The case was opened after allegations of long-term COI editing on the Tree shaping article, and problematic usage of the article's talk page. 9 editors submitted evidence on-wiki, and several proposals were submitted in the workshop, including proposed principles and findings of fact by drafter Elen of the Roads. Drafter Elen of the Roads amended the proposals before submitting them in the proposed decision for arbitrators to vote on, and remedy proposals were considered over the last week. 13 active arbitrators voted on the final decision before the case came to a close today.
What is the effect of the decision and what does it tell us?
The subject/topic involved in this case is a relatively new art form in which three-dimensional works of art are created by modifying the growth of living trees. The dispute focuses on what title to give the article on the subject. Practitioners have developed their own names for their particular techniques and forms of the art, some of which have commercial status as brand names. There are also a variety of terms from arboriculture and elsewhere that are used to describe both the techniques used and the final results. As editors of the article have not reached a consensus as to a consistent preference within reliable sources on the use of any one term, the title of the article (currently Tree shaping) has continued to be disputed.
Some of those editing the article are themselves practitioners of the art, or have a professional or commercial interest in the art. These editors potentially have a conflict of interest, as it may be in their interests to have the title of the article reflect the description used for their own artworks, and this may conflict with Wikipedia's policies. Although expert editors (including those with a professional or commercial interest in the subject of the articles they edit) are welcome on Wikipedia, the guidelines concerning conflicts of interest must be observed where applicable, and expert editors must at all times avoid editing (or appearing to edit) the encyclopaedia in order to promote their own professional or commercial interest. Any editor who focuses primarily or exclusively on a narrow subject—sometimes referred to as SPAs— should avoid creating the impression that their focus is on advocacy rather than neutrally presenting information. Contributors who engage in tendentious or disruptive editing, such as by engaging in sustained aggressive point-of-view editing, may be subjected to editing restrictions or bans.
Sydney Bluegum (talk·contribs) is banned from the topic of tree shaping/arborsculpture/pooktre (widely construed), anywhere on Wikipedia until July 2012.
Blackash (talk·contribs) & Slowart (talk·contribs) are each banned from all discussion on the correct name for the tree shaping/arborsculpture/pooktre topic until July 2012. These bans apply anywhere on Wikipedia, but only cover discussion of what name should be given to the practice and what title should be used for any articles on the subject. These restrictions will supersede the existing community-placed restrictions.
Due to their experience and familiarity with the area, Sydney Bluegum (talk·contribs), Blackash (talk·contribs), and Slowart (talk·contribs) will be given limited exceptions from their topic bans to outlay proposals and background rationale at the commencement of a particular RfC on the article. That particular RfC should determine the consensus name and scope for the subject matter, and whether it should stand alone or whether it is best upmerged to a parent article.
Article titles should be based on the name by which reliable English-language sources refer to the article's subject. When there is no single obvious term that is obviously the most frequently used for the topic, as used by a significant majority of reliable English language sources, editors should reach a consensus as to which title is best by considering recognisability, naturalness, precision, conciseness and consistency. In determining which of several alternative names is most frequently used, it is useful to observe the usage of major bodies and English-language media outlets, as well as quality encyclopedias and journals. In a few cases, there will be notable topics which are well-documented in reliable sources, but for which no accepted short-hand term exists. Although it can be tempting to employ a neologism in such a case, it is preferable to use a title that is a descriptive phrase in plain English if possible, even if this makes for a somewhat long or awkward title.