Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Clarification and Amendment

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Requests for clarification and amendment

Amendment request: Race and intelligence

Initiated by Ferahgo the Assassin at 22:55, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

Case or decision affected
Race and intelligence arbitration case (t) (ev / t) (w / t) (pd / t)
Clauses to which an amendment is requested
  1. Motion: Ferahgo the Assassin editing restrictions modified (September 2016)


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



Information about amendment request
  • Requesting lift of race and intelligence topic ban.


Statement by Ferahgo the Assassin

I would like to formally appeal my topic ban from the “race and intelligence” topic area. I believe it is appropriate for this ban to be lifted for three main reasons: 1) The topic ban is quite old now, and I have engaged in no contentious or otherwise inappropriate behavior since I returned to editing four years ago; 2) I am now acquiring professional expertise in an area adjacent to this topic, which has been considered under the ban, and 3) I have fulfilled the requirements given to me by the arbitration committee when I first appealed the topic ban about nine months ago. Details below:

Last April, I made a request for clarification about the bounds of my topic ban. I made this request in order to understand whether I could use my professional expertise in behavioral genetics—as I am now more than halfway through a Ph.D. in this area—to improve the encyclopedia. ArbCom concluded that I should not be editing articles about intelligence or behavioral genetics in general, even if they don’t involve race, as long as I'm under a "race and intelligence" topic ban. They also weren't willing to lift my topic ban at that time, but said they would reconsider the request after six months of productive and issue-free editing in unrelated topics.

I have now met these requirements: It is over eight months hence, and during this time I have made over 500 edits, mostly to topics related to paleoartists and especially to the Paleoart article, which I have recently raised to "Good Article" status.

It has been quite difficult to research and improve these articles while simultaneously studying an unrelated topic in graduate school. My graduate work has involved doing research, attending conferences, and publishing papers related to behavior genetics and intelligence research, with others in press (please let me know if you’d like to see examples of my research privately). I humbly submit that with my topic ban removed, I could help to improve many articles in these areas that have been off-limits to me since before I began my Ph.D.

For example, one of my projects, just completed after 2 years of data collection, relates to mental chronometry. Wikipedia’s mental chronometry article is one of the articles that I was told last April not to edit as long as I’m topic banned. I wrote the first half of it in 2010, beginning with the early history of MC, and left the article in an unfinished state when I was topic banned in October 2010. In the time since then other editors have made minor additions, but the article is still in substantially the same state that I left it in more than eight years ago, because no one else has had the ability and motivation to add a complete summary of modern MC research. For a long time, the article was tagged as being in need of being updated.

I think that when considering the necessity of a topic ban, ArbCom should take into account the effect that an editor’s absence has on encyclopedic coverage of topics that only a few people are both motivated and knowledgable enough to write about here. Other examples I provided last April of articles in great need of improvement include gene–environment correlation and polygenic score, both of which are also topics on which I’ve done research.

Happy to answer questions, provide detail of my history in this area, and further credentials if requested. Thank you for your consideration.

@ Beyond My Ken: When this came up last April/May, you suggested a sort of probation period, which I thought (and still do) would be fair. [1]: “On lifting the ban, I think that would be OK, as long as FtA was made aware that she was on a very short leash, and that the topic ban would be restored at the first sign of a problem in her editing.” The only things that've changed between now and then is that I've edited productively in other areas and that I've published a bit more research, none of which borders on fringe theories. As stated, if the arbitrators would like to see some of my research privately or evidence of my enrollment in a Ph.D. program, I am happy to provide it. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 01:01, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
@ SilkTork: No, we haven't shared an IP since I returned to editing in 2014. I've lived in several different states since then. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 01:01, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
@ Opabinia regalis: Just sent email to the mailing list. Please let me know if there's anything you'd like clarified. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 00:49, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
@ AGK: Here are some specific changes I'm hoping to make to articles in this area. As you'll note from my email, these all relate to research I've participated in (though of course I will abstain from citing myself!).
  • Mental chronometry: When I last worked on this article substantially in 2010, I was relying heavily on Clocking the Mind for structure and organization, as it was the only recent overview I was aware of. Now, however, I own what I believe to be every major, modern secondary/tertiary source that overviews mental chronometry research, including Posner, Luce, Vernon, and others. The article as it stands has little information about modern models and applications of response time data. It only has one citation to the Posner book and two short paragraphs about Posnerian methods, when he is one of the most famous researchers in this area. It has a motley, random collection of paradigms. It needs to be organized, and it needs detail and citations on topics covered by Posner, e.g., attention, orienting, and code coordination. Luce, by contrast, takes a technical and mathematical approach to mental chronometry. The article needs to explain core concepts addressed in depth by Luce such as stochastic accumulation of information, model differences in discrete vs. continuous time, random variables and mixture models. Vernon's overview includes chapters by different researchers in different areas. Some of these authors disagree with each other; e.g., Robert Sternberg on a triarchic perspective on MC's relationship to cognitive ability stands in contrast to a more one-sided view the article currently takes. The article should report such differing views. Some modern models that have become very influential, such as Ratcliff's diffusion model, are entirely absent from the article. Diffusion modeling is what I'm using for the MC study I reference in my email. This term as it relates to mental chronometry is likely notable enough to warrant its own Wikipedia article. I would be happy to expand this article with all of this, based on my collection of well-known overviews and textbooks on MC (none of which mention race or group differences).
  • Gene–environment correlation: Note that the majority of this article refers to things we've learned about this phenomenon from quantitative (twin, adoption, and so on) studies, many of which were conducted in the '70s, but very little on molecular genetic studies. The most recent sources cited in this article are from 2007. Since then, there has been an important and promising burst in molecular genetic studies that have had a huge impact on this field in just the past year. This "genetic nurture" effect has been reported on by Kong et al., Bates et al., and others in press. This clearly important topic is completely absent from this article. I would update this article with explanations and rationale for this exciting new area, including criticism and limitations where sources mention these.
  • Polygenic score: This is a short article with motley redlinks and more "further readings" than article text. It has two sections, one of which is a somewhat random collection of correlations. I would expand this article by explaining in greater depth how polygenic scores are mathematically calculated, the history of regression models and predictive improvements over the years, how these scores can be practically beneficial, and published criticisms/limitations of these scores and their usage.
  • Articles on a variety of software and techniques used for polygenic score construction, biological annotation of GWASes, and the handling of linkage disequilibrium. For example, Linkage disequilibrium score regression is now a promising stub that needs a lot of expansion. Its lede paragraph quotes descriptions of the technique directly from articles, such as Here, the "linkage disequilibrium score" for a SNP "is the sum of LD r2 measured with all other SNPs", without explaining what any of this means. Most of these concepts in statistical genetics are technical and complex, and—if they have articles at all—often written in a way that is inaccessible to laymen. I could help a great deal in clarifying many of these topics. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 00:49, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
@ SilkTork: I am a member of ISIR and I usually present at their annual meeting. It is a large community with a diversity of viewpoints. It is also the only large organization of intelligence researchers in the world, and certainly the only international one, and therefore almost literally every currently working researcher who studies human cognitive ability is a member of ISIR. Other well-known ISIR members include Steven Pinker, Robert Plomin, Matt McGue, Ian Deary, Camilla Benbow, David Lubinski, and James Flynn, who is renowned for the Flynn effect which describes the observed secular (environment-mediated) gain in IQ scores. Flynn, who won ISIR’s lifetime achievement award in 2017, is also a well-known opponent of the hereditarian viewpoint in R&I. The society and its lifetime achievement winners have been covered neutrally by sources such as Science and Vanderbilt News. I’m disappointed that news sources like New Statesman have chosen not to cover the more mainstream and common viewpoints within ISIR. In any case, the vast majority of ISIR’s members do not study group differences, myself included.
With all due respect, it seems unfair to judge all members of an entire organization based on the views of a small number of them. (I am also a member of the Behavior Genetics Association and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, if that matters. I have never attended the London Conference on Intelligence or received money from them, nor the Pioneer Fund.) I do hope that the transparency about my research and the prestige of my coauthors speaks for itself. Moving forward, all I can really do is strive to produce good research, and hope that in time the public perception of the community changes. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 23:22, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
@Beyond My Ken: I haven't gone into detail about my personal viewpoints because I don't believe they should be relevant in this appeal. As SilkTork said, my sanctions were for my non-article edits and for violating WP:SHARE, not because my article edits reflected biased editing or POV-pushing. I object to being judged for what’s inside my head, when one of ArbCom's longstanding principles is that editors should be judged based on their on-Wiki (and occasionally off-Wiki) behavior. I remember watching the Climate change arbitration case progress around the same time as the R&I case, and one of the principles outlined in that case seems applicable here: “The purpose of blocking accounts and banning editors is to address the disruptive or otherwise inappropriate behaviour of the specific editor, not to silence a perspective.” Note that this was drafted in the context of climate change denial, which is more obviously fringey than hereditarianism. That said, if ArbCom requires me to explain my views, I’ll do so in an email. I also should note that the class I’m teaching starts on Tuesday, so I’ll likely have less time to respond to queries in the coming week. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 03:35, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@ Joe: “Like BMK, I can only interpret her unwillingness to answer as confirmation that she does.” No, you would be wrong to assume this. In addition to feeling I should be judged only for my behavior, explaining my viewpoint here goes against the topic ban itself. However, I am willing to discuss it privately. Please see the email I’ve sent to the committee. Also, please remember that all of the technical edits I referred to wanting to make, as well as the detail I provided about my research, have nothing to do with race. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk)
@ Joe: As per the advice from SilkTork's email, I'll briefly state my views here, but will be unwilling to argue about details in public. I do not believe the available evidence is sufficient to support either the hereditarian perspective or the pure environmentalist perspective. One thing I've learned since 2012 is that the evidence that would be needed to support hereditarianism is a lot more complex than I thought back then, and is still largely out of reach. My understanding is that an "agnostic" perspective is most mainstream among people who actually study cognitive ability and genetics, as reflected in Earl Hunt's textbook on intelligence: "Neither I nor anyone else knows the cause of the differences in indices of intelligence among various racial and ethnic groups. Furthermore, there almost certainly is not any single cause, and the causes may vary for different comparisons." As I said before, I can explain my views in more detail in an email if desired, including other mainstream sources that support an agnostic perspective. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 22:58, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@ GorillaWarfare: Thank you for pointing out WP:BANEX—I wasn’t familiar with that policy. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 22:58, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Beyond My Ken

The OP's basic case is that the topic ban is old, but indefinite topic bans are not generally lifted because of their age. The OP has -- and apparently still has -- a strong personal POV concerning the topic, and in the past has shown that she is unable to edit without bias because of this. There is no reason to think that anything would be different now. The awarding of a PhD in a subject is no guarantee that an editor's contributions will not continue to be WP:FRINGE -- after all, most scientific fringe theories are promulgated by subject experts who happen to disagree with the consensus view of their colleagues. Whether or not this is the case -- or even whether the OP has in actual fact earned a legitimate PhD in the subject area -- is unknown to us.

I strongly urge that the topic ban be left in place. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:29, 15 January 2019 (UTC)

@Ferahgo the Assassin: The April/May clarification request was about whether you could edit in the narrow subject of "heritability of psychological traits", and was not a request for the lifting of your topic ban. Thee's a significant difference with being OK with a probationary period of editing in a fairly restricted area that was at the edge of your topic ban (but still inside of it), and being OK with a probationary period of editing in a broad subject area (which encompasses the entirety of your topic ban) in which your were sufficiently biased and disruptive to be first site banned, and then allowed back with a topic ban instead. Because of that categorical difference, I remain strongly opposed to lifting your topic ban. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:10, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
For the convenience of the committee:
  • Race and intelligence case: Findings of fact 3.5: Ferahgo: counselled, topic-banned and blocked
  • Race and intelligence case: Findings of fact 3.6: Ferahgo and Occam are topic banned
  • Race and intelligence case: Remedies 2.1: Ferahgo the Assassin and Captain Occam site-banned
  • Race and intelligence case: Modified by motion 2: (Ferahgo the Assassin's site-ban suspended)
  • Clarification request (May 2018): [2]
Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:16, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
Regarding the list of potential edits you posted above: what about your current topic ban -- in your understanding of it -- prevents you from making those edits right now? Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:31, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, forgot to ping. @Ferahgo the Assassin: Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:33, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
  • @Ferahgo the Assassin:: It's nice that you told us about another researcher's views about the hereditarian viewpoint regarding connections between race and intelligence, but what are your current views in that regard?
    I anticipate some objections from the committee about a question like that, along the lines that "We are not the Thought Police", and I'm sensitive to that. However, this is a case in which the subject, Ferragho the Assassin, was vocal in the past regarding her belief that there is a causal connection between race and intelligence. It was not simply, as SilkTork puts it "that the previous concerns were in regard to the non-article edits in support of Captain Occam", but that the contents of those edits, which represented her personal views, were WP:FRINGE, raising the very real possibility of her controversial personal views slipping into her content editing. I am not asking the question of a newbie with no record, this is an editor who has been site banned, and then topic banned from the subject of race and intelligence, and has only been re-admitted to the community after quite a long period of time. I think it is perfectly reasonable to determine if Farrahgo has changed her views as a result of the passage of time and her additional schooling and research, or if she is still a hard-line hereditarian, as she was when she was site banned from Wikipedia. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:10, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Hopefully my last thoughts on this request: I believe that it would be unwise for the committee to lift FtA's sanctions absent a statement from her regarding her personal and professional position regarding the connections between race and intelligence. Experience has shown that she holds strong FRINGE views on this controversial subject, and the danger of her views skewing articles she edits if she still holds similar views is strong. At the very least, a probationary period seems like the minimal necessary protection for the encyclopedia, however, absent a statement from her -- which she is clearly hoping to avoid having to make -- I remain strongly opposed to lifting her restrictions in toto. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:57, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I suggest that FtA does not wish to make her personal and professional views about the heredetarian aspects of race and intelligence known not because she is standing on principle, but because, in fact, her views now are the same as they were at the time she was site-banned from Wikipedia, and that she still holds very strong opinions that there is a causal connection between a person's race and their intelligence -- more specifically, that blacks are, considered as a whole, less intelligent than whites. If that is the case, to allow someone with those views the freedom to edit articles connected to the race & intelligence issue is foolhardy, and a distinct danger to Wikipedia.
    As we well know from other controversial areas, there are any number of ways to skew articles to favor one's personal POV, and when the editor involved in a professional, it's possible to do so in ways that can only be detected by other professionals or deeply-dedicated amateurs who are fully conversant with all aspects of the subject. That is, there is little fear that FtA would insert "whites are more intelligent than blacks" in an article, but by selective insertions and deletions of data, information, and sources, the article can still be skewed in that direction, and the vast majority of Wikipedians -- including myself and (I presume) the entire Arbitration Committee -- would never be aware of it.
    The accuracy and neutrality of Wikipedia is its biggest selling point as a source of information, and none of us can afford to step back from the battle to keep non-neutral POV edits out of the encyclopedia. To allow a strict heredetarian -- if that is what FtA is -- to edit race and intelligence articles is a potentially disastrous decision. I implore the Committee to very seriously consider these points, and to be absolutely certain that allowing a site-banned editor to edit again in an area in which she caused massive disruption is not opening the door to damaging our articles in that subject area, and our reputation overall. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:13, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
  • " Also, please remember that all of the technical edits I referred to wanting to make, as well as the detail I provided about my research, have nothing to do with race." Then again I ask, why do you need to be released from your topic ban to make these edits? Beyond My Ken (talk) 20:50, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Doug Weller

@Ferahgo the Assassin:, last year you mentioned a prestigious award, which I believe was from the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR) which on the face of it is a respectable organisation. But our article doesn't tell the whole story. For instance, this book [3] mentions its 5th conference in 2004, saying

For much of their time the attendees listened to talks about how general intelligence might differ in men and women, blacks, whites, and Asians.

Of course that's just one author discussing something that occurred 14 years ago. But then there's the lifetime achievement award given to Arthur Jensen,[4]

a major figure in Race and intelligence. And then there's an article this year in the New Statesman[5] about the "London Conference on Intelligence" held several times at University College London and now being investigated at UCL.[6] which led UCL's President and Provost

to comment

I personally have no support for eugenics and I regard it as complete nonsense. I am appalled by the concept of white supremacy and will not tolerate anything on campus that incites racial hatred or violence.

The New Statesman article says

The ISIR is home to many great scientists, and its journal Intelligence is one of the most respected in its field. Yet Richard Lynn, who has called for the “phasing out” of the “populations of incompetent cultures”, serves on the editorial board of Intelligence, along with fellow director of the Pioneer Fund Gerhard Meisenberg, who edits Lynn’s journal Mankind Quarterly. Two other board members are Heiner Rindermann and Jan te Nijenhuis, frequent contributors to Mankind Quarterly and the London Conference on Intelligence. Rindermann, James Thompson, Michael Woodley of Menie and Aurelio Figueredo, all heavily implicated in the London Conference on Intelligence, helped to organise recent ISIR conferences. Linda Gottfredson, a Pioneer Fund grantee and former president of the ISIR, famously authored a letter in the Wall Street Journal defending Charles Murray’s assertion that black people are genetically disposed to an average IQ of “around 85”, compared to 100 for whites.

The article is worth reading. The involvement of Linda Gottfredson and the Pioneer Fund, Richard Lynn is to say the least not encouraging. I'd like to know what you think of their views. It would probably help if you could give us details of any other awards or grants you've received.

I've just found London Conference on Intelligence and updated it slightly to note that its speakers seem to have included white supremacists and someone advocating child rape.[7][8] Doug Weller talk 15:49, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
@Ferahgo the Assassin: you make some good points about ISIR. However, discussion of your views here is definitely not a violation of your topic ban, and if an Arbitrator such as User:Joe Roe asks you a question publicly you can certainly answer publicly. I hope you can appreciate the concerns expressed about the R&I area. We already have User:Deleet active in the area, and as you probably know (if only because of the publicity he garnered under his real name Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, declared on his user page) he was an active figure in the London conferences. See for instance[9] - the YouTube journalist Tara McCarthy mentioned there is a white separatist (some would say supremacist) who supports deportation of non-white citizens.[10]. It would be helpful if you could disclose whether you've worked with any of them - as I said, your comments here are not limited by your topic ban. Whatever you may think, I'd like to see you contribute to our scientific articles related to your PhD field as it's clear you have a lot to offer, but your unwillingness to discuss your views is a bit worrying. By the way, I am extremely impressed by your paleoart. Doug Weller talk 14:47, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by {other-editor}

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.

Race and intelligence: Clerk notes

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

Race and intelligence: Arbitrator views and discussion

  • If I recall, your article edits have always been fine. During the review in 2012, it was your non-article edits that were a concern. Are you able to give us some background to those edits, in particular those presented in evidence. There was speculation about those edits, and you were site-banned as they were indistinguishable from those of CO. You may email the Committee your response if you prefer. SilkTork (talk) 15:19, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Given that Ferahgo's article edits have been constructive not problematic, and that the previous concerns were in regard to the non-article edits in support of Captain Occam, a situation that it appears is unlikely to occur again, I am inclined to supporting lifting the topic ban. Serious concerns have been raised regarding members of ISIR, and these do relate to the topic area. Though I'm not seeing that those concerns relate to Ferahgo herself, it would be appropriate for Ferahgo to explain her connection to ISIR, and how she views that going forward. SilkTork (talk) 11:44, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm satisfied with Ferahgo's explanations regarding the concerns around some members of ISIR. I support lifting the topic ban. SilkTork (talk) 00:29, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I said at the last clarification that I would support lifting the topic ban (with perhaps a 6 month probationary period), and I can't say I've changed my opinion. I'll wait until more community members have commented, but I am heartened to see Ferahgo has done good work in a different area. WormTT(talk) 11:19, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
  • @Ferahgo the Assassin: yes, I'd be interested in examples of the research you're referring to, thanks for offering to pass it along. (FYI the arbcom email has changed, it's now arbcom-en@wikimedia.org.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 08:04, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: Ferhago, what are some examples of content changes you would make, if unbanned from the topic? The appeal only specifies what sub-topics you would edit. Without a more compelling submission, I would deny this appeal. AGK ■ 13:44, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
  • After reading Ferahgo's comments here, I would be happy to lift the topic ban they currently have, with a 6 month probationary period to ensure all is well. Their edits have been constructive and they do show a willingness to work with the community in improving the encyclopedia. RickinBaltimore (talk) 13:38, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm satisfied that the personal dynamics between Ferahgo, Captain Occam, and Mathsci, are no longer an issue. I also have no doubt that Ferahgo's expertise could make a valuable contribution to the project. However, it does seem like they are evading the question of their own views on race and intelligence, and that makes me worry that we'd be opening the door to subtle fringe POV-pushing. I'd be happier to support lifting the topic ban if there was a probationary period after which this could be explicitly reviewed, and if Ferahgo was willing to be more open about how her views on race and heredity of intelligence have (or have not) changed since she was first sanctioned. – Joe (talk) 12:39, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
    Ferahgo's response to BMK is a red flag for me. Her topic ban was originally under the R&I DS. These were authorised to prevent POV-pushing in a topic area prone to fringe POVs (case). It's therefore highly relevant whether she still holds those fringe views. Like BMK, I can only interpret her unwillingness to answer as confirmation that she does. If that is the case, her stated intention to edit highly technical topics will only make it harder for editors to detect subtle POV-pushing. I oppose lifting the topic ban. – Joe (talk) 09:20, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm leaning towards supporting this request, though I do think RickinBaltimore's suggestion of a 6-month probationary period is wise. GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:59, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
    @Ferahgo the Assassin: Per WP:BANEX, you are not prohibited from explaining your viewpoint here. GorillaWarfare (talk) 17:15, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Clarification request: The Troubles

Initiated by Thryduulf at 17:18, 15 January 2019 (UTC)

Case or decision affected
The Troubles 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
As there are no specific other people involved, I have left notifications at:


Statement by Thryduulf (re The Troubles)

In The Troubles arbitration case the committee authorised a remedy that was effectively discretionary sanctions (this was before standardised discretionary sanctions as we know them today had evolved) and as part of that a general 1RR restriction was imposed. Later, the old remedy was replaced by discretionary sanctions, incorporating the 1RR restriction. However, because of the way these sanctions have evolved the scope of the DS topic area is stated differently in different places and this is causing confusion (see for example [[Talk:#DS notice]]). What I believe to be the full history of the scope(s) and where I found them is detailed at User:Thryduulf/Troubles scope but what I understand to be the differing scopes presently in force are (numbered for ease of reference only):

  1. Pages relating to The Troubles, as well as the Ulster banner, broadly interpreted
  2. [A]ll articles could be reasonably construed as being related to The Troubles, Irish nationalism, and British nationalism in relation to Ireland
  3. Pages relating to The Troubles and the Ulster banner (The Troubles)
  4. [Page template:ArbCom Troubles restriction is transcluded on] along with other articles relating to The Troubles.
  5. All articles related to The Troubles, defined as: any article that could be reasonably construed as being related to The Troubles, Irish nationalism, and British nationalism in relation to Ireland falls under 1RR. When in doubt, assume it is related.

British Baronets were formerly part of some of the scopes, but that was unambiguously removed by a previous committee.

I am asking the committee to:

  1. Clarify this whole mess by defining a single scope for the discretionary sanctions and sanctions placed under its authority (the general 1RR is the only one I know that will be affected).
  2. Formally and explicitly end the restrictions imposed in the related Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Great Irish Famine as superceded by the discretionary sanctions authorised in The Troubles case. This is de facto the case anyway, but while tidying we might as well spend another 2 minutes to tidy this as well. (note that the Great Irish Famine article was moved to Great Famine (Ireland) after the case concluded)

Request 1 does lead to the need to determine what the scope should be. In my view, formed following some discussion at Wikipedia:WikiProject Ireland and Talk:Great Famine (Ireland) and looking at various articles and talk pages is that there are only two that need considering:

A "Pages related to The Troubles, broadly interpreted."
B "Pages related to The Troubles, Irish Nationalism and British Nationalism in relation to Ireland." with both geographical and political meanings of "Ireland" being within scope.

The Ulster Banner does not need to be separately mentioned - the Ulster Banner article is quiet and is not even tagged and while the Flag of Northern Ireland article would benefit from continued inclusion in the discretionary sanctions regime it is firmly within either scope suggested above.

The Easter Rising topic area is unquestionably within the scope of suggestion B and is reasonably interpreted as also being within the scope of suggestion A as crucial background to it.

Whether the Great Famine (Ireland) is within the scope of either A or B is less clear, nor is there clear consensus whether it should be - more input than I was able to attract prior to the request is needed here. Thryduulf (talk) 17:18, 15 January 2019 (UTC)

@Black Kite: It's been a while since I've been involved with any disputes regarding the term "British Isles" but I can't imagine anything serious that wouldn't be covered by a reasonable interpretation of B. Whether it would be covered by A would be more dependent on the exact nature of the disruption, but if it is completely unrelated I don't think we should be using the sanctions of this case to solve that problem. Thryduulf (talk) 19:22, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: While the topic area is relatively quiet at the moment discretionary sanctions are still desirable for at least as long as Brexit is an active political issue as any changes to the status of Northern Ireland or the Irish border could get quite messy quite quickly (history shows that the heat of conflicts on Wikipedia related to real-world geopolitical issues correlates pretty well with the heat of those issues in the real-world). Whether the specific 1RR restriction is still needed is a different question that's independent of what the scope of the DS authorisation is. It could be made narrower, but what that narrower scope should be is not clear (it's tricky to predict what the flashpoints will be), although when this ARCA is resolved I will be (proposing) removing the notification template from the talk pages of most of the few Northern Irish footballer articles it is currently transcluded on (from memory only one of those articles even gave any indication of any political or nationalist activity by the subject. Thryduulf (talk) 19:38, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: You are conflating two separate issues here (1) the scope of the topic area discretionary sanctions are authorised for, (2) the scope of the 1RR restriction imposed under that authorisation. The aim of this clarification request is solely to clarify what the scope of (1) actually is, not whether the DS regime is still required: it is, and because Brexit is on the horizon now is a good time to clarify it. (2) is a question that cannot be usefully answered until after (1) has been clarified (because the scope of any restrictions imposed under DS must be equal to or wholly contained by the scope of the DS authorisation) and in any case is not a question that requires arbcom - the purpose of discretionary sanctions is to allow administrators additional flexibility to make, adjust and remove remedies without needing to consult the committee each time. Thryduulf (talk) 20:15, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: While a review might be useful it cannot sensibly happen until after the scope of the DS is clarified, and it doesn't require the Committee to do it - it can be done at AE or even a relevant WikiProject page, while the DS scope clarification does need to happen here. FWIW though I think it would be silly to remove the 1RR at the current time and that setting the scope to A or B above (to match the DS authorisation) would be about right. Thryduulf (talk) 15:09, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
@Opabinia regalis: The most recent confusion I'm aware of is at talk:Great Famine (Ireland)#DS notice (this is where I intended to link above but I see now I forgot to include the page name, sorry!), and I've seen other confusion previously but cannot immediately recall where. Thryduulf (talk) 10:53, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
@GoodDay: Indeed, I'm not proposing to remove the 1RR at all (that's BU Rob13's confusion), simply clarifying the scope of the discretionary sanctions it's authorised under and, if necessary, adjusting the scope of the 1RR to match it. Thryduulf (talk) 10:56, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
@SilkTork: My reading of the intent of Timotheus Canens's statement at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/The Troubles#One revert rule is that the 1RR is a standard discretionary sanction appealable in the normal manner but a statement making that explicit certainly wouldn't harm. Thryduulf (talk) 16:32, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Black Kite

(B) would be better, in my opinion ... one could argue for the second section to specifically include the use of the term "British Isles", but that will probably be sufficient.

If I remember correctly, the issues with the Ulster Banner weren't particularly on that article itself, but edit-warring to include the Banner instead of the Irish flag / Union Jack (depending on context) and vice-versa on BLPs and other articles that included flags and flagicons. Black Kite (talk) 17:44, 15 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by GoodDay

I would caution that 1RR may need to be kept in place, during the Brexit process which effects the British/Irish border & thus related articles. GoodDay (talk) 19:30, 15 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by EdJohnston

Per a motion passed this year, the 1RR which is currently in place for Troubles articles is due to the decision by an administrator to impose it under discretionary sanctions. (Most likely it is due to this log entry by User:Timotheus Canens in the fall of 2011. The idea of a blanket Troubles 1RR didn't originate with him, it used to be a community sanction before that). So, if anybody thinks that the blanket 1RR should be adjusted they could (in theory) appeal it at AE. Personally, I can see the advantages of single-page 1RRs that could be applied by individual administrators.

According to Canens, the scope of the case is "..reasonably construed as being related to The Troubles, Irish nationalism, and British nationalism in relation to Ireland.." In my view, this is an adequate description of the scope and I wouldn't advise the committee to get really specific as to which articles are in or out. Admins shouldn't take action unless the nature of the edits suggests that nationalism is at work in the minds of at least some of the editors. Modern nationalism can cause problems with articles that seem tangential, as when editors who are warned about WP:ARBMAC get into wars about Alexander the Great, since the word 'Macedonia' occurs there. Yet the ARBMAC decision did not mention our article on Alexander the Great, nor should it. Even so, the ARBMAC sanctions would reasonably apply to any nationally-motivated editing of that article. EdJohnston (talk) 20:09, 15 January 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.

The Troubles: Clerk notes

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

The Troubles: Arbitrator views and discussion

  • Before we do anything here, I would invite views on whether the 1RR in this topic area remains necessary. Is there still active disruption that warrants applying 1RR to an entire topic area indefinitely? Can that be reduced to just those pages actively undergoing disruption, as is typical? ~ Rob13Talk 19:20, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
    • @Thryduulf: That is an excellent point about Brexit. It may be worth holding on this request for a couple weeks to see if that situation changes in light of May's defeat in Parliament. In the meantime, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on fully overturning the topic area wide 1RR (rather than providing it with a new scope) in favor of encouraging uninvolved administrators to apply 1RR to specific pages at their discretion as disruption occurs. I think that would be the preferred route so long as the number of articles facing frequent edit wars is relatively small, say, no more than a few dozen. Could you comment a bit on that? I'm not set in that view right now; just trying to understand exactly what's going on to form a comprehensive opinion. ~ Rob13Talk 19:47, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
      • To be clear, I'm not misunderstanding your request. I just think a review of the 1RR is worthwhile at the same time as we're reviewing the discretionary sanctions. To my knowledge, it's the broadest sanction ever imposed under DS, and it's persisted for quite some time. ~ Rob13Talk 14:26, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
  • This case played out while I was inactive on Wikipedia, so I'm not familiar with the history. Thryduulf, can you point to an example or two of the confusion? (Your link isn't working, and probably I'm being unobservant but I can't find which discussion you meant to refer to.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:02, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I think this is a sensible request. Of the two options I feel Option B seems to more clearly cover the areas of concern, though "broadly construed" should be applied. I'm comfortable leaving 1RR in place as I'd prefer users in a contentious area to use more of the discussion and negotiation style of editing and less of the blunt and inflammatory style. The question of who is procedurally responsible for the current 1RR and can therefore lift it seems a bureaucratic mess, but if we want a separate formal ruling (for clarity) then I'm comfortable with clarifying that the current 1RR is within the jurisdiction of AE admins to lift or amend as appropriate. SilkTork (talk) 15:57, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Option B seems appropriate to me. Thryduulf has a good point about Brexit; it would probably be a bad idea to lift the 1RR at this point. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:07, 19 January 2019 (UTC)

Amendment request: Crouch, Swale clarification request

Initiated by Nyttend at 01:05, 19 January 2019 (UTC)

Case or decision affected
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=879055559
Clauses to which an amendment is requested
  1. There's only one clause
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
  • Crouch, Swale
Information about amendment request
  • There's only one clause
  • Please specify namespaces where page creation is or is not appropriate.


Statement by Nyttend

The original unban conditions were clear: C, S can create pages in userspace and any talk namespace, but nowhere else. Now, the conditions are confusing: he can create pages in userspace, any talk namespace, draftspace, and no articles. But what about other namespaces? Is it necessarily a ban violation to nominate an article for deletion, since that requires the creation of a page in project space, or is it all right as long as it's unrelated to geographic naming? What about creating categories and templates if they're unrelated to geographic naming? Please specify the namespaces where page creation is appropriate, or where it's inappropriate, or give us admins other guidance; I've looked through the discussion at [15] without finding any reference to the issue. I don't have an opinion on what namespaces are good places for him to create pages, and I'm not asking for any particular result: I just want this restriction to be clear. Any user who's come back from a siteban will necessarily have a good deal of scrutiny, and if he creates pages in these namespaces, we're likely to see disputes over whether or not they're ban violations; either he ought to be able to create pages in such namespaces without controversy, or he should know that he's definitely prohibited from such creations. Arbcom can prevent confusion/disputes/etc. by clarifying or outright amending their statement in this area.

Per his statement below, it would help if you also clarified whether he's allowed to move a page between draftspace and userspace. Nyttend (talk) 13:12, 19 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Crouch, Swale

  • @Nyttend: I don't have a problem with the restrictions including other pages (since that isn't something I really do much anyway), however it would be quite silly to say that I had violated my restrictions for creating an AFD discussion, since they were mainly aimed at page creation, starting an AFD is essentially initiating the opposite. Note that the discussions on geographical NC was lifted in July 2018 and the suspended restriction expired 2 days ago (I removed it). The page creation restriction was originally intended to be just an article creation restriction but it was pointed out that I has previously created quite a few redirects, categories and templates that were up for deletion. I don't think creating pages that are administrative such as POTD, SPI, AFD etc violate the spirit or the restrictions but do violate the letter. However since as noted its not something I'm interested in, I don't have a problem with having the restrictions include all other pages.
  • Do the restrictions also cover me moving pages to and from the draft space from my user space (and moves within the draft space of drafts that I have created) since I might realize that a page I created in the draft space is incorrectly named or might need moving back to my userspace. Crouch, Swale (talk) 12:14, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • @GorillaWarfare: The request in the previous discussion was "page creation" which does essentially mean all pages, though until I have got the missing articles created, I have little reason to think much about other pages. While I don't have a problem with not being able to move within user and draft (since I just add {{subst:submit}} to the user subpage, it does seem a bit silly since I can just create it at the target location anyway. However I'm not pressed on asking for that exception since that would unnecessarily complicate things. Its also highly unlikely that I would need to move an article that I had created since I will have had plenty of time to think about where to create it and most have obvious titles anyway. As pointed out move discussions don't require creating new pages (other than if the article doesn't have a talk page) and my editing doesn't usually require creating project subpages since I'm not active generally in that area. Crouch, Swale (talk) 20:23, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • @Thryduulf: "Other pages in his userspace that are not:" "(drafts of) content intended for the main namespace." "(drafts of) templates intended for use in the main namespace." What was meant by that? were you saying that I can't create drafts for articles and templates in my userspace anymore? You'r first bullet was "Draft articles in his userspace or in the draft namespace" being exempt. Crouch, Swale (talk) 11:37, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Also with changing redirects to DAB pages, shouldn't that be allowed since as pointed out at User talk:Crouch, Swale#Broxtowe its just providing arrows when more than 1 title would be at that title (or redirect there). Crouch, Swale (talk) 17:14, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by Thryduulf (re Crouch, Swale)

It seems that few (if any) people will have any problem with C, S creating the following types of page, so they could be explicitly whitelisted.

  • Draft articles in his userspace or in the draft namespace
  • Project space pages required by processes such as AfD or MfD.
  • Other pages in his userspace that are not:
    • (drafts of) content intended for the main namespace.
    • (drafts of) templates intended for use in the main namespace.
  • Redirects automatically created when moving pages as permitted by other restrictions.
  • Talk pages, including talk page archives.

The second last bullet should be included, even if he is not permitted to move any pages currently, such that no amendment to this section is required should his restrictions be loosened before being completely removed. Thryduulf (talk) 00:17, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

  • @Crouch, Swale: The bullets re draft articles and your userspace are complementary: In draftspace you can create drafts of articles. In userspace you can create (a) drafts of articles and (b) pages that are not content / templates intended for the mainspace. Sorry for confusion. Thryduulf (talk) 21:06, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Statement by {other-editor}

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.

Crouch, Swale clarification request: Clerk notes

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

Crouch, Swale clarification request: Arbitrator views and discussion

  • The wording of the motion applies only to articles. In the discussion we decided to look at only lifting one restriction, which was article creation. The discussion then focused on that aspect. Given that our focus, discussion, and wording was on article creation it wouldn't be appropriate to feel it included other forms of page creation. We may have been remiss in not considering that aspect and clarifying it; but for now for the benefit of that clarity, no other page creation is allowed unless and until the rest of the Committee decide to discuss the matter further and specifically lift restrictions on other page creation. As far as I'm concerned I'm quite comfortable in just allowing article creation until the next review in six months, but will look into the matter further if the other Committee members indicate they are willing to do so SilkTork (talk) 17:36, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
As regards page moving in space other than userspace. No, that's not allowed. I would suggest keeping articles within userspace until they are moved into mainspace as part of the AfC procedure. If the article name once in mainspace is seen to be incorrect, follow the move request procedure. SilkTork (talk) 17:56, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I think I would be ok with moves from userspace to draftspace. Typical preference for AfC is for AfC submissions to be in draftspace rather than userspace, so I don't see a reason to prevent Crouch, Swale from making the AfC reviewers' lives a little easier. I don't see a reason to prohibit the creation of administrative sub-pages such as AfD/MfD noms, since those aren't really pages created for the sake of making pages, they're pages that get made as a byproduct of our other processes. I would not be ok with the creation of things intended to go into mainspace - navbox templates, geographic categories and so forth. I think that's a reasonable distinction. ♠PMC(talk) 18:25, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Agreed with SilkTork that this only modifies the article creation portion of the previous remedy, which continues to prohibit Crouch, Swale from page creation more broadly. While I don't have a strong objection to C,S being allowed to create AfD pages and such, it's not something we discussed in the amendment request (nor do I believe C,S requested it) so we would have to explicitly amend the motion. I also would rather he not be allowed to move pages as PMC has suggested—as far as I'm aware, it's no more difficult for AfC reviewers to review drafts in the userspace than in the draftspace, so it shouldn't be an issue (and if it is, he should request another user move the page). GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:03, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Back so soon? Did you miss us? ;) I really don't care one way or the other about moving between userspace and draftspace; that's mainly a question of whether it's easier for AfC reviewers to deal with drafts than userspace pages. (Is it? I didn't think it mattered.) I also don't have strong feelings about AfD etc., but that isn't a topic that's been raised in past ARCAs. Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:20, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

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