 15:31, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  21. I think that this will help. Captain panda 03:41, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  22. Cla68 (talk) 06:47, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  23. Yes, three years is too long, burnout is a factor, reducing to two years may help. ArbCom has recently taken RfCs away from the community, and then been unable to rule on the cases. We should have more active turnover in ArbCom. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  24. --Michael X the White (talk) 11:14, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  25. --TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:40, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who wish to comment on this suggestion:

  1. This is substantially similar to other suggestions in this RfC. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:41, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
    Yes, it is. As I said, I borrowed some ideas from other suggestions. Neıl 11:00, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this suggestion:

  1. The 'every six months' doesn't work if you're opposed to expanding the committe; however I could support reducing the term to two years (or even one). Naerii 09:44, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

III. Scope[edit]

Requests for Checkuser access and Requests for Oversight will be decided by means other than by the Arbitration Committee.

My thinking: This will devolve some of the activities in which Arbcom don't really need to be involved. Their role is final-level dispute resolution. The details of how these rights could be assigned do not necessarily need to be discussed here.

If you think I haven't thought about it, though, here's a couple of ideas:

  1. Community decision. In a similar manner to a request for Bureaucratship, the passing mark will be higher than that of a request for adminship. I would hope to see an "RFCA" or an "RFOA" require at least 90% support to pass, and with no major objections from members of the community in good standing.
  2. Current holders. As the recognised current experts (similar to the Bot Approvals Group), requests for Checkuser access will be discussed and determined by all those who currently hold checkuser access. A similar process for Oversight.

However, that can be discussed elsewhere. The first step is to decide on the principle - the "how we achieve this" can be decided later.

Users who endorse this suggestion:

  1. Neıl 10:48, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Agree. There's no logical reason this should be ArbCom's business. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 11:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Yep. Increases transparency and devolves power and workload in a pragmatic way. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:29, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Point two is a necessity, though. —Giggy 11:50, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. No reason why the ArbCom should have to decide this. Agree with Giggy, but I think that conversation should take place if/when the new policy is drawn up. J.delanoygabsadds 12:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. I think having bit holders decide would be a bad way of implementing this since we rely on them to scrutinize one another, but I think it's a good idea in principle. — xDanielx T/C\R 13:49, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. I agree with those above that point 2 is key. LaraLove|Talk 14:31, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. I agree with a community election, not appointing by the current holders. This method of appointment could lead to bias on the part of the current holders and make it difficult for compentant people who do not have friendly relations with the current holders to get elected. A community election with a high pass mark would hopefully avoid bias of this kind. -- Escape Artist Swyer Talk to me The mess I've made 15:16, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Bstone (talk) 15:34, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. I fully agree with the above sentiments. — MaggotSyn 16:26, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. Agreed, it's not what they are elected for. Cenarium Talk 17:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Though I have doubts that either of the above suggested systems will work all that well. Mr.Z-man 20:24, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  13. Support the decoupling. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:59, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  14. Don't see why not. Naerii 09:45, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  15. Absolutely no reason for a dispute resolution group to be in charge of doling out these powers. Too much potential for problems and no rationale for them having it. Celarnor Talk to me 10:14, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
  16. CU's and Oversighters to process their own applications procedures is good sense, as those already with those rights are among the most trusted members of the community. LessHeard vanU (talk)
  17. Agree. Sounds sensible. This function seems to be more easily separable from other Arbcom powers, so perhaps it will help them concentrate on cases more, although I'm not sure how much time this takes up for arbitrators. Noroton (talk) 01:51, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
  18. Support. ArbCom has more than enought work on its hands and this particular task is more easily separated from their functions than others. Nsk92 (talk) 04:08, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  19. Support. WMF can have a right to veto some appointments Alex Bakharev (talk) 15:38, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  20. Cla68 (talk) 06:48, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
  21. Agree, per Moreschi. There's no reason a committee charged with arbitration should be doing these in the first place. keɪɑtɪk flʌfi (talk) 13:28, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
  22. How did they get that job anyways?--TALKIN PIE EATER REVIEW ME 20:42, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  23. I've thought this for a long time. Greeves (talk contribs) 03:12, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
  24. There seems to be no system for achieving transparancy or accountability here. Ameriquedialectics 20:28, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
  25. Endorse suggestion, per Neil. Anthøny 02:39, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
  26. These are the tasks most readily separated from the current ArbComm workload, and they are having too much difficulty handling their workload. Since this is the easiest stuff to take off their plate, let's do it. GRBerry 15:11, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this suggestion:

  1. Arbcom can delegate these powers if it wants, but these powers are both only for people who are over 18 and willing to prove their identity to the Foundation. Additionally the method of granting access has to be agreed between the wiki and the Foundation (the agreed method for enwiki is via arbcom). --Jenny 23:58, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
    The method of granting access is not set in stone. As long as the identity criteria are met, the way these permissions are assigned can be changed. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 07:59, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who wish to comment on this suggestion:

  1. Some body of very trusted users who have access to "hidden knowledge" should have veto over access to these two groups. I see nothing wrong with giving ARBCOM or perhaps the existing checkusers or oversighters such a veto. However, the access should be approved by the community and vetoed only for good cause, i.e. something that amounts to a breach of trust or which would generate an OFFICE-initiated veto. Such a veto should be very rare. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:50, 1 July 2008 (UTC)


IIIa. Reducing roles[edit]

Checkuser and Oversight access will not be given to Arbitrators by default.

My thinking: An offshoot of III, as without that happening, there's no point (as Arbitrators will probably decide to give themselves the right if the decision lies with them). This will reduce the burden on sitting Arbitrators. Arbitrators do not require Checkuser or Oversight access in order to provide final-level dispute resolution effectively. Checkuser, in particular, requires a wholly different skill set from Arbitration. This does not preclude Arbitrators having these rights, merely that they would have to go through the same determination process as any other user (whatever that determination process may be).

Users who endorse this suggestion:

  1. Neıl 10:48, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Knowledge of how IPs function has nothing to do with being a good arbitrator. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 11:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:30, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. That said, I imagine they'd easily pass the vote if they wanted the tools. —Giggy 11:50, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Also agree with Giggy, which is why we should have someone other than the ArbCom decide who gets these tools. J.delanoygabsadds 12:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  6. Err. Half support? I think Checkuser is probably useful for determining the nature of evidence and claims in cases. Oversight, not so much, but unfortunately I am not able to support the proposal above re that. Splash - tk 12:25, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  7. No reason for them to have it for the purposes of dispute resolution. It is unlikely that they would ever do it themselves anyway. Celarnor Talk to me 15:33, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  8. Bstone (talk) 15:35, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  9. Neither is needed. Reports can be made, evidence presented. Decisions are what is needed from arbs. This is not to say that they cannot request or obtain either. — MaggotSyn 16:26, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  10. Endorse, if arbitrators need to access oversighted information for a specific RFAR, they can ask an oversighter, same if they need a checkuser. But no need for a direct access, it's nothing more than a privilege. Cenarium Talk 17:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  11. Checkuser and oversight should be performed by an independent third party in any arbitration case to insure transparency. Miss Ann Thropie (talk) 19:19, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  12. Most definitely concur. Ameriquedialectics 20:28, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who endorse part of this suggestion:

  1. For checkuser, sure, but for oversight this is likely to more frequently arise and need interpretation of the entire record, not just a report. But of course it should be only active arbitrators, unless they have oversight granted independently. DGG (talk) 18:56, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. I concur with DGG. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:50, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Users who oppose this suggestion.

  1. Doesn't make sense. At least in principle, arbitrators need access to confidential information in order to perform the investigative aspect of their function fully, and oversighting is part of the enforcement aspect. --Jenny 00:01, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  2. Oppose the tools are necessary to investigate accusations (eg. of sockpuppetry). We should not make the job harder. -- Escape Artist Swyer Talk to me The mess I've made 20:31, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
  3. I prefer IIIa v2.