The Arbitration Committee of the English Wikipedia is a panel of editors responsible for conducting arbitration to resolve serious disputes between editors of the encyclopedia. The committee has the authority to impose binding sanctions, and also determines which users have access to special permissions.

It was created by Jimmy Wales on December 4, 2003, as an extension of the decision-making power he formally held as owner of the site. [1] [2] The committee acts as a court of last resort (Described in the media variously as ‘quasi- judicial ‘ gold Wikipedian ‘High / Supreme Court ‘, though the Committee Makes It is clear That It not, nor pretend To be, a court of law in the formal sense) for disputes among editors. It has decided several hundred cases in its history. [3] Members of the Committee are appointed by Wales either in person or email following advisory elections; Wales, the choice of arbitrators who were among those who received the most votes. [4]

The Committee has-been Examined by academics researching dispute resolution , and aussi Reported in public media in connection with various box decisions and Wikipedia-related controversies. [2] [5] [6]


In October 2003, Alex T. Roshuk , a legal adviser to the Wikimedia Foundation , drafted 1,300 words outline of mediation and arbitration. This outline evolved into the twin Mediation Committee and Arbitration Committee, formally announced by Jimmy Wales on December 4, 2003. [2] [7] Over time the concept of an “Arbitration Committee” was adopted by other communities within the Wikimedia Foundation’s hosted projects .

When founded, the Committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each. [1] [8] As of 2008 , it had decided around 371 conduct cases, with remedies varying from warnings to bans. [9] [10]

Attention and controversies

A statistical study published in the Emory Law Journal in 2010 indicated that the Committee had the following adherence to the principles of ignoring the content of user disputes and focusing on user conduct. [2] The same study, which has been carried out by the Committee,

In 2007, an arbitrator using the username Essjay resigned from the Committee after he was found to have had false claims about his academic qualifications and professional experiences in a New York Times interview. [11] [12] [13] Also in 2007, the committee banned Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Carl Hewitt from editing the online encyclopedia. [14] In May 2009, an arbitrator who edited under the username Sam Blacketer resigned from the Committee after it became known that he had his past editing in obtaining the role. [5]

In 2009, the Scientology-related case, the Scientology and the Scientology Association of the United States. [3] [15] Such an action had “little precedent” [3] in the eight-year history of Wikipedia and was reported on a few major news services such as The New York Times , ABC News , and The Guardian . [3] [15] [16] Satirical news show host Stephen Colbert ran a segment is The Colbert Report parodying the ban. [17]

In 2015, the Committee received attention for its ruling pertaining to Gamergate , in which one editor was banned from the site indefinitely and others were banned from topics related to Gamergate or gender. [18]

In June 2015, the committee removed advanced permissions from Richard Symonds, an activist for the British party the Liberal Democrats . [19] Symonds had improperly blocked a Wikipedia account, and associated its edicts with a chairman of the Conservative Party Grant Shapps , [20] and leaked this to The Guardian . [19] Shapps denied ownership of the account, calling the allegations “categorically false and defamatory”. [21]Symonds said in an interview that he stands by his actions. [22]

Arbitration Committees on sister projects

Further information: meta: Arbitration Committee

In 2004 an Arbitration Committee was founded on the French Wikipedia , [23] and in 2007, on the German [24] and Polish Wikipedias. [25]


  1. ^ Jump up to:c Wales, Jimmy (2003-12-04). “WikiEN-l Wikiquette committee appointments” . Wikipedia . Wikimedia Foundation . Retrieved 2009-06-09 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:d Hoffman, David A .; Salil Mehra (2010). “Wikitruth Through Wikiorder”. Emory Law Journal . 59 (2010). SSRN  1354424  .
  3. ^ Jump up to:d Cohen, Noam (2009-06-07). “The Wars of Words on Wikipedia’s Outskirts” . The New York Times . Archived from the original on March 28, 2014 . Retrieved 2009-06-09 .
  4. Jump up^ Broughton, John (2008). Wikipedia: The Missing Manual . O’Reilly Media . pp. 208-209.
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Welham, Jamie; Nina Lakhan (2009-06-08). “Wikipedia sentinel quits after ‘sock-puppeting’ scandal ‘ . The New Zealand Herald . APN Holdings NZ Limited . Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  6. Jump up^ Moore, Matthew (2009-05-30). “Church of Scientology members banned from Wikipedia editing” . The Daily Telegraph . Telegraph Media Group Ltd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009 . Retrieved 2009-06-09 .
  7. Jump up^ Roshuk, Alex T. (2008). “Law office of Alex T. Roshuk” . Archived from the original on 29 June 2009 . Retrieved 2009-06-14 .
  8. Jump up^ Hyatt, Josh (2006-06-01). “Secrets of Greatness: Great Teams” . Fortune . Time Warner . Retrieved 2009-06-15 .
  9. Jump up^ Lamb, Gregory M. (2006-01-05). “Online Wikipedia is not Britannica – it’s close” . The Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved 2009-06-15 .
  10. Jump up^ Williams, Sam (2004-04-27). “Everyone is an editor” . . Salon Media Group . Retrieved 2009-06-09 .
  11. Jump up^ Cohen, Noam (2007-03-12). “After False Claim, Wikipedia to Check Degrees” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2009-06-14.
  12. Jump up^ Hafner, Katie (2006-06-17). “Growing Wikipedia Refines Its ‘Anyone Can Edit’ Policy . ” The New York Times . Retrieved 2009-06-09 .
  13. Jump up^ Cohen, Noam (2007-03-05). “A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Side” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2009-06-09 .
  14. Jump up^ Kleeman, Jenny (9 December 2007). “Wikipedia ban for disruptive professor” . The Guardian . Retrieved December 3,2014 .
  15. ^ Jump up to:b Fitzsimmons, Caitlin (2009-05-29). “Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology from editing” . The Guardian . Archived from the original on 11 June 2009 . Retrieved 2009-06-14 .
  16. Jump up^ Heussner, Ki Mae; Ned Potter (2009-05-29). “Wikipedia Blocks Church of Scientology From Editing Entries” . ABC News. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009 . Retrieved 2009-06-14 .
  17. Jump up^ Colbert, Stephen (2009-06-04). “Wikipedia Bans Scientologists”(Flash Player) . Comedy Central . MTV Networks . Retrieved 2009-06-14 .
  18. Jump up^ Dewey, Caitlin (January 29, 2015). “Gamergate, Wikipedia and the limits of ‘human knowledge ‘ ” . Washington Post . Retrieved January 30, 2015 .
  19. ^ Jump up to:b “Censorship for Grant Shapps’ Wikipedia accuse – BBC News” . 8 June 2015 . Retrieved 23 August 2015 .
  20. Jump up^ “Andy McSmith’s Diary: Ed Balls and Jack Straw off the labor peerage list” . 8 June 2015 . Retrieved 23 August 2015 .
  21. Jump up^ Randeep Ramesh. “Nick Clegg mocks Grants Shapps over Wikipedia affair” . The Guardian .
  22. Jump up^ Randeep Ramesh. “Wikipedia volunteer who blocked ‘Grant Shapps’ account: I stand by my decision” . The Guardian .
  23. Jump up^ Florence Millerand; Serge Proulx; Julien Rueff (2010). Web Social: Mutation of Communication (in French). PUQ. p. 66.
  24. Jump up^ Kleinz, Torsten (2007-04-30). “Wikipedia sucht Schiedsrichter”(in German). Heise Online. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009 . Retrieved 2009-06-09 .
  25. Jump up^ “Komitet arbitrażowy oraz mediatorzy w Wikipedii” (in Polish). Blog wikipedystyczny. 2007-08-31 . Retrieved 2012-02-01 .

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