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Global arbitration committee

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
This is a concept draft, originally from 2007 and there is NO global Wikimedia arbitration committee in any capacity. No requests will be accepted.

Arbitration in general, is an agreement-based method for alternative dispute resolution. It can be set up as last resort, or as a step to take before going into a public court. At Wikimedia projects the wordings Arbitration Committee are being used for panels created by users, offering decision making in disputes among users of Wikimedia projects. Users unable to reach agreement through other steps of the dispute resolution process may present their case to a global Wikimedia Foundation arbitration committee. The committee will hear every side of the case and determine binding solutions to the dispute, which may include an imposed remedy or removal of access.

This is an elective process; all users involved must initially agree to abide by the decisions of the committee. All decisions thereafter are binding, and will be implemented by stewards and administrators as necessary.

About the committee[edit]


The committee membership includes Wikimedia stewards, trustees (in an unofficial capacity), and users elected by crosswiki election for this explicit purpose.

Current arbitrators (any of the above who have participated in a case): none.

Arbitration process[edit]

Accepting cases[edit]

Each arbitrator may choose whether to participate in a particular case. Arbitrators may choose whether to hear a particular case at their discretion. This is a voluntary process, and they are not obliged to provide reasons for that decision. If there is community consensus that the committee should or should not accept a case, this may be taken into account.

Handling cases[edit]

Upon accepting a request and hearing evidence and arguments, they will invite suggestions, discuss the case (privately or publicly), and eventually issue injunctions to be taken to resolve the dispute.
The committee will not accept any case if:
  • there is no agreement to do so from all parties involved;
  • the request is from a wiki where a arbitration committee validated by regular community elections exists;
  • less than four arbitrators have accepted to consider the case.
Although discussion may be private, detailed rationale will be provided for all decisions.


Arbitrators may not judge a case in which they are involved. Stewards who participate in an arbitration case must not use their steward access in relation to the case (see the steward policies).
The committee may issue binding decisions at any time after accepting a request. A decision requires the approval of a majority of participating arbitrators. Decisions are only binding on users who have agreed to submit to the committee; the committee cannot make a binding decision regarding any other user, policy, or project without the consent of the users thus affected.

Making a request[edit]

All users named in a dispute must agree to submit to the authority of the committee. All decisions thereafter are binding, and will be implemented by stewards and administrators as necessary. No involved party can withdraw from the process once it is accepted. Requests that have not tried all realistic steps of the dispute resolution process will be refused. No request will be accepted from a project having an arbitration committee validated by regular community elections.

Before requesting, ensure that all the following statements are true.

  1. There is no active arbitration committee on the affected projects.
  2. You have attempted all applicable steps of the dispute resolution process. In particular, you should attempt discussion, disengagement, and inviting neutral third parties.
  3. You have submitted a request for comment to gather information and opinions.
  4. All involved users agree to arbitration.

If the above statements are true, contact one of the arbitrators listed under 'Membership' or join the IRC channel #wikimedia-stewards to discuss your situation (you can use an online client; if you get no response, try again at a later hour). If your case is accepted, you will receive further instructions privately.

See also[edit]