The blue padlock denoting pages protected under extended confirmed protection.
No ArbCom prescription needed?
The Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) recently decided to implement a new type of restriction for pages on certain topics with intractable and long-running disputes, such as the Gamergate controversy. It barred editing from anonymous (IP) users and registered editors with fewer than 30 days tenure and 500 edits.
Initially, a series of edit filters enforced the restriction. In January 2016, an editor proposed a new protection level called extended confirmed protection ("ECP" or "30/500", for short) with the same function. Although the proposal received some complaints regarding the instruction creep it presented to new editors, it was eventually approved and technically implemented, with editors being granted the "extendedconfirmed" user right after reaching the requirement. ECP was rolled out on April 5, with ArbCom passing a motion allowing administrators to use ECP to prevent sockpuppetry when less restrictive protection fails to work.
Since that time, ECP occasionally deviated from its ArbCom use: without raising the eyebrows of many, it was used for other reasons, such as to prevent BLP violations. Within three months, an administrator made a proposal allowing use of ECP for any purpose, not just for ArbCom and sockpuppetry: that, with community scrutiny, administrators would be allowed to use ECP protection. The RfC gave editors three options:
To restrict use of ECP to ArbCom.
To restrict use of ECP to ArbCom and for preventing sock puppetry when less restrictive protection fails, provided that the protecting administrator informs the community at AN (closest to status quo).
To allow use of ECP for any purpose, provided that less restrictive protection fails and the protecting administrator informs the community at AN.
The RfC has received a wide range of inputs, with most non-administrators and administrators supporting the third option, and some non-administrators and a few administrators supporting the first and second options. Proponents of the third option believe ECP would be valuable in stopping disruption, while its opponents believe that it would deter newcomers and disenfranchise occasional editors.
More GMO discussion: recently closed RfC on genetically modified food safety
Protester advocating against Monsanto, a corporation that develops GMOs. The scientific community generally welcomes GMOs as improving the availability and nutrition of foods without loss of safety. But many members of the public perceive GMOs negatively.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been a controversial topic for years on Wikipedia, and one with a less than peaceful environment: a number of editors have been sanctioned by ArbCom for poor decorum in GMO discussion, and "discretionary sanctions" have been implemented to stabilize GMO articles.
Wikipedia's coverage of the safety of GM foods in particular has been a source of conflict. Many editors believed the then-current wording on GMO safety was inadequate and provides little context:
There is a general scientific agreement that food from genetically modified crops is not inherently riskier to human health than conventional food, but should be tested on a case-by-case basis. No reports of ill effects have been proven in the human population from ingesting GM food. Although labeling of GMO products in the marketplace is required in many countries, it is not required in the United States and no distinction between marketed GMO and non-GMO foods is recognized by the US FDA. In a May 2014 article in The Economist it was argued that, while GM foods could potentially help feed 842 million malnourished people globally, laws such as those being considered by Vermont's governor, Peter Shumlin, to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients, could have the unintended consequence of interrupting the process of spreading GM technologies to impoverished countries that suffer with food security problems. — Pre-RfC version of second paragraph of Genetically modified organism#Controversy.
To help settle the question, a RfC to change the current wording was opened. Moderated under tight conditions, with strict word limits and behavioral restrictions, there were 22 proposals; nearly 90 editors participated. After one month of discussion, the RfC was closed on July 7, and the first proposal prevailed:
There is a scientific consensus that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food, but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction. Nonetheless, members of the public are much less likely than scientists to perceive GM foods as safe. The legal and regulatory status of GM foods varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and others permitting them with widely differing degrees of regulation. — Proposal 1, Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Genetically modified organisms
GMO articles faced a less-than-smooth transition afterwards, as several editors debated the best way to include the new language and replace the old. In the first few days after the RfC was closed, additional text was deleted and replaced while some editors debated whether to change language immediately before and after the RfC-mandated language. Approximately a week later, those disagreements had calmed down.
COI and outing: Largely fueled by the recent block of Jytdog for outing, an RfC has been opened on whether linking the accounts of paid editors to their profiles on other websites (such as Elance) is acceptable. Supporters of this exemption believe that it would help identify paid editors, while opposers contend that harassment and outing is unacceptable in all cases.
Finally: For the last year and a half, RfB was the forgotten process. However, prolific Bot Approvals Group member Xaosflux decided to run this month, and, with zero opposition, promoted to the elite coterie of bureaucrats.
An RfC proposing a new user group called "moderator" has been opened after an unsuccessful RfC in 2013. If enacted, it would be given via an RfA-like process and include full deletion rights and some other tools from the administrator toolkit.
Busy week after the 2016 Nice attack: After a terrorist drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing 84 people, many Wikipedians edited and disputed various aspects of the article, including the name of the article, certain details of the attack (e.g., whether it was Islamic terrorism or not), and the notability of the assailant.