Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy/Proposed amendment (April 2019)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Ratification has passed with majority support and over 100 editors supporting. -- Amanda (aka DQ) 06:40, 16 April 2019 (UTC)


On April 8, 2019, the Arbitration Committee resolved by motion that the following change to the arbitration policy would be submitted for formal ratification by community referendum. It aims to address an issue in the current arbitration policy that could theoretically result in an arbitrator being rendered impossible to suspend or remove from the Arbitration Committee if a sufficient number of arbitrators were wholly unable to be reached over a long period of time.

This community referendum is a simple "yes" or "no" vote on whether the amendment is to be adopted. This amendment to the arbitration policy will enter into force once it receives majority support, with at least one hundred editors voting in favour of adopting it. Until this amendment is ratified, the existing arbitration policy remains in effect.

Current text that is being changed

Any arbitrator who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by Committee resolution supported by two-thirds of arbitrators.

Proposed amendment

The final paragraph of the "Conduct of arbitrators" section of the arbitration policy is amended as follows:
Any arbitrator who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by Committee resolution supported by two-thirds of all arbitrators excluding:
  1. The arbitrator facing suspension or removal, and;
  2. Any inactive arbitrator who does not respond within 30 days to attempts to solicit their feedback on the resolution through all known methods of communication.


Should the proposed amendment to the arbitration policy be adopted? 02:15, 9 April 2019 (UTC)


  1. ~ Rob13Talk 02:15, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. confused about this process, but sure.💵Money💵emoji💵💸 02:22, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. DoRD (talk)​ 02:27, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. Good to see this addressed, it has been needed for a long time. Thanks to the current committee for taking the bull by the horns. Risker (talk) 02:29, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. I was going to say what Risker said but then she said it better than I would have. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 02:51, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. This amendment allows the Arbitration Committee to self-regulate more effectively. — Newslinger talk 03:55, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  7. Bradv🍁 03:57, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  8. Jc86035 (talk) 08:03, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  9. and I also agree with Risker Thryduulf (talk) 09:57, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  10. Good, much-needed reform. ~ Amory (utc) 10:33, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  11. Newyorkbrad (talk) 10:42, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  12. Had this policy been in effect many years ago, it could have staved off some of the worst periods of ArbCom-related drama that we as a community have been forced to endure. By enacting this removal procedure now, we grant arbitrators the ability to greatly mitigate the amount of damage caused by similar such incidents in the future. Kurtis (talk) 10:45, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  13. Sensible. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 10:53, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  14. Cryptic 11:03, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  15. (Summoned by bot) Makes sense to me. SemiHypercube 11:23, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  16. Schazjmd (talk) 13:14, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  17. --Jayron32 13:58, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  18. Sure. ZettaComposer (talk) 14:01, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  19. I support the motion as written. Based on discussion below and on the motion page, my understanding is that "all known methods of communication" means "all [reasonably-]known [reasonable] methods of communication", and these "reasonable" qualifiers are implied even if not stated explicitly. Levivich 14:28, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  20. -- Pawnkingthree (talk) 15:42, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  21. EdJohnston (talk) 16:10, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  22. Sensible Tazerdadog (talk) 17:47, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  23. Natureium (talk) 18:46, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  24. Seems wise, though I am expecting the use of carrier pigeons to be included. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:13, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  25. Certainly, but I insist on being summoned by smoke signal if required ;) ♠PMC(talk) 20:10, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  26. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:42, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  27. A voluntary contact sheet to provide multiple methods of communication already exists within the committee. I would venture to say that exhausting those methods be deemed reasonable efforts in meeting the criteria. If other ways are found or available, they would be useful but not mandatory. Mkdw talk 21:00, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  28. Per above - Arbs should be allowed to deal with their own issues RhinosF1(chat)(status)(contribs) 21:19, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  29. Sandstein 22:01, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  30. Seems reasonable and hopefully will not called upon, but it's good to have it spelled out. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:36, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  31. Rschen7754 00:01, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  32. Mz7 (talk) 01:23, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  33. Seems like it should apply to inactive and unresponsive arbitrators more than active ones! Liz Read! Talk! 02:08, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  34. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:36, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  35. Ammarpad (talk) 05:50, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  36. Graham87 07:13, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  37. Yes, with the hope that the provision is rarely if ever needed. Abecedare (talk) 07:44, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  38. Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:03, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  39. Sensible amendment Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:25, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  40. --Malcolmxl5 (talk) 11:39, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  41. Support ML talk 17:22, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  42. Makes sense to me. XOR'easter (talk) 18:05, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  43. Katietalk 19:10, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  44. Support, it's a pretty minor tweak to address clear oversights in the original text. Alsee (talk) 21:54, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  45. * Pppery * survives 23:08, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  46. As long as I don't see any appeals for missing arbitrators to come out of hiding on the 11 o'clock news. Crazynas t 23:17, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  47. ~Oshwah~(talk) (contribs) 02:41, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  48. Sure; also suggest WP:SNOW. EllenCT (talk) 02:46, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
    @EllenCT: This isn't a standard discussion, so the snowball clause doen't apply; the procedure being used explicitly requires 100 editors to support. * Pppery * survives 02:52, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  49. FASTILY 04:34, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  50. --DannyS712 (talk) 08:16, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  51. EclipseDude (Chase Totality) 09:52, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  52. Kusma (t·c) 11:57, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  53. Pharaoh of the Wizards (talk) 12:33, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  54. --Joshualouie711talk 15:33, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  55. Probably a good idea to clarify. Kirbanzo (userpage - talk - contribs) 16:22, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  56. PhilKnight (talk) 19:51, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  57. --S Philbrick(Talk) 20:31, 11 April 2019 (UTC) Addendum - I agree with the concern about "all known methods of communication" and would prefer something like "reasonable methods of communication"
  58. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 20:42, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  59. I concur Mdaniels5757 (talk) 23:58, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  60. Pichpich (talk) 21:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  61. Tamwin (talk) 21:57, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  62. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:43, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  63. It only makes sense to count people who are active in the vote proportion. Bilorv (he/him) (talk) 15:33, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  64. The question isn't whether the decision should be left to ArbCom (it already is); it's whether inactive arbs should count towards the 2/3 required number. They shouldn't. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 11:59, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  65. Opposition suggestions that it should be a community decision are not realistic, as the evidence is unlikely to be public - it certainly wasn't in the most recent case. And this isn't a proposal to decide who makes the decision anyway - it's already the arbs who do it - it just makes the quorum requirement more sensible by eliminating inactive arbs. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:56, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    (The "all known methods of communication" bit does make me smile. "Have we tried semaphore? Someone go get the Aldis lamp". Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:58, 15 April 2019 (UTC)))
  66. I have some slight concerns about making changes to policy based on a situation that was resolved successfully anyway, and I share others concerns about "all known methods", but this still seems an improvement. GoldenRing (talk) 12:37, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  67. qedk (t c) 16:46, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  68. Joeyconnick (talk) 17:01, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  69. Yes; the arguments against seem as if they would be against the original text as well, which is definitely worse. Integral Python click here to argue with me 17:02, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  70. Clear improvement. The votes in opposition seem tangential to the question at hand. --BDD (talk) 17:07, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  71. Dreamy Jazz 🎷 talk to me | my contributions 17:20, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  72. Given this explanation, this proposal makes sense. EvergreenFir (talk) 17:22, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  73. An overdue change to the process. EggRoll97 (talk) 17:23, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  74. I agree with the concern raised by No voters and believe that community oversight should be included in this process somehow, but the content of this proposal is still an improvement over the status quo and thus deserves support. signed, Rosguill talk 17:24, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  75. Definitely an improvement, though it has room to improve further. NekoKatsun (nyaa) 17:29, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  76. Grandpallama (talk) 17:31, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  77. Ahunt (talk) 18:01, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  78. - MrX 🖋 18:05, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  79. Yes, though I'm not sure about the relevance of "Any inactive arbitrator who does not respond within 30 days to attempts to solicit their feedback on the resolution through all known methods of communication"" since any arb not responding would be falling foul of the requirement to "Participate conscientiously in the Committee's activities and deliberations". Cabayi (talk) 18:08, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    Health issues, busy time at work, etc. ... plenty of valid real-life reasons to take a break for a while. "Participate conscientiously" does not necessarily mean "participate continuously". ~ Rob13Talk 18:21, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  80. Timrollpickering (Talk) 18:41, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  81. Gog the Mild (talk) 18:55, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  82. Yes Pmbma (talk) 19:02, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  83. Geoff | Who, me? 19:37, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  84. Yes. While I agree with many of the Nos regarding transparency and community involvement, voting yes here does not close the book on subsequent amendments. On the whole this is a positive change. CThomas3 (talk) 20:01, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  85. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Filinovich (talk) 20:36, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  86. People have busy lives, etc. GABgab 21:00, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  87. Yes since it is an improvement over the status quo, but all known forms of communication should be removed immediately and replaced with something well-defined (e.g. talk page notice or email). A process for removal by community consensus or administrator consensus should also be added eventually. — MarkH21 (talk) 21:07, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  88. Is it ten years already? Sam Blacketer (talk) 21:15, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  89. --LukeSurl t c 21:39, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  90. There seems a clear need for this provision. Mccapra (talk) 21:58, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  91. This makes a lot of sense. RobDuch (talk) 22:11, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  92. Abzeronow (talk) 22:17, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  93. Although, do "known methods of communication" include semaphore? Odd language here is my only gripe. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs)
  94. Kevinhanit (talk) 22:41, 15 April 2019 (UTC) I have no problem with the proposed changes.
  95. Yeah, sure. No issues here on my end. I note that that it would be nice to include being open to considering such proceedings if the community passes via RFA or discussion at AN or AN/I a motion of no confidence against an arbitrator. Willing to settle for whats been posted here. TomStar81 (Talk) 22:44, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  96. Sensible approach. scope_creepTalk 23:32, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  97. Seems logical and entirely appropriate. Akld guy (talk) 23:46, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  98. 28bytes (talk) 23:51, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  99. Sensible. —Gazoth (talk) 01:15, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  100. Makes sense to me. –FlyingAce✈hello 01:24, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  101. Yes, a significant improvement. UnitedStatesian (talk) 01:40, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  102. Support, though I agree that an alternate community recall method should exist per below (with the threshold also being a supermajority). -- King of ♠ 01:44, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  103. Seems reasonable, even if "all known methods of communication" is overkill. I've heard that satellite advertising will commence in 2020.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  01:48, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  104. Support. QueerFilmNerdtalk 02:21, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  105. Willking1979 (talk) 02:31, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  106. Yes Thegooduser Life Begins With a Smile :) 🍁 02:35, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  107. Cannot expect the community to do this. Banedon (talk) 02:40, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  108. Looks good. — AfroThundr (u · t · c) 03:02, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  109. T. Canens (talk) 03:03, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  110. I dunno how I feel about the two-thirds policy but while it is the policy, saying it only includes active Arbs and the Arb in question is conflicted out of voting both seem like completely reasonable clarifications. Revising the “Arbs policing themselves” thing strikes me as a separate conversation. Innisfree987 (talk) 03:50, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  111. Jon Kolbert (talk) 04:04, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  112. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:06, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  113. Yes I would also be willing to trust the Wikimedia office to handle this edge case. — BillHPike (talk, contribs) 04:33, 16 April 2019 (UTC)


  1. While I have no issues with having a process in place to remove arbitrators, I do not believe the task should be left to the committee itself. Calidum 21:15, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. To extend on what Calidum said, I think it would make more sense if the process operated via community consensus. Rockstonetalk to me! 22:14, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    The community is not necessarily allowed to view evidence that may pertain to Checkuser abuse, and certainly can't see nonpublic posts such as to arbcom-l. EllenCT (talk) 05:26, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. Lourdes 03:15, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. Going to join the opposition here. I also feel that this should be left to the community, not the Committee. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 15:24, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. Pending clarification on what methods of communication are included. Arbcom may be selected from the more reasonable members of the community, but that leaves the less reasonable members of the community with a tool for wikilawyering which could very easily be avoided. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 08:45, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. I am worried about things like this and I would like to see a quorum requirement and the vote in public. The public has a right to know both that a discussion of this sort has taken place and who proposed it. Both things are important for future elections. Further, I don't think that the one situation, which is 7 years old at this point, would have ended any differently if this rule was in place. The arbs since that have run into trouble have resigned. --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 22:30, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Guerillero, I'm pretty confident Alex Shih was who inspired this amendment. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:08, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, that's what BU Rob13 said: [1] isaacl (talk) 15:26, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  7. This is a convoluted solution to that which is amenable to a far simpler solution that "using all known means of communications" as its predicate. And the preciseness of "30 days" makes no particular sense - if the removal is urgent, then the 30 days is excessive, and if it is not urgent, then the 30 days could be Draconian as a solution. Far easier to have an "request of removal" !vote set up in the first place - it the consensus then is for removal - then that person is removed. And the same process should be available for admins and crats, for that matter. I understand that there night be several excessively absent admins around. Collect (talk) 18:22, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  8. I vote no — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ewk'sik'nii13 (talkcontribs) 18:14, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  9. Oppose, as long as the ridiculous "all known methods of communication" language remains in the proposal. I have no issue with the spirit behind the proposal, but this particular wording is a clear case of "something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do this". ‑ Iridescent 19:30, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  10. I'm with Iridescent and Collect here. This seems like it could be simplified and have the same effect. Nihlus 21:45, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  11. Oppose per Iridescent and Collect. --HunterM267 talk 21:56, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  12. Per Collect and Iridescent; additionally, I think this should be left to the community rather than the committee itself. PCN02WPS (talk | contribs) 00:36, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  13. Oppose; proposed change is creepy. I see multiple problems interpreting point 2. Baffle☿gab 05:20, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Community discussion

  • @Money emoji: I appreciate that it's a bit confusing. The process is described in WP:ARBPOL as the only method to amend that policy. It's designed to ensure no change is made that does not have the same level of support as the original policy. If you have any specific questions, please let me know. ~ Rob13Talk 02:23, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    A little off-topic, but it seems like this ratification procedure was conceived during a time when a majority of 100 supports usually meant a strong consensus in favor of a proposal, but nowadays, 100 supports + majority does not imply strong consensus – just look at WP:RFA for a recent example. Food for thought, perhaps. Mz7 (talk) 01:24, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • On a spelling note: the plural of "medium" meaning "mode of communication" is usually media. "Mediums" is plural for an intermediary between our world and spirits in the afterlife. But perhaps something like "means" was meant? isaacl (talk) 02:48, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    I've ignored all rules to replace it with "methods", which means the same as the original text. It was a clear grammatical error. Thanks for pointing it out. ~ Rob13Talk 02:52, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    What specific rule forbids such? Benjamin (talk) 08:52, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Benjaminikuta: Presumably it would be seen to be going against the agreed-upon consensus. I don't think Wikipedia:Consensus would strictly prohibit the word change, but it shouldn't really matter. Jc86035 (talk) 10:03, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Isaacl: - perhaps the mediums were there as one of the "all forms of communication?" Nosebagbear (talk)
    Very technically, any wording change in the arbitration policy needs to undergo the full ratification procedure, which can only be initiated by either a majority vote of arbitrators or a petition of 100 editors. (In hindsight, arguably I am not ignoring any rules, since this ratification process also involves getting the support of 100 editors, so maybe we're still hitting the second prong of that exactly.) Of course, this is intended mostly for changes of substance, like the one we're making with this amendment, not a grammatical fix. I can't really think of a situation that more squarely hits WP:IAR - just fix the grammar error, or waste everyone's time shutting down this process, getting a majority vote of arbs, then opening it back up. There is precedent for doing this, too. You will not be surprised to find that this did not require a vote of 100 editors. ~ Rob13Talk 04:01, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Just for the sake of an example, what slot would an active arbitrator, who does not respond within 30 days, fall in? Thanks, Lourdes 03:18, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Lourdes: None, but our existing procedures allow an arbitrator to be moved to inactive automatically if they don't participate in any arb business for a seven day period. This is a feature, not a bug, as I see it. If they've been around somewhere in the last seven days and don't qualify for becoming automatically inactive, we shouldn't be discounting them even if they fail to vote in a removal discussion, in my opinion. It's about giving every possible opportunity to an arbitrator to participate. ~ Rob13Talk 03:32, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • As I read it, all known methods of communications must be attempted, then wait 30 days, then add up the votes. If ≥2/3 the arb is suspended, else not. Also assume that the arb has not left a message somewhere explaining that they are hiking across Antarctica and will be incommunicado until further notice, and that all known methods are all the methods specifically authorised by the arb for this purpose, and do not include mediums of the supernatural variety, the FBI, Pinkertons (or local equivalents) or nationwide TV appeals. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 07:46, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Perhaps ”all available methods” or “all reasonable methods” would be a better wording. Newyorkbrad (talk) 10:41, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
      • "All reasonable methods" would probably be the better of the two as things like hiring a private investigator or a major billboard campaign are technically methods available to the committee, but not what I (or I strongly suspect most people) would regard as "reasonable". Thryduulf (talk) 12:17, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
        • Newyorkbrad, I've already made that suggestion, both at the motions page and at WT:ACN. BU Rob13 has made it clear that considering the flaws in the wording is unacceptable and that making the suggestion was unwelcome... though he may choose to be less disdainful / dismissive of you. EdChem (talk) 12:28, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
          • @EdChem: If I came off as either of those things, I apologize. Absolutely not my intent. I just simply don’t agree that it’s needed, because reasonable arbs would not feel constrained by these hypotheticals. ~ Rob13Talk 12:45, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
            Given that ArbCom makes processes and procedures for ArbCom policy, and would indeed be their own interpreters for this policy, I would hope that merely the existence of these conversations would provide "legislative intent" such that the differences in scope on offer here could help mitigate the potential issues raised by EdChem and NYB. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 12:58, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
            I'm not suggesting that there's a real concern that the wording could be misinterpreted. Beyond that, I've pointed out in the past that perfect wording is often impossible even in theory (see here). I don't see much downside to making the tweak I suggested but it is not, in any way, a big deal. Newyorkbrad (talk) 15:39, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
            If it was restricted to all methods previously authorised by the arb for this purpose, it could avoid issues of complaints that due dliigence was not done, or of invasion of privacy or hounding. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 18:22, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
            Pbsouthwood, that is another possible solution, but they aren't interested in solutions because (a) they don't think that a situation where it becomes a problem is likely to arise (which is likely true, though a poor reason for leaving the flawed wording in place), and (b) if it did arise, they'd likely ignore the policy and do what they wanted anyway (apparently "reasonable arbs" wouldn't be constrained by "hypotheticals" that apparently include the actual words used in the text of the policy change and their plain meaning). EdChem (talk) 08:11, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
            Rob, I appreciate that you offered an apology. I would have preferred it if you had reflected on your words actions, however, to look at why you came across as you did... and then accepted that you did come across that way rather than implying that you did not. It doesn't help that I've read the recent discussions at Iridescent's talk page, which don't portray you well. I've also seen how you (very appropriately) discuss IAR for a wording tweak above, but then seen you suggest / imply that the actual words in ArbCom policy can be sidestepped with what appears to me to be an IAR solution to problematic wording here that can somehow be justified under the banner of reasonableness. Isn't it obvious that a situation where ArbCom seeks to expel an Arbitrator is one where at least some lack of reasonableness is a necessity? The change being sought here is sensible, but the idea of invoking IAR in relation to any substantive part of ARBPOL is, in my opinion, outrageous. If you can suggest a non-IAR way to make a reasonable reading of "all known methods of communications" to not include every possible method of communication known to each and every arbitrator (and thus include a social media channel known to only one arbitrator, for example) then please explain it. I can understand the reasoning that the flaw is unlikely to lead to a problem, so why bother fixing it – it's lazy and irresponsible, in my view, but I can understand it. I don't understand how it can reasonably be argued to be unproblematic, however, in that using this change to remove an inactive arbitrator from counting in an expulsion motion means proving that "all known methods of communications" were tried. If the arbitrator you seek to remove challenges it, arguing not all known means were tried and especially if s/he can point to one that was not tried, then removal efforts are potentially delayed at least a month. Why would you want to stick a future ArbCom with dealing with a requirement to try "all known methods of communications"? EdChem (talk) 08:11, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
            • As the proposal stands, I cannot vote on it, mainly because the passage about the "known methods of communication" still needs to be explained. I guess it means using all methods of communication the person in question has left contact details for (such as an e-mail address, a phone number, or a mailing address), but this is by no means clear. --Schlosser67 (talk) 20:17, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
              I did try to make some suggestions: (talk page message, email, IRC, text message, facebook, twitter, phone calls, skype, emails to family members, text messages to family members, calls to employers, calls to landlords, visiting residence, visiting employment, wellness checks by local police, hiring a private investigator, mediums (do they only "contact" dead people?), putting their face on the news, renting billboards, replacing the Wikipedia fundraising banners with pleas to locate the missing arb, etc.) Joking of course, but I do think it would be helpful to have a list of what is considered reasonable contacts methods. Natureium (talk) 20:21, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
              @Natureium: Once this is ratified, ArbCom can easily vote on an addition to our procedures to make clear what is considered a "known method of communication" for the purposes of this clause. We've long had the ability to set our own procedures/interpretations of ARBPOL. As long as it's set in advance, there should be no arguments if the provision is ever needed. I would say talk page message, email, IRC, text message, Facebook, Twitter, Skype are all fair game if those methods of communication were given to the Committee in the past. ~ Rob13Talk 20:28, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
To be clear, I would want the social media channel tried if an arbitrator knew about it. I would expect that even under your preferred wording, because it is reasonable to shoot a quick Facebook private message to an arb on such an important issue. ~ Rob13Talk 13:05, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Maybe people would support this more readily if we generated a list of all known methods that arbcom could contact missing arbs. Ex: talk page message, email, IRC, text message, facebook, twitter, phone calls, skype, emails to family members, text messages to family members, calls to employers, calls to landlords, visiting residence, visiting employment, wellness checks by local police, hiring a private investigator, mediums (do they only "contact" dead people?), putting their face on the news, renting billboards, replacing the Wikipedia fundraising banners with pleas to locate the missing arb, etc. Natureium (talk) 17:12, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but I question whether sitting arbitrators should be voting here since this is calling on the community to ratify a committee action. Calidum 21:19, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I appreciate the concern. Having said that, I think it's important to remember that arbitrators are members of the editing community as well. We were before we were on the Committee, we remain so during our tenure, and we (hopefully) stick around in the community afterwards. Just as we wouldn't expect community members who petition for an amendment to the arbitration policy to sit out of a subsequent ratification of their petition (the other method to seek such an amendment), I don't think barring arbitrators from participating in this action like any other community member is beneficial. We need to be one community, not a community minus those eggheads in ArbCom. (Plus, if it were intended, presumably it would be written into ARBPOL.) ~ Rob13Talk 22:03, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I have never considered being a member of the community and being on the committee as mutually exclusive things. I do not think the committee should be thought of as being separate from the community but rather a part of it. We have editors who conduct different tasks, identify themselves in different ways, and edit in different areas, but regardless of all these ways in which they can be labelled, they all still make up the community. Mkdw talk 22:45, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
      • Sure. Unfortunately, (no offence intended) members of the community can't think as freely of themselves as being members of the arbcom. If it's a community referendum about powers that arbcom should have, then it is good form that arbcom members don't vote in the same. RfA candidates don't !vote in their RfA; AfD nominators don't !vote in their proposed discussions; although the trend is dissimilar at ANI discussions. This is just my opinion and not a sticky issue for me though. Lourdes 03:18, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
        • For what it's worth, I might feel differently if we were voting to ratify an expansion of ArbCom powers. I would have to think on that more. This particular amendment does not touch our scope at all, though, so I'm not concerned about our votes being perceived as some power grab. This is a change of a small detail, largely to protect our editing community from the possibility of a hypothetical off-the-rails arbitrator who we simply can't remove. ~ Rob13Talk 03:36, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
          • @BU Rob13: Although I agree with you that this is a small change in the grand scheme of things (as it'll rarely be invoked) and I have no opinion on whether Arbs should vote or not, I disagree that this is not expansion of ArbCom powers as you suggest. It's, by any measure. I don't know why you think otherwise; are we voting to reduce the powers of ArbCom? Or are we voting to reaffirm previously ratified policy? Or are we doing something else?. Thanks. – Ammarpad (talk) 06:10, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
            • @Ammarpad: The Arbitration Committee can already vote to suspend or remove an arbitrator in the current arbitration policy. See the copy of the existing sentence that is being changed above. Currently, it takes a 2/3 vote of all arbitrators, even the one being voted off the island and even the ones who literally cannot be reached for comment. This change excludes those from the 2/3 needed to pass such a motion. That is all we're doing. I would say this doesn't add to or reduce our "powers", but rather fixes an oddity in this particular provision that could theoretically render an arbitrator impossible to remove if a sufficient number of arbitrators were unreachable for whatever reason. (While this is an extreme example, a deceased arbitrator would effectively count as an oppose under our current policy, since they obviously could not vote to support and the current policy provides no means to exclude them from the voting. I think we can all agree that doesn't sound quite right.) ~ Rob13Talk 06:21, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
              • I might say that it is increasing the power of the (active) individual arbitrators but not the committee as a whole; that's likely nitpicking but (per below) I don't have an issue with it. ~ Amory (utc) 10:56, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
        • @Lourdes: To your larger point, though, we require that RfA candidates affirmatively accept a nomination before the process may begin, which is an explicit acceptance by them that they are in favor of passing; a !vote would be pointless. In a similar fashion, AfD nominators are considered as delete !votes, hence the many other "per nom" !votes are valid and hence WP:NOQUORUM. Although obviously ArbCom has already voted on the motion to start this process, individual arbitrators need not support it and should be free to express their views above in that case. I can imagine a scenario where a motion amend WP:ARBPOL passes ArbCom by a slim majority, but when put here the opposing Arbs make a stronger case to the rest of the community and it fails. I think it's entirely appropriate that, ArbCom having passed a motion, the individual Arbs may opine here. ~ Amory (utc) 10:56, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Calidum and Rockstone35: I am not sure if it is entirely clear, but the change being voted on is not whether removal will be a committee process versus a community process (the rationales you provided in your votes). In a nutshell, the main change being proposed here is to exclude from voting the arbitrator who is the subject of the removal resolution. By voting 'no', you are not supporting a community removal process. Instead you are expressing your support for the arbitrator accused of repeated or gross misconduct to be able to vote on their own removal from the committee (which the current policy allows). Mkdw talk 22:54, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Thank you for the clarification. Given that this is likely to pass, I'm not planning on changing my vote because I'm still not certain this is a task that should be left to the committee. Calidum 03:13, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @Calidum: For what it's worth, I think it's difficult to assess "likely to pass" at this point. The bar is 100 supports with at least a majority supporting. We are quite a way from that. ~ Rob13Talk 03:21, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Till when will this referendum be open? Ad infinitum till it gets 100 support votes, or is there a pre-set timeline? Thanks, Lourdes 03:23, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Lourdes: The arbitration policy doesn't set any end time for ratification, so ad infinitum is the likely answer. After a point, if it were to not reach that bar or an overwhelming majority opposed, it would likely be marked historical as a matter of practicality. It's worth noting that the arbitration policy did include a timeline for ratification "once upon a time", so I consider the fact it doesn't now to be intentional. ~ Rob13Talk 03:29, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I will note, to the "no" votes, that voting "no" on this proposal does not actually remove the ability of the ArbCom to remove it's own members. The proposal is to add language to existing policy that already allows them to remove their own members. If we want to get rid of that ability, we would need to start a new policy discussion. Voting "no" on this proposal only means you oppose 1) disallowing an Arb from voting against their own removal and 2) counting inactive arbs in the number needed for 2/3 majority. The "no" votes seem to be voting on something else entirely. Please read carefully. To wit "Until this amendment is ratified, the existing arbitration policy remains in effect." The existing policy is "Any arbitrator who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by Committee resolution supported by two-thirds of arbitrators." Voting no means retaining the existing policy. --Jayron32 15:36, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    You don't expect people to actually read what they're voting on, do you? Natureium (talk) 15:56, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    Well, I actually kinda do... --Jayron32 16:08, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    Specifically pinging Javert2113 to the above. ~ Rob13Talk 16:20, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    I am aware of what this amendment proposes, and I feel that my earlier explanation was good enough. To respond to the current discussion, however, I will explain further: while I believe, as a whole, that this should not be the domain of the Arbitration Committee, I also think that the current Committee policy is sufficient, insofar as it allows for the greatest protection of the individual arbitrator. It is my belief that the vote of the arbitrator facing suspension or removal, regardless of cause, should count in the total votes noted (as an arbitrator, until removed or suspended, is an arbitrator, with all inherent rights and duties of the position); and, additionally, I object to the specific wording of the second part of the amendment. Words are important; and "all reasonable methods" would be a far more succinct and reasonable alternative, as opposed to the current wording. As the amendment currently stands, I will not be changing my vote. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 18:28, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    Which is fine, of course. I just wanted to make sure it was understood what this proposal actually is. For what it's worth, on the broader point of whether the community should be the ones able to remove arbs, I consider that impractical. Every case where an arbitrator came close to removal, to my knowledge, has been related to inappropriately handling private information. I consider that the most likely scenario in which this provision would be used in the future, though I certainly hope it never comes up again. It is near impossible for the community to make an informed vote on such an issue, because they could not have any of the details without making the private information public. ~ Rob13Talk 18:34, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
That's fair. I had a lot to say about community involvement (before I cut it all out before sending this reply), but I have a feeling that's a debate, possibly already settled, for another time. I appreciate your understanding. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 18:50, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I would like some context here, please. How many arbitrators have been removed by a vote of the Committee? How many would have been so far if it were not for their vote or abstentions from the inactive arbs? EllenCT (talk) 23:40, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @EllenCT: There have been two instances that I'm aware of where arbitrator removal was seriously contemplated or could have been seriously contemplated had the situation continued. The first was Elen of the Roads. The second was Alex Shih. The removal of Elen of the Roads could not have passed both before and after this amendment because of the amount of arbitrators who chose to abstain or recuse. That is equivalent to an oppose under the arbitration policy. This amendment was brought about largely because of my concern that Alex Shih could have become unremovable despite known abuse of CheckUser if he had refused to resign. At the time of his resignation, we had two long-term inactive arbitrators in Ks0stm and DeltaQuad. Assuming Alex would not vote against his own removal, we would have needed 10 votes from the remaining 12 arbitrators to suspend or remove, which is a much taller order than intended under the arbitration policy. I am unsure whether we had the votes for that before the amendment, despite the severity of the issues. I am positive we had the votes after the amendment. ~ Rob13Talk 02:23, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
      @BU Rob13: - thank you for the context, could you clarify "because of the amount of arbitrators who chose to abstain or recuse. That is equivalent to an oppose" - I knew this about abstentions (and it makes sense), but is that also the case for recusals? That actually seems counter to the purpose and could cause various issues. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:05, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
      Sure. In all ArbCom votes except votes to suspend or remove an arbitrator, both recusals and abstentions are treated as if the arb doesn’t exist, lowering the amount of arbitrators needed for a majority as applicable. In this one specific case, though, the arbitration policy specifies two-thirds of all arbitrators must vote for suspension or removal for it to occur. There is not really any such thing as a recusal or abstention on such a motion under the current policy, and declining to vote on either basis is essentially like a “pocket veto”. That isn’t changed in this amendment because I expected the change to be controversial and unable to be ratified. In particular, there is a real risk that allowing recusals or abstentions could result in a very small number of arbs removing another arbitrator. ~ Rob13Talk 13:19, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The watchlist notice definitely worked in increasing participation. * Pppery * has returned 19:02, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • As I raised in the discussion for the corresponding motion, I suggest the arbitration committee adopt a procedure to specify when it will call interim elections, in accordance with Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Selection and appointment, to maintain a minimum quorum of active arbitrators. This will ensure there is a minimum quorum to require the removal of an arbitrator. isaacl (talk) 22:30, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I think the problem with putting anything in writing is that it depends on so many factors. All arbitrators are not equal when it comes to activity. Seven active arbs could be enough to run Committee business if they're participating actively on every matter. Thirteen active arbs could be not enough if "active" means they're cherry-picking matters to participate on, and only participating after weeks of waiting. Over half of the arbs inactive sounds bad, but if a bunch plan to return within a month, it doesn't warrant interim elections (which would take over a month to conduct). This is very much a "We know it when we see it" kind of thing. ~ Rob13Talk 22:56, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
      • Hard rules on the meaning of "active" may not be necessary. However at least some indication of a quorum for the purposes of removing an arbitrator may be desirable. isaacl (talk) 23:51, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
        • I was referring more to hard rules on when to call interim elections. ~ Rob13Talk 02:33, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
          • Sure, if I understood correctly, you were referring to how to consider an arbitrator inactive for the purpose of determining when an interim election might be called. I understand it may be tricky to set a hard rule on this. Nonetheless, I feel a quorum value can be set, with flexibility provided in how the committee decides if quorum is met. This can help ensure that the committee regularly considers this question, and isn't caught by surprise if the number of potentially active arbitrators is nearing the quorum level. isaacl (talk) 03:22, 16 April 2019 (UTC)


The arbitration policy states:

Once adopted by the Committee, this policy will undergo formal ratification through a community referendum and will enter into force once it receives majority support, with at least one hundred editors voting in favour of adopting it. Until this policy is ratified, the existing arbitration policy remains in effect.

Amendments to this policy require an identical ratification process. Proposed amendments may be submitted for ratification only after being approved by a majority vote of the Committee, or having been requested by a petition signed by at least one hundred editors in good standing.

As of 01:25, 16 April 2019 (UTC), we now have 100 votes in support and a majority of voters supporting. Therefore, is the amendment considered ratified at this point? This is a peculiar sort of procedural process within the Wikipedia !bureaucracy – but 100 votes and 50% + 1 appears to be what the rules we decided on say. Mz7 (talk) 05:59, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.