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Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures

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Contents

Advanced permissions

Use of advanced permissions by AUSC members

Adopted on 11 March 2013
Amended on 4 July 2014
AUSC dissolved on 14 January 2016
Previous text

Audit Subcommittee (AUSC) members are provided with the CheckUser and suppression tools in order to carry out their responsibilities. Historically, community appointees to the AUSC were discouraged from routine or regular use of either tool. Since appropriate procedures exist for excluding arbitrator or community AUSC members from cases in which they may be involved, there is not a compelling reason to continue to prohibit use of the CheckUser or suppression tools.

As such, members of the AUSC are explicitly permitted to use their advanced permissions for non-AUSC-related actions as allowed by the appropriate policies surrounding each permission, as members of the functionaries team. This is without regard to the presence of a backlog or time-sensitive situation.

CheckUser/Oversight permissions and inactivity

Adopted on 30 March 2011
Amended on 11 March 2013
Amended on 30 September 2018

Access to CheckUser and Oversight permissions is given sparingly. The permissions reflect the high trust placed in the holder. They are not granted in perpetuity and holders are expected to use them regularly for the benefit of the project.

Accordingly, the minimum activity level for each tool (based on the preceding three months' activity) shall be five logged actions. Consideration will be given for activity and actions not publicly logged, such as responding to requests on the Checkuser or Oversight OTRS queues; participation on list discussions; activity at Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations; responding to account creation requests; and responding to Checkuser or Oversight requests on administrative noticeboards, UTRS queue, and user talk pages. These activity requirements do not apply to: (a) sitting members of the Arbitration Committee; (b) holders using the permissions for audit purposes; or (c) holders who have temporarily relinquished access, including CheckUsers or Oversighters who accept appointment to the Ombudsman Commission.[1]

Holders of the permissions are also expected to:

  1. Remain active on the English Wikipedia unless they have previously notified the Arbitration Committee of a significant expected absence and its likely duration.
  2. Consider temporarily relinquishing their permission(s) for planned prolonged periods of inactivity.
  3. Reply within seven days to email communications from the Arbitration Committee about their use of the permissions.

Holders who do not comply with the activity and expectation requirements – or who mark their accounts "semi-retired", "retired", or "inactive", or who announce their effective retirement by other means – may have their permissions removed by the Arbitration Committee. Prior to removal of access, two attempts will be made to contact the holder using the email address they provided to the Committee.

Permissions will usually be reinstated on the following bases:

  • Temporarily relinquished permissions will normally be promptly restored provided no issues have arisen in the interim.
  • Permissions removed for unannounced inactivity will normally be restored once (a) a satisfactory explanation for the unannounced inactivity has been given and (b) satisfactory assurances about future activity levels have been received.

Requests for reinstatement for any other reason will be considered on a case by case basis.

Note that Stewards and Wikimedia Foundation staff granted CheckUser and Oversight permissions by the WMF are outside of the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Committee.

Appointment to the Audit Subcommittee

Adopted on 5 April 2011
AUSC dissolved on 14 January 2016
Previous text

A candidate for the Audit Subcommittee will be appointed if:

  1. No serious concerns in relation to privacy violations or other breach of trust have been raised; and
  2. The candidate has been supported by at least 80% of the votes cast.

In the event of there being more candidates meeting this standard than there are vacancies, candidates will be ranked by percentage of support. If this still results in a tie for the last available place(s), the number of support votes will be used to break the tie. If this does not break the tie, a runoff election will be held.

The fourth ranked candidate passing criteria (1) and (2) will remain an alternate, to be appointed if one of the appointed candidates retires before the end of his/her term.

Auditing

Adopted on 19 April 2009
AUSC dissolved on 14 January 2016

The procedure for handling complaints related to CheckUser or Oversight use is as follows:

  1. The Arbitration Committee shall investigate the matter and determine whether any breach of applicable Wikimedia Foundation or English Wikipedia policies took place.
    • The committee shall be responsible for requesting statements, documents, and any other material of interest to the investigation.
    • During the investigation, the committee should keep the complainant and the subject of the complaint informed of its progress and expected date of completion.
    • The committee shall provide the subject of the complaint with a reasonable opportunity to respond to any concerns raised.
  2. Within a reasonable time of a complaint having been referred to it, the committee shall decide the matter. The committee may determine what constitutes a reasonable time for this purpose, which should not be less than one week, nor more than three weeks.
    • The committee shall determine findings by majority vote. Members of the committee disagreeing with the majority findings may attach dissenting views.
  3. The committee shall determine what further action, if any, is to be taken in the matter. At a minimum:
    • The committee shall distribute copies of the final report to the subject of the complaint and the complainant, unless doing so would substantially jeopardize the security of the project.
    • If the committee report indicates that a breach of Wikimedia Foundation policy occurred, the committee shall forward the report to the Foundation Ombudsman Commission for review.
    • The committee shall announce the results of the investigation on-wiki in as much detail as is permitted by the relevant policies.

An arbitrator's service as an auditor is part of their official service as an arbitrator, and therefore shall not constitute grounds for recusal in a subsequent matter involving the complainant or the subject of the complaint.

Removal of permissions

Adopted on 23 April 2009

When an account with advanced permissions appears to be harming the project, the Committee may authorize expedient removal of these permissions via the procedures below. If the account in question has multiple sets of advanced permissions, removal will generally apply to all of them.

The use of these procedures by the Committee is not intended to constrain the authority of the Wikimedia Stewards to undertake emergency removal of permissions on their own discretion, pursuant to the relevant policies governing Steward actions.

Level I procedures

Level I procedures may be used if (a) an account appears to be obviously compromised, or is intentionally and actively using advanced permissions to cause harm in a rapid or apparently planned fashion, or (b) multiple accounts are actively wheel-warring.

The procedure for removal of permissions is as follows:

  1. An arbitrator, on becoming aware of the situation, will send a message to arbcom-en (a) stating the name of the account, (b) briefly describing the issue, providing examples of inappropriate conduct, (c) recommending removal of permissions, and (d) specifying why removal should occur under Level I procedures.
  2. Any available arbitrators will respond using whatever communication medium is available, and will update the thread on arbcom-en to keep the remainder of the Committee informed.
  3. A request for removal of advanced permissions may be made when three or more arbitrators agree that a situation warranting the use of Level I procedures exists, and that removal of permissions is required, with no dissenting opinions from other arbitrators.
  4. Once removal has been approved, an arbitrator will (a) directly request removal from a bureaucrat, or steward if necessary, (b) make a formal statement on the bureaucrat noticeboard or Meta-Wiki permissions page as appropriate, to confirm that the request is based on the authority of the Committee, and (c) post a notice to the Committee's noticeboard, the administrators' noticeboard, and the user's talk page, including a brief explanation of the reason for removal and the names of the arbitrators who authorized it.
Level II procedures

Level II procedures may be used if (a) the account's behavior is inconsistent with the level of trust required for its associated advanced permissions, and (b) no satisfactory explanation is forthcoming.

The procedure for removal of permissions is as follows:

  1. The initiating arbitrator will (a) leave a message on the account's talk page, asking the account to contact arbcom-en, and (b) send a similar message to the account by Wikipedia e-mail, if enabled.
  2. The initiating arbitrator will then send a message to arbcom-en (a) stating the name of the account, (b) briefly describing the issue, providing examples of inappropriate conduct, and (c) recommending removal of permissions.
  3. The Committee will then schedule deliberations on the matter.
  4. A request for removal of advanced permissions may be made once a motion to do so has been endorsed by a majority of active arbitrators.
  5. Once removal has been approved, an arbitrator will post a notice, including the text of the motion and the names of arbitrators endorsing it, to the bureaucrat noticeboard or Meta-Wiki permissions page as appropriate, the Committee's noticeboard, the administrators' noticeboard, and the user's talk page.
Return of permissions

Removal is protective, intended to prevent harm to the encyclopedia while investigations take place, and the advanced permissions will normally be reinstated once a satisfactory explanation is provided or the issues are satisfactorily resolved. If the editor in question requests it, or if the Committee determines that a routine reinstatement of permissions is not appropriate, normal arbitration proceedings shall be opened to examine the removal of permissions and any surrounding circumstances.

Arbitration proceedings

Expectation of prior dispute resolution

Adopted on 17 April 2011

The Committee usually expects editors to have exhausted the previous steps in the dispute resolution process before proceeding to arbitration. Exceptions include cases:

  1. Where the case involves allegations of administrator misconduct or an unusually divisive dispute among administrators;
  2. Where there has already been extensive discussion with wide community participation; or
  3. Where there is good reason to believe that engaging in the earlier steps of the dispute resolution process would not be productive.

Opening of proceedings

Adopted on 17 April 2011
Amended on 21 October 2012

A request will proceed to arbitration if it meets all of the following criteria:

  1. Its acceptance has been supported by either of (i) four net votes or (ii) an absolute majority of active, non-recused arbitrators;
  2. More than 24 hours have elapsed since the request came to satisfy the above provision; and
  3. More than 48 hours have elapsed since the request was filed.

A proceeding may be opened earlier, waiving provisions 2 and 3 above, if a majority of arbitrators support fast-track opening in their acceptance votes.

Once the Committee has accepted a request, a clerk will create the applicable case pages, and give the proceeding a working title. The title is for ease of identification only and may be changed by the Committee at any time. The Committee will designate one or more arbitrators to draft the case, to ensure it progresses, and to act as designated point of contact for any matters arising.

Target timetable for proceedings

Adopted on 10 April 2011

To expedite case handling, the target times are as follows:

  1. The evidence phase lasts two weeks from the date of the case pages opening;
  2. The workshop phase ends one week after the evidence phase closes;
  3. The proposed decision is finalised within one week of the workshop phase closing.

The target times may be lengthened or shortened by initiative of the Committee, at the discretion of the drafting arbitrator(s), or at the request of one of the parties.

Expectation of participation in proceedings

Adopted on 17 April 2011

Editors named as parties to an arbitration case, and duly notified of it, are expected to participate in the proceeding. Any editor named as a party to a case, or whose conduct otherwise comes under scrutiny during the course of a case, will be notified of this by the Committee or its clerks, and, except in exceptional circumstances, will be given a minimum of seven days to respond, calculated from the date the case opened or the date on which they are notified, whichever is later.

If a party fails to respond within a reasonable time of being notified, or explicitly refuses to participate in the case, or leaves Wikipedia just before or during the proceedings, the Committee may, at its discretion: (i) dismiss the case either in its entirety or only insofar as that party is concerned; (ii) suspend the case; (iii) continue the case regardless; or (iv) close the case by motion.

Actions by parties to a proceeding

Adopted on 17 April 2011

If an administrator who is a party to a case resigns their permissions just before or during the case affecting them, they are not entitled to reinstatement under standard resysopping procedures, but are required, unless otherwise directed by the Committee, to submit a new request for adminship.

Submission of evidence

Adopted on 28 May 2012

Submissions of evidence are expected to be succinct and to the point. By default, submissions are limited to about 1000 words and about 100 difference links for named parties, and to about 500 words and about 50 difference links for all other editors. Editors wishing to submit evidence longer than the default limits are expected to obtain the approval of the drafting arbitrator(s) via a request on the /Evidence talk page prior to posting it.

Submissions must be posted on the case /Evidence pages; submission of evidence via sub-pages in userspace is prohibited. Unapproved over-length submissions, and submissions of inappropriate material and/or links, may be removed, refactored, or redacted at the discretion of the clerks and/or the Committee.

Elements of a decision

Adopted on 2 June 2012

For standard hearings, decisions are posted in the form of "Principles", "Findings of Fact", "Remedies" and "Enforcement".

Principles highlight key provisions of policy, procedure, or community practice which are relevant to the dispute under consideration; and, where appropriate, include the Committee's interpretation of such provisions in the context of the dispute.

Findings of fact summarize the key elements of the parties' conduct in the dispute under consideration. Difference links may be incorporated but are purely illustrative in nature unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Remedies specify the actions ordered by the Committee to resolve the dispute under consideration. Remedies may include both enforceable provisions (such as edit restrictions or bans) and non-enforceable provisions (such as cautions, reminders, or admonitions), and may apply to individual parties, to groups of parties collectively, or to all editors engaged in a specific type of conduct or working in a specific area.

Enforcement contains instructions to the administrators responsible for arbitration enforcement, describing the procedure to be followed in the event that an editor subject to a remedy violates the terms of that remedy. Enforcement provisions may be omitted in decisions that contain no independently enforceable remedies.

Voting on proposed decisions

Adopted on 17 April 2011
Amended on 2 June 2012

Proposed decisions will be posted with a separate vote for each provision. Where several substantive matters are combined in a single provision, they will be split into separate provisions for voting at the request of any arbitrator.

The final decision will consist of all proposed provisions which were passed by an absolute majority.

Motions to close

Adopted on 17 April 2011

Once voting on a proposed decision appears to have ended, an arbitrator will move to close the case. To be adopted, a motion to close requires the support of the lesser of (i) four net votes or (ii) an absolute majority.

A final consideration period of at least 24 hours will usually elapse between the casting of the fourth net vote to close the case and the implementation of any remedies. However, closure may be fast-tracked if (i) all clauses pass unanimously or (ii) there is an absolute majority vote in the motion to do so.

Motions to dismiss

Adopted on 17 April 2011

If, at any time, the Committee determines by an absolute majority that (i) issuing a formal decision serves no useful purpose; (ii) a majority decision is not achievable; or (iii) a case may best be resolved by a single motion rather than a full decision; it may close, dismiss or otherwise resolve the case by motion.

Passing of temporary injunctions

Adopted on 9 April 2004

An injunction is considered to have passed when four or more Arbitrators have voted in favor of it, where a vote in opposition negates a vote in support. A grace period of twenty-four hours is usually observed between the fourth affirmative vote and the enactment of the injunction; however, Arbitrators may, in exceptional circumstances, vote to implement an injunction immediately if four or more Arbitrators express a desire to do so in their votes, or if a majority of Arbitrators active on the case have already voted to support the injunction.

Withdrawn case requests

Adopted on 8 February 2013

If the filing party of a request for an arbitration case withdraws said request, the request may be removed after 24 hours if:

  1. No arbitrator has voted to accept the case; or
  2. There are four net votes to decline the case.

In all other circumstances, the request shall remain open until 24 hours after the above circumstances apply, or until the case can be accepted or declined through the procedures outlined in "Opening of proceedings".

Arbitrator activity and voting

Arbitrator activity

Adopted on 5 April 2011

Arbitrators are presumed active unless they are on a wikibreak, have not participated in arbitration within the past week, or have informed the Committee of their absence. An inactive arbitrator may become active by voting on any aspect of a proceeding. An active arbitrator may become inactive by so stating, in which case their votes will be struck through and discounted.

Unannounced arbitrator absence

Adopted on 5 April 2011

Any arbitrator who has not given prior notice of absence and who fails to post to the usual venues for seven consecutive days is deemed inactive in all matters with, where practical, retrospective effect to the date of the last known post.

Calculation of votes

Adopted on 5 April 2011

Arbitrator votes are calculated on the following basis:

  1. Each active, non-recused arbitrator may cast one vote; and
  2. Recused, abstaining, and inactive arbitrators are discounted.

The following expressions are used, with the following meanings:

  • "Four net votes": the number of votes to support or accept (or oppose or decline) is at least four greater than the number of votes to oppose or decline (or support or accept).
  • "Absolute majority": the number of votes to support or accept is greater than 50% of the total number of arbitrators, not including any arbitrators who are recused, abstaining, or inactive.

Ban appeals

Handling of ban appeals

Adopted on 12 May 2011
Repealed on 15 November 2015
Previous text

The procedure for handling ban appeals is as follows:

  1. The Committee hears appeals from editors who (i) have been banned or are subject to lengthy or indefinite blocks and (ii) have exhausted all other avenues of appeal.
  2. Appeals must be submitted by email by the editor blocked or banned, setting out the grounds for appeal and the name of the account affected.
  3. Incoming appeals will be reviewed by arbitrators on receipt.
  4. Any arbitrator may refer the appeal to the Ban Appeals Subcommittee.
  5. Any arbitrator may decline an appeal which appears to them groundless or frivolous and shall write to the editor stating the basis on which the appeal is declined, with a copy to the Committee for review. After review, any arbitrator may refer the appeal to the Ban Appeals Subcommittee.
  6. Within a reasonable time of a ban appeal having been referred to it, the Ban Appeals Subcommittee shall recommend a response to the appeal, as established by unanimous agreement among its members. The subcommittee may determine what constitutes a reasonable time for this purpose, which should not be less than 72 hours, nor more than one week.
    • The response may confirm the ban, lift the ban, lift the ban and impose editing restrictions, recommend opening an arbitration case, refer the matter for community discussion, or entail any other action within the authority of the Committee.
    • The response may advise the user that they may request further consideration of the appeal by filing a new request after a specified amount of time has passed, or after satisfying other specified conditions.
    • The members of the subcommittee may communicate directly with the appealing editor, the blocking administrator, or other involved editors, at their discretion.
    • Should the subcommittee require an extended period of time to provide a recommendation, it shall advise the Committee of this, and provide a date on which it expects a recommendation to be ready.
  7. If no arbitrator objects to the subcommittee's recommendation within 48 hours of its having been posted, the subcommittee shall issue the recommended response in the name of the Committee. If any arbitrator objects before the deadline, the response shall be brought before the entire Committee.
  8. Should the subcommittee be unable to arrive at a unanimous recommendation, the matter shall be brought before the entire Committee.

An arbitrator's service on the Ban Appeals Subcommittee is part of his or her official service as an arbitrator, and therefore shall not constitute grounds for recusal in a subsequent matter involving an editor whose appeal was considered by the subcommittee.

The Arbitration Committee will, for the time being, take appeals (i) from editors who are subject to an {{OversightBlock}} or a {{Checkuserblock}}; (ii) from editors who are blocked for reasons that are unsuitable for public discussion; and (iii) from editors blocked or banned by Arbitration and Arbitration Enforcement decisions.

Appeals of topic bans

Adopted on 7 May 2011

An editor who is indefinitely topic-banned or otherwise restricted from editing in a topic area under an Arbitration Committee decision may request an amendment to lift or modify the restriction after an appropriate time period has elapsed. A reasonable minimum time period for such a request will ordinarily be six months, unless the decision provides for a different time or the Committee subsequently determines otherwise. In considering such a request, the Committee will give significant weight to, among other factors, whether the editor in question has established an ability to edit collaboratively and in accordance with Wikipedia policies and guidelines in other topic-areas of the project.

Enforcement

Changes of username while subject to enforcement

Adopted on 18 June 2009

If an editor is subject to any sort of Arbitration Committee parole or restriction, and wishes to start a new account or to change their username with a suppressed redirect from the old name, they must notify the Committee of this before they proceed with editing under said new account/name. Failure to disclose this, if discovered, is grounds for a ban from the project.

Logging

Adopted on 26 March 2017

All sanctions and page restrictions must be logged by the administrator who applied the sanction or page restriction at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log. Whenever a sanction or page restriction is appealed or modified, the administrator amending it must append a note recording the amendment to the original log entry.

To be valid, sanctions must be clearly and unambiguously labelled as an arbitration enforcement action (such as with "arbitration enforcement", "arb enforcement", "AE" or "WP:AE" in the Wikipedia log entry or the edit summary). If a sanction has been logged as an arbitration enforcement action but has not been clearly labelled as an arbitration enforcement action any uninvolved administrator may amend the sanction (for example, a null edit or reblocking with the same settings) on behalf of the original administrator. Labelling a sanction which has been logged does not make the administrator who added the label the "enforcing administrator" unless there is confusion as to who intended the sanction be arbitration enforcement.

A central log ("log") of all page restrictions and sanctions (including blocks, bans, page protections or other restrictions) placed as arbitration enforcement (including discretionary sanctions) is to be maintained by the Committee and its clerks at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log). The log transcludes annual log sub-pages (e.g. [/2015], [/2014]) in reverse chronological order, with the sub-pages arranged by case. An annual log sub-page shall be untranscluded from the main log page (but not blanked) once five years have elapsed since the date of the last entry (including sanctions and appeals) recorded on it, though any active sanctions remain in force. Once all sanctions recorded on the page have expired or been successfully appealed, the log page shall be blanked. The log location may not be changed without the explicit consent of the committee.

Expectations of administrators

Adopted on 21 April 2017

Enforcing administrators are accountable and must explain their enforcement actions; and they must not be involved. Prior routine enforcement interactions, prior administrator participation in enforcement discussions, or when an otherwise uninvolved administrator refers a matter to AE to elicit the opinion of other administrators or refers a matter to the committee at ARCA, do not constitute or create involvement.

Administrators may not adjudicate their own actions at any appeal though they are encouraged to provide statements and comments to assist in reaching a determination.

Enforcing administrators are expected to exercise good judgment by responding flexibly and proportionately when they intervene. Except for the cases when the Arbitration Committee has predetermined the set of escalating sanctions to be imposed for violations of a final decision, the severity of the sanction imposed should be commensurate with all circumstances of the case at hand, including the seriousness of the violation and the possible recidivism of the editor in question. When dealing with first or isolated instances of borderline misconduct, informal advice may be more effective in the long term than a sanction. Conversely, editors engaging in egregious or sustained misconduct should be dealt with robustly.

Administrators do not need explicit consensus to enforce arbitration decisions and can always act unilaterally. However, when the case is not clear-cut they are encouraged, before acting, to seek input from their colleagues at arbitration enforcement.

When a consensus of uninvolved administrators is emerging in a discussion, administrators willing to overrule their colleagues should act with caution and must explain their reasons on request.

Dismissing an enforcement request

Adopted on 21 April 2017

When no actual violation occurred, or the consensus of uninvolved administrators is that exceptional circumstances are present, which would make the imposition of a sanction inappropriate, administrators may also close a report with no action; if appropriate, they may also warn or advise the editor being reported, in order to avoid further breaches.

Administrators wishing to dismiss an enforcement request should act cautiously and be especially mindful that their actions do not give the impression that they are second-guessing the Arbitration Committee or obstructing the enforcement of their decisions.

Dismissed requests may not be reopened. However, any interested users may, after discussion with the administrator in question, appeal the dismissal to the Arbitration Committee at "ARCA". Petitioners who forum shop by resubmitting denied enforcement requests without good reason may find themselves cautioned or sanctioned in return.

Standard provision: enforcement of restrictions

Adopted on 4 June 2012.
Amended on 3 May 2014.

The following standard enforcement provision shall be incorporated into all cases which include an enforceable remedy but which do not include case-specific enforcement provisions passed by the Committee:

"Should any user subject to a restriction in this case violate that restriction, that user may be blocked, initially for up to one month, and then with blocks increasing in duration to a maximum of one year."

Standard provision: appeals and modifications

Original version adopted on 15 March 2010.
Adopted on 03 May 2014.
Adopted on 21 April 2017.

Appeals by sanctioned editors

Appeals may be made only by the editor under sanction and only for a currently active sanction. Requests for modification of page restrictions may be made by any editor. The process has three possible stages (see "Important notes" below). The editor may:

  1. ask the enforcing administrator to reconsider their original decision;
  2. request review at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE") or at the administrators’ noticeboard ("AN"); and
  3. submit a request for amendment at the amendment requests page ("ARCA"). If the editor is blocked, the appeal may be made by email through Special:EmailUser/Arbitration Committee (or, if email access is revoked, to arbcom-en@wikimedia.org).
Modifications by administrators

No administrator may modify a sanction placed by another administrator without:

  1. the explicit prior affirmative consent of the enforcing administrator; or
  2. prior affirmative agreement for the modification at (a) AE or (b) AN or (c) ARCA (see "Important notes" below).

Administrators modifying sanctions out of process may at the discretion of the committee be desysopped.

Nothing in this section prevents an administrator from replacing an existing sanction issued by another administrator with a new sanction if fresh misconduct has taken place after the existing sanction was applied.

Important notes:

  1. For a request to succeed, either
(i) the clear and substantial consensus of (a) uninvolved administrators at AE or (b) uninvolved editors at AN or
(ii) a passing motion of arbitrators at ARCA
is required. If consensus at AE or AN is unclear, the status quo prevails.
  1. While asking the enforcing administrator and seeking reviews at AN or AE are not mandatory prior to seeking a decision from the committee, once the committee has reviewed a request, further substantive review at any forum is barred. The sole exception is editors under an active sanction who may still request an easing or removal of the sanction on the grounds that said sanction is no longer needed, but such requests may only be made once every six months, or whatever longer period the committee may specify.
  2. These provisions apply only to discretionary sanctions placed by administrators and to blocks placed by administrators to enforce arbitration case decisions. They do not apply to sanctions directly authorized by the committee, and enacted either by arbitrators or by arbitration clerks, or to special functionary blocks of whatever nature.
  3. All enforcement actions are presumed valid and proper, so the provisions relating to modifying or overturning sanctions apply, until an appeal is successful.

Discretionary sanctions

See also: Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions.
Original version adopted on 7 May 2011
Current version adopted on 3 May 2014
Amended on 20 January 2015
Amended on 16 November 2016
Amended on 4 June 2017


Definitions

  • The committee is the Arbitration Committee.
  • AE ("arbitration enforcement noticeboard”) is the venue for requesting, applying, discussing and appealing most enforcement requests.
  • AN ("administrators’ noticeboard") is the alternative venue for appeals.
  • ARCA ("Requests for Amendment") is the venue for appealing to the committee.
  • An alert is the formal alert notice that informs editors an area of conflict is covered by discretionary sanctions.
  • An appeal includes any request for the reconsideration, reduction, or removal of a sanction.
  • An area of conflict is a topic or group of topics in which the use of discretionary sanctions has been authorised by the committee.
  • An editor is anyone and everyone who may edit and has edited the encyclopedia.
  • The enforcing administrator is the administrator who places sanctions authorised in this procedure.
  • A sanction includes any sanction, restriction, or other remedy placed under this procedure.

Authorisation

Amended on 20 January 2015

auth.authDiscretionary sanctions may be authorised either as part of the final decision of an arbitration case or by committee motion. When it becomes apparent that discretionary sanctions are no longer necessary for a particular area of conflict, only the committee may rescind the authorisation of them, either at the request of any editor at ARCA or of its own initiative. Unless the committee specifies otherwise, after rescinding the authorisation all sanctions remain in force.

auth.conflictWhere there is a conflict between any individual provision authorising standard discretionary sanctions for an area of conflict and any provision in the standard discretionary sanctions procedure, the provision in the standard procedure will control.

auth.logA log of the areas of conflict for which discretionary sanctions have been authorised is maintained at the discretionary sanctions main page.

Guidance for editors

Expectations

guide.expect

Amended on 20 January 2015

The availability of discretionary sanctions is not intended to prevent free and candid discussion, but sanctions may be imposed if an editor severely or persistently disrupts discussion. Within the area of conflict, editors are expected to edit carefully and constructively, to not disrupt the encyclopedia, and to:

  1. adhere to the purposes of Wikipedia;
  2. comply with all applicable policies and guidelines;
  3. follow editorial and behavioural best practice;
  4. comply with any page restrictions in force within the area of conflict; and
  5. refrain from gaming the system.

Any editor whose edits do not meet these requirements may wish to restrict their editing to other topics in order to avoid the possibility of sanctions.

Decorum

guide.decor Certain pages (typically, AE, AN, and ARCA) are used for the fair, well-informed, and timely resolution of discretionary sanction enforcement cases. Editors participating in enforcement cases must disclose fully their involvement (if any). While good-faith statements are welcome, editors are expected to discuss only evidence and procedure; they are not expected to trade insults or engage in character assassination. Insults and personal attacks, soapboxing and casting aspersions are as unacceptable in enforcement discussions as elsewhere on Wikipedia. Uninvolved administrators are asked to ensure that enforcement cases are not disrupted; and may remove statements, or restrict or block editors, as necessary to address inappropriate conduct.

Awareness and alerts

Awareness

aware.aware

Amended on 15 January 2018

No editor may be sanctioned unless they are aware that discretionary sanctions are in force for the area of conflict. An editor is aware if:

  1. They were mentioned by name in the applicable Final Decision; or
  2. They have ever been sanctioned within the area of conflict (and at least one of such sanctions has not been successfully appealed); or
  3. In the last twelve months, the editor has given and/or received an alert for the area of conflict; or
  4. In the last twelve months, the editor has participated in any process about the area of conflict at arbitration requests or arbitration enforcement; or
  5. In the last twelve months, the editor has successfully appealed all their own sanctions relating to the area of conflict.

There are additional requirements in place when sanctioning editors for breaching page restrictions.

Alerts

aware.alert

Amended on 20 January 2015
Amended on 5 July 2018

Any editor may advise any other editor that discretionary sanctions are in force for an area of conflict. However, these only count as the formal notifications required by this procedure if the standard template message – currently {{Ds/alert}} – is placed unmodified on the talk page of the editor being alerted. An alert:

  • is purely informational and neither implies nor expresses a finding of fault,
  • cannot be rescinded or appealed, and
  • automatically expires twelve months after issue.

As {{Ds/alert}} template is part of this procedure, it may be modified only with the committee's explicit consent.

aware.relatedAn editor who has an unexpired alert in one area under discretionary sanctions may be sanctioned for edits in another separate but related topic, which is also under discretionary sanctions, provided the nature or the content of the edits – broadly but reasonably construed – in the two topics are similar.

alert.dupEditors issuing alerts are expected to ensure that no editor receives more than one alert per area of conflict per year. Any editor who issues alerts disruptively may be sanctioned.

alert.autoEditors may not use automated tools or bot accounts to issue alerts.

Role of administrators

admin.expectWhen deciding whether to sanction an editor, and which sanctions may be appropriate, the enforcing administrator’s objective should be to create an acceptable collaborative editing environment for even our most contentious articles. To this end, administrators are expected to use their experience and judgment to balance the need to assume good faith, to avoid biting genuine newcomers and to allow responsible contributors maximum editing freedom with the need to keep edit-warring, battleground conduct, and disruptive behaviour to a minimum.

admin.notWhile discretionary sanctions give administrators necessary latitude, they must not:

  1. impose a sanction when involved;
  2. modify a sanction out of process;
  3. repeatedly fail to properly explain their enforcement actions;
  4. repeatedly fail to log sanctions or page restrictions; or
  5. repeatedly issue significantly disproportionate sanctions or issue a grossly disproportionate sanction.

admin.remedyAdministrators who fail to meet these expectations may be subject to any remedy the committee considers appropriate, including desysopping. Administrative actions may be peer-reviewed using the regular appeal processes.

admin.toolsTo act in enforcement, an administrator must at all relevant times have their access to the tools enabled. Former administrators – that is, editors who have temporarily or permanently relinquished the tools or have been desysopped – may neither act as administrators in arbitration enforcement nor reverse their own previous administrative actions.

Expectations of administrators

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures#Expectations of administrators. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including discretionary sanctions.
Adopted on 21 April 2017

Enforcing administrators are accountable and must explain their enforcement actions; and they must not be involved. Prior routine enforcement interactions, prior administrator participation in enforcement discussions, or when an otherwise uninvolved administrator refers a matter to AE to elicit the opinion of other administrators or refers a matter to the committee at ARCA, do not constitute or create involvement.

Administrators may not adjudicate their own actions at any appeal though they are encouraged to provide statements and comments to assist in reaching a determination.

Enforcing administrators are expected to exercise good judgment by responding flexibly and proportionately when they intervene. Except for the cases when the Arbitration Committee has predetermined the set of escalating sanctions to be imposed for violations of a final decision, the severity of the sanction imposed should be commensurate with all circumstances of the case at hand, including the seriousness of the violation and the possible recidivism of the editor in question. When dealing with first or isolated instances of borderline misconduct, informal advice may be more effective in the long term than a sanction. Conversely, editors engaging in egregious or sustained misconduct should be dealt with robustly.

Administrators do not need explicit consensus to enforce arbitration decisions and can always act unilaterally. However, when the case is not clear-cut they are encouraged, before acting, to seek input from their colleagues at arbitration enforcement.

When a consensus of uninvolved administrators is emerging in a discussion, administrators willing to overrule their colleagues should act with caution and must explain their reasons on request.

Placing sanctions and page restrictions

Broadly construed

broadly.construed When considering whether edits fall within the scope of discretionary sanctions, administrators should be guided by the principles outlined in the topic ban policy.

Sanctions

sanctions.user Any uninvolved administrator is authorised to place: revert and move restrictions, interaction bans, topic bans, and blocks of up to one year in duration, or other reasonable measures that the enforcing administrator believes are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

sanctions.caveatsPrior to placing sanctions that are likely to be controversial, administrators are advised to elicit the opinions of other administrators at AE. For the avoidance of doubt, enforcing administrators are not authorised to issue site bans; to require the removal of user rights that cannot be granted by an administrator or to restrict their usage; nor to enforce discretionary sanctions beyond their reasonable scope.

sanctions.noticeThe enforcing administrator must provide a notice on the sanctioned editor’s talk page specifying the misconduct for which the sanction has been issued as well as the appeal process. The enforcing administrator must also log the sanction.

Page restrictions

sanctions.page

Amended on 15 January 2018

Any uninvolved administrator may impose on any page or set of pages relating to the area of conflict page protection, revert restrictions, prohibitions on the addition or removal of certain content (except when consensus for the edit exists), or any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project. The enforcing administrator must log page restrictions they place.

Enforcing administrators must add an editnotice to restricted pages, using the standard template ({{ds/editnotice}}), and should add a notice to the talk page of restricted pages.

Editors who ignore or breach page restrictions may be sanctioned by any uninvolved administrator provided that, at the time the editor ignored or breached a page restriction:

  1. The editor was aware of discretionary sanctions in the area of conflict, and
  2. There was an editnotice ({{ds/editnotice}}) on the restricted page which specified the page restriction.

Editors using mobile devices may not see edit notices. Administrators should consider whether an editor was aware of the page restriction before sanctioning them.

Enforcement

sanctions.enforcement Should any editor ignore or breach any sanction placed under this procedure, that editor may, at the discretion of any uninvolved administrator, receive a fresh further sanction. The further sanction must be logged on the appropriate page and the standard appeal arrangements apply.

Logging

sanctions.log

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures#Logging. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including discretionary sanctions.
Adopted on 26 March 2017

All sanctions and page restrictions must be logged by the administrator who applied the sanction or page restriction at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log. Whenever a sanction or page restriction is appealed or modified, the administrator amending it must append a note recording the amendment to the original log entry.

To be valid, sanctions must be clearly and unambiguously labelled as an arbitration enforcement action (such as with "arbitration enforcement", "arb enforcement", "AE" or "WP:AE" in the Wikipedia log entry or the edit summary). If a sanction has been logged as an arbitration enforcement action but has not been clearly labelled as an arbitration enforcement action any uninvolved administrator may amend the sanction (for example, a null edit or reblocking with the same settings) on behalf of the original administrator. Labelling a sanction which has been logged does not make the administrator who added the label the "enforcing administrator" unless there is confusion as to who intended the sanction be arbitration enforcement.

A central log ("log") of all page restrictions and sanctions (including blocks, bans, page protections or other restrictions) placed as arbitration enforcement (including discretionary sanctions) is to be maintained by the Committee and its clerks at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log). The log transcludes annual log sub-pages (e.g. [/2015], [/2014]) in reverse chronological order, with the sub-pages arranged by case. An annual log sub-page shall be untranscluded from the main log page (but not blanked) once five years have elapsed since the date of the last entry (including sanctions and appeals) recorded on it, though any active sanctions remain in force. Once all sanctions recorded on the page have expired or been successfully appealed, the log page shall be blanked. The log location may not be changed without the explicit consent of the committee.

Discretionary sanctions are to be recorded on the appropriate page of the centralised arbitration enforcement log. Notifications and warnings issued prior to the introduction of the current procedure on 3 May 2014 are not sanctions and remain on the individual case page logs.

Dismissing an enforcement request

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures#Dismissing an enforcement request. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including discretionary sanctions.
Adopted on 21 April 2017

When no actual violation occurred, or the consensus of uninvolved administrators is that exceptional circumstances are present, which would make the imposition of a sanction inappropriate, administrators may also close a report with no action; if appropriate, they may also warn or advise the editor being reported, in order to avoid further breaches.

Administrators wishing to dismiss an enforcement request should act cautiously and be especially mindful that their actions do not give the impression that they are second-guessing the Arbitration Committee or obstructing the enforcement of their decisions.

Dismissed requests may not be reopened. However, any interested users may, after discussion with the administrator in question, appeal the dismissal to the Arbitration Committee at "ARCA". Petitioners who forum shop by resubmitting denied enforcement requests without good reason may find themselves cautioned or sanctioned in return.

Appeals and modifications

Appeals by sanctioned editors

sanctions.appeals Modified on 4 June 2017

Appeals may be made only by the editor under sanction and only for a currently active sanction. Requests for modification of page restrictions may be made by any editor. The process has three possible stages (see "Important notes" below). The editor may:

  1. ask the enforcing administrator to reconsider their original decision;
  2. request review at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE") or at the administrators’ noticeboard ("AN"); and
  3. submit a request for amendment at "ARCA". If the editor is blocked, the appeal may be made by email through Special:EmailUser/Arbitration Committee (or, if email access is revoked, to arbcom-en@wikimedia.org).

Modifications by administrators

sanctions.modify Modified on 4 June 2017

No administrator may modify or remove a sanction placed by another administrator without:

  1. the explicit prior affirmative consent of the enforcing administrator; or
  2. prior affirmative agreement for the modification at (a) AE or (b) AN or (c) ARCA (see "Important notes" below).

sanctions.outofprocessAdministrators modifying sanctions out of process may at the discretion of the committee be desysopped.

sanctions.freshNothing in this section prevents an administrator from replacing an existing sanction issued by another administrator with a new sanction if fresh misconduct has taken place after the existing sanction was applied.

Important notes:appeals.notes

  1. For a request to succeed, either
(i) the clear and substantial consensus of (a) uninvolved administrators at AE or (b) uninvolved editors at AN or
(ii) a passing motion of arbitrators at ARCA
is required. If consensus at AE or AN is unclear, the status quo prevails.
  1. While asking the enforcing administrator and seeking reviews at AN or AE are not mandatory prior to seeking a decision from the committee, once the committee has reviewed a request, further substantive review at any forum is barred. The sole exception is editors under an active sanction who may still request an easing or removal of the sanction on the grounds that said sanction is no longer needed, but such requests may only be made once every six months, or whatever longer period the committee may specify.
  2. These provisions apply only to discretionary sanctions placed by administrators and to blocks placed by administrators to enforce arbitration case decisions. They do not apply to sanctions directly authorised by the committee, and enacted either by arbitrators or by arbitration clerks, or to special functionary blocks of whatever nature.
  3. All enforcement actions are presumed valid and proper, so the provisions relating to modifying or overturning sanctions apply, until an appeal is successful.

Continuity

cont.noappealNothing in this current version of the discretionary sanctions process constitutes grounds for appeal of a remedy or restriction imposed under prior versions of it.

cont.alertsAll sanctions and restrictions imposed under earlier versions of this process remain in force. Warnings issued under earlier procedures are not sanctions and become alerts for twelve months from the date of the passing of the motion authorising this procedure (3 May 2014 [1]), then expire.

cont.pendingappealsAppeals open at the time this version is adopted will be handled using the prior appeals procedure, but this current process will thereafter govern appeals.


Incoming mail

Adopted on 2 May 2009
Amended on 15 November 2015 (reference to Ban Appeals Subcommittee removed)

The procedure for handling incoming mail to arbcom-en is as follows:

Once incoming mail has cleared list moderation, each message shall be acknowledged with a standard message and processed by the coordinating arbitrator or their deputy within 24 hours of receipt:

  1. Complaints regarding CheckUser or Oversight use can be forwarded to the Arbitration Committee via the Arbitration Committee mailing list (arbcom-en). In the event of a committee member being the subject of the complaint, the complaint may be forwarded to any individual committee member. That committee member will initiate a discussion on one of the alternate mailing lists, with the committee member who is the subject of the complaint unsubscribed from the list for the duration of the discussion. Over the course of the investigation, the Arbitration Committee may draw upon the experience of members of the functionaries team to aid in the investigation.
  2. Notifications of secondary and alternate accounts shall be recorded on the private wiki and closed; no further action shall be taken unless requested by an arbitrator.
  3. Submissions of private evidence in an open case shall be recorded on the private wiki and closed; no further action shall be taken unless requested by an arbitrator.
  4. Informational notifications and comments which are determined by the coordinating arbitrator or their deputy to require no further action from the Committee shall be closed; no further action shall be taken unless requested by an arbitrator.
  5. All other messages shall be flagged for further action by the Committee.

All incoming mail, unless obviously frivolous, shall be tracked on the coordination page of the private wiki, and the coordinating arbitrator or their deputy shall circulate weekly summaries of all open items.

Motions

Modification of procedures

Adopted on 7 June 2012

Significant or substantive modifications of the Arbitration Committee's procedures shall be made by way of formal motions on the Committee's public motions page; shall be announced on the Committee's noticeboard and the administrator's noticeboard by the clerks when first proposed; and shall remain open for at least 24 hours after those announcements are made.

Committee resolutions

Adopted on 12 May 2011

The Committee will consider and adopt resolutions as follows:

  1. All proposed resolutions will be posted for voting on the discussion board of the arbitration wiki.
  2. The arbitrator initiating the proposal will notify arbcom-en of the proposal, and is responsible for sending any subsequent reminders as necessary.
  3. A resolution will be considered to have passed when it is endorsed by an absolute majority of active, non-recused arbitrators.
  4. When a resolution has passed, it will be announced on arbcom-en.

Resolutions intended for public dissemination will be published to the Arbitration Committee noticeboard. Internal resolutions will be retained in the Committee's internal records.

Quorum for urgent resolutions

Adopted on 12 May 2011

The Committee sometimes needs to act urgently and it may do so as an interim measure, without a formal vote of the entire Committee, once a resolution proposing urgent action and explicitly stated as such has been unanimously supported by a quorum of the Committee, comprising a third of all active non-recused arbitrators. Such resolutions will be interim measures, pending review by the entire Committee.

Requests for amendment

Format of requests for amendment

Adopted on 28 June 2009

A request for amendment of a closed case must clearly state the following:

(a) The name of the case to be amended;
(b) The clause(s) to be modified, referenced by number or section title;
(c) For each clause in (b), the desired modification; and
(d) The rationale for the requested amendment, comprising no more than 1000 words.

Any request which does not comply with these criteria will be summarily removed.

Notes

  1. ^ Refraining from use of tools is optional for Ombudsman Commission appointees, effective February 2013.