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A special set of rules applies to certain topic areas, which are referred to as contentious topics (abbreviated CT). These are specially-designated topics that have attracted more persistent disruptive editing than the rest of the project and have been designated as contentious topics by the Arbitration Committee.[a] Not all topics that are controversial have been designated as contentious topics – this procedure applies only to those topics designated by the Arbitration Committee (list). When editing a contentious topic, Wikipedia's norms and policies are more strictly enforced and Wikipedia administrators have additional authority to reduce disruption to the project.

Editing a contentious topic

Within contentious topics, you must edit carefully and constructively, refrain from disrupting the encyclopedia, and:

You should err on the side of caution if you are unsure whether making a particular edit is consistent with these expectations.

Within contentious topics, administrators have the ability to set editor restrictions (restrictions on editing by particular editors) and page restrictions (special rules on how particular pages can be edited). Some of these abilities may be exercised by a single administrator while others require a consensus of administrators. All editor and page restrictions may be appealed.

Contentious topic restrictions

Administrators are authorized to impose contentious topic restrictions in contentious topic areas. Those contentious topic restrictions take the form of editor restrictions and page restrictions.

Editor restrictions prohibit a specific editor from making edits described in the restriction and may be imposed on editors who do not follow the expectations listed in #Editing a contentious topic in a contentious topic. Page restrictions prohibit all editors on a particular page from making edits described in the restriction and may be imposed to minimize disruption in a contentious topic.

Unless otherwise specified, contentious topics are broadly construed; this contentious topics procedure applies to all pages broadly related to a topic, as well as parts of other pages that are related to the topic.[b]

Single administrators may only impose restrictions in the standard set of contentious topic restrictions. A rough consensus of administrators at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE") may impose any restriction from the standard set and any other reasonable measures that are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

Standard set

The following editor restrictions constitute the standard set of editor restrictions which may be imposed by a single uninvolved administrator:

The following page restrictions constitute the standard set of page restrictions which may be imposed by a single uninvolved administrator:

  • page protection,
  • revert restrictions,
  • the "consensus required" restriction,[c]
  • the "enforced BRD" restriction,[d] and
  • other restrictions that have been specifically designated by the Arbitration Committee for use by a single administrator in a particular contentious topic.

Warnings

Administrators may warn editors for conduct that falls short of the expectations in a contentious topic. Administrators may choose to log warnings in the arbitration enforcement log. Warnings that are logged in the arbitration enforcement log may be appealed like other editor restrictions. An editor may be warned even if the editor was not previously aware that their editing occurred in a contentious topic.

Duration of restrictions

Contentious topic restrictions may be imposed for any fixed length of time, or for an indefinite period.

However, one year after being imposed (or last renewed, if applicable), contentious topic restrictions which were imposed by a single administrator may be amended or revoked without going through the appeals and amendments process in the same way as an ordinary administrator action.

Additionally, sitewide blocks become ordinary administrator actions one year after imposition, whether or not imposed by a consensus of administrators at AE.

Restriction notices

An administrator who imposes an editor restriction must provide a notice on the restricted editor's talk page specifying the reason for the restriction and informing the restricted editor of the appeal process.

An administrator who imposes a page restriction (other than page protection) must add an editnotice to restricted pages using the standard template ({{Contentious topics/page restriction editnotice}} or a derived topic-specific template), and should generally add a notice to the talk page of restricted pages.

Renewal of page restrictions

If an uninvolved administrator (including the original enforcing administrator) decides that a page restriction is still necessary after one year, the administrator may renew the restriction by re-imposing it under this procedure and logging the renewal. The administrator renewing a page restriction then becomes the enforcing administrator. This does not apply to page restrictions imposed by consensus at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard.

Logging

Contentious topic restrictions must be recorded in the arbitration enforcement log by the administrator who takes the action.[e] Administrators who renew, change, or revoke a contentious topic restriction must append a note recording the amendment to the original log entry.

Administrators should clearly and unambiguously label their actions as contentious topic restrictions (such as in the block summary, page protection summary, edit summary, or talk page message announcing the action, whichever is appropriate).[f]

Enforcement of restrictions

Editors must comply with contentious topic restrictions. Editors who disagree with a contentious topic restriction may appeal it, but the restriction remains in effect until it is revoked or modified by an administrator.

Edits that breach an editor or page restriction may be reverted.[g]

Editors who breach an editor or page restriction may be blocked or subjected to further editor restrictions.

However, breaches of a page restriction may result in a block or editor restriction only if:

  1. The editor was aware that they were editing in a contentious topic, and
  2. The restricted page displayed an editnotice ({{Contentious topics/page restriction editnotice}} or a derived topic-specific template) specifying the page restriction.

Appeals and amendments

All contentious topic restrictions (and logged warnings) may be appealed. Only the restricted editor may appeal an editor restriction. Any editor may appeal a page restriction.

The appeal process has three possible stages. An editor appealing a restriction may:

  1. ask the administrator who first made the contentious topic restrictions (the "enforcing administrator") to reconsider their original decision;
  2. request review at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE") or at the administrators' noticeboard ("AN"); and
  3. submit a request for amendment ("ARCA"). If the editor is blocked, the appeal may be made by email.

Appeals submitted at AE or AN must be submitted using the applicable template.

A rough consensus of administrators at AE or editors at AN may specify a period of up to one year during which no appeals (other than an appeal to ARCA) may be submitted.

Changing or revoking a contentious topic restriction

An administrator may only modify or revoke a contentious topic restriction if a formal appeal is successful or if one of the following exceptions applies:

  • The administrator who originally imposed the contentious topic restriction (the "enforcing administrator") affirmatively consents to the change,[h] or is no longer an administrator;[i] or
  • The contentious topic restriction was imposed (or last renewed) more than a year ago and:
    • the restriction was imposed by a single administrator, or
    • the restriction was an indefinite block.

A formal appeal is successful only if one of the following agrees with revoking or changing the contentious topic restriction:

  • a clear consensus of uninvolved administrators at AE,
  • a clear consensus of uninvolved editors at AN,
  • a majority of the Arbitration Committee, acting through a motion at ARCA.

Any administrator who revokes or changes a contentious topic restriction out of process (i.e. without the above conditions being met) may, at the discretion of the Arbitration Committee, be desysopped.

Standard of review

On community review

Uninvolved administrators at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE") and uninvolved editors at the administrators' noticeboard ("AN") should revoke or modify a contentious topic restriction on appeal if:

  1. the action was inconsistent with the contentious topics procedure or applicable policy (i.e. the action was out of process),
  2. the action was not reasonably necessary to prevent damage or disruption when first imposed, or
  3. the action is no longer reasonably necessary to prevent damage or disruption.

On Arbitration Committee review

Arbitrators hearing an appeal at a request for amendment ("ARCA") will generally overturn a contentious topic restriction only if:

  1. the action was inconsistent with the contentious topics procedure or applicable policy (i.e. the action was out of process),
  2. the action represents an unreasonable exercise of administrative enforcement discretion, or
  3. compelling circumstances warrant the full Committee's action.

Procedural summary

Imposed by: Single administrator Rough consensus of administrators at AE
Authorized restrictions
  • The "standard set" of individual or page restrictions; and
  • Any other restrictions designated by the Arbitration Committee for use by a single admin in a particular contentious topic.
  • Any action available to single administrators; and
  • Any other reasonable measures that are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.
Maximum length Indefinite; reversible by any uninvolved administrator after one year. However, page restrictions may be renewed. Indefinite.[j]
Modifications by
  • Any administrator, if the administrator who first imposed the contentious topic restriction (the "enforcing administrator") affirmatively consents to the change, or is no longer an administrator;
  • A clear consensus of uninvolved editors at the administrators’ noticeboard;
  • A clear consensus of uninvolved administrators at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard; or
  • A majority of the Arbitration Committee voting on a motion in response to a request for amendment filed with the Arbitration Committee.

Awareness of contentious topics

When an editor first begins making edits within any contentious topic, anyone may alert the editor of the contentious topic designation using the {{Contentious topics/alert/first}} template. Only the officially designated templates should be used for an editor's first contentious topic alert, and these templates may not be placed using a bot or other form of automated editing without the prior approval of the Arbitration Committee. When alerting an editor who has previously received any contentious topic alert, the {{alert}} template may be used, but any message that conveys the contentious topic designation is acceptable.[k]

If the enforcing administrator believes that an editor was not aware that they were editing a designated contentious topic when making inappropriate edits, no editor restrictions (other than a logged warning) should be imposed.[l] Once alerted to a specific contentious topic, editors are presumed to remain aware but may attempt to refute this presumption on appeal.[m]

Administrators' role and expectations

Administrators should seek to create an acceptable collaborative editing environment within contentious topics. Administrators are expected to use their experience and judgment to balance the need to assume good faith, to avoid biting genuine newcomers and to allow responsible contributors maximum editing freedom with the need to keep edit-warring, battleground conduct, and disruptive behaviour to a minimum. Before imposing a contentious topic restriction, administrators must consider whether a regular administrative action would be sufficient to reduce disruption to the project.

While contentious topic restrictions give administrators necessary latitude, administrators must not:

  1. impose a restriction when involved;
  2. modify a restriction out of process;
  3. repeatedly fail to properly explain their enforcement actions;
  4. repeatedly fail to log restriction or page restrictions; or
  5. repeatedly issue significantly disproportionate restrictions or issue a grossly disproportionate restriction.

Administrators who fail to meet these expectations may be subject to any remedy the committee considers appropriate, including desysopping. Administrative actions may be peer-reviewed using the regular appeal processes.

Before imposing a delegated enforcement action, administrators must consider whether a regular administrative action would be sufficient to reduce disruption to the project.

Former administrators – that is, editors who have temporarily or permanently relinquished the tools or have been desysopped – may neither act as administrators in arbitration enforcement nor reverse their own previous administrative actions.

Arbitration enforcement

Noticeboard scope

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures § Noticeboard scope. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including in contentious topics.
Adopted on 14 December 2022

The arbitration enforcement noticeboard may consider:

  • requests for administrative action against editors violating a remedy (not merely a principle) or an injunction in an Arbitration Committee decision, or a contentious topic restriction imposed by an administrator,
  • requests for an individual enforcement action against aware editors who engage in misconduct in a contentious topic,
  • requests for page restrictions (e.g. revert restrictions) on pages that are being disrupted in contentious topics,
  • appeals against arbitration enforcement actions (including contentious topic restrictions), or
  • requests or appeals pursuant to community-imposed remedies which match the contentious topics procedure, if those requests or appeals are assigned to the arbitration enforcement noticeboard by the community.

For all other matters, including content disagreements or the enforcement of other community-imposed sanctions, editors should use the other fora described in the dispute resolution process. To appeal decisions made directly by the Arbitration Committee, editors should submit a request for clarification or amendment.

Noticeboard outcomes

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures § Noticeboard outcomes. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including in contentious topics.
Adopted on 14 December 2022

Requests and appeals at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard may not be closed with a "rough consensus" or "clear consensus" outcome without at least 24 hours of discussion.

Referrals from Arbitration Enforcement noticeboard to the full Committee

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures § Referrals from Arbitration Enforcement noticeboard to the full Committee. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including in contentious topics.
Adopted on 14 December 2022

A consensus of administrators at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard may refer an arbitration enforcement request to the Arbitration Committee for final decision through a request for amendment.

Dismissing an enforcement request

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures § Dismissing an enforcement request. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including in contentious topics.
Adopted on 21 April 2017

When no actual violation occurred, or the consensus of uninvolved administrators is that exceptional circumstances are present, which would make the imposition of a sanction inappropriate, administrators may also close a report with no action; if appropriate, they may also warn or advise the editor being reported, in order to avoid further breaches.

Administrators wishing to dismiss an enforcement request should act cautiously and be especially mindful that their actions do not give the impression that they are second-guessing the Arbitration Committee or obstructing the enforcement of their decisions.

Dismissed requests may not be reopened. However, any interested users may, after discussion with the administrator in question, appeal the dismissal to the Arbitration Committee at "ARCA". Petitioners who forum shop by resubmitting denied enforcement requests without good reason may find themselves cautioned or sanctioned in return.

General provisions

Decorum

Certain pages (including the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE"), the administrators' noticeboard ("AN"), and the Arbitration Committee's requests for amendment ("ARCA")) are used for the fair, well-informed, and timely resolution of individual and page restrictions. Editors participating in enforcement cases must disclose fully their involvement with parties (if any). While good-faith statements are welcome, editors are expected to discuss only evidence and procedure; they are not expected to trade insults or engage in character assassination. Insults and personal attacks, soapboxing and casting aspersions are as unacceptable in enforcement discussions as elsewhere on Wikipedia. Uninvolved administrators are asked to ensure that enforcement cases are not disrupted, and may remove statements or restrict or block editors to address inappropriate conduct.

Designation

Contentious topics may be designated either as part of the final decision of an arbitration case or by Arbitration Committee motion. When it becomes apparent that a particular contentious topic designation is no longer necessary, the Committee may rescind it. Any editor may request that the Committee review a contentious topic designation by submitting a request for amendment ("ARCA"). Unless the Committee specifies otherwise, after rescinding a designation, all restrictions previously-issued under that designation remain in force and continue to be governed by the contentious topics procedure.

Continuity

Any restrictions imposed under the prior discretionary sanctions procedure to date remain in force. Any changes to or appeals regarding previously-imposed restrictions will be governed by the current contentious topics procedure, subject to the following transitional rules:

  • Previously-enacted single-admin page restrictions are now subject to renewal, modification, and revocation in the same way as ordinary administrator actions after one year in accordance with #Duration of restrictions and #Renewal of page restrictions.
  • Previously-enacted single-admin editor restrictions do not, as a result of #Duration of restrictions, become subject to modification and revocation in the same way as ordinary administrator actions after one year.

Notes

  1. ^ The community has its own version of a contentious topics system. These are most often referred to as general sanctions (GS), but are sometimes referred to as community sanctions or community discretionary sanctions.
  2. ^ This procedure applies to edits and pages in all namespaces. When considering whether edits fall within the scope of a contentious topic, administrators should be guided by the principles outlined in the topic ban policy.
  3. ^ On pages where "consensus required" is in effect, an edit that is challenged by reversion may not be reinstated without affirmative consensus on the talk page.
  4. ^ On pages where "enforced BRD" is in effect, an edit that is challenged by reversion may not be reinstated by the editor who originally made it until the editor (a) posts a talk page message discussing the edit and (b) waits 24 hours from the time of the talk page message.
  5. ^ Other administrators may log the contentious topic restriction on behalf of the original administrator. When this happens, the original administrator is still considered the "enforcing administrator".
  6. ^ If an enforcing administrator clearly intends to impose a contentious topic restrictions but forgets to label their action, other administrators may label the action (such as through a null edit or reblocking with the same settings) on behalf of the administrator. When this happens, the original administrator is still considered the "enforcing administrator".
  7. ^ An uninvolved administrator who enforces a restriction by reversion is performing an administrative action and does not thereby become involved for administrative purposes.
  8. ^ The administrator may indicate consent at any time before, during, or after imposition of the restriction.
  9. ^ This criterion does not apply if the original action was imposed as a result of rough consensus at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard, as there would be no single enforcing administrator.
  10. ^ Unless the restriction is a block, in which case the maximum length is one year.
  11. ^ Editors should exercise caution before re-alerting an editor to the same contentious topic as a previous alert, as there is a presumption that an editor remains aware.
  12. ^ Edits made before an editor was aware of a contentious topic designation may still be considered as part of a pattern of behavior in future enforcement processes if those processes primarily concern post-awareness conduct.
  13. ^ An editor who has not received an alert may also be presumed to be aware of a contentious topic if the editor:

See also

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