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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
< Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost​ | 2012-07-23

← BACK TO CONTENTS

23 July 2012

VIEW LATEST ISSUE

ARBITRATION REPORT

Fæ and Michaeldsuarez banned; Kwamikagami
desysopped; Falun Gong closes with mandated
external reviews and topic bans
By James

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For the second time this year (and the fourth in the history of
the committee), there are no open cases, as all three active
cases were closed last week.

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The case concerning alleged misconduct by Fæ has ended.
For violations of common wikipractice and policies Fæ was indefinitely banned from the English Wikipedia.
Michaeldsuarez was indefinitely banned for his creation of an external attack site targeting Fæ. For his
role in posting undisclosed personal information on an external site, Delicious carbuncle was severely
admonished and warned that should future instances occur, s/he will face sanctions up to and including
an indefinite ban.
Fæ is limited to one account and denied the option of a clean start. If he wishes to change the username
of the one account he may use, he must seek prior permission from the committee. He must make a list of
all previous accounts to the committee for public listing. Should he object to the listing of any of these
accounts, the committee will advise him as to whether or not they should be omitted. Given his resignation
under "controversial circumstances", Fæ must start a new request for adminship should he wish to regain
the tools and must link to the committee's statement during his RfA.
Falun Gong 2
The case concerning behavioural issues related to Ohconfucius, Colipon, and Shrigley has ended.
Homunculus and Ohconfucius are banned for one year and indefinitely, respectively, from the discussion
and editing of topics related to the Falun Gong movement, across all namespaces. Homunculus, Colipon
and Ohconfucius have been placed on mandated external review—in the case of Homunculus and
Ohconfucius, if their ban were overturned—requiring these editors to seek consensus for major edits
beyond grammatical and aesthetic changes. Once consensus has been established, the discussion must
be reviewed by an uninvolved editor, after whose approval these editors may proceed.
Perth
The case concerning wheel-warring on the Perth article, after a contentious requested move discussion,
has ended. For using administrative tools while involved in the dispute and undiscussed reversion of the

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move, Kwamikagami has been desysopped. For reversing a legitimate administrative action without prior
discussion, Deacon of Pndapetzim was admonished; Gnangarra was admonished for reinstating the
reverted decision without discussion. JHunterJ was advised to respond civilly to queries regarding his
conduct and administrative actions.

Motions
Motion on annotating changed usernames in arbitration decisions
Arbitrator Kirill Lokshin has proposed a motion requiring the alteration of any instances of an editor's
previous username in arbitration decisions to reflect their name change(s). Any instances appearing
within the:
enforcement log may be updated by any uninvolved administrator on request;
text of a finding or remedy may be updated by the clerks on request; and
evidence submissions of a case or other preliminary documents may be updated by the clerks with the
committee's prior approval.

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THESE COMMENTS ARE AUTOMATICALLY TRANSCLUDED FROM THIS
ARTICLE'S TALK PAGE. TO FOLLOW COMMENTS, ADD THE PAGE TO YOUR
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TRY PURGING THE CACHE.

It is a sad day when Arbcom so completely get things wrong.
Unless we are to count our blessings that more mistakes have
not been made. We see here good editors banned, and more
de-sysopping. We see in the Perth case a storm in a tea-cup that
almost became a ban-fest, and one of the three admins involved
being picked out. And the Fae case beggars belief. The
committee gives the appearance of siding with a party of
harassers, take no account of the principles of Wikipedia policy,
or of common human decency, assumes an enormous amount of
bad faith and takes powers into its hands to ban a user,
apparently for discussing his case off wiki. Rich Farmbrough,

IN THIS ISSUE
23 JULY 2012
From the editor
Op-ed
Paid editing
News and notes
WikiProject report
Featured content
Arbitration report
Technology report

02:35, 25 July 2012 (UTC).

I'm sorry, I disagree. Arbcom is for resolving conduct issues
that the community cannot solve. Clear-cut "Bad Egg" cases
will generally not need their intervention. So most cases will
involve Good Editors who are accused of having Jekyll and
Hyde aspects, strongly enough to cause discord in the
community.
Arbcom typically does a reasonable job of considering
admonishments and lesser sanctions where possible.
Tougher sanctions - including bans and desysoppings - are
limited to situations where i) there is a pattern of poor
behaviour which is toxic and whose direct as well as indirect
chilling effect cannot be balanced by the fact that the same
user is being helpful elsewhere; ii) there is an unwillingness to
comprehend or admit that certain behaviour was not
acceptable, and therefore a lack of confidence that it won't be
repeated or can be controlled with lesser measures; or iii)
bright line violations that cast real doubt on judgment (and
where some deterrent is needed for the bright line to be
maintained).
At least one of these situations seems to apply in all the
current and other recent major-sanction situations. We can
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all second-guess if they got it exactly right for each Mr. Hyde,
but that's beside the point. Reasonable people will disagree that's why those situations got to Arbcom. But it's telling that
most of the criticism is "...but Mr. Hyde was provoked", or
"someone else was worse", or "but Mr. Hyde is most of the
time sweet and sunny Dr. Jekyll". That misses the point.
Now I do think Arbcom should get better about *explaining*
their rationale holistically. It starts that way, but when
Committee members can't quite agree and cases drag on,
one senses frustration and a desire to move on as soon as
some hodgepodge is cobbled together that every committee
member can live with or no longer cares to argue about.
Some Arbcom members vote to close cases before it's even
quite clear, with all the conditionals and alternatives, what is
the final decision they are voting to close on! Given by this
time cases will have dragged on for weeks anyway, I would
urge arbitrators to take the couple extra days to tie up the
decision in a bow, and in particular polish up the "story" (i.e.,
combined message of the principles, findings, and remedies)
they have voted to adopt, which parts of the community will
then be reading assiduously to reach closure on the whole
unpleasant chapter and/or draw conclusions for appropriate
behaviour in comparable situations. Otherwise, we're left
intuiting this from incomplete information or from the ebb and
flow of the discussion on the proposed decision and talk
pages - and those aren't pretty (any more than the
underlying conflict). Martinp (talk) 14:07, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
As you say "Some Arbcom members vote to close cases
before it's even quite clear, with all the conditionals and
alternatives, what is the final decision they are voting to
close on!" and this is typical of the slapdash manner in
which the cases can be handled. Jclemens even boasts
on his talk page of not being "deliberative", where he also
appeared to offer a "retrial" as an alternative to him
making an apology for accusing an editor of something
they hadn't done. With this kind of unprofessional
approach, it is no wonder that ArbCom consistently come
up with bad decisions, almost to the point where one can
simply reverse the ArbCom decision to come up with the
right one! My historical respect for ArbCom was based on
the amount of work needed to take evidence into
consideration, I am however assured by a sitting Arbitrator
that they do not read the workshop pages, thus rendering
the whole process a waste of time. Moreover, and more
importantly the committee's grasp of policy and good
governance seems sadly lacking, and their understanding
of the human issues nonexistent. Rich Farmbrough, 08:01,
26 July 2012 (UTC).

Rich, I am going to disengage here. I thought this
might be an arena for people to exchange views on
the disposition of a couple of cases that could
materially affect the tone for what is acceptable
interaction on en:wp. But instead we have our own
private echo chamber: my opening salvo was clearly
tl;dr for people, and you seem to be unhappy with
Arbcom in general and seeking venues to broadcast it.
I think you're being unnecessarily strident; I would not
be surprised that you think I have rose-coloured
glasses or worse. Peace. Martinp (talk) 12:11, 26 July
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2012 (UTC)
I agree with Richard in some ways. The burden
placed on ArbCom to act as judges is inhumanly
great. Arbs devote a huge amount of time and
work very hard to give fair rulings, but they are still
volunteers and their time is limited. Serving on the
Arbitration Committee is a great personal sacrifice
and act of community devotion, and even still, the
best efforts of the best arbitrators will not permit
them to accomplish the impossible task of
considering all the evidence put before them in a
short time. An "ideal fairness" in arbitration will
never be achieved; what I do think that they
provide is excellent arbitration in any case and the
best in the circumstances. I also regret when users
who are found to do both desirable and
undesirable work are totally blocked. I wish that
there were a way to accept desirable contributions
and to manage undesirable ones. I support all
users who support the community in resolving
issues outside of ArbCom for the sake of a good
community experience, for the sake of saving the
good contributions of controversial editors, and for
the sake of relieving the burden on ArbCom
members themselves. I would not endorse
Arbitration reform but I do think that the community
could do more to support the Arbitration committee
and dispute resolution processes in general. For
those of you who have not visited in a while, check
out Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard and
also see the new WikiProject Dispute Resolution. I
would direct anyone who wants to talk broadly
about the research into preventing disputes on
Wikipedia to write to User:Steven Zhang, a
Wikimedia Fellow who is exploring the issue. Blue
Rasberry (talk) 12:24, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Blue Rasberry is right that the amount of
work required of an Arbitrator is potentially
extremely large. (I asked three arbitrators at
Wikimania how much time they typically
spend on Arbitration per week, and one
answered me, so I still have no real figures
to base quantitative judgements on.) This
indeed is a good part of the reason that I
have suggested that en banc hearings are
a bad idea as either Arbitrators rely
overmuch on the drafting Arbitrator (which
seems to be the case) or an extremely large
amount of resource is used. (With a large
number of arbitrators both can be true.)
Instead a panel of three or five should
generally be used. The second point, which
I think is very often overlooked, is that the
subjects of the case are involved in a time
commitment an order of magnitude larger with the important distinction that they have
not volunteered for it. This needs a more
nuanced approach to tackle.
Rich Farmbrough, 16:37, 27 July 2012 (UTC).

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"Arbcom is for resolving conduct issues that the community
cannot solve." The Perth drama, however, had ceased within
hours of its commencement and the community, left to itself,
solved the matter without any trouble at all. The move war,
while unfortunate, had absolutely no impact upon this - in
fact, a later RM was more decisive than the original one. It
was my view at the time that it should not have been taken to
ArbCom, it should not have been accepted by ArbCom, and it
should not have resulted in anything more than a slap on the
wrist for all concerned as this would reflect the actual level of
damage done (while emphasising that the behaviour is
discouraged and falls short of the expectations of an admin
on this site). I agreed with the arb who said they would have
no sympathy for second offences, but all of these were "first
offenders" with long, largely (in one case completely)
unblemished records stretching back years, all being
accused of a single moment of misjudgement which none of
them sought to compound after the fact. And as for the Fæ
matter, I agree that that was ridiculous - the sanctions which
passed look like a pile-on, and I'm not convinced with the
evidence provided that the last one should have passed at
all. Orderinchaos 19:18, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
A quick correction - the ArbCom decision states that I posted
"another editor's non-disclosed private information on an
external website". The Signpost uses the phrase "undisclosed
personal information". In fact, the information that I posted was a
publicly available WHOIS record, so I believe the awkward
wording is intended to convey that the information was not
disclosed by Fæ on Wikipedia although it was freely available
information. Also, I prefer to be referred to in gender-neutral
terms. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:34, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Setting aside the controversies of the Fae and Perth case (on
which I have opinions, but don't see productivity in airing them),
I'd like to talk about the Falun Gong remedy of Mandated
External Review. IIRC, Heresfold said that it was meant to be an
alternative to protection or a topic ban, instead placing the
articles under protection with regards to specific editors, and
requiring them to make edit requests. It seems to me to be a tool
that the community should employ more broadly, as it has high
potential success. I think it's ideal for an editor who has
tendentiousness and/or POV issues but is also adding
information that improves the project; restrict them to
contributions that gain consensus, but allow them to contribute
their knowledge and research. This might also be a solution for
paid advocates down the line. - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 19:49, 30
July 2012 (UTC)

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