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A request for arbitration is the last step of dispute resolution for conduct disputes on Wikipedia. The Arbitration Committee considers requests to open new cases and review previous decisions. The entire process is governed by the arbitration policy. For information about requesting arbitration, and how cases are accepted and dealt with, please see guide to arbitration.

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Requests for arbitration

Requests for clarification and amendment

Clarification request: Gun control

Motion enacted. Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 00:20, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Initiated by GoldenRing at 15:38, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Case or decision affected
Gun control arbitration case (t) (ev / t) (w / t) (pd / t)

List of any users involved or directly affected, and confirmation that all are aware of the request:

Confirmation that all parties are aware of the request

Statement by GoldenRing (Gun Control)

In the course of a request at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard, I deleted User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles as an arbitration enforcement action. My reason for doing so is that WP:UP states that "Users should generally not maintain in public view negative information related to others without very good reason. Negative evidence, laundry lists of wrongs, perceived flaws, collations of diffs and criticisms related to problems, etc., should be removed, blanked, or kept privately (i.e., not on the wiki) if they will not be imminently used, and the same once no longer needed. The compilation of factual evidence (diffs) in user subpages, for purposes such as preparing for a dispute resolution process, is permitted provided it will be used in a timely manner. In my view, this page is obviously the sort of "collation of diffs and criticisms related to problems" that the policy forbids. Dlthewave has repeatedly stated (eg diff) that the purpose of the page is as background to an opinion piece in The Signpost; since I have repeatedly asked and they have given no other explanation, I have taken this as an admission that the material is not intended for dispute resolution. My justification for doing the deletion as an arbitration enforcement action is the "other reasonable measures that the enforcing administrator believes are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project" provision of WP:AC/DS#sanctions.user. I'm aware that deletion is unusual as an enforcement action, but didn't expect it to be as controversial as it has proved.

Dlthewave appealed this at AE and in the course of the appeal, Bishonen advised them to start a request at WP:DRV, which they did. Bishonen undeleted the page so that those participating in the DRV request could see the content. I have objected to the undeletion as a unilateral overturning of an enforcement action but Bishonen has declined to self-revert this. I have no interest in wheel-warring over it.

A number of editors at DRV have objected to the deletion, for two main reasons: Firstly, that the content doesn't violate policy, and secondly that deletion is not a valid enforcement action (ie is not authorised under discretionary sanctions). Additionally, I and a couple of other editors have pointed out that DRV can't review enforcement actions, but a number of editors have objected this, too. These objections include some very experienced editors who I respect and I'm not so sure of myself as I was 24 hours ago. So I would like the committee please to answer these questions:

  1. Is deletion of a page an enforcement action that is authorised under discretionary sanctions?
  2. If the answer to 1 is "yes", was Bishonen's undeletion a violation of WP:AC/DS#sanctions.modify?
  3. If the answer to 1 is "yes", is DRV a valid venue to review deletions carried out under discretionary sanctions?
  4. If the answer to 1 is "yes", while we're here, we may as well consider the substance as well: Was deleting this page in line with policy and a reasonable exercise of administrator discretion in an area subject to DS?

I would like to be very clear that I am asking these questions for clarification and am not looking for action against anyone; in particular, I am not requesting any action against Dlthewave for starting the DRV (they were, after all, advised to do so) nor against Bishoen for giving that advice or for undeleting the page (Bishonen is an admin I hold in high regard and while we disagree on this point of DS procedures, any action against her would be a great loss to the project; I would much rather concede the point and let the undeletion stand than see action here).

  • @SilkTork: I don't know how much clearer I can make my rationale, but I will try: The policy says, "Negative evidence, laundry lists of wrongs, perceived flaws, collations of diffs and criticisms related to problems, etc., should be removed." The deleted page is a long list of quotes of edits made by other editors which Dlthewave himself thinks is "important to highlight the long-term pattern" of which their AE complaint is "a continuation" (diff). This is plainly a collection of negative evidence, and the attempt to lawyer around the language by not giving diffs by quoting the content of the diff and giving a link to where it can be found is, in my view, entirely specious. Dlthewave themselves said in the diff I have just quoted, "It is understandable that this may be viewed as polemical, howeveri feel that it is important to highlight the long-term pattern" - or, in about as many words, they know it violates policy but think their cause is more important. GoldenRing (talk) 22:59, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @SilkTork: I see what you're getting at. As far as I know, this page was not the subject of any substantive discussion prior to the deletion. Dlthewave brought an action at AE and another editor pointed out this page; I asked Dlthewave to explain how it was not a violation of POLEMIC (diff). Two and a half days later I had received no response (diff), despite Dlthewave having edited the AE complaint in that time (diff), so I went ahead and deleted it. I do not claim any of the speedy deletion criteria as justification for the deletion, but rather the authorisation of discretionary sanctions.
  • Regarding your question about blanking v deletion, I took the word "remove" in WP:UP to include deletion and it is routinely interpreted this way at MfD, where POLEMIC is generally accepted as grounds for deletion, not blanking. Although there is some controversy about where the line between keep and delete outcomes is, no-one argues that POLEMIC is not grounds for deletion. Pages with similar content are deleted at MfD, see eg 1 2 3, especially the last one which likewise claims to document whitewashing of an article; there are many others in the archives of MfD.
  • My reasoning for doing this as an arbitration enforcement action rather than through community processes was (and is) that maintaining such a page is not conducive to collaborative editing in the topic of gun control; that gun control is an area where discretionary sanctions have been authorised; and that administrators are expected to use DS "to create an acceptable collaborative editing environment for even our most contentious articles" (WP:AC/DS#admin.expect). If administrators working AE are suddenly expected to use community processes to resolve disputes, then what was the point of authorising DS?
  • To answer a couple of procedural queries I missed in my last reply, Dlthewave met the awareness requirements at the time of the enforcement action because they had started a request at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard (the deletion happened in the context of this request) and I don't see how an editnotice is relevant to this particular action as it doesn't involve a page-level editing restriction. GoldenRing (talk) 10:18, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @SilkTork: I am seriously considering other ways out of this and have been for some time. Nonetheless, I think the committee needs to clarify whether deletion is a valid enforcement action; it is clear (most particularly from the comments at DRV and also those here) that a significant portion of the community think it is not, while I can't see how deletion is different to any other administrative action done under DS and authorised by the "other reasonable measures" provision of DS. In the meantime, I am a little unsure what you mean when you say, "such a deletion should meet with policy." There are a great many administrative actions taken routinely that are not authorised by policy but are authorised by discretionary sanctions: administrators cannot normally place topic bans, interaction bans, 1RR restrictions on users or pages, consensus-required restrictions, civility restrictions or BRD restrictions and yet these have all been applied unilaterally by administrators since the beginning of this year. Ordinarily, any of these would require a community consensus process (eg a discussion at AN for a topic ban) but are valid as unilateral actions because they are authorised by discretionary sanctions. How is deletion any different? Ordinarily it requires a community consensus process at XfD (ignoring for the moment speedy deletion criteria) but here it is a valid unilateral action because discretionary sanctions are authorised. And, in the end, what is more serious? Deleting a user page? Or banning a user? If you trust admins with the latter, you should trust them with the former. GoldenRing (talk) 16:22, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @SilkTork: I appreciate your point about arbcom needing the consent of the community to function and to be a positive force in the community. At the same time (and I know this is itself somewhat controversial in the community) my understanding is that all of the powers granted to administrators in discretionary sanctions are available because the community has ratified the arbitration policy which makes arbcom the final, binding decision-maker in disputes, not because of explicit policy changes. As GMG points out, the usual forms of DS are subject to a "boiling frog" effect; and this action is likely to be controversial not because it is invalid but because it is unusual. Posting it at DRV has involved a lot of users who are not accustomed to dealing with DS.
    If I had deleted a featured article on the main page without a very good reason, I would expect the action to be overturned at AN sharpish. That is the outlet the community has for controlling unilateral enforcement action with consensus.
    The committee still need to decide whether "other reasonable measures" means what it plainly says or rather "other reasonable measures except deletion," which some here are advocating. The committee still need to decide whether "All enforcement actions are presumed valid and proper, so the provisions relating to modifying or overturning sanctions apply, until an appeal is successful" means what it plainly says or rather "All enforcement actions are presumed valid and proper unless another admin unilaterally decides the action was obviously outside the scope of DS," which some here are advocating. GoldenRing (talk) 11:45, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @BU Rob13: That is a good point and I will strike my fourth question. GoldenRing (talk) 17:07, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @RexxS: I would like to correct a few things you have said:
  • It is absolutely prohibited to unilaterally modify arbitration enforcement actions; seee WP:AC/DS#sanctions.modify. BLP and COPYVIO are not the only absolute prohibitions.
  • All enforcement actions have what you describe as "the usual immunity to reversion", whether they are valid or not because all enforcement actions are presumed valid and proper until an appeal in one of AE, AN or ARCA succeeds; see point 4 of WP:AC/DS#appeals.notes.
  • We do not prohibit collections of negative information about other editors "for reasons of BLP" (if that were so, they would never be allowed) but because it's not a civil, collegial thing to do, though sometimes necessary for use in legitimate dispute resolution processes.
  • And lastly, the elephant in the room: no careful reading is necessary, the whole page consists almost entirely of quotes of other editors statements at talk page. By what sophistry is this material not related to the editors who made those statements??? GoldenRing (talk) 23:24, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @RexxS: I hope no admins follow your interpretation of policy; it is a recipe for desysopping. The simple reality is that the community has accepted the arbitration committee as the final, binding decision-maker in conduct disputes and, short of changing the arbitration policy, the community cannot override its decisions. Some of its decisions are to authorise discretionary sanctions; to make administrator actions under DS appealable only to AE, AN and ARCA; and to give such actions a presumption of validity until they are overturned in a proper appeal. If you doubt this, you might find the level 2 desysop of Yngvadottir for a single instance of overturning a controversial AE action instructive (in fact an AE action which was only confirmed by the committee in a 6-5 vote). GoldenRing (talk) 11:36, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @BU Rob13: I struggle to articulate what such a motion would even mean in practice. Essentially, I guess it means admins can delete pages as an enforcement measure so long as the page meets one of the criteria for speedy deletion or a consensus to delete exists at the relevant XfD venue. The only difference making deletion available under DS would make is that review would be reserved to AE, AN and ARCA rather than the usual deletion review process - yet PMC has argued for option B with review carried out at DRV! If "deletion done under DS" is going to be "deletion in line with deletion policy and reviewed at DRV" then it's indistinguishable from ordinary deletion and there's no point including it in DS - just propose a motion to exclude it.
    I do still feel strongly is that the existing DS wording allows deletion as it allows any other measure, and reserves review of such deletions to the arbitration appeal venues. The only argument I can see being made to the contrary is AGK's, which essentially says that a sanction placed on a page reading "This page is subject to 1RR" is not a sanction placed on a page. I don't understand it. Unless someone can propose another construction of the DS wording that excludes deletion, the now-closed DRV was out of process.
    Whether deletion should be allowed under DS is another question and not one I feel strongly about either way. As an enforcing administrator, I would probably prefer that the committee exclude deletion altogether from DS than to add further complexity to the scope and review processes for DS. GoldenRing (talk) 11:54, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Opabinia regalis: To some extent I agree with you, and had I known what the outcome would be, I would have sent this to MfD. I saw AE deletion as a way to do this without drama, and clearly that was a mis-judgement; however, I would contend that much of the drama was not because of the AE action itself, but because it was sent to DRV out-of-process. And leaving the answer to the question "is deletion a valid AE action?" as "maybe" is not useful to AE admins who would like to know what the scope of sanctions possible under DS is. GoldenRing (talk) 10:22, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @BU Rob13: Are you sure that only deletions outside mainspace should be valid AE actions? What about actions that are also valid under one of the CSD, but which is marked as an AE action? I can easily think of cases in American politics, for instance, or indeed gun control, that should be deleted under CSD but which an admin might want to mark as an AE action to avoid a highly dramatised DRV. I do struggle to think of a valid mainspace deletion outside of the CSD, but I don't want to say it couldn't happen. GoldenRing (talk) 10:21, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @BU Rob13: I take your point about the optics of using DS to avoid scrutiny, but you also need to bear in mind that DS are authorised in areas where community processes have already broken down and are already ineffective, usually because there are large groups of otherwise-productive editors on either side of the dispute. Picking up your AP2 example, I think the likely outcome at MfD for such a page would be deletion. But I would choose to delete as an AE action every time because I know that if I send it to MfD, a crowd of fringe-supporters will emerge from the woodwork to argue against deletion; the same crowd will turn up at the inevitable DRV; and they will kick off at least three complaints at ANI in the course of proceedings and likely another two afterwards trying to contest the outcome. DS are indeed supposed to circumvent these highly-controversial community processes in highly-controversial topics. GoldenRing (talk) 11:37, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Premeditated Chaos: So why don't all TBAN requests go via AN? Why do we allow AE to circumvent the usual community process of placing bans? GoldenRing (talk) 13:38, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @SilkTork: A some at WT:DRV have noted, your proposal leaves it unclear whether a deletion within existing deletion policy can be marked as an AE action to make it only reviewable at arbitration venues. GoldenRing (talk) 10:45, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Dlthewave

I've abstained from comment here because I don't feel that I have any strong insight or opinion regarding the intricacies of Arbcom procedures, and I'm not going to push for an outcome that affects the entire community just so that I can keep my userpage. However, I feel that the Committee would be remiss if they did not answer the first of Goldenring's questions, "Is deletion of a page an enforcement action that is authorised under discretionary sanctions?"dlthewave 18:46, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Bishonen

@SilkTork: You have perhaps forgotten part of the process, then. Unless pages at DRV are temporarily undeleted, only admins will be able to read them, i. e. only admins will be able to discuss them in a meaningful way. It's not supposed to work like that. I followed these instructions for how to do it. Bishonen | talk 18:27, 25 February 2019 (UTC).

Statement by Simonm223

Is deletion of a page an enforcement action that is authorised under discretionary sanctions? Based on the argument by Ivanvector at DRV I would say no. It is not. Furthermore I think the argument that it constituted WP:POLEMIC in the first place is flawed. Simonm223 (talk) 16:21, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Ivanvector

This response is directed to GoldenRing's bullet point #1 only, as the subsequent bullets assume a view with which I disagree.

As I stated at DRV, my view is that page deletion is not authorized by discretionary sanctions, certainly not explicitly, and neither in spirit. While the standard provisions authorize administrators to act in arbitration enforcement through the use of editing sanctions and page restrictions, and we grant significant latitude to administrators to create restrictions within the bounds of these categories and to block users who violate those restrictions in the name of arbitration enforcement, these powers do not extend to editorial and/or political control, nor wholesale removal of content. Furthermore, nothing in the gun control case appears to specifically enact these powers. And generally, it is common practice that the Arbitration Committee does not weigh in on matters of encyclopedia or userspace content, and as such it is an improper assumption that the Committee would wish to empower admins with unilateral deletion powers. But noting the disagreement at DRV, I would also like this to be explicitly clarified.

As for Bishonen's action and DRV itself in this incident: if Arbcom has explicitly declared that deleting a page is a sanction available for arbitration enforcement, then I would agree that AE would be the correct venue to review an Arbitration-enforcement deletion. However, the community's venue for deletions out-of-process is DRV, thus DRV is a logical venue for this incident. It is standard and widely-accepted practice to undelete content while its deletion is under review, and Bishonen's restoration ought to be viewed in that light unless and until someone can point to already-established Arbitration procedure in which the Committee has explicitly authorized userpage deletion as a discretionary sanction, and if and only if that process is already established, then owing to the present disagreement Bishonen should be given an acting in good faith pass on this one, or a "to satisfy the pedants" admonishment at the most severe.

Stating for the record that I believe that everyone carrying a mop has acted in good faith with respect to this incident. I also hold both GoldenRing and Bishonen in very high regard, and I appreciate GoldenRing seeking clarification on this point. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:35, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

I would think that the situation described by Black Kite, in which an editor subject to an AE restriction creates a page in violation of that restriction, would be dealt with under WP:G5, and as a result the deletion itself would not be AE enforcement and the venue to review deletion would remain DRV. But maybe we are over-generalizing. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:35, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Again, as others have tried to point out but are apparently falling on deaf Committee members' ears, the policy which directs the deletion of English Wikipedia content is the deletion policy; to the best of my knowledge it is the only policy which does now or has ever had community consensus for deletion of an entire page (as opposed to revision deletion, suppression/oversight, or other actions which maintain a visible history). Observant editors will note that deletions directed by the Arbitration Committee are not mentioned in that document.
Quoting from the deletion policy's companion guideline, Wikipedia:Deletion process: "The speedy deletion process applies to pages which meet at least one of the criteria for speedy deletion, which specify the only cases in which administrators have broad consensus support to, at their discretion, bypass deletion discussion and immediately delete Wikipedia pages or media." (bold in original, underline added) It's been said by several others here and elsewhere already: arbitration enforcement is not one of the criteria for speedy deletion. The deletion process document also specifies in no uncertain terms that deletions may only be performed outside the scope of the policy when ordered by the Wikimedia Foundation.
Now quoting from the arbitration policy, which under the heading "policy and precedent", reads: "The arbitration process is not a vehicle for creating new policy by fiat. The Committee's decisions may interpret existing policy and guidelines, recognise and call attention to standards of user conduct, or create procedures through which policy and guidelines may be enforced. The Committee does not rule on content, but may propose means by which community resolution of a content dispute can be facilitated." (emphasis added)
The Committee members now arguing that content deletion is in fact within the scope of arbitration enforcement are engaging in modifying the deletion policy by fiat. While GoldenRing and the members of the Committee may have very good reasons for wanting to allow content deletion as an arbitration power, the deletion policy does not currently permit this and the arbitration policy explicitly forbids it. If the Committee wishes to reserve these powers for itself, a community discussion is required to modify both policies. Unless and until those discussions happen, the Arbitration Committee is not authorized to delete pages, and likewise has no power to authorize administrators to unilaterally delete pages in the name of Arbitration enforcement.
Following on that argument, GoldenRing's deletion must be considered to have been performed under the auspices of speedy deletion, since arbitration enforcement cannot authorize that action, and there was no discussion. It is very clearly stated in the community's policies that the venue to dispute a deletion, speedy or otherwise, is WP:DRV. The Committee insisting that this deletion can only be appealed to the Committee is, again, modifying policy by fiat. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 18:16, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
@Premeditated Chaos: you're inventing policy again with your latest comment. As it stands, deletion under discretionary sanctions is forbidden because it is not expressly permitted, not the other way around, because the deletion policy (the only policy directing deletions) sets out when deletion is allowed, and expressly forbids all other deletions.
@All the arbitrators: your straw poll is invalid. If you want to modify the community's deletion policy to permit deletions as arbitration enforcement, then do the work to modify that policy. That means putting it to the community in an RfC, not pretending that you can decide that that's how things are without any community input. The way this discussion is going is an alarming endorsement of admins doing any damn thing they please under a veil of arbitration enforcement, and of the Committee retroactively altering its own procedures to suit any such action. In this case, the Committee retroactively endorsed an out-of-process deletion, retroactively forbade discussion of the out-of-process deletion in the usual community forum for discussing improper deletions, retroactively endorsed (by omission) threatening with desysopping the administrator who restored the deleted page per the normal community expectation for discussing deletion challenges, and is attempting to retroactively modify the scope of standard discretionary sanctions to justify the entire affair. This entire discussion is an embarassment. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 21:57, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Just noting that the deletion review was closed five days ago now as "clear consensus is that this deletion should be overturned per the deletion policy", but the page remains blanked with the DRV notice. Presumably this discussion has had a chilling effect by which administrators are not carrying out the community's desired action out of fear of Arbcom reprisal, and for that matter, this is not only not an issue that the community cannot resolve, but it has already been resolved, other than this thread sitting open blocking anyone from doing anything. This request is close to entering its third week; to quote The Colonel, "get on with it!" Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:20, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
@SilkTork: the distinction between "to delete pages" and "to delete pages outside of the deletion policy" is moot, as deletions outside of the deletion policy are already not permitted; any deletion that is carried out with a rationale of arbitration enforcement is inherently outside of the deletion policy. None of this is putting an "AE admin" at a disadvantage over a non-"AE admin", (and when did we invent that distinction?) it simply means that if they wish to delete a page, they can do so under one of the methods and criteria already approved by the community, which is already a very broad scope. For example, in the situation you described, a page created in violation of an Arbcom restriction can be deleted under the community's criterion WP:CSD#G5. There's no need for an Arbcom back door here. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:56, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Doug Weller

I agree with Ivanvector. Such a deletion is not within the scope of discretionary sanctions. Perhaps an Arbitrator with a longer memory than I have may find such a procedure but I'd be surprised. Certainly it was not authorised by us during the four years I was on the committee. I think everyone has acted in good faith with this but I believe that GoldenRing was wrong and that the page should not have been deleted. I've looked at the page and agree with those who say that the content does not violate policy. I'll also note that no editors have been named although obviously they can be identified via the links. I'll add that even if it hasn't been used it is information that has the potential to be useful. Doug Weller talk 17:10, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Black Kite

I can think of situations whereby deletion would be in the purview of an AE action (for example, if a topic-banned editor was violating their TBan on a userspace page) but I agree with the two editors above that I can't see that this falls into this category. It is probably something that ArbCom could do with clarifying for future reference. Black Kite (talk) 17:28, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

  • @SilkTork: It is SOP to undelete pages whilst they are at DRV so that non-admins can assess whether the close was correct - for example, whether a CSD deletion actually met the CSD criteria, or in the case of AfD whether the discussion comments were actually valid. In this case, with no AFD or standard CSD, then assuming the DRV is valid the page would have to be visible as otherwise no non-admins could make any judgement about the deletion. Black Kite (talk) 18:24, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Levivich

If no harm would arise from having this page discussed at MfD, then it should be discussed at MfD, rather than deleted by any one person's unilateral action. Obviously both admin acted in good faith in a situation that is unclear and possibly unprecedented; any suggestion of sanctions would be over the top. Levivich 18:01, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by RexxS

If an administrator erroneously deletes a page as an Arbitration Enforcement, when the page is not eligible for deletion under that criterion, they cannot claim the usual immunity to reversion of the action that we reserve for justified AE actions. From GoldenRing's own statement, the relevant criterion upon which they are relying is:

Users should generally not maintain in public view negative information related to others without very good reason. Negative evidence, laundry lists of wrongs, perceived flaws, collations of diffs and criticisms related to problems, etc., should be removed, blanked, or kept privately ... (my emphasis)

But nobody reading Special:Permalink/881981663 carefully would conclude that information on that page is "related to others". All of the information therein is related to articles, and there is no Arbitration Enforcement available to prevent editors from gathering quotes or diffs from articles or from article talk. We prevent users from gathering negative information about others, for reasons of BLP, but that is not licence to extend the prevention to collating article text. 'Shonen's restoration of the deleted page to allow scrutiny does not breach WP:BLP or WP:COPYVIO (the only absolute prohibitions on restoration), and meets the test of COMMONSENSE.--RexxS (talk) 19:28, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Response to GoldenRing. Contrary to what you think, BLP and COPVIO are the only absolute prohibitions to undeletion of content for obvious reason, see Wikipedia:Deletion review #Temporary undeletion where this is documented. Any other prohibition is subject to IAR and 'sanctions.modify' is no exception. It is merely a procedure of the Arbitration Committee and has no status greater than WP:policies and guidelines (which actually don't even recognise 'procedure of the Arbitration Committee' as policy or guideline). ArbCom must not confer on itself greater powers than the community is pleased to grant. It is free to create its own procedures, but does not have authority to create policy: that is the prerogative of the community. In the case of a conflict between a guideline like Wikipedia:Deletion process and an ArbCom procedure, then I suggest common sense needs to be the tie-breaker. The damage done to the encyclopedia by denying undeletion of a page when requested at DRV need to be balanced against the damage done to the encyclopedia by a temporary undeletion. In this case, the balance is obviously in favour of allowing undeletion.
"All enforcement actions have what you describe as "the usual immunity to reversion", whether they are valid or not." I refute that. To misquote Jimbo, the presumption of validity is not a suicide pact. If a claimed AE action is obviously invalid , as yours was, then a reversion of that action in order to comply with a conflicting policy or guideline is perfectly reasonable. Even you recognise that 'Shonen's actions were reasonable.
I concede your point that BLP concerns are not the only reasons to disallow collections of negative information about other users; although that would be the rationale behind collections of negative information about living persons who were not editors.
I completely deny your last point. All content in the encyclopedia is provided by editors: that is undeniably not what was intended by Users should generally not maintain in public view negative information related to others, otherwise no quotes would ever be allowed. The sophistry is in trying to stretch those words to justify deleting a page that quotes hundreds of different editors, and cannot sensibly be construed to contain negative information about those editors. Any such connotation is purely in the mind of the observer, and you've made the mistake of construing talk page comments critical of an article or of statements in that article as "negative information" about the editors who made the comments.
The elephant in the room is actually your error in attempting to convert a possibly justifiable deletion of a page (by normal process) into an AE action. AE actions were granted the privilege of immunity from reversion for a particular reason (the problems of second-mover advantage), in order to solve intractable problems of civility enforcement. Admins must be careful not to abuse that privilege by claiming AE action in borderline or invalid cases, otherwise the community may lose faith in the necessity for having such an exemption to normal admin procedures (WP:WHEEL). --RexxS (talk) 00:18, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by S Marshall

  • I think this matter raises novel issues about procedure. Wikipedian culture takes deleting pages very seriously, and deleting a page out of someone's userspace feels quite violative to me. I was appalled to learn that a page that purports to describe the rules says that AE deletions can be reviewed at the AN but not at DRV. I feel that in the (probably relatively rare) situation where it's appropriate to review an AE deletion without direct scrutiny from Arbcom, then the most correct venue would be DRV. But I also feel that deleting a page as an AE action is the kind of thing that Arbcom should normally supervise directly, because an AE action should normally be about an editor's behaviour rather than a matter of content. Therefore the scrutiny should normally happen here.—S Marshall T/C 21:01, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @SilkTork: --- The deleter's position is that this could not be justified as an in-process speedy deletion and was done purely as AE (diff). I also don't fully agree with my friends RoySmith, Hobit, SmokeyJoe et. al. when they say DRV is mainly about content. I feel that what DRV is mainly about is the analysis and critique of sysop judgement calls and use of discretion. Interestingly, in the decade or so since I became heavily involved in DRV, we've never reached a consensus to ask Arbcom to desysop anyone -- which is why there's never really been any overlap between the two venues. We've found wrong calls, because sysops are only human, but we've never found serious misuse of the mop.—S Marshall T/C 12:17, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Arbitrators, you're in the process of reaching a bad decision here, and it's worrying that you're reaching it with such glacial slowness. I think you're already overworked and you don't have the attention to spare on reviewing AE decisions in a timely way. Nobody has ever produced an example of a deletion that should properly be reviewed at AE; and we already have a prompt, effective, low-drama and trouble-free way of reviewing deletions at DRV; so it would be appropriate for you to make a decision explicitly pointing all deletions to DRV. You can do so with every confidence that DRV will call on you if you're needed.—S Marshall T/C 18:14, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by User:SmokeyJoe

This clarification is not about Gun control, but is about whether, in general, page deletion is a reasonable measure of arbitration enforcement
Page deletion is not a reasonable measure of arbitration enforcement. Certainly not if the page is not directly subject to an ArbCom ruling. Exceptions would be considered extraordinary.
If page deletions were subject to AE admin arbitrary unilateral deletion, this would amount to a secret punishment. The user involved can't read the page deleted. The wider community can't read what was deleted.
What is going on here is a turf war over the powers and scope of ArbCom. Not by ArbCom directly, but by their delegates, which is worse.
ArbCom is supposed to stay out of content decisions. Deleting a page containing content is most definitely a content action. This page in question, while not content per se, is a page directed at content decisions. That's pretty close to content.
This issue is the same as the deletion of Universa Blockchain Protocol, discussed at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2018 July 9. That one was overtly a content page issue. I think this is resolved with agreement that deletions like this should additionally cite WP:CSD#G11, which was agreed in hindsight to have applied.
WP:Deletion policy is written in clear cut language. WP:CSD is even clearer: "The criteria for speedy deletion (CSD) specify the only cases in which administrators have broad consensus to bypass deletion discussion, at their discretion, and immediately delete Wikipedia pages or media. They cover only the cases specified in the rules here." If ArbCom AE admins also have deletion discretion, add it to CSD, for the record, and to ensure that the community is on the page. ArbCom should not be responsible for undermining the validity or respect afforded to WP:Deletion policy.
WP:DRV is a long standing very successful forum and process. It is not an enforcement process, but a continuing education exercise. A measure of its success is that lack of repeat culprits being dragged through it. DRV is the highest court for content decisions. There is no cause for carving out deletions that are not reviewable by DRV. {{Temporarily undeleted}} is an essential part of DRV if you consider nonadmins to important in the management of the project. There is already a sufficiently conservative culture at DRV for being responsible with copyright, attacks, and BLP issues.
--SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:03, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
AE action to blank the page, protect the page, and block every user associated with the page, would not have been offensive to WP:Deletion policy. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:33, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
"Such deletions do not need to meet our deletion policy". AE deletions do not need to meet policy? Policy does not need to read at face value? What is the policy on AE deletions? ArbCom has broad monarchical reserve powers, but to use them to authorize delegated policy-exempt CSD? That's a characteristic of a police state. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:56, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Agree with Cryptic and RoySmith that policy clarity would be a good thing. Documentation at WP:CSD#G9 pointing to WP:AC/DS would be a good thing. It would mean that Twinkle could easily link to it. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:00, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
(1) User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles deleted for violating POLEMIC. GoldenRing (talk) 12:28, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
(2) Sergio Urias deleted for reasons explained here. T. Canens (talk) 04:23, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
(3) OYCH1961 (talk · contribs) blocked one month for disruptive editing, as described at this link. He recreated a POV-fork draft of the Senkaku Islands article that had just been deleted at WP:MFD. Editor was previously notified by Qwyrxian. EdJohnston (talk) 04:29, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
(1) explicitly reviewed here. (2) and (3) explained within deletion policy.
A bigger concern are the DSGS deletions that ArbCom seems to have delegate and does not supervise or review.
Wikipedia:General_sanctions/Blockchain_and_cryptocurrencies#Log_of_notifications includes 15 mainspace deletions.
Wikipedia:General sanctions/Syrian Civil War and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant lists others, including Chemical weapon conjecture in the aftermath of the 2017 Shayrat missile strike, by User:NeilN and User:BU Rob13
With User:BU Rob13 here having personal involvement of the overreach of ArbCom in overriding deletion policy, I think he should recuse himself. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:26, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
--SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:26, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
User:BU Rob13, I accept that that deletion was part of a history merge, not a real deletion. However, there may be some problem that your log summary giving implied approval to the previous DS deletion, of a mainspace page. Have you personally ever done a DS deletion not within Deletion Policy or CSD? Have you ever explicitly encouraged or approved of another to do DS deletion not within Deletion policy or CSD? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:21, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Arbs creating a motion creating a gag order on *discussing* a problem with ArbCom overreach in a process created by arbs? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:52, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
--SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:59, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
I would suggest:

All queries or appeals regarding arbitration enforcement, including those felt alleged to be out of process or against existing policy, must first follow arbitration enforcement procedures to establish if such enforcement is inappropriate before being reversed or discussed at another venue.

* This isn't about feelings.
* There is no need to address nonexisting policy.
* At the DRV, the alleged against policy deletion has been thoroughly discussed by the community. Has anything been wrong with that. The DRV closer is waiting for the ArbCom procedure (here) before reversing. That is consistent with your motion.
* Gagging project-relevant discussion anywhere, whether User_talk, or a formal DRV discussion, is not acceptable.
* There is an interesting pretense that the temp-undelete is not really a reversal. I think that should be considered acceptable. Temp-undeleted blanked pages are not allowed to be edited or copied. Denial of longstanding temp-undeletion practice will me DRV goes back to the practice of referring to off-site cache copies, which is not desirable.
* The venue of reversal is unimportant redundant wordiness and is not concise.
--SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:34, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Hobit

The basis for deletion comes from WP:UP. That same page says "In general other users' user pages are managed by that user. Except for blatant or serious matters, it is preferable to try contacting the user before deletion (see above). However, unambiguous copyright violations, attack pages, promotional text, and privacy or BLP violations can be speedy deleted using a suitable template, such as {{db-attack}}, {{db-copyvio}} or {{db-spamuser}}; other pages likely to require deletion (or where remedial action is not taken) may be submitted to deletion discussion. Justifying a deletion by citing policy and then not following the policy for how to go about deletion seems problematic at best.

The reason for deletion is not a speedy criteria. And standard DS do not allow for deletion of a page as near as I can tell. I only see one other deletion in WP:AEL and that was justified on A7/BLP grounds. As S Marshall has indicated, AE enforcing admins very much deserve our support and I'm personally grateful to those that take on such a demanding and stressful job. But here there is overreach outside of the scope of either a single admin or AE. There was no rush and no reason WP:MfD couldn't have been used (where I suspect it would have been kept).

In any case, I agree with Roy (below)--this is about content not behavior. The discussion belongs at DRV. edited Hobit (talk) 04:45, 26 February 2019 (UTC) Hobit (talk) 01:55, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

A heavy reliance on WP:CONTENT (an essay with about 30 edits) to argue that ARBCOM has utter control of anything not in mainspace is quite the power grab. I'd urge members of the committee to be very very careful making the claim that ARBCOM can do whatever it wants outside of mainspace because it "isn't content". Hobit (talk) 14:43, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: I am not making a claim about what is and isn't content. I am instead saying that claiming ARBCOM has complete jurisdiction over everything not in mainspace is a large power grab. Are you claiming ARBCOM has been empowered by the community to delete any content that isn't in mainspace? And you are using an essay to justify that? I'd rather go with something more clearly on-point "The arbitration process is not a vehicle for creating new policy by fiat. The Committee's decisions may interpret existing policy and guidelines, recognise and call attention to standards of user conduct, or create procedures through which policy and guidelines may be enforced." Taking deletion policy and moving it from the community to ARBCOM doesn't make sense in that context. The policy for how to deal with deletion is clear. And "The Committee does not rule on content, but may propose means by which community resolution of a content dispute can be facilitated." is making it clear that ARBCOM doesn't get involved in content. But that doesn't mean it has jurisdiction over everything that isn't content. Hobit (talk) 04:34, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by RoySmith

I don't often get involved in ArbCom business, so forgive me if I'm not up on the nuances of policy and procedure here. But, reading what User:SmokeyJoe said above: ArbCom is supposed to stay out of content decisions, I find myself very much in agreement. The converse is certainly true; DRV deals with content, and stays out of behavioral issues. It's common in DRV debates for somebody to write, We're only here to talk about the page deletion; if you want to pursue a user's conduct, there's other fora for that. This seems like a natural and useful division of responsibilities, and why it seems odd to be talking about ArbCom getting involved in reviewing a page deletion.

I don't think it was appropriate to delete the user page. I also think it was perfectly reasonable (and SOP at DRV) to temp-undelete the page for review. I also want to echo what others have said; while there's clearly a disagreement about what the proper course of action should have been, it's also clear that everybody has acted in good faith here. There should be no thought of sanctions for anybody. -- RoySmith (talk) 03:03, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

I've done a lot more reading of the full history of this. My earlier comments notwithstanding, I agree with User:SilkTork that having two parallel discussions in different forums is a bad idea. At this point, I suggest that DRV defer to ArbCom on this one. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:29, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
User:Cryptic is exactly right. If the end result of this is to confirm that AE can include speedy deletion, then WP:CSD needs to add a category for it. My big fear (as somebody who also does a lot of temp-undeleting at DRV) is that given the current discussion, I could very easily see myself having undeleted this and then finding that I'd accidentally run afoul of a policy I didn't really understand, and put my mop at risk. If this fell under WP:G9, or a new G-whatever specifically for AE, it would have been clear that this was out of bounds. Clarity is a good thing. -- RoySmith (talk) 02:48, 27 February 2019 (UTC)

I don't know if I have standing here, but can I request that this get resolved sometime soon? Surely, six weeks is long enough to make a decision. I, as an admin, are left not knowing if temp-undeleting a page at WP:DRV could lead to my being desysoped. What we've got now is arbcom saying, "We reserve the right to desysop you if you break the rules, but we won't tell you what the rules are". That's not useful. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:40, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Sandstein

While I disagree with GoldenRing on the merits of the deletion, I agree with their submission of 16:22, 26 February 2019 in that the Committee should clarify whether deletions (other than those already allowed by ordinary deletion policy) are in principle allowed as discretionary sanctions, and whether any review of deletions labeled as discretionary sanctions must take place by way of the procedures for the appeal of AE actions. In my reading of applicable policy, the answer to both questions is clearly yes, but the opinions to the contrary that have been voiced at DRV show that this question needs clarification. Sandstein 16:36, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Cryptic

I've performed I'd guess around a quarter of the temporary undeletions at DRV over the past few years. Contra what's been stated both above and below, it's neither an absolute right (even barring copyvio and blp - there's been a number of cases where no admin's been willing to tempundelete in the cases of egregious spam, for example; I can dig out some example DRVs if it'd be helpful) nor, in particular, automatic: in practice we almost always wait until an uninvolved user requests it. I don't recall ever seeing the author of a page requesting temp undeletion for the purposes of DRV before; even had this deletion not been labeled an AE action, I'd certainly have declined, though I might have offered to email it. —Cryptic 20:57, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

Dialing my wonk-o-meter up to 11, I'm not seeing anywhere in WP:Protection policy that authorizes arbcom to authorize admins to protect pages, either. (It does mention arbcom with respect to unprotections, and very indirectly for extended-confirmed protections.) So the idea that arbcom can't authorize deletions just because it's not explicitly stated in WP:Deletion policy or WP:Criteria for speedy deletion doesn't get a whole lot of sympathy from me. That said, if the committee ends up deciding this deletion was correct, I'll go through the hassle at WT:CSD to try to get this properly documented, probably as a variant of WP:G9. —Cryptic 22:07, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

@RoySmith: re Special:Diff/891855139: Agree that resolution would be nice. The rest is a nonissue: you should be looking at the content and logs of pages you restore anyway, even temporarily. If it contains blatant attacks or copyvios, or it's labeled as a copyvio or an "arbitration enforcement" variant ("AE" or "discretionary sanctions" or "DS" or "AC/DS"), you don't just restore it on your own initiative even if you think the labeling's incorrect, you consult with the deleting admin. If the deletion isn't labeled as arbitration enforcement, then it's not a valid enforcement action, per WP:AC/DS#sanctions.log. —Cryptic 16:13, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by GMG

If we're going to allow that ACDS is legitimate grounds for out-of-process deletion, then we're probably approaching the point where we've abandoned the pretense that ArbCom does not make policy. GMGtalk 01:18, 27 February 2019 (UTC)

To be fair, I've been saying for a while now that ACDS is also wholesale rewriting of our blocking and banning policy, but I think most people have just gotten used to it. So I don't expect most people will take this comment seriously, and if they do, it's just because the water got a little hotter than they're accustomed to yet. But them's the breaks when you allow ArbCom to rewrite policy while claiming they don't write policy. GMGtalk 01:50, 27 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by DGG

  • I too frequently make undeletions for review at Del Rev. I approach it a little differently,so I would not suggest that either their approach or mine is authoritative, nor do I presume to say what other admins do. . I have never refused to undelete for DR, except for copyvio, or if the request is disruptive or unnecessary. I interpret the rule as not requiring it, as merely making the necessary provision to not do so as a special situation. (And if it would apparently help the discussion, I do not wait for a request-sometimes the person bringing it to DR does not know its possible--and the person bringing it often is the author of the content) Since Arb Com authority does not extend to content, neither does AE. Though community consensus cannot override AE, neither can AE override the basic principles of community editing. If I rewrote an article summary to conform to my idea of what the true meaning of an arb com decision required, I could not call it AE to prevent others from reverting my change. Just as I cannot rewrite under AE, I cannot remove it under AE. AE is dangerously inflexible even if used in the ordinary way--giving individual admins sticky discretion over content in such a direct way as to permit them to delete by AE, is not within a reasonable scope. AE is not a free pass to anarchy; because of the stickiness, it requires even more careful judgement than other admin actions. If anything, we need how to restrict the scope rather than add to it. If the scope of AE is to increase, it can only do so by a change in arbitration policy by the community. DGG ( talk ) 06:04, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
I am quite confused by the reasoning in the arb section. The basic rule of arb policy is that arb com has no direct authority over content. (its jurisdiction with respect to conduct can and sometimes does affect content, which is inevitable because the two are related, & because many conduct disputes are derived from content disputes). Since arb com has no direct authority over content, no remedy it enacts can give anyone authority over content, and no DS it enacts can allow for authority over content. Therefore, any admin acting under AE may not do so in such a way as to directly edit content. Editing content includes redirecting, or deleting, or undeleting. Arb com cannot do such actions as arbs, or authorize them as AE. They do have jurisdiction over any admin pretending to do them as AE. DGG ( talk ) 01:39, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
BU Rob13, In addition to the pages strictly speaking in content space, I really cannot see the rationale for giving arb com or AE any direct control of anything except their own pages. People employ user space for many purposes, most having to do with the preparation and discussion of content. What is on those pages is not any direct business of arbcom--or AE. They already have all the power they need by the ability to sanction editors. Unlike possible speculations for what harm might be caused that is out of reach of speedy/MfD/office, this discussion was started by a use of AE to do an action that may or may not have had consensus; there is no way in which removal of that page could be considered an emergency, so it could have been discussed in the usual way at MfD followed by DR. (or speedy followed by DR, if is was really abusive or advocacy) . If people have power, there is a temptation to use it. There are some pages in user space that I regard as harmful to the proper purpose of WP--some deal with AP or other areas where AE is available. If I nominated them under MfD, most would probably not be deleted, but if I deleted them as AE, most of them probably would not get the necessary clear consensus to restore. Most active admins I know probably have some pages in mind similarly. If there's precedent for using this power, it will be used again. Arbitrary unilateral power is dangerous; some is necessary, but we should only have what is actually necessary, not everything that might conceivably be necessary under circumstances we cannot presently specify. (Getting back to AP, there a current RW analogy). DGG ( talk ) 04:24, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Drmies

If the standard operating procedure of undeletion for DRV can be called a violation of an enforcement action authorised under discretionary sanctions, I think we've reached sort of an end point grammatically and in terms of Arb Power. Sorry, but I think this is silly and pushing the point of authoritay too far. Drmies (talk) 15:19, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Xymmax

I came upon this when I went to close the DRV. The committee's discussion thus far, in my opinion, has yet to fully grapple with the core concern that I see from those critical of permitting DS deletion, and one that I share: permitting out of process deletion under the authority of enforcement of DS is taking DS enforcement away from being a tool to enable administrators to deal with disruptive conduct, and instead making admins arbiters of disfavored content. The dichotomy is real, as several committee members appear to feel that under appropriate circumstances an administrator acting under DS enforcement authority could delete a page (or I suppose an article) and be subject to review only at ARCA. The tools ordinarily used - topic bans, blocks, and page protections - are designed to reduce disruption by modifying user conduct. Deletion, uniquely, hides the information from ordinary readers, and that is why the comprehensive deletion process governs when there is consensus that such removal is acceptable. The committee should recognize that just as the AN community has special expertise in dealing with user conduct issues, Afd/Mfd/DRV and their ilk are where editors have particular insight these content issues. It would be concerning if the community's expertise were to be deprecated in favor of an enforcement mechanism made for user conduct issues. My personal preference here would be to see the committee take deletion off the table of DS enforcement options. Functionally equivalent would be to say the deletion process must be followed - a speedy deletion criterion cited, with review at DRV. Less satisfactory would be to limit such reviews to ARCA. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 04:52, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

I have to confess that I'm finding this conversation to be a bit frustrating. It would be helpful to me if each of the committee members would address the core issue here: under what circumstances may the committee delete (or I suppose, order deleted) a page. I'm not talking about the individual members of the committee, all of whom are trusted oversighters and admins, and have enormous discretion to act under that authority, rather I mean the committee as a group. DS are simply delegated powers, and the committee can only delegate powers that it has. So I ask, when, committee members, are you empowered to order deletion? Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 18:11, 17 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Wnt

I happened to see mention of this discussion and am alarmed by the way it is going. Reading this user page, it is clearly a complaint about the bias of articles, which is to say, it is directly applicable to Wikipedia editing. It is not addressed at any editor (indeed, has timidly omitted usernames). It does, of course, favor a certain point of view, but editors should be allowed to favor a point of view they agree with when it is being excluded from articles. I say this even though I am pro-gun rights and suspect many of the individual edits were correct.

The consequence of (literally) arbitrarily excluding such content is to propagate the idea that Wikipedia is biased and to encourage editors to share information like this off-site. The consequence of that is that Wikipedia loses any ability to suppress deliberate cyberbullying, while the editors lured to partisan sanctuaries are more likely to fall under the influence of actual lobbyist money. In every way, the quality of discourse is degraded by deletions like this. And unless the arbitration decision specifically prohibited making any new pages about a topic, such deletions cannot possibly be valid arbitration enforcement. Wnt (talk) 20:47, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Spartaz

I just closed the DRV as overturn as the clear consensus of the discussion. Once you have completed your august deliberations could someone let me know if I can enact the clear consensus of the discussion or whether super Mario has won. Incidentally my autocorrect hates arbcom it keeps changing it to random or wrecked. Spartaz Humbug! 19:03, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Can we have an update on this please or are you going to prove my autocorrect right? Spartaz Humbug! 06:40, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
alas, my autocorrect was right and you are going to give super Mario precedence. Bearing in mind that a higher level of consensus is required to overturn an ae action than a normal deletion you really are giving outlier admins carte blanch to do what the hell they like and stick two fingers up to consensus. Can you clarify if deletion decisions can be appealed here if AE choses not to overturn super mario? Spartaz Humbug! 20:38, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Fish and karate

The arbitration process exists to impose binding solutions to Wikipedia conduct disputes (i.e., not content disputes requiring mediation) that neither community discussion nor administrators have successfully resolved. The arbitration process is not a vehicle for creating new policy by fiat. The Committee's decisions may interpret existing policy and guidelines, recognise and call attention to standards of user conduct, or create procedures through which policy and guidelines may be enforced. The Committee does not rule on content, but may propose means by which community resolution of a content dispute can be facilitated. (My bolding). Fish+Karate 11:16, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Alanscottwalker

In my view "removal" in Arb/DS policy is meant in the sense it is used at WP:TALK or WP:BLP, that is an action that removes an edit or comment, it is not meant in the sense it is used in deletion policy or oversight policy. As we see from this case, it is not prudent to have the expansive construction of "removal" in Arb/DS to include deletion and oversight, which both have extensive articulated process, separate and apart. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:43, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

@SilkTork:, @Joe Roe:, @RickinBaltimore:, and the rest of the arbs: Part of the sticking point is when you write "outside of the deletion policy" do you mean all of WP:Deletion policy? Deletion policy includes, "Deletion review" [1], and WP:UDP. So, it seems you are not making things much clearer and are setting up further confusion, of the kind we see on this page with Bishonen's un-deletion.
Is the community sanctioned, "Deletion Review" the process of review for these, so rare, almost unheard of, discretionary deletions? In particular, the un-deletion aspects (WP:UDP) that make for an informed community decision? Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:15, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Deryck

Wherever we draw the boundaries of arbitration enforcement, there will be fringe cases where admins may disagree on whether AE applies. ArbCom needs to decide whether it retains (or wants to retain) exclusive jurisdiction over the policing of AE boundaries. Today we're talking about page deletion, next time we may talk about the applicability of AE over protection in certain circumstances or some other admin action.

If ArbCom decides it retains exclusive jurisdiction over the boundaries, which I disagree with, then it needs to be prepared that any action that is declared by any admin as an act of arbitration enforcement will automatically escalate to ArbCom if someone disagrees with it. This seems to go against ArbCom's mantra that lower venues of dispute resolution ought to be tried first if possible (as is DRV in this case) before escalating to ArbCom in general.

As for the case at hand, I agree with RexxS and Ivanvector here. We ought to be narrow and cautious in the interpretation of AE provisions. While the ArbCom is allowed to make an (clarifying) amendment that DS covers page deletion, I don't think "removal" in the current wording includes page deletion, because as many other have pointed out, page deletion redacts the contents of the page history from public view. Deryck C. 14:40, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

P.S. I would like to echo others in this discussion in their praise of GoldenRing and Bishonen for their collegiality throughout this debate, and of the fact that this was brought to ARCA as a debate on principles rather than specifics. Deryck C. 17:58, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Atsme

Maybe, just maybe my comment will help motivate a close. Countless hours are spent/wasted trying to decipher ambiguous PAGs. The obvious solution would be to clarify the ones that create the problems. As editors are so often advised, it is not about who is right or wrong, it's about the disruption, and admins & ArbCom need to apply this to their own actions. It appears ArbCom invests a measurable amount of time and energy looking for reasons to not take a case...thus, the creation of AE...which sometimes leads to more confusion under the guise of saving time and energy. What we're doing in essence is substituting input from several admins for discretionary action and passing it over to a single admin, and if they execute the action improperly, off with their heads. Fix the ambiguities. I can't see that either admin is at fault here; therefore, trying to afix blame is not resolving the problem. Atsme Talk 📧 14:28, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by SMcCandlish

Option C in the survey below seems to be the only valid option. Because WP:AC/DS is simply delegation of ArbCom authority to admins, and ArbCom does not make content decisions, general decisions to delete content as such are outside the remit of AC/DS, absent some other deletion rationale. However, if admins are already empowered to delete something under other policy, then doing so, within those policy limits, and as part of AC/DS action would be legitimate. For example, AC/DS is most specifically about blocks and topic bans, but admins can do other things, like impose a "move-ban" on someone mis-using manual page moves, and require them to use RM process. I don't think anyone would argue that if someone were disruptively moving pages in an AC/DS topic area that DS could not involve a move ban, despite not being mentioned at the AC/DS page. The difference here is that the deleting admin is making what amounts to an WP:IDONTLIKEIT content decision about the material in the page (I have no opinion on the allegation that this was politically motivated). That's not a rationale for DS action, and not a rationale for deletion, so no combination of DS + DP/CSD results in "I can delete this because I feel like it". In this particular case, the motivation seems genuinely WP:POLEMIC-enforcement-motivated (though I don't think I agree with the assessment that the material necessarily qualified under POLEMIC). We cannot predict the future with certainty, but can make educated guesses. Since AC/DS is applied to controversial topics, and disruption correlates strongly with controversy, it seems virtually guaranteed that unrestrained deletion under AC/DS will result in suppression by admins of material they disagree with, by translating "is opposite my or the majority view in a dispute" into "is disruptive". Content by itself is not disruptive (outside some narrowly defined classes like vandalism with butthole pictures, or OUTING with personally identifiable information); editorial actions are.

On the follow-up questions: DRV is and should remain an obvious venue for review of any deletion. It's not "WP:Deletion review except for some people". WP:NOT#BUREAUCRACY and WP:GAMING are important. We don't want a decision under which any admin who seeks to avoid DRV and general community scrutiny for questionable deletions can simply claim some vague AC/DS rationale and thereby close all avenues of appeal other than AE (which is a star chamber that leans toward presumption of guilt of anyone accused by an AE admin, and is generally hostile to editors who challenge an AE admin's decision), or ArbCom (which is even scarier to most editors, though actually fairer). In both processes, there is a strong bias in favor of the admin who acted, both in the minds of those reviewing the action and usually in the admin party's knowledge of the excessively legalistic procedures surrounding ArbCom and its AE board. ArbCom is not bound by precedent, so the fact that it has historically treated all AC/DS actions as appealable only to AE or ArbCom is irrelevant. Explicitly allowing deletion as a DS action is dangerous, and removing DRV as an examination venue would be a disenfranchisement of the community without any real discussion or notice. ArbCom deciding that its clan of AE "enforcers" how has deletion impunity and near-immunity (option B in the survey, or even option C with DRV excluded) would be a poor and controversial move.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  21:09, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by EdChem

I think that the approach proposed by AGK – to make it clear that deletions are not possible as an AE action – is the best way forward. I recognise the concern that SilkTork raises, but the alternative proposal is not the way to address that, in my view. As I understand it, SilkTork wants it to be clear that an admin may make a deletion under their ordinary authority under the deletion policy while also addressing an AE situation. However, by adding the extra mention of the deletion policy implies that the use of ordinary authority in relation to deletions is an exception. It admits the interpretation that the existing practice of an indefinite block with only the first year as an AE action is not permitted.

I suggest that AGK's approach / addition be preferred, and a relevant addition to the DS procedures state that:

  • nothing in the DS policy restricts an admin from acting under their ordinary authority as part of addressing an AE issue – this would make clear that a deletion under the CSD guidelines, for example, or extending a block from a 1 year under AE to indefinite beyond that under ordinary authority remain available.
  • any and all admin actions that are not explicitly available under the DS policy as AE-protected actions that may be undertaken are limited by the ordinary discretion and authority available to admins and subject to the usual procedures with which those actions are associated.
  • any action taken relating to an AE issue under ordinary authority is not protected by the DS appeals restrictions and are addressed under standard procedures relating to admin actions – this makes clear that DRV and REFUND remain as they are and that appeals from a block beyond the 12 months of AE protection can be actioned in the usual ways.

The advantage of this approach, in my view, is that it covers not simply this deletion issue but any and all questions that could arise where ordinary admin authority is used. It makes the treatment uniform and avoids any claim that the deletions are treated differently. The second point would also cover any other area that might be questioned in the future. I don't know how much of this is already covered in the DS policy, but I think it is worth codifying. I looked at the policy quickly but didn't see any clear statement that makes this clear, and I don't know exactly where it would be added or how it would be worded. EdChem (talk) 00:44, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

@SilkTork: You said I'm not comfortable with the notion that a AE admin should have less authority than a non AE admin, and so create a situation where someone creates a page in direct violation of an ArbCom sanction, yet an AE admin could only delete such a page outside of ArbCom protection, and so there is uncertainty (again) over where the matter should be discussed.
  • Firstly, I don't think it's a good idea to suggest that there are "AE admins" and "non-AE admins." I think a wiser approach is to consider that there are admins and that they can take actions under their ordinary authority and/or actions taken under DS / AE authority. The former actions are subject to ordinary procedures, the latter have special procedures and protections.
  • Under what I am suggesting, an action in violation of an ArbCom sanction is eligible for any (appropriate) response authorised under DS and attracts additional protections. Any other action is taken under ordinary authority and subject to ordinary protections. The difference lies in what action is taken (DS authorised or not) rather than in by whom it is taken (AE admin or not).
  • There is no uncertainty about where things are discussed / appealed. Either the action is authorised in DS and entitled to additional protections, or it is an action under ordinary authority and subject to standard procedures.
  • In the specific case, it would be clear that GoldenRing's action was not authorised by DS and so was an ordinary deletion action, reviewable at DRV at (correctly) reversed as unjustified under policy. This is not to suggest that GR should face a sanction, though a general reminder that DS authorises specific actions and not any action that an admin might feel is desirable might be appropriate.
  • If a page is created in direct violation of an ArbCom sanction, it is likely to be a candidate for deletion under CSD or AfD / MfD / TfD etc procedures. If a case of a page that is truly a direct violation of an ArbCom sanction but not eligible for deletion under existing policy is ever found, it should be subject to a discussion. Such a case would either demonstrate a gap in deletion policy, which the community should discuss and address, or an ArbCom sanction that is questionable in its basis, which is also something that should lead to a wider discussion. If it was something so bad that immediate action was needed and yet no policy justification was available, we have IAR or appealing to the WMF for an OFFICE action as potential solutions.
  • Finally, I fear that your form of words risks unintended consequences. As AGK notes, it is vague which invites wikilawyering – what if the deletion policy is uncertain over a controversial change with an RfC underway and it is that area that may or may not be policy that relates to the page? Adding potential DS appeal / modification protections just adds unnecessary controversy, as the present deletion situation demonstrates. Also, as I noted above, if deletion is a special case under DS, what else that is mentioned in DS is not similarly special? What about things not mentioned in the DS procedures? I agree with you on the desirability of clarity but don't want to create uncertainty in other areas in the process. EdChem (talk) 01:11, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Aquillion

The purpose of discretionary sanctions is to enable normal editing and consensus-building procedures to function even in situations where there is substantial disruption; their purpose is not to replace such procedures. The idea that an WP:AE deletion is not subject to WP:DRV therefore seems patiently absurd, especially given that DRV is, itself, historically an extremely high bar to pass (ie. the nature of an appeal means that in the absence of a consensus the default is that the article would stay deleted.) More generally, the problem stems from situations where WP:AE matters intrude on content decisions; based on that danger, I would amend WP:AC/DS#Modifications by administrators to state that by default, any content-based changes resulting from an WP:AE action (including deletions) can be reversed provided there is a clear consensus via an established venue like WP:DRV, without requiring that that be a consensus of administrators; and that in cases where there is a disagreement, such consensus is presumed to be sufficient to establish that something is a content issue. While WP:AE isn't supposed to apply to content in the first place, it is inevitable that there will occasionally be overlap, and it's important to establish that in cases where that occurs, an administrator cannot override or ignore consensus on content issues simply by invoking WP:AE (and that the default, in cases of confusion, is to go with a broad consensus when it exists.) --Aquillion (talk) 04:05, 7 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Ymblanter

Note that earlier today I closed the AE appeal [2] and consequently restored the page in question. At the time, I was not aware of the existence of this clarification request (I have probably seen it on my watchlist some time ago, decided that it has no relation to my activities, and forgotten about it). I believe that the closure of AE is completely orthogonal to the request, since I believe nobody says the page may not be restored as a result of an AE closure. However, if anybody feels that the existence of this clarification request mandates that the AE request must sty open, feel free to unclose it.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:44, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Unclosed, following objections from Goldenring--Ymblanter (talk) 10:54, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Nosebagbear

@SilkTork: - I was hoping you (as the tweaking arb) could clarify how this is going to avoid looping round to the same problem - if it goes to AE, which would probably rule to adopt the broader interpretation of its own authority, then we seem set to end right back up again here as the "losing" side appeals the decision. The "appropriate forum" is only a symptomatic consideration since it would never be considered for DRV if arbitrary sanctions didn't/doesn't include deleting pages. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:29, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Mojoworker

If the final motion passes (as it appears it will), you may also want to clarify WP:Arbitration Committee/Procedures#Standard provision: appeals and modifications. Will an undeletion request be considered to be the same as a request for modification of page restrictions and so may be made by any editor? Otherwise, "(a)ppeals may be made only by the editor under sanction", and for a page deletion, the deletion could affect many editors (an ESSAY for example). Perhaps explicitly change it to something like "Requests to undelete pages or for modification of page restrictions may be made by any editor." But does that really belong in a section titled "Appeals by sanctioned editors", when that's not necessarily who will be appealing? Mojoworker (talk) 19:12, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

I note that Premeditated Chaos may be concerned (and rightly concerned in my view) that this wording would make explicit that deletion is a valid AE action, which it appears is what you're trying to avoid with your final motion. And perhaps it's making policy on content as well. But I'm glad i don't have to figure it out – I guess that's why y'all get paid the big bucks. Mojoworker (talk) 19:36, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by 2A0C:E300:0:0:0:0:0:23

Most editors are loathe to read anything related to guns on Wikipedia, let alone comment. This issue is much broader than any disputed area. If this request were entitled for example "Authorize page deletion as a discretionary sanction" or some such, the feedback our arbiters would be receiving from our community would be very different. 2A0C:E300:0:0:0:0:0:23 (talk) 20:22, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by {other-editor}

Other editors are free to make relevant comments on this request as necessary. Comments here should opine whether and how the Committee should clarify or amend the decision or provide additional information.

Gun control: Clerk notes

This area is used for notes by the clerks (including clerk recusals).
  • Recuse obviously. GoldenRing (talk) 15:43, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @SportingFlyer: I've removed your comment in the survey section as that falls under the Gun control: Arbitrator views and discussion section. That section is reserved for members of the Arbitration Committee. --Cameron11598 (Talk) 21:29, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

Gun control: Arbitrator views and discussion

  • I'm still looking into the aspects of this, but as a general principle AE does give admins the discretion to " impose on any page or set of pages relating to the area of conflict page oprotection, revert restrictions, prohibitions on the addition or removal of certain content (except when consensus for the edit exists), or any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project", and if the admin considers that the "other reasonable measure" is deletion of a page, that would for me fall within the admin's discretion, so my response to point 1 is yes. That does not mean I think this current deletion is appropriate or reasonable, but that the principle of page deletion is within an AE admin's discretion. And it is important that the community adheres to ArbCom processes such that any ArbCom sanction can only be reversed by following appropriate procedures. So a) undoing an ArbCom enforcement without authority for doing so is a violation of the process, and b) appealing the enforcement in a venue other than the appropriate one is a violation of the process. As such for point 2 my response is yes in principle, and for point 3, it is no in principle. It is sometimes that an AE admin makes a mistake, and the process do allow for other users to question page restrictions, but they should follow process. As for this particular incident - were all the due processes followed? Was Dlthewave given an appropriate warning that DS applied to the page under question? And was the template Template:Ds/editnotice applied to the page in question? I am still looking at the page in question, and would like some more rationale behind why the page was considered to fall foul of "believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project". What was the particular harm you saw in the page GoldenRing? My thinking at this stage, even with a convincing rationale for the page deletion, is that the unusual nature of the page restriction (deletion) and lack of clarity in this matter is such that I am not seeing any sanctionable behaviour for Bishonen's advice to take the matter to DRV. As regards undeleting the page. It's been a while since I got involved in DRV, but I don't recall it being a part of the process that pages were undeleted. And while we do give admins discretion to userfy pages on request, I don't think it should be considered that undoing an AE enforcement without first getting clear consensus at an appropriate venue is something ArbCom would be willing to overlook. That may have been a step too far, even with the confusions about the process. Bishonen, could you give us some of your thinking behind why you undeleted the page? SilkTork (talk) 18:16, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @Black Kite:, thanks for that - it's been a while since I had anything to do with DRV. Are all articles automatically undeleted for DRV, or is it just a selected few? And if it is a selected few what is the criteria for undeleting, and on average what percentage of articles are undeleted? SilkTork (talk) 19:00, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @Bishonen:, thanks for that - very useful. So articles on DRV which are requested to be undeleted are done so, and in this case you were requested. I strike my questions to Black Kite, as your response has given me the appropriate information. SilkTork (talk) 19:05, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Because of the unique nature of this AE action I'm not seeing that Bishonen has done anything sanctionable, though for the avoidance of future doubt, if my colleagues agree with me, I think we need to make it clear that nobody should undo an AE action without first getting clear consensus to do so at an appropriate venue. SilkTork (talk) 19:08, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks GoldenRing. I phrased my question awkwardly. I can see why you had concerns about the page, what I'm asking really is why you felt the need to delete the page rather than raise your concerns with Dlthewave, or blank it, or amend it in some other manner. Your deletion, albeit done under AE, was a speedy deletion. The closest justification under speedy is G10. Did you (do you still) feel that G10 was the rationale for deletion? Or was it purely based on the user page policy, which says that negative material should be removed or blanked, but doesn't say deleted. It is the decision to delete rather than use other options that I'd like to hear your thinking on. While I support in principle the notion that an AE admin have within their discretion the option to delete a page, my thinking is this should be done within policy, so I'm looking for the policy that allows deletion in this instance. At the moment I'm seeing a page that can be considered to be of concern, but it appears to me that the appropriate solution would be discussion about the page rather than deletion of the page. I've not looked closely - is there discussion about the page that you can direct us to? SilkTork (talk) 08:42, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks GoldenRing, that makes things a lot clearer. My thinking is that everyone here has acted in good faith and with a view that what they were doing was within policy and procedure. While I feel that in principle an AE admin can delete a page as part of DS, that such a deletion should meet with policy, and if the deletion is not to go through a community discussion process (ie, is a Speedy deletion), then such a deletion should meet Speedy criteria. So, as in this case the deletion was not done under Speedy, the page should instead have been blanked. As this deletion was done under AE, albeit - in my opinion - inappropriately, it should be discussed at WP:AE rather than DRV. At the moment we have discussion at both DRV and AE. Rather than create a constitutional crisis, one venue or other should give up the right to discuss it; or perhaps, GoldenRing, you could reflect on if an AE enforced blanking serves the purpose as well as a deletion, and agree on the DRV that it can be undeleted, so we can resolve that discussion there, and you can then blank the page under AE and Dlthewave can appeal the blanking at AE. SilkTork (talk) 12:10, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • GoldenRing "I am a little unsure what you mean when you say, "such a deletion should meet with policy."" What I mean is that ArbCom is a part of the community and runs with the consent of the community. All the things that we do we do with the consent of the community, and any of the things that we are allowed to do, such as topic bans, etc, have evolved out of consensus. The one big thing that ArbCom has is that any legitimate ArbCom action is binding, and can not be undone by a community discussion at, say DRV, but only be undone by an appropriate ArbCom process. But even that big thing is done by the consent of the community, and if the community don't like what ArbCom are doing they can at any point say, "Fuck this for a game of soldiers", and decide to close ArbCom. Yes, an AE admin can do what they reasonably feel is needed, but only within the consent that the community have already given us, and the community have not given us explicit consent to delete out of process. This particular deletion is actually a minor issue, and everyone here is discussing this as an interesting point of process, but if you'd deleted a featured article on the main page or Jimbo's talkpage, we'd have a serious issue on our hands. There are necessary limits to what ArbCom can do, and we must be aware of them and abide by them, and if in doubt seek consensus. SilkTork (talk) 07:07, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
  • My view is that deletion of a page is permitted as an enforcement action under discretionary sanctions. Indeed, there are intentionally very few limits on what sanctions an administrator can impose under discretionary sanctions. As such, I see Bishonen's undeletion as a violation of WP:AC/DS#sanctions.modify, albeit one that was carried out in good faith with the best of intentions while uncertain of whether the arbitration enforcement action was permissible. I will note that WP:AC/DS#appeals.notes (bullet point 4) indicates that any action taken under discretionary sanctions are presumed valid and proper until a successful appeal, so if there were a question over whether deletion is a permissible discretionary sanction, that should have come to ARCA initially. All AE actions can only be appealed at WP:AE or WP:AN, so this cannot be appealed at WP:DRV. Leaving a note at WP:DRV directing interested editors toward such an appeal would be appropriate in this situation. I decline to answer GoldenRing's fourth question for two reasons. Ideally, ArbCom should not be the first point of appeal of a discretionary sanction. Separately, the admin who placed a discretionary sanction may not appeal their own sanction. This is especially important for an appeal that potentially skips AE/AN, since that would deprive other editors of the ability to appeal at those venues under our procedures. ~ Rob13Talk 16:40, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
    • Such deletions do not need to meet our deletion policy, as a side note. Discretionary sanctions are intended to allow administrators the discretion to handle cases not covered by our typical policies and guidelines in particularly contentious areas. Administrators should be cautioned that overzealous deletions as AE actions are likely to be overturned. In the case of repeated occurrences, this could result in a restriction from carrying out deletions as AE actions or from carrying out AE actions as a whole. ~ Rob13Talk 16:44, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
    • @SmokeyJoe: I will not be recusing myself for multiple reasons. First, simply taking a somewhat similar action in the past does not preclude one from reviewing unrelated administrative actions. If this were not true, truly absurd arguments could emerge (e.g. "Since X arbitrator has previously voted against desysop for an administrator who did Y, they must recuse when a different administrator did Y in a different set of circumstances"). Second, and most importantly, I did not delete any pages as an AE action. After a page was deleted as an AE action, and without making any comment on the validity of the deletion, I undeleted it to perform a necessary history merge and then restored the action. My role was to undo a copy-and-paste move that was non-compliant with the licensing requirements on Wikipedia. That is the only action I took with relation to that page. I had no role in the AE action. Tangentially, I see you saying that deletion of any page must, be necessity, remove content. WP:CONTENT defines content as things in the mainspace and related navigational pages, so this deletion, which affected only a user page unrelated to any mainspace material, was not "content" under that definition. ~ Rob13Talk 17:40, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
      • @SmokeyJoe: So I've looked into that deletion more. I didn't remember it very well, since it happened in 2017. First of all, it actually wasn't an AE action. It was a general sanctions action, which is similar, but not identical. The authority there derives from the community, not ArbCom, and whether GS deletions in areas where general sanctions are approved is permitted is entirely a question for the community. This discussion/clarification has no bearing on that. Second, I actually declined to delete that page under CSD prior to NeilN's deletion, looking through the edit history. Lastly, the deletion appears to be because AssadistDEFECTOR, an editor who I recall being an extremely disruptive civil POV pusher who is now indefinitely blocked, forked off a conspiracy theory into its own article which treated the conspiracy as fact after consensus had been to take it out of the main article for that subject. While I would not have done the same action, I see why NeilN did it. The page was very clearly created purely to circumvent the settled consensus and force other editors to re-debate the removal of that content. In that sense, I think the deletion was supported by WP:CONSENSUS and WP:IAR. NeilN's deletion did clearly achieve what editors had already reached a consensus to do - remove a seriously fringe conspiracy theory from mainspace. See here for more detail. Hopefully, that provides more context to NeilN's deletion. Any further discussion on the "general sanctions" tangent should presumably go to a venue where the community can clarify whether deletion is allowed under general sanctions. ~ Rob13Talk 22:51, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
    • @GoldenRing: I'm sure this isn't what you intend to say, but your example of a mainspace AE deletion specifically to avoid a DRV discussion comes across as an admin using AE actions to avoid scrutiny. I would not support anything like that. AE actions should never be performed with the sole intent of avoiding scrutiny of a borderline action. I don't think moving the discussion from DRV to AE or AN is likely to decrease drama over a questionable deletion, in any event. See this whole ARCA as evidence of that, honestly. ~ Rob13Talk 17:44, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
  • The purpose of discretionary sanctions is to minimize disruption in contentious areas in order to allow Wikipedia's usual processes to proceed smoothly - they are not a replacement for them. Admin.expect backs that up by stating that admins should "allow responsible contributors maximum editing freedom with the need to keep edit-warring, battleground conduct, and disruptive behaviour to a minimum." In other words, enact the minimal necessary sanction to allow editing to proceed as usual, through typical community processes. permits admins to enact a number of suggested measures, including "other reasonable measures that the enforcing administrator believes are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project." There is nothing explicitly prohibiting deletion as an AE action. However, any AE enforcement must be reasonable, necessary, and proportionate, and I think it would be very rare for deletion to meet that standard. By its very nature, deletion does more to limit the editing freedom of responsible contributors than any other page-level sanction. Even fully-protected pages can be edited via edit request. For that reason, I would argue that use of deletion as an AE action should have a much higher threshold to pass before it can be considered reasonable, necessary, and proportionate.
    In my opinion, deletion as an AE action should not be used unless it can be demonstrated that there is significant disruption coming as a direct result of the page in question, and that there is no other reasonable way to mitigate or prevent that disruption. I understand that this is a fairly high standard, but that's the point - generally speaking, there are other tools available than an AE deletion, including regular community deletion processes. By analogy, you could cut your steak with a chainsaw, but it's much more sensible to go find a steak knife.
    With regards to this particular action, I don't think the high threshold I would expect to justify an AE deletion was met. There was nothing in the page that was so egregious that it necessitated immediate removal. There was no edit-warring on or about the page. There was no indication that taking the page to MfD would have caused more disruption than any other controversial XfD. In other words, I'm not convinced this use of deletion was reasonable, necessary, and proportionate. I don't think GoldenRing should be sanctioned for it, but I do think it was unnecessary, and in general, should not set a precedent for wider use of deletion as an AE action.
    In the same vein, I don't think Bishonen's temporary undeletion for DRV is a violation of sanctions.modify. It is customary to undelete pages at DRV so they can be viewed and judged by non-administrators; her intention there was clearly to allow the DRV process to proceed as normally as possible, not to simply reverse GoldenRing and walk away. I don't see that as sanctionable.
    I think we should heavily discourage the use of deletion as an AE action, but if we are not going to prohibit it, I don't think it's unreasonable to allow DRV to review AE deletions. The crowd there is going to be familiar with the deletion policy and evaluating administrators' application of it, which I think is relevant. However, the question of where to appeal these actions is not a hill I'll die on compared to the rest of my thoughts on the matter. ♠PMC(talk) 21:17, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Feeling obliged to be less brief, but I find this a simple answer. I disagree with my colleagues. Deleting is not a valid action under discretionary sanctions, GoldenRing's action did not enjoy protection under WP:AC/DS, and we can consequently dispose of the other procedural questions.
    In the procedure for Discretionary Sanctions, placing sanctions is authorised for contentious areas. The nature of a sanction is left to the judgment and discretion of administrators, though it is loosely defined as "any sanction, restriction, or other remedy". However, I find it axiomatic that sanctions are actions that apply to a person. Discretionary Sanctions are a method of regulating conduct, not content. Blocking, warning, or topic-banning Dlthewave for conduct that disrupts the area of conflict would have been a discretionary sanction. Deleting the page on which Dlthewave performed that disruptive conduct was not a discretionary sanction. Even broad, page-level actions taken by administrators (eg "all these pages are subject to 1RR") apply to users, not pages. The Discretionary Sanctions system started out of a recognition that an area of conflict can be improved if the dramatis personae can be made to behave. Deleting pages is not within that scope. AGK ■ 11:43, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
  • OK, I know I'm being annoying by dropping in on this waaaaaay late, but.... reading most of the comments here is sort of like reading a discussion about whether or not angels need a public performance permit before dancing on the head of a pin. Forgetting all the "paragraph 4 of subsection 2b of policy G" stuff, was this action useful? It seems like, on balance, it wasn't - the net effect was to attract a lot more attention to an otherwise-obscure page and occupy a lot of community time without seeming to have much effect on the person hosting this potentially-problematic material. (Am I missing something, or have they not commented on this topic?) For this specific instance, it seems like the easier route would have been the boring one - just take it to MfD. For any future hypothetical instance, the most useful answer to "can I delete stuff using DS?" is "maybe, but you're almost certainly better off doing something else". Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:23, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
    • @GoldenRing: Yeah, but "maybe" is the answer to just about every question of the form "is XYZ against the rules?" :) I mean, within reason - obviously copyvio and poop vandalism are out. But if it's all just internal back-office stuff, "you can try, but it might not work" is IMO a better answer than having us all look at this particular set of circumstances and reach a decision that turns out not to be a good fit for the next time. Opabinia regalis (talk) 09:44, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  • For the purposes of clarity, I am inactive on this request despite having returned to active status as most of it has taken place while I was away. Mkdw talk 21:17, 28 March 2019 (UTC)


To see if we need to take this discussion further, it may be helpful to take a quick survey:

Can AE admins delete pages under "other reasonable measures" as part of the enforcement process?
A) No
B) Yes
C) Yes, but only per deletion policy
  • C SilkTork (talk) 16:16, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • B, with a strong note that deletions well outside the deletion policy will almost certainly be overturned at AE (or ARCA). ~ Rob13Talk 19:37, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • B, as per Rob. RickinBaltimore (talk) 19:43, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • B, in the sense that it's not explicitly prohibited. However as I've stated above it should be avoided unless there is absolutely no other way to mitigate some kind of serious disruption. ♠PMC(talk) 20:15, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • A. AGK ■ 23:08, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • C Katietalk 15:13, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
  • A/sorta C. The fundamental principle of arbitration is that it deals with conduct, not content. Deletion falls firmly in the "content" category. So even if the DS could be read as including deletion, ArbCom doesn't have the remit to authorise it. Of course as an admin GR is free to delete pages within the deletion policy as he wishes, but calling it an AE action doesn't make a difference, except to muddy the waters as to whether the community can overturn it (they can). – Joe (talk) 16:30, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

Post-survey discussion

  • Assuming that everyone who supports B would support C if B would not pass, the rough consensus here appears to be for C. Should we propose a motion to that effect? ~ Rob13Talk 14:55, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I think that would be useful. Would you be able to do that Rob? SilkTork (talk) 11:41, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
My choice of "B" was based on the wording of DS as it is currently written - ie, deletion is currently permitted because it is not explicitly forbidden - not because I think it is a good idea to include. I would oppose any motion which codified deletion as an acceptable use of DS (even option C, which is a meaningless distinction in my opinion) and would much rather we explicitly forbid DS deletion. ♠PMC(talk) 20:33, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I have to say, I'm having trouble understanding other's views on this, because like AGK I think the answer is very obviously A. Could someone please explain how a motion along the lines of B or C would be compatible with WP:ARBPOL, "the Committee does not rule on content"? – Joe (talk) 22:35, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
    • @Joe Roe: I view acceptable DS deletions as falling into the category of "removal of content pages outside the mainspace that is the product of a user conduct issue". For instance, if an editor in the American politics topic area kept a user page in their userspace that compiled "coverage" of conspiracy theories surrounding some modern politicians (e.g. Murder of Seth Rich, Pizzagate conspiracy theory) from fringe sources that could never be integrated into an article, I would consider a deletion of that userpage under DS to be proper. Such a user page would serve no encyclopedic purpose and would clearly represent the product of a user conduct issue (WP:NOTHERE) while not falling within the traditional CSD criteria. (U5 could apply, but not if the editor also had substantial edits in the mainspace.) Taking such a page to MfD would clearly result in deletion, but would be undesirable because it would bring attention to the fringe sources and potentially attract a disruptive brigade from off-wiki, as such discussions often do in that topic area. I think that type of behavior is exactly what DS is intended to solve: user conduct issues in particularly contentious topic areas. Sometimes, those conduct issues permeate entire pages, in which case deletion would be appropriate. I would be highly skeptical of a DS deletion in the mainspace, to be clear. ~ Rob13Talk 01:09, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
      • I've altered my above comment, since it was pointed out to me that WP:CONTENT defines content as stuff in the mainspace (and certain navigational pages). In that sense, this user page was quite literally not content. ~ Rob13Talk 02:13, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
    • My thinking on this is more with regard to challenging an ArbCom enforcement action. The special aspect of ArbCom is that any decision is binding, and any enforcement of those decisions can only be challenged within prescribed process. If the community wishes to take away that aspect of ArbCom (as effectively has happened here) then that diminishes the special status of ArbCom. Now, if the community decides that ArbCom is no longer needed, and that we have reached a stage where the community can deal effectively with all disputes, then that's not a problem, but if the community wishes to retain ArbCom and its special aspect, then any action by an AE admin in the name of ArbCom can only be challenged and overturned in the appropriate venue. What we have here is an unusual situation in that an AE admin deleted a page under AE, and there is a question as to if this was allowable, and that question was resolved not by appropriate ArbCom process, but within a standard process. That for me is the part we need to clear up. But in order to clear that up we need to see if there is a consensus in the Committee for what is allowable. I can't see how deleting out of process is allowable because ArbCom has not been given that power. And I don't see that an AE admin is restricted in what they can do, so that they have less powers than any other admin. When an AE admin is allowed to do what is "reasonable" I am seeing that as "anything that any admin can do within policy" with the understanding that when an AE admin does that action it can only be challenged within the AE process. The significant difference for me between an action done by an admin under AE and an action done by an admin not under AE, is that the AE action has to be challenged under AE rules, and the non AE action has to be challenged under standard rules. A deletion under policy done by an admin not under AE can be challenged at DRV, and a deletion under policy done by an admin under AE can only be challenged under AE process. If we as a Committee can agree that an AE admin can do reasonable actions within policy then the special aspect of ArbCom and AE enforcement is retained, and any future such actions can be debated with AE process. For me, whichever venue this was discussed in, the outcome would have been the same - that the page should not have been deleted because it was out of process.
Short version: An AE admin shouldn't be restricted in what actions within policy they can do. An AE admin should not do an action not allowed by policy. Questions regarding if an AE action was within policy should only be discussed within AE process.
If we can get together a motion which says this, there can be a due process discussion at AE regarding the deletion, it can be formally overturned, and if an AE admin feels it appropriate, the page can be blanked (not deleted) under an AE action which can then be challenged at AE. SilkTork (talk) 09:35, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @DGG: Not all text on Wikipedia is content. WP:CONTENT defines "content" as things in the mainspace and related navigational pages. Removal of text or deletion of pages do not necessarily affect content if not undertaken in the mainspace (or related namespaces that generate content in the mainspace, like Category, Template, etc.) ~ Rob13Talk 04:54, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
    • @Hobit: It's worth noting that all of our core content policies also refer to articles as the content. I'm a bit surprised that editors are making the apparent claim that any writing at all on Wikipedia is "content", which is implicit in the argument that any page deletion in any namespace would necessarily be policing content. Is this discussion right now content, in your view? ~ Rob13Talk 20:43, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
      • @Hobit: I'm (of course) not saying ArbCom has jurisdiction over everything not in mainspace, just like I'm not saying ArbCom has jurisdiction over everything in mainspace merely because discretionary sanctions allow page protections there. ArbCom retains jurisdiction over past cases, including the relevant topic areas involved where we have enacted discretionary sanctions. To the extent those areas overlap with things not in the mainspace, I think deletion is one valid tool of many that admins could use when appropriate and warranted by the level of disruption inherent in a particular page. I think it should be used extremely sparingly, and ultimately, the community can determine at AE whether any particular deletion is warranted. ~ Rob13Talk 05:06, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  • GoldenRing, I strongly disagree with that reasoning. AE is a tool for allowing community processes to occur smoothly. It is not a replacement for those processes, no matter how controversial they have the potential to be. If, as you have argued, there's disruption XfD or DRV or ANI, you use targeted sanctions to remove the disruption and allow the community to proceed as normal. You don't just get to decide that something might be problematic and delete it because it might cause too much of a fuss. By your logic, one could justify deleting anything that might be controversial. Too many people arguing about a BLP AfD? Just delete it. Tired of people arguing about an India-related navbox? Delete it. No. No way. I absolutely object to the use of DS as a shortcut around community processes. That is absolutely not their purpose. ♠PMC(talk) 13:10, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  • GoldenRing, sanctions under AE are supposed to be deployed when there is a problem, in order to control the problem so the normal process of editing and consensus-building can resume. You issue a TBAN when someone has demonstrated an inability to edit in an area without causing problems, so that everyone else in that area can get back to editing normally (and, hopefully, so the TBANned editor can go edit constructively elsewhere). You don't issue a TBAN pre-emptively before someone causes a problem on the assumption that they might. In the same vein, I don't think it's reasonable to assume that an XfD/DRV/ANI discussion will be so problematic that preemptively deleting a page is the best solution, especially when there are lesser sanctions available to handle disruption as it comes up. ♠PMC(talk) 23:54, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Motion: Discretionary sanctions procedure

For this motion there are 10 active arbitrators, not counting 3 who are inactive, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.

(1) Proposed:

The Discretionary sanctions Procedure § Sanctions is amended at sanctions.caveats to read as follows:

For the avoidance of doubt, enforcing administrators are not authorised to issue site bans; to require the removal of user rights that cannot be granted by an administrator or to restrict their usage; to delete pages; nor to enforce discretionary sanctions beyond their reasonable scope.

where the text underlined is to be inserted.
  1. Proposed. I understand that some colleagues have asserted views to the contrary, above, but we need to progress towards a decision. I simply don't think we want page deletion to be used as a means of enforcing user conduct standards. This one edge case (after over a decade) should not be used to expand the scope of DS or the rights of Enforcing Administrators. AGK ■ 14:23, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
  2. I'm fine with this as is, but perhaps others might be happier with the addition of "to delete pages outside of the deletion policy", in line with the results of our straw poll above? – Joe (talk) 14:42, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
  3. Support as written. ♠PMC(talk) 15:04, 24 March 2019 (UTC)]
  4. Support, with Joe's amendment. RickinBaltimore (talk) 18:43, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
  1. Because this does not solve the problem. Alternative proposed. SilkTork (talk) 09:54, 25 March 2019 (UTC) Move to abstain to help move this forward. SilkTork (talk) 14:40, 9 April 2019 (UTC) Moved back to oppose in favour of new motion regarding challenging enforcement actions. SilkTork (talk) 02:44, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. Moving here, in favor of the second version. ~ Rob13Talk 13:31, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
  3. You know, I still agree with myself up above that this is not really a problem that needs a new rule. The answer should be 'maybe', as in, probably not, but if you make a good argument for a specific oddball case then sure. This particular set of circumstances didn't fit, but that doesn't mean it's a terrible idea that must be forbidden forever. I agree with AGK's first point - we probably don't want to make this a habit - but have the opposite feeling on the second, that is, if in over a decade we've come across only this one edge case, then that means we don't need to write any new stuff and choosing not to do so is not "expanding" anything. Sorry to anyone who's been reading this hoping for "clarity" or "bright lines" - I just don't think this is an issue calling out for definitive resolution. If it starts happening five times a month, we should revisit it then. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:50, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. Per OR. Katietalk 15:42, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. Per Opabinia. I don't see this as needing a hard-line rule to forbid all deletions under AE ever, although I agree that in this case it was not necessary. GorillaWarfare (talk) 03:26, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. Per OR WormTT(talk) 09:12, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
For now. I may oppose, but my thoughts at the moment are basically that this comes up so infrequently and causes so much drama that an enforcing administrator should just use the other tools available to them in such a situation, even if they aren't quite as good a fit. If an editor is creating whole user pages that contain polemical statements in an area with discretionary sanctions, just block them for disruption. ~ Rob13Talk 15:39, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
SilkTork (talk) 14:40, 9 April 2019 (UTC) Moved back to oppose. SilkTork (talk) 02:44, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
Comments by arbitrators
  • @Spartaz: My phone has learned "arbcom" by now, but the top alternative is "a boom". I think our phones are trying to tell us something... :) Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:16, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Motion: Discretionary sanctions procedure (2)

For this motion there are 10 active arbitrators, not counting 3 who are inactive, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.

(1) Proposed:

The Discretionary sanctions Procedure § Sanctions is amended at sanctions.caveats to read as follows:

For the avoidance of doubt, enforcing administrators are not authorised to issue site bans; to require the removal of user rights that cannot be granted by an administrator or to restrict their usage; to delete pages outside of the deletion policy; nor to enforce discretionary sanctions beyond their reasonable scope.

where the text underlined is to be inserted.
Putting forward an alternative. I'm not comfortable with the notion that a AE admin should have less authority than a non AE admin, and so create a situation where someone creates a page in direct violation of an ArbCom sanction, yet an AE admin could only delete such a page outside of ArbCom protection, and so there is uncertainty (again) over where the matter should be discussed. The above motion does not protect against such a situation, and so does not solve this problem. SilkTork (talk) 09:54, 25 March 2019 (UTC) Moving to abstain to move this forward. SilkTork (talk) 01:58, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  1. Support as first choice, as this is the amendment Joe mentioned above. RickinBaltimore (talk) 12:19, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
  2. ~ Rob13Talk 13:30, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
  3. Support as second choice. – Joe (talk) 06:18, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
  1. No, because if the deletion is within the deletion policy, then there is no need to use DS as a reason for deletion in the first place. If it is that problematic, chances are it will fit under a speedy criteria (such as G10 if it is an attack page or G5 if created in violation of an existing sanction). If not, there is no reason it cannot be taken through the relevant XfD process (which can be controlled with DS sanctions if that causes problems). ♠PMC(talk) 19:16, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
  2. First, per PMC. We are providing for discretionary sanction to not include deletions. We are not prohibiting an administrator from also deleting a page under their separate powers. We are, in passing, preventing absurd consequences like "Are these deletions subject to DRV?" or "Can deleted text be provided and adapted under WP:REFUND?" I should also oppose because the clause "per the deletion policy" is a vague, catch-all statement lacking the precision that we know administrators expect to be in place before they act. I am not sure I clearly understand what parts of the deletion policy it means now. Finally, I do not see what ambiguity is left behind by removing deletion as a D.S. as in the first motion – I have perhaps misunderstood SilkTork's contribution on this point. Also, I should repeat my earlier vote – deleting pages has not (except for minor cases under ARBBLP) been a form of discretionary sanction. Changing that now would be unnecessary and unwise. AGK ■ 22:06, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
  3. See my comment above. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:52, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. Per OR. I can't get behind making policy like this based on one instance of hundreds. Katietalk 15:44, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. Per my comment above, but also because I don't see why it couldn't go through the standard deletion process. Page deletions are not normally something that are useful when discretionary sanctions are involved. GorillaWarfare (talk) 03:27, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. Moved to oppose in favour of new motion on challenging enforcement actions. SilkTork (talk) 02:45, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  1. SilkTork (talk) 01:58, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
Comments by arbitrators

Motion: Amendment to the standard provision for appeals and modifications

For this motion there are 10 active arbitrators, not counting 3 who are inactive, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.
The following text is added to the "Important notes" section of the standard provision on appeals and modifications, replacing the current text of the fourth note:
All actions designated as arbitration enforcement actions, including those alleged to be out of process or against existing policy, must first be appealed following arbitration enforcement procedures to establish if such enforcement is inappropriate before the action may be reversed or formally discussed at another venue.
Enacted: Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 00:16, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  1. I think this is the essential point of concern, and would cover any future actions where people are unsure if an enforcement action is appropriate or not. Querying an action, such as deleting a page, is entirely appropriate, but to avoid confusion and internal conflict, we need to establish exactly where such a query should take place, and that the action should not be undone until it is established that it was in fact out of process. SilkTork (talk) 02:39, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. This is what important note 4 is intended to say, but your text is much clearer, SilkTork. Do you mind if we rework this to just replace important note 4 with this text? ~ Rob13Talk 14:36, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. We always can revisit this issue if there are still practical problems where deletion and arb enforcement meet. AGK ■ 14:42, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. I've deleted "such as DRV" because it could be taken as implying that deletion is a valid AE action (which we couldn't agree on above); I don't think the example is essential to the meaning. Otherwise, I agree this is a sensible procedure and, had it been followed in this case, we might not have ended up with such a lengthy dispute. – Joe (talk) 16:15, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. RickinBaltimore (talk) 20:04, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:42, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  7. Looks good to me WormTT(talk) 09:14, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  8. I don't disagree with this, but for the record I don't like that we haven't come to a conclusion on AE deletion, and I suspect the issue will return. ♠PMC(talk) 14:49, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  9. Katietalk 15:38, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Comments by arbitrators
  • User:SmokeyJoe. Yes, I understand the concern regarding slow moving Committee decisions; however, the process for challenging an Arbitration Enforcement, if no satisfaction can be gained from the enforcing admin, is generally to raise the issue at "AE", though "AN" may also be used. And those processes are generally about the same speed as DRV. And the motion does allow for further discussion at a venue such as DRV if the outcome of the initial discussion at AE is that the enforcement was not appropriate, but has not yet been reversed. The idea is to prevent the situation we are currently in, in which there is some doubt as to where an action should first be discussed. Also, in order to preserve the special status of the Arbitration Committee (that decisions are final and binding), this underlines that the principle is to ask questions and wait for a decision before reversing an AE action. SilkTork (talk) 09:21, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
BU Rob13 - yes, tweak away. I am firmly in favour of collaboration. SilkTork (talk) 15:05, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Before we enact this, can we adjust the “or discussed” wording? The claims of a gag order above are overblown, but we should make clear we aren’t prohibiting a discussion on user talk, etc. “being reversed or altered at another venue”? ~ Rob13Talk 05:32, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @SilkTork, AGK, Joe Roe, RickinBaltimore, GorillaWarfare, and Worm That Turned: Courtesy ping that I copyedited the above motion to be clearer and more grammatically sound. I haven't touched the "or discussed" wording, since that's more substantive and should be discussed. ~ Rob13Talk 09:11, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
I've added "formally" before "discussed". We don't wish to gag informal discussion, but what we want to avoid is having two formal discussions happening side by side which is both redundant effort and may lead to internal conflict if the venues arrive at different conclusions. SilkTork (talk) 09:54, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Fine by me. – Joe (talk) 11:27, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
That works for me. RickinBaltimore (talk) 11:39, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the ping, looks fine. GorillaWarfare (talk) 14:19, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm good with "formally discussed". ~ Rob13Talk 17:22, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Amendment request: Eastern Europe

Initiated by Icewhiz at 10:13, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Case or decision affected
Eastern Europe arbitration case (t) (ev / t) (w / t) (pd / t)
Clauses to which an amendment is requested
  1. Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Eastern Europe#Amendments
  2. Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Eastern Europe#Amendments
  3. Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Eastern Europe#Amendments
List of any users involved or directly affected, and confirmation that all are aware of the request

Information about amendment request
  • sourcing restriction for non-English sources for Jew-Polish relations.
  • 500/30 protection for Jew-Polish relations.
  • 1RR for Jew-Polish relations.

Statement by Icewhiz

In the past year, editing in the topic of Jewish history in Poland has been difficult. While WP:NOENG is policy - stating a preference for English sources of the same quality when available (generally the case for Holocaust history), and quotation requirements when challenged - NOENG has not been followed in this topic area. Non-English sources of a dubious nature have been inserted into articles, even BLPs, and in some cases, the content has failed verification: not present in the cited sources, contradicted by others. Requests for quotations and a rationale for use have gone unanswered, or dismissed with "the source is reliable" or "WP:AGF and Offline sources".

Admins at AE are reluctant to dive into such issues. This recent case was closed by @Sandstein: with: "Personally, the matter is too complicated and too much tied to content disputes for me to feel comfortable taking action; AE is better suited to relatively straightforward cases of misconduct." [3]. I understand the sentiment here; dealing with users introducing content that fails WP:V when the cited sources aren't online, aren't in English, and/or are very long is difficult. The challenge of tackling source misrepresentations is evident in past AE threads:

List of prior AE actions
  1. GizzyCatBella 26 April 2018 - 1RR violation of page level restriction + claims of fringe sources. Result (purely on the 1RR claim) - "GizzyCatBella blocked 72 hours".
  2. E-960, 8 May 2018 - Complaint alleged violation of 1RR article restriction, coupled with BLP and RS concerns. Closed with a voluntary 72 hour restriction. Note admin discussion on non-English sources without translations.
  3. Icewhiz 9 May 2018 - Complaint alleged removal of Chodakiewicz as a source in a number of articles was inappropriate. Defendant counter-complained about filer's use of WP:SPSes. closed: "Editors directed to WP:RSN to discuss Chodakiewicz....
  4. E-960 12 May 2018 - Complaint alleged violation of 1RR in article with said restriction. Result: "E-960 needs to be more careful when reverting.".
  5. Icewhiz 14 May 2018 - Complaint alleged removal of Anna Poray as a source from over 60 articles was inappropriate as well as alleging Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Anna Poray was made in bad faith. While admins discuss the misuse of SPS angle, the closing admin remarks "The charge of misusing SPS isn't something I'd act on, because it's close to a content dispute and it's not realistic to expect admins here to check the reliability of this number of sources; that would need an ArbCom case.". Closed due to the reported PAs as "Poeticbent (talk · contribs) is topic-banned from the history of Poland during World War II, including the Holocaust in Poland, for six months.".
  6. François Robere 2 June 2018 - complaint alleged violation of "consensus required provision". Discussion diverged into use of questionable sources. Admins discuss at length possible sourcing restrictions (WP:MEDRS-like, plus suggestion to limit sources only to English, as "To be clear, I don't think that Polish-language sources are inherently unreliable, but they can't be evaluated by most admins here, including me. That impedes arbitration enforcement insofar as source reliability is concerned.". The AE closes with "More editing restrictions on the article applied.". The following restriction is placed on an article level: diff "Only high quality sources may be used, specifically peer-reviewed scholarly journals and academically focused books by reputable publishers. English-language sources are preferred over non-English ones when available and of equal quality and relevance." + "Anyone found to be misrepresenting a source, either in the article or on the talk page, will be subject to escalating topic bans.
  7. 24 June 2018 - Filer alleged misrepresentation of sources. In this particular instance this was seen as beyond a "content dispute". Closed as "GizzyCatBella is topic-banned from the World War II history of Poland".
  8. Icewhiz 3 July 2018 - Filer alleged misrepresentation of sources. Respondent files diffs alleging a misrepresentation in other instances. Closed as "no action" since - "It's quite clear that admins here will not examine the details and nuances of the interpretation of sources in what is, to most, a foreign language and a wholly unfamiliar topic. AE is good at dealing with reasonably obvious misconduct, but not so good at dealing with issues that need an advanced degree in history or some other specialized field to resolve..
  9. Volunteer Marek 5 July 2018 - Filer alleged NPA and V issues, accompanied by counter-allegations. Admins discuss possible sourcing restrictions (e.g. academic, English only) to the topic area based on previous article level restriction to Collaboration in German-occupied Poland. NeilN notes - "That clause was a watered down version of Sandstein's suggestion to limit source-evaluation to English-language academic sources only. He correctly noted that most admins here can't read Polish when the issue of source misrepresentation comes up.". The discussion on sourcing leads to no conclusion. Closed with: "Volunteer Marek and Icewhiz are topic-banned from the history of Poland in World War II (1933-45) for three months for treating Wikipedia as a WP:BATTLEGROUND".

Most of the complaints were on sourcing quality and misrepresentations of sources, while editors were sanctioned for a variety of conduct issues, such as personal attacks and battleground behavior. Admins discussed the possibility of sourcing restrictions (academic and/or English only), or enforcing misrepresentation of sources. A sourcing restriction was applied to Collaboration in German-occupied Poland where the situation did improve following the restriction, but no sourcing restriction was applied elsewhere. Disputes in the topic area have involved numerous other articles (WWII history, geographic locations, BLPs in the field).

I will note that use of sources is further complicated by the legislation which criminalized publication in Polish media of claims of Polish complicity in crimes committed during the Holocaust.[1][2][3]

There are excellent mainstream Polish-language academic sources, referenced by academia outside of Poland. In fact, the Polish Wikipedia often has a balanced representation of the subject matter (see this 2015 oped on a long-running WP:HOAX in Stawiski: "Surprisingly, the Polish Wikipedia articles evidence greater willingness to admit Polish participation in massacres of Jews." corrected in 2018) Unfortunately, sources in Polish introduced to English Wikipedia are often not high-quality mainstream academic writing, but rather right-wing newspaper op-eds, interviews, blog posts, and pulp journals/books.

Please see general examples of misrepresenting sources: (more are available on request)

Diffs of source use failing verification + subsequent reverts / lack of quotations and discussion
  1. Non-EC user added [4] (discussed at AE here, but not subsequent reverts/verification). Challenged as "OR, misrepresentation of sources[5]. Despite the challenge - reverted and reverted by established users. Requests at Talk:History of the Jews in Poland#Recent edits for verifying quotations were not met (over several weeks). I personally accessed many of the cited sources and ascertained the content was not present in the source prior to reverting (a difficult and time-consuming task). The reverting users admitted they did not verify the text - here and here.
  2. diff - removal of Chełmno extermination camp's purpose to exterminate Poles. Sourced to Polish language source - which doesn't contain this claim. This misrepresentation was entered back in 2013. This illustrates how a false citation in non-English can last quite a while.
  3. Editor challenges REDFLAG material in July 2017,rolledback in Feb 2019. Source for "eventually both Poles and Jews were classified as subhuman and targeted for extermination..." is a municipal website in Polish - source which doesn't contain anything of the sort.
  4. challenge of text "systematically exterminated people (primarily Jews and ethnic Poles) they regarded Untermensch.". text returned with a whole bunch of Polish language sources (which do not seem to support the text (they do support persecution of Polish elites - not all Poles). tagged verify source. request on talk 4 March per WP:NOENG for rationale of use of these sources + quotations - no response as of now.

Possibly disruptive edits by non-EC users:

Edit Warring & non-EC edits
  1. Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Historyk IPN/Archive - editor from IPN (an organization promoting revisionism in Polish-Jewish relations,[4] that was recently involved in the disruption of an academic conference in Paris[5]) - socking and adding WP:SPAM links to a website promoting "the truth".
  2. Edit warring on BLP - despite clear lack of consensus for inclusion (and even possibly consensus to exclude) - [6] (and a number of threads below), multiple re-insertions of challenged text which is based on interviews/op-eds in right-wing Polish media - [7][8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16] (note the rejection of the Holocaust studies journal (including two pieces by Polish authors) as a source in preference to a right-wing internet portal, a small Polish radio station, Polish League Against Defamation, and, [17], [18], [19], [20], [21].
  3. [22] - adding content sourced to TVNiezaleznaPolonia Canada YouTube channel. Source is an interview in Polish with English subtitles, and the content inserted is a denial (of the generally accepted) Polish role in Jedwabne pogrom.
  4. [23] - IP adds content to Jedwabne claiming this was "instigated by the Soviet-backed Communist security corps" (well after the Red Army retreated in disarray).
  5. [24][25][26] - non-EC adds content to two BLPs + 1 institutions based on media coverage of upcoming Gontarczyk column in wSieci (context on wSieci: [6]). Despite challenges by several users, this is re-inserted.
  6. Jan Grabowski (historian) - conspiracy theories (revdelled) at 21:35, 23 February 2019‎, 11:57, 25 February 2019‎ , 12:24, 25 February 2019‎.
  7. There is also long-term (in one article - over a year), slow-pace edit-warring by an IP on a number of articles - @Ymblanter: and @Drmies: were involved in Naliboki massacre and Polish Center for Holocaust Research recently (see also User talk:Icewhiz#Polish Center for Holocaust Research).
  8. EW report - 6 reverts in a short time span by an IP in the topic area (removing well sourced information), coupled with 3 reverts in the EW noticeboard. Per TU-nor possibly linked to the 64-bit IP described above, which seems plausible.

I request that ARCA consider the following:

  1. 500/30 protection for the topic of Polish-Jewish relations.
  2. 1RR for the topic of Polish-Jewish relations.
  3. A sourcing restriction. Some possibilities:
    1. Revert restriction - editors performing reverts of challenged material are responsible for verifying the contents. Failure to verify, and provide supporting quotes, is sanctionable.
    2. consensus for non-English sources: In disputes over foreign-language sources in the subject area of Polish-Jewish relations, disputed sources are removed unless and until there is a consensus to include them. (similar to WP:NOCONSENSUS EL policy).
    3. Only English-language academic sources for historical subjects.
    4. Excluding low-quality non-English sources - Blogs, websites, and media sources that are subject to censorship (e.g. see the WP:HISTRS proposal). High-quality English-language sources can be found in most topics.

Such sourcing restrictions will turn "content disputes" on foreign-language sources that are difficult for enforcing admins to verify themselves into actionable violations of a sourcing restriction. As copious and numerous English language sources are available in Holocaust studies, a restriction won't limit our source pool much; reputable non-English writers get translated to English or analyzed in English language secondary works. Consistent introduction of material that fails WP:V should be taken seriously, however expecting admins at AE to read 50 pages in a foreign language is not reasonable. Our goal should be that Wikipedia conforms to mainstream academic scholarship on the Holocaust, and I believe such measures would be a step forward. A limited measure in ARCA regarding sourcing (in line with AE admin comments over several cases) & non-EC edits might lead to fewer disruptions, an easier time at AE (fewer cases), and can be achieved without a full-fledged case.

Statement by Piotrus

Since 1) I've been quoted by Icewhiz (through not notified, I refer specifically to this diff), and 2) this does concern one of my primary content areas, as I've created dozens articles on Polish-Jewish topics, such as Maria Roszak just few days ago and 3) this contains the most absurd request I've seen in my ~15 years here ("sourcing restriction for non-English sources for Jew-Polish relations."), I feel I should make a statement.

First. Regarding the 1RR restriction request, the "500/30 protection" (what is this, btw? I've never heard such term used on Wikipedia before... it is a form of semi-protection) and others (request to verify sources before reverting, etc.), as someone who has seen various edit conflicts in related topic areas in dozen+ years, including some that ended up at ArbCom, it is my view that there's no significant amount of vandalism, or long term edit warring, or any other malpractices that would raise to the level requiring any special treatment for this topic area or even for any particular articles (one can check history of major articles like Polish Jews or The Holocaust in Poland or such to see they are generally stable). While it would be nice to force editors to use higher quality sources, there's no reason to treat Polish-Jewish topic area any different from the rest of Wikipedia. While there are occasional disagreements, they are not raising above the usual noise level in this area.

Second, it would be absurd to ban or restrict non-English sources. AFAIK this hasn't been done for any topic area, and rightly so, as for each language there are plenty of reliable sources. To say that Foo-language sources (or anything that's not in English) cannot be used for XYZ-topic is a very serious accusation for any scholarship. While there are some particular cases we limit sources, they are very rare - I think there's a general consensus to be careful with Nazi-era sources, for example, but even then, there's no blanket rule saying that no Nazi-era sources are allowed (through perhaps there should be, I can similarly think of issues with ISIS sources, etc. - but those are extreme cases and we are hardly anywhere near this level of seriousness here). Over the years I've cautioned some people to be careful with Soviet-era sources for some topics, or modern Putin-era Russian historiography, and I concur there are some indications some (but certainly not all!) modern Polish historiography works exhibits a worrisome political agenda not unlike that found in Putin's Russia, and it is good for editors to realize this, but overall, WP:RS covers such situations pretty well, and if needed WP:RSN can be brought to bear on specific cases (ex. see this RSN discussion Icehwiz started, which IIRC led to the decision to stop using Paul (an English-language source, btw) as a source in this topic area. It's a proof that current tools and structures work, no special treatment is needed. To ban (and remove?) Polish and other non-English sources from Polish-Jewish topics would do immense damage to the project. Many articles in categories such as Category:Polish Righteous Among the Nations or Category:Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Poland are based on Polish-language sources that simply do not exist in English. To ban sources ranging from Polish Biographical Dictionary to works by scholars from the Jewish Historical Institute or works published by many other Polish-Jewish organizations in Poland would be, IMHO, ridiculous. (As for 'remove low quality sources' plea, of course I support it - but to repeat myself, that's just like saying 'please enforce existing policies like RS'. Doh. Sure. Let's. We all agree. In all content areas. Nothing for ArbCom do look at here).

Nonetheless, the fact that such ridiculous request has been made bears considering in light that Icewhiz has often criticized Polish-language sources (ex. just yesterday here, or few months ago numerous times here - just search for NOENG; it's pretty much all Icewhiz criticizing NOENG/Polish sources; same here). While his criticism has not always been without merit (as sometimes he correctly identified low-quality sources), I don't see any relation between low quality sources he (or others, including myself) identify, and language. Sometimes we find and remove low quality Polish sources, sometimes they are English, occasionally they are in another language altogether. Language is not an issue. The fact that one can seriously make such request (April Fools has come and gone...) makes me wonder about their judgement, since to effectively try to argue that all non-English sources should be treated as if they were Nazi-German era works (i.e. automatically disqualified on the subject matter of Jewish history/culture/etc.) is not a sign of a sound editorial judgement.

Bottom line, if an editor feels that he has lost too many arguments, he should not turn to WP:FORUMSHOPPING. And trying to do so here may result in rather heavy WP:BOOMERANG. Because while there is nothing particularly wrong with Polish-Jewish topics on English Wikipedia (they are reasonably stable and neutral), there is some evidence that some editors are developing WP:BATTLEGROUND-like mentality, evidenced for example by spurious AE and even ArbCom-level requests (see my related wiki-essay). And that may be something that ArbCom may want to investigate, because a number of meritless requests at AE/ArbCom boards is an indicator of a potential problem (one that could warrant for example a ban from submitting spurious requests of such kind in the future). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 03:18, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Ealdgyth

Sourcing is bad on all sides in this area... these are just a few small examples I've run across ... I'm sure if I dug deeply, I'd be able to find plenty of others. Note that I've very carefully not pointed out who did these various problems - because that just feeds the battleground mentality.

It's not just the troubling/sloppy sourcing that's occurring (and these are likely the tip of the iceberg), it's the constant battleground mentality that affects most editors in this area. One person adds something that's sloppily sourced, the other side reverts and screams bloody murder on the talk page, but then that second side adds something else that's also sloppily sourced and then the first side starts screaming bloody murder. And everything is accompanied by endless reverts ... there is not any way for third party editors who aren't invested in the conflict to actually contribute for any length of time because it's just so dreadfully draining. 1RR doesn't seem to help, because there are multiple editors on each "side" so ... the reverts just roll in and people who aren't on a side just give up and walk away - I've done it often enough.

I don't know if there are any answers. On days when I'm terribly discouraged, I think banning everyone on both sides might help but...I'm afraid that won't solve the problems, which unfortunately are tied to academic and political debates that have become so contentious that they are spilling over into wikipedia.

Pinging SlimVirgin (talk · contribs) and K.e.coffman (talk · contribs), both of whom I've obliquely mentioned here. Ealdgyth - Talk 15:14, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Nihil novi

The initiator of the present discussion writes that non-Polonophones may have difficulty verifying sources that are not in English. For this reason, where the original Polish texts have been provided, e.g. in the references, I have often translated them into English. I have also suggested that the original Polish texts routinely be so provided, and that I will be happy to render them into English. I stand by my suggestion and offer. Thank you. Nihil novi (talk) 20:53, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Kurtis

@Piotrus: 500/30 (also known as extended-confirmed protection, or 30/500) is a special type of semi-protection that restricts accounts with less than 500 edits or have been registered for less than 30 days from editing certain pages. That is to say, an account that was registered 10 years ago but has only made 404 edits would be unable to edit a page under 500/30 protection, as would an account that has made thousands upon thousands of edits within 24 days of signing up. Both conditions must be met for an account to be granted extended-confirmed status, permitting them to edit a 500/30 protected article. Kurtis (talk) 21:39, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by François Robere

If the committee accepts this proposal now, it won't be a moment too soon. Throughout the discussions in this topic area we've seen (in no particular order) book summaries, liturgical press, Geocities-SPS, press releases, Ph.D students on popular websites, censorship based on supposed Communist background, independent authors, potentially antisemitic and pseudonymic authors, and more (other examples here: [27][28]). Piotrus is right in asserting that current policy was enough to resolve all of these problems, but WP:RS alone wasn't enough: we had RfCs on writers you never heard of, and days-long discussions on sources with less than 5 citations globally (which were introduced to the discussion as "notable", "important", or even "preeminant" historians). In several cases editors introduced what would later be deemed a non-RS to dozens of articles at the same time; in another, a plagiarising source was removed 8.5 years after it was discovered. However, he's wrong in suggesting this is "forum shopping" trying to rehash past disagreements - those we mostly managed, with much time and angst; rather, this is an attempt to prevent future ones by raising the bar on sourcing, so that we're left with actual content disputes rather than biography hunts and repeated translation requests.

Nihil novi has indeed made an effort translating and making sources accessible. It removed the language barrier, but did not solve three other problems: out of context quoting (where you'd need the whole page rather than 2-3 sentences); low-quality sources; inaccessible materials (low circulation, out of print etc. - often the result of low quality); and editors refusing to supply quotations or exact citations of their materials - all problems that would be resolved by this proposal.

Which leads me to a fact central to all of this: WWII is a major area of scholarship, and virtually all reputable sourced end up being published in English. Sources that don't are either undiscovered or disreputable; if they're undiscovered (old and forgotten, or new and yet to be translated), then it's not our job to introduce them into the mainstream (in some cases it could even constitute WP:OR); if they're disreputable, we shouldn't use them anyway. And so our choice here is essentially between stability and novelty: do we use the freshest materials, even those that are yet to be translated; or the stablest materials - those that have garnered the broadest attention and acceptance? In topic areas that are this prone to edit warring and disagreement, I'd argue for the stablest.

And one final note on admins: Among the host of... ineffective admins, Ealdgyth has been the only one willing to take this topic seriously and try to make sense of who's who and what's what; the only one to actually go through the sources and try to mediate compromise - or just enforce the rules - instead of waiting for things to repeatedly explode at ANI/AE. Otherwise the boards have been nearly useless, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.[29][30] Whatever other decision you reach, you should pass this stern message to admins: an effective admin is one who gets involved and dives deep into the disagreements, not one who sits on the sidelines and only occasionally and selectively applies policy. An effective admin is not a policy-application machine, but a person who reasons with depth[31] and is willing to make sure things get done. If you're willing to invest yourself in being an effective admin, then by all means do so - you have the backing of the community. But if you don't, then stay away. François Robere (talk) 16:30, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Tatzref

This request is, in my view, misplaced. There is no justification for restricting discussion on historical subjects only to English-language academic sources or imposing a requirement of consensus with regard to non-English, specifically Polish language sources. This would simply erase or block important research by Polish historians that is not available in English or is not mentioned in English texts. A typical case in point is the following. Icewhiz erased the following text in its entirety from the article on History of the Jews in Poland (, and replaced it with their own:

12:23, 12 March 2019‎ Icewhiz talk contribs‎ 219,143 bytes +1,651‎ →‎Situation of Holocaust survivors and their property: Remove content as it failed verification vs. the cited sources, misused a primary source, and was contradicted by available English RSes. Replace with content cited to academic English-language sources available online.)

A restitution law "On Abandoned Real Estates" of May 6, 1945 allowed property owners who had been dispossessed, or their relatives and heirs, whether residing in Poland or outside the country, to reclaim privately owned property under a simplified inheritance procedure. The law remained in effect until the end of 1948. An expedited court process, entailing minimal costs, was put in place to handle claims. Applications had to be examined within 21 days, and many claims were processed the day they were filed. Poles often served as witnesses to corroborate claims of Jewish neighbors and acquaintances. Jewish law firms and agencies outside Poland specialized in submitting applications on behalf of non-residents. Many properties were also transferred and sold by Jewish owners outside this process.[1] The American Jewish Year Book reported, at the time, “The return of Jewish property, if claimed by the owner or his descendant, and if not subject to state control, proceeded more or less smoothly.”[2] Thousands of properties were successfully reclaimed, for example, more than 520 properties were reclaimed in two county towns of Lublin province alone (281 applications in Zamość, and 240 in Włodawa - some applications involved multiple properties).[3]

All of this information is based on reliable sources produced by reputable, professional Polish historians (Alina Skibinska, Lukasz Krzyzanowski, Krzysztof Urbanski, Adam Kopciowski). Moreover, the information about postwar property restoration is based on primary research into hundreds of Polish court records for each town that is mentioned. Alina Skibinska states, in relation to Szczebrzeszyn, that at least one third of the 210 private properties belonging to Jews before the war were returned to their owners or their heirs by 1950, and that almost all of these properties were very quickly sold to Poles (Klucze o kasa, p. 562). She goes on to assess the workings of the local municipal court: the vast majority of claims were favorably dealt with; the pace at which this was done was very speedy, as many of the claims were allowed the day they were received or very soon after; the judges very often overlooked deficiencies in the applications (Klucze i kasa, p. 568-569).

The text that Icewhiz substituted uses publications of poor quality with no sources cited for the relevant claims (Laurence Weinbaum, The Plunder of Jewish Property during the Holocaust) or publications that do not refer to the research on court records but rather a few anecdotes and then make sweeping generalizations that the primary sources do not support (Cichopek-Gajraj, Beyond Violence; Michael Meng, Shattered Spaces). Moreover, the research into Polish court records fully accords with the monitoring that Jewish organizations were conducting at the time. The American Jewish Year Book, a highly reliable source authored by academics, reported in 1947-1948, that “The return of Jewish property, if claimed by the owner or his descendant, and if not subject to state control, proceeded more or less smoothly.” The postwar decrees in question were introduced for the benefit of the Jews, with a much simplified and cheaper process than the regular court inheritance procedures, which one could always resort to. Icewhiz simply wiped all this out as allegedly “failed verification vs. the cited sources, misused a primary source” because it doesn’t accord with what he thinks the historical record should be. This smacks of censorship and is a disastrous forecast for the state of such articles. Tatzref (talk) 22:34, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

  1. ^ Jan Grabowski and Dariusz Libionka, eds. Klucze i kasa: O mieniu żydowskim w Polsce pod okupacją niemiecką i we wczesnych latach powojennych 1939–1950 (Warsaw: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą 2014), 522–523, 529, 568–569, 575–607. Also Krzysztof Urbański. Kieleccy Żydzi (Kraków: Pracownia Konserwacji Zabytków w Kielcach and Małopolska Oficyna Wydawnicza, n.d. [1993]), 180–190; Marta Pawlina-Meducka, ed. Z kroniki utraconego sąsiedztwa: Kielce, wrzesień 2000/From the Chronicle of the Lost Neighborhood: Kielce, September 2000 (Kielce: Kieleckie Towarzystwo Naukowe, 2001), 202.
  2. ^ American Jewish Year Book, 5708 (1947–1948), vol. 49 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947), 390.
  3. ^ Adam Kopciowski. Zagłada Żydów w Zamościu (Lublin: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, 2005), 203; Adam Kopciowski, "Anti-Jewish Incidents in the Lublin Region in the Early Years after World War II," ≈Holocaust: Studies and Materials vol. 1 (2008), 188.

Statement by {other editors}

Other editors are free to make relevant comments on this request as necessary. Comments here should address why or why not the Committee should accept the amendment request or provide additional information.

Eastern Europe: Clerk notes

This area is used for notes by the clerks (including clerk recusals).

Eastern Europe: Arbitrator views and discussion

  • On the face of it, this seems more like a case request than something for ARCA. If it's too complex for AE, we would need the extended framework of a case to examine the totality of the evidence. I would likely vote to accept this as a case request, but I decline to consider extending 500/30 to an entire topic area in the absence of a case. ~ Rob13Talk 06:27, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm absolutely against placing restrictions on sourcing. That's well into content territory, out of both ArbCom and AE's remit. The other sanctions are possible, but I agree with Rob: we would need a full case to examine this issue properly. – Joe (talk) 09:59, 18 April 2019 (UTC)


Proposed amendment to the arbitration policy

Motion adopted (version 2) Bradv🍁 23:04, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Version 1

Pursuant to the arbitration policy's section on "Ratification and amendment", the Arbitration Committee resolves that the following change to the arbitration policy will be submitted for formal ratification by community referendum:

The "Conduct of arbitrators" section of the arbitration policy is amended to add the following underlined text:
Any arbitrator who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by Committee resolution supported by two-thirds of arbitrators, not counting the arbitrator in question and any arbitrators who have been inactive for a period of at least 30 days.

This amendment to the arbitration policy will enter into force once it receives majority support, with at least one hundred editors voting in favour of adopting it. Until this amendment is ratified, the existing arbitration policy remains in effect.

For this motion there are 11 active arbitrators, not counting 2 who are inactive, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.
  1. ~ Rob13Talk 03:11, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
    @Joe Roe: Would you support if we added to the end "provided attempts have been made to contact them through all known communication mediums"? My intent is, of course, not to speed things through while ignoring as many arbs as possible. In practice, we've had several arbitrators who were quite literally uncontactable for long periods of time last year. Ks0stm was the main one. ~ Rob13Talk 16:32, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
    Now second choice. ~ Rob13Talk 02:34, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  2. This is an improvement, and gets us nearer to a level playing field. It should not be harder to remove an arbitrator than an admin. SilkTork (talk) 11:11, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  3. RickinBaltimore (talk) 13:46, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  4. With preference for the addition of a contact clause like the one Rob mentions above. Now second choice to version 2. ♠PMC(talk) 16:03, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
  1. Per below. This is such a rare event that extraordinary efforts should be made to get all serving arbitrators to vote. – Joe (talk) 06:55, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  2. Per comments and discussion below. After a long process of redrafting and consultation a few years ago, this bar was intentionally set at two-thirds. I think the member removal provision has passed the few tests thrown at it since then. AGK ■ 20:20, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  3. Prefer option 2. GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:07, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
  4. Version 2 isn't perfect, but is better than this version. Opabinia regalis (talk) 08:04, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Version 2

Pursuant to the arbitration policy's section on "Ratification and amendment", the Arbitration Committee resolves that the following change to the arbitration policy will be submitted for formal ratification by community referendum:

The final paragraph of the "Conduct of arbitrators" section of the arbitration policy is amended as follows:
Any arbitrator who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by Committee resolution supported by two-thirds of all arbitrators excluding:
  1. The arbitrator facing suspension or removal, and;
  2. Any inactive arbitrator who does not respond within 30 days to attempts to solicit their feedback on the resolution through all known mediums of communication.

This amendment to the arbitration policy will enter into force once it receives majority support, with at least one hundred editors voting in favour of adopting it. Until this amendment is ratified, the existing arbitration policy remains in effect.

EnactedBradv🍁 22:58, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

For this motion there are 10 active arbitrators, not counting 2 who are inactive and 1 who has abstained or recused, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.
  1. I'm proposing this slightly altered version based on the discussions below and conversations with individual arbitrators. The intent of this proposal has always been to discount the votes only of those arbitrators we are entirely unable to reach. This alternative proposal moves the text closer to that intent by starting the "clock" not when an arbitrator goes inactive (but may be lurking around, able to contribute to an important discussion), but rather when we attempt to reach out to them to solicit their feedback using every possible medium of communication. If we're wholly unable to even get an "I've seen this" back from them after 30 days, we move on without them, one way or another. To be clear, even such a small comment would stop an arbitrator's vote from being discounted, giving them every possible opportunity to vote on a motion to suspend or remove an arbitrator. ~ Rob13Talk 02:34, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  2. Second choice. SilkTork (talk) 09:04, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  3. Second choice RickinBaltimore (talk) 15:09, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  4. Second choice; I'm still ok with the first version though. After discussion, first choice, assuming we would be starting the "contact clock" (so to speak) when the discussion started. ♠PMC(talk) 04:08, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
  5. I think this makes sense. I worry about the first proposal, given "inactive" is a bit vague. An arbitrator may not have asked to go inactive, and so there would be a judgment call about whether or not they should be considered such. There are also situations where arbs may not be responding to arb business, but are otherwise active in different ways. GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:07, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
  6. I just realized I hadn't voted on this. I like this better than version 1, which I'm going to stay silent on now that I've put this into majority. Katietalk 21:40, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  7. I do not think it will be confused, but "resolution" is being used here to refer to the time a resolution is put forward for voting, and not the initiation of a discussion that seeks to resolve a situation possibly by removal. The resolution should be held formally with a voting period and not necessarily the first time someone says "I vote for removal". I think it is important to know exactly when this timer is started. Mkdw talk 15:43, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  1. While this seems like a compromise or evolution on the first proposal, 30 days is a vanishingly short period of time and this second proposal consequently provides insufficient comfort. I oppose effectively on the same grounds as in my earlier submission about this topic. AGK ■ 23:00, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. I'm not a firm oppose but I think Joe is right that there's some vague aspects still remaining here. (On Joe's question: starting the clock on the last attempt to contact by email or on-wiki makes sense to me. "Known mediums" is too variable; arbs can reasonably be expected to make themselves available by those two methods.) Sorry for taking a long time to come back to this and then being nitpicky. To be honest, I think the existing very high bar has to some extent served its purpose precisely by seeming "unfit for purpose" - that is, it's so unwieldy that it forces alternative approaches if at all possible, ideally ones that decelerate and deescalate whatever the problem is and refocus the conversation on the actually problematic elements rather than on the simplest-looking solution at hand. I've been on both ends of the arb-activity spectrum and I do think 30 days without any contact at all is sufficient - when I first started and I was one of the "hurry up hurry up come on slowpokes I sent that email two whole days ago" crowd, I would've thought 30 days incommunicado was insane, and even now that I'm on the "I'll get to that in two weeks, maybe" end of things, there's still no chance I'd miss all possible efforts to get in touch with me for a month straight. That said, becoming one of the tortoises is an interesting change of perspective because now my experience of the hares is mostly "whoa, slow your roll". I think there's been a trend toward haste on certain topics over the last couple of years - though I'm not sure if that's a change in the committee or in my perception or both. Either way, it makes it hard to drum up enthusiasm for decreasing the activation barrier for smaller groups to take dramatic actions. Opabinia regalis (talk) 08:24, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  1. I can't talk myself off the fence. This is an improvement over the first version, but I still worry that this could create a chilling effect within the committee. If this does pass, the second point is potentially unclear: does the "clock" start with the motion? With the first attempt to contact an inactive arb specifically? When the last "known medium" has been tried? – Joe (talk) 11:28, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Arbitrator comments/discussion
  • I think this proposal is essentially common sense. Two-thirds of arbitrators agreeing on anything is already difficult, but two-thirds agreeing on removal of an arbitrator when we have to count even the arbitrator being voted out and long-term inactive arbitrators (e.g. Ks0stm and DeltaQuad last year) is borderline impossible. This is especially true after the reduction in Committee size this year. This year, it would take 9/12 arbitrators to remove an arbitrator from the Committee, if we assume the arbitrator in question won't vote for their own removal. If we had two inactive arbitrators as well, it would take 9/10. That is an impossible task to achieve in a timely manner. This proposal would effectively reduce those numbers to 8/12 and 7/10, respectively, which is doable in the case of severe issues. I've proposed a month of inactivity instead of any inactivity to avoid decisions being made by a small subset of arbitrators in the event that a large number of arbitrators go inactive for short periods of time, which is common around holidays and the like. This proposal only excludes the votes of those unlikely to be reachable for an extended period of time. ~ Rob13Talk 03:11, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
    • @Joe Roe: It has never happened, but that's because the current policy is terrible. That is despite an arb leaking information from arbcom-l and now an arb violating the access to nonpublic information policy repeatedly. If Alex had not resigned, I honestly do not know that we could have removed him, despite the Ombudsman Commission report. We may simply not have had the votes, given that we can't expect an arb to vote against themselves and we had several long-term inactive arbs that would be counted as de facto opposing if they didn't place a vote at all. "Just nine votes" sounds like a small number until you have a few inactive arbs. In the situation I detailed above, if we had two long-term inactive arbs and a similar situation came before this Committee, we would need an astonishing 90% of votes of active arbitrators to remove someone. That is not workable. ~ Rob13Talk 16:26, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I think it is appropriate to bring this up, though my feeling is that the Committee should not give fellow members a privileged position. We can desysop an admin on majority decision, so we should suspend an arbiter also on majority decision. Level playing field. So for me the "two-thirds" needs changing along with the automatic recusing of the arbiter under question. Desysopping an admin is more significant than suspending an arbiter. SilkTork (talk) 10:09, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm really not sure this is appropriate. Removing an arbitrator involves substituting the community's judgment ("We elect this person") with the committee's ("We think this person is unfit") or, more worryingly, a clique's ("The committee has listened to this set of users, who say the arbitrator should be removed"). I rather think that removing an arbitrator should be so obvious, gathering up the required Yes votes is easy. Even inactive arbitrators can usually be contacted for once-in-a-year votes like for removing an arbitrator. This feels like the thin end of a wedge, and like concentrating the power of a (hypothetical) set of arbitrators.
    Having a high bar also avoids arbitrators contemplating the removal of colleagues for lesser disagreements; it simply isn't open as a choice except in egregious cases. This change will alter the committee's dynamics, and therefore the role it plays in our project. While this proposal seems like a practical, procedural change (why should inactive arbitrators be counted?), it may unintentionally encroach on plurality. I am uncomfortable. If we think the community failed to consider this issue when they recently reduced the committee's size, perhaps we should first refer it to the 2019 ACE RFC – even asking for that be brought forward. Holding for comments. AGK ■ 10:50, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • How many times has an arb been removed by vote, not counting "jumped before they were pushed" situations? If it's not very many, I'm inclined to say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I also think AGK's point is a good one. If you have a situation where the arb in question refuses to resign, and those in favour of removing them are struggling to get just nine votes, chances are it's an issue that should be referred back to the community that elects us. – Joe (talk) 12:25, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • @BU Rob13: No, and to be honest I would have hoped that was already implied by the current wording and common courtesy. My core concern is the mathematics. Let's say four arbs are inactive (as they are on this motion). That makes the threshold for removing an arb just six votes – less than half of the full committee. Recusals it would make that even less, as would reductions any further reductions to the size of the committee. I'm concerned that this could lead to unpopular views within the committee being stifled. – Joe (talk) 07:04, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
    @Joe Roe: Of course. I was just offering to put it in writing if that satisfied you. As a side note, this proposal would not lead to four arbs being inactive right now for the purposes of removal of an arb. Only Callanecc has been inactive for 30 days. We would have 12 of 13 arbs who are not long-term inactive under this proposal. If one of those 12 was the arb facing removal, eight votes would be required. ~ Rob13Talk 12:44, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Mkdw: I fully agree with what you said above, for the record, with the additional caveat that we also need to have contacted them through all known mediums before the timer starts. So, for instance, where one of us has an arb's cell number, we would need to shoot them a text before the timer starts to make sure they've had every possible opportunity to be aware of it. ~ Rob13Talk 19:00, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

Discussion and comments

  • This unfortunate episode from 2012 may be worth reviewing. --Rschen7754 03:16, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
    • I also had that in mind, yes. When I've discussed this change privately with a few editors, it was brought up several times and only further convinced me of proposing this amendment. The massive hole in this clause turned that situation into a larger dumpster fire than it might have been. ~ Rob13Talk 03:39, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
      • Though I supported Elen in that motion I was the only one, and five Committee members voted for her to be suspended. That's a clear majority, and she should have been suspended, but enough Committee members remained silent for the motion to fail under the 2/3s rule. Even with the proposed changes, the motion would have failed. Under standard simple majority rules, with the abstain, five votes would have seen her suspended. SilkTork (talk) 11:18, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • You might (or might not) wish to add that any recused arbitrators not be counted. Newyorkbrad (talk) 03:30, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
    • Probably should have explained this from the get-go: I have intentionally not omitted recused arbitrators in this proposed amendment, because I believe there should be no recusals when adjudicating the potential removal of an arbitrator. In jurisprudence, judicial disqualification carries with it a concept apparently called the "rule of necessity", based on that article. If the normal rules of disqualification would result in no judge being able to hear a case, then no judge is required to recuse so as to allow a case to be heard to the best of the court's abilities. Given that all arbitrators necessarily work extremely closely with each other for an extended period of time behind closed doors, requiring any one of us to recuse makes little sense when we all have a substantial appearance of potential conflict. I believe a similar "rule of necessity" applies in this situation; because all arbitrators would need to conventionally recuse themselves from ruling on a sitting arbitrator, none should. (You know all of this, of course, Brad. I'm saying it for the benefit of other editors.) ~ Rob13Talk 03:39, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
      • [32] :) Newyorkbrad (talk) 03:45, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
      • In the Elen motion those who recused did so because there was an election in which they and Elen were standing, so there was a conflict of interest, and the recusals were appropriate. There are other circumstances in which recusal is appropriate. Simply not wishing to make a decision on a colleague is not one of them; so using that inappropriate reason for recusal as a reason to over-ride legitimate reasons for recusal wouldn't be workable. SilkTork (talk) 11:32, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
        And note that in the elections she still got above 56% votes and was close to being re-elected, which, at least at the first glance, invalidates the theory she lost all the community support (I opposed her candidacy then FWIW).--Ymblanter (talk) 11:50, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
        Every arbitrator has a potential conflict with every other arbitrator. We work too closely not to develop opinions about each other, camaraderie, etc. Often, we will be directly involved in the events related to potentially removing an arbitrator, if such a situation comes up again. Sure, the extent of those rationales for recusal may vary, but nevertheless, we could all be legitimately considered involved. ~ Rob13Talk 16:29, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
        I'm no lawyer, but this 'necessity' argument isn't working for me either. There's a huge difference between the mild inherent conflict in making decisions about a colleague, which would apply equally to the whole committee, and the more significant reasons that might prompt individual arbitrators to recuse - being candidates in the same election as the arb potentially being removed is about as pure an example as I can think of of an irresolvable individual conflict. (Assuming of course that no one is going to withdraw from the election just to participate in the removal vote.) I'm not explicitly arguing for allowing recusals - I haven't thought in enough depth about this yet, but I'm concerned that counting both inactivity and recusal would result in a group that is too small to be practical for a decision of this magnitude. For a group that normally does everything pretty slowly, I can think of a number of cases both during and before my time when I thought it was clear that people were rushing too much. However, I am explicitly arguing that this 'rule of necessity' stuff is insufficient justification for not permitting recusals in this context. Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:37, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • My thoughts generally align with AGK's. While I can see the logic in not counting the vote of the arbitrator being voted about, I do think every effort should be made to get in contact with inactive arbitrators for their opinions to be counted. I assume that arbitrators still share contact information with each other on the arbwiki? When I was on the Committee, had the need arisen, I could have contacted I think every other arbitrator by phone and/or an email address in addition to the one they used on the mailing list. If there is a breach of the privacy policy then the WMF are empowered to remove access to the tools and arbcom definitely has the means to contact them in an emergency. I think (but am happy to be corrected) that Jimbo still has the power to dismiss an arbitrator in extremis. If that really isn't enough then what you should be creating is a recall petition mechanism whereby the community can decide whether the arb in question still holds their trust - abuse of this could be prevented by requiring a petition to be authorised by at least N (non-recused and/or active) arbs (or N%) (who would be under no obligation to vote to remove their fellow arb) and removal to happen if >2/3rds of those voting vote for removal. Thryduulf (talk) 16:54, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
    • @Isaacl: There is (or at least was) a provision for arbcom to hold a special election at any time should the number of arbitrators fall below what they feel is required to discharge their duties. I can't immediately find where this is though, so cannot say whether it applies to total arbs, active arbs, or is completely at the committee's discretion, however I don't think the Committee could increase the total number of arbs beyond the maximum authorised by the community (currently 13). Thryduulf (talk) 17:39, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
      • The relevant provision of WP:ARBPOL is "In exceptional circumstances, the Committee may call interim elections, in a format similar to that of the regular annual elections, if it determines that arbitrator resignations or inactivity have created an immediate need for additional arbitrators." I believe the "format similar to that of the regular annual elections" would mean that such an interim election would be preceded by an abridged election RfC, which would allow the community to select how many arbitrators they wish to elect. The Arbitration Committee could theoretically ask that the community allow additional arbitrators to be elected over the current total, but the community could also theoretically choose to elect none at all, effectively rebuking the Arbitration Committee for calling unnecessary interim elections. ~ Rob13Talk 19:29, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
      • Since the relevant clause specifies inactivity as a reason to need additional arbitrators, I don't see any barrier to electing more. The number of arbitrators isn't fixed in the policy but is just a consequence of the rules established by the community in the annual elections. I agree though that it would be counter to community desires to increase the number of active arbitrators beyond the community's wishes. To that end, I think it would be best for the terms of the interim arbitrators to end once the previously inactive arbitrators return. isaacl (talk) 06:21, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
  • A couple of times it is mentioned that the percentage of active arbitrators required to remove an arbitrator increases as the number of inactive arbitrators goes up. I don't think it matters, because in the end, nine arbitrators have to be convinced, and I don't think it gets easier to convince one of them if there are more active arbitrators. I think it is practical to look at scenarios where there are fewer than ten arbitrators active, and so meeting the threshold becomes impossible, but I also think it should be determined if there ought to be a minimum quorum for any vote in support of removing an arbitrator. Should the number of active arbitrators drop below this quorum value plus one, then a contingency procedure can be brought into effect. For example, a special election could be held for substitute arbitrators, or for an oversight group whose sole purpose would be to participate in votes to remove arbitrators. isaacl (talk) 17:07, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
    • I suggest that an amendment along these lines should be accompanied with one that sets a threshold at which interim elections will be held to elect interim arbitrators. As each regularly-elected arbitrator returns, the term of the interim arbitrator who had garnered the least support would end. For example, say a threshold of three-quarters of the size of the full arbitration committee is specified: this would mean that interim elections would be held if the number of arbitrators required to remove an arbitrator drops to one-half of the full committee. isaacl (talk) 15:30, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
      • @Joe Roe: Your concern about the absolute number of arbitrators required to remove one is the reason for my suggestion of an accompanying amendment. @BU Rob13: I'm not clear what you offered to put in writing; can you clarify? isaacl (talk) 16:34, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
        • @Isaacl: See my comment below my vote. ~ Rob13Talk 16:36, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Joe Roe: No arbitrator has ever been removed by committee vote for misconduct. One was removed for long-term inactivity; that was in 2011. Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:39, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
    • I would be interested in your take on whether that's because the provision isn't needed or because it's too strict. I take the view of the latter. ~ Rob13Talk 18:57, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
      • I don’t believe the difficulty of removing an arbitrator has been a major issue. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:28, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
        • I've always thought that this provision has made it unreasonably hard to remove an arbitrator. As I recall, it was added to prevent the possibility of a coup at one particular time. Doug Weller talk 16:03, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I have a minor qualm with the grammar of the proposed sentence and might suggest it would be read more clearly as Any arbitrator who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by Committee resolution supported by two-thirds of active arbitrators, not counting the arbitrator in question. Active is defined as activity within the past 30 days. --Izno (talk) 16:46, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I think a change might be warranted but I'm not sure this is it. 30 days is too short, in my opinion - that can happen quite frequently. However, severely inactive arbitrators should not be counted in the 2/3 calculations (and neither should the arbitrator in question). Another way this could be solved is automatic removal or suspension of an arbitrator after 6 months. This would have the benefit of increased data protection as well. --Rschen7754 07:34, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
    • @Rschen7754: automatic removal is a good idea, although I'd set it at 3 months of no participation in arbitration matters. "Participation" would be defined as commenting on any active request, discussion, motion, etc. on a page in the Wikipedia:Arbitration or Wikipedia talk:Arbitration hierarchy or the arb mailing list, excluding discussions related to their inactivity. If there was a reasonable explanation for the inactivity, then automatic removal could be deferred once for up to 3 months by a motion supported by 2/3 of active arbs (i.e. it takes a motion to keep an inactive arb not a motion to remove one). After 6 months of this complete inactivity they are removed without exception. Thryduulf (talk) 14:26, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
      • @Rschen7754 and Thryduulf: Automatic removal gets very tricky for multiple reasons. First, we do need to respect that these arbitrators were voted onto the Committee by hundreds of voters. Kicking them off in cases other than a massive breach of trust is a bit iffy. Second, keep in mind that many arbitrators become inactive for reasons beyond their control that are nevertheless temporary – health, temporary situations at work, etc. We would lose perfectly good arbitrators permanently who might have come back to assist with Committee work if we kicked those individuals off. Additionally, arbitrators often go inactive on the activity list but remain active on individual matters because they do not have the time to handle the full workload of the Committee. This was the case for me for several months from December to February as I dealt with a variety of health issues. I stayed as active as I could, but I didn't want my lack of vote to hold up ban appeals, for instance, so I set myself to be presumed inactive until/unless I showed up to participate. Finally, the number of arbitrators who go completely inactive for six months is extraordinarily low (recently, only Ks0stm), but long-term inactivity from many different arbs for periods of 1-2 months could leave us with no quorum to remove an arb at any one point in time if they overlap. In that sense, this wouldn't fix the issue of an arbitrator being unable to be removed in a timely fashion upon gross breach of trust.

        Having said all that, I definitely am committed to reworking this proposal as needed so we wind up with the right solution rather than just a solution. This was intended as a starting point to solicit community feedback and put this issue on our radar. I'm currently toying with several possibilities and plan to propose an alternative soon-ish. ~ Rob13Talk 19:40, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

        • @BU Rob13: Temporary inactivity of the sort you describe would not result in automatic removal - all that is required of an arbitrator is a single comment on a single arb-related happening, on the wiki or on the mailing list, every 3 months. If they haven't managed that low bar but their colleagues still feel they should be kept around, then a majority of active arbs can pass a motion to keep them for another 3 months. If an arb has not managed to make a single contribution to arbitration matters in 6 months then they really are not doing the job they were elected to do and shouldn't be on the committee - and should be removed but removed in good standing. This is a much lower standard than required of oversighters who have to make 5 logged actions every three months. Thryduulf (talk) 19:49, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
          • Looking back at the mailing list, not even Ks0stm would meet that definition of inactivity (going with the six months, because I don't see why ArbCom would ever not retain a member after three months). The potential automatic removal proposal would have no effect. ~ Rob13Talk 19:52, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
            • I certainly would vote against retaining someone as an arbitrator who had not had any interaction with arbitration matters for 3 months absent truly exceptional circumstances and don't understand why you wouldn't. Arbitrators are elected to do a job, and if they aren't doing it they shouldn't be treated as if they are. Thryduulf (talk) 20:42, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
              • I'm not about to overrule the results of a community election because someone fell sick. I think it would be patently absurd to do so. ~ Rob13Talk 20:51, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
                • I disagree. It's always unfortunate when this happens, and our best wishes should always go to that person. But at the end of the day, it would be better to have someone who is able to be active in the role. (I can think of one arb who would have met that definition from this decade). For reference, stewards can be removed outside of confirmations if they fall below a certain activity level, although the last time this happened was 2015. --Rschen7754 21:16, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
                  • It's highly unlikely a removed arbitrator would be replaced, however. That would involve holding a special election, which seems extremely unlikely outside of some catastrophic scenario where a third or more of the arbitrators resigned or fell ill. ~ Rob13Talk 21:18, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
                    • Yes, the two need to go together: any special treatment of inactive arbitrators, whether it is removing them from the post, or taking them out of the quorum required for specific votes, should be accompanied with a willingness to hold interim elections to replace the inactive arbitrators. isaacl (talk) 23:01, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
                      • I agree with Isaacl and Rschen. If someone is so ill they cannot even make a single contribution in three months then they're too ill to do the job, and we should wish them all the best but the good of the project must come first and we should let them focus on their health. Arbs removed for inactivity would, just like administrators desysopped for inactivity, remain in good standing and would be free to, if they want to, regain their CU and/or OS privs, their functionaries mailing list access and even stand for the Committee again in the future. This is not overruling the results of the election - they were elected to do a job, they are not doing the job so the wishes of the community are already not happening. If the number of arbitrators actually arbitrating falls below a certain level, for any reason, there should be interrim elections to bring the committee back up to strength. This would reduce the chance of a small group of arbitrators taking over. Thryduulf (talk) 02:10, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
                        • To be clear, I didn't say most of that; I too have misgivings about permanently removing someone who has been selected by the community. isaacl (talk) 04:20, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
                  • Considering an arbitrator who has gone incommunicado to be inactive is reasonable, to facilitate the ongoing operations of the committee. However I'm not sure it is necessary to remove the arbitrator permanently, particularly in the absence of an interim election to replace the arbitrator. isaacl (talk) 16:31, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
                      • In most circumstances in the RW, people can take leaves of absence without losing their status. Considering that the period of service of an admin is 2 years, if someone could not act for 6 months or even somewhat more in that period for medical or family or personal reasons, there's no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to act the other 18 months. There's no need to make a rule in the matter, as nobody that I can recall has ever abused this. DGG ( talk ) 04:02, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @BU Rob13: Regarding your second proposal, I would remove the word "inactive." Activity / inactivity is a slightly squishy concept; you know as well as I do that it is usually based on an informal email to the clerks' list requesting that someone be listed as active or inactive. So if an arb just disappears, it could be argued they are still "active" as they never requested to be listed as inactive - and then their vote would be required to unseat another arb.
    Regarding the discussion immediately above, I don't see a lot of value in removing arbs for inactivity, because in almost every matter the committee considers, inactive arbs are not counted anyway. GoldenRing (talk) 13:58, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
    • @GoldenRing: That's somewhat intended. Per WP:AC/P, "Any arbitrator who has not given prior notice of absence and who fails to post to the usual venues for seven consecutive days is deemed inactive in all matters with, where practical, retrospective effect to the date of the last known post." The idea is that we don't wish to discount the vote of an arbitrator who is around, but for some reason not participating in that one specific discussion. That carries a presumption that they do not support the motion to suspend/remove. If someone is genuinely not around, we can move them to inactive based on that provision of our procedures. ~ Rob13Talk 14:40, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Regarding the version 2 proposal, I suggest a minor wording change from "except" to "excluding". isaacl (talk) 15:00, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Looking at Version 2, isn't the phrase "solicit their feedback on the resolution through all known mediums of communication" an invitation to wikilawyering? I mean, does ArbCom have to somehow demonstrate that "all known mediums of communication" were tried? What does that mean? Does an inactive Arb who is known to play World of Warcraft lead to a requirement that attempts be made to contact her or him in-game? A written communication sent through snail mail is a medium of communication, do the Arbs now need to maintain a list of each other's addresses (on their private wiki, presumably)? Taken to extreme, does someone need to try messaging by smoke signals or skywriting? Perhaps changing "known" to "reasonable" might avoid some problems. EdChem (talk) 13:45, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • The chances of any arbitrator taking such a view are dim, and I'm not bothered by them. The point is that, if we know a second email, we try the second email. If we know a cell phone number, we text. If we know an address, sure, send a letter (though no arbitrator has made such information public in the past, to my knowledge). If we don't know the address, we wouldn't need to send a letter. We can't know where an arb will be at any given time, so no smoke signals or skywriting. Even a real-world court doesn't worry about how a statute could be interpreted by an unreasonable person. See reasonable person standard. ~ Rob13Talk 20:20, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

Restoration of sysop privileges to Necrothesp

Motion adopted (Version 1) – bradv🍁 02:57, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Version 1 (Necrothesp)

On March 14, 2019, the administrator permissions of Necrothesp (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) were temporarily removed as a suspected compromised account under the Level 1 desysopping procedures.

Following discussion concerning account security, and pursuant to the procedures for return of revoked permissions, the Arbitration Committee resolves the following:

The administrator permissions of Necrothesp (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) are restored, provided he enables two-factor authentication on his account.

Enactedbradv🍁 02:50, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

For this motion there are 11 active arbitrators, not counting 2 who are inactive, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.
  1. As proposer. Assuming he makes the request to the Stewards and we receive confirmation of the 2FA being activated before the bit is flipped back on. ♠PMC(talk) 21:22, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. Second choice. Katietalk 21:45, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. I can support this while pondering the wording of procedures moving forward. And perhaps it would be more appropriate to have a separate motion on procedures rather than tangle up the voting of a resysop with the voting of procedures because if some Arbs are not happy with the wording of the procedures motion, that could hold up Necrothesp's resysopping further. Provided Necrothesp enables 2FA, he can have the tools back while we jiggle with the procedures motion. SilkTork (talk) 22:42, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. Sympathetic to the view espoused by Joe, but I think enabling 2FA mitigates the risk well enough for me. AGK ■ 14:08, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. It gets lost sometimes in the rhetoric around account security, but admin accounts do not actually have access to the nuclear codes. We do not now have evidence that Necrothesp's account is any less secure than any other active admin's, and indeed just-breached accounts are probably the safest :) Even though everyone who plausibly can use 2FA really should, I'm very hesitant about this as a general practice - "if you get compromised, you'll be required to enable 2FA after" - because of the possibility that it will end up excluding people whose circumstances don't fit with MediaWiki's somewhat clunky implementation. But for this case I think it's reasonable. (In general, we'll get more bang for the security buck yelling from the rooftops at every opportunity that Thou Shalt Not Reuse Passwords, not even once, not even if you used password123Reddit and password123Wikipedia and now think it's unique, not even if the recycled password is "correct horse battery staple", just no. Are you reading this post and unsure if you might have used your Wikipedia password on Go change it, right now before you forget, I'll give you a cookie after.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 17:16, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. Necrothesp has enabled 2FA and therefore has, in my opinion based upon the available information regarding the situation, adequately secured their account from being compromised again and should have the tools returned to them. Mkdw talk 21:36, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  1. In favor of version 2, which also addresses how we should handle these situations going forward. ~ Rob13Talk 21:41, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
    I will switch to support if 3 passes. ~ Rob13Talk 15:12, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. In favor of version 2. RickinBaltimore (talk) 22:54, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. I am not convinced that Necrothesp adequately secures his account. By community policy, this is admin misconduct. In this instance, his negligence allowed a focused attacker to seriously vandalise the main page and a template used on almost every other Wikipedia page. Enabling 2FA is not going to solve the underlying lack of attention to basic security (it would also be impossible for us to monitor in the long term), so unfortunately I must come to the conclusion that Necrothesp can no longer be trusted with the tools. – Joe (talk) 05:27, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Arbitrator comments/discussion
  • @BU Rob13: How would it be Necrothesp's fault if motion 2 or 3 did not pass? It would not, so more importantly, why should Necrothesp's fate be tied to these two motions if you have reasonable confidence that their account will be secure (with 2FA enabled)? We are discussing and voting on increasing our security standards below, but I think it is unethical to hold someone hostage for effectively a political and policy position. They should be assessed fairly against our current enacted policies and protections, even if the ultimate decision is to deny their request to return their tools. Mkdw talk 16:03, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I absolutely agree. I want to reiterate that I think it is incredibly underhanded to suggest this kind of package motion where the handling of issues related to one person are combined with, and therefore made hostage to, a broader policy discussion. I sincerely hope that I don't see this kind of thing becoming a common practice. ♠PMC(talk) 16:26, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • +1 to PMC. This is a shabby way to treat a volunteer who made a mistake. We have plenty of other places to argue about internal wikipolitics. Opabinia regalis (talk) 17:16, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
      • Our current policy on administrators states that administrators must secure their account. Necrothesp fell short of that standard in a way that puts me squarely on the fence when it comes to restoring permissions. The problem is that we haven't enforced our current policy for quite some time, which may have created an expectation we would not enforce it going forward. While certain administrators have lagged behind in their security standards and their understanding of relevant policies, so too has the Arbitration Committee when it came to enforcing those standards and policies. I believe opposing this motion is justified by our current policy, and the motions proposed below merely state that we will be enforcing existing community policy going forward. If, as a Committee, we decide that it's worthwhile to clarify that we will begin enforcing the current policy going forward, I am willing to support this resysop due to the expectations our shoddy enforcement caused. If we decide such a clarification is unnecessary, then there is no reason not to enforce the current policy now, which leads me to oppose resysopping. ~ Rob13Talk 17:52, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
        • You are opposing Necrothesp to make a point. Your vote is completely contingent on whether the committee will vote in alignment with your own agenda to amend the policy. Such strategic voting with ulterior motives should not be a practice on the Arbitration Committee. Your view that the committee is not appropriately enforcing the policy is a valid argument, but conditionally voting with the express purpose of trying to influence votes is immoral. Oppose if in your fair assessment you believe Necrothesp does not meet the policy. Support if you do. But specifically voting because your policy amendment did not pass is an irresponsible tactic. We reach these decisions as a committee majority and ultimately to the frustration of some when the vote does not go their way. If you think conditional voting is the way to address or influence the process, that is in my opinion an error in judgement and a much more problematic issue than the one it is trying to solve. Mkdw talk 00:31, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
          • I both object to and take offense to quite a bit of what you said, but frankly, I don't have the energy or drive to respond to an arbitrator calling me immoral in response to an attempt to compromise. I will simply oppose. ~ Rob13Talk 03:25, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Opabinia regalis: It's also sometimes lost in the WP:NOBIGDEAL rhetoric that Wikipedia admins are, amongst other things, entrusted with sysop privileges on the world's fifth most visited website. That includes some very risky buttons. Can you imagine the front pages of YouTube or Amazon being replaced with "hacked by <some kid with tor>", even for a couple of minutes? That we are a volunteer project shouldn't stop us aspiring to the same level of professionalism. It's not the nuclear codes, but all we ask of admins is to adhere the most basic of security practices. Things that, for example, have been technically enforced in every workplace I've been at, despite me rarely being trusted with much more than the coffee machine. The evidence that Necrothesp's account is a continuing vulnerability is the fact that it has already been compromised once, and in his public and private responses to this incident. – Joe (talk) 18:10, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I agree with Joe, but there's also just generally a myth that compromised admin accounts don't cause real world harm. For instance, imagine a compromised admin account edits the main page to include a violent or extremely sexual picture, which is not an uncommon type of vandalism. How many traumatized children whose parents rightfully expected a clean main page are acceptable to us? I'm not all too bothered by "hacked by <some kid with tor>". I'm very bothered with putting hundreds of children around the world into therapy. And don't even get me started on the possibility for compromised CU accounts. ~ Rob13Talk 20:16, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
      • I'm not saying it's optimal for that kind of thing to happen, but suggesting that a single instance of accidentally viewing an inappropriate image would put "hundreds of children around the world into therapy" is a bit of an overstatement. ♠PMC(talk) 22:23, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
        • It depends what image. Someone who had been beheaded or something similarly gory? If viewed by a young enough child, that could certainly cause non-trivial issues for the parents to deal with, at the very least. ~ Rob13Talk 22:25, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Well, yes, I can imagine perfectly respectable websites (and debatably respectable ones, and not-respectable ones) getting hacked, sometimes in hilarious ways. (While looking for examples I checked our own list of security hacking incidents, which I'm tickled to discover begins with a telegraph demo in 1903 :) We don't need to resort to hyperbolic "but won't someone think of the children?" what-iffery to not want crap on our front (or any other) page, and to expect people to take reasonable precautions to avoid it, but IMO a lot of hyperbole and drama around account security is actually a perverse incentive - it makes the whole thing sound Big and Scary and like exactly the kind of thing people mean to pay attention to when they have time, sometime next week, after work, after this TV show is over, maybe in the morning, etc. It's anxiety-inducing! If you get it wrong, you might send hundreds of children into therapy! Better to just not worry about it. (This is exactly the approach I take to my taxes every year, and every April 14 I regret it, but as of, say, April 9? Feels great, man.) In fact the best thing anyone can do for their own security is use a strong, unique password. You only have to take one single action, one time, to be absolutely sure there's no risk of having forgotten that you reused the same password when you signed up for that Warcraft forum that one time in 2011. Opabinia regalis (talk) 05:50, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Version 2 (Necrothesp)

On March 14, 2019, the administrator permissions of Necrothesp (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) were temporarily removed as a suspected compromised account under the Level 1 desysopping procedures. The Arbitration Committee has verified that Necrothesp is back in control of their account via multiple methods. The administrator permissions of Necrothesp (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA) are restored, provided he enables two-factor authentication on his account for as long as he retains the sysop flag.

Since November 2018, six accounts have been desysopped under the Level I desysopping procedures as compromised administrator accounts. The Arbitration Committee would like to remind administrators that they are required to "have strong passwords and follow appropriate personal security practices." The current policy on security of administrator accounts provides that "a compromised admin account will be blocked and its privileges removed on grounds of site security" and "in certain circumstances, the revocation of privileges may be permanent."

The Arbitration Committee resolves that the return of administrator privileges to a compromised account is not automatic, in line with this policy. The Arbitration Committee will review all available information to determine whether the administrator followed "appropriate personal security practices." Factors the Arbitration Committee may use to make this determination include, but are not limited to, whether the administrator used a strong, unique password on both their Wikipedia account and associated email account, whether the administrator enabled two-factor authentication, and how the account was compromised. If the Committee determines the administrator failed to secure their account adequately, the administrator will not be resysopped automatically. Unless otherwise stated, they may regain their administrative permissions through a successful request for adminship.
For this motion there are 11 active arbitrators, not counting 2 who are inactive, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.
  1. We need to start actually enforcing the community policy on the security of administrator accounts. The existing policy states admins must at least try to secure their accounts. Where we determine that they declined to do so and it resulted in damage to the encyclopedia, we should not be resysopping automatically. This alternate motion simply makes clear that we will be following existing community policy surrounding account security going forward. ~ Rob13Talk 21:41, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
    Second choice to Motion 3. ~ Rob13Talk 15:12, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. First choice. It is not exactly fair to Necrothesp to change the rules midstream, but I am heartily tired of dealing with these compromised admin accounts. Now everyone is on notice that resysop is no longer automatic in these situations. Katietalk 21:45, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. RickinBaltimore (talk) 22:54, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  1. Oppose on principle; restoring Necrothesp's privileges should not be contingent on altering our existing procedures. They're two separate discussions. ♠PMC(talk) 21:44, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. I support the warning about enforcement from now on, but oppose resysopping Necrothesp, per above. If this doesn't pass, we should vote on a standalone motion with just the second two paragraphs. – Joe (talk) 05:30, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. Unhelpfully, this motion conflates two different issues (our procedures for the future – and what to do with Necrothesp). AGK ■ 13:52, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. On principle. Mkdw talk 16:04, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. Now we have separated the resysopping from the procedure, this motion is no longer appropriate. SilkTork (talk) 17:07, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. Per PMC and Mkdw. Opabinia regalis (talk) 17:16, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Arbitrator comments/discussion
  • Has it been confirmed by us that Necrothesp is back in control of their account? The question was raised on the email list, and it was thought that the Foundation did the confirmation. I don't wish to change the wording as I don't actually know who did confirm it. SilkTork (talk) 22:33, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Per the Global log, T&S verified this and unblocked him. ♠PMC(talk) 22:56, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
    • We've also verified it via the WMF. A WMF staff member assured me that the person who is currently in control of the account is definitively the original account holder. This matches the language of past motions on resysopping previously-compromised admin accounts. ~ Rob13Talk 23:14, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
Motion adopted (Return of permissions) – bradv🍁 14:53, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Motion 3: Return of permissions

Since November 2018, six accounts have been desysopped under the Level I desysopping procedures as compromised administrator accounts. The Arbitration Committee reminds administrators that they are required to "have strong passwords and follow appropriate personal security practices." The current policy on security of administrator accounts provides that "a compromised admin account will be blocked and its privileges removed on grounds of site security" and "in certain circumstances, the revocation of privileges may be permanent."

The Arbitration Committee resolves that the return of administrator privileges to a compromised account is not automatic. The committee's procedure at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures § Removal of permissions, subsection Return of permissions, is replaced by the following:

Removal is protective, intended to prevent harm to the encyclopedia while investigations take place, and the advanced permissions will normally be reinstated once if a satisfactory explanation is provided or the issues are satisfactorily resolved. If the editor in question requests it, or if the Committee determines that a routine reinstatement of permissions is not appropriate, normal arbitration proceedings shall be opened to examine the removal of permissions and any surrounding circumstances.

In cases where an administrator account was compromised, the committee will review all available information to determine whether the administrator followed "appropriate personal security practices" before restoring permissions. Factors used to make this determination include: whether the administrator used a strong password on both their Wikipedia account and associated email account; whether the administrator had reused passwords across Wikipedia or the associated email account and other systems; whether the administrator had enabled two-factor authentication; and how the account was compromised.

If the Committee determines the administrator failed to secure their account adequately, the administrator will not be resysopped automatically. Unless otherwise provided by the committee, the administrator may regain their administrative permissions through a successful request for adminship.

Enactedbradv🍁 14:50, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

For this motion there are 10 active arbitrators, not counting 2 who are inactive and 1 who has abstained or recused, so 6 support or oppose votes are a majority.
  1. Proposed; splitting this from Motion 2 per our earlier discussions. In the wording for a new procedure, I have separated the requirement for a 'strong password' and for a 'unique password' to drive home the point: reusing passwords across systems is unsafe. AGK ■ 14:21, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. Support as 2nd choice. RickinBaltimore (talk) 14:53, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. Fully happy with this. First choice, since it puts it into our procedures directly. ~ Rob13Talk 15:11, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. Explicitly adding it to our procedures is a good idea. – Joe (talk) 18:13, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. Katietalk 02:33, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. Well, the path that got to this wasn't very good - let's not try this particular style of attempted compromise anymore. But I think the substance is reasonable. I agree with PMC that there's some fuzziness here, but normally I'd expect that to be a good thing that allows us to be clear with the community about expectations while also allowing room for case-by-case evaluations. It does also allow room for implausible speculation and motivated reasoning, but I think it's like a lot of things arbcom-related - everyone gets it wrong sometimes, but we don't all get it wrong the same way all at once very often. Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:15, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  7. I also support the suggestion for a mass-message to be sent out to administrators to inform them about this change to WP:RETURN once it has been implemented. The issue of compromised admin accounts should be taken more seriously by the committee and the community-at-large. I think these changes also leave the door open to future amendments and improvements to address a wider number of issues should they arise. Mkdw talk 16:00, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  1. I'm going to abstain on this, although I support it in principle. I have to point out that although we can confirm some information about an editor's Wikipedia password and their use of 2FA, we have no way of actually confirming whether someone had a unique, strong password for their Wikipedia-associated email address, if they reused their password on other sites, and how the compromise occurred. At best all we have is the editor's word and (particularly with the last point) our best guess. I'm not sure it's fair for us to enshrine those points in policy as reasons not to return someone's permissions when we have no way of confirming the information. ♠PMC(talk) 17:29, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Arbitrator comments/discussion
  • I'm in favour of making clear moving forward that compromised accounts will not automatically have the admin tools restored. Where I am unsure is if this is the procedure we wish to adopt, as it amounts to us asking (as we have done in this case): "Did you have a strong and unique password?" and the admin saying (as they have done in this case) "Yes". But in this case, despite assurances that the password was strong and unique, the admin account was still compromised, which is why we have taken a long time to even get as far as this on-Wiki discussion, why we are insisting on 2FA, and why Joe is opposing a resysopping. I'm not sure a simple assertion that "Yes of course my password was safe" is quite enough, because if someone's admin account became compromised there was a flaw somewhere in that user's security which they didn't know about, and are possibly still not aware of. I think the procedure should be that if an admin's account was compromised and they didn't have 2FA, then they need to enable 2FA to get the tools back. SilkTork (talk) 17:34, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I have to strongly disagree with the premise that all we can do is ask the admin. Here, the WMF made a public statement in which they noted that the password was likely reused due to specific, credible information. We can ask the WMF for similar information in any future cases of a compromise and base our decision on that information as well as what the admin tells us. If an account is compromised on the first try and there is no indication of any type of attack perpetrated through Wikipedia itself (e.g. with site JS on smaller wikis), it's fairly clear it was from a reused password, phishing, or a keylogger. ~ Rob13Talk 17:56, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

Discussion and comments (Necrothesp)

I don't wish to beat up on this particualr admin (since that's already been done to the point where I'm sure the message has been received) but I would urge the committee to go with version 2, and to consider it a sort of final warning that admins are expected to secure their accounts and ignorance of the last 5-6 years (at least) of evolving policy on this matter is no excuse as we expect admins to be up to speed on important policies. And reports about this hae been in the monthly admin newsletter how many times now? I've lost count. Kinda a big part of the job, and if you can't be bothered to keep up you should be big enough to hand in the tools. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:18, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

Should this pass, I hope that a MassMessage will be sent to all admins, active or not (and signed "On behalf of the Arbitration Committee" so they don't think it's just a newsletter that can be ignored). --Rschen7754 05:20, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
@Rschen7754: We can certainly do that. ~ Rob13Talk 05:42, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
@BU Rob13 and Rschen7754: would you want this for all users that are currently admins, or also those that are not currently admins but may be eligible for re-sysoping? --DannyS712 (talk) 06:00, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Likewise, although I'm sympathetic to both the optics and voting implications of splitting version 2 into two separate motions. ~ Amory (utc) 10:16, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't the current policy wordings leave discretion with the bureaucrats and not mention ArbCom? EdChem (talk) 13:48, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • We are dealing in this motion with scenarios where there is a removal due to a security breach. The policy wording you mention was added to deal with security concerns that arise in passing after an administrator requests restoration of rights removed due to inactivity. In the latter scenario, the bureaucrats are the first assessors of the security issues. In the former scenario, ArbCom deals with the security issues and votes to reinstate where it knows the issues are resolved. It would not make sense for the bureaucrats to duplicate ArbCom's work in cases of compromised accounts. This illustrates an issue with some language at WP:ADMIN: we keep adding sentences to deal with edge cases that then mislead readers, through the illusion of comprehensiveness, when a different edge case arises. AGK ■ 14:05, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • AGK, I am aware that ArbCom can and does desysop for security reasons, it is the reason that I was surprised by the wording. WP:SECUREADMIN states that "[d]iscretion on resysopping temporarily desysopped administrators is left to bureaucrats," which appears to me to empower bureaucrats to duplicate ArbCom work and even resysop after a Level 1 desysop unilaterally provided the 'crat is convinced security issues are addressed so long as a leel 1 desysop can be placed into the "temporary" camp. Wikipedia:User account security#Privileged editors states that Administrators, bureaucrats, checkusers, stewards and oversighters discovered to have weak passwords, or to have had their accounts compromised by a malicious person, may have their accounts blocked and their privileges removed on grounds of site security. In certain circumstances, the revocation of privileges may be permanent. Discretion on resysopping temporarily desysopped administrators is left to the bureaucrats, provided they can determine that the administrator is back in control of the previously compromised account. This mentions nothing about ArbCom. It asserts desysopping or other rights revocations may be permanent under "certain circumstances," but gives no clue as to what those might be, nor does it define who makes the decision. For sysop permissions, the discretion could be argued to be held only by the 'crats.
  • I agree with you that duplication is unhelpful, and that in practice ArbCom has the decision-making role... but I am surprised to see nothing in policy that supports that this is the case. I know that ArbCom gets to design its own procedures but cannot make policy. Arguably, above attempts to codify the desysopping being permanent falls into the former case rather than the latter, but that argument becomes much weaker when the policy basis for security breaches leading to permanent action is vague, does not mention ArbCom, and (I suspect) may not have been subject to community endorsement as policy. It may come from WMF actions / directions, but then that should be explicitly stated. Before codifying procedures, the basis for ArbCom authority should be clearly found in policy that is WMF mandated and / or community endorsed. I get that there is something about this particular case and the mishandling of security that has ArbCom annoyed. Perhaps it is a particularly egregious case, or just the latest in a series of cases that should never have arisen. Privacy concerns mean that can't be disclosed in detail, but those motivations don't justify acting as if policy support for ArbCom's authority in this area is clear when the policy documentation does not bear that out. The language on removals becoming permanent goes back at least a decade, so perhaps merely codifying that the decision-maker is ArbCom is needed, along with clarifying when bureaucrats can exercise the discretion that they have under the policy? EdChem (talk) 14:52, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I think the functional part here though is that since the removal was authorized under WP:LEVEL1 the return is only authorized under WP:RETURN. That is, as ArbCom has explicitly removed the permission, only ArbCom may explicitly return it. If the user group is not returned by ArbCom, WP:RfA still exists. WP:SECUREADMIN seems to specifically refer to things such as password requirements; if WMF ever did one of the promised audits, they could presumably pass that on to bureaucrats for action. ~ Amory (utc) 15:08, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Our authority to act here is solid. There are several ancillary policies and procedures we could cite (see above), but ultimately it comes down to the fact that WP:ARBPOL gives ArbCom the responsibility for removing the admin permissions. It necessarily follows that we can decide if/when to give back bits we remove, and impose conditions (analogous to topic bans imposed by individual admins as unblock conditions). It would be helpful to amend WP:SECUREADMIN to note that this eventuality exists. – Joe (talk) 18:29, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Please keep in mind that there is no mechanism available to stewards or bureaucrats to validate if a user has enabled 2FA, nor do they have a mechanism that can be used to determine if 2FA is deactivated at a future time. (WMF staff and certain developers can access this user-level data only). There is some consideration for building this functionality (see phab:T209749) however the last notes from the foundation suggest it is unlikely to be made available to project volunteers. To this end, I don't think ArbCom should be creating a user restriction ("account X requires 2FA") that has no mechanism to validate or audit, thus no means to enforce. — xaosflux Talk 14:30, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Xaosflux: This specific concern was discussed quite a bit internally. We can get this data from the WMF, and have in the past. ~ Rob13Talk 15:14, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @BU Rob13: thanks for the note. From my reading of the first proposals above, once enacted this motion completes correct? That is, ArbCom is not creating a continuing requirement that this specific user must maintain 2FA as an ongoing condition of maintaining their administrator access correct? — xaosflux Talk 15:54, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
      • For the second proposal, it seems to be missing a few things: (1) Under what authority is ArbCom creating a new account restriction, (2) What are the mechanics for enforcement? — xaosflux Talk 15:56, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
        • I am not the best person to address the first question as a broad question, because I raised the same concern myself at one point and am not fully satisfied with the answer. Having said that, Necrothesp has noted privately to the Committee that he is willing to enable 2FA going forward. I would say our authority in this case is consent of the editor. In terms of enforcement, theoretically, the Arbitration Committee can request a list of editors with 2FA enabled from the Foundation. We've been provided with such information as it relates to the functionary team in the past. As a practical matter, I am more than happy to AGF that Necrothesp wouldn't blatantly lie to us about enabling 2FA and keeping it enabled. ~ Rob13Talk 18:02, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
        • We already have a password strength policy that is supposed to be binding on all admins, it has just never been enforced even one single time. And now there is also a global policy. We asked the WMF for password auditing in 2015 but as far as I kno wthat's never been done either, but I seem to recall seeing somewhere recently that that is close to being a reality as well. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:34, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
          • Discussed at phab:T121186, the "regular audits" and "password strength bar" have, obviously, not been implemented. ~ Amory (utc) 17:50, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • In Version 3 by AGK et al. the unchanged text from the current policy at WP:RETURN appears to proscribe a case if ArbCom doesn't return the perms, is that a fair assessment? Would it be worth indicating that a case is not required in all cases (such as this), perhaps simply by changing shall be opened to may be opened? ~ Amory (utc) 15:26, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Given the typically private nature of discussions regarding an individual account's security, I would argue we're already opening "normal arbitration proceedings" when an account is compromised by seeking evidence regarding the account's security privately. The normal proceedings in such a situation would be a private case, not a public one. I would consider the new language on our procedures for compromised accounts as descriptive of "normal arbitration proceedings" in that situation. ~ Rob13Talk 18:06, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Please note that Necrothesp has enabled 2FA on his account. See here. Thank you for taking that step. ~ Rob13Talk 18:57, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I've been informed that log is noting he got oauth-tester, which allows him to enable 2FA. Either way, thanks for taking a step toward 2FA. ~ Rob13Talk 19:01, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

Requests for enforcement

Arbitration enforcement action appeal by Dlthewave

Procedural notes: The rules governing arbitration enforcement appeals are found here. According to the procedures, a "clear, substantial, and active consensus of uninvolved editors" is required to overturn an arbitration enforcement action.

To help determine any such consensus, involved editors may make brief statements in separate sections but should not edit the section for discussion among uninvolved editors. Editors are normally considered involved if they are in a current dispute with the sanctioning or sanctioned editor, or have taken part in disputes (if any) related to the contested enforcement action. Administrators having taken administrative actions are not normally considered involved for this reason alone (see WP:UNINVOLVED).

Appealing user 
Dlthewave (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) – –dlthewave 17:33, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
Sanctions being appealed 
Administrators imposing the sanctions 

Sandstein (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA)
GoldenRing (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA)

Notification of those administrators 



Statement by Dlthewave

  • I feel that the closing statement "Springee, Trekphiler, RAF910 and Dlthewave are warned not to misuse Wikipedia as a forum for polemic statements unrelated to Wikipedia, or attacking or vilifying groups of editors, persons, or other entities.", which appears to be copy-and-pasted from WP:POLEMIC, is not an accurate assessment of consensus among the admins who participated in the discussion. Among other things, it implies that all four editors are equally at fault, which does not appear to be what the admins intended in their support for a logged warning. Although Goldenring did delete a page in my userspace under WP:POLEMIC, there was no discussion of my "attacking" or "vilifying" anyone and one admin even stated "Dlthewave is in fact engaged in appropriate editing and discussion." There was no proposal to issue a logged warning to Dlthewave. (As a sidenote, I also feel that issuing a polemic warning to the other three involved editors instead of a warning related to talk page conduct was entirely out of left field, but that is something for them to address in their own appeals if they choose to pursue them.)
  • I feel that Goldenring's deletion of a page in my userspace, User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing_of_firearms_articles, has a chilling effect on my ability to document and share what I view as a long-term pattern in the gun control/gun crime topic area. This documentation plays an essential role in addressing current problems that are, in my opinion, a continuation of that pattern. My intention is to demonstrate a pattern and not to attack the individual editors who have been involved in that pattern. This removal is especially concerning when the "opposing" attacks and accusations which I documented are allowed to remain in full view at WP:Firearms and other talk pages. I would be open to discussing ways to do this that would not be viewed as an attack page, since similar pages maintained by other editors have passed MfD.
Although this deletion may have been within Goldenring's editorial discretion, I would like it to be reviewed by other admins and preferably discussed by the community at Miscellany for Deletion. –dlthewave 17:33, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I've opened a Deletion Review here as suggested. –dlthewave 21:53, 24 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Sandstein

After rereading User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles, I agree with the appellant that the page was not (quite) a violation of WP:POLEMIC because it did not name editors and did not make allegations of misconduct, except as implied in the title ("whitewashing"), but that alone probably doesn't merit a warning. Because that page was the reason for my warning, I am striking it and recommend that GoldenRing (talk · contribs) undelete the page. A case can perhaps be made for its deletion on grounds of copyright / attribution, but that's a matter for the deletion process. Sandstein 18:37, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

Per my comment here, I've also withdrawn the warning with respect to Springee. Clearly I should have read the enforcement request more carefully; sorry for that. I think that we should be more careful in the future as to whether or not to entertain enforcement requests directed at multiple editors. Sandstein 22:59, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
In response to Bishonen, GoldenRing is correct that an action that has been labeled as an AE action may only be reviewed by way of the process described at WP:AC/DS#Appeals, that is, here at AE, or at AN or ARCA – but not at DRV. Bishonen, I recommend that you undo your temporary restoration of the page for the purpose of the DRV, or you may be desysopped for undoing an AE action out of process, as described at WP:AC/DS#Modifications by administrators. Any admin who acts on the currently ongoing DRV by overturning the deletion may likewise be desysopped. Sandstein 15:26, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Springee

I'm clearly an involved editor. As I said before I think Dlthewave has a very strong POV on this topic and I frequently disagree with them. However, when push comes to shove, I don't think on good faith they viewed the page as a POLMIC. For what it's worth, I would support reverting Dlthewave's warning. Springee (talk) 19:12, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by GoldenRing

I disagree with Sandstein above and stand by this action. Dlthewave has stated right here that the purpose of this page is to document long-term problematic editing and policy is clear that such material is allowed only for dispute resolution and when used in a timely manner. I don't see the practical difference between, "so-and-so said this" (which the appellant seems to admit would be disallowed) and "someone said this and here's a link showing who it was" which is what they've actually done. GoldenRing (talk) 21:01, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

@Bishonen: I'm not sure why you've suggested deletion review here. AE actions cannot be overturned at deletion review, only at AE, AN or ARCA. Have you also not just unilaterally undone an AE action? GoldenRing (talk) 10:19, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
@Dlthewave: I will reiterate here what I've said on the deletion review: if you wish to use this material for valid dispute resolution (probably either an ANI or arbitration case request) and can outline a reasonable timeline for doing so (either on-wiki or privately by email), then I will self-revert my enforcement action. GoldenRing (talk) 10:32, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
I would like to add, for what it's worth at this point, that I agree a formal warning to Dlthewave was not warranted. GoldenRing (talk) 12:07, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Please note that I have requested clarification from the arbitration committee regarding my deletion at WP:ARCA. GoldenRing (talk) 16:02, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Simonm223

Marginally involved. I just found out about the removal of DLThewave's excellent summary of the challenges faced to bring firearms into compliance with WP:N including the way that a wikiproject has tried to present their MOS suggestions as policy. I've said as much at another venue, but this is definitely not a violation of WP:POLEMIC and should be undeleted for the valuable resource it is. Simonm223 (talk) 15:03, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Statement by (involved editor 2)

Discussion among uninvolved editors about the appeal by Dlthewave

Result of the appeal by Dlthewave

This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators. Comments by others will be moved to the sections above.
  • I commented in the initial thread, so I'm not sure whether my response should appear in this section, or above with GoldenRing's and Sandstein's. The deletion of Dlthewave's userspace subpage was arguably appropriate under WP:POLEMIC, and within reasonable admin discretion on GoldenRing's part. While I'm not sure I would have done the same, I'm comfortable leaving the page deleted. That said, I don't think a formal warning to Dlthewave is warranted; there wasn't really any support for such a warning amongst uninvolved admins in the previous thread, and it seems like overkill. The proper response to a potentially polemical userspace subpage is to delete it, which has been done. There wasn't any convincing evidence of a pattern of behavior warranting a logged warning on Dlthewave's part, at least not that I saw.

    Regarding the logged warnings, I do take Springee's point that they perhaps paint the remaining 3 editors with an overly broad brush. There are clearly gradations of concerning behavior, with Springee on the mild end and Trekphiler/RAF910 showing a much more sustained and problematic battleground attitude. I'll leave it up to other admins whether we should modify the warning to exclude Springee, but it is worth considering while we're here. MastCell Talk 21:19, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

  • Hmm. This is definitely a confusing situation. Reading the deleted page, it does seem borderline WP:POLEMIC so, perhaps, GoldenRing was right in deleting it. But, Dlthewave brings up a good point. If they do plan on making a future case then how else can they keep a record of the edits they see as forming a pattern? They could do it off-wiki of course, but isn't it better to be open about one's activities? While the deletion was within admin discretion perhaps, in cases of this nature, it is better to leave them as is with a note to the editor that they can't leave it sticking around for too long. Imo, the warning should be withdrawn. --regentspark (comment) 00:22, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure about deleting the whitewashing essay; I can't seem to make up my mind. Suggest dlthewave take it to Wikipedia:Deletion review. An admin should be asked to temporarily undelete the page for purposes of discussion as soon as the DR is opened. But I don't have any trouble agreeing with Sandstein, Springee, MastCell, and Regentspark that dlthewave's warning should be withdrawn and struck from the log, and Sandstein has already done so. Bishonen | talk 01:11, 24 February 2019 (UTC).
  • @Dlthewave:, I've temporarily undeleted your page for the deletion review. Bishonen | talk 22:01, 24 February 2019 (UTC).
  • Your deletion can't be overturned at Deletion review, GoldenRing? Are you sure? In that case, obviously I suggested it because I didn't know any better. A bit of bad luck that apparently nobody who did know saw my suggestion for Deletion review here at AE, some 20 hours before Dlthewave actually opened the deletion review. I'm not sure what should be the next step, considering there is quite a lot of discussion at the review already, and some disagreement about how to proceed. But whatever action is taken, rest assured I won't feel "undermined" by it, as somebody suggested there. I'm personally fine with whatever, although I want to apologize to Dlthewave for potentially complicating his situation. As for "Have you also not just unilaterally undone an AE action?", no, I haven't. If you're referring to my temporary undeletion of the page, for the deletion review only and with the front page covered by a template, per the instructions here, I can only ask you not to be so silly. If you're talking about my giving Dlthewave bad advice, well, I've explained how that came about (=ignorance on my part). Bishonen | talk 12:54, 25 February 2019 (UTC).
  • What an absolute joy you are to work with, Sandstein. It's a wonder more admins don't flock to help out at AE, where honest mistakes get met with immediate threats of desysopping. I do want to point out that there's a pretty clear consensus at DRV that the page doesn't violate WP:POLEMIC. @GoldenRing:, do I understand correctly that you are not going to recognize that consensus because it is being discussed on the Wrong Page(TM)? If this is the case, then I suppose we should tell everyone at DRV their opinions are not wanted there, re-delete the page, and then have the exact same discussion here. Or alternately, GR could rescind the deletion.... --Floquenbeam (talk) 15:59, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I not only agree that restoring the page for deletion review is not an abuse of process, but that deleting the page via AE would be an abuse of process. The way to remove userspace essays that are contrary to policy is MfD., and review of decisions there is at Deletion Review. DGG ( talk ) 06:53, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
GoldenRing, do you intend to delete under AE every page in an area subject to DS (such as AP or PIA) that you think might arguably be the result of an action that violation an arb ruling,? DGG ( talk ) 17:16, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
And I have just noticed, Sandstein, that your closing at the AE Discussion used the wording of the arb case "for polemic statements unrelated to Wikipedia, " but the entire discussion above about whether it violated POLEMIC is irrelevant, because the page is obviously related to WP. And the arb com wording continued " attacking or vilifying groups of editors, persons, or other entities. " I do not see any editors named on the page in question. It was discussing edits. (Of course the editors were implied, because the statements wee linked, but nothing about the editors is question is said on the page, only about the edits. DGG ( talk ) 17:16, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
  • This has been stalled for a month, the deletion review was closed as consensus to overturn, and we need to proceed in one or other way. I see consensus to withdraw the warning, and this has been already done by Sandstein. The situation is more difficult with the deletion of the page, but if I take into account all opinions at DRV and also that all uninvolved admins here who commented after the close of the DRV supported undeletion, I would say there is consensus to undelete. I will wait a couple of days before closing, may be somebody wanted to comment and forgot or overlooked this discussion.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:28, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I support User:Ymblanter's idea of undoing the AE deletion of the page, based on the apparent consensus of admins in this thread. Arbcom is still debating whether 'AE deletion' can ever be considered to be an option, but there is no risk of any conflict with Arbcom if the present deletion is simply undone on the merits. (We would be closing as though AE deletion was really allowed, but this *particular* deletion was reversed through the normal AE appeal process). It appears that a deletion review has already occurred which supported restoration of the page. EdJohnston (talk) 18:10, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I indeed closed it as overturn, and subsequently got strong objections from Goldenring concerning the restoration of the page (see their talk page), which I disagree with, but it is good to give another administrator a chance to deal with this.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:50, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Given the votes on the pending motion, we must proceed on the assumption that deletion of a page is allowed as a discretionary sanction. In my view, POLEMIC falls on the conduct side of the conduct/content divide: deciding whether a user page violates that guideline does not require one to make decisions regarding any encyclopedic content. Therefore, deleting a user page under POLEMIC does not fall into the category of deletions that may impermissibly settle a content dispute. Having considered the comments at the DRV to the extent they addressed POLEMIC (as opposed to the process issue), and after independently reviewing the page, I cannot say that GoldenRing's interpretation and application of that guideline is outside reasonable admin discretion, and that's all that is needed to sustain a discretionary sanction. Decline as to the deletion. As to the warning, the appeal is moot. T. Canens (talk) 01:57, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I would decline this. I think it is within administrator discretion to consider this a violation of WP:POLEMIC. In particular, I note that the editor who create the page has stated that they intend to use it as background for an opinion piece in the Signpost. The spirit behind POLEMIC rather clearly is intended to prevent editors from putting others "on blast" without making a formal report at a noticeboard. I believe compiling a long list of diffs on-wiki in order to write an opinion piece that attacks a particular editor or group of editors is plainly at odds with this spirit. If there is supposed misconduct here, take it to ANI, file a case request, hand out DS warnings and then take it to AE, etc. Compiling a list of supposed wrongdoing and then litigating it in the court of public opinion at the Signpost is contrary to the spirit behind POLEMIC. All of this is without comment on whether the editor is correct in the pattern they're highlighting; it doesn't particularly matter whether they are correct when it comes to whether it violates POLEMIC. ~ Rob13Talk 03:26, 19 April 2019 (UTC)


No action with respect to Icewhiz (without prejudice against another admin taking action). Nishidani is blocked for a week and banned from creating or making comments in WP:AE reports related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, except if they are the editor against whom enforcement is requested. Sandstein 14:33, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

This request may be declined without further action if insufficient or unclear information is provided in the "Request" section below.
Requests may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs (not counting required information), except by permission of a reviewing administrator.

Request concerning Icewhiz

User who is submitting this request for enforcement 
Nableezy (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) 17:21, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
User against whom enforcement is requested 
Icewhiz (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

Search DS alerts: in user talk history • in system log

Sanction or remedy to be enforced
Wikipedia:Arbitration/Index/Palestine-Israel_articles#Standard discretionary sanctions
Diffs of edits that violate this sanction or remedy, and an explanation how these edits violate it 

Tendentious editing is defined in WP:TE as a manner of editing that is partisan, biased or skewed taken as a whole. It does not conform to the neutral point of view, and fails to do so at a level more general than an isolated comment that was badly thought out. On Wikipedia, the term also carries the connotation of repetitive attempts to insert or delete content or behavior that tends to frustrate proper editorial processes and discussions. WP:ARBPIA3#Tendentious editing further says that Users who disrupt the editing of articles by engaging in sustained aggressive point-of-view editing and edit-warring may be banned from the affected articles. I believe the evidence below demonstrates that Icewhiz is such an editor engaging in sustained tendentious editing.

Icewhiz routinely removes material on spurious grounds when that material is, in his view, negative towards Israel. He will routinely make opposing arguments based solely on the POV presented. He will oppose reliable sources when it suits him and support unreliable sources when it suits him, sometimes making the exact opposite argument nearly simultaneously depending on the POV of the source.

Rouzan al-Najjar
  • In this edit (7 June 2018) Icewhiz places in the article material on footage that was doctored by the IDF, footage that was widely denounced as a propaganda ploy
  • In this edit (8 June 2018) Icewhiz restores that she was "allegedly shot" by the IDF, when the cited source says flat out as shot dead by Israeli troops the previous day along the Israel-Gaza border. ... Razan Najjar, a 21-year-old volunteer paramedic, was shot as she tried to help evacuate wounded near Israel's perimeter fence with Gaza. Yes, that was a revert of an IP editor. However, the material had likewise been added by an IP, with Icewhiz editing directly after and not enforcing the general prohibition there. And even if the revert is excused by the general prohibition, we all take responsibility for our reverts. When Icewhiz restored the edit he took responsibility for its content. That content being quite different from what the cited source said.
  • In this edit (11 June 2018) Icewhiz removes all of the content critical of the IDF's manipulation, changing misleadingly took a prior interview that al-Najjar gave to a Lebanese television station out of context to cut a short segment of a prior interview that al-Najjar gave to a Lebanese television station in which she He also removed the rest of the statement, a statement that every reliable source covering the manipulation included as demonstrating that the IDF manipulation was done to mischaracterize her words.

In sum, his efforts at Rouzan al-Najjar consisted of originally pushing propaganda, removing that it was propaganda when covered by numerous reliable sources as such, and pushing in opinion pieces of the sort he rejected when it suited his own POV elsewhere.

Israeli occupation of the West Bank
  • In this (13 December 2018) and this edit Icewhiz removes a source, and all material cited to it, as "propaganda" and claims the source is misrepresented because we included the wrong publisher. The living person who he says was "propaganda minister", which if I am not mistaken is a pretty blatant BLP violation, is in fact the former Information Minister (in charge of election polls and TV and other media licensing) and Foreign Minister. Note that Google Books includes the wrong publisher, which is Kluwer Law International and not Brill. Instead of correcting the error, the entire source is removed. The book is edited by two academics (Moshe Maoz and Sari Nusseibeh) and published by a respected press, but Icewhiz's BLP violation of an edit summary ignores all of that to excise material he dislikes on the most spurious of grounds.
  • His other contribution of note (25 January 2019) was to excise about half of the article unilaterally. The removed information was uniformly of material that has garnered criticism of Israel. He completely removed, not condensed or moved to sub-articles or anything else that might be justified by WP:SIZE, reliably sourced material on comparisons to colonialism, on terminology bias, on American media bias, on land seizures, on the history of the settlement enterprise, the entirety of the section on settler violence, most of the material on torture, the impact on children, on fragmentation, the road closure system, censorship, restrictions on Palestinian agriculture, on the use of the territory as a waste zone. What he removed had one common thread. It was reliably sourced material that dealt with topics that have drawn criticism of Israel's methods. No attempt at justifying the removal, not splitting but straight up removal, was ever even attempted besides a vague wave to WP:SIZE. He made no attempt to summarize, no attempt to split. It was purely a tactic to excise material that Icewhiz would rather not be covered on Wikipedia.
Tendentious editing regarding sources
  • Here (25 July 2018) Icewhiz argues that a "part-time historian" (his words) would be perfectly fine for an attributed statement. Compare that to here (15 June 2018), where an actual historian who has been published by academic presses is rejected as definitely a WP:BIASED source, and would require balancing at the very least. The only consistency in Icewhiz's arguments regarding sources is when they are supportive of his POV he encourages their use, and when they are not he opposes them.
  • Removes Yael Berda per WP:BLOGS (8 April 2019). Note that this is hosted by Stanford University Press, where the author had just had a book on this topic published which WP:BLOGS says means her self-published work is allowed (established expert whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications). Compare that to this (17 March 2019) where Icewhiz argues for the inclusion of material referenced to (now defunct) for attributed quotes. However, a blog entry by an author who is academically published and hosted by Stanford University Press is not usable for an attributed quote because the author is a fairly young scholar. The only consistent part of this argument is how it reflects his POV. A blog by an unnamed person at the IDF that has been cited by no-one and has an h-index of 0 that coincides with his own POV is fine to use. One by a published academic that has has over 100 citations to her work but that opposes his POV is not because her h-index is 5 and she is "fairly young".
Tendentious editing regarding tagging

Again, the only thing consistent about these actions is how they reflect on his POV. When his POV is presented no tag may be included absent a consensus for it (which is honestly kind of silly, if there were already a consensus then the article content would be adjusted), but when his POV is not given what he feels is its appropriate prominence the tag must remain absent a consensus to remove.

If discretionary sanctions are requested, supply evidence that the user is aware of them (see WP:AC/DS#Awareness and alerts)
  • Alerted about discretionary sanctions in the area of conflict in the last twelve months, on 29 March 2019
  • Gave an alert about discretionary sanctions in the area of conflict in the last twelve months, on 8 April 2019
  • Participated in an arbitration request or enforcement procedure about the area of conflict in the last twelve months, on 7 April 2019.
Additional comments by editor filing complaint 

I understand this is a long complaint. I dont know how to demonstrate tendentious editing without exceeding 500 words as the act is defined by a long term pattern and not just one or two diffs. I also understand it deals with content, but I think the evidence demonstrates continued tendentious editing and not merely a content dispute. One cannot make opposing sides of the same argument and pretend that they are two individual content disputes. Either Icewhiz feels that blogs may not be used or that they may. Either Icewhiz feels that opinion pieces may not be used or they may. Either Icewhiz feels tags may not be removed without a consensus or they may. Icewhiz apparently feels all these things, it just depends on what POV is under discussion. That is, to my understanding, textbook tendentious editing.

Sir Joseph, I am not complaining that Icewhiz claimed Finkelstein is biased. I am complaining that he has made polar opposite arguments about sources when it suits his POV. This is not about opposing Finkelstein or supporting Tabenkin. It is about making opposing arguments where the only consistency is the POV being pushed. That behavior is, I think, called tendentious editing here, and it is prohibited on Wikipedia, especially so in a topic area covered by discretionary sanctions. As WP:TE says, a single edit is unlikely to be a problem, but a pattern of edits displaying a bias is more likely to be an issue, so yes these diffs stretch back to show that pattern. nableezy - 17:41, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

@Sandstein: I've dated the diffs, however I dont think their age makes them stale. The very nature of WP:TE is that it requires showing a pattern. A pattern is something that occurs over time. How would one show a pattern over time without showing diffs from the past? nableezy - 18:10, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Yes Icewhiz, I called this claim that this established a consensus a lie. Because it says "no consensus". Calling something that says "no consensus" "a consensus for language in this article" can best be described as what exactly? nableezy - 19:20, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

The responses below just provide further evidence for tendentious editing. As Zero wrote below, nothing Icewhiz writes can be accepted at face value. I agree, he is a very smart person. He could be a fantastic editor. But he makes bogus arguments on a regular basis. He says Nableezy contrasts an expert in journalism commenting on the NYT imvestigation in Rouzan al-Najjar with a pianist/conductor/activist commenting on Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. No, lets be clear on this. Ira Stoll is not an "expert in journalism". He was managing editor of a failed newspaper and an author of two books, neither on journalism. And the justification of receiving third party coverage was offered only later. When added, Icewhiz was on record opposing the use of op-eds even when published in reliable sources. But with one that supports his POV, Ira Stoll's column was published by a RS, the end. This is a constant issue when discussing issues with Icewhiz, he makes comments that are expected to be taken at face value and they cannot be because they are so often false. nableezy - 05:06, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

I suppose Sandstein may be right and AE is not well suited to such a request. But, Sandstein, it is exactly a person who is not interested in the subject that should be looking at this. Just look at the bullets for tendentious editing regarding sources. Can an editor be acting in good faith when they both support the use of a blog by an unnamed person with an h-index of 0 and then reject the use of a blog by an established expert on the topic because her h-index is 5? Can an editor be acting in good faith when they remove op-eds by non-experts published in reliable sources because they are op-eds by non-experts and then also add op-eds by non-experts and respond that its fine because it was published by a reliable source? Ignore the content entirely. Can an editor in good faith make such opposing arguments? Or is it tendentious editing when their arguments flip depending on POV? nableezy - 14:59, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Notification of the user against whom enforcement is requested 


Discussion concerning Icewhiz

Statements must be made in separate sections. They may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs, except by permission of a reviewing administrator.
Administrators may remove or shorten noncompliant statements. Disruptive contributions may result in blocks.

Statement by Icewhiz

Due to the extreme length of the complaint, with diffs ranging back almost a year, I can not respond in 500 words and address each accusation here. I will note that in regards to the trim to Israeli occupation of the West Bank (which I discussed prior, after, and initiated Talk:Israeli occupation of the West Bank#RfC: Article size that resulted in the article being trimmed in the end) - I already responded in Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement/Archive245#Icewhiz - closed "Not actionable; content dispute". I can explain all my actions, though I will note I am not a robot and that my view of Wikipedia policy has evolved over time (e.g. today I am much less of an inclusionist in relation to a year ago). Admins - please point out which diffs I should respond to, if at all.

I do want to raise the immediate background to this complaint: Israeli permit system in the West Bank. Nableezy moved it from "system" to "regime", after 2.5 days of discussion (Talk:Israeli permit system in the West Bank#name), 02:06, 12 March 2019. After his move was challenged, he 14:56, 19 March 2019 move warred. Not only that - he opened an ANI against Wikieditor19920 who challenged him (closed no action, Oshwah moved the article through a few different titles - until it moved back to system). At ANI - Nableezy repeatedly called me "dishonest" (after I challenged his assertion that "regime" was the stable form of the title) - [33][34]. A subsequent Talk:Israeli permit system in the West Bank#Requested move 19 March 2019 closed with "system" remaining. Nableezy then decided, 21:57, 7 April 2019, to add a direct-quote to the lede from one (of the minority) of sources that uses "regime".

When I challenged this quote by Berda in the lede, that resulted in 2 out 3 sentences in the lede being sourced to Berda (sentence 2 already containing her definition - from a published source) - my edit summary wasn't just "BLOGS", it was "WP:BLOGS. No need for direct quote in lead.". I further expanded my argument on talk - diff - that presenting Berda twice in the lede, was UNDUE, and that there was no need to use unpublished work here (as published work is not lacking - including published work by Berda). I did not challenge Berda as a source overall - I challenged the direct quote, from an academic blog (as opposed to her published work), specifically in the lede.

In last few days (7-8 April), in the permit system talk page Nableezy has called me or my edits/arguments: "dishonest"/"deceitful"[35]. I requested him to strike these statements (as a personal attack) [36], which he refused. He continue to use language such as "lying"[37], "dishonest arguments"[38][39], "being dishonest",[40]. He did not strike "being dishonest" even after admitting "you are right".[41] (this in regards to this source,[1] which uses "regimen" in a sub-title and in paragraph2 (further down there is a regime) and which we were quoting in the citation as "regimen").

In less than a span of 3 weeks - Nableezy has filed once in AN/I and once over here in AE against two different users on this article.Icewhiz (talk) 18:57, 9 April 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Israel Has 101 Different Types of Permits Governing Palestinian Movement". Haaretz. 2011-12-23. Retrieved 2019-04-07. The most common permits are those allowing Palestinians to work in Israel, or in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Over the decades, however, the permit regimen has grown into a vast, triple-digit bureaucracy.
@Vanamonde93: - in regards to the first 4 bullets, note that the article was created on 3 June 2018 on a 1 June event. The article was heavily edited in those days, with various new news items added (a general NOTNEWS/RAPID issue). In regards to the 7 June 2018 - when I added this, it was not widely denounced - I summarized the sources I cited. Criticism developed later. In regards to 8 June 2018 - this was a revert per the General Prohobition of an IP (who removed a whole paragraph + allegedly). At the point this was made (7 days from the shooting, no definitive investigation) - while it was highly likely the shots came from the IDF, and some sources said this as fact - others did not. At that point in time, per BLPCRIME and erring in the side of caution, avoiding a definitive stmt in Wikivoice is inline with what we do with other crime/military articles. In regards to 11 June 2018 - contrary to Nableezy's assertion I left criticism in the very next sentence - "The Israeli military was widely criticized for its efforts in manipulating the video, with commentators drawing parallels to past instances of the IDF manipulating or otherwise faking evidence in the past.". There was also an issue in that some of the content was sourced to an article title (often edited for sensationalism) and not to its body. I thought that presenting what the IDF presented (in one sentence), followed by a sentence of how this was criticized would separate the exhbit by the IDF and criticism of the exhibit. Regarding 1 Jan 2019 - Stoll's criticism of the NYT piece (which we cover in depth - 4 paragraphs in a level2 header) was covered in a secondary manner by JTA. Nableezy agreed on the TP to use of Stoll via JTA - 8 Jan 2019. Nableezy contrasts an expert in journalism commenting on the NYT imvestigation in Rouzan al-Najjar with a pianist/conductor/activist commenting on Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People - for the basic law we have no shortage of critical (even very critical) opinions by experts in law - which we should favor over a non-expert. Inclusion of opinions can of course be debated - there isn't a hard and fast law for DUE/UNDUE - it is article dependent, and in this case the basic law is very different (a topic very well commented and studied - we have no shortage of sources and opinions). In all cases, I participated in the talk page and attempted to form a consensus. I could have done some things better, but I do want to stress that the article was in breaking-news turf in June 2018 - it started with videos and reports from the Palestinian side, followed by Israeli retorts, and only a few months later (e.g. the NYT choosing this incident for an in-depth reconstructive investigation) we had more definitive sources. I am not sure I would have made the same edits today back then (e.g. by avoiding NOTNEWS).Icewhiz (talk) 22:05, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
@Vanamonde93: I'm not saying I was perfect. I was reverting this IP edit with no edit summary, was acting inline with WP:ARBPIA3#500/30 in regards to an IP edit, and I was probably responding to the removal of the paragraph. In retrospect (having re-read NBCNews/AP again now) I should've added a citation that used other language, or used attribution - I admit to sloppy handling of the NBCNews citation - had this been contested on this basis (on the talk-page or in an edit rationale) - I probably would've discussed and/or rectified the citation issue. In terms of lead balance at that point in time - this Washington Post piece in the article at the time was using - "who witnesses say Israeli soldiers shot dead near the border fence on Friday." - and didn't directly say Israel in its voice. Our policy - WP:NPOV generally and WP:BLPCRIME specifically - has us being cautious with statements in our own voice. And I stress - this is all me thinking back of what I was thinking in June 2018 - based on sources available then.Icewhiz (talk) 22:44, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Also - in regards to Nableezy's claim I did not revert per the General Prohibition on - this IP on 7 June - my subsequent edit was my very first edit to this article. I frankly probably did not look at the edit history at all when I made that edit at all. I probably got drawn to the article (4 days after creation) by news or it popping up an alert, and was looking at it for the first time which is not a situation in which I usually look at the editing history too much. After doing my edit - I probably watch-listed it. Icewhiz (talk) 23:05, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
In regards to "doctoring" vs. "editing" in June 2018 - I was responding directly to Zero himself who advocated (without citing any source) inclusion of "deliberate doctoring of the video" - 11:50, 12 June 2018. I opposed this - and what Zero fails to mention is that I described it as possibly "Deceptive editing". Unlike Zero - I cited sources for my assertion - namely a dictionary and the New York Times which used "tightly edited".13:06, 12 June 2018 Icewhiz (talk) 10:44, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
In regards to ‎ZScarpia's posting below on the mural and Corbyn - according to an official Labour spokesperson: it "used antisemitic imagery, which has no place in our society, and it is right that it was removed".[42] Coverage in mainstream RSes (as opposed to a Medium blog post and architectsforsocialhousing which were proposed as sources for a BLP, and to which I was responding) has quite often ignored the graffiti artist - e.g. Guardian1, Guardian2 which just name him and mention a Facebook post Corbyn responded to, or The Atlantic which doesn't even name the graffiti artist. Several policies (BLP, NPOV, and yes FRINGE) supports challenging content sourced from the Wordpress blog (on a very well covered BLP, on an issue covered by mainstream RSes).Icewhiz (talk) 07:15, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
Nishidani - WP:RSes refer to Uri Avnery (LIT Verlag book, YNET obit, Forward obit), Moked,(IDI, Haaretz), and Ta'ayush (e.g. this Ashgate book, PUP book, Routledge book) as radical left in Israel. Icewhiz (talk) 12:02, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Sir Joseph

There is so much to say here, especially considering that many of the diffs are old, and that this is just a wall of text and trying to blast yet another opponent out of the sphere. I will just note one thing, Nableezy complains that Icewhiz says Finkelstein is biased, of course he's biased, indeed, the very first sentence of his article calls him an activist, "Norman Gary Finkelstein (/ˈfɪŋkəlˌsteɪn/; born December 8, 1953) is an American political scientist, activist, professor, and author." Any serious editor in the IP area would not use Finkelstein as an unbiased source. If you do take this matter seriously, I urge you to take it with a grain of salt. Sir Joseph (talk) 17:35, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

To Nableezy, regardless, it's irrelevant, those edits were not in mainspace, they were in WP:RS, so I don't get the harm, that is where we do give editor a little leeway to offer why they feel sources are or aren't RS. Sir Joseph (talk) 17:48, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Yet again on Wikipedia someone is downplaying antisemitism. Shame. Damn shame. Sir Joseph (talk) 00:11, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
I wanted to add regarding ZScarpia's claim about the mural, it is antisemitic, not because it is displaying Jewish bankers, which is not a problem, it is antisemitic because it displaying Jewish bankers as in the opinion of Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt and contemporary local media, the "hook-nosed, repulsive-looking characters at the table" resembled imagery used by the Nazis, not sure why you left that out. Sir Joseph (talk) 00:47, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by GizzyCatBella

I would like to issue a solemn appeal to reviewing administrators to study this report in depth and with special attention. Additionally, please allow some time for other editors to share their comments and opinions.GizzyCatBella (talk) 20:17, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Wikieditor19920

Having interacted with both parties, I regard this as a frivolous and vindictive report. Nableezy almost exclusively edits within the ARBPIA area with a distinct edge. If any of Icewhiz's edits, collectively or individually, are considered to show a discernible bias actionable under WP:TE, then an evaluation of Nableezy's contributions by that same standard would have to lead to equivalent or more severe sanctions. Also, the diffs provided could be attributed to errors in judgment or reading sources; in other words, mistakes made in good-faith. Hardly a compelling basis.

I don't want to exceed my limit here, but Zero0000 should have disclosed in his statement below that he consulted with Nableezy about this report prior to its filing. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 14:56, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Stefka Bulgaria

I agree that too many diffs going back almost a year isn't helpful. Looking at Icewhiz's more recent edits, he seems to have been actively participating in TP discussions working with other editors in a level-headed manner. If there is a disagreement to the point a RfC/RSN/etc. is needed, then those would be more apt venues to explore. Other than that, I don't see a violation here by Icewhiz. Stefka Bulgaria (talk) 20:37, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

I've known Icewhiz's editing for a while now, and though we have not always seen eye to eye on certain topics, I agree that he's "one of our best editors" here. If there are issues with the reliability of sources being used, RSN would be the appropriate forum. It takes two to tango, and eliminating the opposition via AE does seem vindictive. Stefka Bulgaria (talk) 08:21, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Zero0000

Icewhiz is an intelligent and knowledgeable person who could easily be one of our best editors. Alas, he doesn't want to be. His transparent purpose in the I/P area is to defend the good name of Israel by means of endless pov-pushing combined with endless tendentious argument. My honest opinion is that Icewhiz is one of the worst editors to have ever appeared in the I/P area of the project.

I don't blame casual observers like Stefka for not seeing the problem at a glance. It takes longer experience to learn that nothing Icewhiz writes can be accepted without checking, and that "discussion" for him means writing anything, anything, that supports his pov.

Nableezy restricted himself to self-contradictions. I won't. Here Icewhiz argues that an anonymous blacklist is a reliable source, and follows up with "McCarthyite" does not mean inaccurate.. He is way too experienced to actually believe that, but the blacklist fits Icewhiz's personal pov. Here he quotes from a Hebrew court ruling without telling us that the very next sentences give contrary context. (Basically, the ruling said that the charges were very serious but the evidence for them was insufficiently compelling; Icewhiz brought just the first part.) These examples are not aberrations but just Icewhiz being Icewhiz.

Many of Icewhiz's talk page contributions can reasonably be called trolling. Nableezy's first case provides an example. Here he brings a dictionary definition of "doctored" to argue that a video which had purposefully been cut in order to change its meaning had not been doctored, even though the dictionary definition fits perfectly. I do not believe this was an argument in good faith; rather, Icewhiz' pov was in danger and he had to write something. Such lack of integrity is why the project would be better off without him. Zerotalk 03:33, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

To Calthinus: "Tendentiously cutting" is a form of doctoring. But that is not the point, since nobody ever tried to put the word "doctored" into the article. Icewhiz didn't want the article to mention the fact that the Israeli army had cut the end off a recording in order to smear (per several reliable sources) a medico they had just killed in cold blood. Since it is impossible to argue for such censorship on a policy basis, Icewhiz chose instead to sideline the discussion by bringing a dictionary definition for a word used only on the talk page. Zerotalk 07:47, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

And Icewhiz is still at it (above). The real issue was inclusion of the well-sourced fact that the video had been altered to change its impact and thereby smear its subject. Icewhiz didn't like that idea. The precise word to be used for the video manipulation was a side-show that Icewhiz used to deflect attention from the real issue. Even if he had to bring a dictionary definition that proves himself wrong. Zerotalk 14:38, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

It's true that I discussed this case with Nableezy before it was opened, though he didn't (I think) follow any of my suggestions. We discussed it quite openly (not a single email) and if there is any rule against that I'd like to hear about it. This problem has been brewing a long time and I've often wished I had the time and stamina to open such a case myself. Zerotalk 15:14, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

To Calthinus: It's a pity you entirely missed the point. I'm not going to repeat what I wrote already. This one incident is minor in isolation, but alas it is just one example of very many. Also, please read WP:AGF. It is a right that can be forfeited by misbehavior and this noticeboard is a place where evidence for that can be presented. Zerotalk 00:27, 12 April 2019 (UTC) To Calthinus: There was no disagreement over which word to use. That is your basic error in understanding. Zerotalk 00:48, 12 April 2019 (UTC) To Calthinus: You really don't get it. Icewhiz "disputed" the meaning of a word that nobody tried to use. That's not a disagreement over which word to use. Zerotalk 01:10, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Calthinus

If I had to sum up a number of things I despise about wiki, this would be a poster case ... alas this hairball could never be condensed to fit on a poster, not least because half of the crap involved is essentially fluff that is likely totally inscrutable to anyone not balls deep in Israel-Palestine wiki bloodletting. Alas, if they were, they couldn't possibly be impartial. Here's one of many points that I think illustrate the issue here - the statement by Zero above. It takes totally out of context an argument about semantics (in this case, the word "doctored" -- indeed something can be "tendentiously cut" and not be doctored -- as the NYTimes perhaps more correctly put it [[43]]) and tries to turn it into some case of "trolling". But most people in good faith would see a simple disagreement... unless they already hated one side's guts. Zero admits Icewhiz "could easily be one of our best editors" -- well the one thing I agree on is that his life on wiki might be more enjoyable if he didn't feel he had to constantly deal with ARBPIA matters, but that is his choice. As much as I hate to say it, what Zero sees as Icewhiz being some sort of manipulative, tendentious editor who the project would be better without (even though he "could be" one of the best if he "wanted to" -- very odd thing to say if you're also saying we should get rid of him), I think most observers would simply see a guy who is trying to stand up for what he believes in, and simply has a disagreement with someone who doesn't seem to be properly differentiating misalignment of opinions with lack of good faith.--Calthinus (talk) 06:33, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Zero0000 Is it a form of doctoring? Possibly depending on your definition, but doctoring is vague as it can also mean that other stuff was added. Hence tendentiously cut is a better and clearer description. You don't seem to get this, which is bizarre. Actually this statement by you -- "Since it is impossible to argue for such censorship on a policy basis, Icewhiz chose instead to sideline the discussion by bringing a dictionary definition for a word used only on the talk page" -- is frankly chilling in how frigid the lack of AGF is. I disagree with you about semantics too and I have no interest in that article -- am I unable to have an opinion about how readers will interpret a word unless I am hell-bent on "censorship"? Really, I think an admin like yourself (no less an admin of 14 years ) should be setting a much better behavioral example here than "if they disagree with me on how readers understand a word, it's actually about censorship" ...--Calthinus (talk) 22:10, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Here are some examples in the media for usage of "doctored video" -- as we can see one is changed in speed [[44]], or changes in coloring etc [[45]] -- indeed the term is used in reference to deepfakes -- something that is far, far different than merely cutting a video. There is a clear difference in meaning as doctored is quite vague, whereas tendentiously cut is not. Well perhaps Icewhiz didn't have my exact take on it here, but the fact is that the point you were arguing was not obvious at all, and it is entirely unfair to assume any argument he makes that you disagree with is based on some ulterior motive to "censor" info.--Calthinus (talk) 22:31, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Zero0000 nope it's you who is missing the point. The guy can disagree with which word should be used, and not be using this as some sort of devious disguise allegedly because, and I quote "it is impossible to argue for such censorship on a policy basis". What the actual definition of the word is, who is right, who is most logical, is immaterial, what matters is that there is room for good faith debate, and in this case there was even if you can't see it. --Calthinus (talk) 00:45, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Zero0000 Perhaps you had a memory lapse and forgot to check you own diff right now, where Icewhiz clearly does dispute the accuracy of the term "doctored" : ["Presenting a short clip of a longer video (something that is done routinely by any media outlet) is not doctoring, but editing.' Such editing may be done with an intention to deceive, but it is not doctoring. Deceptive editing - omission - is distinctly different from doctoring which requires modifications to the video. The vast majority of media outlets are using "edited" to describe this clip, a very small minority is using the technically inaccurate "doctored".]. Please strike your latest response. --Calthinus (talk) 00:54, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
@Zero: ...okay, but this changes nothing? The argument here is not about the specifics about what happened. It's about your claim of talk page "trolling". And nothing you are saying is resuscitating this. He is allowed to have a viewpoint on the use of the word. You're allowed to feel "trolled" or whatever; what is not allowed is to level claims with zero evidence except non-AGF about his motives for saying whatever he feels on the matter on the talkpage. ZScarpia you're also missing the point entirely. It's not about who is "right" -- instead, it's about whether there is room for AGF debate on the matter.--Calthinus (talk) 15:13, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Levivich

I respectfully request the 500 word limit be enforced, as well as some reasonable measure of staleness (June 2018? Seriously?). Excessively long submissions prevent other editors (including admin) from participating, are unfair to the editor being reported, and to every other editor who has ever worked hard to reduce their AE posting down to 500 words. These standards should be applied equally to all editors. Thank you. Levivich 14:11, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Is it normal at AE for an editor to help another editor gather diffs in preparation of an AE report, and then comment on the report without disclosing that they helped prepare it? Levivich 15:02, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by TracyMcClark

@Calthinus: No reader would ever see this specific word since this is not about adding the word "doctored" to the article but about some editor using it on the talk page. Not a single editor suggested to add the word to the article. You got fooled by Icewhiz as intended and since it's not your first response here it's clear that you got fooled (at least) twice by the Icewhiz.--TMCk (talk) 23:01, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by ZScarpia

This Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) article states that the IDF video of Rouzan al-Najjar was edited in such a way as to deceive. That is, it 'was' doctored.

One of the more over the top bits Icewhiz point-of-view pushing I've come across concerns the 'Freedom of Humanity' mural which featured in the current Labour Party Antisemitism controversy in the UK. It was alleged that the mural depicted antisemitic stereotypes and was therefore antisemitic. The artist defended it, giving the explanation that the figuress portrayed, rather than stereotypes, had been real-life bankers, most of whom were non-Jewish. In Icewhiz's opinion, stated on a variety of occasions, the artist's views are fringe and of no consequence. See the comment made here at 11:07, 10 March 2019 (UTC) for one example.

    ←   ZScarpia   23:48, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Calthinus, 06:33, 10 April 2019 (UTC): "I think most observers would simply see a guy who is trying to stand up for what he believes in ...". Of course, the problem comes when an editor is so wedded to what he believes in that he fails to appreciate that it may only be a viewpoint. And sympathy would normally be conditioned on what beliefs were being stood up for. Didn't David Duke contribute here for a while?     ←   ZScarpia   00:04, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

@Sir Joseph: please read what I wrote. It was alleged that the mural depicted "antisemitic stereotypes". The defence was that it depicted real people, most of whom were non-Jewish.     ←   ZScarpia   06:12, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Nishidani

The endless conflict in this area is all between those who read sources and the article circumstances precisely, and those who refuse to grasp the clear-cut distinctions made, and engage in spinning. Just one egregious example from this thread alone:

Zero writes:The deliberate doctoring of the video by Israel is an important part of the story and must be presented in detail.

Icewhiz replies:Zero himself (who) advocated (without citing any source) inclusion of "deliberate doctoring of the video"

That the video in question was deliberately 'doctored'/'tampered with' to skew the facts is attested in numerous sources, and it matters not a jot which synonymous word you use. Zero did not advocate the use of the word 'doctored' without a source, (though it would have been easy to justify per the Jewish Weekly The Forward's source). He argued that the incident of tampering (which the article accepts, and which he happened to call doctoring) be thoroughly covered. In such persistent habits of distortion by shifting the goalposts to create a strawman argument and thread about what other editors write, turning observations into advocacy, lies the gravamen of the claim of tendentious editing.

No one should deny the right of people with an extreme nationalist perspective the right to edit wikipedia, though their place here is best secured by meticulous adherence to policy, rather than throwing sand in the eyes of other editors about what constitutes policy, from edit to edit. That Icewhiz has extremist views is shown by his remark here, in which he identified mainstream pacific centrist scholars of world distinction as on the fringes of the Israeli radical left. Avishai Margalit, David Dean Shulman, Baruch Kimmerling, Zeev Sternhell, Yehuda Elkana and their likes are, for Icecwhiz, not centre-left, not left-wing, not radical left, but dangerously beyond even extremist leftism, something like little red book waving deviationists from the official line. I have no problem with extremists, as long as they stick to the rules, rather than game them. Nishidani (talk) 09:18, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

You are dodging the points, which are very important, Icewhiz. Leave aside the gross mischaracterization of what Zero argued. You also wrote:-
the article reflects only voices on the fringes of the Israeli radical left
I was asking you why you dismissed Avishai Margalit, David Dean Shulman, Baruch Kimmerling, Zeev Sternhell and Yehuda Elkana as fringe lunatics of the raving radical left.
For you explicitly branded them as ‘voices on the fringes of the Israeli radical left’, when, as any click on their wikibios and curricula will show, they are centrist Israeli pro-Zionist scholars and moderates. Your answer consisted in googling ‘"uri avnery" radical left ‘, for a person whom I did not mention above, for evidence he, of the 12 figures, mostly scholars, on that page fitted your caricature. Even that evidence is flawed, for you didn’t read beyond the words you sought to ‘prove’ at least one was a ‘radical leftist’ (and not ‘on the fringe of radical leftism, nota bene). The article does use that term on p.202, but adds, damagingly for its put-down of Avnery, (‘whose visions of a Middle east peace were unrealistic p.205) the following, which shows how meaningless such characterizations are-

What seems to us today a mainstream approach, officially accepted by prominent right-wing politicians such as Benjamin Netanyahu, seemed a position of the radical left alone not so long ago.’ p.207

Avnery's putative 'radical leftist' view in 1982 is now official mainstream policy in the 'mainstream Israel rightwing circles', a dead give-away for showing how silly this kind of political labeling and skewering is.
Your remark underlined that, in your POV , mainstream scholars and thinkers in Israel who are critical of the occupation are representative of ‘fringes of the Israeli radical left’. This means that anyone with a liberal concern for human rights is a fanatic. That betrays an extremist ethnonational intolerance of dissent in the ranks.
It is your position which is extremist. That is acceptable here. Editing tendentiously to press home that POV with a total disregard for coherent policy application is not. You have failed twice to answer directly a simple observation, and Vanamonde's queries have not been addressed cogently. Nishidani (talk) 14:07, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Result concerning Icewhiz

This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators. Comments by others will be moved to the sections above.
  • The first diff is from June 2018. I stopped reading there. Please date all diffs as per the template so we can see what's stale and what's not. Sandstein 18:02, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • In my view, this request is unsuited to AE. If an issue can't be summarized in 500 words, that's an indication that it's more suited to a full case request, not a quick response by an individual admin. And as to the subject matter, AE is fine for dealing with obvious cases of tendentious editing, such as throwing ethnic slurs around. But here, making a determination of tendentious editing would likely require a hour or more of detailed study of numerous complicated content issues and the underlying sources, while distinguishing genuine conduct problems from good-faith content disputes, which is very difficult in this kind of case. Speaking only for myself, particularly as somebody uninterested in this topic area, this is not something I see myself doing in my spare time. This does not preclude others who think that this can be resolved more straightforwardly from taking whatever action they consider appropriate. Sandstein 19:50, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't think ARBCOM would look kindly on a request at this stage. More generally, new editors keep cropping up in troublesome areas; if we kicked any difficult case to ARBCOM, they would be snowed under very quickly. I haven't looked through all of the diffs here, just the first four bullet points. They are somewhat concerning. While they are quite old, nothing formally prevents us from applying discretionary sanctions for old behavior. The question really is what Icewhiz has to say about those diffs now. Icewhiz, I for one would like to hear a response to Nableezy's first four bullet points. Vanamonde (Talk) 21:12, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    There's a specific point in your reply I'm none too happy about, Icewhiz. The general prohibition is all very well, but enforcing it to revert the removal of POV language is questionable. I'm not suggesting sanctions in that respect; it's a mistake several people have made, including myself. But it is a mistake. If you think the IP's edits were correct on the substance, the thing to do is to revert it and then perform the same edit yourself (this is also broadly true for dealing with the edits of socks that have made constructive edits). If you still think the IP's edits were wrong, we have a problem. I don't particularly care how that shooting was described, so long as the description was in line with RS. If you want to change it, you need sources supporting the change. Reverting in text that is not explicitly supported by the sources is a problem, especially in a topic such as this; and this is a problem with that edit of yours that you are not acknowledging in its entirety. Vanamonde (Talk) 22:15, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Because no admin action with respect to Icewhiz appears to be forthcoming, and we are having angry and pointless content disputes above, I am closing this thread. I am also blocking Nishidani for a week and banning them from creating or making comments in WP:AE reports related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, except if they are the editor against whom enforcement is requested. This is because, despite being warned, they are misusing Wikipedia as a battleground and casting aspersions on others by characterizing Icewhiz's conduct with such terms as "extremist ethnonational intolerance of dissent", and "extremist views", without appropriate evidence. That somebody agrees or disagrees with, praises or dismisses certain thinkers (with whom neither I nor probably most people except devotees of this conflict are familiar) isn't appropriate evidence because it's a matter of opinion about opinions. Sandstein 14:30, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Arbitration enforcement action appeal by David Tornheim

Procedural notes: The rules governing arbitration enforcement appeals are found here. According to the procedures, a "clear, substantial, and active consensus of uninvolved administrators" is required to overturn an arbitration enforcement action.

To help determine any such consensus, involved editors may make brief statements in separate sections but should not edit the section for discussion among uninvolved editors. Editors are normally considered involved if they are in a current dispute with the sanctioning or sanctioned editor, or have taken part in disputes (if any) related to the contested enforcement action. Administrators having taken administrative actions are not normally considered involved for this reason alone (see WP:UNINVOLVED).

Appealing user 
David Tornheim (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) – --David Tornheim (talk) 09:35, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Sanction being appealed 
Topic ban from the subject of GMOs imposed here at WP:AE on July 2016. Also the appeal of that decision in July 2016 at WP:ARCA before the original case had closed. ([46], [47])
Administrator imposing the sanction 
Seraphimblade (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA)
Notification of that administrator 
Notified 09:40, 11 April 2019

Statement by David Tornheim

I am appealing my topic ban from GMO’s imposed in July 2016—almost three years ago. Of course, I have not made any edits in the area since then.
I was blocked a few days after the topic ban for this post on Jimbo’s page which links to GMO talk page comments. That is the only time I have ever been blocked.
The only other action by an admin against me in the nearly three years since I have been topic banned is this warning in an area unrelated to GMOs.
If my topic ban is lifted, I will help keep the area up to date with the most recent science using the best reliable sources.
I think my edit history speaks for itself that I have been a net positive for Wikipedia.
Recent and long-term interests:
  • Removing vandalism (using Huggle)
  • Articles for Deletion (WP:AfD)
  • Helping new editors who have fallen astray of the rules and are on the road to being blocked or banned--especially those who make the same mistakes I made when I was new
  • History -- I recently created an article on Richard Clough Anderson Sr. and fixed all the confusion between him and his son Richard Clough Anderson Jr.
  • Historic architecture
  • Geology
  • Politics
If this topic ban is lifted, I will be a productive and collegial editor in this topic area.
I have learned my lesson. Three years has been enough time for me to reflect on how to improve my editing behavior and mature as an editor. At the time I was topic banned, I was still a relative newbie with probably less than half of the edits I have now. I have since learned how to address conflict by working collaboratively. I recently spent a day at a Wiki-conference and met many real life editors, and this also helped me better understand Wikipedians, their interests, their personalities, and their priorities—something that is hard to really understand from simply editing on-line.
Thanks for your consideration. --David Tornheim (talk) 09:35, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I do not want to be perceived as combative, because my focus is being collaborative and collegial even when disagreeing with other editors.
Regarding "I ___________, and in the future I'll __________."
I will focus on content, not editors.
Posting the things I did at Jimbo’s page was a pretty bad idea. I am appalled and ashamed by the post I got blocked for on Jimbo’s page after the topic ban.  I have no idea why I was naive enough to think that would not have consequences.
Without hesitation, I can categorically promise that I will not talk about GMOs on Jimbo’s page.  Although I had thought of Jimbo’s page as a public forum, I do not intend to advertise any more RfCs on his page or mention other editors’ behavior.  Again, I will focus on content, not editors. I rarely post at Jimbo's page and that is unlikely to change.
As I mentioned here and here, I will not advertise an RfC by paraphrasing it, I will use the exact words of the RfC.
By the end of March 2015, he was participating relatively routinely at ANI.…especially given that, by the time the topic ban was implemented, multiple warnings had already been given.
I think this illustrates that I was a newbie who did not fully understand the rules and Wikipedia norms, which was exactly why I got those warnings and the topic ban.  I tell newbies not to participate at AN/I, unless accused.  At that time, I posted way too often at AN/I, which was a mistake that has taken time to learn from.  Now I rarely post there:  It is better to work collaboratively and collegially.
This warning cited to justify the topic ban was because I was a newbie and did not understand WP:BLUDGEON. For a long time, I thought it was perfectly okay to disagree with numerous editors at an action. After reading WP:BLUDGEON, I know now that’s not acceptable, and I do not do that now.  I have learned the value of brevity.
Those warnings were a learning process for me. Because I have learned from them, I have not been blocked since, and have only had the one recent warning.
Is there anything else you feel I did wrong that I have not owned up to for which you seek further assurances?
--David Tornheim (talk) 06:57, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Past editing:
  • Regarding updating the science: This is the kind of edit where I added an updated scientific review article. It is still in the article. How is such an update "disruptive"?
Meanwhile, issues concerning obsolete studies in a similar article that are non-WP:MEDRS, non-WP:MEDDATE compliant have languished for 7 months ([48],[49]). Glyphosate-based herbicides repeatedly references this obsolete 16 year-old report (and this 22 year-old report) which has been superseded by this 2011 report commissioned for the same agency. There are not enough editors left in GMOs to make the correction.  Are GMOs and pesticides somehow exempt from our sourcing rules? --David Tornheim (talk) 22:57, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
The answer to Awilley’s question is an unqualified YES. --David Tornheim (talk) 17:58, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Seraphimblade

A couple of things concern me about this request. The first is a lack of specifics. Learned lessons about what? Won't do what again? If this appeal is intended to be based upon understanding what went wrong and undertaking not to have it happen again, I would want to see specifics as to "I ___________, and in the future I'll (not do that and/or __________ instead)."

The second is the recent (~5 months ago) warning for canvassing on Jimbo's talk page. That's very reminiscent of the behavior that led to the topic ban to begin with; indeed, inappropriate use of that page was brought up at the AE request that led to the topic ban. Also, I quite honestly find the characterization of these incidents as "relative newbie" mistakes to be rather misleading. David Tornheim's first edits were in 2008, and while there were several long (sometimes years long) breaks in between editing periods then, his first editing as a routine practice began on 10 February 2015, in the GMO topic area. By the end of March 2015, he was participating relatively routinely at ANI. So to claim that he was a clueless newbie in July of 2016 is, I think, rather difficult to swallow (especially given that, by the time the topic ban was implemented, multiple warnings had already been given; this was not a bolt from the blue). I also find the point by Kingofaces43 to be well in order. This wasn't a case of an editor one time losing their cool and engaging in an edit war or throwing around aspersions, it was a long period of disruption despite repeated warnings to stop. If it weren't for the recent canvassing incident, I might be inclined to say the ban can be easily reinstated, but given that I really question what those lessons learned were and would be inclined to decline the request. I wouldn't necessarily feel that way indefinitely, and it's certainly not to say that the contributions in other areas aren't appreciated as they certainly are, but I'm not convinced that rejoining the GMO area is the right way to go at this point in time. Seraphimblade Talk to me 00:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Kingofaces43

As the one who filed the initial AE, I do have some significant concerns here. The main ones being why David would want to edit in this topic again at this time and if they're truly addressing the core behavior that caused the problem here.

If you read through the AE and evidence throughout it, their behavior had been stirring up other editors for quite some time, leading to multiple editors being sanctioned for partaking in WP:ASPERSIONS. That is a principle I outlined more in the AE that we had to pass specific to GMO/pesticide topics.[50] David's topic-ban largely finally settled down the topic for years, so there should be a very high bar for saying that preventative measure isn't needed anymore. We've been having troubles with other editors at recent AEs with similar issues, so there is a high risk of the topic being disrupted even more if that behavior starts again in even the slightest. Their last warning on canvassing, reminiscent of their previous behavior seen in the GMO/pesticide topic, was also about five months ago, not three years as David put it.

The other area is that David frequently tried to insert WP:FRINGE material claiming there wasn't a scientific consensus on GMO safety, etc. claiming RS's said so. [51] Normally, topic-bans in fringe areas are there to prevent the rest of the community's time from being sucked up, and as admins mentioned at the AE (especially MastCell), our time had already been significantly taken up with David's actions that were more expansive than the acute issues at that AE.

For both of those things, I don't see anything specific in their response clearly showing the battleground behavior with related aspersions or the fringe advocacy would really stop. It's saying they did ok in other areas, but there's obviously a catch-22 in that you can't know how an editor off their ban will behave until they are back in the topic. That should also be weighed with how serious the behavior was towards disrupting the topic as a whole and how easily the topic can be disrupted again. While there is technically room to appeal, that is significantly narrowed when it looks to admins like David is better off sticking to their new topics. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:01, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

More red flags are popping up with David's recent comments showing they want to jump directly into these types of edits. Glyphosate/Roundup is currently one of the most controversial areas of the subject, and a concern that they want to immediately go back to that. Especially with the recent warning about canvassing, I'm still not seeing anything indicating they'd not go back to behavior like these.[52][53][54] 0RR would help a little, but the main problem was their talk page behavior and use of content as Awilley was cautious about. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:02, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
@Vanamonde93, GoldenRing, and TonyBallioni: on the on-the-fence comments, how do you weigh that with MastCell's two admin comments at the AE, namely on “kindness” towards the community? At the least, glyphosate-related topics should be avoided. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:33, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Aircorn

I watch, or try to watch, every GMO related page (I don't include pesticides as GMO) and can not recall any edits in this area from David since his topic ban. I actually didn't mind David too much when he was editing outside the GMO safety kerfuffle as I found them reasonably easy to work with, especially giving our conflicting views. In fact I kinda liked that he didn't just entrench himself in the GMOs are safe/dangerous debate like so many others. I even thought we may have worked well together on Genetic engineering in fiction at one point. It has been a pretty stable area recently (outside of Roundup which I don't personally consider part of the GMO suite) and we have finally got some decent articles up. It would be a shame to go back to the old ways of having to argue every point incessantly and they unfortunately carry a bit of baggage from before in this regard. However, we have the safety stuff bound by possibly the highest form of consensus here so there is little harm of that blowing up again.

I am not a fan of forcing editors to grovel on past mistakes, but I would like to know more specifics on what they actually want to edit within these articles. I will help keep the area up to date with the most recent science using the best reliable sources is the only real indication and while that sounds good it can be problematic. Recent science are not always the best sources to use, especially if they are primary studies and contradict other more established ones. In many ways this was one of the catalysts of the safety drama and something David, although he was not alone in this, had problems with.

Three years is a long time in Wikipedia. If they have been editing productively in other areas then I personally would not be against giving them a second chance. AIRcorn (talk) 10:33, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

As I alluded to above round-up, and by extension glyphosate (much of the drama was over whether the articles should be split), is currently the most unstable area covered under the topic ban. I would not recommend it as a place for a recently topic banned editor to resume editing.
@Vanamonde93: We already have 1RR on all GMO topics through discretionary sanctions so this would not be anything more than other editors in the area have to deal with (Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Genetically modified organisms#1RR imposed). AIRcorn (talk) 10:30, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Hijiri88

I don't see any good reason to remove this ban. David violated it almost immediately violated it while essentially denying he was subject to it, was blocked, then left the project for a while. He came back and started taking a "let the world burn" attitude to administrative procedures, apparently as "revenge" for his own TBAN, and even started hounding the users he blamed for his TBAN, like Jytdog, and even random bystanders, like MPants. If it weren't for his perhaps sometimes good content edits, I'd be actively pushing for his restriction to be extended to a siteban, since I honestly can't figure out how such an uncollaborative editor has managed to survive here as long as he has. We certainly shouldn't be rewarding his behaviour by lifting what restrictions he already has. Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:32, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Also, the repeated blatant canvassing and IDHT regarding the same, and harassment of those who called him out about it. Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:41, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
@Atsme: The question should really be whether it stopped disruption on the part of David Tornheim and caused him to reflect on his behaviour; I'm seeing little by way of self-reflection or apology in the above for any of David's misbehaviour since his ban, and so he really shouldn't be rewarded for this behaviour by having his one editing restriction repealed. He also hasn't explained his skirting the bounds of the ban last summer, including his repeated hounding of the editors he blames for his ban right down to their being indef-blocked for completely unrelated reasons (note that he kept beating that dead horse until one minute before the editor was blocked). The fact that he was only directly blocked once is not evidence that he's been respecting the spirit of his ban. Hijiri 88 (やや) 03:58, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Atsme

I agree with Aircorn - 3 yrs...seriously. Did it truly stop disruption? No, it did not. It's a controversial topic. I say give him a chance. What harm is there in giving someone a chance? What happened to AGF? Atsme Talk 📧 23:42, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Tryptofish

Despite having been on opposing "sides" of the original GMO dispute, I like David personally, and I remember not too long ago complimenting him on some excellent advice he gave to a newbie editor about how to avoid conflicts. So I fully agree with him that he has a good track record of making helpful contributions. But that doesn't mean that he needs to have the restriction lifted, or that the GMO topic area would benefit if it were. David says as of now that these two discussions show that "[t]here are not enough editors left in GMOs to make the correction." That assertion worries me. Those two discussions were initiated by another editor who was subsequently AE topic-banned from GMOs, and the talk page discussions that followed indicated that the content issues are not quite as simple as David's comments here seem to indicate. Just a few weeks ago, there was a small flare-up of the GMO disputes that, thankfully, quieted down pretty quickly, and the last thing that we need is to reignite that again. I said myself barely two weeks ago that I was looking to update the sourcing on glyphosate and that I intend to make revisions that would correct some POV issues that remain from the old sourcing: [55], [56]. For personal reasons, I've temporarily decreased the amount of my editing over these past two weeks, so I haven't yet made those revisions, but that hardly amounts to an urgent problem that requires more editors. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:19, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

I see the admins considering various alternatives, and I have a question @David that may perhaps help assess whether or not it is worth it to lift the restriction. David: In my comment just above, I took issue with your characterization of these two discussions. What is your response to what I said? Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:47, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
@David Tornheim: In light of your question to Vanamonde and his reply to you, perhaps you might want to respond to my question to you, just above. Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:28, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
@Admins: The way I see it, there is some risk in narrowing or lifting the topic ban, and it's a question of how much risk you are comfortable with; on the other hand, the point about this potentially becoming unliftable is a good one. As I think of the topic area over the past few months, it's true that there has been very little drama outside of glyphosate. However, it's worth considering that the majority of GMO pages mention glyphosate at some point. If you want to narrow the tban to glyphosate, and accompany it with an explicit warning about ROPE, I'd be OK with giving that a try. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by (editor)

Discussion among uninvolved editors about the appeal by David Tornheim

Result of the appeal by David Tornheim

This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators. Comments by others will be moved to the sections above.
  • Decline appeal per Seraphimblade. There's a fine line between "The sanction is working at preventing disruption" and "The sanction no longer serves a purpose because disruption is unlikely to occur again." Right now, I think we're at "the sanction is working at preventing disruption", and I don't see a reason to make lift it. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:17, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    @GoldenRing and Vanamonde93: I'd personally prefer lifting it entirely over some specialized sanction (per my view that specialized sanctions don't work). I'm also generally not a fan of the ArbCom probationary lifting things. No one ever invokes them because they know that it would be a royal pain to enforce, even if the user is being disruptive. If people feel this is a ROPE situation, just remove it completely: they're already under an automatic 1 year probation via the discretionary sanctions awareness criteria (which is basically what probation was.)
    I too am on the fence, but I tend to side on the "don't fix what's working" end of the spectrum. If people are on the fence here, we should be discussing either lifting it completely (the ROPE approach) or keeping it in place and telling him to come back in a few more months once some of the concerns above are more clearly addressed. Some random made up sanction to ease our minds but that in all reality will never be enforced isn't fair to David if it isn't needed, and if it is needed, isn't fair to the other participants in the GMO topic area because they'll basically have an unblockable on their hands, because more often than not, probations make it more difficult to sanction an editor rather than easier. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:26, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    If there’s consensus for another sanction, I won’t stand in the way of it. Though, I’m generally very skeptical of ROPE, but I’d personally prefer that to a middle ground in this case. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:02, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Vanamonde93: this thread is so tangled (my fault!), but yes, I'd support that reduction in TBAN scope. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:32, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm on the fence. On the face it seems like a reasonable appeal and I would lean towards granting it per WP:ROPE. On the other hand though I'm unfamiliar with this particular topic area I understand the concerns about borderline Battleground behavior, fringe, and POV pushing. It's easy to say "I will help keep the area up to date with the most recent science using the best reliable sources" but it is also not difficult to POV push by cherry picking from high quality sources. So I guess my question for David is, are you willing to compartmentalize whatever your own personal views might be, and to do your best to actually write from the POV of the best reliable sources? (See Wikipedia:Writing for the opponent for an idea of what I'm talking about.) ~Awilley (talk) 20:36, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    • So with David's response above I would be ok with lifting the topic ban per WP:ROPE. Also since my previous comment here I have looked into some of the other diffs related to the apparent "score settling" in Dec 2018 against User:Jytdog. Yuck. I really don't like that and it almost pushes me back over the fence, but I suppose the appeal addresses that as well with a clear commitment to focus on content and not contributors. So I guess put me down as a support, with the understanding that the ROPE will be very short and that if DT doesn't live up to their promises I'll be getting in line to reinstate the topic ban. As for whether to narrow or completely remove the topic ban...I'm fine with whatever the other admins decide, but consider that 1. if we don't trust them to be able to control themselves on glyphosphate articles why trust them with the rest of the GMO topic area, and 2. if glyphosphate is that problematic it might be the most efficient test of DT's commitment to reform. ~Awilley (talk) 19:18, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Awilley sums up my thoughts perfectly. Is there perhaps a less restrictive sanction we could try, that would auto-expire in six months? Some sort of probation? 0RR on GMO pages for six months? Something? GoldenRing (talk) 16:16, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    @TonyBallioni: I take your point about probation and ROPE. My concern with dismissing this appeal is that I struggle to see another road for DT to have it overturned. Given that most here are fence-sitting, it seems likely that others would feel similarly and so I doubt that AN or ARCA would overturn a consensus to decline here. And if he goes off and edits perfectly for another six months and the appeals again here, will anything really have changed? I would rather lift the sanction on the basis of ROPE than land an editor with an essentially-unliftable sanction. Maybe I'm over-reading the situation, though. GoldenRing (talk) 09:18, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I read this appeal a while ago, and didn't comment because I couldn't make up my mind. I would certainly be happier with probation than with lifting this completely. I'm also reluctant to entirely dismiss a reasonable appeal that has no red flags. Vanamonde (Talk) 17:00, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    @TonyBallioni: I would prefer to lift this than leave it untouched. This is partly per WP:ROPE, as it's been three years, and also because I think some genuine introspection has gone into this appeal; far more than many we see here. I can see your point about probation, but that's not the only intermediate sanction we could consider; 1RR on GMO-related topics would not be unenforceable, I think (0RR is probably too much). Vanamonde (Talk) 02:33, 18 April 2019 (UTC) Striking per Aircorn, thanks for pointing that out. I am not convinced that there is no risk to lifting this, but given that we're all on the fence, that it's been three years, and that the appeal touches all of the necessary points (if not quite at the depth I would like), I'd rather err on the side of lifting this, because it's quite certain their edits will be receiving a lot of scrutiny. Vanamonde (Talk) 15:14, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Kingofaces43: Mastcell's comments are not relevant. Mastcell was stating that they felt a topic-ban to be necessary at that time; that necessity isn't in question here. This isn't an appeal on the merits, this is an "I have learned what the problem was and will do better" appeal. As such I (and the other admins, presumably) are all already assuming that the original topic-ban was justified. Vanamonde (Talk) 17:28, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
    @TonyBallioni and GoldenRing: How would you feel about narrowing this to a glyphosate-specific topic-ban? Vanamonde (Talk) 17:28, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
    @David Tornheim: I have read those links. I am concerned about those discussions for a variety of reasons, but that concern is quite irrelevant to this appeal. If we were to accept this appeal, it would be because we are (mostly) convinced that you will avoid your previous mistakes with respect to sourcing and editorial conduct. The urgency of the issues you hope to address are not germane; indeed, wanting to dive into the most contentious of current debates is a reason not to grant this appeal. Vanamonde (Talk) 21:05, 18 April 2019 (UTC)


This request may be declined without further action if insufficient or unclear information is provided in the "Request" section] below.
Requests may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs (not counting required information), except by permission of a reviewing administrator.

Request concerning BullRangifer

User who is submitting this request for enforcement 
Rusf10 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) 18:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
User against whom enforcement is requested 
BullRangifer (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

Search DS alerts: in user talk history • in system log

Sanction or remedy to be enforced
Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/American politics 2 :
Diffs of edits that violate this sanction or remedy, and an explanation how these edits violate it 
  1. 4/12/19 Asserts with no evidence that Attorney General Bill Barr lied to congress lied to congress to "please his boss". WP:BLPTALK
  2. 4/12/19 Makes the same claim about Barr again and suggest that block/bans are necessary for those who disagree. Also, says Barr "just riled up Trump's base, the ones who believe this and other conspiracy theories, and who now come here to misuse Wikipedia to push their political agenda." WP:BLPTALK
  3. 4/12/19 Tells an established editor that he should be topic-banned and is pushing fringe beliefs. WP:PERSONALATTACK
  4. 4/12/19 Suggests that regular editors are pushing conspiracy theories, need topic bans, and are incompetent without providing evidence. WP:PERSONALATTACK
  5. 4/12/19 WP:HOUNDs an other editor, demanding that respond to him immediately and again suggests Barr is a conspiracy theorist.
  6. 3/27/19 Calls Barr's ""impartiality" is a farce" and that "his impartiality is not evident or to be expected." WP:BLPTALK

Diffs of previous relevant sanctions, if any 
  1. 7/20/18 Received a warning for personal attacks on another Donald Trump related page.
  2. 3/13/19 Received yet another warning for personal attacks on a Donald Trump related page.
If discretionary sanctions are requested, supply evidence that the user is aware of them (see WP:AC/DS#Awareness and alerts)
  • Received DS alert 1/24/19 [57]
  • The above warnings have occurred in the past 12 months.
Additional comments by editor filing complaint 

BullRangifer routinely labels editors he disagrees with (particularly any that speak favorably about Donald Trump) as fringe and conspiracy theorists and tells them they need to be topic-banned. This type of behavior is extremely disruptive and he has been warned repeatedly. Furthermore, he has also suggested (without evidence) that Attorney General Bill Barr lied to congress about spying that may have occurred during the 2016 elections just to please his boss (Donald Trump)and to "riled up Trump's base, the ones who believe this and other conspiracy theories, and who now come here to misuse Wikipedia to push their political agenda." Besides a BLP violation, this is the type of blog-style rhetoric that we do not need here. Given his WP:POLEMIC essay [58], WP:BATTLEGROUND behavior, and disregard of previous warnings (see above), I strongly recommend that some type of action is taken this time (not just another warnings).--Rusf10 (talk) 18:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

@Sandstein:- I'm sorry I wasn't more clear in my original filing. The suggestion that Bill Barr's statement to congress "I believe spying did occur" was made only to please his boss is an obvious WP:BLPTALK violation. Lying to congress is a crime and to suggest that Bill Barr did this without any proof should not be tolerated. Telling other editors that they are "pushing fringe beliefs" and should be topic-banned amounts to WP:PERSONALATTACKs. I also added an additional diff.--Rusf10 (talk) 21:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

@Aquillion:The evidence you presented against me is absurd. By your own admission, these are at most minor violations. And I would say most of them, don't even rise to that level. Do you honestly think there is something wrong with using the phrase "muddying the waters" or telling someone they are making a strawman's argument is a problem? These are just alternate ways of telling someone they are bringing something irrelevant into the discussion.--Rusf10 (talk) 21:40, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

@Phmoreno:You are correct, BullRangifer's behavior is unacceptable and so is Volunteer Marek's. I purposely ignored his Wikipedia:Wikilawyering below, knowing that it contained many misrepresentations (which you did a good job of pointing out). I didn't even bother to look into his allegation against you, which he did not support with diffs. He accused me of not providing any evidence, yet I did. @Volunteer Marek: where is your evidence against Phmoreno? Provide diffs, otherwise your statement below constitutes a personal attack and WP:ASPERSIONS--Rusf10 (talk) 03:32, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

@Volunteer Marek: first of all, I am NOT your buddy. Second, with the exception of the first diff, you just provided them now and there are still other claims you made that you still ahve not provided diffs for, so do not accuse me of lying and then think that everyone else here is too stupid to realize. Now that you actually provided diffs: 1. [59] there is no consensus on using the Epoch Times as a relaible source as per WP:RSP2. [60] misrepresentation, the editor did not call Phmoreno fringe, but was asking for sources to avoid the appearance of WP:FRINGE 3. [61] quoting Devin Nunes, am I missing something here?--Rusf10 (talk) 04:06, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

@Sandstein, Awilley, Timotheus Canens, and Masem: Because "Boomerangs" are now being called for, I felt the need to fully defend myself against USER:Aquillion's allegations since he omitted context when presenting diffs against me. With the exception of the muddying the water comment, which has been blown out of proportion, my comments were in response to other inappropriate statements including those made by BullRangifer. Since it is too long for me to post here, I created a new page to respond fully: User:Rusf10/Response to Allegations--Rusf10 (talk) 03:25, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Notification of the user against whom enforcement is requested 


Discussion concerning BullRangifer

Statements must be made in separate sections. They may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs, except by permission of a reviewing administrator.
Administrators may remove or shorten noncompliant statements. Disruptive contributions may result in blocks.

Statement by BullRangifer

Statement by Volunteer Marek

This is some gross misrepresentations by Rusf10. Let's see

  1. "Asserts with no evidence that Attorney General Bill Barr lied to congress " - FALSE, what BR said is that Barr's words were "uncertain, off-hand, without evidence, spoken to please his boss, and he's pulled back on what he said", all of which can and is supported by sources on the related article's talk page.
  2. " suggest that block/bans are necessary for those who disagree" FALSE, there's not a damn thing in that diff that mentions blocking or banning anyone. And regarding BR's comment about those "who now come here to misuse Wikipedia to push their political agenda.", what's wrong with it? The title of the freakin' discussion thread this is referring to is "Meatpuppetry at Spygate from r/The_Donald" (with plenty of evidence provided by User:Starship.paint to show that there is indeed a coordinated effort going on to disrupt Wikipedia in order to push a political agenda)
  3. Tells an established editor that he should be topic-banned and is pushing fringe beliefs." Uhh, because it's true? User:Phmoreno has tried for awhile now to insert unreliable fringe and conspiracy sources into these Wikipedia articles. Like something called theconservativetreehouse [63] or a conspiracy book by some guy from Alex Jones's Infowars show [64] [65] (I apologize ahead of time for those links) [66] [67]. [68]. Here is Phmoreno referring to reliable, mainstream sources as " fake news propaganda" and asserting that we need to "tell what really happened" (i.e. push a nutty conspiracy theory on our readers) Here is another editor observing that Phmoreno is trying to push WP:FRINGE beliefs [69] (User:Darknipples at bottom of section) Here is Phmoreno claiming that there has been a "failed coup d'etat" against Trump [70]. I mean, if that isn't fringe wacky shit, I don't know what is. In this section when asked to provide sources for his fringe assertions, Phmoreno first replies "I don't have time", then provides this garbage. Just looks through that websites front page and tell me that someone who takes this shit seriously has any business editing articles on American politics. Etc. There's more examples of this WP:NOTHERE kind of behavior from Phmoreno that can be easily provided (let me know)
  4. Ditto
  5. Yeah... pointing out that we follow policies on Wikipedia is NOT WP:HOUNDING. But you know what might be? Filing bad faithed dishonest WP:AE requests.

Rusf10 makes the accusation that "BullRangifer routinely labels editors he disagrees with (particularly any that speak favorably about Donald Trump) as fringe and conspiracy theorists". No. BR does point it out when some editors try to use conspiracy theorists or fringe sources on Wikipedia. But that's the fault of the people who try to pull this stuff, not BRs. He does NOT "label editors he disagrees with" in GENERAL in such terms, neither routinely or otherwise. Rusf10 has not provided ANY evidence to support that false accusations so this constitutes a personal attack and WP:ASPERSIONS

This is WP:BOOMERANG worthy.Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:57, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

@Phmoreno - the diff you link to is a different diff that Rusf10 linked to that I was discussing. So your "Actually" is kind of... false.

It is also utterly dishonest of you to claim that I said John Solomon is "garbage". I called THIS SOURCE YOU TRIED TO USE "garbage". Because it is. As is obvious with even a cursory glance at the article in question or the main website of whatever that is [71]. Please retract your false statement.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:30, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

And dude, your whole "I will do a presentation" thing sounds like a freakin' super creepy threat. That alone should get you sanctioned.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:33, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Hey User:Rusf10, buddy. If you actually read my comment you'll note that it is chuck full of "evidence". There's a diff or link for everything. So stop pretending otherwise. You're not fooling anyone, people can read you know. You say "he did not support with diffs". Here is a diff I provided. Here is a diff I provided. Here is a link I provided to a relevant discussion ([72]). Here is a a link I provided to a relevant discussion ([73]). EVERYTHING I said was diff'd and supported. So stop lying. People can read.

And I did NOT accuse you of "not providing evidence". Buddy. I accused you of providing FALSE evidence. As in claiming a diff says one thing, when it actually says another. For example - again - you claim that in this diff BR accuses Burr of "lying". He does not. He says something else.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:46, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Please note that after I pointed out that Phmoreno was making false claims about what I said he changed his wording to make it look like I was the one misrepresenting him. Not struck it. Changed it straight up. He's been around for a very long time, so he knows that that kind of thing is sketchy.Volunteer Marek (talk) 04:03, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Aquillion

The groundless nature of Rusf10's request is detailed above, but I'll point out that Rusf10 himself has unclean hands in this topic area, perhaps to the point of WP:BOOMERANG. A few combative diffs from the past month:

  • Accuses someone of muddying the waters, twice, for raising concerns over meatpuppetry. 4/11/2019 4/11/2019 (Note that the page now has 300/50 protection due to obvious meatpuppetry that was, in fact, occurring during that discussion; see discussion here.)
  • Calls someone's summary of a source a strawman's argument. 3/25/2019.
  • And the crusade against Fox News continues... 3/24/2019
  • Again, you are so blinded by your own bias, you have no idea what you are talking about. 3/23/2019.
  • On BullRangifer's talk page: I would be very careful with trying to promote conspiracy theories about why Roger Ailes created Fox News or what his intentions were. That's a BLP violation and consider yourself warned. 3/22/2019, in relation to [74]. First, Ailes died nearly two years ago (putting him at the very limit of what BLP might be considered to apply to, even in far more extreme cases than this). Second, this aspect of his biography is well-established and extensively discussed in reliable sources; while it may not have universal support, it's not something that could be a WP:BLP violation. Threatening someone with BLP over it almost two years after Ailes' death is therefore an unambiguous abuse of process. He coupled this with a BLP sanctions warning; while such notices don't imply wrongdoing, it is hard to accept that Rusf10 thought that an editor as experienced as BullRangifer was unfamiliar with BLP or its sanctions - in other words, he was abusing process and notices to try and intimidate an editor.
  • Please don't patronize me. 3/18/2019
  • Your response is the exactly the reaction I expected. 3/18/2019
  • If you're going to call me out, at least do so by name. 3/18/2019 Note that the editor was not, as far as I can tell, calling him out in any way.

Individually some of these are minor, but this is over the course of less than a month (and he wasn't hugely prolific in that time period); together they show an WP:UNCIVIL, combative style, a WP:BATTLEGROUND approach to the topic area, a refusal to WP:AGF, and a desire to abuse process in an effort to intimidate or remove editors he disagrees with - especially BullRangifer in particular. --Aquillion (talk) 20:54, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Phmoreno

I agree with what Rusf10 presented.

In my upcoming lecture on propaganda and ideological subversion I will show the audience a screen projection of a Wikipedia Talk page on one of these anti-Trump articles and give examples of the standard tactics these propagandists use: attack the sources as being unreliable or not permitted when primary (both usually not supported by Wikipedia policy), slant the narrative by prohibiting anything that contradicts the left wing talking points and finally attacking editors who try to write something truthful. I will also show how contrary narratives are labeled as "conspiracy theories" or "fringe" or "far-right fringe", phrases which BullRanger uses with great frequency. (BullRanger will be one of the editors I will highlight.) After I gather feedback I will turn my presentation into an article and have it posted on a website that gets several million daily views.

In response to VolunteerMarek:

2. Marek takes issue with Rusf10: "suggest that block/bans are necessary for those who disagree" FALSE. Actually, the diff 4/12/19 states :* You're still calling RS "fake news"? That should earn you a topic ban for working against our RS policy. That repeated claim is evidence you are NOTHERE to follow our policies, but to push your fringe beliefs based on unreliable sources. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 15:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC) I was calling the article "fake news", not the sources (although there is a recent article listing 32 false claims by MS media on Trump topics); however, BullRanger needs to read the reliable sources policy. Notice BullRanger: attacks the sources, mis-states WP:RS, threatens me with a topic ban, labels my views "fringe beliefs".

3.1 Attacks my sources. Also fails to mention numerous times that I have cited The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal andThe Hill(John Solomon).

3.2 VolunteerMarek bends the truth about my statement by saying " Phmoreno first replies "I don't have time", then provides this garbage". I did post a reference and here is what I actually said:

I do not have time to post them all.[1]

  • 3.3(Calls John Solomon article "garbage". The article is about something Solomon wrote. Solomon is considered to be the leading reporter on this story.

In summary, editors like BullRanger have destroyed the credibility of Wikipedia Trump related articles. This has been pointed out numerous times on the Talk pages. The only good thing I can say is that this is such bad propaganda that it is recognized as such by any half informed or sensible reader.Phmoreno (talk) 03:12, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

  1. ^ "FBI email chain may provide most damning evidence of FISA abuses yet". 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-04-12.

Statement by Geogene

Phmoreno just made a threat [75] that should result in an immediate indefinite block, under the same principle as WP:NLT (chilling speech). Geogene (talk) 03:32, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by MrX

Masem, would you please move your comments out of the 'Results concerning...' section per the italicized instructions. You are involved in the recent disputes on the article.- MrX 🖋 12:21, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Masem, you are involved. In fact, you initiated a content dispute over the title of the page, giving your (incorrect, evidence-free) opinion that "This page must be moved back to "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" to avoid the immediate BLP problem, as well as to meet the conciseness needed for disambiguation terms, and in case anyone that gets here thinking this is the NFL one, a hatnote is sufficient to point them to the right direction."[76] It doesn't matter how you arrived at the page, or that you "made no other discussion regarding content" (you have frequently weighed in on content disputes related to Donald Trump). You initiated a content dispute and now you are attempting to adjudicate a conduct dispute about participants in the content dispute. You can't do that. Is it going to be necessary to request clarification from Arbcom on this? By the way, this is not first time that I have protested about you violating WP:INVOLVED and ignoring the instructions on this page: This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators..- MrX 🖋 14:39, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Awilley, try harder. I have shown seven diffs of his direct involvement with the content. The evidence is crystal clear, but we can let Arbcom explain to the community why admins are allowed to flaunt policy and Arbcom procedures when it suits their content preferences.- MrX 🖋 19:45, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Masem

(The following content was moved out of the uninvolved admin section. I still strongly disagree that in this specific content dispute I am involved for discussing the question of the article title, but rather not divert the discussion from the matter raised at AE --Masem (t) 20:05, 13 April 2019 (UTC))

    • Agree that there's no action either way, outside that all users are showing BATTLEGROUND behavior in regards to sourcing. We're not going to use sources that clearly fail RS, but at the same time, there is room to discuss the nature of how the RSes are reporting on the matter with regards to WP:YESPOV. Sticking to either of these points is inflaming the other view. Neither side is showing any compromise. Recommend TROUTs around, but caution that another flairup would likely require action across the board. (Comment: I have participated in a discussion related to the title of the Spygate page but make no claims or comments about this specific content dispute, so consider myself uninvolved to that point.) --Masem (t) 22:45, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        • To response to Mr. X above, I reiterate the point here: I do not consider myself involved in this specific content dispute: the only contribution on the page I did was when I saw the page title (as "Spygate (Donald Trump conspiracy theory)" appear at the edit warring noticeboard, and expressed concern that the page needed to be renamed to something shorter to meet naming policy and avoid the potential BLP. I'm also writing this response before I go to responde to a ping that named me regarding a name change on that page. I have made no other discussion regarding content and certainly not around the specific disputed area here. --Masem (t) 14:07, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by My very best wishes

I think only diff #3 by BullRangifer [77] maybe a little problematic, simply as criticizing another contributor on article talk page. However, that contributor was recently indefinitely blocked [78]. All other comments by BullRangifer were either about content or comments on the WP:ANI which serves to discuss the behavior by other contributors. Therefore, I do not think any sanctions against BullRangifer would be appropriate here (agree with Sandstein). On the other hand, this is clearly a battleground request (the 3rd one) by the filer. Therefore, some sanctions against Rusf10 could be appropriate. My very best wishes (talk) 20:10, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

So, I would really recommend closing this case as "no action", especially taking into account that some of the admins are active in the area of US politics, which is good, but might create an impression of bias. My very best wishes (talk) 18:07, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Atsme

This whole AP2 fiasco has gotten way out of hand. The bias is obvious. It's sad to see our admins being pressured into making decisions they don't want to make but are forced to in order to keep the peace. It's no longer about maintaining NPOV for the sake of the project - it's a war between the left and the right unlike anything I've ever seen before in my lifetime, and I've been around a long time. Masem has been one of the most neutral and above-board admins I've seen since I became a WP editor, and he has not always decided in my favor. I've always believed that Sandstein was one of the few pragmatists we have left, and I've followed his decisions; all were based on what he believed was fair and reasonable. I like BullRangifer as a person and considered him a wikifriend but he has gone overboard and needs to be reeled-in. It's not just him - this obsession or hatred for Trump is tearing us apart, and it has to stop. Volunteer Marek is unrelenting, yet rarely are we seeing any decisive actions taken against them - the few times I've seen were shortlived. Glaring evidence has been presented but I already know what's going to happen - some of it already has, and it's sad because it hurts the project in the long term. Atsme Talk 📧 22:03, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Sir Joseph

Can I just point out a minor elephant in the room to slightly echo Atsme's statement? In many (most?) of these AP2 and other AE filings, you will see one constant. That constant is Volunteer Marek. I try to stay away from this area for that reason. As Atsme pointed out, VM is unrelenting, evidence has been presented, yet for some reason VM usually gets away scott free. We all know there are editors that have said they stay away from this area. We should not let it continue. Sir Joseph (talk) 15:52, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Thucydides411

I want to preface this by saying that I'm not calling for a block against BullRangifer. However, BullRangifer has a persistent habit of using talk pages as fora for long political statements, and they should be directed to stop doing so. When editors voice their political views so stridently on talk pages for political topics, it not only distracts from the work of editing, but gives the very strong impression that politics is driving content (rather than the usual Wikipedia policies).

I was moved to come here by the following recent comment by BullRangifer on the talk page for Spygate (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump):

Spygate does not refer to all alleged spying on the Trump campaign, and not all alleged spying on the campaign refers to Spygate. There was surveillance of specific individuals as part of the investigation into Russian interference, and that ended up including the whole campaign, including Trump. He is the chief suspect, the spider in the center of the web, whose spiders do nothing without his orders, or at least his approval. This was still not a politically motivated investigation, but was part of the investigation into Russian interference. Trump and his campaign members were obviously deeply involved with Russians and Trump clearly benefited from the interference. This included many secret meetings (with Trump literally trumping Don Jr and Kushner to issue a false press report about the Trump Tower meeting), and then lying repeatedly about all of it. All of this created justified suspicions that they were party to the interference and made all the investigations completely justified and legitimate. Never before has an administration and president acted in this manner. -[79]

That sort of comment is really unacceptable, and it fits in with the pattern laid out by the diffs Rusf10 laid out in the initial complaint. I really defy any of the admins commenting below to tell me that calling Trump "the spider in the center of the web, whose spiders do nothing without his orders" is acceptable on a talk page. Please direct BullRangifer to stop using the talk pages as a political forum. -Thucydides411 (talk) 23:57, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by (username)

Result concerning BullRangifer

This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators. Comments by others will be moved to the sections above.
  • I would take no action because the request does not explain how these edits violate any applicable conduct policy - except for one allegation of "hounding", but a single edit cannot constitute evidence of this. Sandstein 21:04, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • (my response moved to above section --Masem (t) 20:05, 13 April 2019 (UTC))
      • I would still take no action. It is true that editorializing and politicking on a talk page is inappropriate. Talk pages exist to discuss source-based changes to articles, not to speculate about the motives, etc., of political actors (WP:NOTFORUM). But that does not rise to the level of requiring sanctions, unless it happens to such a degree that it disrupts useful discussion. This has not been alleged here. I also do not think that criticizing a prominent national politician (who, as a public figure, must expect all sorts of criticism) on a talk page violates BLPTALK to a degree requiring sanctions, even though, as mentioned, it is inappropriate. Likewise, I agree that editors must not attack one another. But they may tell others that their conduct is at odds with Wikipedia's values, as BullRangifer did when the now-blocked Phmoreno made blanket dismissals of reliable sources as "fake news propaganda". To the extent that BullRangifer may have been too confrontative, I think that they did not do so to a degree that warrants sanctions. Sandstein 13:43, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Just noting that I indefinitely blocked User:Phmoreno per User:Geogene. Phmoreno knows about NLT blocks and the chilling effect they have and his edit above and in his sandbox[80] have the same effect and are unacceptable. Doug Weller talk 12:56, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It is hard not to see this report as a continuation of [81] and [82]. This is the third time in a year that Rusf10 has filed AE requests against Bullrangifer, and each time Bullrangifer gets criticized for making overly personal comments and Rusf10 gets criticized for filing contentious reports against ideological opponents. Since both sides have been warned multiple times about this (See here for Rusf10 being warned explicitly about WP:BATTLEGROUND behavior and assuming bad faith) I have on my own initiative placed some limited discretionary sanctions on each editor, tailored to specific problems I see in their behavior. (Auto-boomerang for Rusf10 and No personal comments on article talk pages for Bullrangifer) I would also not oppose a boomerang here against Rusf10.
    Responding to MrX above, I don't see that as evidence of Masem's involvement, and I don't think that Masem has taken an unreasonable position here. ~Awilley (talk) 18:17, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with this approach, broadly speaking; both editors should disengage from this confrontation. I myself would not have used this kind of sanction which needs continued enforcement and supervision; but that's your decision. Unless other admins intend to take action, I think this can be closed now. Sandstein 20:18, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I intend to keep an eye on things. Also to be fair to Bullrangifer, asking BR to disengage from "this confrontation" implies that they were engaging in a confrontation with Rusf10, which I can't see was the case. BR's comments, at least the ones linked here, seem to have been mostly directed at User:Phmoreno and meatpuppets from r/The_Donald, not at Rusf10; and BR hasn't made any comments here at all. You can't get much more disengaged than that. ~Awilley (talk) 02:06, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I also don't see anything actionable in this request, and would not be opposed to a boomerang. T. Canens (talk) 02:28, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Aquillion has listed some ten or twelve diffs divided into eight bullet points, purporting to show that Rusf10 has unclean hands in the topic area. I tend to agree. Some of Aquillion's diffs are minor, but as Aquillion points out they're over the course of less than a month, and during a period when Rusf wasn't especially active. I think that's interesting, and shows that Rusf's discourse is more or less dominated by aggressive posts, or, as Aquillion puts it, "shows an WP:UNCIVIL, combative style, a WP:BATTLEGROUND approach to the topic area, [and] a refusal to WP:AGF". (I'm not sure about those diffs showing "abuse of process", though certainly this very enforcement request against BullRangifer, together with the two previous ones, suggests an effort to intimidate or remove BullRangifer in particular.) Looking through Aquillion's bullet list, it seems to me that this diff in bullet 2, directed at Volunteer Marek, is quite reasonable. The rest of Aquillion's diffs, which include stuff like "Again, you are so blinded by your own bias, you have no idea what you are talking about", "Your response is the exactly the reaction I expected" and "I would be very careful with trying to promote conspiracy theories about why Roger Ailes created Fox News or what his intentions were. That's a BLP violation and consider yourself warned" (I'm quoting the whole of Rusf's post on BullRangifer's talkpage, and italicizing the actual threats in it), are pretty awful IMO. Yes, I've read Rusf's special page supplying context for Aquillion's bullet points, but I don't see that it makes any difference at all. Also, reading Rusf's comments on that page, I was struck by Rusf's choice of sources to prove his points, such as here: New York Post (marked as "opinion", yet), The Hill (also marked as "opinion").
I also see (predictably unsuccessful) attempts by Rusf to badger Awilley about the special sanction Awilley has given them per above. It's unsurprising that people are upset when they're sanctioned, but this is just pure wikilawyering: "As per WP:ADMINACCT, I also would like to know specifically which of Aquillions you believe violated a policy and specifically which policy was violated". Now that I too have mentioned Aquillion, I'd better tell Rusf preemptively that Wikipedia doesn't have policies about every possible detail whereby talkpages and discussions can be blighted and made uncomfortable for other people. There is such a thing as a cumulative effect.
A couple of uninvolved admins — @Awilley and Timotheus Canens: — have mentioned the possibility of a boomerang. I'm for it, myself. Not sure what form it should take, though. A topic ban from AE? A logged warning? Anybody? Bishonen | talk 20:10, 18 April 2019 (UTC).

Galathadael ‎

Blocked indef as a normal admin action. Sandstein 20:19, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

This request may be declined without further action if insufficient or unclear information is provided in the "Request" section below.
Requests may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs (not counting required information), except by permission of a reviewing administrator.

Request concerning Galathadael ‎

User who is submitting this request for enforcement 
NorthBySouthBaranof (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) 02:14, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
User against whom enforcement is requested 
Galathadael ‎ (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

Search DS alerts: in user talk history • in system log

Sanction or remedy to be enforced
Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Editing_of_Biographies_of_Living_Persons#May_2014 :
Diffs of edits that violate this sanction or remedy, and an explanation how these edits violate it 
  1. 12 April Makes unsourced, unsupported claim that a living person is a "spy... sent in by the Obama administration" to infiltrate the Trump campaign
  2. 12 April Reinserts material after being warned to review the Biographies of Living Persons policy
  3. 12 April Again reinserts the material after being warned.
  4. 12 April Reinserts material yet again after being reverted and warned by another editor.
Diffs of previous relevant sanctions, if any 
If discretionary sanctions are requested, supply evidence that the user is aware of them (see WP:AC/DS#Awareness and alerts)
  • Alerted about discretionary sanctions in the area of conflict in the last twelve months, here.
Additional comments by editor filing complaint 

Brand-new user immediately jumped into unsupported conspiracy-mongering attacks on a living person despite being warned to review policy and avoid such behavior. Seems pretty clear-cut. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 02:14, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

The editor is now just literally repeating the BLP violation here. Claiming that Halper was "sent in by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign" is, at best, a conspiracy theory. Making unsupported negative claims about a living person is an actionable BLP violation. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 02:32, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
Notification of the user against whom enforcement is requested 

Discussion concerning Galathadael

Statements must be made in separate sections. They may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs, except by permission of a reviewing administrator.
Administrators may remove or shorten noncompliant statements. Disruptive contributions may result in blocks.

Statement by Galathadael

Are you serious? You're reporting me? Who's the living person I'm attacking? Stefan Halper was sent in by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign. That is a fact. You don't get to just report me and try to shut me up just because you disagree with me. If anything's clear-cut, is that something needs to be done about you editing my comments. Galathadael (talk) 02:18, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Rusf10

Technically, it is correct to say that Stefan Halper spied on Trump Campaign members. Of course, to be clear just because he was spying does not mean he did anything wrong or illegal. He was sent by the FBI which at the time was part of the Obama Administration. Here's a source [83] We could also use the term informant, here's a piece in an rs that discusses the use of the term spy being applied to Halper [84]. Basically both terms are interchangable, but one sounds more serious than the other. Regardless, since this can be documented to an RS, there's no BLP violation. Frivolous request.--Rusf10 (talk) 02:33, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

@Masem: Just wanted to point out Volunteer Marek's edit summary which I believe is a WP:PERSONALATTACK [85] which says "jfc, how many times have we been through this same song and dance? With Peter Strzok, with Seth Rich with another dozen articles that were subject to these external attacks with goofy administrators enabling and ass kissing the trolls until it got completely ridiculous. Stop wasting our time"--Rusf10 (talk) 04:13, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Dumuzid

While the general allegation here is true, that Mr. Halper indeed had some kind of intelligence gathering role with regard to people associated with the Trump campaign, in such incendiary areas it pays to be specific with one's language. I think "gather intelligence" or some such is preferable to spying, and I think "people associated with the campaign" is preferable to "the Trump campaign" or (as I have sometimes seen it) "Trump." But those are really fairly minor quibbles, I think. For me, the real problem is reference to having been "sent in by the Obama administration." For all I know, this may be true. But all I see in the RSes is references to the FBI. While technically you could call this part of the "administration," I think it gives the impression that elected officials or high-level political appointees outside the Department of Justice were involved. That, at this point, violates BLP for me pretty glaringly. After all that, I think there's a reasonable area for compromise here. Cheers all. Dumuzid (talk) 02:43, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Volunteer Marek

User:Masem, a statement that " Stefan Halper was sent in by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign" is most certainly a WP:BLP violation, especially if no sources are provided to back it up. And sorry but your #3 is nothing but Whataboutism, or as we like to call it on Wikipedia WP:OTHERSTUFF. You also don't actually provide any evidence that this is indeed true. But at the end of the day, if someone violates BLP with regard to some Trump official or something, that does not make it ok to violate BLP for other people and you should deal with that OTHER case.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:55, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Also, the article is semi-protected, and if you're worried about battleground on the talk page, well, gee, maybe that has something to do with the fact that there has been a large influx of SPA accounts, coordinated and "called to action" off Wiki on a troll subreddit. And most of these accounts look a lot like the subject of this report. So if you are really concerned about it, perhaps directing your energies - by, like, say, semi-protecting the talk page - towards the source of the problem, would be more appropriate.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:59, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by MrX

Masem, would you please move your comments out of the 'Results concerning...' section per the italicized instructions. You are involved in the recent disputes on the article.- MrX 🖋 12:18, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Masem, you are involved. In fact, you initiated a content dispute over the title of the page, giving your (incorrect, evidence-free) opinion that "This page must be moved back to "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" to avoid the immediate BLP problem, as well as to meet the conciseness needed for disambiguation terms, and in case anyone that gets here thinking this is the NFL one, a hatnote is sufficient to point them to the right direction."[86] It doesn't matter how you arrived at the page, or that you "made no other discussion regarding content" (you have frequently weighed in on content disputes related to Donald Trump). You initiated a content dispute and now you are attempting to adjudicate a conduct dispute about participants in the content dispute. You can't do that. Is it going to be necessary to request clarification from Arbcom on this? By the way, this is not first time that I have protested about you violating WP:INVOLVED and ignoring the instructions on this page: This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators..- MrX 🖋 14:40, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Mr Ernie

Sandstein everyone is a "single purpose account" during their first few edits. This guy made an account yesterday, and probably has no idea what AE is. How is an indef the appropriate first step? Unbelievable. It is not difficult to go to Stefan Halper's article and read about exactly what he did. Here's a handy article that summarizes it well. No BLP violation. Harper also ran a spying campaign during the 1980 presidential election. If the shoe fits... Mr Ernie (talk) 15:16, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statment by Masem

(The following content was moved out of the uninvolved admin section. I still strongly disagree that in this specific content dispute I am involved for discussing the question of the article title, but rather not divert the discussion from the matter raised at AE --Masem (t) 20:06, 13 April 2019 (UTC))

  • Given 1) the rough state of the media discussing this person and this claim that certainly makes the claim contestable but not novel and still the subject of debate in the media, and 2) that there's other places on the same talk page where the same claim is made but no action has been asked against these, and 3) this is far from the same hyberbole that often comes up about discussions of BLPs related to Trump or other right-wing figures in the AP2 area which no one typically raises any concern of, this feels like a unactionable case. 100% absolutely that if this was in mainspace, that would be a problem without full consensus, but not on a talk page. (Tempted to say we need to TNT and lock down this article as it seems impossible to get any type of non-battleground behavior happening on this in real-time news coverage.) --Masem (t) 02:37, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
        • To response to Mr. X above (and repeated from previous notice), I reiterate the point here: I do not consider myself involved in this specific content dispute: the only contribution on the page I did was when I saw the page title (as "Spygate (Donald Trump conspiracy theory)" appear at the edit warring noticeboard, and expressed concern that the page needed to be renamed to something shorter to meet naming policy and avoid the potential BLP. I'm also writing this response before I go to responde to a ping that named me regarding a name change on that page. I have made no other discussion regarding content and certainly not around the specific disputed area here. --Masem (t) 14:07, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by (username)

Result concerning Galathadael

This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators. Comments by others will be moved to the sections above.
  • (Response moved to section above --Masem (t) 20:06, 13 April 2019 (UTC))
    • This is somewhat of a mirror image to the complaint regarding BullRangifer above as concerns the WP:BLPTALK issue. I generally agree with Masem above that, as a matter of discretionary sanctions, this is a bit below the threshold for sanctions. However, there is a material difference to the case above: Galathadael ‎is a single-purpose account, and every single one of their 11 edits so far is dedicated to one thing: edit-warring to promote the view (without citing reliable sources) that a particular living person committed serious misconduct. We do not need editors like this. I am indefinitely blocking Galathadael ‎per WP:NOTHERE as a normal admin action. Sandstein 13:53, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Philip Cross

This request may be declined without further action if insufficient or unclear information is provided in the "Request" section below.
Requests may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs (not counting required information), except by permission of a reviewing administrator.

Request concerning Philip Cross

User who is submitting this request for enforcement 
GoldenRing (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) 17:13, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
User against whom enforcement is requested 
Philip Cross (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

Search DS alerts: in user talk history • in system log

Sanction or remedy to be enforced
Wikipedia:Editing_restrictions#Philip_Cross : Philip Cross is indefinitely topic banned from post-1978 British politics, broadly construed. This restriction may be first appealed after six months have elapsed, and every six months thereafter. This sanction supersedes the community sanction applied in May 2018.

Diffs of edits that violate this sanction or remedy, and an explanation how these edits violate it 
  1. [87]
  2. [88]
  3. [89]
  4. [90]
  5. [91]
  6. [92]
  7. [93]
  8. [94]
  9. [95]
  10. [96]
  11. [97]
  12. [98]
Diffs of previous relevant sanctions, if any 
  1. diff Blocked for violation
If discretionary sanctions are requested, supply evidence that the user is aware of them (see WP:AC/DS#Awareness and alerts)
  • Named in an arbitration remedy.
Additional comments by editor filing complaint 

A non-autoconfirmed user, User:Guantolaka, has posted an edit request at WT:AE due to the restriction on non-AC accounts making reports here. Ordinarily I would dismiss a request which is an editor's first edit but the editor claims to have been directed to do so by the committee. I have contacted the arbitration committee by email and verified that there is a plausible reason for a newly registered account to be making such a request (though the reason is not public) and that they did indeed direct the editor there.

Over the past few days, Philip Cross has been making a number of edits to Indictment and arrest of Julian Assange. Guantolaka contends that this falls under the topic of British politics from which Philip Cross is banned and so these are violations. I left a note on Philip Cross's talk page advising him to be careful around the edges of his ban, but this does not seems to have led to any change.

I don't have a strong feeling one way or the other whether these are violations of the ban and would like other uninvolved admins to weigh in please.

Follow-up: @NorthBySouthBaranof: I share your concerns entirely. Indeed I came very close to simply blocking the account as NOTHERE and only the claim to have previously sought advice from the committee stopped me. Nonetheless, we are here to enforce the decisions of the committee and so if they want to allow a particular user an exception to their own rules then I think we need to hear it. I don't think this should be seen as setting a general precedent that non-AC users can post requests at WT:AE; only that the committee has overriding jurisdiction over this page and can authorise it in particular cases if they so choose. The committee have assured me privately that there is a plausible reason for the user to be interested in Philip Cross that doesn't involve previous Wikipedia activity. I'm still not sure that doesn't add up to NOTHERE, but it's enough that I'm happy to give them a chance to prove otherwise.

On the substance, I largely agree with Masem that Assange is a political figure largely unrelated to UK politics who happens to be in trouble in the UK criminal justice system; that doesn't make the page about British politics. The only thing that gives me pause is Pawnkingthree's point that the decision over extradition is eventually one made by a politician, but even then it's not necessarily made by a politician; a judge might still rule out extradition and we're a long way from that point, and it could be argued that the home sec here acts in a quasi-judicial capacity, not a political one. It's certainly not a question that parliament could settle (doing so would pretty much amount to an act of attainder, which, while still theoretically possible, hasn't been used in at least 190 years and would probably be a breach of article 6 of the EU convention on human rights). GoldenRing (talk) 08:42, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

@Sandstein: I emailed the clerks-l list (probably the wrong forum but did so from habit) and got a response from Joe Roe. I believe that, for privacy reasons, you're unlikely to get a fuller response than I have outlined here, but you can only ask. GoldenRing (talk) 10:18, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

@Guantolaka: Let me try to explain this to you. When I see a brand-new account making an AE request as their first edit, I immediately wonder what exactly you're trying to achieve with it. Are you here to further some off-wiki dispute with PC? Are you pushing some angle on Wikileaks / Assange? Are you yourself trying to obliquely influence the content of some article? Basically, why do you care if Philip Cross has violated his topic ban? I just can't think of an innocent reason for you to take an interest. Editing Wikipedia is a privilege extended to people so that they can help to improve it; if that's not why you're here then we're not really interested in your contributions and the normal response is to block your account. Likewise, arbitration is not a venue for obtaining justice per se but for resolving disputes between editors and facilitating the smooth running of the community so that the primary activity of improving the encyclopaedia can carry on. It's not obvious to me that there needs to be a way for those outside the community to influence the internal processes of the community. There is no dispute between editors to resolve here because you are not one.

I realise some of that comes across as a bit hostile to you but I'm trying to explain why we are reluctant to entertain this request at all. I think that if there were specific concerns with PC's edits, that would be a somewhat different matter, especially if you were (or were connected to) the subject of the edits. But when you just turn up pointing out (what you perceive to be) topic ban violations, it leaves me very much wondering what your motives are. GoldenRing (talk) 14:38, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

@Guantolaka: As I said, I was trying to explain how this looks from my perspective. To answer your question, I care about your motives because I care about the smooth running of the project, and one way of looking at your actions here is to see someone stirring up trouble where otherwise there would be no trouble. I'm not yet sure that this is an accurate view of things, but your response doesn't do a lot to persuade me otherwise. GoldenRing (talk) 08:55, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

@NSH001: Politicians comment on all sorts of things. There has been extensive commentary on Honda's decision to close down a factory; that doesn't make the factory an inherently political topic. The decision to close down coal mining in the UK was a political one; that doesn't make Coal mining in the United Kingdom an inherently political topic. Railways in the United Kingdom were government owned and run for decades; that doesn't make British Rail an inherently political topic. Jacob Rees-Mogg has argued publicly that Somerset should be in a different time-zone, fifteen minutes behind the rest of the country; that doesn't make Time zone (or Somerset) a political topic. Nor does commentary from politicians make Assange's indictment and arrest an inherently political topic. GoldenRing (talk) 14:50, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Notification of the user against whom enforcement is requested 

Discussion concerning Philip Cross

Statements must be made in separate sections. They may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs, except by permission of a reviewing administrator.
Administrators may remove or shorten noncompliant statements. Disruptive contributions may result in blocks.

Statement by Philip Cross

Statement by Guantolaka

Thank you for filing the request, GoldenRing. I fail to understand comments that say this page does not "relate to British politics". Here are some quotes taken from the page:

  • '...the British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, ... and British Prime Minister Theresa May, who commented that "no one is above the law," are in support of the arrest.'
  • 'Ecuadorean president Lenín Moreno said in a video posted on Twitter that he "requested Great Britain to guarantee that Mr Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty. The British government has confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules."'
  • 'British Veterans for Peace UK call british government to « respect the rights of journalists and whistle-blowers and refuse to extradite Julian Assange to the US'

Cross edited the page containing the text above and removed an article with title 'Protesters Call on UK to #FreeAssange Outside British Embassy in DC'

I'm not questioning his edits here, merely pointing out that this is very much in the realm of British politics, and Cross "is indefinitely topic banned from post-1978 British politics, broadly construed."

NorthBySouthBaranof: Assange has been in the UK for a long time, he's now in a UK prison. It's a pretty big political story in the UK. Hardly a small matter a politician has happened to comment on in the press. As for striking my comment, I made an edit request in talk as advised by the arbitration committee, and rules for commenting here appear to be that "All users are welcome to comment on requests." Guantolaka (talk) 22:16, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Masem: The wording of the topic ban is "indefinitely topic banned from post-1978 British politics, broadly construed." Guantolaka (talk) 22:29, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Masem, I'm pretty sure that a narrow focus on "connectivity" to a "sitting member of the UK government" is not what the topic ban is about. The wording of the ban certainly doesn't give that impression. Also, your own view of whether Assange is a political figure in UK circles is surely irrelevant to the fact that the situation he finds himself in in the UK is highly political. He was arrested by UK authorities, is in a UK prison, and the UK government is involved in deciding extradition, as Pawnkingthree points out. Guantolaka (talk) 08:51, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
GoldenRing: The Philip Cross arbitration case started because people noticed a certain pattern of editing and brought attention to it from outside Wikipedia. Given that, and my view that there was never great enthusiasm within the Wikipedia community to address the problematic editing until it reached arbitration, it seems reasonable to expect enforcement requests to come from outside Wikipedia too. There needs to be a way for this to happen. If it can't happen via email, can't happen via posts to this page, and can't happen via edit requests through the talk page, how is it supposed to happen?
Sandstein: I'm not a Wikipedia editor trying to evade anything. Please see my reply to GoldenRing about how someone is supposed to raise concerns if you are so intent on shutting any attempt to do so down. Guantolaka (talk) 09:36, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Sandstein, I'll ask again: How is someone who is not a Wikipedia editor but wants to request enforcement go about doing it without being accused of being a "single-purpose account" or of "evading scrutiny or sanctions"? Guantolaka (talk) 13:55, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
NSH001: Thanks for the link and quote. I don't have time at the moment to look to see if there have been additional violations. This instance was brought to my attention and I see it as a clear breach, so I wanted to request enforcement.

For those still doubting if this relates to British politics, here are some additional links showing discussion in House of Commons, comments from the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Home Secretary, the Shadow Home Secretary, and how a change of government in the UK could affect Assange's fate: [99], [100], [101], [102], [103] Guantolaka (talk) 12:29, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

GoldenRing: I don't understand the issue around whether I'm trying to score points or not. Put another way, why do you care why I care if Philip Cross has violated his topic ban? Why does it matter who raises this? If it's a breach, surely there needs to be some action taken? You've already had other Wikipedia editors who are active on the site agree that it is a breach, and yet you continue to focus on my motives. Like I said before, I contacted the arbitration committee, they suggested I come here.

As for your statement that "Editing Wikipedia is a privilege extended to people so that they can help to improve it; if that's not why you're here then we're not really interested in your contributions" the implication here is that the topic ban itself was not put in place to improve Wikipedia, and so raising violations is also not an attempt to improve Wikipedia. I hope you realise that people who find the kind of editing Philip Cross was banned for see the banning as action taken to improve Wikipedia, not simply annoy administrators who want to protect long-standing editors.

If I understand the topic ban correctly, the issue is not about his edits, but about the topics he edits. So your statement "if there were specific concerns with PC's edits, that would be a somewhat different matter" is a non-sequiter.

But on that matter, I'll add that this isn't the first time that admins have attempted to shut down violations by going after the user making the report, rather than addressing the report itself. Icewhiz linked to the previous case but conveniently characterised it as about an "entertainment figure" rather than a political figure, a political documentary, a political journalist and people whom Cross was found to have conflict of interest editing. Guantolaka (talk) 16:14, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

GoldenRing, I admit that I found your previous response quite patronising. My view of arbitration decisions and enforcement are that they are procedural matters. Either there is a breach of the topic ban based on the decision taken by the arbitration committee or there isn't. I fail to see how reporting what I consider a breach to be "stirring up trouble". If you don't think the topic ban is warranted, can you please take that up with the arbitration committee instead of arguing with me about it. If you don't think there has been a breach, I'd appreciate it if rather than questioning my motives, you'd argue with reference to the the arbitration decision.

I hope you also realise that when you write "one way of looking at your actions here is to see someone stirring up trouble where otherwise there would be no trouble", you are essentially saying you'd prefer to turn a blind eye to arbitration decisions. I'm sure that would mean less trouble for you, but surely a topic ban is not merely a symbolic action? Guantolaka (talk) 10:34, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by NorthBySouthBaranof

If the standard for being connected to "post-1978 British politics" is "anything that a politician has ever commented on in the press," I think that's a standard which is far too broad and unenforceable. I'm also concerned about allowing a clear breach of the AE rules - we have here a complaint not by a member of the community in good standing, but an anonymous single-purpose account created specifically to complain about a long-established user. Their comment should be struck. We don't need possible scrutiny-evading socks participating in these processes; even if this is not a sock, it seems to me that creating an account solely to complain about someone else is a violation of WP:NOTHERE. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 22:07, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

The precedent being set here - that ArbCom can permit unaccountable anonymous SPAs to file administrative complaints about long-standing users - is, in my opinion, a pernicious one. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 22:19, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Pawnkingthree

This looks like a breach of the topic ban to me - the decision as to whether Assange is extradicted to Sweden or the US is a political one, made by the Home Secretary. [104] Philip Cross should have stayed away from anything to do with Assange as it clearly touches UK politics. Pawnkingthree (talk) 23:16, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by NSH001

This is a clear breach of the topic ban. Assange's effective imprisonment in the Embassy has been an issue in British politics since he moved in there – and even before that with the UK's response to the EAW. If there is a general election before the courts decide the extradition request, then there is a real possibility that Corbyn will become PM and block the extradition to the US (but not to Sweden, if that is revived). So it is very much an issue in British politics.

I suspect there are other instances of Cross abusing borderline cases (he really hates peace activists, and anyone who opposes the neocon lying-to-start-wars-or-military-conflict agenda) but I haven't got the time to plough through hundreds or thousands of edits to find some examples (plus I try to stay away from places like AE and ANI). It would be helpful if someone could do that. Guantolaka? --NSH001 (talk) 10:34, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

From Julian Assange should not be extradited to US - Jeremy Corbyn (BBC).

The BBC's diplomatic correspondent James Landale said backing Assange is not without political risk and will not find universal favour among Labour MPs - but Mr Corbyn's intervention "means the battle over Assange's future will now be as much political as it is legal".

Plenty of other sources can easily be found with a google search. --NSH001 (talk) 12:14, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

GoldenRing, your edit of 14:50, 17 April 2019 (UTC) is a classic straw man argument – those instances don't determine whether or not the article relates to British politics; it clearly is, and I even gave you a quote from an impeccable source (the BBC's diplomatic editor) illustrating that that is indeed the case. --NSH001 (talk) 15:18, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Icewhiz

Assange and his extradition are first and foremost related to US and Ecuadorian politics. It may become (or perhaps is becoming) a UK political issue - however this being a UK political at present? Hard to see it as such, even if Corbyn reacted. At the moment - article revision as of 17:03, 16 April 2019 - the only thing that seems related to UK politics is Corbyn appearing in a long list of names ("This view is held by Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg, Rafael Correa, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Corbyn, Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, and Glenn Greenwald...) in the reactions section. Cross' edits to the article (linking only non-minor ones) - [105] [106] [107] [108] [109] [110] - are unrelated to UK politics.

Philip Cross, as evident in past requests here - e.g. this one from 17 Jan 2019 regarding an entertainment figure - is under a bit of scrutiny by people who don't regularly edit Wikipedia (or are occasional editors). This is also apparent in a cursory search in relevant social media. Cross, who has positively contributed in the almost year since his TBAN, should consider appealing his sanction. In any event he hasn't breached anything here.Icewhiz (talk) 12:28, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by (username)

Result concerning Philip Cross

This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators. Comments by others will be moved to the sections above.
  • I would take no action. Neither the article nor the edits relate to British politics. Assange is a political figure and a topic of political controversy, but more of international politics, rather than specifically British politics. Sandstein 17:26, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with the concerns by NorthBySouthBaranof, and invite Guantolaka to promptly provide reasons why they should not be indefinitely blocked for (one has to assume) misusing multiple accounts in order to evade scrutiny of their prior editing history, or any applicable blocks or sanctions (WP:SCRUTINY). Sandstein 09:26, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • GoldenRing, could you inform us which member(s) of the Arbitration Committee have told you that Guantolaka's participation at AE is appropriate, so that we can ask them to confirm this here on-wiki and to indicate why? Sandstein 09:53, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Joe Roe, is it possible for you to explain why, as a member of ArbCom, you consider it appropriate to - as an editor above puts it - "permit unaccountable anonymous SPAs to file administrative complaints about long-standing users"? Sandstein 10:22, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Sandstein: A couple of points. First, I replied to GoldenRing and, if I remember correctly, also to Guantolaka, but the content of the response was discussed and approved by the committee as a whole (I'll ping Opabinia regalis as another arb involved). Second, I don't think it's my/our role to "permit" editors to do anything. Guantolaka contacted us with a report; we referred them to AE. They pointed out that they couldn't edit AE as an anon./non-AC user; we suggested an edit request. That was based purely on our understanding that, usually, when a user can't do something because of account restrictions, we provide a way for them to request that someone else do it on their behalf. My apologies if that's not the practice at AE, but as far as I'm aware it's not written anywhere.
I don't want to step on AE's toes, but personally I don't think the hostile, accusatory response to the filer here is warranted. What should matter is whether an arbitration sanction has been breached and if so what enforcement is appropriate, not the relative edit counts of the parties. – Joe (talk) 11:20, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Joe Roe, thanks for the clarification. It seems to me that the concerns expressed here with respect to Guantolaka aren't about their edit count per se, but that they are a single-purpose account who has only made edits with respect to this enforcement request, which strongly suggests some form of evading scrutiny or sanctions. I'd like to hear from other admins about whether a block on this basis would be appropriate. Sandstein 13:35, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes let's hear from others, but I would argue strongly that the suggestion of evading scrutiny is not enough for a block. – Joe (talk) 13:39, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No action, given the diffs. Agree that while at some point there is an interaction of Assange/Wikileaks to UK politics due to information that was leaked, the article about his asylum and arrest and likely subsequent trial is not "broadly" about UK politics. --Masem (t) 22:25, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Guantolaka, there's a limit to what "Broadly" is taken as. Assange has little connectivity to any sitting member of the the UK government; as Sandstein points out, Assange may be a political figure, he's not a political figure in UK circles as much as within US ones. (Or another way to state this, if we were doing with the AP2 (American politics) case, I would definitely consider Assange in the "Broadly" of that topic. But for the UK, not really. Being under arrest by UK authorities is not the same as involvement in UK politics. --Masem (t) 22:55, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    • As another point, the extent of these edits (several being small copyedits, the others removing sections on protests in favor of Assange that are poorly sources (non-usable RS, not unsourced) are all reasonable edits. I know if this did fall under the topic ban, even such edits would be a problem, but as this is very much an edge case, I think that also merits review. If the edits were to include more UK political positions as related to Assange, then you might have something, but these are definitely edits with zero association to UK politics in their core material. --Masem (t) 13:29, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I would not take action here either. I appreciate the concerns about WP:BITE, but in the absence of further evidence, the most parsimonious explanation here is that we have someone attempting to score points in an old feud by using a new account to report what is at best a marginal violation of the topic ban. I don't know that I'm ready to block Guantolaka, but I'm definitely not willing to sanction Philip Cross either; under the circumstances, any violations would have to be quite egregious before I'd be willing to reward "gotcha" behavior of this sort. Vanamonde (Talk) 15:08, 17 April 2019 (UTC)


Not actionable. Sandstein 09:20, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

This request may be declined without further action if insufficient or unclear information is provided in the "Request" section below.
Requests may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs (not counting required information), except by permission of a reviewing administrator.

Request concerning Davidbena

User who is submitting this request for enforcement 
Huldra (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) 22:16, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
User against whom enforcement is requested 
Davidbena (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

Search DS alerts: in user talk history • in system log

Sanction or remedy to be enforced
Wikipedia:A/I/PIA#General_1RR_restriction :
Diffs of edits that violate this sanction or remedy, and an explanation how these edits violate it 
  1. 21:16, 17 April 2019 Davidbena revert my edit from 19:12, 17 April 2019
  1. 16:26, 17 April 2019 Davidbena revert my edit from 20:52, 13 April 2019
Diffs of previous relevant sanctions, if any 
  • Davidbena successfully appealed their own sanctions relating to the I/P area on 23 February, 2019.
Additional comments by editor filing complaint 
As I understand 1RR: Davidbena has broken the rule. He was asked (on his talk page) to revert, but would not do so), Huldra (talk) 22:20, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
To repeat; he was first told he had broken the 1RR on his user page, but refused to revert. Secondly, he has only reverted half, a reference to an Israeli settlement is still in place in the lead, Huldra (talk) 23:06, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Notification of the user against whom enforcement is requested 
Notified, Huldra (talk) 22:19, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Discussion concerning Davidbena

Statements must be made in separate sections. They may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs, except by permission of a reviewing administrator.
Administrators may remove or shorten noncompliant statements. Disruptive contributions may result in blocks.

Statement by Davidbena

I reverted Huldra's edit, yes. I was unaware at the time that 24 hours had not yet passed. I self-reverted.

Statement by Icewhiz

David self-reverted, and by dint of ARCA's recent motion, this is not actually a violation in any event as the article doesn't have 1RR edit notice on it. See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Palestine-Israel articles#General 1RR restriction (and motion) which requires an "ARBPIA 1RR editnotice" on pages for 1RR to be in place. Icewhiz (talk) 05:03, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by (username)

Result concerning Davidbena

This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators. Comments by others will be moved to the sections above.
  •   Done - thanks for the prod. GoldenRing (talk) 08:52, 18 April 2019 (UTC)


Not actionable (content dispute). Sandstein 07:34, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

This request may be declined without further action if insufficient or unclear information is provided in the "Request" section below.
Requests may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs (not counting required information), except by permission of a reviewing administrator.

Request concerning Huldra

User who is submitting this request for enforcement 
Davidbena (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) 01:10, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
User against whom enforcement is requested 
Huldra (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

Search DS alerts: in user talk history • in system log

Sanction or remedy to be enforced
I am asking that Huldra be reminded to maintain Wikipedia's policy as outlined in the section "Remedy" made here Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Palestine-Israel articles#Editors_reminded, namely: "Editors are reminded that when editing in subject areas of bitter and long-standing real-world conflict, it is all the more important to comply with Wikipedia policies such as assuming good faith of all editors including those on the other side of the real-world dispute, writing with a neutral point of view, remaining civil and avoiding personal attacks, utilizing reliable sources for contentious or disputed assertions, and resorting to dispute resolution where necessary. Wikipedia cannot solve the dispute between the Israeli and Palestinian people or any other real-world ethnic conflict. What Wikipedia can do is aspire to provide neutral, encyclopedic coverage about the areas of dispute and the peoples involved in it, which may lead to a broader understanding of the issues and the positions of all parties to the conflict. The contributions of all good-faith editors on these articles who contribute with this goal in mind are appreciated."
Diffs of edits that violate this sanction or remedy, and an explanation how these edits violate it 
  • clear violation of remedy The impetus behind Huldra's removal of a directional bearing in relation to a historical site is that it is "an illegal settlement." Clearly, what motivates her edits (or expunging thereof) is an anti-Israel POV, or else a furtherance of outside conflicts (which is prohibited). In such cases Huldra should rather have maintained a neutral point of view, that is, to mention, if need be, the opposite pretensions while remaining neutral.
Diffs of previous relevant sanctions, if any 
If discretionary sanctions are requested, supply evidence that the user is aware of them (see WP:AC/DS#Awareness and alerts)

Huldra has been duly warned in the past about her edits in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict area, as one can see here, on 13 November 2018. Still, this alert did not seem to matter to her when she outright declared that directional bearings where an "Israeli settlement" is concerned should not be considered a legitimate guide for directions.

Additional comments by editor filing complaint 

It has long been my view that editors of articles that touch upon the Arab-Israeli conflict should always maintain a neutral stance, in accordance with Wikipedia's policies outlined here. We ought not to aggravate the situation by inserting our own bias and prejudices.

Notification of the user against whom enforcement is requested 

My notification to Huldra was done here.

Discussion concerning Huldra

Statements must be made in separate sections. They may not exceed 500 words and 20 diffs, except by permission of a reviewing administrator.
Administrators may remove or shorten noncompliant statements. Disruptive contributions may result in blocks.

Statement by Huldra

Statement by DGG

  • I was asked to comment. for the second item mentioned, the actual comment in the talk was " 'Israeli settlements' are not 'Israeli towns'. " Israeli settlements may be towns in the generic sense, but there is no general world consensus that they are in the State of Israel, as distinct from Israeli occupied territory. However, the mere locational marker to the place of that name is not a jurisdictional statement , and it does not make sense to remove it. I think both parties show some degree of a disputatious attitude. But this was provoked by Huld's removal of the link, and I hope a warning will be sufficient. I'm not responding as an administrator, but just as someone asked to comment. DGG ( talk ) 04:56, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Doug Weller

Statement by Nableezy

David seems to be returning to exactly the behavior that saw him banned. This comment is eerily similar to what was brought up here. A personal opinion on the worth of the views of the international community as opposed to the inalienable rights of the sons of Abraham is not a discussion to be had on a talk page. And on the content, Huldra is quite simply right. Solomon's Pools are in fact not directly east of Beitar Illit. It is about 8 km east, separated by Nahalin and Husan. This unsourced tidbit is both irrelevant to an ancient site and wrong. DGG, if anybody should be warned it is Davidbena for returning to his unsourced and longwinded soapboxing that is a. extremely POV and b. wrong as a matter of basic fact. nableezy - 05:11, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Statement by (username)

Result concerning Huldra

This section is to be edited only by uninvolved administrators. Comments by others will be moved to the sections above.
  • I am closing this as not actionable because this is a content dispute, which AE does not resolve. Davidbena, please use the WP:DR process to resolve content disputes. AE is only for nontrivial cases of misconduct, and disagreeing about how an article should read is very rarely such a case. Sandstein 07:33, 18 April 2019 (UTC)