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Wikipedia:Working group on ethnic and cultural edit wars

de Gaulle and Adenauer shaking hands. See French–German enmity and France–Germany relations

As part of the recent arbitration case on Palestine-Israel articles, a working group is being appointed to look freshly and with a completely open and wide remit at the kinds of nationalistic, ethnic or cultural based editorial conflicts which came to the fore in 2007, which often reflect deep feelings, advocacy, and unreconciled viewpoints in the real world. The aim of the group is to:

  1. Gain a detailed understanding how such conflicts occur, and the structures and approaches administrators and experienced users face in trying to obtain stability, appropriate conduct, and a neutral point of view.
  2. Generate ideas to cover different aspects of these.
  3. Report their findings and conclusions within 6 months of appointment.

FT2 00:01, 23 January 2008 (UTC), for the Arbitration Committee.


In 2007, a number of large scale edit wars came to the fore, with many common features:

  • They involved a significant number of users on both "sides"
  • They involved a large range of edit war behavior (overt and covert, good and bad faith, blatant and borderline, honest and gamed)
  • They covered issues of nationalist, ethnic, and cultural significance, and the real-world disputes were reflected in the Wikipedia disputes
  • They gave rise to a large number of arbitration cases, often after protracted problems
  • Even after arbitration remedies were obtained, they proved difficult for users and administrators to resolve, often requiring further or ongoing arbitration or management by administrators.
  • To date few or none of these have shown signs of moving beyond edit warring into a long-term stable, high quality style, based on neutral point of view, as envisaged by Wikipedia communal norms.

Examples that reached arbitration include:

Examples for conflicts that are being successfully mediated:

Scope of working groupEdit

The formal decision which facilitated this group's creation contained four parts:

  1. The Committee shall convene a working group, composed of experienced Wikipedians in good standing, and task it with developing a comprehensive set of recommendations for resolving the pervasive problem of intractable disputes centered around national, ethnic, and cultural areas of conflict.
  2. The membership, structure, and procedures of the group shall be subject to the approval of the Committee.
  3. The working group shall be free to develop recommendations of any form, including those requiring Committee action and those requiring community adoption of new or changed policies, at its discretion.
  4. The group shall be appointed within two weeks from the closure of this case, and shall present its recommendations to the Committee no later than six months from the date of its inception."

Passed 10 to 0 01:38, 19 January 2008 (UTC).
Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Palestine-Israel articles

Group guidelinesEdit

Announcements, participants, and activitiesEdit

  • The final report by the Working Group is available at: 2008 report.


  • The Committee and Working Group members maintain this page and its sub-pages.
  • The Working Group operates from a closed-access site, which runs the MediaWiki software and is operated by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Final reportEdit

See alsoEdit