Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard/Archive 34

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Archive 33 Archive 34 Archive 35

Response to the Wikimedia Foundation statement on paid editing and outing

Original announcement
  • Well-stated, Arbcom. An option worth considering is to simply disregard WMF's essay statement and continue to uphold our current restraints on outing. - MrX 20:07, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
    • WMF Legal's statement on what they believe should be local policy is not binding. It is not an office action. It has no effect on local policy, and anyone violating local policy can be sanctioned appropriately. ~ Rob13Talk 20:24, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
      • Yes, that's my understanding as well, which makes it all the more mysterious about why they decided to chime in.- MrX 20:40, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
        • fwiw, the WMF legal statement says: "WMF Legal has been asked to clarify our role in combating undisclosed paid editing on the projects and to provide our opinion on the outing vs. paid editing investigation conflict." It doesn't say who asked them. The WMF board, WMF management, some user? I don't know. I do know that I posted a question on the wikimedia-l mailing list (you can follow it in the December 2016 archive and in the January archive) asking whether the WMF board or management had asked legal itself to directly address companies that do undisclosed paid editing. I also asked at Jimbo's talk page here. I purposefully didn't ask about WMF's thoughts about what the en-wiki community could do, and I didn't ask because we govern ourselves per the ToU and the community itself has discussed, and is discussing, this extensively. But again due to the passive voice WMF legal used, I don't know if the statement from them is in response to my postings (if it was, the part about en-wiki stuff was not what I asked for). I was very happy that they clarified the WMF privacy policy. That was very useful as that has arisen in discussion at WT:OUTING. Jytdog (talk) 21:19, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Very well writen, and agree fully. From~a much smaller version (svwp) we have come to very similiar or identical postition re community view on outing etc, so full support there. For WMF statements they are usuallay not very well known. Even with a good knowledge in English it is harder to take in fully another language. And when we read we feel they are written for anoyher reality than we meet, we more or less percieve WMF statement are only intended for enwp. But I am glad that the comments you write on paid editing very musch is in agreement on our expererience and opinions.Yger (talk) 20:17, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with the thrust of the statement, that it was unwise for Legal to weigh in on en-wiki issues at all, and they failed to adequately address OUTING. That said, I want to note two things here.
The following sentence was hard to read: "The Arbitration Committee and community policy do not consider posting such information to be a specific responsibility of administrators, nor do we believe that the threat of posting such information should be used as a means to bring editors into compliance." I am unaware of anyone saying either thing - that such postings would be an actual admin responsibility nor that anyone intends to use such postings as a threat, and this is to be frank a distortion of what is under discussion at WT:OUTING. (There is definitely a risk that such postings, if they gain consensus to be done, could be used in a bad faith, threatening way... but that is not what you all wrote). I look to Arbcom to amend that statement to better reflect and clarify what is under discussion and the risks of such a proposal being enacted.
Also this sentence: "Being doxxed and treated in ways the community has defined as harassment is not a reasonable consequence of noncompliance with a website's terms of use, particularly where no distinction is made between isolated, minor, or debatable violations as opposed to pervasive and severe ones." is also difficult in claiming that posting a connection between a given user account and a company or a client is doxxing. It certainly can be, but even the current OUTING policy calls for case-by-case analysis and care. For example in the Morning277 SPI, many user accounts were connected to Wiki-PR, and these connections were widely publicized within WP and in the media. Please also consider amending that sentence.
Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 20:39, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Jytdog, I'll be happy to address this, if it's not yet done--I just got out of class and am still full of Beowulf. Our concern with some of the phrasing in the statement was quite serious, and to do the statement and your question justice I need to choose my words carefully, and that may take me a bit. I know you are greatly concerned about paid editing, and I/we share your concern. I hope that suffices for now--bear with me. Thanks, Drmies (talk) 01:40, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • thanks Drmies! Jytdog (talk) 03:19, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
It's worth noting that there is a clause in the privacy policy that basically states CheckUsers may release limited non-public information in the case of long-term abuse. "We may also disclose your personal information if we reasonably believe it necessary to detect, prevent, or otherwise assess and address potential spam, malware, fraud, abuse, unlawful activity, and security or technical concerns." For extreme LTA paid-editing that's been confirmed through behavioral and technical evidence, that applies, as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, the WMF essay goes much farther in saying limited outing is essentially acceptable when paid-editing is merely suspected. That standard is substantially lower than the one currently applied by the community. ~ Rob13Talk 21:16, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
That's a good point. Still, as the case unfolded non-CU users were proposing additional socks, by which act they were clearly suggesting links between accounts and Wiki-PR. It also doesn't make the two statements more accurate; they still need revising in my view. Jytdog (talk) 21:21, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The two points I raised above remain unaddressed. I do not think these statements should remain un-amended as they appear to misrepresent things, and this is not a good thing for the community. I find the "threat" language to be particularly.... unfortunate. Jytdog (talk) 21:55, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • What is missing is a process for raising concerns. An editor creates or greatly expands an article on a company; Google instantly links the username to the company's press office. The article is not blatant advertising and the subject is arguably notable. What should we do? This happens so often that ArbCom can't be the gatekeeper. I used to do OTRS. I think we're talking here about hundreds of articles a week at a minimum, most of which are iundetected. Guy (Help!) 21:06, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
    • The next steps, in my opinion, are these:
      1. Provide CheckUsers the authority to make blocks based on private information even if that information is not related to the technical evidence produced by the CheckUser tool. This is a short-term fix to give non-arbs the ability to block based on information that would be outing if posted publicly.
      2. Long-term, create a new group of editors (names for this? Fraud Squad?) that are authorized by the Arbitration Committee to block based on private-only evidence related to paid editing, logged on a paid editing wiki similar to the CheckUser wiki. They all sign the same agreement CheckUsers do related to handling non-public information. While some of them may not also be CheckUsers, they would be permitted to openly discuss technical evidence with CheckUsers due to signing the agreement, who could be roped in to assist when necessary (but not as a routine matter, if sufficient information is available based on behavioral evidence).
      3. Gain community consensus to extended-confirmed creation protect any deleted article that was originally created by an editor confirmed to be a paid editor (by technical or behavioral evidence). This will ensure a client confirmed to be hiring paid editors cannot get an article via a new paid editor without going through some review. Possibly also restrict moving drafts to that location until after a member of the paid-editing review group takes a look and gives the ok. ~ Rob13Talk 21:57, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd be interested in knowing the opinions of the arbs who didn't sign the "Response". Paul August 21:24, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
Now I see NYB has commented. Paul August 21:25, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • note to User:Mkdw about this: Whether this translates to a policy: one that allows functionaries to evaluate privately submitted information (by the community) about undisclosed paid editing and grants functionaries the ability to block for ToU violations; or some other policy that empowers administrators (that I hope still preserves the protections offered by the community to all editors). in your posting.... per WP:PAID, the ToU are en-wiki policy. Admins already have the right to block people who persistently violate policy. Jytdog (talk) 21:53, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
    • @Jytdog: WP:PAID was boldly created as a policy without discussion. Whether it has any of the actual "oomph" of a policy without actual community endorsement is questionable at best. ~ Rob13Talk 22:08, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
It is unquestionably policy; one of the few places where policy is passed down to all the communities by the WMF via the ToU. In addition, the community has blocked for ToU violations at ANI and I have seen admins do it, so it is practiced by the community. But I do understand your statement about "oomph". Jytdog (talk) 22:14, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
Personally, I see "the WMF has barred this activity" and "the WMF has barred this activity and the community has granted administrators the authority to enforce that" as meaningfully different statements. ~ Rob13Talk 22:24, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
The parts of the page that were handed down from the WMF—the terms of use and associated clarifications—are policy. The parts providing guidance on how to disclose have not gone through a consensus discussion to affirm them as policy. (True enough, I'm not aware of much dissension on the disclosure procedure, but I might just not be looking in the appropriate places to see it.) isaacl (talk) 22:27, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
Rob, I am not going to re-litigate this here (and we should not continue); what you are saying was extensively discussed when the WP:PAID policy was put in place - see the talk discussions at WT:COI when the ToU were first amended and subsequently at WT:PAID. I am not disagreeing that an RfC on obligatory disclosures for paid editing would probably be good but at bottom this is a legal matter -- per the ToU WP:PAID must be policy for en-wiki and every community unless and until a community puts a different policy in place. en-wiki has not done so. Jytdog (talk) 22:31, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
New policies require "widespread consensus". Consensus among the editors involved in the creation of the policy page carried out on its talk page is clearly inadequate. Always, this requires an RfC. Typically, new policies require village pump posts, a WP:CENT notice, etc. It is my understanding that none of this ever occurred, although I certainly invite anyone to prove me wrong. Most importantly, my information on this never occurring comes from arbitrators (speaking on their own behalf, not that of the Committee), and the Committee's opinion matters whether we want it to or not when it comes to evaluating the appropriateness of an admin action. The Committee should probably be very clear about what they see as permissible and not permissible here from administrators. In reading some of the statements from arbitrators and admins in this section, I'm somewhat worried we're hurtling toward a situation where an administrator, acting in good-faith, outs an editor in line with WMF legal's statement and then is promptly desysopped for doing so. No matter what your views are (and I'm pretty close to "center" here, I believe), no-one wants this to happen. I encourage the Arbitration Committee to consider this issue and release a succinct statement clarifying what activities administrators may and may not do in response to paid editing under current policy. ~ Rob13Talk 02:28, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't understand where you are coming from and don't agree with most of what you just wrote, but I don't want to clutter this up any further. Jytdog (talk) 03:43, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Also, WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE. The fact of the matter is that the community does not currently have the means to effectively deal with undisclosed paid editing without violating several policies. Mkdw talk 22:17, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply Mkdw. Just a couple recent examples at ANI: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive942#Earflaps and the section under that, as well as Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive943#Proposal_to_ban_FoCuSandLeArN_due_to_undisclosed_paid_editing. The ToU obligations are policy and are enforced by the community, and your statement is not accurate as it stands, which is concerning as you are speaking in that statement as an Arb. I agree 100% that better ways to handle would be very useful. But please correct your statement - nuances and details are important in this matter! Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 22:22, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
There's nothing in my statement that expressly states an editor cannot be blocked for a ToU violation. The grammatical context of the single sentence you pointed out is in direct reference to the previous sentence about the community's core values and principles and whether that translates to allowing editors to be blocked on privately held information and ToU violations -- or some other type of policy. The sentence starts with 'whether', a conjunction about choice and uncertainty, that asks an open ended question of possibility for the community. The sentence is not trying to be a definitive fact. I think you've inferred meaning to the sentence that is not literally expressed or necessarily implied. I don't say a 'new policy' or 'existing policy' or 'no policy' and I do not indicate that the question of uncertainty is one that hasn't been answered, practiced, or enforced. Mkdw talk 00:36, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
To point out even more nuance, in the part about allowing a 'ToU violation block', I'm directly talking about functionaries which would mean a block, other than in their role as administrators, that would need distinction from a regular block such as an oversight block or checkuser block because of information not publicly accessible to non-functionaries. Looping back to your interpretation, in that regard, it's not reflected in policy, but again my opened ended question of possibility does not express say this does or does not exist in policy. Mkdw talk 01:02, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Mkdw. Just so we are on the same page the ToU is policy that is already being enforced by admins and the community, I am good. :) Jytdog (talk) 03:22, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Both the joint statement and NYB's comments include:

Moreover, "editing one's employer's article" could mean anything ranging from correcting a typo on the employer's article, at one extreme, to creating or maintaining a blatantly promotional article as part of a PR department's job responsibilities, on the other. It is not clear where on this continuum, if anywhere, a user becomes a "paid editor" whose activities people feel violate the TOU and are subject to exposure.

I appreciate the intent to cover the breadth of possible edits, but I think that the continuum of possible edits stretches well past minor typo-fixing (which I recognise was added as an example of a most minor edit) to edits of providing significant positive content. For example, an edit might be: On DATE, Company XYZ released a [[press release]] announcing that they "had been cooperating with an ongoing investigation of allegations of [[securities fraud]] and [[embezzlement]] involving CEO [[Highly Notable Individual]]," and that his/her contract had been terminated as a consequence. Current CFO [[Someone else notable]] has been made acting CEO in the interim.<properly formatted cite press release ref with url> with edit summary "adding press release of company's action, RS press coverage certain to follow within 24 h... going to be a huge story with arrests and likely prosecution." If the editor making this change worked for the company, and perhaps is aware of the investigation or witnessed an arrest, but is avoiding outing her or himself, then the action is ToU non-compliant... but surely the edit is both adding relevant and new encyclopaedic content and doing so in a neutral way, while noting that further (and secondary) sources are to follow, and is en:WP policy-compliant? Maybe an alternative formulation might be (additions in blue):

Moreover, "editing one's employer's article" could mean anything ranging from, on the one hand, adding neutrally-worded and apprpriately-sourced missing and relevant encyclopaedic content (favourable or not) to the employer's article, to minor edits such as typo corrections correcting a typo on the employer's article, at one extreme, to creating or maintaining a blatantly promotional article as part of a PR department's job responsibilities, on the other at the other extreme. It is not clear where on this continuum, if anywhere, a user becomes a "paid editor" whose activities people feel violate the TOU and are subject to exposure.

Many (perhaps most) editors have an employer or at least an area of potentially-financial WP:COI, and might restrict themselves to typo-fixing type edits, but some are actively editing in a content-policy-compliant manner and that extreme should (a) be recognised and (b) not be a basis for outing. I agree with JzG is that a process for raising concerns is needed, and I suggest that one of the requirements for a report should be evidence of editing that violates content policy norms. If an editor's work does not raise any content concerns, then why should payment or COI be important? Paid editing as an occupation (where essentially all edits relate to employment / contractual payments, etc.) should be disclosed so that the community can watch for any issues with compliance with content policies (just as happens with regular editors where problems have been found in their contributions), but that is different from editing as a hobby where an established good WP reputation exists that occasionally crosses onto an employer's article.
I do agree that the WMF Legal statement / essay has loopholes large enough to drive a truckload of mischief through, not to mention outright-malicious actions, and community consensus is needed on resolving / reconciling the tensions existing between policies on handling paid editing, COI, harassment, outing, ToU non-compliance, etc. I agree with the Arbitrators' collective view that it should be neither a responsibility of, nor restricted to, admins to address cases of problematic paid editing (though the tools may be needed at times). A well-constructed and neutrally-worded RfC on the general cases and reconciling policy and the WMF Legal statement / essay is certainly needed. Perhaps, Newyorkbrad, with your highly-regarded writing skills and reputation for fairness, you could put together such an RfC? EdChem (talk) 22:43, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
I am confused about this: why do you think adding negative information would be an acceptable action by a paid editor? Ignoring the fact that it is unlikely for an editor to be paid to add negative information to their employer's page, I also don't see how we can align such edits with our original research policy. If an editor can source their edits to a press release, they'll at least be verifiable, but the question of weight will remain. In cases like this I don't see why Wikipedia needs to be the one to break such news; by design Wikipedia should be the one adding the information after it has been reported in reliable sources and shown to be relevant to the information available about a company. GorillaWarfare (talk) 05:02, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
@GorillaWarfare: I think that editing negative information is a necessary part of balanced / NPOV editing at times. To clarify my earlier post, if "paid editor" is interpreted in such a way as to include a Wikipedian in good standing who works for company XYZ and happens to edit the XYZ page, then the hypothetical I suggested (which I admit was not an ideal example) could occur. My suggestion was motivated by the fact that, under a broad interpretation of "paid editor," the sorts of edits which might be appropriate and policy compliant do not necessarily extend only from minor / typo to so positive as to be promotional and problematic. I guess we are coming back to the necessity to agree on a definition of "paid editor" before attempting to tailor a policy on undisclosed paid editing.
Regarding leading rather than following, I take your point – waiting the 24 hours for RS newspaper coverage (for example, in the hypothetical I proposed) would be not only an appropriate option, but a wise choice. I'm not sure that that is not because of my choice of hypothetical, however. I was searching for a plausible case where a Wikipedian might be aware of something that is obviously relevant, where they are aware of a source to support it, and where they might choose to add it (having due regard for weight) with an edit summary noting that more sources would follow. My point was that that Wikipedian may have added something negative, may have had a COI, and may have been designatable as a broad-case "paid editor" and still have done nothing that warrants either sanction or an undisclosed paid editor claim. It may have been an unwise action, but then, we all act unwisely at times.
In short (if that is possible), I think the statement's continuum is truncated, especially if we allow for broader interpretations of "paid editor." With a narrow definition, and particularly in cases where problematic editing (ie. content policy non-compliant editing) is occurring, then aggressive action is likely to be non-controversial. Under a broad definition, there is way too much scope to go after Wikipedians by those willing to attack / out, and I can't see any enforcement mechanism gaining consensus. Narrow-definition paid editing with mostly good content resulting is going to cause endless debate. EdChem (talk) 12:09, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Ah, thank you—I misunderstood your hypothetical to mean that it would be appropriate for a paid editor to introduce negative information with subpar sourcing; I realize now that that was . GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:53, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
GorillaWarfare, looks like you might have been distracted mid-sentence there!  :) In any case, I'm glad I clarified. The truly problematic paid editors (in the narrow sense) will likely be adding either overly-positive material in a promotional sense, or overly-negative material in an attack on an opponent (editing in political articles, for example). Such editors may be difficult to distinguish from unpaid POV-warriors or supporters – but then all are sanctionable / blockable for their edits, so the main reason to be concerned about payments is for looking for related (sock) accounts and others being paid by the same source (the WMF may also do something about a company engaged in systematic biased editing for profit... well, they might... maybe). This may have implications for when a CU is run, for example, but is primarily a topic for non-public investigation, I would expect. After all, if account A is being operated by person P being paid by company / client C, then banning A (+ socks + others working for C) plus cleaning up articles they altered can all be achieved without naming P as John Smith of Metropolis. Are you able to shed any light on why the WMF is favouring a broad definition of "paid editor" / "COI editor", as it seems to me that it makes a policy discussion more difficult and makes their comments implying some acceptance of outing as even more problematic? EdChem (talk) 00:01, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
Oops, and I was so close to finishing my sentence, too. Meant to say "I realize now that was wrong." I do not know why the WMF has favored this definition, or been so hesitant to offer more than a vague definition at all. GorillaWarfare (talk) 06:30, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Two brief notes: 1) Let's be clear, it is lying to readers to have them read a paid article, and conceal from them any way to know who paid for it. 2) Doxers (are lowlifes) who in no way need Wikipedia to dox someone. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:30, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
What do you mean by your second note? GorillaWarfare (talk) 05:08, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
At least two things 1) if someone is determined to dox someone, they will do it on the internet (so it is pretending to imagine we stop that) 2) Obviously, such doxing has then been posted on Wikipedia, eg Qworty (despite any disapproval of doxing). Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:50, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
I guess I don't see how that relates to this statement (or to the WMF's). GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:56, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Because, the committee decided to use claims about doxing (and in quite an emotional fashion) to support its prolix statement, when it's just make-weight. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:20, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
That people may be doxxed off-wiki does not mean it should be allowed onwiki. GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:27, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
That people are doxed off-site, makes all your overwrought claims about doxing insignificant. Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:47, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia is the 4th most visited website in the world and is actively downloaded and mirrored. I challenge you to provide a comparable off-wiki website where people are publicly doxxed. Mkdw talk 20:54, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
I challenge you to think about this page, if you think this page is the 4th most visited web-address on the planet, then that is just more overwrought imaginings. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:03, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Straw man. No one made that argument. Mkdw talk 21:36, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
The only strawmen are the ones you have been building with your rhetoric that is overwrought and imaginary. Your '4th most visited site the world' is just that. Our conversation here right now on this page, to in reality based metric is that we are not getting the traffic you seek to scare with. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:47, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
I genuinely do not understand what you're saying. That Wikipedia is not the 4th most visited site in the world? I've seen numbers between 3 and 6, I think, depending on when measurements were made and how "visits" were defined. That any doxxing as a result of a change to the paid editing/outing policies would be confined to WT:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard? GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:00, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm sure you do know what I am saying, that the ctte's scaremongering about the "nth most visited site' in the world is just that. Rhetoric seeking to avoid reality to make to a point that somehow doxing is really worse here, which is just false. The same goes for the dangerous implication that is being pedaled that somehow a user will be free from outing when they contribute to this website, when the reality is posting to this website does not protect them from doxing, at all, in fact it's the opposite, the more you do on the web the more potential for doxing. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:07, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thank you for explaining. I agree that it's important not to mislead people into thinking they are safe from doxxing on this website, since that is simply not true. I do not agree that the inherent danger of doxxing on the Internet (and Wikipedia specifically) means we should not fight to stop it whenever possible. GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:22, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict) User:Alanscottwalker fwiw.... In the community there are serious and valid concerns about how to manage COI/paid editors, and there are even more serious and more deeply held concerns about OUTING. Trying to respect both, and in appropriate proportions (OUTING is very deeply held consensus policy, deep in the guts of the en-wiki community while COI is a guideline and PAID is policy that was passed down from WMF and never endorsed by an RfC), is hard and takes nuance. What you are writing is distorting what Arbcom said, which isn't helpful. Please stop. -- Jytdog (talk) 23:26, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

No. It's bizarre that you would ask me to stop when people are responding to me and asking me questions. The flaws in the ctte's statement and reasoning not to mention their overstepping is patent. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:49, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I thank the Committee for issuing the statement, and now I am going to find fault with some aspects of it. But please understand that I appreciate the unique insight that Arbs and other functionaries have, about the odious and all-too-pervasive nature of harassment. I don't mean to minimize that. And I also think that you have done an excellent job of identifying many areas of un-clarity that have been left by the WMF statement. It is very helpful to have brought those unresolved issues to light.
But I think that there is an additional area where you might be failing to notice a conflict between your position and that of the WMF: even though it has been tagged as an essay and described as advisory, not as policy. The WMF has posted an explicit procedure for local projects to adopt policies about paid editing at: meta:Terms of use/FAQ on paid contributions without disclosure#Can a local project adopt an alternative disclosure policy for paid editing?. Taking that material at face value, the only way for en-Wiki to enact such an alternative disclosure policy is to (1) revise WP:PAID according to a community-wide RfC, and (2) post the new policy at meta:Alternative paid contribution disclosure policies. (I do note that your statement asks to community to conduct an RfC.) Absent that, it seems to me that WMF does not accept your position that the existing community norms permit any alteration of what WMF said may be posted publicly about undisclosed paid editors. I'm not saying that's a good thing. But it's something that cannot be wished away.
And I'm also going to push back against some of the implied aspects of your statement. You present yourselves as speaking on behalf of the community: The Arbitration Committee and community policy do not consider posting such information to be a specific responsibility of administrators, nor do we believe that the threat of posting such information should be used as a means to bring editors into compliance. True, it's not an admin responsibility, and you did say "community policy" instead of "the community". But I urge you to keep in mind that, per WP:AP, The arbitration process is not a vehicle for creating new policy by fiat. ArbCom does not create policy; the community does. It's entirely appropriate for you to interpret and articulate existing policy, and mostly that's what you have done. But the ability to actually set a policy that reconciles WP:HA with WP:PAID, and expresses it in a revised WP:PAID (because WP:HA is not and cannot be a policy on paid editing), is reserved for the community. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:55, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • It occurs to me that adding the hatnote link to the ArbCom reply at the top of the outing section of WP:HA, although clearly good faith, is an example of something that flirts with speaking for the community about policy. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:36, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Adding the WMF Legal's non-binding essay on undisclosed paid editing to the OUTING section hatnote was very concerning for many members of the committee. If it was my choice alone, both would be removed. I certainly recognize the seeming hypocrisy of then doing the same thing, but a large part of why I signed the open letter was because it provides a counter-point and check-and-balance to the WMF Legal statement. Their statement should not be used against community editors to avoid our local policies and guidelines, a departure from the long standing tradition of local community governance. Complacency in this particular case would have allowed the WMF Legal statement undue weight and influence. The missing key now is a community consensus to sweep aside both of these statements. Mkdw talk 03:20, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Mkdw, I'm very sympathetic to what you are saying there, and I don't mean it as a criticism of you. Yes, a case could be made to delete both. A case could also be made to leave both, but add a third link to the discussion here. And that means that the Committee's statement cannot possibly be the final response to the WMF on behalf of the community. The community is of many minds as to whether to agree or disagree with what ArbCom wrote. Perhaps the best hatnote would be an "under discussion" tag, and nothing more. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:30, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes, the committee does not speak for the community, it's not their job (it actually does seem unsupported by Arbitration policy, that they should do this joint statement, at all). -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:16, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • agree with the cautions above about Arbcom not making policy, but rather expressing and enforcing it. Trypto, I take some issue with what you wrote (sorry, nuance matters here). The issue is not whether disclosure of paid editing is obligatory (it is, and Arbcom doesn't question that). The issue is how the community identifies ToU violations and enforces the ToU, in light of its OUTING policy. This is a different matter and one that is purely en-wiki, where WMF does not have authority. Jytdog (talk) 23:19, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
  • No problem with taking issue: I'm a big fish, and can take it. But as important as nuance is, one can take it too far. First of all, the WMF did say that they understand the ToU to include posting of evidence as part what is necessary to enforce the ToU, and that claims of outing are never an excuse for violating the ToU. Second, it becomes nonsensical to argue that WMF can say that the ToU forbid un-disclosure, and leave it to communities to decide how to enforce that, but that communities can decide that if a violator says "outing", then the ToU do not need to be enforced. It's nonsensical to have ToU and not enforce them. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:38, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
 :) it is a bit bizarre but that is the nature of this strange WMF/en-wiki beast. How we police/enforce the ToU is really our call. (kind of a sanctuary city kind of situation....) Jytdog (talk) 00:29, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Cold comfort when a user who violates local policy complains that they were following the ToU – something correctly pointed out in the Arb Statement. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:37, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
I am totally lost. The ToU does not discuss enforcement by others, only the obligation of paid editors themselves to disclose. WMF was unwise to make claims about what is allowable to enforce the ToU in light of en-wiki's OUTING policy. The community has to figure that out. Jytdog (talk) 01:00, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
So if an editor fails to fulfill that obligation, somebody has to decide whether or not to do something about it. To say that there is a firm obligation but nobody will do anything if you decide to ignore it, makes no sense. And the goal is not to make the paid editor "see the light" – it's to protect content. So an obligation of an individual editor becomes the community's business. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:14, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Well kind of - it is not accurate to say "nobody will do anything about it" and that is just not helpful. We have been enforcing the ToU since they went into effect; we all want to find ways to do that better. :) Jytdog (talk) 01:40, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
What I'm trying and failing to make clear is that, if (hypothetically) we say that a paid contributor who chooses not to disclose can use outing as an excuse, we risk saying just that: that no one will do anything about it. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:46, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
User:Tryptofish the en-wiki community already went through that issue at ANI; that is not a valid argument in en-wiki. (I linked to that at WT:OUTING already, but see this old ANI discussion and particularly this summarizing section. Nobody can use that excuse; bringing it in an already complex discussion is not helpful. (I am aware of your response to what I wrote there, in this diff. I don't agree that the difficulties in en-wiki renders the ToU meaningless. We already blocking violators of the ToU even when they lie about not editing for pay, as in the Earflaps and Focusandlearn cases. ) Jytdog (talk) 03:12, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
We continue to talk past one another. Of course it's not a valid argument. But if strict rules about outing prevent any good faith editor from dealing with the problem, then that has the same practical effect as allowing that argument to carry the day. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:35, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The ArbCom's statement is not in conflict. The Terms of use describe how people are expected to disclose paid contributions, but they do not dictate how undisclosed paid contributions should be enforced (aside from the vague "We reserve the right to exercise our enforcement discretion with respect to the above terms."). The recent statement from the WMF was explicitly tagged as not a policy change; beyond that, I would hope that any ToU changes would be reflected in the ToU itself, not just expected to be understood by all projects from a poorly-publicized statement in the depths of enwiki.
Regarding the bit about ArbCom creating policy, we are not. The Wikimedia Foundation's legal team has published what seems to be an unprecedented statement on issues not directly under their control, which has caused the awkward power situation as described in the "Role of the Foundation in developing community policy" statement. The Arbitration Committee certainly does not wish to try to start creating community policy; we included the recommendation for an RfC largely because we're hoping the community will take on this discussion. GorillaWarfare (talk) 05:18, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • GorillaWarfare, I would have hoped for a better reply than that from you. You oversimplify what I actually said, in order to say that you disagree with it. If you really think that ArbCom or the community can decide, based on existing policy, to have en-wiki policy that differs from the WMF statement, in spite of meta:Terms of use/FAQ on paid contributions without disclosure#Can a local project adopt an alternative disclosure policy for paid editing?, then you are not paying attention. And I didn't say that you actually created policy. I said that you are coming close to overreaching. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:43, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The ArbCom cannot make that decision, but the community can certainly decide on an alternative disclosure policy. GorillaWarfare (talk) 06:34, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

We have two groups, the WMF and arbcom, who can neither create policy but are working to interpret EN WP policy. Our outing policy clearly says "Posting links to other accounts on other websites is allowable on a case-by-case basis" The WMF has now defined what some of these cases include It is established practice to link banned accounts to the companies likely behind them such as we see here. If people wish to end this established practice they can try to get consensus via the normal mechanisms of a RfC. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:12, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

"Posting links to other accounts on other websites is allowable on a case-by-case basis" was not added by community consensus or an RFC. It has been the subject of significant controversy among members of the community for some time. In regards to moving forward, a proper community consensus process is required, but must address a number of issues (well beyond eliminating a single sentence from a policy). Mkdw talk 01:24, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Thank you, Mkdw, for putting it mildly. I continue to find it odd that that vague and unsupported sentence (unsupported by community or policy) is still in there. Drmies (talk) 03:32, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Can we please be clear that the "case-by-case basis" wording was added without consensus, and the discussion on whether it should remain was closed as stale? I will be starting a new discussion shortly given that I find it completely inappropriate for something like that to stay when it was boldly added without consensus, and has only been kept because of a stalemate. GorillaWarfare (talk) 04:57, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • @Euryalus: Did you support the Committee's statement on this? If so, you may wish to sign your name below it. If not, I think it's important this is clear to the community, as your personal statement seemed to largely support what the Committee says, at least at first glance. ~ Rob13Talk 01:40, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: I support elements of the overall statement but disagree with some of the emphasis: for example I can't see the mileage in expressing disappointment to the WMF, and think we should move on to community consideration of how or if we reconcile the WMF statement with existing policy. Arbcom can assist in outlining what policies might presently contradict the WMF statement - it would then be up to the community as a whole to decide if it agrees that these policies are the issue and/or if wants to amend those policies or leave them unchanged. To advance that process, I support obtaining answers to the questions raised by NYB.
As a personal view, like most of the Committee I strongly oppose on-wiki outing, even of undisclosed paid editors. Perhaps unlike some members of the Committee, I support a somewhat increased role for Arbcom and the WMF in dealing with UPE complaints in a confidential manner. In my view this should be supported by an allocation of actual WMF resources, and accompanied by simple on-wiki measures like a much higher notability standard for businesses and business leaders.
I appreciate some the above is a difference in degree and tone, rather than an all or nothing "support/oppose." I suppose that's the nature of any group discussion, and its conceivable that third parties could read my statement and feel its not that far off the overall view. However the differences are sufficient (in my view) that after much conversation I'm comfortable with not signing the overall statement and instead posting a "possible way forward" statement below it. -- Euryalus (talk) 02:45, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
It is not just that some interpretations of our policies contradict the statement by the WMF, it is that some interpretations of our policies contradict themselves.
The majority of arbcom has made it clear that they disagree with on wiki discussion of UPE by the wider community. The wider community; however, appears not to support this stance as on wiki discussion has been fairly common practice over the years.
There was a RfC which attempted to remove "Posting links to other accounts on other websites is allowable on a case-by-case basis" which did not get consensus. I do not think anyone is a big fan of this current wording. If people have better wording to replace it with another RfC would be useful. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:57, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Mildly, I don't think that second sentence is accurate. The Committee hasn't opposed discussion of UPE issues on-wiki. The community discusses UPE on-wiki all the time, and acts on it where possible without disclosing personal info (for example, the ban on FergusM1970, which I applied per consensus at ANI. What the majority of the Committee opposes is the posting of personally identifying information of individual editors on-wiki as part of a UPE investigation (or for any other reason). -- Euryalus (talk) 03:51, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Ah yes FergusM1970. Now if they would not have bragged about sending me death threats and contacting my university to try to get me fired on Wikipedia, likely they would still be here happy editing for pay today. He tried to use "outing" as part of his defense. The majority of arbcom has lost their way IMO. The policies they support facilitate the harassment of good faith editors rather than protects them. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:27, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
He would eventually have been blocked for POV-pushing, but you and others correctly identified him as an undisclosed paid editor before that occurred. For that the community should be grateful, as it rid us of a pest sooner rather than later. But the facts remain that a) Arbcom has not, as you say above, disagreed with on-wiki discussion of UPE, and b) on-wiki discussion of UPE happens all the time, for example with FergusM. Arbcom has, by and large, disagreed with on-wiki publication of people's personal information (names, addresses, etc) as part of UPE investigations. Not because Arbcom somehow doesn't care about policy enforcement, but because even well-intentioned "outing" can cause significant flow-on to harassment and collateral damage to any parties falsely accused.
As 115 of Arbcom, here's a personal view: discuss UPE on wiki as currently occurs, and use standard community processes to resolve cases that can be dealt with using on wiki evidence. But if/when you have personally identifying information relevant to UPE, and that information is integral to resolving the issue, send it to one or more functionaries (or Arbcom) and ask them to take it forward. The functionaries are authorised by the WMF to handle confidential information and have had some (some) success in responding to UPE. They may also have some (very limited) access to legal support from the WMF if/when required. It's possible that the functionaries or Arbcom won't agree with your allegation, and it's possible they won't have the resources to adequately examine it . But it's equally possible they will, and the allegation can then be dealt with lower risk of real-life harm. Possibly the resources for UPE resolution could also be supplemented by some dedicated staff from the WMF. No sign of this to date, but welcome if it occurred. -- Euryalus (talk) 10:22, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
"discuss UPE on wiki as currently occurs" certainly and the statement by the WMF helps support the continuation of current practices. Per here[1] the community is definitely divided.
It would definitely be good if the WMF provided resources to the parts of the community interested in dealing with this problem. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:08, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that I understand and support the Committee's view, but... Arbcom needs to find appropriate ways to take a much stronger stand to stop the undisclosed paid editing that has infested American Politics and perhaps other contentious subject areas in the past year or so. We have Arbcom rulings and Discretionary Sanctions, but Admins are doing very little to enforce them and broad areas of content have become bottomless pits of time and effort for ordinary editors trying to develop content. SPECIFICO talk 03:13, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Specifico, that esp. in American Politics we find ourselves in gridlock frequently is just symptomatic of the area. It is probably true that admins could do more in that area, but it is also true that admins aren't always granted the respect by the community to make decisions there. I doubt that ArbCom can do much to make that environment any easier; as with many problems (not necessarily paid editing) it's the community, including that of admins, that has to settle these disputes. In the case of paid editing, ArbCom hopes that the community is able to find a way that thwarts the efforts of paid and other editors who use Wikipedia to advertise while recognizing the importance of OUTING, as well as the broad range of edits that can be considered "paid" editing. In our statement we indicated that range not to start defining what's OK and what's not, but to emphasize that there is a range, and that even "paid" isn't always easily defined, let alone proven. Thank you, Drmies (talk) 03:32, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • "and we hope that they will consider the statement carefully when making any changes" — who is "they"? Tony (talk) 08:42, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • For what it's worth, ArbCom, I largely agree with you on this but brevity is the soul of wit. Sadly the sheer length of this thoughtful statement means that only the most dedicated will read it.

    The idea of editors digging up dirt on each other makes me very uncomfortable and this is rightly something that we strongly discourage. Massive concerted efforts like Wiki-PR and before them Bell Pottinger are rare, but it's true that they have been able to operate undetected for years. We need to be able to deal with this sort of thing effectively and it appears that in some cases only the 'unmasking' of the company responsible has allowed us to do that. But we must be careful to distinguish that sort of organised subversion of our norms and rules from other forms of "paid editing" which—while still problematic—require a proportionate response. And let's bear in mind that in the vast majority of cases, the proportionate response is already firmly established in policy: we delete the spam article and block the editor; we don't need any off-wiki information to do that. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 13:46, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

      • User:HJ Mitchell these cases are not rare. Wiki-PR, LegalMorning, Wikipediawriters, smarterwiki etc continue editing barely perturbed. Are you of the position that Wiki-PR no longer edits? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:07, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Agreed that this statement is quite long, though we made a number of attempts to trim it. In the end I felt this was a case where it was more important to be comprehensive than brief. GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:00, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I just read DGG's statement, and I like it very much. I think that he describes the balance between privacy concerns and undisclosed paid editing concerns better than what I have seen from the other Arbs. I see a lot of merit in his idea of requiring users suspected of undisclosed paid editing to explain that they are not (even if it offends some folks' sense of burden of proof). I also think that what I tried to say at WT:HA#Break 3 fits into the same ideas. --Tryptofish (talk) 02:39, 28 January 2017 (UTC)

Have started the RfC

Have started the RfC - let's get an idea of numbers and who prefers what. Listed at Wikipedia_talk:Conflict_of_interest#Investigating_COI_policy. Vote away.... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:19, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

"A counterpoint"

I want to point up a comment by User:Mkdw above, here:

  • ... a large part of why I signed the open letter was because it provides a counter-point and check-and-balance to the WMF Legal statement. Their statement should not be used against community editors to avoid our local policies and guidelines, a departure from the long standing tradition of local community governance. Complacency in this particular case would have allowed the WMF Legal statement undue weight and influence. The missing key now is a community consensus to sweep aside both of these statements.

Would the other arbs please comment -- did you all actually create this as statement as a counterpoint?

If so (and the more I think about this, the more it seems clear to me that this is what you were doing in light of the distortions I pointed out above - putting a rhetorical statement in the ground, to the other extreme from what WMF Legal wrote)....

An Arbcom statement is not the same kind of speech act, as WMF legal. Arbcom has the power to block and ban people. It's like the Supreme Court speaking out on a legislative proposal. Did you all consider what it meant for you to post this, as Arbcom with respect to the editing community and the actual authority you have here with respect to being the "final binding decision-maker" and the venue where appeals are brought? (you obviously were thinking about your status in the community as a counterweight to WMF legal).

I am also disturbed that the RfC at WT:COI, which was written by an arbitrator who was (obviously) part of the discussions that led to this statement, sets up two strawmen and then offers a third choice that centralizes the authority to handle paid editing investigations (all of them, not just ones involving off-wiki information) in the hands of Arbcom (which essentially blows up COIN and any ANI thread about paid editing). The early !votes seem to reflect that the RfC options roughly grew out of Arbcom discussions and are what at least some of you (?) want to see happen. See this version. Notably high proportion of early responders from arbcom and falling right into oppose, oppose, support.

Did you all really have the notion that there was any simple consensus to be swiftly had, to resolve an issue as complex as this, which the community has intensively and continuously discussed for years in various venues, that could sweep away both the WMF statement and this statement?

I think the collective judgement of Arbcom has gone off the rails here. I don't like to write that, at all. But that is what this looks like to me.

If the concern was that editors would make mistakes about the status of the WMF Legal statement with regard to the WP:HA policy, a simple statement that "The WMF Legal statement does not change the en-wiki WP:HA policy." is all that would have been required. Jytdog (talk) 02:37, 28 January 2017 (UTC)

Describing the statement as rhetorical is inaccurate; it literally highlights the need for further discussion in all regards; there's an entire section dedicated to that. My comment about counterpoint, which was taken out of context from the discussion in which it was said, was never meant to characterize the entirety of the open letter's purpose or summarize all of what it provides. I'm asking you to please stop taking my comments out of context. This is the second time now. Trying to distill the open letter down to a single point is an impossible and overly simplistic approach. The open letter addresses a number issues and expresses genuine concerns from the committee. I think you should take the letter literally. I also think you've jumped to an incorrect conclusion about the RFC. You've assumed that because Casliber started the RFC, it was planned in conjunction with the open letter and has the full support of the rest of the committee members. This is categorically a false assumption to make, though I do understand why you might optically make that assumption. To clarify, the committee never discussed opening an RFC. I would have opposed such a notion because that would be overstepping ArbCom's role in the community. Casliber started the RFC as an editor and not as an Arbitrator or on behalf of the Arbitration Committee. Mkdw talk 04:33, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: I started this as an editor, albeit one who has sat on a committee that handles private information. I suspect my own personal preference has much in common with yours and Doc James' in that as a medical editor I see a slew of NPOV editing and realise that strict application of privacy and no snooping will not address in any way shape or form. I supported the arbcom reply to the WMF essay as the essay was blatantly at odds with en.wikipedia policy as it now stands. The more I think of it, the main thrust I suspect should be the confirmation that we need some pool/group/body of people who are identified to the WMF and vetted to examine COI editing issues. I don't think it's that common and believe that the committee can do this. Others are likely disagree. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 06:10, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: No it's not a counterpoint. It also has no status other than an expression of opinion. The Arbcom statement aims to highlight differences between the WMF essay and current en-WP policy, and offer comment on how that could be resolved. But it's just comment; it's now up to the community to act or not via the usual consensus process. I agree with you on a simple statement to clarify the status of the WMF essay, and sought to address that a week ago at WT:Harass: "...regardless of its rights or wrong the WMF statement does not of itself change any en-WP policy - before anyone seeks to enact the WMF statement they should seek community consensus to obtain that policy change"[2] -- Euryalus (talk) 06:30, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
It's our response, not a counterpoint. As Euryalus says, it's a statement of our opinion. It isn't a policy statement anymore than the WMF essay is an enwiki policy statement. Doug Weller talk 16:31, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the replies! I mean that. Answers:
    • To be clear about my own stance on the WMF statement - although it says that its comments on en-wiki matters are "just advisory", it was unfortunate that it addressed matters internal to en-Wiki at all, and what it said about the intersection of OUTING and the ToU obligations was disappointingly clumsy and failed to deal with the hard issues, which are in the details. But it was just advisory, and meaningless unless adopted by the community. It was promptly brought for discussion to WT:HA, and Arbcom's statement is advocacy with respect to that en-wiki discussion. Advocating in community discussions about policy changes, is not Arbcom's role. That is the problem with this statement - that is what you all did by making this statement as Arbcom.
    • It is not possible for Arbcom to "just" make a statement. This is especially sharply clear to me; I have an appeal I will be bringing to you on exactly this subject very soon. Please stand in my shoes and think about how the "stance" you took here, and some of the rhetoric here, would appear to me. And think about my set of feelings to come here and respond to this statement. Right? I've tried to set all that aside and just post here like I would if I were not in this situation (but can I? Hm) When Arbcom "speaks" it is not simple.
    • None of you has responded to my notes about the two issues/distortions in this document. And they are pretty serious to me and show to me, (to me) that this statement went beyond just articulating current OUTING policy and advocated a stance on discussions at WT:HA about changing OUTING. To sharpen this - if as a body, you distort the current discussion at WT:HA this way (the "threat" thing is especially difficult for me to understand), how are you are going to frame the issues when my appeal comes before you? (yikes, really)
    • Please note that I did not - and most carefully did not - frame the RfC as an Arbcom "plot". I know people writes lots of crazy things about Arbcom. Not what I was doing. Actions arise from contexts; that's all. It appears to me that the RfC posting arose from the discussions you all had; very much growing out of the sense of "we need to act here, and act now" that drove the statement and pretty obviously, the RfC. And Cas - there was an RfC on setting up an off-wiki-information-handling body, which was clearly rejected (here and is one of a series of discussions on COI/OUTING that the community has had, which i summarized here - the RfC not that well attended, but provides a reasonable preview of the kinds of responses to expect) Any effort to do that again has to overcome issues that were raised in that RfC and that will not be simple to do, given the strong feelings these issues raise. Jytdog (talk) 17:59, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
And I should respond to Mkdw. My intention was not to annoy you nor to take your comments out of context. I apologize. Jytdog (talk) 20:21, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps the following is a reflection of the differences in stance between my statement and that of the majority of the committee. However: a) Arbcom cannot set policy, but there is nothing preventing members of Arbcom from offering a view on how the community might resolve a policy issue. The community can then take or leave this advice as it chooses; b) I'm not clear on the two issues/distortions you refer to - if could spell them out below that would be helpful in getting you an answer; and c) any appeal brought to Arbcom must be considered in accordance with the policies of the day, regardless of what any Committee member thinks of those policies. To the extent that this assurance is required: Arbcom should have no regard to the recent majority statement in deciding upon any current appeal, unless the specific point from the statement is already part of a published policy or rule. It is not an amendment to policy, and has no more weight in dispute resolution than any other essay. -- Euryalus (talk) 10:42, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply, Euryaluys. Here is what I wrote above... not sure what is unclear...
  • The following sentence was hard to read: "The Arbitration Committee and community policy do not consider posting such information to be a specific responsibility of administrators, nor do we believe that the threat of posting such information should be used as a means to bring editors into compliance." I am unaware of anyone saying either thing - that such postings would be an actual admin responsibility nor that anyone intends to use such postings as a threat, and this is to be frank a distortion of what is under discussion at WT:OUTING. (There is definitely a risk that such postings, if they gain consensus to be done, could be used in a bad faith, threatening way... but that is not what you all wrote). I look to Arbcom to amend that statement to better reflect and clarify what is under discussion and the risks of such a proposal being enacted.
  • Also this sentence: "Being doxxed and treated in ways the community has defined as harassment is not a reasonable consequence of noncompliance with a website's terms of use, particularly where no distinction is made between isolated, minor, or debatable violations as opposed to pervasive and severe ones." is also difficult in claiming that posting a connection between a given user account and a company or a client is doxxing. It certainly can be, but even the current OUTING policy calls for case-by-case analysis and care. For example in the Morning277 SPI, many user accounts were connected to Wiki-PR, and these connections were widely publicized within WP and in the media. Please also consider amending that sentence.
I've been reflecting on the first one, and maybe the "threat" characterization arose from this sentence in the WMF Legal statement: Posting and discussing information such as links to an editor’s job posting, company profile, or other information connecting that editor to editing an article subject for pay can be an effective way to identify and stop undisclosed paid editing. I read that as referring to identifying and stopping the violation of the ToU by a specific user - a form of enforcement that some might consider to be less drastic than blocking or banning, but maybe there was language in earlier drafts that only Arbcom saw that expressed some intention to stop UPE generally and actually talked about publicizing this in some threatening way. But on the surface of what I can see, characterizing anything anybody has written as a "threat" and -- only as a threat -- is pretty much... well.. tendentious and weird, coming from Arbcom. Editors who are provided with standard template notices about policy and how the community enforces policy, sometimes take those notices as "threats", but as we all know the notices were created and are used simply to make sure that editors are aware of policy etc.; the "threat" characterization here seems unfortunately similar to that. It is just weird, coming from Arbcom. Jytdog (talk) 21:57, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

Arbitration motion regarding JustBerry

Original announcement

Arbitration motion regarding GamerGate

Original announcement

Arbitration motion regarding Ed Poor 2

Original announcement
I wonder how many people here have even heard of Ed Poor? Without research, the only thing I know about him is that he deleted the entire VFD process page back before it was renamed AFD. Surely this is one of the oldest arbitration remedies ever to get a modification (an active change, as opposed to the expiration of some time limit). Nyttend (talk) 02:12, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
I've been poking around WP:RESTRICT, trying to mitigate the sprawl. There's tons of really old restrictions logged there, but for the most part the restricted users went on to either get blocked or just go inactive, so when I saw someone who I knew was at least semi-active, it seemed like soemthing that was ripe for review. Arbcom has made it clear they'd rather the restricted user's input be sought first in the future, but I would imagine this isn't the only thing listed there that can just go as it wasn't actually doing anything anymore. Beeblebrox (talk) 06:13, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Makes sense to me. Nyttend (talk) 13:21, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
As a bit of Wiki-history, Ed Poor was one of the first "bureaucrats" - serving in that role when requests for admin rights were made on the mailing list and actioned by developers before the bureaucrat user group was created in 2004. See WP:CRATSTATS#Adminship promotion history. I seem to remember that Ed takes credit for being the first person to suggest to Jimbo that he create ArbCom, which is somewhat ironic given the context of this discussion. WJBscribe (talk) 13:57, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Arbitration motion regarding Article titles and capitalization

Original announcement
First,
@Beeblebrox: I have to raise issues with most of that, since little of it appears to match reality.
In detail ...
Firstly, you appear to be making an unsupported accusation of malfeasance against the MoS regulars (what else is new?): A discussion at WP:VPPOL cannot possibly "be there instead of at the MOS where it belongs specifically to dodge this sort of [ArbCom] attention":
  • If regular editors of MoS and AT, who are in largely in agreement on this matter, have simultaneously brought the disruptive nature of rehashed style disputes like this one to the attention of ARCA and opened a VPPOL RfC on the matter, they can hardly be hiding the latter from the attention of the former, but are doing exactly and obviously the opposite.
  • This RfC was explicitly "commissioned" by the closing admin at a previous supposedly inconclusive RM [3].
  • VPPOL is a higher-profile venue than WT:MOS; it's a system-wide forum for settling intractable disputes about WP:POLICY, including guidelines, or proposing changes to them, if/when (and all of these are factors in this case):
    • it may directly affect or have ramifications for a large number of articles;
    • previous discussions have failed (or an alternative proposed venue would fail) to resolve the matter due to a feeling by one side or another that the locus of such a discussion did or would result in vote-stacking or other campaigning and thus a false consensus;
    • there's an interpretational conflict that involves multiple policypages or WP-wide principles.
  • The drafting stage of this neutral and open RfC specifically invited the commentary of previous debaters of the matter, on all sides; it's the furthest thing from some kind of sneaky ploy.
  • VPPOL was selected because of a tendency for the outcome of RfCs at WT:MoS to be ignored if they don't go in the direction favored by someone with a bone to pick about something in MoS, such that the matter quickly ends up re-litigated (i.e. forum-shopped) at VPPOL or some other venue anyway. The community is better served by centralizing the dispute and expediting its resolution in a site-wide manner, once, rather than repeating it further at multiple pages indefinitely.

Second, there is no method to force discussions about "style" or naming conventions to a particular page.

  • Believe me, if it were doable, they would have been constrained to WT:MOS or (when title-specific) WT:AT a decade ago. We do urge centralization of such matters there when feasible. The problem is, there's no way to get compliance with that common sense.
  • Due to the fragmented-by-design nature of WP:RM there's a strong tendency for various Wikipedians to repetitively re-re-re-argue these matters article by article, often more than once at the same article. Part of the idea behind this last ARBATC clarification request is to at least require these discussions to stop wandering off into in disruptive and uncivil territory.
  • The VPPOL approach has proven effective multiple times in the past, e.g. date formatting and linking (resolving WP:ARBDATE, the original MoS-related ArbCom case), the back-to-back 2015 RfCs at VPPOL about ethnicity and religion parameters in infoboxes (note the sudden decline in "infobox warring" after those RfCs closed; you're welcome), and the 2016 MOS:JR RfC a year ago.
  • By contrast, it took multiple protracted RfCs from 2008 to 2014 at WT:MOS (with spillover at many other pages) to settle that species capitalization thing, and this pattern of "un-resolution" has repeated itself many times with RfCs at MoS, including the ARBDATE thing, the misuse of pull quotes and templates for them to draw WP:UNDUE attention to particular quotations, over-capitalization in song titles, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes these things drag out for years.
  • I plan to take more of them to VPPOL for resolution, since it actually sticks.

Finally, that RfC isn't at all about what kind of line (hyphen or one of various sorts of dashes) is to be used. You don't even seem to be following the discussion, but just sniffing a "style dispute" and getting irate about it.

I have to suggest that your personal distaste for such matters is clouding your perception of the discussions in multiple ways and leading you to scapegoat a particular viewpoint and the editors who hold it. I.e., you're picking a side and becoming a soapboxer in the very dispute of which you decry the existence. The obvious question: If you dislike title and style discussions so much, why don't you just steer clear of them, Beeblebrox? Thou doth protest too much, methinks.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:25, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Further clarification of arbitration motion regarding Article titles and capitalization

Original announcement
ARCA motion in question

The closure motion actually made the matter less clear, has no single interpretation, and was not responsive to the issue raised.

The issue raised was of disruptive and uncivil behavior related to article titles and the manual of style, and these behaviors (typically of a campaigning/battlegrounding nature across an entire topical category of even more broadly, not about a specific article) taking place in RM discussions, treating the WP:ARBATC discretionary sanctions and "all parties reminded" warning about personalization of style disputes as if they'd never been written. The result is that style/title flamewarring has not just continued but actually escalated, but moved off the AT and MoS talk pages into RM, is highly localized (it's the same topics over and over again), and would easily addressable, but there is now no real resolution path.

I have no idea if there's a procedure for requesting a clarification and amendment to a previous clarification an amendment. Nor do I know what ArbCom's intent here it. I appears that the Committee is trying to steer people into gathering evidence every time one of these nasty disputes erupts, and filing a whole new RfArb. Since the admin noticeboards do nothing, and AE would now be precluded from acting on an ARBATC basis, and 3O / DRN / MEDCOM will not take a title/style case (claiming it is not a "content dispute" within their narrow operational definition), the only other avenue appears to be ArbCom again. I'm not sure why ArbCom would want to make additional work for itself, and the drain on editorial productivity, in the form RfArb'ing a bunch of cookie-cutter RM disruption cases, when the obvious tool the deal with the matter is already at hand, namely ARBATC remedy 4.2. At very least, the recent motion should be revised and clarified.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:32, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

The motion says: "In remedy 4.2 of the 2012 Article titles and capitalisation case, standard discretionary sanctions were authorized for all pages related to the English Wikipedia Manual of Style and article titles policy, broadly construed. By way of clarification, the scope of this remedy refers to discussions about the policies and guidelines mentioned, and does not extend to individual move requests, move reviews, article talk pages, or other venues at which individual article names may be discussed. Disruption in those areas should be handled by normal administrative means.

Let's break this down:

  1. RM is the process for resolving the application and interpretation of article titles policy in actual practice, so how could it not be part of "all pages related to ... article titles policy, broadly construed" by definition, when it is used for that purpose, or for "I want consensus to be different" activism against AT or one of its dependent guidelines, rather than just for considering an article's title in the usual way? If "all pages related to" is taken to only mean "pages that are exactly the talk pages of MoS, AT, or NC (naming conventions) pages, and nowhere else", then "broadly construed" is self-contradictory and meaningless.
  2. "[D]iscussions about the policies and guidelines mentioned" is exactly what is at issue.
  3. It is not about "individual article names [being] discussed", but almost always about WP:CONSISTENCY across a range of articles (or site-wide – often a wikiproject is seeking some kind of "exception" that is not supported by sources or common sense, just fan/specialist preferences in insider publications that have nothing to do with writing an encyclopedia for a general audience).
  4. This is a false dichotomy, anyway. It's not just possible but common for a dispute about a single page's title to spiral into a grossly uncivil battleground about MoS or AT policy, and demonization of editors who support their application.
  5. The wording of this motion opens an enormous WP:GAMING loophole. Any time you want to pull off a WP:FAITACCOMPLI, slow-editwar mass move by wearing down opposition, decline to do a multi-page RM (which would be one discussion, resolved in a week), and instead do it page by page, one after another, dragging it out for months or longer (and do everything you can to prevent others from group-RMing similar articles you don't want renamed). Then each RM (10, 20, whatever) will qualify as "venues at which individual article names may be discussed". Nothing attracts wikilawyering like ArbCom decisions and motions, so this kind of thing is completely predictable (especially given that the tactic has long been in play by tendentious topic "owners" already; this motion just gives them a new seal of approval to escalate).
  6. There effectively are no "normal administrative means" to deal with what's been going on, or it would have already been dealt with. In my 11-ish years here, I have never seen a single case of administrative intervention to do anything about uncivil "style warring" against MoS, NC guidelines, and AT policy. Any attempt to address this behavior at ANI, AN, AE, WT:RM, etc., has resulted in either nothing at all being done, or MoS/AT-unfriendly admins going after the reporter of the problem in many cases.
  7. I've personally been discretionarily sanctioned under ARBATC (the only block I've ever received) over an RM dispute (it was natural vs. parenthetic disambiguation, and those moves ultimately went the way I proposed anyway). So the ground truth has been that ARBATC DS do in fact apply to RM. ArbCom is just trying to reverse actual practice here, which doesn't seem appropriate without a new case.
  8. I think the principle described at WP:POLICY that instructs that we have written rules to describe best practice accepted and in use by the community, not try to force the community to adopt some "better" practice, is thus applicable here. Same goes for its mirror twin at WP:GAMING: our rules are interpreted as to their intent and purpose, not the exact letter of their wording. The clear intent and purpose of ARBATC is to curtail the widespread problem of personalizing, uncivil, disruptive battlegrounding over titles and style, and this new motion hamstrings those efforts.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:32, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

PS: Example of the effect I'm talking about: here an editor vociferously objects to listing multiple RMs in one listing, despite it being standard RM practice to do so when they raise the same issue, and is doing this in a highly personalized manner against a particular editor. The objector demands that "this [wikiproject] should be notified of all such RMs to give editors the chance to participate", but this is backassward. The entire point of RM is that it is a community-wide process, instead of the business-as-usual of tiny faction of editors at a particular article or category doing things their own way. Doing redundant RMs one at a time, and attacking those who combine them into WP:MULTI listings, is against normal process and against consensus formation, since it acts as a bloc-voting mechanism by the same insular camp of people across a topic, while any resistance to what they want to do will become increasingly sporadic as other RM participants, who have better things to do, tire of the same recycled and disproved arguments being presented again and again.

See also this post shortly thereafter by one of that editor's "style war" compatriots, demanding that articles they consider within the scope of that wikiproject be RMed at the wikiproject talk page itself. I couldn't make this up. He actually assumes this is proper and necessary when of course it would be blatant vote-stacking and is completely counter to how RM is normally operated. This is going on while admins remind these parties of WP:MULTI and that it's standard practice to multi-RM pages that raise the same title issue, and to warn of "probable sanctions" [4]; they just do not listen. They're also gaming the system by attacking editors for doing multi-RMs then attacking them again for listing them separately instead of doing them as multis, as another editor pointed out [5].

The ArbCom motion at issue here gives implicit imprimatur to ramp up these WP:OWNERSHIP attempts. I don't know what further evidence ArbCom needs that this "down with policies and guidelines that don't do what my wikiproject wants" activities are disruptive and need to stop.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:54, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

Your link to Wikipedia:Lies Miss Snodgrass Told You may not be what you intended, but thanks for pointing that essay out. I can understand how it would irritate the MOS warriors who seek to dominate other editors. Why don't you make an offer to buy Wikipedia so you can run it exactly as it should be run, rather than as a collaborative project? Johnuniq (talk) 10:04, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Diff fixed. However, the hilarious thing is that the essay I mistakenly linked to (and which has been expanded since then) was written by MoS regulars. The only parties who think the MoS's regular editors are trying to "dominate" Wikipedia and are "warriors" "irritated" by urges to stop fighting over style trivia that WP doesn't care about, are people who are pursuing some hobbyhorse/bugbear of their own and causing those perennial disputes to keep erupting. It's no accident that the only people who request MOS- and AT-related ArbCom action are the MoS regulars. MoS exists to stop and prevent disputes, but a gaggle of a dozen or so die-hard opponents will not stop generating conflicts about such matters by fighting against some line-item in MOS that they don't agree with, and using every venue they can do so, tendentiously. This needs to stop. If someone doesn't agree with something in MoS, the proper procedure is to start a discussion at WT:MOS about what they want to change, and come prepared with a source analysis of both other style guides and of usage in general-audience publications like newspapers, nonfiction books, etc., to make their case. Most of MoS was created that way, and most of its non-trivial changes are made that way.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:14, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
The more I see of the approach to requested moves recently, particularly by SMcCandlish and Dicklyon (and the attitude/behaviour of some of those they feel the need to battle against) the more I feel that another arbcom case about the manual of style is inevitable. The manual of style is intended as a guideline, not a weapon. Thryduulf (talk) 10:17, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Please identify an RM I've proposed that raises this alleged problem, Thryduulf. Or anything Dicklyon has proposed or said, for that matter. He's not only complied with demands at ANI to use RM after being criticized for moving things on his own, then complied with unreasonable demands to individually list things out as one-page RMs, against WP:MULTI, after being attacked for multi-RMing, and is now being attacked (mostly by the same parties) for doing the individual RM requests. The entire time, he has remained remarkably calm and civil, focused on providing sourcing, policy and guideline rationales, and clear reasoning, in the face of a lot of histrionic hand-waving and personalized hostility.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:07, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
My feeling is that the only way for Dicklyon to satisfy his critics is to neither move pages on his own nor request that they be moved. Paul August 12:37, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am here after being notified of this discussion. I have been involved in this ongoing conflict for only about a year, and that somewhat peripherally, so I won't have a lot to contribute here beyond one comment. In my exposure to the conflict, it has been characterized by calm reason and policy on one side and I-just-don't-like-it sarcasm/ad-hominem/tough-guy-talk on the other, this difference already evident in this discussion. If the latter is allowed to continue here, I predict that nothing constructive will occur here. For once, someone should take charge of the level of discourse, please. Best wishes. ―Mandruss  13:42, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

The downcasing RMs are actually going smoothly, with the UK rails project guys mostly ignoring them, except that now nobody is wanting to close them for some reason (see them waiting in the backlog at Wikipedia:Requested_moves#Backlog). See @Jenks24: remarks at Talk:Leamington_to_Stratford_Line, suggesting yet another RFC, which would be a good way to turn up the heat again. But I agree with him that this one-at-a-time approach is not the way to do it. I'm open to suggestions. See discussion at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_UK_Railways#Moving_forward for my latest attempt to engage the project in helping rather than obstructing. Dicklyon (talk) 15:33, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
The one-at-a-time isn't being requested for any reason that has not been repeatedly explained - (1) the real world in inconsistent, (2) the article title needs to reflect the sources, (3) sources need time to be checked, (4) there is no deadline. The speed you have been going clearly demonstrates that no attempt has been made to ensure that all the sources are talking about the subject of the article, no attempt has been made to separate reliable sources from unreliable ones, no attempt has been made to separate descriptions from names, and where sources are not (nearly) unanimous no attempt has been made to determine if there is any pattern (e.g. chronological, geographical, specialist/non-specialist, primary/secondary/tertiary, etc) . Thryduulf (talk) 22:39, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
If it was just a matter of people wanting to go slower to check better, or that I had made mistakes by going too fast, I might understand. But these are mostly very easy, and I'm the only one looking at sources. Nobody else wants to engage, and they haven't said it's anything to do with the speed or the load. The pushback is mostly from Mjroots and G-13144, who propose to violate our fundamental caps policies no matter what sources say; more time to check doesn't affect their case. Dicklyon (talk) 03:23, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
It is exactly' that people want you to go slower and check better, as has been said repeatedly and when your work is checked people do find mistakes - but you make changes faster than people can check reliably. Nor is it about violating any "caps policies" (don't forget that the manual of style is a guideline not a policy) it's about making sure that articles comply with them by not decapitalising proper names. The cases you describe as "easy" are not actually as you are not doing any of the checks I mentioned in my previous comment - you are doing 1-2 searches on google and unless you are seeing unanimous uppercase usage in all results (whether or not they are reliable or relevant) you are insisting on downcasing, but as repeatedly explained it is more complicated than that. There have also been multiple accusations of goalpost moving (especially related to WP:SSF, an essay you appear to treat as policy) that you have ignored. Thryduulf (talk) 12:04, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
It has been a long time since any mistake was pointed out. And I'm not big on the distinction between between policy and guideline, but people tell me that TITLE is policy and includes WP:TITLEFORMAT and WP:NCCAPS, which call for not capitalizing except proper names, and those guys are proposing to scrap that. If you think there's a case that I haven't checked well, or am being too strict about sources, please point it out; otherwise what you're saying is baseless. If nobody will point to which ones that have a case for capitalizing, it's easy. Dicklyon (talk) 02:45, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
A very good example of why you need to understand the sources you are looking at is this discussion about "High Speed Train" at Redrose64's talkpage (ping HJ Mitchell (talk · contribs) who is also involved in that discussion). "High Speed Train" is a proper noun referring to a specific type of train in the UK formed of British Rail Mark 3 coaches and 1 or 2 (almost always the latter) British Rail Class 43 (HST) powercars (locomotives), but "high-speed train" is a common noun referring to any trains that are designed to routinely run at "high speed" (in contemporary European contexts usually meaning >= 100–125 miles per hour (161–201 km/h)), thus a High Speed Train is an example of a high-speed train. However, this distinction will not be apparent when you just do 1-2 google searches and count the proportion of capitalised results.
If you don't understand the difference between a policy and a guideline then you really should not be citing either, let alone doing any administrative work, until you have done some reading. WP:AT is indeed a policy, but WP:NCCAPS is explicitly only a guideline. In all the discussions I've seen, nobody has been calling to change either policy or guideline that states that only proper names should be capitalised in article titles. What they have been repeatedly saying, and you have repeatedly failed to demonstrate understanding of, is that at least some of the article titles you are downcasing are proper names - even if they look like descriptions. In at least some cases sources naming the subject and sources describing the subject use exactly the same words, and in some what started as a description became a name later, which is why it is important to examine and understand the sources. This cannot be done with the speed you are working at. Thryduulf (talk) 16:54, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, first, I didn't do any move involving High Speed Train, so it's not an example of the kind of mistake you were talking about. Second, I did quite a bit of searching and don't find it capped thus except in defining the acronym HST and as a portion of proper name of the High Speed Train Project. Third, I never did any hit counting on this, just looking for ideas as to why we have it capped; the explanations so far explain, but fail to convince. Sort of like Cross Country Route, which I've now proposed a move of; let's see what people come up with, source wise, to explain the caps there. Dicklyon (talk) 17:47, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Arbitration motion regarding Jytdog

Original announcement

War of the Pacific case closed

Original announcement

Magioladitis case closed

Original announcement

Clerks, the “discuss this” link points to a non-existent section of WT:AC instead of here.—Odysseus1479 23:59, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Fixing. Amortias (T)(C) 00:03, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
 Done Amortias (T)(C) 00:05, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

Arbitration motion regarding the logging of sanctions

Original announcement
The log should probably be created, then! ~ Rob13Talk 17:24, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: I'm trying my best! Kharkiv07 (T) 17:32, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
@Kharkiv07: What should I do with the subpages? ~ Rob13Talk 17:39, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Go ahead and move them, too. Thanks. Kharkiv07 (T) 17:42, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
@Kharkiv07:  Done ~ Rob13Talk 17:54, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

Arbitration Committee seeking new clerks

Original announcement
Occasionally I wonder if abolishing the clerk system has ever been discussed. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 22:36, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
I've always wondered why the Arbs were unable to handle the "paperwork" of their cases themselves. Maybe it's a sign that there's too much of it? -- Ajraddatz (talk) 01:45, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
It's a sign of how much behind-the-scenes work exists for the arbs already. We just see the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to issues dealt with by the Committee. For instance, I've been told that it's routine for every banned editor and their mother to file an appeal in the months following an election in the hopes a new committee will grant the appeal. The clerks don't put in a huge time commitment, but given the amount of shit we pile on top of the arbs, the little they do is very welcome. ~ Rob13Talk 02:31, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Clerks also provide another set of eyes to deal with the more contentious cases (i.e. GamerGate) and keeping the pages from being a complete free-for-all. They also provide a bit of "separation of powers" so that editors who insult arbitrators aren't necessarily blocked by arbitrators. --Rschen7754 02:56, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, the idea of clerks came about when the caseload was much higher and there really was too much paperwork. Not that my year and change of experience is all that decisive, but I think Rschen is right on the major benefit (though I'm not sure insulting an arb is a blockable offense ;) Participants in cases can be informed of procedural issues, length requirements, etc. by a formally neutral party instead of having to hear it about your novella-length evidence post from the same person who ultimately votes on your siteban. Also, as someone whose arbitration experience pre-election consisted almost entirely of kibitzing on talk pages, I was glad to have clerks and former-clerk arbs around who knew the procedures. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:01, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
@Opabinia regalis: Insulting an arb isn't blockable? That's a testable hypothesis! OR, your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries. Now we wait and see. ~ Rob13Talk 06:42, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
According to the sources (admittedly primary) that‘s a taunt, which may or may not be considered insulting. Just a tip for your block appeal, always a fine occasion for policy debates.—Odysseus1479 08:35, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
@Odysseus1479: Can I retain you as my wikilawyer for such matters? ~ Rob13Talk 17:52, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: only if you can get Cardinal Richelieu as a character witness.—Odysseus1479 21:45, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
You guys are brilliant. I was about to do much of the same. Just for enlightenment purposes of course ;) --Hammersoft (talk) 20:45, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm currently marked as inactive but I skim through the daily emails because it would be impossible to catch up. For example, yesterday I received fifty-two unread emails through the various functionary and arbcom mailing lists. Mkdw talk 15:04, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
I tend to pay close attention to whether off-wiki communication contributes in a major way to the ArbCom workload, so I was naturally interested in what you said. I'd be interested in hearing (from anyone, really) how much of those emails come from users complaining about sanctions and how much might be discussions that could actually have been appropriate onsite – in relation to emails that necessarily deal with personal information or that deal with serious discussions that need to take place privately. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:42, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
I think I've posted this before, but I forget where. In 2016 the arb lists and functionaries list collectively got around 940 emails a month, so the total is a little over that (I didn't check the clerks list or the non-archiving oversight and checkuser lists). That sounds like a lot, but it is a) well under a third of the 2009 peak, and b) not too hard to keep up with because a lot of the messages are brief and not of lasting significance. "That sounds like a good idea", "I support option b", "FYI, I'm out of town next week", "I posted a motion at ARCA", etc. Some of that type of internal-coordination stuff isn't "secret", so it could be onsite, but it'd be slower with no real benefit. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:12, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! (I'm embarrassed to say that I think that the last time you posted this was the last time that I asked the question. Just checking to see if you'd give the same answer. (wink)) --Tryptofish (talk) 00:57, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
As the longest-serving active clerk, frankly, I think the Committee would benefit from some shifts in the clerks' office. Other than the civility/decorum/rules enforcement, the biggest benefit the Committee gets from the clerks right now is the paper-pushing – for example, it takes a ridiculous amount of time to open and close ArbCom cases (about 90 minutes/case for the first few that I did). But the reason that these things take so long is a combination of somewhat-absurd formatting on our cases and stagnation in the clerks' automation project. Much of the work of the clerks' is utterly routine and, frankly, it's silly for humans to spend actual time following an automatable procedure.
For the last several months, I've been considering proposing some minor overhauls in the procedure of the Committee – things like how cases are structured, templates, word counts/how those are enforced, and so on. I haven't even started clerks-l discussions about these things, though, because such changes would take many, many hours (and here I am trying to run an NGO!). Nonetheless, when I finally get around to it, I hope that the arbitration clerks' function in this area will become mostly obsolete. (Why have a clerk open or close a case if all will take is two button presses?)
On the clerks' role as "an extra set of eyes": I think this is probably where we can be the most useful going forward. Over my years as a clerk, I've begrudgingly gotten incredibly, intimately familiar with the procedures and style of the Committee. I remember being directed, though, back a couple years ago, to never edit any motion/remedy/FoF/principle, even for style or grammar. I think it would serve the Committee well if it (a) directed us clerks to review and propose changes for style and grammar in Committee decisions, especially before they are announced; and (b) explicitly allowed clerks to comment on procedural matters (including proposed changes to procedure) in their capacity as a clerk and without recusing. (I can expand on this if the Committee is interested.)
The clerks' office right now is a net positive, but barely. Considerable Committee attention is directed toward clerk matters: appointments, confirmations, questions, cleaning up the occasional mess. I hope that we can work to make the entire arbitration system more efficient for all involved, though. Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 19:56, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
I think we should triple your salary. Jonathunder (talk) 20:40, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
We'll get right on that ;)
I agree, simplifying the case pages/procedures where possible would be a good idea. I am also in favor of automating where possible, though there's some risk of letting unnecessary complexity persist because "that's how the script does it". I'm not sure what you mean about commenting on procedural matters, though. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:12, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

So is Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Clerks/Procedures the page that actually documents what clerks do? I'd think anyone considering the job would want to read that page first, to see if it's something they would like to do. Is there one specific piece of that which would be your highest priority for automation? wbm1058 (talk) 19:11, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Yes it is, personally something to automate the creation of case pages including all the moving of evidence would save us about 2-4 hours a case creation (depending on complexity of requirements number of sections of evidence, notifications that need sending etc etc.) If we could get that scripted that would break the back of the majority of the clerks work. Amortias (T)(C) 19:42, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
So, specifically, the tasks listed in Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Clerks/Procedures § Opening arbitration cases Seems a fair amount of work to automate something done 11 times in 2014, 18 times in 2015, just 5 times in 2016 and twice so far this year. There's generally more benefit gained from automating something that's done more often than ~ once per month. But, specifically, for example, this edit, which copied the contents from here, took over an hour to make? "Paperwork" edits to open the case consisted of these 18 edits over the course of about half an hour? wbm1058 (talk) 22:00, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
The 18 edits over the course of a half hour show what was done when the changes were actually being made on wiki (once save had been hit on each page). The time difference between the edits doesn't include the preparing the pages (which was done en-mass), going through and having to remove/repair any heading that shouldn't be included or is incorrectly titled or any other fixes that need to be done, that particular case was thankfully one of the easier ones to open with regards to problems with evidence. I (other clerks may differ) tend to get every page ready (as much as I can) before starting to save any changes to the case itself. In addition some cases require additional changes to be made to pages notifying people of requirements for format for discussion notifications for scope or other additions that cant be accounted for in the additional time it takes to prep the pages before hitting save. Amortias (T)(C) 22:23, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
OK, thanks. So I guess you had a lot of tabs open in your browser and were juggling between them. This just doesn't strike me as something that's easily automated. The process is too free-wheeling, not structured enough. How do you automate judgement calls like deciding which headings need to be removed and which need to be repaired, and how to repair them? wbm1058 (talk) 23:38, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Proper place for this

Many articles and talk pages contain information about discretionary sanctions authorized by arbcom and the "rules" governing the editing of articles. These templates may have been designed by one or many editors and arbcom members and placed by a wide variety of admins on numerous articles. I wish to get clarification on what is the proper process for changing the text on these widely used templates. The situation arose here. Is this a matter for admins or does arbcom want to get involved? It is my feeling that we should at least try to limit the number of templates used in an area to minimize editor confusion. Where should this be raised? --NeilN talk to me 05:18, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

@NeilN: ARCA is that way. Probably the best place to raise the issue. I can see a few issues that may need discussed in the sense of can admins modify such a sanctions template without discussion when other admins have transcluded the template to place the sanctions it describes, or does each admin who wants to modify the template have to fork it and replace all the transclusions placed by them with their own personal, modified version, etc. Ks0stm (TCGE) 05:27, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
I'm just confused... I created this template, and the original US political topic area restriction (which was later adopted by ArbCom for the ARBPIA area, unbeknownst to me). I had only edited it to make, what seemed like to me, common sense adjustments to prevent the "gaming" issue that was presented to me, multiple times. If it's necessary for this template to be forked, then so be it, but I don't quite get how me modifying a sanction I placed is permissible to be reverted by another admin. Coffee // have a ☕️ // beans // 05:33, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Ks0stm. Coffee, you created the template but you obviously don't own it. By changing it unilaterally you are also changing the sanctions other admins have placed. I don't get why you're so resistant to discussion. --NeilN talk to me 05:53, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
There is no issue to raise at ARCA about the content of the template, as the Committee does not typically involve itself in determining which discretionary sanctions should be implemented. That's a matter for admin consensus at AE. The only issue the Committee would be wise to take up is whether an admin who creates a template for discretionary sanctions is permitted to unilaterally change it, even if other admins later apply the template to articles. It may be a good idea to create an exception that, if an enforcing admin applies someone else's template, they're consenting to the first admin changing the sanctions they've placed by editing the template.

NeilN states that we should both (a) minimize total types of restrictions in place, and (b) not alter the templates without discussion because it changes sanctions placed by others. I'm sympathetic to both points, but unless we remove a good deal of admin discretion, we can't achieve both. If we don't allow individual admins to change such templates, we have to realize that they're likely to fork them to place their favorite versions of the sanctions. Unless we forbid that (which removes discretion), that will result in many of these sorts of templates over time. We can't have it both ways. Not an easy problem to fix. The best solution may be requiring such templates to be substituted rather than transcluded. ~ Rob13Talk 18:41, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

@BU Rob13: It is my feeling that templates in template space belong to the relevant community and should adhere to the usual WP:BRD cycle. If an admin wishes to have unilateral control over a template, they can create it in their user space, fully protect it, and transclude that. --NeilN talk to me 18:47, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
I would almost always agree with you. Bold edits to a template documenting active discretionary sanctions would violate the provisions of WP:AC/DS, though. There's precedent for other templates that can't be edited by all editors associated with discretionary sanctions (e.g. {{Ds/alert}}). I would oppose transcluding userspace pages in article talk pages; substitution would be preferable. ~ Rob13Talk 20:40, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
I agree that substitution is preferable but that might not fly with admins who place and want to update a large number of these custom templates. This also brings up the issue of one admin controlling sanctions for a significant portion of a topic area which can easily be problematic. --NeilN talk to me 20:47, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Standardising arbitration enforcement procedures

Original announcement

OccultZone siteban rescinded

Original announcement
  • Could anyone give me a rope, a gun, a cliffside, a bathtub and a toaster, something?  · Salvidrim! ·  18:00, 21 April 2017 (UTC)`
  • Reminder that a year two years ago, OZ was using multiple socks on WP:AN pretending to be different people and agreeing with each others' opinions, causing even normally placid admins like me to fly into a frothing rage (not my proudest moment, but no regrets). This deception and hypocrisy is amongst the filthiest of behaviour I have had the displeasure to witness.  · Salvidrim! ·  18:22, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
  • How fast time flies - that was two years ago. ​—DoRD (talk)​ 09:14, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Daaaamn, you're right, 2015 was two years ago. Apologies!  · Salvidrim! ·  18:04, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
  • I know we are supposed to AGF but this looks like bad news to me. - Sitush (talk) 18:04, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
  • The ARCA ran from March 24 to April 21. During that time, the community had an opportunity to express specific concerns and provide evidence on the request. The broad general consensus was to grant the request by motion with heavy restrictions upon their return. This was undoubtedly going to be a controversial motion and one the committee felt was important to have community input. If there were issues or concerns not addressed or raised when the ARCA was being heard, or in others, then more participation is welcome during those processes. Mkdw talk 15:55, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
    • I'll admit to having been very reluctant, hence my push for heavy restrictions. I think any unwanted behavior will be easy to spot and handle. Doug Weller talk 17:28, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

ARBPIA "consensus" provision modified

Original announcement

Motion regarding User:1989

Original announcement

Arbitration motion regarding The Rambling Man

Following this request from TRM as well as other parties involved, we are closing this discussion and will archive it within 24 hours. Mkdw talk 21:19, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Original announcement

Some clarifications for the motion just posted on the Noticeboard.

a) the matter was debated and resolved off wiki because it related to an editor's personal information;
b) the motion follows email communication with relevant parties, including opportunities to respond;
c) (and this is important): of themselves, ibans are designed to enable continued productive editing from affected parties without necessarily attributing right or wrong. It would be helpful if others did not now seek to attribute that right or wrong either, and
d) unsurprisingly, it is (sometimes) the responsibility of Arbcom to intervene in contentious issues; and
e) as a technical clarification, the iban as approved is one-way.

Some additional comments as a personal point of view: I appreciate that its pretty hard for the community to determine the validity of a committee resolution for which the evidence is not publicly available. As a personal view, it's vastly preferable for Committee deliberations to occur onwiki so the community can take part in the discussion. Regrettably, this couldn't be done for the reason outlined above. Apologies to everyone that this was necessary here.

Final point is to again draw attention to point 3 above. The Committee isn't a court, and is not required to assign "blame;" it's here to find solutions to some of the issues that can affect productive editing. That's the purpose of this motion, and should be borne in mind in subsequent discussion. -- Euryalus (talk) 13:22, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

  • Obviously I do not know the details of this case. However, from an abstract view, a one way interaction ban seems doomed to create problems and not resolve them. I could see a situation where one party is placed on stricter standards with regards to an iban (such as no tolerance for breakage) and the other party be given warnings prior to further action. That perhaps is a middle ground. Having a one way iban sets the stage for later problems, whether such problems evolve intentionally or not. The unrestricted party, not being limited in referring to the restricted party, can cause the restricted party to become increasingly agitated over comments they make. Sure, we could take actions to stop the unrestricted party, but if the intent of the unrestricted party is not malicious, we're just setting the stage for the restricted party to have further problems down the road. This is wrong. It's a bit like a restraining order in real life; its intent is to keep one party away from another. But, if instead, we had a restraining order where (in the worst case) one party was not permitted to approach another, but the other intentionally taunted the restricted party, the situation would eventually explode. We can do better than that. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:02, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
      • @Hammersoft: noted, and agree that interaction bans are a blunt tool, one way or not. In my unscientific personal opinion, ibans are the mildest form of remedy and also the most likely to fail. But it depends a little on the nature of current or likely interaction; mildly, I don't think taunting will be an issue in this instance, if it suddenly becomes one there's enough observers that it wouldn't go unnoticed and alternative remedies could be applied. -- Euryalus (talk) 19:54, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
    • Oh, I see no fundamental problems with one-way interaction bans; but I have a serious problem with the hypocrisy of handing out a one-way ban, and at the same time maintaining that no blame is being attached. A may interact with or discuss B, but B may not interact with or discuss A, but we are not saying that B is to blame, we just think for no reason at all that only one side needs to be restricted. I am not party to the reasons for this interaction ban, perhaps it is perfectly valid, but drop the "no blame" pretense and make it clear that in your opinion, TRM has given you enough reasons that restricting him is necessary to avoid problems. Fram (talk) 14:16, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
        • @Fram: sure. In the Comittees opinion, TRM has given enough reason that restricting them is necessary to avoid problems. The "no blame" thing simply notes that it's possible for all parties to be also be acting in good faith, at least from their perspective. There's not a hero and villain here; there's just a necessary restriction in the interests of the editing environment. -- Euryalus (talk) 19:43, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
          • As I made clear to Euryalus, the ban here has been made to silence to me. Hence my comments below. Two diffs an IBAN does not make, particularly when both are truthful and, while difficult, need proper Arbcom attention rather than just ensuring voices are subdued. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:55, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
          • And actually, most of my responses to Euryalus and Arbcom (as my emails were all passed on) spoke of improving the editing environment by examining rogue admin behaviour when such admin actions went too far. This one-sided clandestine IBAN has now effectively silenced my ability to pursue Arbcom or anyone else from examining the behaviour of such rogue admins because I will be blocked for doing so. My main objective was to alert the community to the array of poorly-behaved admins who actively work to protect each others' punitive behaviour and create a "super-admin" environment which is way more damaging than the two diffs for which I received this conclave-based unidirectional IBAN. This is not even the end of the beginning here. When Arbcom (the minority who voted for this IBAN) care to make an appearance on-wiki, we can start to examine this case in more detail, including the favour shown. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:15, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
            • This IBAN has no effect on your general ability to "pursue Arbcom or anyone else from examining the behaviour of such rogue admins". It does prevent you from pursuing action against Bishonen, since you were unable to do that without stepping quite far over the line with some of your accusations. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:33, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
              • Please, quit the "stepping quite far over the line with some of your accusations". You and the rest of Arbcom are already aware that the actual evidence is directly in conflict with your claim. I provided plenty of reasons why you're wrong, including first-person evidence. You are repeating falsehoods, and it needs to stop. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:24, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Do you seriously believe that anyone with half a brain doesnt realize that there are super admins? I personaly got banned for "trolling" after bishonen punitivly banned me as a troll for asking why her arbcom buddy wasnt banned for calling someone an asshole while she banned someone punitivly for calling her arbcom buddy a name? Both absulutely indirectly but seriously, there is no objectivity. Mates help mates and thats that. Admis have at least one free for all card, look at the nelix case or whatever. Once you got enough permissions, you play he "i got the the trust of the community" card, as noted by bishonen above, and all will go well. Worst case you get desysoped as you know yourself. I am absolutely on your side but had you acted like you did overall as an ip, you would have been banned ages ago. Wikipedia is not fair, never was and never will be. Humans are humans and will protect their friends. You know as well as i do that any "badgering" will just result in further punitive action against yourself. Now i am sure there will be whatever reason found to deal with me... but whatever really. One has to call a spade a spade and if that results in punitive action against me, the whole issue was moot and decided from the get go. Now im sure my motives will get questioned, it will be said that my variable IP has not had any other contributions than this comment but whatever really. Question me or not, this place is rotten to the core. Toxic admins are allowed to do their thing no matter what, toxic regulars are allowed to do their thing because of their friends... things are how they are. It's not like that is a recent developement. In esence, deal with it or leave, absolutely no offense intended but saying it how it is. There is no equality here. You knew that, and it wont change ever. Wikipedia is one of the most patheticaly authoritarian cliques on the web. Saying that as a die hard leftist myself. But anyway, im sure there will be a reason found to censor my input, as is the wikipedia way. Everyone is encouraged to comment as long as it isnt against the house bias. And i sincerely appologize for being biased or even commenting for your point as an IP, which by default is questionable, but really, whatever. I just sincerely hope you wont be punished further for my comment. Otherwise i really dont give a "f" what will happen to me. Any IP is tainted anyway and not worth a shit so whatever really. I am not even sure how to do the typical IP prostrating to not get banned for... whatever really, you will surely find a reason, and im tired of doing so. Wikipedia is so rotten to its deepest core. Just to clarify my position a tiny bit, i was looking beyond the surface to contribute in am eaningful fashion. Well turns out this place is way too fucked up for anything reasonable. Now if you want to find anything wrong with me or my IP range, my most recent comments have been on the Alternative for Germany article, the ITN/talk and jytdogs talk. Other than being punitivly being banned by bishonen that basicaly is my history... just to prostrate myself as much as possible as is an IP's due... *shivers and expects the inpending ban for.... whatever 91.49.86.177 (talk) 22:28, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
      • Historically the reason 1-way bans are a problem is as Hammersoft says, except in cases where one editor is clearly stalking/harrassing the other, it often ends up in the 1-way banned editor being provoked. The problem in *this* specific case is that TRM is under remedies that could potentially lead to administrative actions being used. At a minimum, Bishonen should be under a restriction from using their administrative tools against TRM for the duration of the I-ban. Being a prolific administrator, its going to be practically impossible for Bishonen and TRM to avoid each other. Having an editor under a 1-way ban with an Admin who is free to comment on, block, place discretionary sanctions, enforce arbcom rulings against them etc, is just asking for trouble down the line. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:41, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
        • You appear to be worried about covering all bases just in case Bishonen is an idiot or unethical. I can assure you that neither is true. --Floquenbeam (talk) 14:45, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
          • It is not required to be an idiot to make the occasional idiotic decision that result in a headache for everyone. It is generally better to prepare for the worst, not work on the assumption that everyone is going to be great all the time. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:10, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
          • Indeed, it is not required to be an idiot or unethical for this arrangement to unintentionally inflame. Actions on the part of one can seem innocent and well intended, with no expectation there would be any fallout from them. Yet, it happens anyway. The best of intentions can have the worst of effects. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:17, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Since the two diffs I was directed to are not rev-del'ed, perhaps Arbcom can show those. The Rambling Man (talk) 15:25, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

  • Of fucking course I'm not going to needle or "taunt" TRM when he for his part is not allowed to discuss me. As a matter of fact it's not a habit I had before either. As for using admin tools against him, you must be joking, OID. Has everybody gone mad? I'm not "free" to use admin tools any old way I like. I've been entrusted with them on the assumption that I'll use them appropriately. Using them against TRM would be inappropriate from now on. (To the best of my recollection, I've never used them against him before, either.) I have no idea why you think it would be "practically impossible" for me to avoid. Watch me and you'll see how easy it is. Piece of cake. Bishonen | talk 16:07, 24 May 2017 (UTC).

Note I am now considering appealing this per BANEX where all clandestine machinations and extreme one-sided punitive measures will be exposed and hopefully addressed, and that will include all secret emails from Arbcom and the two diffs for which this one-sided IBAN was implemented. The Rambling Man (talk) 17:48, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

I've just replied to your email where you've said the same, and asked the Arbitration Committee for comments, but will put a shorter answer to your question here as well just for consistency's sake: In response to your questions about appealing your recent interaction ban with Bishonen: You were banned because of serious accusations made against another editor, and those accusations should not be repeated on-wiki. Any appeal of this interaction ban should be made via email to the Arbitration Committee. Please consider that, as we just voted to pass this ban, it is unlikely an appeal will be granted unless there is new evidence that was not considered in the previous ban discussion. GorillaWarfare (talk) 03:47, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Just looking at comments from TRM, especially on his talk page, I'd like to clarify: did he agree to a one-sided IBAN? I believe you that he agreed, so his response gives me the feeling that whatever it was he agreed to is different from what you guys announced. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 10:11, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Most of Arbcom aren't Wikipedia editors so it may take a few weeks to get any response here. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:42, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
@Dweller: the general concept of an iban was raised, and a response requested, but we didn't seek pre-agreement on it (and obviously, that agreement doesn't exist). Per what's posted at the start of this thread, there is disagreement between us and The Rambling Man on whether the edits in question were disruptive or not; in the end the committee unanimously agreed that they were. Other remedies were also discussed, this was the one that the majority supported.
It is probably the mildest possible remedy outside of the pointless "admonishment" stuff that sometimes appears in PD's. It is not designed to point fingers of blame, it does not disrupt ordinary editing for anyone involved, it doesn't prevent people campaigning for reform on any topic, and it doesn't halt advocacy for any change to policy. It simply prevents a continuation of one particular set of commentary that was disruptive to the editing environment.
There's discussion in this thread about whether the committee should have imposed a two-way iban instead of a one-way one; on the information before the committee at the time this didn't seem warranted. However nothing in this remedy prevents any future dispute resolution decisions, if that's also required. As a general point I don't think ibans are a great solution to anything, but they're what we have in the toolbox. In an ordinary workplaces things like this could be resolved entirely by face-to-face communication, but alas thats less easy when we're all online. -- Euryalus (talk) 21:43, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Eurylaus correct me if I'm wrong but am I right to say that something happened here involving real-life issues which Arbcom does not feel should be publicly revealed, but do feel is sufficient to implement a 1-way IBAN? If so I guess that's that and I'm willing to believe Arbcom's judgement. Having said that I also think the IBAN should be two-way since one-way IBANs have inherent problems. If Arbcom does not think it's necessary I would still suggest Bishonen voluntarily impose such restrictions (in writing) herself. This is not an allegation that Bishonen will needle or taunt TRM or anything like that - it's simply a matter of principle. In the same way, if I rent a room to someone, I will demand a signed contract. This doesn't mean I think that someone will destroy my room, but it formalizes the arrangement and sets both parties' minds at ease. The same applies if I'm the one renting a room. Banedon (talk) 02:21, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
You're correct on your first question. GorillaWarfare (talk) 03:48, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
@Banedon: Additional personal view: I agree with you in principle. I think it's covered in what Bishonen posted above. I suspect it will happen anyway and doesn't require an additional formal sanction. But in general it'd be great for the editing environment if both of these editors avoided each other. -- Euryalus (talk) 03:54, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

"the evidence is not publicly available"

The evidence is entirely publicly available. This assertion is patently untrue. Please correct this erroneous assertion Euryalus. This has nothing to do with protecting the real victim. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:26, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

That's incorrect on all counts. I'm not going to engage with you on what material is not public, as I'm sure you're aware of what it is, and we have in fact discussed it directly via email. -- Euryalus (talk) 21:53, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
No, the diffs which you and your colleagues claim to be the reason for the IBAN are publicly available. You are entirely incorrect to assert otherwise. Please, try not to deceive the community. The Rambling Man (talk) 09:05, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
Or have Arbcom now arranged to have that evidence destroyed? The Rambling Man (talk) 09:11, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

This doesn't feel right

There are several issues here that just don't seem right. I'm having to guess a bit because the proceedings have been done in camera, but it seems to me that:

  • Arbcom were not clear to TRM that the IBAN would be one-sided
  • A one-way IBAN has been imposed based on just two diffs!
  • ...and clearly neither of these diffs can have been that bad (harrassment/"belittling") because if they had been Arbcom would have slapped on an enforcement of the existing Arbcom sanctions on TRM, rather than resorting to this
  • (A minor niggle) This has been passed by a minority of sitting Arbs
  • You're getting loud and clear feedback from the community that we don't like one-way IBANS, but you're not listening

Any factual inaccuracies in the above? Makes it feel like you've got it in for TRM. Cheers, --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 09:36, 26 May 2017 (UTC) Are any of these incorrect?

I personally voted in favor of the interaction ban because of a pattern of behavior. When we raised it with The Rambling Man, two diffs were provided as examples, but there were several more that, in my opinion, continued the pattern. He disagreed that the behavior was unacceptable, so we proceeded with a ban. The existing ArbCom sanctions were mentioned a few times, but nothing came of that train of discussion. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:33, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
Also, not sure what you (and TRM, below) mean by saying this was passed by a minority of sitting arbs. The decision was made as usual, by majority vote of active, non-recused arbitrators: For this motion there are 8 active arbitrators, not counting 4 who are inactive and 3 who have abstained or recused, so 5 support or oppose votes are a majority.
GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:45, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I think you're clever enough to understand what that means. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:22, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

GorillaWarfare, if I am understanding correctly, TRM was informed of two diffs and disputed whether they were problematic. There were several more diffs that were problematic in your (ArbCom's) opinion, but these further diffs were not put to TRM. These additional diffs led to the view from ArbCom that TRM's explanation / response was not persuasive. I have a few questions:

  • Was TRM told that the two diffs that were included in the emails to him were examples, and that more were being considered? If so, did he request to be told of these diffs?
  • When ArbCom came to its view of TRM's response, was this put to him and a discussion / dialogue held with him? Or is the "standard" opportunity to respond more a one-shot written response?
  • The comments to date imply that there was evidence not suited to on-wiki discussion. Was this evidence put to TRM in some form?
  • Was this iBAN about Bishonen's block of Coffee? If so, and noting that there was a good deal of disagreement about that contentious action and use of tools, were TRM's un-revdel'd comments plus whatever non-public actions there were really so bad as to justify the perceptions created by a one-way iBAN? I have a lot of regard for Bishonen but a portrayal of the Coffee block and subsequent events as entirely one-sided appears inconsistent with the public on-wiki facts to me.

It is unarguable that five arbitrators are authorised to impose a sanction in a case where there are so many recused and unavailable committee members. It is also a poor look for a potentially controversial sanction to have the support of fewer than half of the total arbitrator group, especially when arbitrator Euryalus states that "the committee unanimously agreed" that TRM had edited disruptively. It is a long time since an ArbCom had the credibility for the community to simply accept "just trust us" as a basis for a sanction like this (and sadly, that is how this feels to me). Private information must be kept private, obviously, and for the record I neither expect nor want anyone to reveal confidential information about Bishonen or TRM (or anyone else). However, on the basis of what is publicly available, either I am seriously misunderstanding the situation or the process here was so badly flawed as to render the conclusions based on it unsafe. Am I massively misunderstanding, and if so, how? I echo the view of Dweller that something feels seriously wrong here. EdChem (talk) 10:27, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

PS: I started writing this several hours ago, and see that there have been subsequent comments but I am not going to redraft it as I still hope for a response on the concerns I have raised from those with direct knowledge of the situation, within the boundaries of confidentiality. Bishonen, I am interested in whatever you might be willing and feel able to say. The Rambling Man, I realise that you can't say anything about Bishonen (and nor should you) but if there is anything you can add to what you have already posted relating the questions I have posed, that would be of interest too. EdChem (talk) 10:27, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

I may not have been clear above. When making my decision, I looked through The Rambling Man's recent behavior to decide whether an interaction ban was appropriate, and made my decision based on a number of edits I felt were problematic in addition to the two diffs provided. I can't speak to whether my colleagues did the same, but I've provided The Rambling Man with the additional diffs I considered via email.
When the two diffs were provided to The Rambling Man, the wording was "recent posts including these".
Yes, The Rambling Man was provided with the evidence unsuited to on-wiki discussion.
I think Johnuniq's response to Mr Ernie below is apt: we're not going to play twenty questions on an issue that should not be discussed publicly. GorillaWarfare (talk) 10:44, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
No, The Rambling Man was not provided "with the evidence", he was provided with two diffs. Which are still publicly available. Now it transpires that GW is bringing other diffs into it which manifestly were not presented to The Rambling Man at any point. Those diffs are also publicly available, and actually show a distinct insight into the general problem I am seeing here. The problem which merely has a shade of overlap with the context of this IBAN. Arbcom need to start owning up to the process here, the shoddy good cop/bad cop approach, the selective evidence, the declaration of a uni-directional IBAN on "two diffs", the cover-up thereafter. This is nothing to do with an issue that should not be discussed publicly, if that were the case, why aren't we seeing rev-del happening in other sections on this page? The Rambling Man (talk) 11:30, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
@EdChem:, it was passed by six, not five. With no opposition. Doug Weller talk 12:54, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
@Doug Weller: You are correct, I miscounted, it was passed by 6 members of a 15 member committee with 4 inactive, 3 recused, and 2 of the remaining 8 not recording a vote. This is still, as I said, technically valid under ArbCom rules, but it is not a majority of members, and certainly not a unanimous decision even if the inactive and recused members are discounted. Perhaps Euryalus used the expression "the committee unanimously agreed" without really considering carefully, I don't know. What I do know is that even "the active and non-recused members of the committee unanimously agreed" would have been factually inaccurate, and I cannot see how the expression that was used can be defended as accurate. Even if the two non-voting members had expressed views in favour of the action but not voted, claiming unanimity would be presumptuous (as no vote was lodged, no one knows for certain what vote might have been cast) and would amount to arbitrator X declaring "I know arbitrator Y didn't vote, but what Y said in our mailing list discussion was that TRM should be sanctioned and I'm free to breach the confidentiality of the mailing list to say this because <not sure what could reasonably be put here>". Now, I doubt that any such declaration about confidential mailing list discussions is intended and so a mistake appears the simplest explanation. Unfortunately, the circumstances lend themselves to the interpretation that unanimity might have been claimed to bolster a weak position and imply that no other interpretation of TRM's actions is possible. With the diffs not stated but apparently still visible and rev-del thus not justified, I am left wondering if we are suddenly in base 13 arithmetic, or if I'm really being asked to accept that 6 × 9 = 42. Your point and Euryalus' lack of comment suggests that "whoops, simple mistake" is not the explanation.
I have great respect for Bishonen, but also recognise that she takes actions that are at times controversial. I know TRM is overly passionate at times leading to intemperate comments and behaviour which does cross the line. Both deserve their privacy respected and both are positive contributors to Wikipedia. It is certainly possible that an iBAN is justified, but given the apparent non-public evidence, the community is being asked to accept this conclusion based on trust in ArbCom. I find that difficult to do when there are so many questions about the process that any conclusions appear unsafe. Dweller and I have raised areas of concern that have gone largely unaddressed. If we have misunderstood, please tell us. If not, please address our concerns and help us to see what reasons there are to be confident in the soundness of your conclusions despite the process appearing flawed. Thank you. EdChem (talk) 16:26, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I think Euryalus meant that the vote was unopposed, and that everyone who expressed an opinion agreed that the edits were disruptive. GorillaWarfare (talk) 17:29, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
'disruptive' is a long way from requiring a closed session of the kangaroo court. Given that none of you have denied the evidence you decided to share with TRM was not the entirety of which you based your decision on, this stinks of another ban without giving the accused due process. Shades of TDA here. Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:48, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I have to echo EdChem and Dweller here. I have a lot of respect for Bish, but this action isn't sitting well with me either. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:17, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
A 'closed process' like this should optimally only be done when absolutely necessary. It looks like a lot of what went into this was based on on-wiki conduct, at least for one arb (GW above). Now, I don't personally know enough of the history here to opine on the merits of the issue, so I'm not commenting on that. It's more how this was done that I'm uneasy about. I don't think it's wise to use what is--functionally--a secretive process if it can otherwise be done through the normal route, even where the result would be the same. As a middle ground, there's no reason the private information can't be handled separately off-wiki, w/ any on-wiki conduct discussed publicly. Speaking as a former clerk (no longer only b/c usual RL time commitment), I know this has been done before in a major case I clerked on without inhibiting the Committee's ability to reach a sensible conclusion. Lord Roem ~ (talk) 23:31, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I'll add my voice that this doesn't feel right. It is not out of the realm of possibility given TRM and Bishonen and their respective histories that an IBAN was possible, but the lack of any public evidence (particularly if as TRM says it is not rev-del diffs) makes it hard to determine if this was the right solution. In addition to the questions TRM raised (that there may have been more diffs ArbCom reviewed that they did not let TRM know to properly respond to), I also think having no idea what happened or why the IBAN was made would make it difficult for admins to enforce. It is not so much necessarily questioning that TRM/Bishonen specifically will abide, but allowing an IBAN be determined privately by ArbCom now makes it a possible solution in the future, and we'll have no idea when editor A and B will have similar problems. --MASEM (t) 23:02, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Speaking for myself and not the committee, to those that have expressed concern over this incident, I have read your comments and I hear what you are saying. I understand why you are uneasy about this situation and I could easily see myself voicing similar concerns if I were in your place. The community, for better or worse, has granted the role of the committee to investigate serious and sensitive incidents. Action is taken when necessary. I have always advocated for an open and transparent process whenever possible. This was not one of those times; it was not a decision taken lightly. Due to the serious nature of this incident, even clarifications or outright contest to statements or accusations made here and elsewhere may jeopardize and out the situation to the general public. And as such, I cannot comment much on incident, evidence, or appeal process. Not being able to do so will come at a cost. It will be one paid from time to time to ensure the necessary protections are preserved to protect individuals.
I do feel I can speak for the other committee members on one point; we are all well aware that strictly adhering to privacy on this issue will likely further damage the trust the community has in us. It is uncomfortable. The situation is more complicated than what has been presented here. What limited fraction of the information the community has about this case has been, for the most part, provided from the perspective of one individual, in a situation that has a plurality. I have no past history with The Rambling Man or Bishonen, as an editor, administrator, or arbitrator prior to this incident (including previous cases). I was one of the few outsiders from elsewhere on the project to be appointed. I hope perhaps these detail, may, in however small an amount, help alleviate any concerns surrounding ulterior motive beyond fulfilling my duties on the committee genuinely and thereby voted in favour of the one-way IBAN. Mkdw talk 05:40, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, Mkdw, I appreciate hearing your response. I certainly don't believe there's any ulterior motive here (and think some of the commentary is overblown), but I feel there's a viable middle-ground short of providing no further information. If there's on-wiki evidence (likely revdel-ed, I imagine?), that'd be useful to see there's some bit of explanation available. If, on the other hand, the issues are all off-wiki, that detail alone would easily explain the need for privacy. Right now, all we're getting is "trust us, it was a hard decision to tell you nothing," which is invariably going to be a tough-sell.
It should be noted that the Committee's formal policy dictates private hearings should only occur under exceptional circumstances. At the very least, I hope that holds true in practice going forward. Lord Roem ~ (talk) 06:21, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Having done this myself for a bit, I can tell you that in most cases where we had to take a public action but keep the reasons private, I hated it. I wanted very badly to say "There's a very legitimate cause for this and you'll understand as soon as you hear it!", but because of the sensitive nature of what was going on, that couldn't be done. Nothing would have made me happier than to be able to explain why what was done was necessary. It's certainly not something I would have wanted to do absent a very good reason. Seraphimblade Talk to me 07:25, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
I think I'm the last of those who supported this to weigh in on this page - I've been occupied IRL - but I'll certainly pop in to agree with that one. And "extraordinary circumstances", Lord Roem, yes indeed. Opabinia regalis (talk) 08:31, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
The information that is still publicly available has been deemed not harmful in its individual isolation. However, consideration has been placed on the fact that collectively, with additional scrutiny and attention directed to them and within the context of all that has been discussed here, therein lies a potential to out the situation to the public. There is more to this incident than what has simply been outlined here by both members of the committee and by those attempting to establish the fundamental facts. It is a delicate situation and as I mentioned above, difficult for the committee to affirm or deny statements made here because of the potential through deduction to out the situation.
The Arbitration Committee should be held accountable by the community for its actions, but ensuring the outspoken community has satisfaction on their inquiries about cases that require full confidentiality is challenging. On less serious cases, partial or full disclosure is obviously the most desireable process whenever possible. It would certainly be much more easy for us amid criticisms to simply do so.
We have talked a lot about trust in this conversation which this process heavily relies upon. I do not see a way for this system or process to work without it. It is fundamental. If the community does not have faith in those they appointed to dependably fulfill their role, the issue is much more severe and it deserves its own conversation. If "'trust us' is not good enough" regarding a situation that requires full confidentiality, something will have to give. If that being the case, I think it is much more important that the trust issue be resolved because full confidentiality is something worth protecting. I would not want to see that weakened or disappear so as to compensate for a lack in confidence in those executing the process. Likewise, I would see it as a breach of trust if the committee violated the confidentiality required of the situation, and put their own urge to disclose information, partial or otherwise, ahead of their obligations, to preserve their own political capital or popularity with the community, or to simply relieve themselves of any pressure they may feel in upholding their duties. Mkdw talk 17:17, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

One of the unaddressed issues here is that when Arbs were playing the "good cop" role and asking me my "thoughts" etc, I provided quite a substantive list of individuals who had been guilty of the issue my talk page banner is trying to address. But for whatever reason, the Arbs have either not read that, don't believe such behaviour to be in any way problematic, or related in this case, or they simply don't believe a word I wrote. Of course, because the whole case has been conducted cloak-and-dagger, we'll probably never know, but given that all the evidence (both provided to me and not provided to me) is still publicly viewable on Wikipedia (i.e. it clearly was not of a nature that needed redacting or even rev-del'ing), the community should give due consideration as to the real nature of this IBAN. The Rambling Man (talk) 09:14, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

  • I'll support the Arbcom decision. Since the evidence isn't available this is effectively a "do you trust Arbcom" type of question. Given that:
  1. The vote was 6-0, which is something I'd call unanimous;
  2. Arbcom members are elected and thus have the trust of the majority of the community;
  3. All present Arbcom members are also administrators, which also requires the trust of the majority of the community;
I'll default to answering this as 'yes'. Still, I think Bishonen should voluntarily turn the IBAN into a 2-way IBAN. Even from Bishonen's point of view, there's not much that is lost, but there is something to gain. Banedon (talk) 01:26, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

This doesn't feel right because it isn't right

Euryalus justified this action, in part, by saying "The Committee isn't a court, and is not required to assign 'blame;' it's here to find solutions to some of the issues that can affect productive editing". Frankly, I would think it obvious that for ArbComm to operate in Star Chamber mode, providing no substantive basis for its action, refusing to state in terms other than the most cursory the issues involved, imposing sanctions which are not consistent or proportionate with the blameworthiness of the conduct involved or the severity of misconduct, if any, is far more of a deterrent to the participation of productive editors than whatever The Rambling Man did or said. Since ArbComm is once again reinforcing the unwritten Seventh Pillar of Wikipedia, that while all editors are equal, some of us animals are less equal than others, the members who are doing so ought to stand up on their hindlegs and be clear about what they are doing.
Out in the real, more rational world, this action would have failed for lack of a quorum participating, but real world standards aren't relevant here. Nor is the irony of sanctioning a productive editor in the name of promoting productive editing, where the conduct provoking the sanction was criticism of very poor administrator judgment leading to the loss of a well-regarded, productive editor, appear to be appreciated or even recognized at all by the decisionmakers involved. The lesson that will rightly be drawn by reasonable, detached observers is that Wikipedia punishes editors who criticize its practices. And that is not a lesson that encourages productive editing. The Big Bad Wolfowitz (aka Hullaballoo). Treated like dirt by many administrators since 2006. (talk) 19:52, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Direct questions to Arbcom

Am I allowed to link the two diffs that have been used to form the basis of this clandestine one-way IBAN or should I ask someone else to do it? The Rambling Man (talk) 16:10, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Also, am I allowed to publish the transcripts of the secret off-wiki pseudo-negotiations that led to this clandestine one-way IBAN on the basis of two diffs which are available for all to see as they are not rev-del'ed? I only ask as they contain the username of the individual about whom I am prohibited from commenting. I would like clarification that publication of evidence used in this case does not violate the terms of this clandestine one-way IBAN please. The Rambling Man (talk) 18:56, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

As I see it, reposting the diffs we provided is just a repeat of the behavior for which you were interaction banned, so no. I'm sure my colleagues will speak up if they disagree with me. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:33, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
Can another editor post the diffs? Presumably they are not going to be sanctioned for reproducing diffs which are publicly available? The Rambling Man (talk) 06:44, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
That would be WP:PROXYING on their part and WP:GAMING on yours. Johnuniq (talk) 06:48, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
No, that would just be posting two diffs that are publicly available. Why are you all so scared of that? Is it because it would completely undermine this decision? The Rambling Man (talk) 06:55, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
This seems quite silly. Publicly available diffs that were used to sanction an editor aren't allowed to be shared? If he shares them, that'd result in a further sanction, but without sharing, the Committee's process/decision-making is immunized from substantive critique. There has to be a better way to handle this. Lord Roem ~ (talk) 23:46, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Ok, I'll add a clarification request tomorrow. This is not going to disappear. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:24, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I hang around ANI and have welcomed opportunities to defend your great work to keep nonsense off the main page. However, as an ANI tragic I have often read the script evident in the above comments. It starts with a feeling that great evil must be overcome. There are two endings. Sometimes, after the initial shock dissipates, the person decides that their circumstances are quite manageable and it's easiest to accept that other people can have different views, and move on. More often, indignation boils over and the person forgets that Wikipedia is not the place to fight for freedom or to pursue battles that are irrelevant for the encyclopedia. Please take a few days to choose your path. At any rate, the purpose of a decision is to reduce drama and there is only a brief period in which venting is overlooked. Johnuniq (talk) 22:53, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks John, but this is an example of Arbcom actively engaging in a dubious cover-up. I'm afraid this cannot be allowed to go unaddressed, and sadly the manner in which the minority of members of Arbcom who have made such decisions has created far more drama than it needed to. They are the creators of their own drama festival. The Rambling Man (talk) 09:11, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

What was the purpose of all the emails I received from Arbcom?

I was contacted numerous times off-wiki (transcripts available) by Arbcom, initially in a "good cop" way, which then turned "bad cop" because I objected to the accusations being levelled up, provided evidence to the contrary, made clear statements as to the intent in both the two diffs (upon which this IBAN has been posited) and the post on user page and talk page which is still there. Since not one single thing I said, provided evidence for etc, has made a shred of difference here, can someone at Arbcom please explain what the point was, as this protective, silencing one-way IBAN is not only based on two purely factual diffs, it has now had a chilling effect on the major issue I raised (I guess I can't even mention that) since one of the major issues can no longer be brought up here. Was that the main intention, to prevent that discussion from taking place? The Rambling Man (talk) 09:45, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

You were contacted to inform you that concerns had been raised, and give you an opportunity to respond, as is standard. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:33, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
And everything I submitted was ignored. Please supply me all the other diffs that you claim substantiate this. Right now you have two diffs which speak purely of fact, not to mention the reality of the situation including testimony of those affected. It is far from standard to conduct such conclave-based actions and conclude with such one-sided and subversive conclusion. This has now effectively silenced my ability to raise my main concern over the overt and gross abuse of admin tools, by a number of individuals. Arbcom are actively protecting abusive admins, and using excuses to stifle the debate. Truly despicable behaviour. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:38, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Bishonen's block of Coffee

Does this have to do with Bishonen's block of Coffee? That block was quite bad and certainly unnecessary, given that Coffee had already been warned by another admin. TRM was outspoken in his criticism of that administrative action, and per his queries on Bishonen's talk page he never received a suitable response. I would urge Arbcom to reconsider their course of action here. To TRM, I would echo the advice of Johnuniq, as it never seems to end well for the criticiser. Mr Ernie (talk) 03:32, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

I don't think Arbcom will want to play twenty questions regarding an issue they have "debated and resolved off wiki because it related to an editor's personal information". Johnuniq (talk) 05:59, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Despite earlier claims, all of the information is publicly available. I was even directed to some of it by one of the members of Arbcom, who has since claimed that none of it is publicly available. It is all publicly available. I am waiting to see what other diffs claimed by Molly were taken into account without me being told, this kangaroo court is simply absurd, that the community would allow these individuals to conduct themselves in this way is a joke. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:42, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Just what sort of reaction are you trying to provoke from us here? Mildly, I suggest you reconsider Johnuniq's crossroads advice in the section above. Ks0stm (TCGE) 06:45, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I want this to be exposed for what it is, and for the community to see how Arbcom have abused their position and actively worked to silence me based on next to nothing. John's advice is sagely but sadly doesn't help in this scenario where a small group of individuals are working actively to protect individuals who are abusing their position. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:51, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I would also like your members to stop making false claims. All of the information relating to this is publicly available. Indeed the Arb claiming that directed me to alternative venues where I could find posts that had been over sighted here. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:53, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Well don't look at me for that; I recused. But regardless, I have a gut feeling you're headed down a fall-on-your-own-sword kind of path here. Wouldn't it just be easier to take the interaction ban and trust that if the issues with admin conduct are as egregious as you seem to believe then someone else will raise the issue? Ks0stm (TCGE) 06:56, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid not. Nothing I'm doing here is in any way subject to any restriction. On the other hand, what Arbcom have done is to (a) actively ignore anything I've said and (b) chill the discussion on admins who have abused their positions by demonstrating the extreme lengths Arbcom go to in order to protect them. The IBAN is unjust, but is a symptom. This needs the community to be aware of the machinations and the cover up. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:21, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
PS, fall on what sword? Are you threatening me with something? Are mere editors no longer able to question to clandestine machinations of the elected Arbs? The Rambling Man (talk)

More diffs

Gorilla Warfare you claim that Arbcom had more than just the two diffs that were emailed to me that they took into consideration. Don't you think it reasonable that as I'm on the end of this punishment that Arbcom supply all such material to me? Or are Arbcom simply working to their own agenda with no accountability? I would like to see all the evidence used to convict me please, not just a subset. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:51, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Emailed. GorillaWarfare (talk) 10:20, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Can you explain why I was only provided an opportunity to discuss two diffs yet you appear to have based a judgement on more? Once again, what was the point of the good cop/bad cop email exchange (which demonstrates that all information is still publicly available despite the false assertion made by one member of the committee)? The Rambling Man (talk) 10:25, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Since those diffs provide nothing other than very good context to the problem, and don't mention anyone explicitly (as I covered in my emails to Arbcom good/bad cop show) I assume I can link to them here? The Rambling Man (talk) 10:29, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Apparently these diffs are not allowed to be published either, despite not one single individual being named in any of them. This is turning into a serious hush-up. The Rambling Man (talk) 10:41, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh nonsense. You were asked not to use someone's personal info in a particular way on wiki. You refused, so the committee voted to require you not to. You're self-evidently not "silenced" or "hushed" or blocked or otherwise prevented from continuing a vigorous crusade against "admin abuse." You simply need to stay away from interacting with one single editor, for reasons that have been outlined to you, many times now. -- Euryalus (talk) 10:49, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I responded to you personally detailing the cadre of individuals about which that message was posted. I had hoped you would apply some logic to it, or at least to attempt some empathy. But no. The diffs outlined by GW are still publicly available and mention not one single individual by name, and, once again, for the avoidance of doubt, you 100% know the group of individuals I was referring to so stop with the false accusations. Similar to your false claim that all of this is still not publicly available. You even pointed me to a site where I could access rev-del'ed text. Good work. The Rambling Man (talk) 11:26, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
We're clearly at a point of diminishing returns from this conversation, so thanks for the reply but I'll leave it there. You've been emailed about appeal options. All the best with your continued editing. -- Euryalus (talk) 12:03, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but this has moved on from "appeal options" now, we're into the behaviour of Arbcom itself in this regard, and the associated silencing of the examination the behaviour of those about which these diffs actually relate in general. But thanks for the good cop routine, I'll remind others not to be sucked into it in the future, as it clearly makes not one jot of difference when it comes to the clandestine sentencing of our "arbs". The Rambling Man (talk) 12:06, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Point of information

Euryalus, language in these situations is very important: you state above "You were asked not to use someone's personal info in a particular way on wiki. You refused, so the committee voted to require you not to." What did I refuse to do? What action did you ask me to take? I've gone over the emails which you sent me, both in and outside the capacity of Arbcom and I can't see you asking me to do anything, simply to "explain two diffs" and my talkpage banner. Which I did, and which you and the rest of Arbcom rejected, while bringing in other pieces of information that I wasn't even made aware of. Please, for the sake of transparency, how I violated any request "not to use someone's personal info in a particular way". Be precise, because if it boils down to talkpage banners which encourage communication before blocking, for instance, Arbcom are in need of serious attention. The Rambling Man (talk) 18:20, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

An answer here would be appreciated, as without it, the entire purpose of an IBAN is entirely undermined. I made no further such comments after receiving the good cop email from Euryalus, so I'd like to know where I continued to "use someone's personal info in a particular way on wiki". This looks punitive in extremis and in now way designed to protect Wikipedia or most of its editors. The Rambling Man (talk) 08:28, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
Some advice, if you will take it: the responses you have had on this page from arbitrators show clearly that they are not going to budge on this. I know from my own experience that there will be good reasons for this. You have made your point. Several other users have expressed reservations and disquiet. That would be a good point to leave things to settle down. You can point back to all this later if needed. You have expressed your dissatisfaction publicly and it is on the record. That is really all you can do right now. If things change later, you can come back to this, but pushing further now will just make things worse. Carcharoth (talk) 15:49, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
That is pretty much what Arbcom members told us when its members decided to treat the vile harasser Scalhotrod with kid gloves, with more severe sanctions in place against a victim of his sexual harassment. However, members of the community refused to "leave things to settle down", and eventually shamed/drove/forced ArbCom and the WMF to take more appropriate action. Those of us with experience with governmental agencies like local boards of education also recognize it as a common tactic of decisionmakers trying to avoid accountability to the communities they purport to serve, whatever its sometime legitimate uses. The Big Bad Wolfowitz (aka Hullaballoo). Treated like dirt by many administrators since 2006. (talk) 16:54, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, and this point is absolutely essential to determine the legitimacy of the IBAN. Posited on two diffs, which happened some time ago, now Euryalus is claiming that the IBAN was a result of "refusing" to "not use someone's personal info in a particular way on wiki". I have not been informed what this means. I.e. I have been given a clandestine one-way IBAN based on .... nothing. The Rambling Man (talk) 17:33, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
And Carcharoth, thanks for the note, but as time goes on, I am receiving more and more support off-wiki (apart from the odd hawk at Wikipedia Review!) that this particular group of Arbs and their decision-making process in this case need serious attention from the community. So I'm happy to keep asking the questions until I get a response. This is one step beyond WP:ADMINACCT after all, Arbcom are not immortal. The Rambling Man (talk) 17:36, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

Formal request for overturning this IBAN

Per Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Appeal_of_decisions I am requesting an appeal.

ArbCom may be in a difficult place here in terms of protecting something they consider should be protected. Nonetheless, there are a number of deeply irregular aspects to this affair that are totally unrelated to privacy issues and as a result you are appearing intransigent as well as unfair.

None of the points I mention above have anything to do with privacy concerns and the responses you've given to the points I raised are incredibly weak or totally absent.

Worse, you look like you're conducting a cover-up.

I for one am seriously losing faith in you and your processes and that is a far greater damage to this project than whatever the heck it is that TRM said in the two diffs you asked him about (or the ones you apparently decided were worse, but wouldn't ask him about).

You should overturn this decision. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 13:48, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure whether this request is intended to seek community feedback on a proposal, as per an RfC, or just an individual request. If it's the former, then I oppose it (and if the latter, my apologies for butting in). I recognize that these concerns are good-faith, and even reasonable – and I also have long held an opinion that more ArbCom work should be done transparently and onsite, and I have not been shy about criticizing sitting arbs who I think have been in the wrong. But I've been watching these discussions, and I'm going by my own smell test as to who is being frank and who might be mistaken. I believe the arbs who have said that there were good reasons to make the decision confidentially, and that their decision was a human effort to make the best of a very imperfect situation. I have thought about the accusations of a cover-up, and I do not believe those claims. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:38, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
    Tryptofish apologies for belated response. I have serious stuff going on IRL. It wasn't seeking consensus, but a formal appeal to ArbCom under the policy I cited. As I've said repeatedly, the things that make me uncomfortable about this do not relate to confidentiality issues. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 14:47, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
  • This issue involves three groups of individuals. Group 1 consists of the two named editors who may or may not know what this is all about. Group 2 consists of all the arbs who read the emails where the issue was discussed off-wiki and who definitely know what evidence they saw. Group 3 consists of onlookers with their own backgrounds and beliefs but absolutely no relevant knowledge. As a member of group 3 I would back the judgment of group 2 who examined the situation and voted six–zero in favor of the outcome with three recusals and four inactive and no objections recorded in the result or since its release. Worse still, it looks like some of those commenting on this page are pursuing their own agendas. Johnuniq (talk) 22:55, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I also support the committee's decision. The committee has seen the evidence and can't share it, and the IBAN isn't much of a hardship, if any. There doesn't seem to be much point in speculating. SarahSV (talk) 23:05, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't have enough information to have an opinion on the ruling (which is part of the complaint I suppose, as there are some irregularities to all this), but when a well respected Bureaucrat, Oversighter and Admin appeals, it seems hard to ignore. I'm curious where this goes. Dennis Brown - 00:18, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with Johnuniq and SlimVirgin, and will add that I don't see the benefits to lifting the IBAN unless TRM can suddenly start working with Bishonen (can he?). If lifting the IBAN leads to them bickering, while not lifting the IBAN leads to Bishonen scrupulously avoiding TRM, then I think the latter option is clearly preferable. On another note, I am curious if Dweller can somehow see the evidence for himself? Say, by getting elected as an arbitrator next year? Banedon (talk) 00:51, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
  • All evidence is freely available on Wikipedia, and if other oversighted evidence is necessary, Arbitrator Euralyus can show you where to find it off-wiki. The claims that all of this is done under the cover of darkness is somewhat fake by now, and actually misses the overall point. At some point I was provided with two diffs and since then I did nothing. There are quite a few red herrings here too, it's very convenient to whitewash the whole thing and prevent the abuse of admin powers being investigated while claiming "privacy issues". It's also quite ironic that the "Talk more, block less" paradigm applies even here, perhaps "Talk more, ban less". The Rambling Man (talk) 05:48, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I have no idea whether this was a good decision, and nobody who has not been party to the entire deliberations has either. Some things do need to be kept out of the public eye, and the community is not in a position to overturn an Arbcom decision that was taken based on non-public discussion. For better or worse, we gave Arbcom the power to make such decisions, and we must either accept that, vote in a different Arbcom next time, or pursue a process to abolish Arbcom. But there is no basis for overturning this decision from a position of ignorance. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 18:48, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Well, apart form this 'appeal' not being on the appeal and modification page, the appeal seems lacking in policy basis (it does not even mention policy) in ARBPOL and CONEXCEPT. Having read this appeal, the comments above it, and EdChem's post below, sorry to say, it looks like a bunch of, 'If I was on Arbcom, . . .'. We have the final-binding arbitration committee, in part, because we expect some people won't like their decisions, their remedies, and how they do their job. You do not think they are "competent" -- vote them off. You want to constrain the committee more than policy does -- get policy changed. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:26, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

On False Dichotomies

In my opinion, this thread has been rife with false dichotomies:

  • We can accept TRM's presentation or ArbCom's:
Certainly there is a problem here in that TRM is presenting his perspective and ArbCom members are constrained in how they respond, so the picture here is far from clear... but it doesn't follow that one is "correct" and the other "incorrect", irrespective of which is preferred. Both Dweller and I have been trying to raise issues of concern without accepting either perspective. Comment from Bishonen might (or might not) be helpful but she has chosen to remain silent beyond noting that she has no intention of taunting / baiting / whatevering TRM, which is wise and unsurprising, and her right not to comment is clear. I suspect that there are differences of opinion and perspective between RM and ArbCom, as well as disagreement over facts, and that truth, as ever, is a three-edged sword.
  • The two (or more) diffs are so bad that TRM posting them would warrant a sanction, but they don't warrant rev del:
This one makes no sense to me and I echo Dweller in commenting that ArbCom replies on this point are weak (at best).
  • Mkdw suggests that we must accept ArbCom's decision or violate the privacy policy
This is a problematic false dichotomy because the problematic information from a privacy perspective need not be disclosed to address whether TRM was given a reasonable opportunity to discuss the situation, or the simple factual statement that the relevant diffs are or are not rev dell'd. I have already said, and will say again, that privacy must be respected. I am sure Dweller agrees. From this discussion, I know there are reasons for concern about process and fairness without knowing any of the details or if the evidence supports ArbCom's conclusion. I know that ArbCom's history makes "trust us" requests problematic, and that one way to address that is to ensure that such cases are scrupulously fair.
  • Dweller is suggesting that the iBAN must be overturned if the process is unsound
And this would be true, in a court setting, but here the confidential evidence may be such that the decision is sound. ArbCom's have decided it doesn't matter how process is respected or ignored because they are righ a number of times, sadly, which is one reason where there is a lack of trust to sustain the "trust us, we're right" approach assumed here. I'm not willing to assume the iBAN is unjustified, but I do think there are serious problems here.

As I see it, here are some of the actual issues of concern, and I note they do not require non-public information to address:

  • In the initial post, Euryalus stated, at point (b), that the motion follows email communication with relevant parties, including opportunities to respond. Yet, TRM's presentation describes a request from ArbCom with 2 diffs and unspecified confidential information, to which a response was provided. Note the plural form, "opportunities to respond" (emphasis added), in Euryalus' description. Arbitrators and TRM should be free to comment on whether there was meaningful or pro-forma "email communication" forming a discussion or not, without breaching confidentiality. Was the process fair to TRM? Was TRM fully aware of what was proposed and the reasons for it? Most importantly, was TRM given a proper chance to engage in a discussion of the situation? We know that GW looked into other diffs from TRM to form a view on his reply to the two he was pointed to. Did GW share conclusions from that other investigation with ArbCom? With TRM? If TRM was not told that his response was found unconvincing and that was based on a separate investigation of which he was not informed, it is possible that ArbCom is totally justified in its conclusions and has still acted in an unfair and prejudicial way towards TRM that warrants the community's concerns.
  • Euryalus also stated that The Committee isn't a court, and is not required to assign "blame;" it's here to find solutions to some of the issues that can affect productive editing. That's the purpose of this motion, and should be borne in mind in subsequent discussion. Leaving aside the point on blame (where Fram has already hit the nail on the head and the Committee can and clearly has assigned blame indirectly and simply avoided a direct statement to that effect), the point that ending disputes and allowing productive editing is relevant. Unfortunately, ending a dispute in a way that points to action that is procedurally unfair fosters concerns of misuse of power and inhibits productive editing. This is not the first time an ArbCom has acted in a way that creates an impression of being unfair. To take actions based on off-wiki evidence and be supported, ArbCom needs to be trusted, and I for one find that difficult when the parts we can see don't inspire confidence in a fair process leading to an unbiased decision.
  • The general distaste for one-way interaction bans has been expressed pretty clearly, in my view, but I do not see indication that ArbCom has recognised this piece of community feedback, let alone indicated the slightest intention to take note of it in this or any future case.
  • GW has stated that the two diffs presented to TRM were described in the email as recent posts including these. Logically, these two "recent posts" were considered either the worst comments he made or the best illustrations of the pattern, because why would weak examples be selected. We know TRM responded, but what happened next is unclear despite several inquiries. Was there a dialogue / discussion in which views were exchanged in an effort to understand each other's perspectives? Was TRM given a response indicating that his explanation was found to be unacceptable / unconvincing and why, inviting a further response (in line with Euryalus' multiplr opportunities to respond)? Or, as has happened in the past with other ArbCom's, did TRM send multiple emails and receive a deafening silence in response? If the off-wiki evidence was so serious as to be effectively unanswerable, was TRM told that contuing to dispute was a waste of his time?
  • If the 6 Arbitrators of a 15 person Committee are so sure that you are right, why try to bolster the decision with inaccurate claims of unanimity and repeated mentions of no disagreement. Policy allows a decision from a Committee of 8 active members with 7 inactive or recused, and 6 of those 8 constitutes the necessary majority. In my opinion, reminding TRM (as GW did) that an appeal is almost certain to fail as it goes to the same group of 8 and trying to impress this community discussion with a we're-right-as-we-have-the-numbers-style argument conveys that you have the power and aren't going to change your minds (as Carcharoth has noted) but not that you are open to considering feedback and reflecting on whether there are problems here. It is possible to reach the "correct" conclusion based on a flawed process, and groups who stonewall and imply they are incapable of error remind me of politicians more than independent dispute resolvers.
  • If there was a dialog, ArbCom would be able to produce a timeline (something like the following, which I have made up... the reason I suspect there won't be one is that it would not look good):
    • After concerns raised with ArbCom, decision to approach TRM with concerns on [DATE], includes two diffs plus summary of non-public material
    • TRM relied on [DATE] with explanation
    • Committee discussed response, including new diffs noted by GW
    • X replied to TRM on [DATE], noting GW's extra diffs and outstanding concerns about explanation
    • TRM replied, addressing GW diffs [DATE]
    • GW replied to TRM, noting general pattern not explained adequately [DATE]
    • TRM replied to GW, GW forwarded reply to Committee [DATE]
    • Further Committee discussion, resolution by one-way iBAN seems appropriate
    • X emailed TRM, notifying one-way iBAN likely, asked for any further input / comments [DATE]
    • TRM replies [DATE]
    • Discussion of Committee, formal proposal of iBAN and motion wording, voting, etc

I think this thread will result in absolutely no change to TRM's restriction, no visible reflection on problems with process, no admission that anything could have / should have been done better, and a further diminution of trust in ArbCom. I hope I am wrong. EdChem (talk) 03:10, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

We're still discussing Dweller's request to the committee, so I'll make no comment on that for now. I will respond a bit to you, EdChem, since a number of your questions mention me specifically, and I'd like to make what can be discussed publicly as clear as possible. I understand that saying "just trust us" is asking a lot, and I'm not surprised we've gotten pushback because of it. It happens almost every time—maybe every time, actually.
I have read and do appreciate your first four points. Some of them seem to question ArbCom's ability and integrity in handling private disputes. I do think that a base amount of trust is essential to ArbCom operating properly, since a part of what we do involves acting on information that cannot and should not be discussed publicly. Some skepticism is also to be expected, and I think that is good, but if we are reaching the point at which the skepticism is overwhelming the trust in the committee to handle private matters, we (the entire community) should discuss the role of the Arbitration Committee and who should handle private disputes (and how). In an ideal world I am on board with the committee divesting of private and offwiki matters; I think we are just still at a point where there is no better option available. The committee has in the past divested of responsibilities it was in no way qualified to handle (e.g., WP:CHILDPROTECT) and should continue to do so as that option is available. This may be a view not shared by the rest of the committee, and is probably a view that isn't supremely relevant to this discussion, so I'm happy to take it elsewhere if you wish to continue discussion of it.
Regarding some of your other points: I am confident that The Rambling Man was fully aware that we were considering sanctions, and why. He was also given a proper chance to discuss the concerns we raised with him. When I read through the emails concerning the issues involved, I dug a bit more deeply into the context behind the diffs, including other edits and actions by The Rambling Man and Bishonen—this is something I always do when considering an issue we're presented with, since it is often easy for folks to cherrypick diffs if they wish to do so. I did not initially provide these diffs to the ArbCom, since I think this is something we all do on our own, though I did provide them (after the ban was placed) when an arbitrator who was not active in the decision asked to be brought up to speed. I also provided them to TRM (again, after the ban was placed; look in this page for where I responded "Emailed." if you're looking for a more specific timestamp).
Regarding your point on one-way IBANs, if that's not addressed in a statement from the committee, I'll address it separately (and feel free to track me down if a statement isn't forthcoming in a day or two, though I doubt that will happen). I do think it's a good point that should be addressed.
I think I've made this point already, but I don't believe the earlier mention of unanimity was meant to mislead. We have made it clear that the decision came down as such: six arbitrators in support of the interaction ban, three recused, four inactive, and the remaining two not expressing either a vote or recusal. If arbitrators had opposed the ban, we would have listed them as opposing in the motion, as we always do. This is all very clear from the initial posting of the motion. I think it's bizarre to make accusations that Euryalus was claiming the entire fifteen of us were unanimous when it's quite clear how things shook out.
On the rest of your points, I hope we'll reply shortly. As always, feel free to ask me any questions individually, I probably reply more quickly than trying to get input from 7–14 other people. GorillaWarfare (talk) 04:29, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for replying, GW. I think the key point with "just trust us" is that every ArbCom is burdened with the reputations of those before it, and trust you (as a group) depends on how you build on whatever trust existed before. I'm sure we can both / all agree that an ArbCom burning a lot of trust and thus overshadowing its successor is not unknown. In the present instance, there is no board that can review your actions and the replies here will (largely) dictate whether there is more or less trust available when the inevitable next circumstance arises. That circumstance will be met by a different group of arbitrators, maybe a different subset of this committee, less likely a future committee, but what happens here will influence how they are seen. It is unfortunate, for example, that the most respected arbitrator is not involved in this case, as his credibility would bring great weight to any comments he made.
I find myself agreeing that if we are reaching the point at which the skepticism is overwhelming the trust in the committee to handle private matters, we (the entire community) should discuss the role of the Arbitration Committee and who should handle private disputes (and how). In an ideal world I am on board with the committee divesting of private and offwiki matters; I think we are just still at a point where there is no better option available. Certainly, offloading child protection was a good move and came years later than it should have (not ArbCom's fault, I know). By contrast, offloading privacy matters would necessitate a new group to handle them, with all the existing issues, so I also don't see a better option. The part I see as missing from your comment is the extent to which the present ArbCom itself and its predecessors have contributed to that loss of trust. Take the "unanimous" comment... I don't think Euryalus meant to imply that all 15 arbitrators agreed. It may have been, as was suggested above, a slightly clumsy way to say there was no disagreement expressed. But, the time to say that was when it was first asked, but instead no comment was made. Subsequent comments look like trying to justify the comment rather than saying "yep, poor word choice, my mistake, I meant X." And that happens all the time with ArbCom, the notion of simply saying I made a mistake, offering a correction and an apology, and moving on never seems to occur. And so, what is left is an impression of unwillingness to be direct and honest in cases where that is both possible and appropriate. The impression of the event may be unfair to ArbCom, like here Euryalus may not have been trying to bolster the case by making it sound more impressive, but the interpretation is left open. Obviously, I don't expect you to say "Since you asked, the privacy issue is XXX", and I can accept "we won't play 20 questions to hint at the privacy issue", and "we had to make a decision and we have, and based on our evidence, we see no reason to change it" is valid at times.
I appreciate your further details on the extra diffs. Of course doing independent checking is sensible and wise, I'm not surprised that you do, and not sharing them with ArbCom is a personal choice. What I don't understand, though, is why you did not share them with TRM at the time. They influenced your view of his response, wasn't it natural to put them to him and allow him to comment? You shared them with him when he requested after the ban (and I acknowledge that you clearly stated this timing above and did not imply they were shared earlier, thank you), but what was your reasoning in not asking him directly? After all, other arbitrators may have noted them too, and in either case, his response may have had value to you or others on the committee. Not asking TRM about them and your reasons for doubting his response seems unfair. Suppose that TRM had said he only had two diffs plus privacy material, disputed the diffs, received more along with reasons doubting his explanation, and had the opportunity to further comment, and that the committee had then decided it did not found his explanation credible... in that circumstance, I and I suspect some others would have thought that the process sounds fair and if the committee came to a conclusion after discussion with him, there is likely a reasonable basis for the conclusion – especially as TRM can go over the top at times, and the restriction (an iBAN) is comparatively minor. As I have said, repeatedly, I don't know if what the Committee did was "correct", but I do know that how it was done casts a shadow, especially as it resonates with past concerns about ArbCom. EdChem (talk) 05:37, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't see how you could have interpreted Euryalus' comment as something more sinister than perhaps clumsy wording, given the very clearly available breakdown of votes/recusals/absences. I certainly don't see any subsequent comments from Euryalus or other arbitrators as implying more support for the motion than was given.
The conversation with TRM was largely being handled by a different arbitrator, and I did not interject to add my own analysis. This kind of additional research is something we all often do, and I think it is largely why arbitration matters (both onwiki and off) often refer to various transgressions in terms such as "behavior as evidenced by (diff1), (diff2), (diff3)..." It certainly features regularly if you go through the archived arbitration cases. The diffs I took into consideration were repeats of the behavior for which we decided to sanction TRM; I didn't feel I was adding much by requesting input on them when we were already asking for input on very similar behavior. I've since sent the additional diffs to TRM, so if I was mistaken in not sending them to him and he does indeed have some information based on those additional diffs to explain the behavior and invalidate the decision, I will certainly consider it without prejudice, and probably come away with my tail between my legs if we've all missed something there. GorillaWarfare (talk) 06:15, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
I have already responded to you GW about your diffs which provide nothing more than evidence to support my position. However, since you have placed an embargo on them being discussed, despite 80% of them having no relationship whatsoever and no possible inference to the things you are working so hard to cover up, there's nothing more I can do. I believe this is a true definition of a Kangaroo Court. Secret evidence, supplied after sentencing, most of which has been (deliberately or otherwise) misinterpreted, or bent or twisted to mean something which you find appropriate enough to bolster already weak evidence. As for "if we've all missed something", then yes, you all have, well you have, because you took it upon yourself to concoct some (incorrect) motive behind the diffs you still bizarrely allow on-wiki yet one-way IBAN for. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:40, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
@EdChem and Dweller:Am travelling for work and sending this from an iphone, so apologies for typos. Have no hesitation in saying the word "unanimous" was meant to convey unanimity among those who took part in the discussion. I think the vote count was pretty clear from the motion I posted at WP:ACN. However it was clearly a clumsy choice of word, so apologies to those who have expressed a concern. Have struck it from the reply above. -- Euryalus (talk) 06:37, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
I do not doubt the wisdom of many of those commenting here, but can those with no knowledge of the Arbcom deliberations do any more than conclude that there must have been a significant reason for the action taken? A reason that should be confidential? Almost seven days have elapsed since the public announcement, yet there has been no indication of any shift in the fundamental result: six arbs voted in favor, none against, and none of the non-participating arbs have voiced public disquiet. Do you want a last-stop committee with an ability to make confidential decisions when they think it appropriate? Or, do you want such a committee with the proviso that they release confidential deliberations when pressured? Arbcom is not a randomly selected group which may include several misguided or malicious members. Given the alternatives listed on this page, the model of the situation that fits what is known is that the result must have been appropriate under the circumstances. Johnuniq (talk) 06:28, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
The point you are missing is that there was no reason for the IBAN, no further interaction was going to take place, that is "talk more, block less"-savvy. Just because there's no shift in the result, that doesn't mean we can't examine the behaviour of Arbcom in this case, as is evidenced by the huge swaths above and the dozens of emails I've received in support of me. We get that some people want to just sweep this under the carpet, but that's simply not going to happen. All evidence in this case is public, for the one item that was oversighted, please get the URL from Arbitrator Euryalus who happily pointed me to it off-wiki. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:43, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
So the arbs are fools or malicious? Does not seem likely. Johnuniq (talk) 07:58, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Neither, just not competent in this case. The Rambling Man (talk) 08:19, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

Some points:

  • That I " was fully aware that we were considering sanctions", yes an interaction ban was mentioned (not explicitly a one-way ban) but as I have now said and requested clarification about, what did I do after these discussions that warranted a punitive IBAN? Did anyone at Arbcom say "If you mention X again, we'll one-way IBAN you?" No.
  • The diffs. Every single one is publicly available, once again Euyralus can point people to where to find them off-wiki too, but the diffs the GW states "I also provided them to TRM" are quite eye-opening. That she then forbade me from noting them on-wiki was also telling since all but one of them make not even any allusion to any specific editor. That's the WHOLE POINT here. My "chance to respond" (to two diffs) was 100% ignored, other evidence was brought in to which I was given zero chance to respond, and here we are.
  • Various threats from different members of Arbcom need to be sorted out. One member has threatened me with sanctions with even discussing these diffs off-wiki (how is that possible?) while one has stated clearly that nothing can prevent me from discussing this case off-wiki. The good cop/bad cop analogy seems to continue, or perhaps it's just a trap so that one member of Arbcom can dust off an old precedent in due course and get me site-banned while others have told me something completely different. Who knows. The Rambling Man (talk) 05:57, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Which member of ArbCom has threatened you with sanctions for discussing these diffs off-wiki? Carcharoth (talk) 11:22, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
The same one which pointed to off-wiki to material that had been removed from Wikipedia that forms just a small part of this overall case. Given Arbcom's inability to see through their own protection game and actively consider what I wrote when I was asked to comment on "two diffs", it's abundantly clear that anything I say off-wiki can now be re-interpreted by Arbcom as harassment/doxxing etc, which therefore means the silencing extends way beyond this on-wiki sentencing. The Rambling Man (talk) 11:50, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

Response

Thank you for your formal appeal request. The committee has reviewed it and at this time it is declined. We understand the principle behind this proposal, as surely you must also understand that for the committee, a decision cannot be based upon popular opinion nor by the perceived public optics of a situation, especially when all the facts are not openly available. Rather, the situation must be assessed on the merits of the evidence involved and communication between all parties.

We have already spoken with The Rambling Man about an appeal, and he is aware he may appeal via email to the committee if he wishes.

A few answers to some of your questions above that may have gone unanswered: The motion is very clear that it is a one-way interaction ban. The final decision by the committee was not a negotiation whereby The Rambling Man first provided consent before the committee took action, nor do we expect parties being sanctioned to always agree with the sanctions being imposed. The discussions reached a point where the committee felt they could make a final decision. The committee works within the policies and guidelines set forth by the community, and one-way interactions bans are a part of the banning policy.

A large number of arbitrators were inactive or recused, leaving the threshold for a vote to pass at five. Six arbitrators voted to support, and the two active arbitrators who did not vote or recuse were given plenty of time to weigh in if they had wished.

For the Arbitration Committee,

GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:31, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

The votes on this statement were as follows. Supporting: DeltaQuad, DGG, Doug Weller, GorillaWarfare, Keilana, Kelapstick, Kirill Lokshin, Mkdw, Opabinia regalis. Recused: Casliber, Ks0stm, Newyorkbrad. Inactive: Callanecc, Drmies, Euryalus.

TRM was not happy with certain administrative actions, and raised acceptable questions and criticism per ADMINACCT. This sanction brings a chilling effect to editors who believe they have not received the appropriate attention to criticism of administrative action. TRM was quite specific about exactly what he viewed were inappropriate actions by admins, and has now been fully prevented from speaking about these. Where can we go to receive the appropriate response? My questions (admittedly they were uncivil and I will refactor them) were removed by an Arb who has not responded to my email. Mr Ernie (talk) 17:15, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
@Mr Ernie: My apologies; I did not see your email until earlier today. A response is in the works. Ks0stm (TCGE) 17:54, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
What would you suggest, given that ArbCom is our democratically elected authority on such matters? Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:21, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Here's a thought: that, per WP:NOTDEMOCRACY, perhaps they shouldn't be...? — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 17:24, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
WP:NOTDEMOCRACY refers to content decisions and is not relevant to ArbCom elections, which *are* democratic. If you think that ArbCom should not be elected democratically, by all means try to change the relevant policy. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:42, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Only because we have at some point in the past decided that. The obvious corollory, I may arguably have been suggesting, would be to extend the principle. In any case, I was not so much answering you personally, Boing!- so nothing to take personally- rather, I thank you for drawing the dichotomy to my attention. Cheers! — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 17:45, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Sure, but "Only because we have at some point in the past decided that" is how just about everything in the world works. Personally, I'd be very interested in suggestions for an alternative that does not subject volunteers to the level of abuse that ArbCom members typically suffer, and I would welcome any genuine practical suggestion for improving Wikipedia's governance. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:48, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
(ec) As I said, it is clear that TRM was not happy with certain administrative actions. I would expect that a committee with "Arbitration" in their name could help facilitate a resolution to the root cause, not simply silencing one party. I would suggest to allow TRM to prepare a statement to be emailed to the committee where he clearly lays out his issues, and let the involved parties privately respond. TRM is a reasonable guy, I'm sure he would support a collaborative approach to moving forward. Mr Ernie (talk) 17:26, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
So what do you actually suggest when ArbCom have listened to all the evidence, disagree with the sanctioned party, and judge that such a silencing is appropriate? Should they just abandon their decision simply because the person is unhappy with the outcome? Or should there perhaps be a final final body of appeal that addresses dissatifaction with the final body of appeal's decision, and should there then be a final final final body of appeal... Please, *you* tell us how actually you think this should be resolved, specifically. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:34, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
You can disagree with me on this, but I don't feel that Arbcom has actually solved any of the root cause problems here. It's ok for you to accept that they have, but I certainly don't. Let me say it for the 3rd time - it is clear that TRM was not happy with certain administrative actions. The Committee's "solution" was to ban TRM from bringing these actions up. Since *you* have asked me so specifically, if I was on Arbcom I would ask the involved administrators to clearly justify their actions per ADMINACCT. Maybe they have, I don't know. If they have given a justification that Arbcom is happy with, then I ask Arbcom to state this, and then I will not need to respond again. If it's helpful, I can reword my 5 questions from earlier to be a little more polite, and we can start there. Mr Ernie (talk) 17:42, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
"Maybe they have, I don't know" sums up your position exactly - you are complaining from a position of ignorance. And you really don't need to say things 3 times - we're all very well aware that TRM is not happy with the outcome, but the accused being happy can never be a required outcome. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:46, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
"So what do you actually suggest when ArbCom...." Start an RFC to overturn the decision at WP:AN due to being outside Arbcom's scope. Its clear there is no real privacy issue (otherwise all the offending diffs would have been oversighted) and this is not an issue that has been referred to Arbcom by the community. There is also the procedural issue that even if its accepted there is a genuine privacy issue, GW's posts clearly confirm that TRM was not "given a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them" given TRM was not provided with all of the evidence against him in order to be able to respond to it. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:26, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

Disappointed in Response

I am disappointed by the above response – not surprised, but disappointed – as it neither engages with the reasons for concern nor indicates that those have been understood. The issue was not and is not whether TRM should be given the iBAN, it is whether the way it was done was seriously flawed and whether that undermines confidence in the Committee and in the legitimacy of its actions. Responding to private information is always difficult, I am sure, and I do not doubt that individual arbitrators are convinced of the correctness of their conclusions. Sadly, when I read the response, I see not a group of people who recognise that mistakes happen and that there are genuine reasons for concern here. Instead, I see a crafted response aimed at ending a discussion and protecting power.

We understand the principle behind this proposal, as surely you must also understand that for the committee, a decision cannot be based upon popular opinion nor by the perceived public optics of a situation ...
Translation: If we portray the concern as opinion or about image, maybe we can avoid engaging with the process issues (like basing decisions on evidence not provided to TRM until afterwards, and adopting a process that appears (at least at times) to provide a one-off chance for a response with no meaningful discussion) because the principles of fair treatment look to have been a matter of form only here
... especially when all the facts are not openly available. Rather, the situation must be assessed on the merits of the evidence involved and communication between all parties.
Translation: If we keep reminding everyone of the non-public information and that we may be right in our conclusions, hopefully people will stop worrying about how we reached the conclusion.
We have already spoken with The Rambling Man about an appeal, and he is aware he may appeal via email to the committee if he wishes.
TRM knows he can appeal to the exact same group that has sanctioned him, and that it would be a waste of time.

On this one, I am surprised that Dweller's appeal was not declined for lack of standing. I am glad that the Committee took the time to consider his appeal request, it is a shame that the substantive issues of the appeal were not addressed, however. After this point, sadly, the response looks to technicalities rather than substance.

A few answers to some of your questions above that may have gone unanswered: The motion is very clear that it is a one-way interaction ban.
No one ever suggested otherwise. What was suggested (and which this does nothing to address) was that it being one-way was not mentioned to TRM in advance. What was also raised was that the community (including some of the admins who need to police the ban) are uncomfortable with one-way iBANs which was met with the accurate but unresponsive declaration that the committee works within the policies and guidelines set forth by the community, and one-way interactions bans are a part of the banning policy.
The final decision by the committee was not a negotiation whereby The Rambling Man first provided consent before the committee took action, nor do we expect parties being sanctioned to always agree with the sanctions being imposed. The discussions reached a point where the committee felt they could make a final decision.
The first sentence is a statement of the obvious, ArbCom has never sought nor needed consent to take action. The second sentence seems benign until you consider it means that the Committee can discuss a non-public issue, decide a sanction is warranted, before the discussion gets to include the editor to be sanctioned. It means that an invited response can be disbelieved and disregarded without ever actually telling the editor involved why that view is held. With no outside scrutiny of your decision-making possible, no appeal, and no requirement to explain decisions (especially when non-public information is involved), we are left needing to trust the Committee to be able to self-regulate. And this is the difficulty: when we can't get you to engage with whether is an issue here (separate from whether you came to an appropriate conclusion), how do we feel secure that you did act reasonably? We have TRM making criticisms (hardly surprising from a sanctioned editor), concerns about issues raised, and responses that don't actually go to our concerns.
A large number of arbitrators were inactive or recused, leaving the threshold for a vote to pass at five. Six arbitrators voted to support, and the two active arbitrators who did not vote or recuse were given plenty of time to weigh in if they had wished.
Factually accurate, undisputed (so far as I know) and still fewer than half the Committee. That the decision was taken in a quorate ArbCom is unarguable. That some action was needed only those who have seen the evidence can judge – with a lack of opposition and the involvement of non-public information make this seem likely to me, but the claim of diffs still available without being rev-del'd or oversighted does make me wonder. The comments that an arbitrator has been pointing to oversighted materials on WP mirrors strikes me as concerning, too.

A response that indicated that some arbitrators were concerned about the adequacy of the discussion with TRM, that sending him the other diffs should have been done before any decision taken, and that reflecting on trying to do better was happening would have made me much more comfortable than the one given. I repeat, having not seen the evidence, I can't know whether the conclusion reached and action taken are appropriate and justified. I want to be able to feel comfortable that ArbCom acts appropriately when it deals with privacy issues, and I regret feeling like I'm making things more difficult, but I am much more trusting when people are willing to admit to mistakes / misjudgements / issues, etc. Am I alone in thinking that there is reason for reflection on how this case was handled? Are there no arbitrators who see that a correct / reasonable conclusion and a problematic process are not incompatible? EdChem (talkcontribs) 15:23, June 4, 2017

For whatever it is worth, in my own experience with my one run-in with a previous version of the Committee, I tend to agree with you that the Committee does best when it displays sincere self-reflection after being questioned by the community, and does worst when there is a circling of the wagons. I'd welcome some frank replies to EdChem's concerns. But, that said, I'm not seeing what I would call a circling of the wagons here. And I also recognize that expecting the Committee to always communicate with parties in the way that EdChem asks for becomes problematic with many of the parties with whom the Committee must deal. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:54, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
"A response that indicated that some arbitrators were concerned about the adequacy..."
It appears that no arbitrators have expressed a concern about any of the procedures or the outcome. There are two possible explanations. The first explanation would require each arbitrator who has seen this issue to be insensitive and incompetent. The second explanation is far simpler and more likely, namely that there really was a good reason for how things were done. Johnuniq (talk) 05:20, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
No, there's a third choice, which is most likely given all the unaddressed concerns here. That Arbcom are now protecting themselves. It's interesting how they called the Ombudsman in without allowing a third party to do so, I wonder why? The Rambling Man (talk) 18:04, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Notes

"The final decision by the committee was not a negotiation whereby The Rambling Man first provided consent before the committee took action..." then why bother showing me the two diffs at all? And then bring in a host of "unknown" evidence to attempt to nail me? I would strongly advocate that Arb members who have oversight privileges but yet point editors to oversighted material off-wiki reconsider their position. I would strongly advocate that purporting to give a defendent the evidence against which he should defend himself to only then bring in a host of other "unknown" evidence is wilfully negligent. I would also echo the words of Mr Ernie, there are a number of admins who need to be examined per WP:ADMINACCT. Arbcom's actions have chilled that conversation because basically they have decreed that even existing, visible, public diffs which are available to all right now are considered disruptive if linked or repeated. This is a despicable cover up, protecting the wrong people. The Rambling Man (talk) 18:43, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Per the above section, and a question to Arbcom, are you now playing "no talkies" with me? The above questions need answering. This will not simply "go away". The Rambling Man (talk) 19:03, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
We're not playing "no talkies". Your two questions have been answered already: we discuss sanctions with users before placing them so that they are given an opportunity to explain their position. If their explanation doesn't assuage our concerns that the behavior will continue, we proceed with sanctions. I don't think you truly believe that the Arbitration Committee requires consent from parties it's sanctioning before placing said sanctions, so I wonder why you're saying so here. As for your second, I've answered it twice above: When making my decision, I looked through The Rambling Man's recent behavior to decide whether an interaction ban was appropriate, and made my decision based on a number of edits I felt were problematic in addition to the two diffs provided. I can't speak to whether my colleagues did the same, but I've provided The Rambling Man with the additional diffs I considered via email. and When I read through the emails concerning the issues involved, I dug a bit more deeply into the context behind the diffs, including other edits and actions by The Rambling Man and Bishonen—this is something I always do when considering an issue we're presented with, since it is often easy for folks to cherrypick diffs if they wish to do so. I did not initially provide these diffs to the ArbCom, since I think this is something we all do on our own, though I did provide them (after the ban was placed) when an arbitrator who was not active in the decision asked to be brought up to speed. I also provided them to TRM (again, after the ban was placed; look in this page for where I responded "Emailed." if you're looking for a more specific timestamp). GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:58, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
So lets take this slowly because obviously things are getting a bit too much for you to handle in one go. Are you (Arbcom) content that one of your sitting members, who has "oversight" privileges, directed me to material that had been rev-del'ed on an external website. The very same material no less that containing the smoking gun in part of this sorry saga? Meanwhile you (Arbcom) have successfully prevented any sensible discussion over the "diffs" you used to convict me (all of which appear to still be "top secret" yet available on wiki) by making ludicrous claims that they somehow sully someone's "good name". Where on planet earth do you see people convicted based on secret evidence that not even the defendant is allowed to address prior to conviction? I suppose dictatorships, terror regimes etc, right? The Rambling Man (talk) 04:28, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Next, in your own words (GW), you have decreed that any and all diffs that I may use have suddenly become under embargo, allow me to repeat: Arbcom's actions have chilled that conversation because basically they have decreed that even existing, visible, public diffs which are available to all right now are considered disruptive if linked or repeated. Because all the "secret" evidence, and diffs are still all publicly visible on Wikipedia, it makes it impossible to pursue any kind of community-based action because you (Arbcom) can suddenly pile in out of left field and say "Yes, that was one of the diff's that I considered to be "disruptive" so we're banning The Rambling Man for referring to it, even though it's visible on Wikipedia for everyone to see and even though we haven't told anyone about it at all." You have silenced any possibility of me or others using my experiences here and in this specific situation to investigate rogue admins who act as some kinds of overlords. That's a cover-up. The Rambling Man (talk) 04:33, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
"dictatorships, terror regimes" Well if that's really, genuinely how you feel about Wikipedia... Ks0stm (TCGE) 04:41, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Oh Ks0stm, you are full of yourself. This is not about Wikipedia at all. This is purely about Arbcom and the secretive machinations that protect such individuals upon request, using kangaroo court proceedings. This is not just going to go away, and it's completely inappropriate for you to make such a suggestion, but I'll simply add it to the list of inappropriate behaviour by members of this committee. The Rambling Man (talk) 05:32, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
The question—"Where on planet earth do you see people convicted based on secret evidence that not even the defendant is allowed to address prior to conviction?"—is very reasonable, and it looks pretty awful to reply to it with "love it or leave it". Everyking (talk) 04:16, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Just about every website with public comments (even 4chan) has removed participants, usually with no discussion. In real life, a conviction is normally followed by a punishment which might include several years in prison. As a private website, Wikipedia is totally different and one of its procedures is that the community elects the Arbitration Committee as a last stop for dispute resolution and to handle the infrequent cases where confidential discussion is needed. The decision in the case under consideration was reached with no public objection from any of the arbitrators, and Arbcom has the best candidates available as chosen by the community. There is plenty reason to expect one party in a case to be unhappy, but there is no reason for people without knowledge of the case to doubt the result. Johnuniq (talk) 04:46, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
There is clearly enough doubt here for it to be discussed by the community. As evidenced by the vast array of concerns raised here by people other than me. The Rambling Man (talk) 05:49, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The fact that arbitrators are elected does not mean their decisions are infallible (far from it). Community review and critique is essential as a check on bad decisions and overreach by the ArbCom, and personally, I see plenty of reason for people to doubt the result. Everyking (talk) 10:56, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Observation

(I didn't know where to post this or what to title it, so ....)

I am not particularly surprised by this development, or by this Motion. To me it is simply one of the results of TRM's continued attacks on and slurs about admins/adminship ever since he was de-sysopped. I've warned him time and time again to cut it out, but his snide sour-grapes recriminations against admins continue unabated. The stuff with Bishonen (for instance, repeatedly referring to her as a "super-admin" [in other words, one who could override other admins with impunity]), was simply the latest and most extreme example. My advice to TRM is to cut out the admin-sniping completely, or more ill-will, and possibly more sanctions, will develop. I say this as someone who is neutral about TRM, and who recognizes his contributions while also noticing where he is self-destructive. I'd like to remind him that no one is irreplaceable on Wikipedia, and if he believes he gets a free pass on sniping because of his good work on the main page, he is likely going to find out the hard way that that is not the case. I personally recommend that TRM refrain from any and all admin-sniping (including even referring to adminship or to not being "in the club", etc.), and then after six months request a review and a removal of this sanction. Softlavender (talk) 05:25, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for your input. Unfortunately the case I was pulling together regarding the abusive behaviour of a number of admins, mainly per WP:ADMINACCT and punitive actions has now been completely chilled by Arbcom's approach to the on-wiki diffs. This isn't about sniping about a club of admins, I work very well indeed with numerous admins who don't adopt such a superior approach to others. The biggest problem is that the "normal editors" here are too afraid to speak up against such a hierarchy, as evidenced by the censorship exercised in this very case. So, thanks for your recommendation but I won't be adopting it. The Rambling Man (talk) 05:52, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
That response is, in my opinion, consistent with the behavior I have repeatedly warned you about, and which you apparently refuse to desist from. The fact is, "normal editors" such as myself don't continually snipe about admins/adminship because there is no reason to, and if we have a beef with an admin we bring it up with them on their own talkpage or with the community at AN/ANI. The thing is, TRM, your sniping behavior is taking up too much of the community's time and energy, and if you persist eventually the patience of the community will become exhausted. If things reach that point, the sanctions will not be pleasant. Over the past few years you have already been the focus of way too much drama for one editor. That's not a good sign. Remember, Wikipedia does not revolve around you and your feelings/issues/inconveniences, nor should it. You are still, as of this moment, a valuable editor in a volunteer community which operates under rules, policies, and guidelines. I urge you to remember that the next time you are tempted to create more drama because you happened to not get your way or something happened that you don't like. Softlavender (talk) 06:04, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Normal editors are repressed by such admin abuse. As for taking up too much time and energy, that's a good excuse for prematurely closing issues that haven't been resolved. You are enabling such abuse and sadly for you, some of us are here to stop that. I'm not interested in your threats, if the behaviour of Arbcom and admins is not open to question, what hope is there left? On the one hand we keep being told these individuals are "democratically selected" yet on the other hand you and the other enablers wish to keep them sacrisanct and avoid any kind of criticism. The cover-up continues, as does the abuse. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:15, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
I am a normal editor. If I feel I or someone else is oppressed by someone I engage the person in question on their talkpage or at AN/ANI. I have never enabled anyone; you've said that before and I've told you that. At this point, you are like a broken record. I've made no threats at all; I'm reminding you of how Wikipedia works, as a word to the wise. No one has said the behavior of ArbCom and admins is not open to question; I've very often openly criticized specific admins and ArbCom members, by addressing them directly in the appropriate venue. There is no "coverup". Your specific case here might have had merit and held water had you not been constantly creating drama by your uncalled-for resentful self-involved sniping for the past eight months. Softlavender (talk) 07:07, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Hardly. Normal editors feel completely unable to tackle such complex and overtly biased processes against super admins and Arbcom. I'm not one of those people. This is the appropriate venue to tackle the shambles of a kangaroo court that was conducted, and this is the right venue to discuss the fact that this cover up effectively curtails any investigation into the conduct of rogue admins who routinely abuse their position. You and those others who continue to enable such abuse are welcome to the results, but I am not going anywhere. I will leave the last word to you, as you are continually repeating yourself and not advancing this discussion proactively in any sense. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:12, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
What does all that even mean? You are just spouting the same thing over and over, rather like a conspiracy theorist. There are those of who would like to see you not continue on your downward spiral, but you are continuing to be your own worst enemy. Well, I tried to help you realize the counter-productivity of your behavior of the last eight months, including in my OP above, but it's apparently pointless. Softlavender (talk) 09:48, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
What does it mean? I'm sure you can understand it all. My behaviour of the last eight months has been to continually improve Wikipedia, while you do....? Thank you once again for your condascending tone and lecturing, as noted, I will not let it dissuade me from questioning those who abuse their authority here. The Rambling Man (talk) 09:59, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Have you spent much time reviewing noticeboards such as WP:ANI and Jimbo's talk (here and at meta)? Anyone who has seen those pages knows all about admin abuse and it appears the adage "there are no guilty men in prison" also applies to Wikipedia. There is an eerie resemblance between your repetitive complaints and those that came from Kumioko/Reguyla before his global ban. What should Arbcom do with a sensitive case involving real-world people? Should they explain their reasoning until you are satisfied? What would satisfy you? By the way, please consider striking some of your replies to Softlavender as they are highly inappropriate. Johnuniq (talk) 11:43, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm sure what you're bringing here other than threats. Unhelpful. What would satisfy me would be for Arbcom to answer the questions. For the super admins to be prevented from causing damage. But there are too many enablers here to see that happening in the short term. There's nothing here that warrants anything approaching a global ban. Unless you just want our "elected" individuals to have a completely free reign I supppose. The Rambling Man (talk) 11:48, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I did not intend my mention of global bans as a suggestion regarding your future. What happened is that I checked Jimbo's meta talk and wondered why there appeared to be little recent activity, so I checked the user I mentioned and saw the global ban which was a surprise to me. What I meant was that he became fixated on complaining about abuse of power and that is incompatible with Wikipedia. I do not see any engagement with the points I have raised above and elsewhere on this page. Your claim that having your questions answered would satisfy you is not convincing because you might not like the answers. Can you link to a discussion where you changed your mind about a significant issue? Johnuniq (talk) 12:03, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
If you curtail discussions relating to the inappropriate behaviour of admins and Arbcom by threats of bans then you create a regime of fear. I don't like answers which are censoring people's ability to speak, i.e. Arbcom's decisions to ban me from talking about the diffs which are all publicly available on-wiki. Others have seen these (e.g. people on the chat forum that one of the Arbs pointed me to to find oversighted material) and are astonished by the interpretation applied and subsequent silencing. The Rambling Man (talk) 12:11, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
If you have a problem with ArbCom, you can try the Ombudsman Commission. My own experience with them is limited, and it wasn't really too helpful; but you can try your luck if you want. Kingsindian   12:05, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, thanks Kingsindian, that's definitely been recommended by a number of people, particuarly when it comes to addressing some of the unusual ways in which oversighters seem to operate. The Rambling Man (talk) 12:11, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Done. Have asked the Ombudsman (Ombudspeople?) to review. -- Euryalus (talk) 02:49, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
A grouping of Ombudsmen is an Ombudsflock.  · Salvidrim! ·  02:51, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
You don't want to know what I misread that as at first sight... Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:16, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Presumably you have explicitly asked them to look into the behaviour of oversighters who privately link to personal rev-del'ed material off-wiki? The Rambling Man (talk) 06:19, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes. --kelapstick(bainuu) 09:09, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
That's good. If we get nothing there (which I suspect strongly given this request has now been made by Arbcom themselves), then I will bring this to the attention of the community in general, they need to know any trust they have in this individual is misplaced. The Rambling Man (talk) 09:17, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
TRM, if you are convinced from the outset that the system is rigged (with super editors, super admins, super ArbCom, and an Ombudsflock which moves at the whim of super ArbCom), I can only admire your tenacity and support your appeal to the common (?) editor and the honorable denizens of the "review sites". Tell you what, I'm the laziest Arb anyway, and haven't been involved in anything dealing with you in a while, so I'll gladly recuse from this matter and grab some popcorn. Drmies (talk) 15:02, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Drmies, I said from the outset that there are super admins, that's the whole problem. Well it was until Arbcom demonstrated their incompetence in this whole kangaroo court. Your recusal is noted, but I'm not sure why it's relevant to anything. The Rambling Man (talk) 17:53, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm just hopping around on the sidelines, but by all means keep repeating these baseless charges. Drmies (talk) 22:57, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "baseless"? It is evident (although I am no longer allowed to do anything about it) that admins have abused their tools by issuing punitive blocks rather than engaging in dialogue. It is evident that an Arb who has oversight privileges is happy to direct people to off-wiki sites where rev-del'ed material is freely available. It is evident that I have been "convicted" without seeing all the evidence. That's just for starters. What was baseless? Your additions here? The Rambling Man (talk) 04:30, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The above comment is fine, although an analysis would point out its flaws, except for "Your additions here?" which serves no purpose other than to belittle another editor. Are you sure you are on the right path? Johnuniq (talk) 06:08, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Not at all. Can you describe what actual postive benefit Drmies' contribution here has brought other than false accusation and belittling me? You need to stop talking down to me now. It's pretty obvious to most what you're trying to do. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:57, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── User:Drmies I say this respectfully - if you are recused on this issue then I'm not sure you should be making comments like these. Mr Ernie (talk) 03:25, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Umm, that's not what "recuse" means. The policy is here but I cannot find a plain statement of the obvious, namely that when someone recuses from a decision, they do not participate in the decision process—they don't comment in the official discussion section, and they don't vote. Often people (here and in real life) recuse because they want to present evidence or argue the case themselves. A recused arbitrator is welcome to comment and present their opinions in exactly the same manner as non-arbitrators. Johnuniq (talk) 04:03, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Drmies has officially recused themselves from this matter. They were listed as inactive on motion and have stated their recusal upon their return by way of their talk page comments. They are not speaking on behalf of the Arbitration Committee nor as an acting Arbitrator on this matter. They are not prohibited from participating in this community discussion. Equal consideration regarding any perceived or actual conflict of interest, personal involvement, or other, should be evenly applied to all editors participating in these types of discussion. No editor, regardless of their affiliation or past history with TRM, either in the positive or the negative, has been discouraged from participating in this discussion. I don't believe it is in anyone's interest to set this precedent with the implications being what they may. Discussions here should remain on-topic and abide by the standard expectations of all editors. Mkdw talk 06:07, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Ombudsman request

Apparently Arbcom have made their own request to the Ombudsman to review this situation. Of course, Arbcom have failed to tell us how they made such a request. Nor have we any feedback on the response. In particular I'd like to understand how we accept that Arbs who provide links to rev-del'ed material off-wiki are to be trusted, and how the committee can conduct its purpose ("arbitration") by preventing those they convict from seeing all evidence used to convict them. There are many other issues, but those are the most important at this time. The community awaits answers. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:16, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

The Arbitration Committee did not request feedback from the ombudsman acting on behalf of the community or you. Considering the Arbitration Committee would be the ones investigated, it would make no sense for us to do so, nor would I expect the community or you to believe this to be a reasonable course of action. The Committee voluntarily provided a statement based upon the complaint made here and included information and explanations we deemed relevant. No statements or implications were made that it was done on your behalf, and certainly not communicated to you that what was sent somehow replaced or unburdened you from filing your own complaint. It would stand to reason that if you wish for your particular point of view to be heard then you should be communicating it along with any supporting evidence to the commission. Finally, ombudsman commission investigations do not occur publicly because they inherently deal with confidential information. There should be no expectations that it would be done otherwise -- there would be no point on having confidentiality if any sort of audit or appeal process required full details to be publicly disclosure on private and personal information. Mkdw talk 21:56, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Okay, so what you're saying is that we should submit our own complaint, so that it doesn't have the bias presented by your committee, and so we can actually see the results of the complaint. I understand. Of course, the abuse of position by the Arb who has oversight capacity yet pointed me to rev-del'ed material is not "confidential" in any way. So let's hear about that please. Or is it preferable for me to initiate a topic at WP:ANI to discuss this more openly? The Rambling Man (talk) 22:06, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
The Ombudsmen are the ones who handle complaints about mishandling of private information, so I imagine if you take it to ANI, you'll get the same suggestion there: to file a complaint with them if you think they need more information to consider the case. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:15, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Sure, the advantage of taking it to ANI is that the audience is about 1000 times larger so we get more eyes on your incompetence and covering up. We'll see how it goes, but this isn't about "handling private information", that's just a red herring, this is about the incompetence and actual damaging behaviour of Arbcom (e.g. the Arb who points us to rev-del'ed material, despite being an oversighter, e.g. the sanctioning of editors after allowing them to see a tiny proportion of the evidence they were convicted for). It's time to accept that your group made several serious mistakes, and that one or two of you at least need to consider your position. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:20, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Just to clarify, are you saying the Ombudsman isn't interested in the fact that one of Arbcom happily supplies editors with places to find rev-del'ed material? Can you be clear on this please? The community probably need to know that people who are trusted with "oversight" privileges don't just email people with how to find that material off-wiki, right? The Rambling Man (talk) 22:23, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
What? I said that the Ombudsmen are the ones who handle such complaints. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:24, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
So when do we hear back from the Ombudsmen on-wiki about such an abuse of position by this Arb? And when do we get to hear back about the abuse you have conducted with all the secret evidence used to "convict" me? The Rambling Man (talk) 22:31, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
m:Ombudsman commission#Processing/Reporting GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:34, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Ok, so it looks like we need to take this to ANI and give the community the bigger picture. Thanks Molly. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:45, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict × 6) The entire basis for involving the ombudsman commission is to specifically have them review this issue. A major complaint you have had throughout this process is the ability to review evidence, which in this case, involves rev-del material. I do not think you are suggesting that there be an investigation without reviewing the evidence? Mkdw talk 22:28, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
No, don't dare tell me what my major complaint is. I will formulate that myself. I suggest that given the previous behaviour of your group, there is nothing forthcoming, just another coverup. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:31, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
In fact, that's actually fiction. Every single element of "evidence" is available on-wiki, the only thing that isn't is the rev-del'ed material which your fellow oversighting Arb pointed me towards. If you believe my "major complaint" involves "rev-del material" you are sadly, and incompetently mistaken. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:33, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You have asked for clarity from the Committee at several stages during this discussion. I have always replied to you cordially while observing a level of decorum expected. I expect for you to do the same. I said, a major complaint, not the or only major complaint. I am explaining what I understand to be the facts of this discussion. If I am wrong about the issue of evidence, especially regarding the ability to review it such as by the public, then in turn, I ask you for clarification. Mkdw talk 22:38, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
What clarification do you need? Every single iota of evidence in this case is available on wiki beside the rev-del'ed post that your colleague was happy to point me to off-wiki. The "major complaint" is not about the rev-del material, that's part of the story, just the one item, but it's the not rev-del'ed material, and the threats from your colleagues that mentioning on-wiki diffs which are benign and in no way relate to any one individual. That's the major problem. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:43, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
"A major complaint" not "the major complaint". It's important to be accurate about what's being said because the difference in meaning between the two can lead to confusion. I would not have characterized what I pointed to as being the top complaint but a major one. You said, "that's part of the story", which seems consistent with what I was saying. Mkdw talk 23:02, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, Mkdw, but is this the point that Arbcom are actually communicating with me and trying to understand what's going on? I've dealt with your colleague who happily points me to oversighted material off-wiki, and I've dealt with GW who is keen to help, but..... So what now? You're going to help with the fact that I've been threatened with sanctions for discussing this off-wiki? That other editors will be subject (and have been) to censorship when making simple requests? Apparently, per GW, I'm not allowed to discuss any of the diffs relating to this issue, despite every single diff being still visible on Wikipedia. Are you going to actually work with me to discuss this issue or am I wasting my time once again, just as I did with GW who claimed that I couldn't even share the diff that was an update to my user page. Which is still there. Yet it was part of the evidence used to convict me? In private? The Rambling Man (talk) 23:09, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Other party comments

Is there a reason that Arbcom have refused to answer the various questions from other individuals here, e.g. comments from EdChem, Everyking, Only in death, Hullaballoo Wolfowitz, Dweller, Carcharoth, Mr Ernie... most of them do not rely on "secret" information (which is all available on wiki or ask Euryalus for pointers on how to find rev-del'ed material). In the meantime, one Arb (Ks0stm has suggested that if I don't like this ruling, I should "retire" (great arbitration work there!), and admins individuals like Softlavender making personal attacks without any substantiation (and without any kind of reproach from other admins or Arbs) that I have allegedly been "constantly creating drama by your uncalled-for resentful self-involved sniping for the past eight months ". This kind of nonsense, unsubstantiated personal attack is precisely part of the problem here. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:00, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Let's be clear here: I said if you genuinely feel like Wikipedia is a "dictatorship" or "terror regime", you don't have to stay. Ks0stm (TCGE) 22:04, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Let's be clear here, I already stated otherwise, it's Arbcom that works as a dictatorship and a terror regime. You should retire, and so should the rest of your gang. Suggesting I should retire because I don't like the way you and your cronies have conducted such a kangaroo court is despicable behaviour and you should consider your own position for making such a suggestion. Please note that others have questioned your "approach" here, you really need to think again before repeating your mistakes. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:08, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
You said, and I quote, "Where on planet earth do you see people convicted based on secret evidence that not even the defendant is allowed to address prior to conviction? I suppose dictatorships, terror regimes etc, right?". You were sanctioned on the English Wikipedia, so one could assume that your implication is that the English Wikipedia is a dictatorship or terror regime. To the best of my knowledge ArbCom do not control the English Wikipedia. So unless you're making the claim that I'm wrong and ArbCom actually are dictators/rulers over the English Wikipedia (in which case I apologize for misunderstanding), I'm saying if you genuinely feel that Wikipedia is a dictatorship or terror regime (or even run by one), you're free to leave this oppressive dictator terrorist regime whenever you feel like. Ks0stm (TCGE) 22:23, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
I think you're missing the point entirely. This relates to the obscure and ill-advised behaviour of your little group. I have been prevented from discussing diffs that are still freely available on-wiki. I have been told that discussing those off-wiki may result in sanctions. It's like the Stasi all over again. I do not feel Wikipedia is like this, I feel Arbcom is like this. As I've said three or four times. So please, stop misrepresenting me, it's not about Wikipedia, it's about Arbcom. (P.S. You and Arbcom don't "run" Wikipedia, far from it). Do you understand? The Rambling Man (talk) 22:26, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Not really, but I'll play along for giggles. If ArbCom don't run Wikipedia, what exactly do we "control" with our dictating and terrorism if not the English Wikipedia (that is, if ArbCom are dictator, what's the dictatorship, if not the English Wikipedia)? And how would you still not be able to remove yourself from the jurisdiction of the onerous oppression at any time you want. Ks0stm (TCGE) 22:35, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Patronising, belittling, just what we now come to expect from Arbcom. It'd be far more profitable to remove you and your companions than for me to retire. Your behaviour in particular has been astonishingly poor, but I guess when you're desperate to justify your existence in the project, that's to be expected. Now, if you can't actually help with the issues at hand, I suggest you go back to doing whatever you do and we'll carry on trying to debate whether Arbcom should encourage their own members to reveal rev-del'ed material to editors, etc. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:40, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
"Your behaviour in particular has been astonishingly poor" I'm sorry you think so, but then, I think your behavior has been astonishingly poor. "go back to doing whatever you do" Well I'm doing this, aren't I? Maybe tomorrow I'll work on an article, block some socks the next, and maybe next Tuesday I'll do more arbitration work. The beauty of Wikipedia is you can contribute in just about any area you'd like. "desperate to justify your existence in the project" I don't feel like I have to justify being here to anyone. I'm here because I enjoy editing Wikipedia. Why are you here? I'd suspect it's because, at one point or another (possibly even now), the same was true for you. Ks0stm (TCGE) 22:48, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, that doesn't apply to you, you're acting as "Arbcom" so your plaintive cries about ground-level editing are irrelevant. You are part of the problem here right now. If you even cared for a moment, you'd note that I make several mainspace edits a day in order to maintain quality. I enjoy Wikipedia, but I loathe dealing with your enclave, it's proven itself to be unbalanced, divisive, and worthy of sanction. That you happily promote the exposure of rev-del'ed material by one of your cohorts is truly revealing. This will be a major issue. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:53, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Getting back to the main point of this section, the questions from the above editors need resolution. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:59, 8 June 2017 (UTC) ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"you're acting as "Arbcom"" Actually, no I'm not. I'm recused on this matter and commenting here as an ordinary member of the community. If you've noticed that I haven't commented on what you feel are the primary issues in this situation, like the rev-del issue or availability of evidence, that's why. As for maintaining quality of the encyclopedia, I highly regard your mainspace contributions, and I don't think it's in question that you are a highly valuable content contributor. For my part, though, writing has never been a strong suit of mine (in real life as well as here), so I tend to maintain content quality more via the administrative side and vandal fighting, rather than the content production side. Ks0stm (TCGE) 23:04, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

So as an ordinary member of the community you're suggesting I retire? You don't get it. There's a huge problem with Arbcom's handing of this case, so as an "ordinary member of the community" you should be shocked by the way this has been conducted. I look forward to you helping investigate why some of your membership reveal rev-del'ed material, for instance, and why some of your membership happily convict people on "hidden evidence". The Rambling Man (talk) 23:12, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
The simple answers to those are: "investigate why some of your membership reveal rev-del'ed material" There really is no appropriate place for such an investigation other than Ombuds. I really do recommend that if you want them to investigate, you should also send them a request and evidence, in addition to that which has already been sent. They will investigate and send the results to you once they complete an investigation. "why some of your membership happily convict people on "hidden evidence"" Each arbitrator does their own research on the issues at hand in any given situation. Accordingly, you'd have to ask each individual arbitrator who voted why they voted the way they did. I can't speak for the diffs you were or were not provided; since I was recused, I didn't pay close attention to goings-on related to this matter. Ks0stm (TCGE) 23:19, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
No, not at all, the simple answer is that we'll take this to the community. You arbs who all supported such subversive behaviour will be re-examined. We don't need an ombudsman to discuss the fact that one of your members divulged oversighted material to me and not one single one of you did anything about it. You're in this together, and you're all tarred. No trust left here, and we'll take it to ANI to make sure everyone gets to see it. The Rambling Man (talk) 23:37, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't know why I try. I had hoped that as a recused arbitrator you might be more willing to listen when I try to explain it to you. I see that I was mistaken. It's clear you are trying to make a point, and are acting in bad faith and not purely in the interests of the community. I'm really, truly sorry if you hold a grudge over being desysopped and now interaction banned from Bishonen, but this is not the way to address either of those sactions. You know how to appeal either sanction if you so choose. This is not the demeanor that I would expect from someone who was once one of the most esteemed members of the community. You owe me no favors, but as a personal request, please, pull yourself together and behave like the esteemed community member we all know you can be, because this conduct is beneath you, and the encyclopedia suffers for it. I personally have strong faith that you are capable of rising above this and addressing the rest of your concerns in a much more diplomatic, less battleground manner, and the encyclopedia would reap profound rewards if you were to do so. The question is whether you will choose to do so, or whether you will continue to carry a chip on your shoulder to the detriment of the encyclopedia. Ks0stm (TCGE) 23:58, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
No, sorry, that's all very nice, but you need to realise that you and your colleagues are actively supporting the abuse of editors. That conduct is way below what is expected from such elected individuals, and you are making a mockery of what Wikipedia and Arbcom are supposed to represent. I reject your request to "pull myself together", I'm just fine, as is evidenced by my ongoing commitment to the project. What I cannot commit to is the abuse that Arbcom has sanctioned, that protection that Arbcom has given to the wrong people, the abuse that Arbcom members actively engage in. I make more positive contributions to this project in one day than all of Arbcom manage in one month, don't pretend to threaten me, that's sadly humiliating for you and your team. As soon as you and your team admit to the shortcomings that are evident in this case, the sooner we can move on. For one, I'd like to understand how you can all sanction the exposure of rev-del'ed material by an oversighter. I have nothing to prove to Arbcom, my contribution to the encyclopedia is way beyond your remit. Trying to claim otherwise is pathetic. PS, I resigned, PS I can't talk about that individual (as you know), PS the moment you and your colleagues stop protecting super-admins is the moment we get back on the straight-and-narrow. The Rambling Man (talk) 00:07, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
William Shatner.jpg
You have been responded to with a smiling actor. Hopefully this will assist you in lightening up. This notice is intended to be humorous and not to be construed as an attack. Ks0stm (TCGE) 00:14, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Brilliant, well done Arbcom, another insightful answer to a serious situation where your own committee members expose rev-del'ed material! Brilliant and funny at the same time!! The Rambling Man (talk) 00:18, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Good, cause that banner's the only one I've got. Face-tongue.svg Seriously, though, since I'm recused on this, you'll have to talk to other arbs about your concerns related to this incident. If you have general questions for me that don't pertain to this situation, I'm happy to hear them, but I won't say anything about the specifics of your sanction or the process by which it was imposed. Ks0stm (TCGE) 00:26, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Great, so now stop then, because as a member of Arbcom, you are sanctioning the behaviour of your colleagues, one of whom has exposed rev-del'ed material to the general public. Hopefully we can soon rid Arbcom of such individuals and those who sanction such behaviour. The Rambling Man (talk) 00:28, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
I think we've answered the questions here to the best extent we can, though I suppose I could have missed something in what is now a giant page. It looks like this discussion has largely devolved to arguing over he difference between "a" and "the", and trying to decide who is being more patronising and belittling. We've referred the question about handling private information to the ombudsmen, and we've informed you how to appeal your interaction ban if you like. At this point I'm going to go do something more useful with my time; I certainly have no interest in continuing to be compared to a group of people who inflicted inescapable torture and terror. GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:18, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not surprised that you are cutting and leaving, after all you are one of those who have sanctioned the behaviour of your colleague who points editors to rev-del'ed material off-wiki. That's really bad news for Arbcom, that you have all sanctioned the explicit exposure of oversighted material via email. I hope that you realise the damage this causes to Wikipedia. GW, you need to start explaining how this whole sorry saga was conducted by bringing secret evidence (all of which is available on-wiki) without allowing me a chance to respond to it. Kangaroo court. The Rambling Man (talk) 23:22, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Just to be clear, you have not answered the questions to the best extent you can. You need to start working on how to explain the censorship, the chilling effect you have had on my ability to even just link diffs, your protection of abusive admins, your collective sanctioning of exposure of rev-del'ed material. You can't just stop this right now, because you want to, it continues. The comparison is valid, you are trying to oversight this discussion, just as the Stasi would have done. You'll use it as an excuse to close it down, but it won't stop there. The Rambling Man (talk) 23:25, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Referring the issue to the correct people who can review it is a far cry from sanctioning it. I am expected to respond to inquiries about arbitration matters, which I have done at length here. I am not required to respond indefinitely, nor will I. GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:26, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
That's fine, just to let you know that I will be bringing this entire situation at ANI in a few days time, to include your and Euryalus' abuse of position. That you sanction the exposure of rev-del'ed material is despicable and you and your colleagues will need to answer for that. And that's just the start. The Rambling Man (talk) 23:31, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

"Love it or leave it", which is what Ks0stm's comments amount to, is not at all an appropriate response to criticism of an ArbCom decision or ArbCom practices. People who are in positions of power ought to have a healthy respect for differing opinions. Ks0stm, why are you responding to comments about "dictatorship" with comments that suggest an authoritarian mentality? Nothing could better illustrate TRM's point. Everyking (talk) 23:45, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

@Everyking: I suppose I've communicated an incomplete set of options here. I suppose there's always the option of staying within the domain and attempting to reform it from within. From what I know, however, most vocal critics of modern dictatorships tend to be ex-pats or defectors, and thus why I naturally broke the choice into, as you put it, "love it or leave it" (though that's not really what I meant to be the takeaway) without the "attempt to reform from within". Ks0stm (TCGE) 00:09, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
No, as an Arbcom member, suggesting that I should put up or shut up is inappropriate, just like your colleague who happily exposes rev-del'ed material. The Rambling Man (talk) 00:11, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

I am curious to know why ArbCom has decided to refer the matter to the ombudsmen. ArbCom has the power to remove the rights from the individual in question without involving them. --Rschen7754 00:21, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

" remove the rights from the individual in question without involving them" which individual? Do you mean Euryalus who supplied all the rev-del'ed material? The Rambling Man (talk) 00:23, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

I am recused in disputes to which The Rambling Man is a party, because of an entirely unrelated series of disagreements that he and I have had over the past year or two. Therefore, I did not vote on the interaction ban under discussion here, and I have not previously commented on it on this page. I will also mention, as background information for those who may not be aware of it, that despite my current and prior service on the Arbitration Committee, I have not hesitated to express disagreement with the majority of arbitrators when I have felt it. In fact, for what it's worth, I have probably cast more solo dissenting votes against majority findings and remedies than all the other arbitrators who have ever served put together. I do not follow any sort of party line, nor do I automatically assume that anything the ArbCom does is automatically right, any more than that it is automatically wrong.

That said, I am aware of the reasons that led to the interaction ban imposed in this case. Although I'd intended to continue to remain silent, in view of the several threats to further escalate public discussion of this matter, I feel that I can no longer do so. It is my considered opinion that the Committee's decision to impose this interaction ban on The Rambling Man was an appropriate, reasonable, proportionate, necessary, and well-intentioned action. I also agree with the unanimous view of the voting arbitrators that because private information is involved, the reasons for the action cannot be set forth on this webpage, which can be read by any member of the general public, or on any other page of Wikipedia.

As several others have said on this page, the ArbCom's ability to say "we are taking this action but cannot explain why" must not be misused or used profligately—but there are reasons that this ability exists, and those reasons apply here. Editors who have opposed the Committee's decision on-wiki without knowing the reasons for the decision should, in this instance, reconsider their doing so. Any editors who have opposed the Committee's decision on-wiki while knowing all the reasons for it, thereby giving unnecessary publicity to a dispute involving deeply private matters, are acting recklessly at best and need to immediately stop doing so. Newyorkbrad (talk) 02:01, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

No Brad, this has gone way beyond that now, not only are Arbcom hiding behind just a tiny portion of the story, they are doing so incompetently and abusively. The community should be encouraged to discuss this as fully as possible, not be urged to be silent. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:22, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

I took a nice break from this discussion, and even got a refreshing amount of work done with the time I freed up! So you can believe me when I say I don't want to kick off another interminable discussion; hopefully this is a yes or no question. We've discussed this sanction at length here, and you've been unwilling to accept the Arbitration Committee's decision, or appeal to the Arbitration Committee, or (as it seems to me) accept any future decision of the Ombudsmen on what was brought to their attention. If you do bring this issue to ANI, will you accept the result? GorillaWarfare (talk) 07:37, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

It strikes me that if an Arbcom-imposed decision were unfair or misguided (which I do believe is the case here), having the only available appeal be to the same body who imposed the sanction seems unlikely to ever bear fruit. Perhaps it is time for the community to consider imposing its own BASC-like committee to review sanctions that, for whatever reason, cannot be appealed to the community at large. The WordsmithTalk to me 18:26, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Oppose We don't need more bueracracy - let's get real, this is a web-site. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:48, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Oppose per Alanscottwalker. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:00, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
Why are there votes here? Wordsmith didn't just put forth a formal proposal. "Perhaps" is an invitation to discussion. Capeo (talk) 02:44, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
It is discussion, and they are not votes. --Tryptofish (talk) 02:00, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Nope, that's a vote. How odd. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:14, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
(ec)Yes, in that time I took two articles to FLC quality and two DYKs. We don't know what the Ombudsmen will say, so that needs to be published before any further action is taken against you all. And of course, no I will not accept the result, for the various reasons that not just me, but a number of other editors have raised above. Provided a subset of evidence to defend? Provided with rev-del'ed material by an oversighting Arb? Prevented from discussing (or even using) diffs which are all on wiki? No, we'll wait for you all to start answering the questions of the community here, then from the Ombudsmen, and then we can decide how to proceed. After all, most sensible Wikpiedians do not spend their time lurking around this circus, so it's essential that these issues and all the others that need to be discussed and resolved are brought to a much wider community. Have a great weekend! The Rambling Man (talk) 18:32, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant will you accept the result of the ANI discussion? Have a great weekend also! GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:18, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Time will tell. In the meantime, please encourage your comrades to respond to the various queries raised by all the other concerned editors on this page. Cheers! The Rambling Man (talk) 19:39, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Hello GorillaWarfare, you've had a couple of days now, as a contingent, to respond to the rest of the queries here made by several other members of the community, some of it relates to your holding back evidence, some of it relates to the fact that nothing has actually been revealed on wiki that isn't still there, apart from the information one of your colleagues (with oversight privilege) was happy to point me to off-wiki. Do you think Arbcom have conducted this case satisfactorily? Do you believe that, despite evidence to the contrary, that any of the diffs you chose to interpret as being "disruptive" were in any way inaccurate? Could you ask your colleagues to gather together all diffs they used to "convict" me so that I can see the superset? It will be needed in the coming days when this is debated without Arbcom's "oversight". The Rambling Man (talk) 20:21, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
  • TRM, I am not an admin. I told you as much several times. Please stop calling me one. Softlavender (talk) 15:30, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
    I don't recall doing this here, but there is a lot of unanswered text here. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:30, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
    admins like Softlavender - Ctrl+F is your friend. ―Mandruss  20:14, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
    Aha, I don't have a control key, but that works. Duly struck. Doesn't make the unsubstantiated, fallacious and damaging claim any more true though. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:24, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

The Rambling Man, since you have pinged me, I'll make a couple of brief comments:

  • I think the process that led to your iBAN looks flawed. I understand the argument put by GorillaWarfare and others about investigating individually, but not putting the findings or concerns to you is a flawed and unfair approach. It appears to be a standard approach, which I find disturbing and disappointing. However, the chances of that being discussed or addressed here is essentially zero.
  • Even with a flawed process, the conclusion may still be correct and the comments here (including from NYB) suggest the Arbitrators collectively are in no doubt as to their conclusions, in which case IAR is always available for disregarding issues of process. Whether IAR should be available for invocation is a separate issue.
  • Your own actions here are not helping to present yourself as a rational editor with a complaint worth considering. In fact, if someone sought to portray himself as obsessive and seeking to harangue ArbCom members in a somewhat incoherent fashion, your own actions in this thread would be a suitable model. I suggest that the editors who have commented and since gone quiet may have formed the view that whatever chance for a productive discussion of their (our?) concerns has gone.
  • I don't feel that my concerns have really been addressed, but if I was to pursue that further I would do so by a one-on-one discussion (most likely at a user talk page) as this thread has gone off the rails. EdChem (talk) 04:06, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
    I guess it's easy to remain calm when it's not you that's on the end of such treatment. The Rambling Man (talk) 04:37, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
    TRM, I can't disagree with that. I recognise that you are understandably upset and stressed, that being sanctioned by a process with obvious problems that ArbCom either can't see or won't admit to feels unfair, and that you are very frustrated. In fact, I'm sure that I am understating the experience from your perspective as I can only guess at how you truly feel. I admit that I am glad to not be placed in your situation, and I also admit that I don't know how I would respond in your place. What I can do is try to provide you with some feedback on how the situation looks from the outside, and I am sorry to say that my view is that your response is not advancing the discussion in an effective way. I am disappointed at the responses some of my comments / questions received. I imagine that you are feeling isolated and alone, and I am sad that the support you have received has waned. It is much easier for outsiders to decide to disengage and look to addressing ArbCom issues in future cases when they / we do not have to live with the sanctions... but the discussion as it has evolved has become one where contributing appears somewhat futile. EdChem (talk) 12:01, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
    Yes, the very feelings that I'm trying to ensure these people don't make others experience. Thanks Ed. The Rambling Man (talk) 12:45, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Ombudsman request in focus

(nothing forthcoming from the above)

Apparently Arbcom made a request of the Ombudsman to review this situation. This appeared to be in light of a suggestion made to me on this page, yet a member of Arbcom jumped in and made such a request. Currently we have no visibility at all of the content of the request, i.e. what does it cover, what information was provided at the time of the request, and actually, the fact that it was submitted by the individual who appears to have crossed the most lines here, I'm not at all satisfied that we have a clear and visible appeal process going on. Can Arbcom please supply here the full details of the request, and clearly can we see the full details of the response. I'm not interested in edited versions of either, we need, as a community, to see it all, otherwise I see little value in the Arbcom's approach here. Or maybe it was just to get a jump on a real appeal to the Ombudsman relating to the various infractions of the committee during this case. Either way, we all deserve to be told what has been requested of the Ombudsman and all responses. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:50, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

TRM, above you have said that you "will not accept the result" of the Ombudsman commission finding. The Committee filed the request with the Ombudsman commission to ensure an abundance of caution on our part. Again, as I explained above, we filed on behalf of ourselves and not you or the community. Any concerns regarding the rev-del issue and disclosure should be brought forward by invested parties to the Ombudsman commission. If you wish for their investigation to be done publicly then you will need to address that issue with them. On the issue of disclosure, our request included information we deemed relevant which directly relates to the confidential nature of the ArbCom proceedings. To repeat myself above, Ombudsman commission investigations do not occur publicly because they inherently deal with confidential information. There should be no expectations that it would be done otherwise -- there would be no point on having confidentiality if any sort of audit or appeal process required full details to be publicly disclosure on private and personal information.
Finally, there has been a lot of discussion but you have yet to file an appeal with ArbCom or a complaint request with the Ombudsman commission. Mkdw talk 03:31, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Very well. But how do you know I haven't lodged an appeal with the Ombudsman? Are you given that information as well? The Rambling Man (talk) 04:38, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
We have not received any correspondence from the Ombudsman commission, short of a standard "receipt of request". If you have lodged an appeal with them, they have not informed us. --kelapstick(bainuu) 04:51, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Presumably they need not inform you, especially if one of the focal points is the misbehaviour of one individual. In any case, how can anyone possibly be expected to accept the findings of a secret request to the Ombudsman by a rogue Arb whose secret results will not be shared? What a curious perspective. The Rambling Man (talk) 05:33, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
I haven't the slightest idea if they would or would not inform us. --kelapstick(bainuu) 05:57, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
I can give my own experience with the Ombudsman commission in the past (only based on one case). The process was very slow. I emailed them laying down the facts of the case as I understood them. I didn't hear from them for a week. I emailed them again; they asked me to clarify some things in the request, and informed me that their powers are rather limited. A few more weeks passed; I emailed them again. They said that they had talked to ArbCom to get their view of the case. A few more weeks passed; I emailed them again. They said that they are reviewing the case and thanked me for my patience. Some more time passed. They informed me that they had reviewed the case and that they had upheld ArbCom's decision. I had a couple of more emails back and forth with them about the reasoning behind the request. That was it. The whole matter took about two months. If you are interested, there's a thread on Wikipediocracy where I discuss this in more detail.

Hope this helps. Kingsindian   06:06, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

I looked this up recently - the ombuds keep records of their activity and the length of time it took to close cases; see here. It seems that a fairly long time frame is normal. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:17, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Kingsindian, I guess it's death by a thousand cuts in that regard, make the process so lengthy and vague that eventually no-one ever uses it. We'll need to address the abuse of tools and positions at ANI I suppose, and I'll need to ensure the diffs that I have personally been prevented from referencing are provided by others, to give a complete picture of this situation. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:33, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Close this please

Following a telephone conversation this evening with people closely involved in this, I'd like to close this discussion if at all possible. Nothing has been resolved, the people who were in the wrong are still in the wrong, but it's evident that nothing will come of this while the current climate is enabled and protected by those at the top of this project's feeding pyramid. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:06, 12 June 2017 (UTC)


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
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