Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Theresa knott vs. Mr-Natural-Health/arbitrator discussion

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This is a record of discussion from a case that was decided in February 2004. Please see Wikipedia:Matter of Theresa knott and Mr-Natural-Health for details.

To be clear, please do not edit this page if you are not a member of the Arbitration Committee. If you wish to comment, you may do so either on this page's talk page or on the general talk page for this arbitration case.

Recommendations of Fred Bauder

Based on internet searches I have established that User:Mr-Natural-Health has engaged in a widespead pattern of habitual distruption both on Wikipedia and in health related internet forums. In short, he is a notorious internet troll.

I recommend a permanent ban of Mr-Natural-Health. This is based on the habitual nature of his behavior; his behavior may be triggered by opposition by others, but does not result from whatever offenses others may have committed. There is no evidence that he shows any insight into the origins and nature of his behavior or its effect on others and on cooperative discussion. He offers no apology nor shows any remorse for the harm he cases. Prospects for any significant change in his behavior are dim.

I further recommend that any recommendation for reinstatement (including one by Jimbo) must be accompanied by a certification that the person recommending reinstatement has observed John Gohde's behavior on other internet forums and has noted a significant change in behavior. Fred Bauder 13:22, Feb 8, 2004 (UTC)

Additional comment

  • I would like the arbitration committee to force him to be polite, co-operative and inoffensive. theresa knott
    • This remedy may not be within our power. It may even be beyond the power of Mr-Natural-Health and he shows no desire to apply it. Fred Bauder 17:32, Feb 8, 2004 (UTC)

Recommendations of Martin Harper

General question:

  1. Is the mediation process over?

Theresa Knott's charges:

  1. John hs engaged in personal attacks
  2. John refuses to work with people
  3. John is trolling, and has admitted this
  4. John misuses "conflicts between users"
  5. John misuses edit summaries to make derogatory comments

John Gohde's (aka Mr. Natural Health) charges:

  1. David Gerard made an improper attempt to have Alternative medicine protected
  2. That the move of Wikipedia:Conflicts between users/Mr-Natural-Health was irregular, containing additional added material.
  3. David Gerard unfairly reverted Scientism
  4. Fred Bauder (and others) should not have "extended the scope" of arbitration.
  5. Fred Bauder (and others) have violated John's privacy rights.

I will now consider these questions in turn. These are provisional findings, dependant on any new evidence to the committee:

General question:
I find that the mediation process is over for the purposes of arbitration, following recommendation by the designated mediator, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen. As mediation is a consensual process the fact that Theresa has stated that mediation is over is further powerful evidence that it is over.

Theresa's charges:
I find that John has engaged in personal attacks, derogatory edit summaries, and misuse of "conflicts between users", as Theresa alleges. A proportion of this behaviour is partially mitigated by the behaviour of a few others. However, I find that John has behaved inappropriately on a consistent and excessive basis. I find that this breaches Wikipedia's customs and common practices, as described in item one of the arbitration policy on Rules.

I decline to rule on the charge of "trolling", due to the ambiguity of this term.

Theresa has charged that John refuses to work with others. On this matter, I find that John has worked with others to some extent. I find that he is less co-operative than some other Wikipedians, but I do not find his level of co-operation worthy of censure at this point.

John's charges:
On the matter of the protection of alternative medicine, I find that the protection process was followed correctly and in good faith.

On the matter of Wikipedia:Conflicts between users/Mr-Natural-Health, I find that Theresa did not engage in any "creative copying", but simply added the copied text to text already present.

On the matter of the revertion of scientism, I find that a single revert does not conflict with Wikipedia customs and common practices.

On the matter of "extending the scope of arbitration", I find that arbitrators are currently permitted to use their discretion and judgement in such matters, as no formal guidelines exist in the matter. I see no problem with Fred's actions on this matter.

On the matter of "violating privacy", I note that Wikipedia currently has no privacy policy. I further note that our meta:draft privacy policy explicitly states that editing Wikipedia is an act of publication, and carries a risk of having one's identity made public. I further note that the "private" information in question has been published on John's website. [1].

I therefore find that no offence has been committed on any of John's five charges. This ruling does not affect his statutory rights. In particular, it does not effect any rights he may have under any local privacy laws.


to be continued

Recommendations of Delirium

My main question is whether there is a solution short of banning that will achieve the desired results.

Consider the following skeleton of a hypothetical arbitration ruling (emphasis on hypothetical):

  1. This matter is remanded to the mediation committee, and Mr. Natural Health and his opponents are instructed to work with a mediator in resolving the article content disputes.
  2. Should finding a mediator acceptable to both sides prove impossible, the mediation committee is empowered to impose a mediator (or group of mediators, at their option) to mediate in the matter and attempt to resolve the disputes.
  3. Mr. Natural Health is instructed to refrain from editing articles themselves (this does not include talk pages) for a period of one week, so as to allow mediation to progress.
  4. Mr. Natural Health is instructed to refrain from further personal attacks.
  5. Mr. Natural Health will be given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be contributing in good faith and not, as some have alleged, attempting to stir up trouble or "trolling". However, the arbitration committee remains concerned about this possibility, and instructs Mr. Natural Health to use the conflict resolution processes as a means of legitimately resolving conflicts, not as a means of stalling or otherwise causing problems.
  6. A violation of this ruling may be brought to the attention of the arbitrators by any interested party, and will be ruled on expeditiously. Thus, Mr. Natural Health ought to consider himself under a probation of sorts, and endeavor to comply fully as a condition of continuing to be a member of the community.

Questions and concerns about this possible ruling:

  • Is Mr. Natural Health willing to work with a mediator? Refrain from personal attacks? Basically become a normal, trouble-free Wikipedian?
  • Is the mediation committee willing to impose a mediator where no acceptable one can be found, or is mediation always strictly a voluntary process? I can see the advantage of it being always voluntary, but perhaps if the alternative is banning a user, an imposed mediation would be preferable. Need to solicit comments from the mediators on this point.

The basic question is: is Mr. Natural Health willing to be a member in good standing of the Wikipedia community henceforth, and work through the established processes to resolve disputes? If so, we ought to issue an ultimatum to that effect. If not, we ought to issue a ban right now in order to avoid wasting more time of our legitimate contributors. --Delirium 22:41, Feb 8, 2004 (UTC)

Recommendations of UninvitedCompany

I have reviewed Mr-Natural-Health's edits at Alternative medicine in detail, and have reviewed on a more cursory basis his extensive participation in talk pages, user talk pages, and Wikipedia: pages.

In summary, I believe that the text of Mr-Natural-Health's contributions to the article space is reasonable. While many of the contributions are not NPOV, and some are controversial, this is also true for many well-respected Wikipedia editors.

His dealings with other users, however, pose a problem. Mr-Natural-Health has utilized a campaign of insults and intimidation in his dealings with respected users. While no one edit emerges that is by itself clearly out of bounds, I find that the overall pattern of ad hominem attacks, refusal to compromise, and unnecessary harshness in dealing with legitimate disagreements is unacceptable.

I recommend that Mr-Natural-Health's privilege to edit Wikipedia be withdrawn for a period of 30 days, after which he may rejoin the community.

Regarding Mr-Natural-Health's counterclaims, I find that Mr-Natural-Health's claims of inappropriate conduct on the part of Theresa Knott and others to be without merit. --UninvitedCompany 16:34, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)

mav's Recommendations

I have reviewed the matter and the details and I agree with the three findings of fact. However, I am very opposed to banning anybody for more than a week based on only a simple majority. I do not think that much of the evidence at Wikipedia:Matter of Theresa knott and Mr-Natural-Health/evidence should have been considered. I also think that we should have considered other options other than outright banning. IMO a week total ban and a month of probation afterward would have been the best solution. There would be two major conditions of the probation:

  1. MrNH cannot edit Alternative medicine (and any other article he gets into edit wars over) or participate in talk page discussions (not as important to me) on those articles and
  2. he must be civil to other contributors and not cause trouble anywhere else.

If either of those two conditions are broken then any admin can block him for 24 hours and immediately refer the case to us. We would need at least 3 members to make a preliminary judgment if MrNH broke the terms of his probation. A temp week long ban ensures. Another 3 members would be needed to concur with the judgment during that week to make it stick.

--mav