Critical issues presentations/Let's talk about a global arbcom

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Submission no. 16
Title of the submission

Let's talk about a global arbcom

Author of the submission
  • M Eitzinger
Country of origin



Governance, other, Projects

  • dispute resolution
  • Meta wiki
  • user groups
  • committees
  • cross-wiki relations
  • wiki culture
  • community governance

Even though in discussions on Meta a global arbitration committee is being suggested with a certain regularity, official [1] coordination of such an idea seems to be halted, as there has not been progress of any kind since 2012 [2].

I propose that Wikimania 2016 will be used to discuss this idea in form of a roundtable discussion or meetup. This discussion shall be open and any outcome, even that the idea should be dumped, will be accepted. As there are many questions which need to be dealt with carefully, this session's time slot cannot be enough in order to bring a global arbcom to life, but it should prove useful to get a clearer idea if further efforts will be a good investment of time and energy.

Potentially, a global arbcom could help to solve or channel crosswiki conflicts and/or such conflicts which occur on wikis without local arbcoms. It could be activated when one specific project (wiki) is in conflict with the rest of the movement. Different to stewards, a global arbcome would have the advantage of being per definition a body which decides as a whole, which means that an individual body member is nothing more than a community member as everybody else - with no particular user rights or power to implement a decision. Finally, it could be a signal of ONE global community which works together and which installs ONE final top-level body meant to deal with its disputes.

As the number of projects, wikis and communities affected by the existance of a global arbcom is huge and so is the number of languages, cultures, orientations and goals, the composition and implementation of a possible global arbcom requires careful thinking beforehand. The same applies to what the arbcom's responsibilities and obligations should be and how one could ensure that it will be not only functional but also accepted by the community/communities. These are just some of the questions I would like to see discussed in Esino Lario. As the current status of considerations is a little bit unclear to me (who has not engaged in onwiki debates about this issue so far) and as discussions depend on their participants, I prefer to leave it at that and await further input by interested attendees and co-debaters.

[1] refers to

[2] /


Not accepted