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aSK:Membership Review Committee/cases/Horace April 2010

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This page is to assist with the appeal by Horace against the removal of his membership status by Bureaucrat Philip J. Rayment.

NOTE: This page may only be edited by the parties involved and the review panel members. Comments by other parties can be placed on the talk page, which does not form an official part of these proceedings.

Contents

Review Panel

As A Storehouse of Knowledge does not yet have a Membership Review Committee, the Review Panel in this case will be an ad hoc panel formed by the site owner. The panel members will be:

NB: Panel members changed due to appeal being deferred until mid-2011.

Procedure

  • The two parties concerned are to state their respective cases.
    • Philip J. Rayment is to explain why he feels that his removal of Horace's membership status was justified.
    • Horace is to explain why he feels that the removal of membership status was not justified.
Statements should include diffs where applicable.
NOTE that this is not a debate page. Once each has stated their respective cases, neither should add any further argument. Minor corrections and clarifications are acceptable, but if either party wishes to raise any additional points, they should first seek permission from the Review Panel, outlining what further points they wish to make.
  • The section Messages between parties can be used by any of the following:
    • Horace or Philip J. Rayment, to request permission to make further argument. They should explain the nature of their further comment.
    • Third parties, requesting permission to also make argument. In this case, they should explain the nature of their submission and why they should be heard.
    • Panel members, granting or denying such permission, requesting further information, or making other comment as they feel appropriate.
  • The Panel will review the case by e-mail. Their deliberations will remain confidential.
  • The Panel will then post a decision, stating their reasons, and what, if any, action should be taken. The decision will be final and not subject to further appeal.

Note that as this is one of the first such appeals and review panels, these procedures may be modified as felt necessary.

Statement by Philip J. Rayment

Background

LowKey (who, as an Umpire, had the authority) had blocked Horace, but Horace had used his blocking ability to remove this block and make a reply. He then reblocked himself. This occurred a number of times. (The final one-month block is now the subject of a separate appeal.)

The series of blocks, unblocks, and edits are as shown below (read bottom to top; compiled from the two lists shown under "Supporting links").

  • 20:02, 29 March 2010 Horace blocked Horace with an expiry time of 1 week (It's a fair cop guv'nor...)
  • 20:01, 29 March 2010 User talk:Jaxe5
  • 20:00, 29 March 2010 Horace unblocked Horace → (Need to perform good deed.)
  • 19:41, 29 March 2010 Horace blocked Horace with an expiry time of 1 week (I have decided that a month was way too long.)
  • 19:37, 29 March 2010 User talk:Horace (→3 options. Choose one)
  • 19:34, 29 March 2010 Horace unblocked Horace → (Requesting review.)
  • 18:58, 29 March 2010 LowKey changed block settings for Horace with an expiry time of 1 month (Repeating unsubstantiated accusations again)
  • 17:36, 29 March 2010 Horace blocked Horace with an expiry time of 1 week (Because Brad will block me if I don't. Go Brad!)
  • 17:32, 29 March 2010 User talk:Horace (→3 options. Choose one)
  • 17:27, 29 March 2010 Horace unblocked Horace → (Brad deserves a response.)
  • 16:06, 29 March 2010 LowKey changed block settings for Horace with an expiry time of 1 week (Repeated Unsubstantiated accusation)
  • 15:20, 29 March 2010 Horace blocked Horace with an expiry time of 1 day (Re-block after grammar correction.)
  • 15:19, 29 March 2010 m User talk:Horace (→3 options. Choose one)
  • 15:19, 29 March 2010 Horace unblocked Horace → (Grammar correction)
  • 15:01, 29 March 2010 Horace blocked Horace with an expiry time of 1 day (Blocked for foolishly trying to reason with the intellectually blind.)
  • 14:56, 29 March 2010 User talk:Horace (→3 options. Choose one)
  • 14:48, 29 March 2010 Horace unblocked Horace → (Undo nonsense block by running dog lackey.)
  • 13:29, 29 March 2010 LowKey blocked Horace with an expiry time of 1 day (Unsubstantiated accusation)
Reasons for removing Member status

Horace improperly unblocked himself (Member's block rights are for countering "clear vandalism" only) several times. Given that he was replying to LowKey, and given that he was reblocking himself, this might be excusable, and I would certainly not hastily remove his membership rights for that. However, in the process, he allegedly repeated the claims that caused him to be blocked in the first place, with the result that LowKey increased the initial one-day block to one week then one month.

But the reasons I decided to remove his membership status, apart from a request by LowKey to review his block rights, were the following:

  • One of his self-unblocks was not to reply to LowKey, but to make an unrelated edit (posting a welcome message on a sockpuppet account). Even if the other edits can be considered sufficient reasons for self-unblocks, this edit cannot be.
  • His last two self-reblocks were for only one week, a reduction from the one-month block imposed by LowKey.
Block rights part of Member status

The way I've set up user rights on this Wiki is to allow anybody who passes a low barrier of demonstrating that they are not a vandal to have Member status, which includes block rights to block vandalism, among other rights. It is technically possible to create a separate user group which has all the rights of a Member except block rights, but in order to keep things relatively simple, I'm reluctant to do that. Further, I feel that if someone is being irresponsible enough to misuse block rights, there is no reason why they should have the privilege of the other user rights. And further again, I don't think this should be done to cater for isolated cases. If, as the Wiki grows, there becomes a greater need for this, it can be reconsidered then. But for now, I think the block rights should go hand-in-hand with the rest of the Member rights.

Duration

When I removed Horace's membership status, I gave no thought to how long that should last. Unlike blocks where the duration is specified when making the block, user rights (such as Member status) once granted or removed remain that way until changed. I did not consider the removal of Member status to be something that would be permanent, but whether it should be reinstated automatically, after expiry of the block, after a review (such as by this panel), or only after a future nomination and vote by other members, is something that I left open. Assuming the removal of Member status is upheld by this Panel, I would request that this Panel either make that decision or at least a recommendation on that question.

Supporting links

Philip J. Rayment 13:19, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Addendum July 2011

In a section below, LowKey has raised the matter of why he requested that Horace have his membership removed, which included previous alleged misuse by Horace of his block rights, and this is something I have not commented on beyond a reference to LowKey's request. After this time, I can't recall how much Horace's previous actions in this regard influenced my decision. It may not have directly influenced my decision at all, as it was history, and I think I was responding more to the immediate problem. However, him being an Umpire, I considered LowKey's request to carry some weight in and of itself. So although I list two bullet points above in my reasoning, there were actually three reasons; LowKey's request plus the two other reasons bulleted above. How much the Panel wishes to consider LowKey's request to be justified I will leave up to them, but the fact of the request was part of my reason for taking the action I did.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:30, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Statement by Horace

Before we go any further could you please confirm for me that the panel of CPalmer, EvanW and TimS is not made up entirely of creationists. You will, no doubt, recall my request to that effect? --Horace 03:28, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

I happen to be a creationist, (as you well know), however, that will have no bearing on the case. If you remember my history at conservapedia, you should be able to believe that. --TimSTalk 18:08, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I will not confirm that. I replied to you, saying that this was neither practicable nor necessary. I did err in implying that you had asked that none be creationists, but otherwise my answer stands. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:57, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I shall assume then that the panel is entirely made up of creationists, contrary to my request. As I stated in the original request, this runs contrary to natural justice in circumstances wherein the triggering event was a dispute over a hotly contested evolution/creation issue. However, as I am left with no alternative and no way to appeal the decision to stack the panel, I will proceed to address the charge.
Obviously I limit my comments below to the membership issue which I understand relates only to the fact that I unblocked myself in order to make certain edits after Brad had blocked me.
As I understand Philip's statement above, the significant events that led to the withdrawal of my membership rights were: (1) The fact that on one of the occasions that I unblocked myself to respond to Brad I also left a welcome message on the talk page of Jaxe5 who was a sock puppet of Jaxe (who was himself having a dispute with Brad at the time); and (2) That when I finally reblocked myself I made the block for one week rather than one month.
(1) To the first accusation I plead de minimus non curat lex. It was a joke (albeit, I confess, not a particularly good one). It was of no significance and should not found the removal of my membership because membership is an important privilege which ought not be removed lightly or for insignificant infractions. When one views this edit in the light of other inappropriate edits that have been made on this site by people who have remained members to this day it becomes impossible to sustain any argument that it should found a membership removal. I am loathed to point directly at examples because I do not want to be seen to be pointing out infractions of fellow editors but I would be highly surprised if any panel members could not easily turn up hundreds of examples of far more significant infractions. It did no harm and was a mere attempt at humour (if not a very successful one).
(2) This second point might have some merit if I had sought to actually edit within the period for which I was blocked by Brad. I did not. If the purpose of the block was served in any case (which it was) then the additional punishment of removal of my membership rights is excessive and extreme. My intention in reblocking only for a week was to indicate that I thought that Brad's escalating blocks were excessive and unfair in circumstances where (apart from the abovementioned indiscretion) I was only unblocking myself in order to reply to his posts supporting the original block of me. It can be particularly galling to find oneself blocked for a reason that one regards as wrong and to be simultaneously lectured with no right of reply. (As an aside, I suggest that people ought be allowed to edit their talk pages in such circumstances). In any case, I did not subsequently edit this site (other than in relation to appealing the block and membership decisions) during that one month period. In fact I didn't edit the site for a period of more than a year after the block.
In all the circumstances I submit that to remove my membership now is excessive and would constitute a significant overreaction to my actions.
Further, if the panel does decide to strip me of my membership notwithstanding my submissions I would ask that it set a duration (as referred to in Philip's submission above). Whilst it is submitted that any removal of membership rights at this point in time is clearly excessive, permanent removal in these circumstances would be extraordinary.
Finally, if I am to be stripped of my membership I request that this take place in a private ceremony in Melbourne at a venue to be decided. I ask that Philip be present, appropriately dressed (if he has no military rank then I suggest that a morning suit with top hat would be appropriate). After a short explanatory speech he should tear the epaulettes from my jacket, break my sword in half, throw the two pieces at my feet and spit on the ground as he stalks off. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing properly. --Horace 03:25, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
P.S. In order that there be no misunderstanding about the breadth of the matters I have addressed above, let me make it clear that I have not addressed the matter raised by Brad below for the reasons set out in this thread. --Horace 06:43, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Do you wish to address the original reason for the block? (The accusation that Philip was lying). That issue could be important to the review, even if only for context. The original discussion, as it happened at the time, is still in existence, if you feel that your position is sufficiently defended there, or if you do not feel the need to address the issue, that is fine. I'm just offering the opportunity to address the issue because the block review (which would have happened simultaneously) in which you would have addressed the issue is not going to happen, and because I think that the issue can have a material impact on this case. --TimSTalk 12:15, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Having regard to the way in which Philip has chosen to put the case against me, I do not wish to say anything about the reasons for the original block. They appear to have little relevance to the task before the panel. Philip has identified two issues which I have addressed. The only relevance that I can see in relation to the original block is that the reason for the block was hotly contested and that resulted in my being very keen to address Brad's comments on my talk page after he blocked me. In turn, that led to me unblocking myself in order to respond to those comments. I have responded to the case against me. I do not wish to broaden the scope of this dispute unnecessarily. --Horace 21:49, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

I will require a little time to respond to Philip's addendum. A couple of days should be sufficient. --Horace 03:27, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Addendum July 2011 Philip has seen fit to expand his statement above and that expansion requires a response. The difficulty, of course, is how to respond to such a vague expansion of the allegations. I am not sure exactly what I am responding to. Philip does not state that my previous behaviour has been improper, merely that Bradley said it was. Furthermore, no particular behaviour is pointed to. I, of course, deny that any of my behaviour was improper in any significant way. I would admit to the occasional block for amusement's sake. But I have never done such a thing to anyone who wasn't capable of unblocking themselves. I suspect, although I cannot positively assert, that one of the reasons that Philip does not go into any detail is that my block history is intimately connected with that of one of the panel members, OscarJ. I have already made my views known to Philip in relation to his choosing Oscar as a panel member when this issue was in the wings. He disregarded my submissions and appointed Oscar anyway. Now he seeks to make this addendum that positively includes my history. But he does so by tip-toeing around the issue and without directly referring to Oscar. However, if he is going to open the door a crack then, in order to prevent an injustice, I am required open it wide and let the sunshine and fresh air in.

(1) Now that Philip has decided to go down this path Oscar should recuse himself. Philip failed to take any account of concepts of natural justice when selecting Oscar. The matter now rests in Oscar's hands. He has become a judge in his own cause. In order to examine whether my block history is proper he must examine his own actions and make a judgment about their propriety. I will go into detail below. This is the clearest case of a denial of natural justice as a result of perceived bias that you could ask for. I have never gotten on with Oscar but I appeal to whatever sense of honour that he possesses. Oscar, it is not proper for you to remain a panel member. You should resign immediately.

(2) Again, I am not sure exactly what part of my blocking history is being impugned so I shall have to make some assumptions. As you will have noticed I have referred to OscarJ above. I do so because Brad has referred to it and, as we know, it was Brad who Philip was listening to on this topic. To understand the blocks you must understand what led to them. The whole thing came about as a result of an edit war over Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. I substantially revised the article and made it as fair and neutral as I thought possible. Philip, however, decided that it needed a bit of editorial comment. I removed that comment, regarding it as unencyclopaedic. A little later (and after some interim editing) Oscar stepped in and reinstated the edits on behalf of Philip and an edit war began. This culminated in Oscar attempting to win the edit war by blocking me and citing vandalism at 08:21 on 13 September 2009. And there commenced our rocky relationship. The upshot was that Oscar was rewarded for his ideological purity by being made a senior member and I am facing these proceedings with Oscar as my judge!. Go figure. In any case, I did block Oscar subsequently (and more than once), and I did do so for fun on occasion (as can be gleaned from the block comments). As I said above, I did so in the full knowledge that he could unblock himself, which he did. I submit that such behaviour was understandable in its proper context and that, in any case, it had little impact in circumstances wherein Oscar could unblock himself.

(3) The above paragraph has required an amount of speculation. The fact that this element of the charge against me is not particularised means that I am forced to speculate. That is unfair. Any accused person is, as a matter of natural justice (again!), entitled to know what the charges are against him. I do not know exactly what it is that has so offended Bradley. I believe it is something to do with Oscar but the rest is necessarily speculation. Accordingly, this element of the case against me should be entirely disregarded as a matter of simple fairness. If a charge cannot be expressed with any precision then it is impossible to answer. If, as a result of the way it is put, a charge is impossible to answer then it should not stand. I submit that the addendum of July 2011 ought be ignored. --Horace 23:55, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

P.S. I note that this site has now instituted a change which allows editors to post to their own talk pages when they have been blocked. I submit that this is a recognition of some of the matters that I raised in paragraph (2) of my original statement above. Whilst this system was not in place at the time that I was blocked, the fact that it is now in place is, I suggest, a recognition that blocked editors ought be able to address matters such as block reasons on their talk pages. That, in turn, adds some force to my submission in relation to my actions in the situation in which I found myself. If the same circumstances were to arise today I wouldn't be breaking any rules in posting on my talk page after being blocked. --Horace 00:05, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Messages between parties

Question from LowKey

I initially requested the review of Horace's membership status, and I was referring to his long term abuse of block rights (I reviewed Horace's log of blocks before suggesting a review questioning whether he should have block rights), and not just the recent incidents. Should I make an additional statement or leave it at this? BradleyF (LowKey) 13:51, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Is there anything to add other than the list of Horace's blocks/unblocks? --TimSTalk 18:54, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Probably not. I'll leave it at that, thenBradleyF (LowKey) 03:03, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Wait, by list of Horace's blocks/unblocks did you mean the list in Philip's statement above, or Horace's block log? LowKey 22:54, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
If you want to include this in the appeal process you will need to make out a case that I can answer. Otherwise I have no real idea what I am being accused of. --Horace 00:10, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Question from TimS

Was there a warning given before the removal of membership rights? --TimSTalk 13:32, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

No, there was no warning (that he might lose membership rights) given before they were removed. Is answering the question of fact sufficient, or would you like me to try explaining why no warning was given? Philip J. Rayment 05:35, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure if it is necessary, but it couldn't hurt. --TimSTalk 12:12, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Suggestion from LowKey

I think it is past time to expedite Horace's appeals. I think the block appeal could probably be considered largely moot, due to Horace's absence being much longer than the original block, but I can understand the desire to resolve a perceived injustice. The membership appeal seems to me a more durable issue, but regardless I think that both appeals should be resolved sooner rather than later.

For each appeal, I would like to suggest that Horace be given some specific deadline to make whatever case he wishes, and then the panel can come to a decision. I don't think it is a good thing to allow open issues regarding the legitimacy of decisions to languish.

I am not trying to push for a particular result, just for some result in a finite amount of time. LowKey 01:49, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Request from Awc

The mandate of the review panel is "to decide whether the removal of Horace's membership was proper, within the rules of the site". To be sure we don't overlook anything, would either side like to point out any written "rules of the site" that we, the review panel, should take into consideration? --Awc 07:10, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

We are rule-light, but you should check these three pages:
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 08:05, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Where do the words in quotes come from? I assumed that this was a hearing de novo as opposed to an appeal on a point of law. --Horace 09:01, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
In an email to the review panel from the site owner (aka Philip). You're right that there is potentially a big difference. We could decide that Philip did not overstep his authority or violate any policy, but still that we would have done something else. Under #Statement by Philip J. Rayment, Duration, above, Philip also requested (in this case as the blocking Umpire) that the review panel decide how long the revokation of membership should last. I take that to mean that we effectively have the authority to decide on the merits, not only on the form. --Awc 10:10, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately in this situation I have to wear two different hats; one as site owner, and one as a party to this appeal. I am doing my best to distinguish between the two, and to that end, in the e-mail to the review panel explaining their role, I made a distinction between what I was asking them to do as site owner, and what I was asking them to do as "blocking umpire", as Awc mentioned above. However, I now realise that I erred in my terminology: I did not block Horace; I removed his membership. And I did so as a Bureaucrat, not an Umpire (the way MediaWiki is configured for aSK, only Bureaucrats have the ability to change user rights (i.e. membership)). I'm happy to make that correction. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:53, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
The more important issue here is whether this appeal is by way of a hearing de novo or an appeal on a point of law. I have always proceeded on the basis that it was a hearing de novo (i.e. the panel is looking at the evidence and making the decision over again). That is consistent with the process that has been undertaken here. For example, I was asked to respond to the case set out by Philip (rather than the other way around). That is consistent with a hearing de novo because it remains, in such hearings, for the prosecution to make its case and for defence to respond. In an appeal on a point of law the defendant/applicant would go first and set out what he or she says is the error in law has been made by the tribunal below. In any case, this is a vital question. Could this issue be determined before we go any further? --Horace 05:26, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
As far as I am concerned, it is my action in removing your membership that is being reviewed, which includes whether the block was justified. It was not my intention that you respond to my case, just that you argue why my actions (as opposed to my arguments) were wrong. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:58, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree on the whole. That is, the question is whether your actions were justified as opposed to whether you had the power to do what you did. That is more consistent with the concept of a hearing de novo. The panel should examine the circumstances and determine whether I should have my membership revoked rather than examine whether you infringed any rules or went beyond your authority when you did so. I do, however, disagree in one sense. In my view, in the circumstances, it was appropriate that you made your case and I responded. It is only fair that an accused be made aware of the case against him before having to respond to it. --Horace 07:35, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Request from Philip J. Rayment

I think I should comment on a matter implicitly raised in the Request from LowKey section above, regarding Lowkey's reasons for requesting the removal of membership so I'm asking the Review Panel if I may add to my statement in that regard. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:23, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

One view might be that dragging me through this extended and torturous process is punishment enough. --Horace 08:23, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Feel free. But remember that we were not asked to decide whether LowKey's block was justified. I (at least) am assuming for the purpose of this review that it was. --Awc 09:35, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Based on the fact that the block was appealed, and no review has taken place, (nor will it ever) it would be wrong to assume it to be justified for the purpose of this case, especially since the rightness or wrongness of the block could have an effect on the manner in which the actions involved in this case should be judged. --TimSTalk 03:01, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I have added a bit to my statement. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:31, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Request from Horace

I probably should have asked earlier, but could I please be provided with copies of emails sent between Philip and the panel members? The request from Awc above rings alarm bells for me in that the panel members' task has been set out in an email to which I am not privy. I would, accordingly request any emails in which the panel's task is described, including emails seeking that individuals volunteer as panel members and any responses thereto. I do not require correspondence between Philip and former panel members. Thanks. --Horace 23:04, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

I think that this request is at least partially justified. I think all instructions to panel members/description of tasks should be public information. I do not see why it should be necessary to give the emails that ask for panel volunteers, or their responses would be needed, but I also don't know any compelling reason why they should remain private. Ultimately, this is up to Philip as he is the one who would have to "publish" the information. --TimSTalk 03:12, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
The only reason that I was after emails seeking that individuals volunteer is that I thought that such emails might describe the panel's task. I just want to make sure that we are all on the same page. --Horace 04:41, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
The task of the panel as I understand it, (and as seems to be the understanding of the other members based on conversation so far) is to review the facts of the case, and to determine whether the removal of rights was warranted. I don't see what else the task could be. Clearly, Philip as site owner has the "right" to do whatever he wants with users rights. If that was the issue at hand (as was mentioned on the discussion page) what need would there be for a panel? --TimSTalk 04:50, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

The following is copied verbatim from the e-mail to the panel members, except that the comments in square brackets were not part of the e-mail, but have been added by me now:

You now have each other's e-mail addresses, and can commence considering the matter. The first thing to do is to read the appeal page, at http://www.astorehouseofknowledge.info/aSK:Membership_Review_Committee/cases/Horace_April_2010, including the Procedure section and that[should have been 'the'] Statements by me and Horace. ( I will update that page with the new panel members, etc. shortly, perhaps by the time you read this.) Then discuss the matter among yourselves by e-mail.
Mandate

As the site owner, I point out that your mandate is to decide whether the removal of Horace's membership was proper, within the rules of the site. You are therefore free to decide that I acted improperly, and to say so. I will not do anything to prevent you doing that, to undermine your decision, or etc., beyond possibly expressing my disagreement with your decision.

As the blocking Umpire,[wrong term—see my comment above dated 14:53, 4 July 2011] I also asked (on the appeal page) that if you decide the removal of membership was proper, you might also decide how long the removal of membership rights should last, or at least make a recommendation on that. I'm not asking that as site owner, so if, as a panel, you decide not to do that, that is within your rights.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:11, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Question from Horace

Having read my addendum of 13 July 2011 is OscarJ removing himself from the panel? --Horace 04:28, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

He hasn't, and the panel has commenced its deliberations. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:30, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Have you been having further undisclosed communications with panel members Philip? --Horace 11:58, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Philip is informed of our deliberations because in the same email in which he gave us our mandate, he also wrote:
Copying discussions to me
I asked that the discussions between you three be copied to me, and you each accepted your invitation on that basis. I do feel uncomfortable about this, as it could be seen as having the effect of limiting what you discuss, given that it is my actions being discussed. (My long-term goal is that there be some sort of board to run the site, taking over my role as site owner, and if that was the case, this may not be an issue, as the rest of the board could be copied rather than an individual.) I would hope that you will not feel constrained in what you discuss, and that you will not feel that I will interfere, but if you do feel that this is unreasonable, then I'm open to discussing alternatives.
None of us objected to this. Since then, he has only written us twice to provide minor pieces of information:
  • Horace's membership status was restored pending his appeal, just over four days after it was removed.
  • I made the panel an odd number to avoid deadlocks, which implies that a majority is all that is required, although I didn't think much about that. I guess that, as Tim indicates, you should try for agreement, but it's not an absolute requirement.
I'm sorry we are not finished yet, but since you currently have membership rights, there is not concrete harm in waiting bit longer.
--Awc 14:18, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I make no complaint about the time taken to deliberate. You are correct, I still have membership rights, however, I have been reluctant to edit much whist this process is ongoing (other than blocking a few spammers and commenting on matters relating to this appeal). --Horace 00:58, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Decision

The review panel has decided by majority vote that the removal of Horace's membership was not proper, within the rules of the site.

Votes

Explanation

Philip Rayment, who removed Horace's membership, cited three specific instances of abuse:
A) Unblocking and reblocking himself to reply on his own talk page to accusations made against him.
B) Unblocking an reblocking himself to post a welcome message to a new account.
C) When reblocking himself in the above incidents, reducing the length of the block.

The committee decided that the case boiled down to a couple questions, that is

  1. Were Horace's actions a misuse of blocking privileges?
  2. Did Horace's actions warrant a removal of membership rights?

Qustion 1

The review panel is unanimous that action (A) was reasonable under the circumstances and therefore did not justify membership removal, but also that (B) and (C) were unjustified abuse of blocking privileges.

Question 2

The majority of the review panel has decided that removal of membership for offenses (B) and (C) was inappropriate for the fo1lowing reasons.

  1. The severity of the sanction was excessive for the relatively minor nature of the offense.
  2. Removal of membership should have been decided by the Membership Review Committee in accordance with the policy aSK:Membership#Demotion. Because it was not a "matter of urgency," membership rights should not have been removed immediately, rather, the case should have been assigned to a review committee. While aSK:Membership Review Committee points out that there is currently no standing Membership Review Committee, it specifically mentions the possibility of appointing an ad hoc committee to decide any particular case. The alternative, also mentioned there, that the site owner act as the Committee himself, as he did in this case, was inappropriate because he was personally involved in the incidents and therefore had a conflict of interest.

Notes

  • OscarJ has declined to submit a dissenting opinion.

Additional Recommendation

The review panel also makes the following recommendations:

  1. In most cases a warning should be issued before membership is removed
  2. Membership removal should be for a specific period of time. If these rules need to be specified in more detail, then a separate discussion should take place on site.

This case is closed

On behalf of A Storehouse of Knowledge I (the site owner) thank the Committee for their efforts. This case is now closed, and there should be no more editing of this page, except, if it feels it's appropriate, by the Committee, perhaps to clarify something, or for correcting the spelling of "fo1lowing". (The talk page is still available for discussion.) Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:15, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

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