Wikipedia:Arbitration/Guide to arbitration

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Green check.png This page documents an Arbitration Committee process on the English Wikipedia. This page is maintained by members of the Arbitration Committee and their Clerks. Editing requires considerable forethought and usually (for major changes) arbitrator agreement.
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Arbitration is the final step in Wikipedia's process for dispute resolution. The Arbitration Committee considers requests to open new Arbitration cases and to review previous decisions, as described in the Arbitration policy. A panel of highly experienced users will consider evidence and reach a decision that is binding on everyone.

If you are considering an arbitration case, or are involved in one, please read this page carefully. Arbitration is an exceptional step in a dispute and has a number of structured norms that are unlike those of other stages of dispute resolution. If you do not understand how Arbitration approaches your dispute, you may find the process bewildering and unpleasant. It is therefore in your interest to understand what will happen if you are involved in a request for an arbitration case, and if that request is accepted and a case opened.

The features of an arbitration case are that:

  • Arbitration aims to "break the back" of the dispute: A dispute may come to arbitration after many months, or even years. Some disputes are related to long-term, real-life controversy or dispute. Many disputants, perhaps including you, will be frustrated with the dispute. Arbitrators will aim to clarify the issues among themselves and establish the case's history, then take remedial action so that the dispute becomes easier for the community to resolve. Arbitration will rarely resolve a situation completely.
  • Arbitration is not a legal process: With no fixed approaches to problems, all actions, conduct, and relevant evidence may be taken into account. A person's general manner, past actions, and the impressions of them by reasonable people will be used to guide the arbitrators into establishing how best to soothe the dispute.
  • Arbitration is intended to serve Wikipedia: Arbitrators focus on the risk and benefits for the future, not on past issues. Arbitration aims to find the best way to move users beyond the dispute. For this reason, the committee is more likely to consider if a user can change, or what restrictions would be of benefit to the project, than on who said what in the past.

After considering a request for arbitration (at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case) and any previous attempts at dispute resolution, the Arbitration Committee will vote on whether or not to open a case. If a case is opened, involved parties and members of the community will have the opportunity to present evidence and comments pertaining to the dispute. After considering the evidence, the Arbitrators will reach a binding decision that includes various remedies, ranging from comparatively minor reprimands to severe sanctions. If a case is not opened, the arbitrators will often offer suggestions to resolve the dispute without arbitration, and these are often worth serious consideration; but in any event, they may remark that, or it may be appropriate to, arbitration may become necessary in the months ahead.

The process can be stressful, lengthy, and tedious, but it is useful to remember that the arbitrators will have had little or no involvement or knowledge of the dispute in question, and that their interests are in the project in general.

Alternatives to arbitration

In general, arbitration is a venue of last resort and matters should not be referred to arbitration when a lesser step will be sufficient. Alternative mechanisms of dispute resolution include:

  • Adopting a professional, conciliatory approach to disputes of any kind. Try to avoid mediation or arbitration entirely, by opening a frank but civil discussion about the dispute. In many cases, an agreement can be reached without involving any other editors than the disputants; in many others, the involvement of a handful of other editors or administrators can resolve content disputes or conduct grievances.
  • To ask for guidance for new disputes, see Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard.
  • To ask for feedback, see Wikipedia:Editor assistance. That process can provide you with guidance on site policy, diplomacy, and the dispute resolution process.
  • For advanced content disputes, a Wikipedia:Requests for comment, or subsequently formal mediation at Wikipedia:Requests for mediation, should be sought.
  • In some cases (usually concerning the inappropriate conduct of one or more editors), administrative intervention is appropriate and can be obtained at Wikipedia:Administrators' Noticeboard/Incidents.

You must familiarise yourself with the dispute resolution policy if you engage in any type of conflict on any page on the English Wikipedia.

Exceptions

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However, in some cases ArbCom may accept a request for arbitration without previous dispute resolution processes. Such cases would be to:

  1. Review emergency actions to remove administrator privileges;
  2. Adjudicate an especially divisive dispute among administrators; or
  3. Consider matters directly referred to the Arbitration Committee by Jimbo Wales.

In these cases, you must contact the Arbitration Committee in private in order to seek advice:

  1. Apparent or suspected sockpuppetry by an administrator;
  2. Disputes which are sensitive due to real-life dispute; or
  3. Matters where privacy of a real individual is a major concern.

See Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee to contact the committee.

Arbitration Committee

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities.

Arbitrators are neither Wikimedia Foundation employees or agents nor Wikipedia executives. They are volunteers (like all other Wikipedia editors), experienced administrators, and elected by the Wikipedia community to resolve the project's most intractable disputes and to oversee the few areas where access to non-public information is a prerequisite.

Expertise

Arbitrators are not subject experts and the Arbitration Committee therefore does not rule on content disputes. As a result, they are hesitant to making a ruling on the grounds that one side is right in a content dispute. There are minor exceptions to this; for instance, the committee has historically taken a dim view of individuals using Wikipedia as a platform for advocacy, or of editors who allege that a group of editors is conspiring to suppress their point of view. When participating in arbitration proceedings, if you attempt to publicise your views or if you are unprofessional, your conduct in the case may result in sanctions for disruptive conduct.

Almost no ArbCom cases have actually required careful attention to content issues to get the necessary result. In almost all cases, the committee resolves disputes by providing guidance on resolving the content issues moving forward, by neutralising any seriously disruptive conduct that was not previously resolved because of its complex or subtle nature, and by resolving motions to create some sort of community mechanism (like a community-wide, binding discussion) to resolve the outstanding content issues. If there are likely to be serious conduct issues moving forward, the Committee may also authorise its extraordinary discretionary sanctions system (see Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions) to be extended to the topics or articles in question.

Clerks

The Arbitration Committee maintains a panel of clerks to perform maintenance and administration of the Arbitration process. The clerks remove rejected requests for arbitration, open and close cases (performing the required notifications), ensure that requests and proceedings comply with the specified format, enforce conduct standards on the arbitration pages and in open cases, and implement the committee's decisions if the decision is made on any subpage of Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests.

The clerks also provide assistance to editors who wish to use the arbitration process but who are unfamiliar with the procedure, and act as an intermediary for communications and evidence on behalf of editors who are blocked or banned. Clerk business is co-ordinated on the clerks' mailing list, to which all clerks and arbitrators are subscribed. Clerks act on behalf of the Committee, but must recuse from acting as a clerk in any matter in which they have a conflict of interest.

Requesting Arbitration

Requests for an arbitration case are made on the "Case" subpage. Other types of requests, usually in relation to cases which have already been closed, are instead made at the "Clarifications and Amendments" subpage.

Types of requests

The Arbitration process is initiated by a Wikipedia user who submits an Arbitration Request. Such requests may be to open a new case ('requests for arbitration') or to revisit existing matters with clarifications or amendments ('requests for clarification and amendment'). Arbitrators may also initiate Motions of their own, which relate to simple cases and decisions within the Arbitration Committee, at the 'Motions' subpage. Motions may also be made to implement some consensus of the arbitrators about a request for clarification or amendment; such motions are usually made on the 'clarifications and amendments' subpage.

The following table outlines the subpages of Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests:

Subpage name Purpose of subpage
/Case To request arbitration of disputes that requires the opening of a full new arbitration case. Typically:
  1. A new dispute that was never the subject of arbitration; or
  2. Dispute that was the subject of an old case, but where a change of focus is sought (or a new examination is required) by means of a full re-hearing.
/Clarification and Amendment Clarification: A request for further guidance or clarification on a past ruling of the committee. The ruling may be ambiguous, some part of the decision may be unclear, or several decisions may be contradictory.
Amendment:
  1. Events since the case demonstrate that the decision needs modification. The case does not require to be re-opened and re-arbitrated, but some amendments are necessary;
  2. Events since the case was closed show that a remedy is no longer appropriate or needed, or was flawed, and should be reconsidered; or
  3. Appeals against sanctions of individual editors, including the appeal of discretionary sanctions. (Editors banned from Wikipedia must e-mail the Ban Appeals Subcommittee directly.)
/Motions

(Arbitrators only)

Arbitrators can propose simple decisions as motions. These are usually matters where the facts are uncontentious, the case relatively straightforward, and a decision is required. Changes to procedure are also proposed by motion, to allow community comment. Typical examples are simple matters for consideration, such as desysopping proposals, and other issues on which the Committee's public vote is required.

Private and public hearings

Typically, cases involving ban appeals are heard by email rather than publicly posted, since the nature of a ban is to remove the banned user from the community. In some cases a user may be unblocked for the purposes of appeal, on the understanding they will strictly edit only the few pages needed for the purpose and not edit for any other reason.

A small minority of other cases may also be heard in private (or in camera), but such cases are very rare and arise only where there are exceptional privacy issues.

Evidence may be submitted to the Committee by email in any case, but unless there is good reason it is preferable that evidence is presented on-wiki. Evidence submitted by e-mail may be rejected by the committee if they determine that there is no basis for a private submission; the editor submitting the evidence will then have the opportunity to submit the evidence on-site if they so wish. If you have doubt about posting any evidence or privacy issue, or have concerns over a public discussion, you should always consult the committee by e-mail. To email the Committee, see here.

Case request statements

In a request for Arbitration, a User tries to show the Arbitrators that there is a dispute requiring their intervention as well as the steps already attempted to resolve it. A short and factual statement of 500 words or fewer should be written, including diffs where appropriate, to illustrate specific instances of the problem.

The Request is intended to be a summary of the available evidence including enough information to show why Arbitration is needed. You are not trying to prove your case at this time: if your case is accepted for Arbitration, an evidence page will be created that you can use to provide more detail.

Responding to requests

If you are named as an involved party in a request for an arbitration case, or if you feel you must respond to any request or to comments made by others in any request, then you may make a statement on the case page. You must remember that Arbitration cases are not debate pages; their purpose is to petition the committee by making an argument (with appropriate evidence) as to why arbitration is necessary, and to allow the committee to gauge the views of the community and the parties about the request. Statements may also be made in order to correct inaccuracies in other statements, or to draw other matters to the attention of the arbitrators.

If you must respond to some statement by another editor on the arbitration request, then you must do so in your own section. There may be no threaded discussion (that is, comments in any section but your own) on any arbitration request; any such threaded discussion will be summarily removed by a clerk or arbitrator. Responses to other editors may be made in your own section in the following form:

; Response to statement by User:Example : {your comment} ~~~~

If an arbitrator or clerk removes or amends your statement or comments, you may not revert this action, because it will have been made in order to properly manage the request. However, you may raise the matter with the clerk or arbitrator directly if you believe there has been a mistake.

All statements are subject to a maximum word limit, which you may not exceed. The purpose of these word limits is to prevent lengthy case requests, which obfuscate the discussion and delay the delivery of each arbitrator's decision about the request. Each arbitration subpage has its own word count; for requests for an arbitration case, the maximum word count is 500 words, although this is often relaxed in the case of parties to the dispute, and especially for the filing party who must usually respond to many comments by the arbitrators.

Deciding of requests

After a request is submitted, the active arbitrators vote on whether to hear the case. An arbitrator may vote to accept or decline a request; or to make a comment without casting a vote. Arbitrators also use the "Arbitrator votes" section to recuse from voting. Votes are recorded in this format: 0/0/0/0, where each digit is (respectively) the number of arbitrators who have: voted to accept/voted to decline/recused from voting/made a comment without casting some vote.

"Recuse" means that an Arbitrator has excused him or herself from a case because of a possible or perceived conflict of interest. Votes, suggestions, or questions that do not fit into one of the previous three categories, such as comments that are not formal accept/decline votes, are taken to be comments that have not cast a vote. Even comments which suggest an arbitrator is inclined towards one or another decision are not taken to be a vote unless it is explicitly marked as such. Votes are usually given in bold print, like Accept, or will otherwise make it clear what the vote is (eg "Decline."). 'Reject' was once a synonym for 'Decline' but has fallen into disuse.

Arbitrators often leave a comment or "other" vote, and subsequently cast a vote to accept or decline while retaining their preliminary comment. In such cases the comment remains in comment section, but the tally is updated by the Clerks to reflect the new vote (for example, a comment/"other" superseded by an accept would switch the tally from 0/0/0/1 to 1/0/0/0).

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 (that is, four more "accept" than "decline" 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. A notice linking to further information, including links to newly-created "Evidence" and "Workshop" pages, will be posted to each participant's talk page.

Cases that have not met the acceptance criteria after 10 days are removed from the Request page; or an appropriate time after enough arbitrators have voted to decline that the subsequent acceptance of the request is mathematically impossible. The implementation of a decision to accept a request is sometimes delayed, upon direction to the clerks, by the arbitrators; this would only be due to extraordinary circumstances. Implementation of a decision to accept a request is occasionally delayed if no clerk is available on a given date to open the case.

Open cases

If a request for arbitration is accepted, and an arbitration case is opened, editors will be able to post, update, and otherwise edit their Evidence as well as provide their own notes on others' comments. They may also take part in the Workshop, a structured consideration of the case open to the community, including Involved Parties and Arbitrators. Finally, they may submit questions on the relevant Talk pages.

In order to facilitate efficient case processing, the Committee will usually designate one Arbitrator to be the Drafting Arbitrator or Drafter for the case. This Arbitrator will author, in due course, the proposed decision for that case. Other members of the Committee will then vote on the proposals—and, if they wish, propose alternatives or additions to the decision.

The drafter has the same authority as other Arbitrators participating in the case; the position is created simply for easier management of workload.

Evidence

The parties and other interested editors are encouraged to place evidence on the case's Evidence subpage, in the form of diffs demonstrating contested behavior along with explanations and context. Be clear and concise. The parties should be aware that argument is not evidence, and that thirty words and five well-chosen diffs may speak more eloquently than a 500-word diatribe.

By default, submissions are limited to about 1000 words and about 100 diffs for named parties, and to about 500 words and about 50 diffs 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.

Editors are expected to edit only within their own section on the evidence page. Responses to another editor's evidence should be placed in a subsection in your own section for rebuttal, or on the talk page. Note that extended arguments over the validity and interpretation of the evidence are rarely helpful to the Arbitrators.

Workshop

The Workshop subpage allows the parties, the community and the Arbitrators to analyze the evidence, offer suggestions about possible final decision proposals, and receive feedback. Parties and editors should keep a few things in mind when writing workshop proposals.

  1. Be aware of the kinds of proposals that have been offered in prior similar cases. For example: the Arbitration committee does not make content rulings, so a proposal that "The article Fooberries will be restored to my version of 12 August 2007" is a complete non-starter.
  2. Proposed principles should be grounded in Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Don't offer proposals like "Topical experts should be given special deference" or "Editors do not need to cite sources when writing about themselves."
  3. Proposed findings of fact should be supported by evidence on the evidence page. Linking to the evidence page or a few of the best diffs illustrating the point is helpful.
  4. Proposed remedies should be supported by the findings of fact. A proposal to ban User:Example from editing requires substantial evidence that User:Example has violated community editing norms.

Although each workshop proposal includes space for comments by the Arbitrators, parties, and others, the workshop is not a vote, nor is it a debate. Casting a "vote" of support for your favorite proposals is less informative than a brief comment of why you think it is a good proposal, while getting into an argument with the other party in the case is less useful to the Arbitrators than a concise explanation of why you agree or disagree with a proposal. Extended discussions should be taken to the talk page.

In some complex cases the first remedy may seem deceptively light and in other cases sanctions can be more severe. Arbitrators will try to consider careful use of editing restrictions, for example, a user may be deemed completely incapable of editing one area without dispute but be given a "second chance" in other areas or under certain restrictions. Arbitrators will factor in their experience of how certain remedies impact certain behaviors, and in repeat Arbitrations, the results of a full prior case.

In many cases the Committee may simply tell the involved parties that the conflict must end, and will wait to see if further action is needed, especially in complex cases where borderline decisions could be very divisive. "Bad actors" tend to try and repeat their agendas, and will usually be removed or sanctioned at that point. It is very difficult for even the worst problem users to create problems after arbitration; the minority who return often have a different issue, or need stronger enforcement measures, and this is usually resolved quickly.

Proposed decisions

This is used by arbitrators to create and vote on the elements that make up the final decision. It is divided into sections reflecting the various case components: "Principles", "Findings of Fact", "Remedies" and "Enforcement".

  • Principles highlight the key applicable provisions of policy, procedure, or community practice and, where appropriate, provide the Committee's interpretation of such provisions in the context of the dispute.
  • Findings of fact summarize the key elements of the parties' conduct. 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 considerations. Remedies may include both enforceable provisions (such as edit restrictions or bans) and non-enforceable provisions (such as cautions, reminders, or admonishments), 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.

The Proposed decision page may not be edited by any editor who is not an arbitrator. (Clerks may also edit the page, in order to write implementation notes and perform other clerical tasks.) However, comments about the decision may be offered on the talk page of the Proposed decision. The arbitrators active on the case usually monitor this page closely, and endeavour to respond to all comments.

Temporary injunctions

In some cases, the Arbitrators may feel that it is in the best interests of the encyclopedia (to prevent further disruption and maintain decorum) to enjoin the participants temporarily from continuing the disputed conduct until the case is concluded. Temporary injunctions do not necessarily foretell the outcome of the case.

Temporary injunctions pass upon receiving 4 net votes—that is, 4 more votes in favor than opposed. Injunctions are typically enacted 24 hours after the fourth net vote in favor, to allow any remaining Arbitrators a chance to vote. Injunctions end when the case is closed and the final decision is published.

Evidence and argumentation

These guidelines are intended to assist users in their presentation of evidence and arguments before the Committee, and are based on empirical observation of what arguments have worked in front of the ArbCom, and what have not, as well as discussions with arbitrators about what they find important.

There are two very important things to realize about the Arbitration Committee and its members:

  1. They do not have much time, and
  2. They care much more about product than process.

Almost everything below is a corollary of one or both of these two lines.

Evidence length

See also: Submission of evidence

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. The guidance below will help you stay within the default limits.

Brevity

Evidence pages quickly become very long. Arbitrators do not have time to read and re-read 100 KB evidence pages. Therefore, try to keep your evidence concise, direct, and clear. Trying to show every single instance of a given user being a problem may be less useful than picking a clear and obvious example requiring little explanation and presented with minimal commentary.

Context

It is very unlikely that ArbCom members have already read about your dispute in the expectation that Arbitration will be requested. For this reason, they are unlikely to know the history of the dispute, who advocates which point of view, who has a history of defending problem users, or if everybody who has ever dealt with a user recognizes them to be a complete lunatic.

Point these things out to them.

Provide the context for your evidence: if you point to an edit that follows a month of heated discussion, it may not make sense to someone who was uninvolved. If there is better evidence for the same point, use that. Evidence requiring less explanation is more likely to be read and to be useful to the Arbitrators.

When making statements and arguments before the Committee, explain why the edits you cite are proof of your assertion: e.g., "edit X shows user Y disrupting consensus-building because ABC...".

At any one time there are likely ten to twenty or more active matters in arbitration (including open cases, requests for arbitration, and requests for prior case amendment), and hundreds of closed ones. Individual arbitrators cannot keep close track of all of these.

If you mention to the Committee a user that the ArbCom has sanctioned, they may remember the user, but may not remember particular details of the ruling or which POV that user was advocating; therefore, write your evidence and proposals to help jog their memories, and don't assume that every time an arbitrator pulls up the evidence page they will have perfect recall of their past decisions.

Tenets

The ArbCom is typically pro-Wikipedia, generally considers that the Wikipedia method works, that Wikipedia is on the whole a successful project, and that admins are generally trustworthy. They explicitly choose any outcome that results in Wikipedia working better.

Therefore, arguments opposing Wikipedia's basic principles, suggesting a massive cabal of rogue admins, or holding the process to be an end in itself will not work.

Arguing about flaws in the arbitration process is usually a waste of time and will make arbitrators look dimly upon you.

Pettifoggery is likely to create prejudice against your cause, as a person who can win on the merits of their case will probably not resort to wikilawyering.

Content rulings

Since the ArbCom avoids taking positions in content disputes, instead of arguing that somebody is advancing a nutty conspiracy theory with no credibility, make arguments pertaining to concrete and self-explanatory things, such as disruptive conduct or inappropriate actions.

Mooning the jury

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Parties should be on their best behavior while adding evidence or making comments on workshop and talk pages. While this should be obvious, a surprising number of participants, having been accused of aggressive, uncivil or point of view editing, continue this behavior to the case itself. Comments made by the parties during the Arbitration case may be taken into account by the Committee in setting any remedies, and continued evidence of disruptive behavior is often seen as evidence that milder remedies (warnings or probation) will not have the desired effect, leading to topical or general bans. Remember that if you are on trial for assault, it is generally not a good idea to start punching witnesses in open court.

Rhetoric and blustering

Clear and persuasive presentation of evidence will almost always be more effective than any debates or arguments. Almost nothing useful ever comes out of arguments among parties on the workshop page, the evidence page, or the talk pages, and the longer the arguments get, the lower the chance of anything being noticed or valued by the Arbitrators. If you must engage in discussion, short and simple questions to arbitrators are probably the most effective method.

Decisions

Voting

After considering the evidence and workshop pages, and any private discussions among the Arbitration committee, one or more Arbitrators will write a proposed decision and place the case into voting. Arbitrators may vote to Support or Oppose a proposal or may vote Abstain. For the final decision, votes are counted according to a simple majority of the active Arbitrators (for example, if there are 11 active Arbitrators, any proposal that receives 6 or more votes in support is consider passed). A vote of "Abstain" is interpreted to mean that the Arbitrator has no firm opinion and is willing to allow that principle to be decided by the consensus of the other Arbitrators, reduces the number of participating Arbitrators with respect to that proposal, and may reduce the majority needed to pass that proposal.

Frequently, cases with straightforward and noncontroversial decisions will close as soon as a majority vote is reached on the key proposed principles, findings, and remedies, so as to avoid delay when additional votes will not change the outcome.

The number of votes in opposition does not normally come into play, except in cases of Conditional voting.

Conditional votes

The Arbitrators will sometimes offer alternative proposals and may cast conditional votes. For example, if both a one month and six month ban are proposed as remedies, an Arbitrator may vote "First choice" on one and "Second choice" on the other, indicating that she has a preference for one or the other but that both are acceptable.

Arbitrators may also vote "Support-no preference either way" on alternative proposals or may cast definitive votes (e.g., "Support a one month ban but oppose a 6 month ban as too long," or "Support a 6 month ban unless the one month ban also passes in which case oppose a 6 month ban.")

When a case has multiple alternative proposals,

  • All "first choice" and "No preference" votes are tallied and any proposals that reach the majority pass.
  • If no alternative passes, then second choice votes are added, then third choice, etc.

If at any stage, more than one alternative passes, all will be included in the final decision unless they are contradictory. It rarely presents a problem to pass multiple alternate versions of the principles and findings of fact; it may represent a significant problem if contradictory remedies pass.

If contradictory proposals cannot be resolved by considering conditional votes, then the clerks will attempt to determine the consensus of the committee by considering votes in opposition. For example, if the majority is 6, a proposal with a vote of 7–0 will be passed over an alternative with a vote of 6–3.

Arbitrators are encouraged to be as unambiguous in their voting as possible. The clerks are encouraged to bring ambiguous or difficult interpretations to the Arbitrators' attention by commenting in the Implementation notes section of the Proposed Decision page.

Final decision

Once the voting on the proposed decision has a majority, a clerk will usually leave a comment in the Implementation notes section of the proposed decision page, indicating which proposals pass and fail and the interpretation of any conditional votes on alternative proposals.

If the Arbitrators are satisfied that the final decision reflects the consensus of the committee, an Arbitrator will make a motion to close the case. The Motion to Close phase allows the Arbitrators a final opportunity to review the case and the voting, to make sure that any conditional votes have been interpreted correctly and that the outcome of the case reflects their intent. Arbitrators may object to closing a case if they feel the decision is not clear, the interpretation is not correct, or to allow time for other Arbitrators to cast their votes.

Cases will be closed by the clerks after the fourth net vote to close is made, but no sooner than 24 hours after the motion to close is made.

The decision will be published to the talk pages of the participants and to the Administrators' noticeboard, and any remedies (blocks, bans, article or editorial restrictions) will take effect at that time.

Residuum and enforcement

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Most cases will result in some form of decision in the form of remedies and enforcement measures that the community can enact. These may be enforced in many ways, with the most common being administrative action.

If the problem behaviors continue after the Case, then enforcement can be requested by any user at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard, citing the arbitration case and evidence of the problem, or for other issues at the administrators' incidents noticeboard (for example, if a suspected sockpuppet began undertaking the same pattern of editing, or if a user under sanctions engaged in new and significant egregious behavior requiring administrative consideration of additional communally-imposed restrictions and remedies).

If the remedy or enforcement regime itself proves insufficient or needs expanding or extending, or is not as helpful as anticipated, then the Arbitration Committee will hear a request for amendment (or extension) of remedies. This is useful when the remedy does not anticipate some development taking place after the case, such as the user editing other articles on a restricted topic, or gaming the system in other ways.

Users who respond to an Arbitration decision by flagrantly unacceptable behavior (for example ignoring a requirement and trying to evade it using sock-puppetry) may find in extreme cases that the Arbitration requirement is summarily overtaken by an administrator's block or community ban.

User editing restrictions or sanctions are intended to prevent certain forms of conduct, and these preventative measures may last a long time. Appeals can be made for their reconsideration, but usually a significant track record is required, and recidivism is taken very seriously.

See also

Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy

Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement

Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Clarification and Amendment

Wikipedia:Arbitration/Index








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