Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-10-31/Arbitration report

October actions: An "unblockable" is blocked; a former arb resigns.

Two long-term members of the community have departed as a result of Arbitration Committee actions this month.


Eric Corbett, a Wikipedian since 2006, was indefinitely blocked by the Arbitration Committee on September 2. ArbCom member KrakatoaKatie, writing for the committee, and announcing closure of an 18 August 2019 request for an Arbcom case, stated "The Arbitration Committee has been made aware of and has independently confirmed that Eric Corbett, since his public retirement, has been abusively misusing multiple accounts and disruptively editing while logged out. Eric Corbett's accounts are hereby indefinitely blocked by the Arbitration Committee."

Apparently following banning policy, ten minutes after ArbCom's decision was posted, English Wikipedia administrator Joe Roe made an edit to Corbett's userpage that would notify the community of the block. Several edits by others ensued, both administrators and non-administrators. First blanking the page, several more additions and removals of the templates and one final addition. After this, on October 9, administrator Floquenbeam removed the templates with the edit summary "busybodies",[1] and protected the userpage from editing. Floquenbeam told The Signpost: "That was a controversial tagging, which was edit warred over last month. It had died down and was quiet for quite a while [...] But now no more drive by shit stirring can happen."

Corbett's name appears frequently in The Signpost's archives including October 28, 2015 Arbitration report and December 30, 2015 Arbitration report; the latter detailing an administrator's privileges being removed by the Arbitration Committee due to actions related to Corbett. Our December 10, 2014 In the media report quoted an author in Slate who had described Corbett as one of "'The Unblockables', a class of abrasive editors who can get away with murder because they have enough of a fan club within Wikipedia, so any complaint made against them would be met with hostility and opprobrium."

Off-wiki harassment results in indefinite site ban

On 1 October, Icewhiz was indefinitely site banned. According to the Arbitration Committee, they have "engaged in off-wiki harassment of multiple editors". Responding to criticism of methods and jurisdiction, Mkdw stated

This case is further complicated by reports in Haaretz and other news sources that Icewhiz was responsible for the exposure of a 15 year old hoax on Wikipedia about a fake Nazi extermination camp. For further coverage on these reports see In the Media.

Resignation and retirement of former Arbitrator

On October 20, former Arbitration Committee member DeltaQuad, aka Amanda, retired from English Wikipedia, was desysoped at her own request (resigned as administrator), and had her other advanced permissions including oversighter removed at her own request. She was recently acting as an ArbCom clerk. DeltaQuad declined to further explain any reason for the resignation to The Signpost.[2]

As of issue deadline, 36 accounts on English Wikipedia have oversight rights. It is one of the most tightly held system controls issued only to the founder, Arbitration Committee members, and a handful of others, and can expunge information from view even by "ordinary" administrators.

Other matters