The Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) is a last resort for situations where other methods of dispute resolution have failed. All other options should be exhausted prior to a dispute being brought to the Arbitration stage.
The committee exists to provide binding remedies to Wikinews disputes. This may be anything up to, and including, a ban from editing Wikinews for a period of time.
The committee is the last step in the dispute resolution process — it is a last resort to be turned to when all else has failed. Other steps, including discussion between users and, where appropriate, mediation, should be tried first. The Arbitration Committee exists to deal with only the most serious disputes and cases of rule-breaking.
How does it work?
Cases may be brought to the Arbitration Committee by any Wikinews user. The Arbitration Committee will vote to accept cases; once accepted a case passes through stages of evidence, determinations, and remedies before being archived for use as a future reference or precedence.
Hearing a case
The ArbCom chooses to accept a case by simple majority. Cases which do not gain a simple majority within 5 days (120 hours) are rejected. The committee will attempt to remedy cases where efforts at Wikinews:Dispute resolution have failed.
Which arbitrators will hear requests
All Arbitrators will hear all cases, barring any personal leaves or recusals. If an Arbitrator believes they have a conflict of interest in a case, they shall recuse themselves immediately from participation in the case. Users who believe Arbitrators have a conflict of interest should post an appropriate statement during the Arbitration process. The Arbitrator in question will seriously consider it and make a response. Arbitrators will not be required to recuse themselves for trivial reasons – merely reverting an edit of a user involved in a case undergoing Arbitration, for example, will likely not be seen as a serious enough conflict of interest to require recusal.
Parties in a dispute provide evidence and basis for the dispute to the Arbitration Committee, who will vote on determinations. In making determinations, the committee is not bound by the strict letter of policies but may determine by their perception of the spirit of both the policy and the motivations of people they are reviewing. These determinations will form the basis for the remedies.
The arbcom may use a range of remedies, including behavioural remedies such as requiring an editor to avoid certain articles or topic categories. The parties involved work with the Arbitration Committee, suggesting possible remedies and working out the details including methods of monitoring compliance. These remedies may be enforced by blocks.
No article issues, please
The Arbitration Committee cannot determine "truth", especially for a specific article. Instead it addresses issues between and among members of the community.
Selecting Committee members
Arbitration Committee members are nominated and selected through community discussions. Whenever possible, members of the committee should be chosen with as near a consensus as possible, and without a poll. Discussions should not be closed in less than 7 days.
Number of members and tenure
There are 6 members on the Arbitration Committee. There are no fixed criteria for membership, but availability for speedy review of case applications should be a consideration. When a vacancy occurs, the community may nominate a replacement.
Committee members may be nominated for consecutive tenures, gaining another term after being chosen with the same consensus requirement.
Because Wikinews is a small community, two elections a year was annoying, and sidelined us from the important business of news writing. In January 2008 it was decided to replace two elections a year with one. This has been done by removing the staggered tenures, with the view that if the ArbCom is required more in the future, staggered tenures will be reintroduced.
Per this vote the terms of ArbCom members Bawolff (talk · contribs), Brian (talk · contribs) (formerly Brian New Zealand) and Doldrums (talk · contribs) were extended by six months. These terms, which were due to expire on January 31, 2008, expired on July 31, 2008.
Going forward, until need dictates a reintroduction of staggered tenures:
- ArbCom elections will be held during July of each year for the seats which end July 31
- These elections will be for all six seats
The following is a list of current Arbitration Committee members:
- Brian (talk · contribs) (January 31, 2007 – present)
- Brian McNeil (talk · contribs) (August 1, 2007 – June 4, 2010; August 4, 2012 - present)
- LauraHale (talk · contribs) (August 4, 2012 - present)
- Pi zero (talk · contribs) (August 1, 2010 – present)
- Skenmy (talk · contribs) (August 1, 2008 – August 22, 2009; August 3, 2010 – present)
- William S. Saturn (talk · contribs) (August 4, 2012 - present)
- BarkingFish (August 3, 2011 – September 22, 2011)
- Bawolff (January 31, 2006 – July 31, 2008; August 1, 2010 – August 3, 2012)
- Blood Red Sandman (August 22, 2009 – July 31, 2010)
- C628 (August 1, 2010 – August 3, 2010)
- Chiacomo (January 31, 2006 – July 31, 2007)
- Cirt (August 1, 2008 – July 31, 2011)
- Cspurrier (August 1, 2007 – July 31, 2010)
- Dendodge (August 3, 2011 – August 3, 2012)
- Deprifry (January 31, 2006 – January 31, 2007)
- Doldrums (January 31, 2007 – July 31, 2008)
- Edbrown05 (January 31, 2006 – July 10, 2006)
- Gopher65 (August 1, 2010 – July 31, 2011)
- Ilya Haykinson (January 31, 2006 – July 31, 2008)
- Messedrocker (September 16, 2006 – March 28, 2007)
- Nzgabriel (August 1, 2008 – April 24, 2009)
- Tempodivalse (August 22, 2009 – July 31, 2010)
Requests for CheckUser / Oversight
Checkuser WN:CU and oversight are privileges above and beyond those accorded to "regular" administrators. The former allows to check for sockpuppetry and such via access to IP logs; the latter allows inappropriate contributions to be erased from history.