They make a wasteland and call it peace

No, not the US in Iraq, but a smaller matter: the recent arbcomm case. The case is now closed, and the the usual idiots are as usual getting it wrong (hint: the bit about admin is totally wrong). But then again, no-one from the outside ever understands wikipedia.

At some point I’ll do a long post on this (well, or maybe not. We’ll see. The point is, this isn’t that post). So for now:

The actual decision is available here, though if you prefer to skip over the goo and dribble you can just read the remedies. Though there is a fair amount of goo there too, so you may prfer to skip to just the remedy on me. Note that although that is framed as indefinite, it should probably be interpreted as no-fixed-end rather than permanent. Unless I’m Bad again, of course.

My response is on my talk page; feel free to join in there. One thing that may well be worth noting is that this isn’t a content decision; ie there is no finding at all of whether the climate change pages are in any way biased (so, e.g. Watts is hopelessly wrong. But I told you no-one understands wikipedia from the outside).

It occurs to me that the response may not stay there forever, and anyway maybe you can’t be bothered to click the link, so it is:

Final decision: thoughts

Of the decision:

* the “scorched earth” idea is unthinking and stupid.
* arbcomm demonstrate again an inability to distinguish the valuable from the valueless; indeed, they appear to be too lazy to even try.
* in pursuit of their atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant they have failed to notice that peace has already broken out. For two reasons: the worst of the “skeptics” (MN, M4th, Cla, ATren, TGL) are all gone; and the external forcing (Climatic Research Unit email controversy‎) has been resolved in favour of Climate Science. So all the disruption was for nothing.

About the only good thing about the PD is that it is so obviously bad, it is likely to rebound more to the discredit of arbcomm than anyone else.

Of the process:

* more of it should be open. There were very clearly extensive periods when off-wiki emails between the arbs were the main means of discussion. Some of that must be tolerable, but not to the extent that it is done. The arbs have become as addicted to secrecy as the Civil Service, and it is not good: both because of the dark deeds done in darkness (one example: the unexplained but welcome booting out of Rlevse) and because lack of on-wiki information fostered unease amongst the participants.
* the arbs need to be more involved, and to manage the process. Some are lazy, but none are good. This isn’t acceptable. It has become near-expected practice in arbcomm cases for nothing but a few gnomic utterances from arbs during the case. The sheer volume of evidence and discussion produced by petty back-and-forth needs to be rigourously policed. Arbcomm as a whole is fairly lazy, in that they don’t really evaluate the actual abckground to a case – that would be too much trouble, and they never bother. Instead, they rely on behaviour *during* a case, and part of their technique is a deliberate fostering of the possibility for disorder, in order to give them a lazy way of deciding. In this case, arbcomm gave a clear signal right at the start that evidence limits could be ignored. It was downhill from there.

Of the arbs:

* none of them emerge with any credit.

[ps: I changed the name of this post; the original still appears in the file name]