Talk:Global requests committee

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Moving forward with this idea[edit]

This has been in discussion for some time without any major issues raised, so I'm moving it into the main article space. SJ talk  03:30, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Recent discussion[edit]

Someone recently commented, off-wiki:

[It seems to me the GRC] will effect
1) Current communities without ArbComs (or without effective methods for dispute resolution system; AFAIK, there is no need to deal with de.wp issues, though it doesn't have ArbCom).
2) Current communities with ArbComs, but only if the issue is with the ArbCom itself.

I thought the current proposal was just for 1), with no option for 2) -- which is to say, the GRC would not handle any sort of 'appeals'. (to avoid the obvious issue of people who are unhappy with their arbcom treatment -- e.g. all permanently banned users -- switching forums for their latest dispute to the GRC) If others feel differently, can you explain how that would work? SJ talk  03:30, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

At the moment there is no way of dealing with Arbcom abuse on wikis except for opening an RfC on Meta, right? So, obviously, this would then be GRC turf. However, we could make it a rule that contesting a particular Arbcom decision can be brought to GRC only if there is a community consensus (that is a majority by a publicly announced voting) to do so, simply to avoid troll complaints. --თოგო (D) 12:06, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

GRC and Ombudsman commission[edit]

I was asked to comment on the relationship of these two bodies... Well, what I can say is that a lot of the requests coming to the OC are not privacy-related, but rather general complaints about something happening on some wiki related to checkusering or oversighting. Thus, things, which would better be handled by an arbitration committee rather than the OC. These requests could then be directed to the GRC (in case there is no local arbcom). On the other hand, there might be cases which are discussed with the GRC and it turns out that there are privacy issues involved. These would then be communicated to the OC. So of course there must be a good line of communication between the two which is best done if one or two (or more?) members of the OC are also members of the GRC. I think, however, not all current OC members would want to have that additional thingy attached to them. ;) So we could probably end up with one or two overlap members. --თოგო (D) 17:31, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

I think there should be no overlap in membership between OC and GRC. If during an investigation the Commitee finds a case where the Privacy Policy might have been breached, sumbitting by email the details to the OC would be enough. And vice-versa, if the OC finds that a case is not of its competence, they should instruct the user to fill a case and let the Commitee decide whether it accepts the case or not.
I don't agree issues regarding CU/OS all are matter of an ArbCom. With one or two exceptions, Arbitration Commitee members are not identified so we can't simply release any kind of private data as per wmf:Resolution:Access to nonpublic data. This is a recurrent problem. We've been approached in the past by ArbCom members or the community asking if we could release CU or OS logs to them. We've always declined to provide that information and deferred the user to ask the OC, but then the OC says that CU-policy issues are not their bussiness and then redirects the users to the Stewards. That's a non-ending nightmare.
— MA (audiencia) 15:08, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Merge suggestion[edit]

I find it a bit confusing to have both Requests for comment/Global requests committee and Global requests committee with discussion happening on both pages. I would like to suggest that the discussion at the RFC page be merged into Global requests committee. When the proposal is ready for community RFC then an RFC page can be created at that time. Pine 20:55, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Scope[edit]

Recent discussions about the value of this committee have centered on its usefulness for handling global bans, but its scope as written is broader, including supervision of the election of stewards and "Helping communities to establish internal means of conflict resolution and discussion." I suggest narrowing the proposal's scope but making its handling of global bans explicitly part of its role. I feel that the narrower scope will make the workload more reasonable and make the proposal more likely to pass. I suggest modifying the existing proposed scope here to read:

  • Facilitating and closing discussions of Controversial cross-project requests
    • Addressing controversial requests made at SRG, and RFC, including global [un]blocks and [un]locks (i.e., cross-project behavior problems)
    • Imposing global bans, including handling cases with confidential evidence and handling cases where global bans are requested by the WMF Office
    • Addressing controversial requests at SRGP, including investigation of abuse of global rights (including steward and global sysop rights, excluding global rollback)
  • Facilitating other global processes
    • Identifying cross-project community requests emerging from global discussions
    • Helping communities to establish internal means of conflict resolution and discussion.
      • Disputes on projects that do not yet have mediation or dispute resolution mechanisms (e.g., no active admins), or where these mechanisms are themselves part of the dispute
      • Disputes involving an entire small project (or a majority of its contributors) where there are no impartial observers from that community
        • Examples: 1, 2, 3
  • Exclusions
    • Steward elections. These will continue to be supervised by an ad-hoc committee.
    • Investigating complaints about violations of the privacy policy. This is done by the Ombudsman Commission.
    • Helping communities to establish internal means of conflict resolution and discussion. This function could be served by a different committee.
      • Disputes on projects that do not yet have mediation or dispute resolution mechanisms (e.g., no active admins), or where these mechanisms are themselves part of the dispute
      • Disputes involving an entire small project (or a majority of its contributors) where there are no impartial observers from that community

I also suggest changing the name to Global Coordination Committee. (Now discussing this in a separate section below at Talk:Global_requests_committee#Naming_the_committee).

Thanks,

Pine 21:32, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

I disagree to exclude disputes. People from lots of projects come here to ask for help and solutions, and it's fair to help them, specially when the project in question does not have any kind of dispute resolution process or the situation is critical. When that wiki has dispute resolution mechanisms, we usually point them to those bodies; unless it's just obvious that those bodies are either inactive or clearly missfunctioning. Some wikis have ArbComs which are inactive and have ended dissolved. Currently we have to handle this via the impractical RFC way with which not all the people is happy with; but that's what we have now. I'd like to think that if GRC is created it would help to resolve this situation. Regards. — MA (audiencia) 21:42, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. My concern is that this committee will get overworked with time-consuming and contentious requests regarding local disputes if it has the responsibility to address problems with local dispute resolution mechanisms, so I was thinking that it would be better to have a separate committee with this responsibility. I agree that some committee should have this responsibility, I'm just not sure that this committee should handle that work plus the other responsibilities above. What are your thoughts about the workload issue? Workload is my main concern on this point. Thanks, Pine 06:12, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I understand you and share your thoughs. For sure this (or the other commitee) is created we will need to set up filters as to what and when a case can be accepted otherwise and as you say this will end flooded by cases. The commitee would need as well clear competences as to what can be "heard" by it and what it can't be (that needs a thoughtful research otherwise we risk to create gaps). As I though ArbComs needs to be the last step in dispute resolution, I'd require proofs that other venues of dispute resolution has been tried but have failed before any case can be accepted. Regards. — MA (audiencia) 10:46, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I feel that the earlier scope writers did a good job of specifying that the scope of review would be "projects that do not yet have mediation or dispute resolution mechanisms (e.g., no active admins), or where these mechanisms are themselves part of the dispute, (and) Disputes involving an entire small project (or a majority of its contributors) where there are no impartial observers from that community". So a case that has been decided by a local arbcom or admin is not reviewable on the merits of the case, it is only reviewable by the Global Committee if the dispute resolution mechanisms are a part of the dispute such as if there is an allegation of an abusive admin on a project with no local arbcom, or if there are "no impartial observers from that community." Under the current system, how many RFCs are there in a year regarding situations where there is no local Arbcom or the local Arbcom isn't functioning as it should? That would give us an idea of how many requests the Global Committee may get each year. Pine 06:26, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Speaking about RFCs, the most recent issues were this (now closed) or this; and maybe this one that may merit some review by a specialized body. This other, for example, while alegations may be worth to review, would not fall into the Commitee's scope since that project has an ArbCom; who has not been tried yet as far as I could see. That's a very little list. There are older cases and other issues that are not on the RFC page. Regards. — MA (audiencia) 10:03, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the examples. Per this discussion, I'm moving the dispute resolution section to be within the Committee's scope as was previously proposed. Pine 00:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Proposal for commitee membership and election[edit]

  • Committee members must
    • have been a registered editor for at least one year
    • have at least 2000 edits on their home wiki, among one or more registered accounts.
    • have an SUL that works on all wikis. This SUL account doesn't need to be their only account but members must have this kind of account.
    • not be banned on any wiki at the time of applying for membership
    • identify to WMF before taking office and must submit to a criminal background check by WMF
    • be able to communicate in English at at least an intermediate level, with additional languages welcome
    • not be a Steward at the time of their election to the Committee, and any Committee member must give up their membership if they are elected as a Steward. This is to maintain a separation of powers and responsibilities between Stewards and the Committee.
  • Elections
    • Membership will be determined by election through the same process used for electing stewards, with an 80% minimum support required for successful election.
    • People who are elected must be confirmed by the WMF Board.
    • Elections will occur annually and have a term of two years. A committee member may run for re-election.
    • There is no maximum number of members on the Committee.There is a maximum of 21 members on the Committee. The whole Committee may divide its work into sub-committees as it thinks best.
    • Members may be removed from office through resignation, by a majority 3/4 vote of other Committee members, or by majority vote of the WMF Board. Pine 05:22, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Comments about this proposal are welcome! Pine 08:17, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Not be banned on any wiki is not acceptable. We have wikis run by single individuals who refuse to comply with any WMF policies. It would be easy for them to ban a SUL user just to make them ineligible to run. To give an example, I was once blocked for six months on a project I had zero edit count on.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:10, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Good point. I've removed that. Pine 05:18, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • A maximum number of members is necessary. Imagine 30 member get elected, they would not be able to agree on anything. Also, I do not like the idea of expelling the committee members by the majority vote of the committee itself. This provokes cabal formation etc instead of looking for consensus--Ymblanter (talk) 10:12, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
    • How do you feel about a maximum of 12? Also, I changed the suggestion to a 3/4 vote of other Committee members. Pine 05:22, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
      Twelve is reasonable - though I would prefer an odd number, just in case. Concerning the expulsion - I can easily imagine a situation when views of one of the member disagree with the views of the others, and after some fighting they may decide to expel him/her rather that to look for consensus every time. This is alright, and there are annoying individuals. However, we are talking about a body elected for a finite term. If someone got elected, it means that they have a support of a big part of the community, how annoying the person could be. In this case, I feel that they can be expelled from the committee only under some extraordinarily circumstances, which are at the moment difficult for me to imagine.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:24, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
      I'd preferr also an odd number to avoid draws. I'd go for 21, working in one or two groups so not all the commitee has to be busy with the same issue. Members should be as multiligual as possible, with English fluency so cases don't stagnate so much because of language barriers. — MA (audiencia) 15:21, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Changed to a maximum of 21 per these suggestions. I also clarified that 80% support is required for election, the same as for stewards. Pine 23:58, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I'd propose that not all committee members need to be involved in every request (this would be because of the workload of the individual members, and the difficulty to coordinate with a larger number of members involved in one case); for example, the Constitutional Court of Germany has 16 members who deal with cases in two chambers of 8 members each. Or there could be a certain number of committee members that is required to validly deal with a case (5?), so those which are most interested & most neutral could be assigned to each case. --MF-W 02:06, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
  • +1 - See my proposal above to have "chambers" too, so not all the committee is involved in one issue. The Bundesverfassungsgericht is a good example. Although given that the commitee will work with an odd number of members, we will have to adjust them I think. — MA (audiencia) 10:30, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I had intended to let the Committee divide its work in any way it thinks best. I've made that clearer. Pine 04:12, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Removal of members from the commitee should happen appart from the recusals. If an arbitrator is simply prevaricating, for example, it should be possible to get that member removed. Evidence will of course be required. — MA (audiencia) 15:21, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I proposed allowing removal of members by a 3/4 vote of other members or by a majority vote of the WMF Board. Pine 23:58, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Where do I sign to have this not become a thing ever? Silver seren (talk) 20:53, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
  • This is in the drafting stage so there isn't a call for voting at this point, but I would be interested in hearing the reasons for your concerns. Pine 05:20, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Don't worry. I've been told for years that "last month this will be rolled out" and as you can see, the proposal not only not goes forward but goes back. Months ago we've been told that the drafting was done, now it seems it is not. What a headache and a lack of seriouness. I've lost most of my interest in this project due to the continous and unexplained course changes. And I'm not the only one. — MA (audiencia) 15:21, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Why do you propose "a criminal background check by WMF"? As far as I know, this is something neither stewards nor checkuser, oversighters or any ArbCom members are subjected to. --MF-W 02:06, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
    Agreed with MF-Warburg, there is no need for a background check. Ajraddatz (Talk) 19:09, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
    Hi. I'm not sure I understand the criminal background check clause. Is that to send a certificate signed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs/Homeland security saying that you've never been imprissoned, arrested, judged, etc.? — MA (audiencia) 10:36, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm removing this per the above discussion. Pine 04:12, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
  • "not be a Steward at the time of their election to the Committee, and any Committee member must give up their membership if they are elected as a Steward." - Is this wording intented to prevent someone who is currently a steward, from running for committee membership? I'd think that that is unnecessary, as an ex-steward committee member would simply be recused should there be a case in which his status as a former steward would be a problem. --MF-W 02:06, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Other users have suggested that stewards should not be Committee members and vice versa, and I agree. This separation keeps the Steward role focused on its current type of work so that Stewards will be uninvolved in the controversies that this Committee will handle. Stewards may have a role in enforcing the decisions of the Committee. I heard that DEWP Arbcom has a similar relationship with DEWP Arbitration Enforcement, so DEWP Arbcom members are completely separate from the admins who handle DEWP Arbitration Enforcement. I think this is a good idea. Pine 04:12, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with Silver Seren. Now that, with the Fae case, Wikimedia is officially a cyberbullocracy, identified editors can expect to get the private-eye treatment of their whole life history in an attempt to make or trump up a case to ridicule them in the press and force resignation. Maybe some of the existing board members, people with real positions in real organizations, will put up with that for a while, but unaccountable outside bullies will be calling the shots as to who gets on this new ueber-ArbCom. Many people won't even want to try. Wikimedia is intrinsically unstable, because its gathered resources have become valuable enough to war for control of, and nothing can prevent its demise now. But delaying this proposal, and the concentration and efficiency of power it creates, may delay the end. Wnt (talk) 04:28, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

A suggestion[edit]

I would suggest that if there was a Global Committee of any sort, it be elected like the Stewards but also strip any other function away while serving like the Ombudsman (Steward, Global Sysop, other ArbCom statuses, etc). There shouldn't be any conflicts of interests and this would help alleviate some of that. Also, replacing the stewards in the election is a bad, bad idea. They should have no direct involvement with the election of others. They need to be a completely independent body and should have absolutely no relationship to the Ombudsman, who serve in a completely different manner. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:49, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Thanks for your comments.
    • I proposed above that the Committee members must not be Stewards, and I agree that there needs to be a clear distinction between Committee members and Stewards. Regarding conflicts of interest with local arbcom or ombudsman roles, I think that a Committee member who had a conflict of interest in a specific situation should recuse themselves from that discussion. Recusal is common on English Wikipedia Arbcom so I expect something similar would happen on the Global Committee. I feel that these safeguards are adequate.
    • I'm not sure what you mean by "replacing Stewards in the election" because I proposed that the Steward elections continue to be elected by an ad-hoc committee, so the Global Committee would have no role in Steward elections. I proposed that Committee members be elected in the same manner that Stewards are elected, but not that Committee elections would replace Steward elections.
  • If I didn't respond to your concerns fully or you feel that changes still need to be made, please say so. Thanks. Pine 05:42, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Merely having multiple privileges is a conflict of interest. That is why Ombudsmans have to give up all other tools during their services. As for the statement about Stewards, I find your claim a little dishonest when the page clearly proposes: "Supervising steward elections". They should have absolutely no connection to the elections, which is what I stated. If you want your proposal to be taken serious, then please do not do such a thing like that. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:15, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I disagree that having multiple privileges is always a conflict of interest. On English Wikipedia, Arbcom members all have administrator, checkuser, and oversighter privileges. On specific cases where arbitrators have conflicts of interest, arbitrators recuse themselves. There are other cases on Wikimedia sites where individuals can have multiple permissions, such as stewards who may also be local administrators.
I responded directly to the page. You then responded to me. If anyone is confused, it is you. You have put forth a bad proposal and have been insulting and demeaning about it. It clearly states: "Supervising steward elections, replacing the ad-hoc steward election committee" on -this- page. You claim it doesn't. I believe you are being disruptive and I ask that you immediately stop. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:03, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Personal fiefdoms[edit]

Would this committee have jurisdiction to deal with users who take over small projects, or would that still go through the RfC system here ? RfC system has been pretty awful (look at en.wikiversity). --Claritas (talk) 18:47, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

  • MA and I are discussing this point in the section on "Scope" above. Pine 23:52, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I think the consensus is that it should have--Ymblanter (talk) 19:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Naming the committee[edit]

Here are some options for names.

  • Global Requests Committee
  • Global Arbitration Committee
  • Global Coordination Committee
  • Global Committee
  • Global Regents Committee
  • Global Wardens Committee

I suggest that we not use Global Requests Committee or Global Arbitration Committee. The first is vague and sounds like it could have a similar purpose Funds Dissemination Committee, and the second could create the mistaken impression that local arbcom decisions may routinely be appealed to this Committee. I suggest "Global Regents Committee" or "Global Wardens Committee." The historical and current uses of the words "regent" and "warden" roughly fit with the purpose of this Committee. Pine 00:59, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

How about something like "Global Conflict Resolution Committee" - a bit wordy bit may work well. Steven Zhang (talk) 02:19, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
└→ Global Peacemakers. ;-)
Question: Is there really necessary to have (emphasize) the word "Global" in the comittee name?
Danny B. 02:27, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Good God, who cares. Stick with the current name, it's good enough. Rd232 (talk) 17:20, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Danny B, yes, it is necessary to denote Global within the committee. Since, that is its primary purpose. As Rd232 says, lets stick with the current name, it's good enough. Theo10011 (talk) 18:20, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Proposal for action[edit]

This has been hanging around as an idea for long enough without anything happening. Here's a radical idea: elect a drafting committee to design a proposal for the Requests Committee policy, to be put to a Wikimedia-vote. People elected to a committee will have a real stake in coming up with a proposal that works, and there would be a built-in timetable to come up with a proposal (NB discussions should be onwiki, and during the drafting should take into account feedback from non-members). And agreeing on criteria for a drafting committee, especially if we use the Steward election mechanisms as much as possible, ought to be much easier than drafting the policy itself.

  1. Elections in say early October
  2. Use the Steward election criteria for candidates and voters
  3. Drafters to present draft policy for voting by end December
  4. If passed, the actual Committee elections can run parallel with the next Steward elections.

Rd232 (talk) 17:29, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

I must admit the idea has quite some charme! (if this expression makes sense in English, that is ;) ) Just to clarify: The drafting committee would be intended to "moderate" and of course actively participate & push forward the drafting discussion phase mostly, so it doesn't get stuck; is that correct? --MF-W 17:53, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, a bit more than "moderators", since you don't need many people for that, but more actively drafters (of a proposal, maybe with different options to choose from), taking into account input from others not elected. If we just wanted "moderators" of discussion we could probably just get a couple of stewards or meta admins as volunteers, approved by consensus. That would not be a bad idea in itself (especially for new ideas/initiatives), but it's not what I meant, and I'm not sure it's enough for this case. Rd232 (talk) 00:04, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Before actually electing anybody, I would try to see how many people are interested (not interested in being elected, but in drafting the policy). If this is a reasonable number let them just do the job.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:58, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Well, without some kind of election process (with the usual CentralNotice advertising), I'm not sure how we'll actually find that out. If there aren't many people the election may not be competitive, but the process will still have some validity and get people involved. Rd232 (talk) 00:04, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
  • It would probably be easier to request the Board or the Executive to form a drafting committee or get together some committee to "look into the matter" and come up with a professionalish setup. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:50, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Easier to request, certainly. But I don't think that's their job (it's the community's), and I doubt they have the time anyway. If we can't get anywhere any other way, we can try it, but I'd call it a long-shot Plan B. Rd232 (talk) 00:04, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
      • Well, there is talk about having them involved in the appointing. It is their job to give the final permission to the Stewards and they appoint the Ombudsman. Anything on Meta is basically under the purview of the Foundation. Just look at the Terms of Use for a clear example. Philippe and Steve are quite active in these areas. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:01, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I like the timeline but I'm highly inclined against forming a committee to select another committee. There is enough work already, let's not limit participation and hold another election on top of the one we need. The election can run parallel to the steward election, and the existing steward election committee can be asked to oversee it. Instead of a drafting committee, let's just do another RfC or start a page, we can start drafting and discussing from what we have here already, this can be promoted with a sitenotice or a central notice, if need be. Theo10011 (talk) 18:31, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
    • Good idea. Now seems a reasonable time to put up a sitenotice here at least (and/or, similar to Theo's idea below, to ask the major wikis that already do similar work to consider nominating people to get involved in the drafting process) - with the goal of having elections alongside the steward elections. SJ talk  12:37, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
      • By all means feel free to move this along any way you see fit! :) At this point any action is better than none. NB it might make sense to make such a committee have a wide remit, as a general Global Policy Drafting Committee, rather than just for this issue - there are other global issues stuck too. On the other hand, a wider remit might make it harder to get the idea implemented. Rd232 (talk) 07:58, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
        What other stuck issues do you have in mind? SJ talk 
        Global bans, single unified watchlists. The Global arbcom proposal has been essentially dead, we are now discussing its light version.--Ymblanter (talk) 12:03, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Returning to this idea: let's run a new RfC, with a Meta site-notice soon, followed by a brief global site-notice rotation in October. We should also identify recent long-standing problems that the GRC would address. (the recent Global block request? the multi-year hr.wp complaints? supervising the steward election) SJ talk  22:33, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good, but we obviously need to prepare it very carefully.--Ymblanter (talk) 06:45, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Alternative to election[edit]

There might be an alternative way to pick members for the committee than hold an election. Going by, how steward elections go, holding elections on Meta and promoting them is no easy task, and unless its promoted everywhere, you can not get enough representation to be considered acceptable. An alternative suggestion might be to offer seats to existing wikis, and let them pick their own representative. For example, en.wp gets one or two seat, the community puts forth their own representative, with or without an election, this can be a Former Arb or a respected community member who volunteers or gets nominated by the local community or the Arbcom. Theo10011 (talk) 18:24, 11 August 2012 (UTC)