Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Iranian politics

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Main case page (Talk) — Evidence (Talk) — Workshop (Talk) — Proposed decision (Talk)

Case clerks: GeneralNotability (Talk) & CodeLyoko (Talk) Drafting arbitrators: Barkeep49 (Talk) & Beeblebrox (Talk) & Casliber (Talk) & David Fuchs (Talk)

Case opened on 18:32, 23 July 2021 (UTC)

Case closed on 16:41, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Case amended by motion on 21:36, 14 December 2022 (UTC)

Watchlist all case (and talk) pages: Front, Ev., Wshp., PD.

Case information[edit]

Involved parties[edit]

Prior dispute resolution[edit]

Preliminary statements[edit]

Statement by Idealigic[edit]

Link 1 shows a 2019 WP:ANI dispute where Mhhossein and Stefka Bulgaria were strongly warned against making personal attacks, treating Wikipedia as a battleground, and edit-warring in articles related to political oppositions to the current regime in Iran.

Then WP:GS/IRANPOL seems to have been created to also help in this topic area, leading to blocks of several editors. Also a WP:CRP restriction to stop edit warring in this topic was implemented in People’s Mujahedin of Iran.

  • Mhhossein treating the talk page as a battleground through Uncivil comments:[7][8][9][10][11]
  • Mhhossein often makes false reports against editors with opposing views (mainly myself and Stefka Bulgaria). [25][26][27][28][29][30]
  • Mhhossein trying to create section headings or synth information in a misleading way: [39]
  • Mhhossein’s WP:SEALIONing: Mhhossein's apparent agenda involves putting as much slanderous material as they can add to the article (even though the article is already filled with such content) while removing as many opposing narratives as possible: [40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48]

Vice regent has been as persistent as Mhhossein in trying to fill the article with as much slanderous content as possible while trying to exclude opposing narratives (although VR's overall approach tends to be more subtle and polite): [57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64]

VR has also been a very persistent edit warrior at People’s Mujahedin of Iran. For example, the most recent WP:AN case (Link 2) where Vice regent broke the article’s WP:CRP restrictions while Mhhossein tried to falsely blame me and Stefka Bulgaria for this (there El_C suggested that it may be time to bring this to Arbitration).

After this, VR continued edit warring making another CRP violation, and I warned them that if they made another CRP violation I would have to report it, and they did made another CRP violation. That's 3 CRP violations in a less than a month, with even two mysterious IPs making another CRP violation in favour of Mhhossein's and VR's POV pushing (with both Mhhossein and VR defending the IP when I tried to report it). Since all regards for policy seem to have gone out the window in that article (and admins don’t seem to want to get involved there anymore) I agree with El_C that it may be time for Arbitration.

Statement by Mhhossein[edit]

Well, my "optimized solution" which I suggested to Vice Regent included something like an Arbcom report. However, as El_C mentioned, the report is not showing the important details and developments. Anyway, I guess we can not address the developments of MEK page without considering the history of the page and the fact that this page had been of a great interest to pro-MEK users and socks ("It seems to be a fact that the socks are always here to defend the MEK (People's Mujahedin)"– quote from an uninvolved admin). I would not expect such an unsual presence from the pro-MEK accounts when I did make my first edit on the talk page of the article. At the time, I did not know that a dozens of those pro-MEK socks were identified by TheTimesAreAChanging. Add to this, my well-evidenced report.

On my part, I devoted time to talkpage discussions and tried to build consensus among the involved users. I addressed multiple series of unilateral mass edits (For instance see "Shedding light on the 5th round of dubious edits"-It was followed by the 6th round!). At last long, a very helpful restriction, i.e. Wikipedia:Consensus required, was implemented after I complained about the edit war waves by the pro-MEK users (see "New wave of edit war"). It was a great (if not the greatest) improvement indeed, thanks to El_C's efforts and suggestions. I had always been the supporter of the page stability and I am keeping this idea till now (see latest comment saying "stability matters"). Moreover, I think El_C can verify it was me and Saff V. who asked him to resume watching the page [65], while Stefka Bulgria et al. did not care what was happening.

Among other things, a big problem was that their "own interpretations that contradict what the sources say" (quote from an uninvolved admin). For example, it was not only me telling them that the much repeated allegation of misinformation campaign against MEK is not an excuse for removing reliable sources. Stefka Bulgaria would use this excuse over and over (you can search for "misinformation campaign" in the talkpage archive), until he was told by Vanamonde here that it was not an acceptable excuse. Here Vanamonde added that he was "particularly tired of "The MEK is the subject of propaganda by the Iranian government" being used to stonewall any and all criticism." Similarly, they would object things even supported by 20 reliable sources (10 of them being scholarly ones)[66]. Another issue by them was "filibustering". In response to my query on Stefka Bulgaria's gaming, El_C said that "Consensus here will not be arrived at by filibuster." Moreover, he warned Stefka Bulgaria against tendentious editing. This issue in Stefka Bulgaria's editing pattern was observed by an uninvolved admin who warned against "filibustering". The next issue was Stefka Bulgaria's "overzealous trimming" [67] and "railroading" the opposing side by opening super-trim RFCs. El_C concemned this here and here (there are some more info here where I proposed limiting the RFCs). El_C said it was mostly Stefka Bulgaria who had to be "respectful by not coming across as trying to railroad the opposing side" and proposed controlling Stefka Bulgaria's approach via WP:GS/IRANPOL.

They took me to ANI (see the closing comment), hounded me even to my adminship request on Wikimedia Commons and took me to SPI (see El_C's response).

Sorry for this long text, I just meant to provide the details of what the MEK page developments. Later, Stefka Bulgaria decreased his activities and it was Idealigic who used to edit more and more. I will add more details on focusing on the latest developments where Idealigic is mainly involved. So, yes, there should be an Arbcom case here. --Mhhossein talk 14:34, 16 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Vice regent[edit]

Idealgic's statement that I am "trying to fill the article with as much slanderous content as possible" is the core issue here. A group of users (Stefka Bulgaria, Alex-h, Ypatch, BarcrMac, MA Javadi, Idealigic, Nika2020, Rondolinda etc) are trying to whitewash People's Mujahedin of Iran of anything they consider "slander". They see their campaign as WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS in favor of what they call the "democratic" opposition ([68][69]). But what they consider "slander" is quite verifiable:

  • They said that the idea that MEK's alliance with Iraq had made it unpopular in Iran "doesn't make sense" and tried to remove it (this RfC), even though I provided 19 sources. They tried removing it again (this RfC) until Vanamonde93 closed the RfC commenting "This RfC attempts to remove that content altogether, which will not fly."
  • They say that allegations that MEK operates like a cult are disputed and come from Iran, yet I provided 15 scholarly sources that argue that MEK meets the definition of a cult. Despite this they amassed 10 votes in support (proposal "A" in this RfC) but Vanamonde closed the RfC as "consensus against proposal A" because "sources presented below using the "cult" descriptor are patently more reliable than those challenging that descriptor".
  • They say that MEK didn't take part in the 1991 Iraqi uprisings (see this RfC), yet Mhhossein provided 12 sources that say it did.
  • Idealigic said Iraq's participation in MEK's Iran-Iraq war operations was "disputed". Yet I provided 10 scholarly sources that say Iraq took part. One uninvolved user commented that any denial of Iraqi involvement in the Iran-Iraq war operations "strains credibility".

The above discussions and RfCs exhibit a pattern:

  1. One of them proposes whitewashing MEK in a way that violates policy.
  2. Someone (usually me or Mhhossein) points out the policy violation.
  3. They stonewall the discussion (example); derail it (here I wanted to correct a simple error yet the discussion was repeatedly derailed); counter with unreliable sources ([70], this analysis); or just ignore.
  4. Votes come pouring in to support #1 like you wouldn't believe. Some admit they don't read the RfC before voting.
  5. An admin is forced to intervene: mostly Vanamonde, (but admin TonyBallioni has intervened too).
  6. After #5 the group sometimes adheres to policy, but other times repeats this cycle gradually exhausting others

I've noticed similar behavior by this group elsewhere, eg Stefka repeatedly argued Nonie Darwish was a reliable source on Islam (here, here, Rondolinda also jumped in) causing a previously uninvolved user Hemiauchenia to say that Stefka was "a tenacious anti-islam POV-pusher".

Regarding my supposed CRP violation: the sequence of edits were complicated, so I sought clarification here; I've offered to apologize if I did violate it.

Agree that arbitration is needed.VR talk 05:16, 16 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Stefka Bulgaria[edit]

Preliminary statements by uninvolved editors.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Statement by Ymblanter[edit]

Unfortunately I can not really say much here. The dispute around this article predates the institution of GS in the area for several years; I remember Mhhossein and Stefka Bulgaria being regularly featured at ANI in relation to the dispute around this very article. I am not active in the area, though I have applied general sanctions a few times, as a response to requests at AN/ANI/RFPP as far as I remember. My impression is that this is indeed an issue related to behavior of the users. If we had a mechanism similar to AE for general sanctions, I would advocate considering the issue there, but we do not have such mechanism, and ANI does not work as usual, so I would say I weakly support acceptance, unless there are better ideas how we can treat this.--Ymblanter (talk) 14:45, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by El_C[edit]

Idealigic, as an arbitration case that ought to outline longstanding misconduct in the MEK article (and spillover disputes on other pages) over the course of years, it looks bad that you only present evidence against Mhhossein but not Stefka Bulgaria, seeing as they are pretty much the leading two voices in the opposing camps, and who are probably comparable in that regard. I say it looks bad because your view is more aligned with Stefka Bulgaria and misaligned with Mhhossein's.

I'd also correct you that Consensus required was not implemented with the IRANPOL GS. I proposed it a couple of years ago (before the GS), to which participants unanimously agreed. Anyway, Committee members and reviewers, here's the rundown: some progress can be made in the MEK article so long as there's a dedicated admin keeping a close eye, but it's taxing and time-consuming. I did it for a year or so, then it got too much. Vanamonde93 (courtesy ping), as well, did so for about a year or so, until he too had had enough.

So, as of a few months ago, not only has there not been a dedicated admin helping with the unending disputes that plague the MEK page, no admin can be found to respond to even isolated requests, like, whatsoever (for obvious and understandable reasons, I'd say). What to do? Not sure, really. I'm missing a lot of details, especially from the last year or so (the Vanamonde era). But something should be done because, as it stands, this is broken and a timesink. I, for one, have run out of ideas and out of energy available to devote to this. Not sure how effective it'd be to absorb the MEK topic (entire IRANPOL GS?) into the ACDS regime. Possibly, but I kinda doubt that it can turn the tide. Who knows, though. Wouldn't hurt, I guess. El_C 15:08, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Barkeep49: 15:08! 718smiley.svg El_C 15:12, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Barkeep49: yes, in my view, this is full case material. El_C 15:17, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
RE: Community and ArbCom Sanctions@Robert McClenon: ah, a dreamer, I see. I respect that. El_C 01:43, 15 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I 2nd Vanamonde93's proposal that the list of involved parties be expanded. El_C 21:13, 20 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Alexis Jazz[edit]

  • @4nn1l2: is this case of interest to you? (I don't know, if it's not you can ignore this) — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 15:27, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Robert McClenon (Iran)[edit]

I urge the ArbCom to open a full case to review the evidence and identify and sanction any editors who have been disruptive.

I moderated a dispute over the wording of a sentence in the lede section on the MEK article in late May 2021. The resolution of the specific dispute was successful, but it was clear to me that this was another area of battleground editing because the area has been a real battleground in the past. The lede section is far too long, probably because editors are putting everything, including kitchen sinks, into the lede, due to multiple opinions on what is important. The article talk page is difficult to read. I didn't try to assess it or determine who was at fault. (As a moderator, I was trying to maintain neutrality, and was becoming impatient.) However, unless somebody assesses the history and determines fault, the allegations and fault-finding will continue and worsen. ArbCom is the appropriate body to review the record and impose sanctions.

ArbCom should convert the existing community sanctions into ArbCom sanctions, but what is needed at this time is also an evidentiary hearing to identify and discipline disruptive editors. Robert McClenon (talk) 00:21, 15 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have at least one comment.

Community and ArbCom Sanctions

I have seen the comment made in this and other ArbCom case requests that ArbCom sanctions are more effective than community sanctions, because ArbCom sanctions are managed by Arbitration Enforcement. The question is why we have two sanctions regimes with different degrees of effectiveness. I urge that ArbCom consider how to improve the application of community-ordered sanctions. Can ArbCom authorize the use of Arbitration Enforcement for all community sanction topics? If not, can ArbCom encourage the community to request ArbCom acceptance of all community sanction topics by motion? (That seems like unnecessary bureaucracy. Why not just authorize AE for all sanction topics?) Robert McClenon (talk) 00:21, 15 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Ypatch[edit]

I’ve edited the MEK page only about 4 times in the last 10 months and only to revert obvious unhelpful edits. I’ve lost interest in that page just like admins have. It’s impossible to go through all the walls of text. By the way, @Vice regent: if you’re going to make accusations against other editors, at least ping them - @HistoryofIran: (courtesy ping) saying they admitted to not reading a RFC is ridiculous, and @Rondolinda: (courtesy ping) expressing that "Nonie Darwish writes against "Islam and its oppression of women" doesn't look like it's breaking any policy. Ypatch (talk) 09:02, 16 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Red Phoenix[edit]

@L235: Per your request for statements from uninvolved administrators before you make your decision, I’ve taken some time over the course of the day to review the situation to provide an opinion from an outsider's point of view. In the end, what I recommend is that the committee should accept the case and review the conduct of all parties involved, as well as the effectiveness of the general sanctions which I’d say are not working very well.

A review of the history of People's Mujahedin of Iran and its respective talk page show intense disagreement followed up by poor discussion that is often uncivil and includes accusations of bad faith. This includes from the talk page as well as edit summaries of the constantly-reverted article. Despite attempts at dispute resolution and administrator mediation for quite a long period of time, it’s not going away, and the fighting over preferred versions which other editors have described as WP:BATTLEGROUND continue to persist. My sympathy goes to those who have been trying to get this situation under control; it seems like they’ve been through a lot. That a number of the involved parties appear to also want arbitration in their statements above suggests they feel they too need help to see this situation reach a resolution.

As part of WP:GS/IRANPOL, the involved article is the most acted upon based on the log. That all of that has happened and we’re still here, with these issues and exhausted moderators trying to tame the situation, tells me the GS isn’t working. It is my opinion that while DS may help, it wouldn't be the magic bullet that solves these problems. The past history of dispute resolution and the casting of aspersions all over the talk page warrant a full look at the conduct of the involved parties. Red Phoenix talk 02:08, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Alex-h[edit]

Like other editors and admins here, I too have generally been keeping away from this article. Too much arguing and aspersions over the slightest things. I also think a case review would be good. Alex-h (talk) 17:05, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement by Vanamonde93[edit]

I apologize for a slow response to the pings; I have been offline for a while. When the community GS were authorized, the topic was rife with edit-warring, original research, and other associated behavioral issues. I believe the GS regime did a lot to curb the worst of these troubles.
That said, as I see it, the root of the problem is that every editor substantially involved with this topic has such strong views about it that they are unable or unwilling to dispassionately engage with the source material. Consequentially, virtually all talk-page discussions I am aware of have devolved into endless stone-walling. At this point, I do not believe there is much to differentiate the behavior of the various protagonists. It is possible we have reached the point where more draconian actions are needed. I have seriously considered mass topic-bans at various points, but haven't had the stomach to deal with the fallout: ARBCOM is in a better position to evaluate the need for such actions, and to deal with the aftermath, than any individual admins. Therefore, I think a full case is a good thing, though I hesitate about whether it's going to be worth the time it will take.
Given that a case is almost certain as I post this, I would make two strong recommendations. First, please do not restrict the case to the behavior of the four named parties. I would recommend that the behavior of every active user who has participated in more than two substantive discussions about the MEK be examined here. Second, here, as in many cases about politics, the line between content and conduct has blurred; particularly after El_C and I levied a number of sanctions, the worst behavior has taken the form of cherry-picking sources favorable to one POV, or ignoring those favorable to the opposite. Determining where some users have crossed the line from reasonable exercise of judgement to POV-pushing will require examining some sources.
I also want to note that I will try my best to participate in the evidence and workshop phases, but my time online will be limited for some more days. Vanamonde (Talk) 21:02, 20 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Preliminary decision[edit]

Clerk notes[edit]

Modern Iranian politics: Arbitrators' opinion on hearing this matter <10/0/0>[edit]

Vote key: (Accept/decline/recuse)

  • Awaiting comments, though I do note there's a lot of history in this post, the vast majority of the edits complained about in the bullet points are old, very few from this year. That said, GS has been in place for a while and there does appear to be ongoing issues. I'd especially like to hear from @El C:, @Ymblanter: and @Vanamonde93:, the admins who have enforced the GS in the past year. WormTT(talk) 14:19, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm satisfied that we should be accepting a case here. WormTT(talk) 13:27, 15 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I look forward to comments from Vanamonde and El C to join what Ymblanter has said. I remain skeptical about the virtue of the committee regularly subsuming GS into DS without any kind of community consensus for us to do so but do recognize the value and desire of using AE to handle reports. Barkeep49 (talk) 15:08, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @El C: are you suggesting a full case? I haven't looked at the links provided yet (but will) but opening a full case, to examine conduct of particular editors, makes me far less uneasy than just a GS into DS by motion. Barkeep49 (talk) 15:16, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Robert McClenon: re:"Is there a way to make community imposed sanctions eligible for AE" this is something the committee is currently discussing as part of WP:DS2021 and a possible pathway will (hopefully) be part of what is presented for community feedback when we reach that stage. Barkeep49 (talk) 17:58, 15 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Accept Having now read the linked threads and based on the input provided here I think that there is work to be done in examining conduct in a formal way and that the needs go beyond merely making this AE eligible - in particular I note the utter frustration that the 3 admin (Ymblanter, El C, and Vanamonde) who have spent the most time on this topic, even with the backing of GS, have come to feel. There's a lot going on with this topic, that has produced walls of text that have made it hard to untangle, and admin who made real effort to untangle it indicate issues continue. These are 3 important signs than an ArbCom case may be a productive way of handling this dispute. Barkeep49 (talk) 17:58, 15 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Just a note for those who might be watching but the committee is currently figuring out logistics around this case which may take us a day or two more to sort out. Barkeep49 (talk) 03:59, 21 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm inclined to accept this dispute, but awaiting statements from uninvolved administrators. If I vote to accept, I'll leave a more detailed rationale. Additionally, I have made a preliminary decision not to recuse from this case. I have closed an RfC in the topic area, but I believe any involvement I've had to be "purely in an administrative role" (WP:UNINVOLVED); anyone who wishes me to recuse should leave a message on my talk page as soon as possible. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 17:23, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Accept. As community processes for dealing with topic-wide conduct disputes have matured, ArbCom has had to handle fewer and fewer "traditional" cases (as opposed to cases in our exclusive jurisdiction, such as ADMINCOND, private information, etc.). This is a good trend, but this case presents the rightful exception. The topic area in question has been the subject of complex dispute (with roots outside Wikipedia) for years; things have been (barely) held together by the thankless efforts of a couple uninvolved administrators who now no longer have the capacity to play that role. Because processes short of ArbCom cannot be reasonably expected to improve matters in this topic area, I vote to accept. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 03:49, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would love comments on whether we should, as Barkeep so eloquently puts it, "subsume" GS into DS here. I am of a mind that ArbCom should be increasingly taking on GS so that the advantages of DS, such as using AE, can be realized. As I see it, if the community has consensus to institute GS, it should follow that we, as representatives of the community, would also be able to pass DS in an area. But I do think we should do this process one at a time, and also ensure the community is behind us. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 18:01, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Leaning accept, waiting for a few more comments. Primefac (talk) 00:37, 16 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Accept. Primefac (talk) 12:34, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • accept Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:21, 16 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Accept per Barkeep. Katietalk 14:12, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Accept --BDD (talk) 19:13, 19 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Accept the fact that admins have tried to deal with this but were overwhelmed and gave up in despair makes it an arbcom problem. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:58, 19 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Accept per all of the above. – bradv🍁 12:42, 20 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Accept, also per the above. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:19, 20 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Temporary injunction (none)[edit]

Final decision[edit]


Purpose of Wikipedia[edit]

1) The purpose of Wikipedia is to create a high-quality, free-content online encyclopedia. This is best achieved in an atmosphere of collegiality, camaraderie, and mutual respect among contributors.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

National and territorial disputes[edit]

2) Several of Wikipedia's most bitter disputes have revolved around national or ethnic conflicts such as rival national claims to disputed territories or areas. Editors working on articles on these topics may frequently have strong viewpoints, often originating in their own national or other backgrounds. Such editors may be the most knowledgeable people interested in creating Wikipedia content about the area or the dispute, and are permitted and encouraged to contribute if they can do so consistent with Wikipedia's fundamental policies. However, conduct that furthers a preexisting dispute on Wikipedia should receive special attention from the community, up to and including sanctions. It is perfectly possible to present a balanced, accurate, and verifiable encyclopedia article about contentious issues or preexisting disputes.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Neutral point of view and undue weight[edit]

3) All Wikipedia articles must be written from a neutral point of view, with all relevant points of view represented in reasonable proportion to their importance and relevance to the subject-matter of the article. Undue weight should not be given to aspects which are peripheral to the topic. Relying on synthesized claims, poor sources, including opinion pieces, or original research is also contrary to this principle.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)


4) Wikipedia works by building consensus through the use of dispute resolution and polite discussion, with a shared receptiveness to compromise. This may involve the wider community, if necessary, through dispute resolution mechanisms like noticeboards and Requests for Comment. Individual editors have a responsibility to help debate succeed and move forward by discussing their differences rationally and by respecting the outcomes of reached after dispute resolution.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)


5) Editors are expected to show reasonable courtesy to one another, even during contentious situations and disagreements, and not resort to personal attacks.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Personalising disputes[edit]

6) In content disputes, editors must always comment on the content and not the contributor. Personalising content disputes disrupts the consensus-building process on which Wikipedia depends.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Discussion of content[edit]

7) Wikipedia discussions are about forming a consensus, not convincing everyone to agree. Discussion is an important part of how consensus is reached on Wikipedia and everyone should have the opportunity to express their views, within reasonable limits. It may be taken as disruptive to attempt stalling out the consensus-building process by repeatedly stating an opinion or with repeated demands for re-explanation of that which has already been clearly explained.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

General sanctions[edit]

8) Community-authorized general sanctions are imposed on certain contentious and strife-torn topics to create an acceptable and collaborative editing environment. Such sanctions often follow the model of discretionary sanctions as imposed by the Arbitration Committee, which allows administrators to impose a variety of reasonable measures on users or articles that are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Findings of fact[edit]

Locus of dispute & background[edit]

1) This case concerns editing around Iranian politics with a particular focus on editing about the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK). In recent years there have been dozens of talk page debates and RfCs regarding wording for these topics. Discussions are dogged by accusations of sockpuppetry, attempts to subvert consensus, and POV-pushing. The topic was placed under General Sanctions and several editors have been topic-banned; however, the conflict continues.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Dispute resolution[edit]

2) There have been multiple attempts at using dispute resolution options in this topic area, including Requests for Comments and use of content noticeboards. These attempts at dispute resolution have not been effective (e.g. El C's evidence. Vanamonde's evidence). These attempts have sometimes suffered from repetitive topics (e.g. [71][72]) or low participation (e.g. [73]). Many have failed to reach consensus (e.g. [74][75]). Parties to the case have regularly challenged the close of RfCs (e.g. [76][77])

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)


3) BarcrMac has engaged in tendentious editing in the topic area. He has engaged in edit warring which led two blocks. He was given 3 month topic ban for his misuse of sources.[78] Since the expiration of his topic ban he has returned to the topic area stonewalling discussions to attempt to achieve his preferred point of view regardless of the content of sources used in claims.(Vanamonde's evidence, [79]).

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)


4) Idealigic has engaged in battleground editing. They have bludgeoned and stonewalled discussions (e.g. [80] [81]). They have frequently engaged in whataboutism (e.g. [82], [83] [84]).

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)


5) Mhhossein has engaged in battleground and uncivil behavior. [85][86][87][88][89]

Passed 11 to 2 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Stefka Bulgaria[edit]

6) Stefka Bulgaria has engaged in bludgeoning, stonewalling, and degrading of discussions. They have filed verbose RfCs in an attempt to railroad preferred changes,[90][91] regardless of the content of sources used in claims.[92][93]

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Vice regent[edit]

7) Vice regent has at times shown a civil battleground mentality [94][95] including a violation of a consensus required restriction. [96]

Passed 11 to 2 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)


Note: All remedies that refer to a period of time, for example to a ban of X months or a revert parole of Y months, are to run concurrently unless otherwise stated.

Contentious topic designation[edit]

Superseded version
1) i) The community-authorized general sanctions for post-1978 Iranian politics are hereby superseded and replaced by standard discretionary sanctions, which are authorized for all edits about, and all pages related to, post-1978 Iranian politics, broadly construed.
(ii) All sanctions in force when this remedy is enacted are endorsed and will become standard discretionary sanctions governed by the standard procedure from the moment of enactment.
(iii) Notifications issued under Post-1978 Iranian politics general sanctions become alerts for twelve months from their date of issue, then expire.
(iv) All existing and past sanctions and restrictions placed under post-1978 Iranian politics general sanctions will be transcribed by the arbitration clerks in the arbitration enforcement log.
(v) Any requests for enforcement that may be open when this remedy is enacted shall proceed, but any remedy that is enacted should be enacted as a discretionary sanction.
(vi) Administrators who have enforced the Post-1978 Iranian politics general sanctions are thanked for their work and asked to continue providing administrative assistance enforcing discretionary sanctions and at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard.
Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)
Superseded by motion at 21:36, 14 December 2022 (UTC)

1) All edits about, and all pages related to, post-1978 Iranian politics, broadly construed, are designated as a contentious topic.

Amended by motion at 21:36, 14 December 2022 (UTC)

RfC moderation[edit]

3) Uninvolved administrators are encouraged to take appropriate actions (pursuant to the discretionary sanctions authorization) to facilitate consensus through moderation of any Requests for Comments (RfC). These actions may include, but are not limited to:

  • moratoriums up to one year on initiating RfCs on a particular dispute,
  • word and/or diff limits on all RfC participants,
  • bans on editors who have disrupted consensus-finding from participation in a particular RfC, and
  • sectioned commenting rules in RfCs.
Passed 11 to 2 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

BarcrMac topic-banned[edit]

4) BarcrMac (talk · contribs) is topic-banned from post-1978 Iranian politics, broadly construed. This ban may be appealed twelve months after the enactment of this remedy, and every twelve months thereafter.

Passed 12 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Idealigic topic-banned[edit]

5) Idealigic (talk · contribs) is topic-banned from post-1978 Iranian politics, broadly construed. This ban may be appealed twelve months after the enactment of this remedy, and every twelve months thereafter.

Passed 12 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Mhhossein warned[edit]

6.1) Mhhossein (talk · contribs) is warned against a battleground mentality and further incivility.

Passed 10 to 1 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Mhhossein topic-banned (MEK)[edit]

6.2) Mhhossein (talk · contribs) is topic-banned from People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), broadly construed. This ban may be appealed twelve months after the enactment of this remedy, and every twelve months thereafter.

Passed 13 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Stefka Bulgaria topic-banned[edit]

7) Stefka Bulgaria (talk · contribs) is topic-banned from post-1978 Iranian politics, broadly construed. This ban may be appealed twelve months after the enactment of this remedy, and every twelve months thereafter.

Passed 12 to 0 at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)

Vice regent warned[edit]

8) Vice regent (talk · contribs) is warned against a battleground mentality.

Passed 11 to 1 with 1 abstention at 16:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)


Enforcement of restrictions

0) Should any user subject to a restriction in this case violate that restriction, that user may be blocked, initially for up to one month, and then with blocks increasing in duration to a maximum of one year.

In accordance with the procedure for the standard enforcement provision adopted 3 May 2014, this provision did not require a vote.

Appeals and modifications

0) Appeals and modifications

This procedure applies to appeals related to, and modifications of, actions taken by administrators to enforce the Committee's remedies. It does not apply to appeals related to the remedies directly enacted by the Committee.

Appeals by sanctioned editors

Appeals may be made only by the editor under sanction and only for a currently active sanction. Requests for modification of page restrictions may be made by any editor. The process has three possible stages (see "Important notes" below). The editor may:

  1. ask 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 at "ARCA". If the editor is blocked, the appeal may be made by email through Special:EmailUser/Arbitration Committee (or, if email access is revoked, to
Modifications by administrators

No administrator may modify or remove a sanction placed by another administrator without:

  1. the explicit prior affirmative consent of the enforcing administrator; or
  2. prior affirmative agreement for the modification at (a) AE or (b) AN or (c) ARCA (see "Important notes" below).

Administrators modifying sanctions out of process may at the discretion of the committee be desysopped.

Nothing in this section prevents an administrator from replacing an existing sanction issued by another administrator with a new sanction if fresh misconduct has taken place after the existing sanction was applied.

Administrators are free to modify sanctions placed by former administrators – that is, editors who do not have the administrator permission enabled (due to a temporary or permanent relinquishment or desysop) – without regard to the requirements of this section. If an administrator modifies a sanction placed by a former administrator, the administrator who made the modification becomes the "enforcing administrator". If a former administrator regains the tools, the provisions of this section again apply to their unmodified enforcement actions.

Important notes:

  1. For a request to succeed, either
(i) the clear and substantial consensus of (a) uninvolved administrators at AE or (b) uninvolved editors at AN or
(ii) a passing motion of arbitrators at ARCA
is required. If consensus at AE or AN is unclear, the status quo prevails.
  1. While asking the enforcing administrator and seeking reviews at AN or AE are not mandatory prior to seeking a decision from the committee, once the committee has reviewed a request, further substantive review at any forum is barred. The sole exception is editors under an active sanction who may still request an easing or removal of the sanction on the grounds that said sanction is no longer needed, but such requests may only be made once every six months, or whatever longer period the committee may specify.
  2. These provisions apply only to contentious topics placed by administrators and to blocks placed by administrators to enforce arbitration case decisions. They do not apply to sanctions directly authorised by the committee, and enacted either by arbitrators or by arbitration clerks, or to special functionary blocks of whatever nature.
  3. All actions designated as arbitration enforcement actions, including those alleged to be out of process or against existing policy, must first be appealed following arbitration enforcement procedures to establish if such enforcement is inappropriate before the action may be reversed or formally discussed at another venue.
In accordance with the procedure for the standard appeals and modifications provision adopted 3 May 2014, this provision did not require a vote.


Motion: contentious topic designation (December 2022)[edit]

21) Each reference to the prior discretionary sanctions procedure shall be treated as a reference to the contentious topics procedure. The arbitration clerks are directed to amend all existing remedies authorizing discretionary sanctions to instead designate contentious topics.

Passed 10 to 0 with 1 abstention by motion at 21:36, 14 December 2022 (UTC)

Enforcement log[edit]

Any block, restriction, ban, or sanction performed under the authorisation of a remedy for this case must be logged at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log, not here.