Wikipedia:Arbitration/Index/Discretionary sanctions (former)

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Original version adopted on 7 May 2011
Current version adopted on 3 May 2014
Amended on 20 January 2015
Amended on 16 November 2016
Amended on 4 June 2017


  • The committee is the Arbitration Committee.
  • AE ("arbitration enforcement noticeboard") is the venue for requesting, applying, discussing and appealing most enforcement requests.
  • AN ("administrators' noticeboard") is the alternative venue for appeals.
  • ARCA ("Requests for Amendment") is the venue for appealing to the committee.
  • An alert is the formal alert notice that informs editors that an area of conflict is covered by discretionary sanctions.
  • An appeal includes any request for the reconsideration, reduction, or removal of a sanction.
  • An area of conflict is a topic or group of topics in which the use of discretionary sanctions has been authorised by the committee.
  • An editor is anyone and everyone who may edit and has edited the encyclopedia.
  • The enforcing administrator is the administrator who places sanctions authorised in this procedure.
  • A sanction includes any sanction, restriction, or other remedy placed under this procedure.


Amended on 20 January 2015

auth.authDiscretionary sanctions may be authorised either as part of the final decision of an arbitration case or by committee motion. When it becomes apparent that discretionary sanctions are no longer necessary for a particular area of conflict, only the committee may rescind the authorisation of them, either at the request of any editor at ARCA or of its own initiative. Unless the committee specifies otherwise, after rescinding the authorisation all sanctions remain in force.

auth.conflictWhere there is a conflict between any individual provision authorising standard discretionary sanctions for an area of conflict and any provision in the standard discretionary sanctions procedure, the provision in the standard procedure will control.

auth.logA log of the areas of conflict for which discretionary sanctions have been authorised is maintained at the discretionary sanctions main page.

Guidance for editors



Amended on 20 January 2015

The availability of discretionary sanctions is not intended to prevent free and candid discussion, but sanctions may be imposed if an editor severely or persistently disrupts discussion. Within the area of conflict, editors are expected to edit carefully and constructively, to not disrupt the encyclopedia, and to:

  1. adhere to the purposes of Wikipedia;
  2. comply with all applicable policies and guidelines;
  3. follow editorial and behavioural best practice;
  4. comply with any page restrictions in force within the area of conflict; and
  5. refrain from gaming the system.

Any editor whose edits do not meet these requirements may wish to restrict their editing to other topics in order to avoid the possibility of sanctions.


guide.decor Certain pages (typically, AE, AN, and ARCA) are used for the fair, well-informed, and timely resolution of discretionary sanction enforcement cases. Editors participating in enforcement cases must disclose fully their involvement (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, as necessary to address inappropriate conduct.

Awareness and alerts



Amended on 15 January 2018
Amended on 16 July 2019

No editor may be sanctioned unless they are aware that discretionary sanctions are in force for the area of conflict. An editor is aware if:

  1. They were mentioned by name in the applicable Final Decision; or
  2. They have ever been sanctioned within the area of conflict (and at least one of such sanctions has not been successfully appealed); or
  3. In the last twelve months, the editor has given and/or received an alert for the area of conflict; or
  4. In the last twelve months, the editor has participated in any process about the area of conflict at arbitration requests or arbitration enforcement; or
  5. In the last twelve months, the editor has successfully appealed all their own sanctions relating to the area of conflict; or
  6. They have placed a {{Ds/aware}} template for the area(s) of conflict on their own talk page.

There are additional requirements in place when sanctioning editors for breaching page restrictions.



Amended on 20 January 2015
Amended on 5 July 2018

Any editor may advise any other editor that discretionary sanctions are in force for an area of conflict. However, these only count as the formal notifications required by this procedure if the standard template message – currently {{Ds/alert}} – is placed unmodified on the talk page of the editor being alerted. An alert:

  • is purely informational and neither implies nor expresses a finding of fault,
  • cannot be rescinded or appealed, and
  • automatically expires twelve months after issue.

As {{Ds/alert}} template is part of this procedure, it may be modified only with the committee's explicit consent.

aware.relatedAn editor who has an unexpired alert in one area under discretionary sanctions may be sanctioned for edits in another separate but related topic, which is also under discretionary sanctions, provided the nature or the content of the edits – broadly but reasonably construed – in the two topics are similar.

alert.dupEditors issuing alerts are expected to ensure that no editor receives more than one alert per area of conflict per year. Any editor who issues alerts disruptively may be sanctioned.

alert.autoEditors may not use automated tools or bot accounts to issue alerts.

Role of administrators

admin.expectWhen deciding whether to sanction an editor, and which sanctions may be appropriate, the enforcing administrator’s objective should be to create an acceptable collaborative editing environment for even our most contentious articles. To this end, 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.

admin.notWhile discretionary sanctions give administrators necessary latitude, they must not:

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

admin.remedyAdministrators 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.

admin.toolsTo act in enforcement, an administrator must at all relevant times have their access to the tools enabled. 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.

Expectations of administrators

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures#Expectations of administrators. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including discretionary sanctions.
Adopted on 21 April 2017

Enforcing administrators are accountable and must explain their enforcement actions; and they must not be involved. Prior routine enforcement interactions, prior administrator participation in enforcement discussions, or when an otherwise uninvolved administrator refers a matter to AE to elicit the opinion of other administrators or refers a matter to the committee at ARCA, do not constitute or create involvement.

Administrators may not adjudicate their own actions at any appeal. However, they are encouraged to provide statements and comments to assist in reaching a determination.

Enforcing administrators are expected to exercise good judgment by responding flexibly and proportionately when they intervene. Except for the cases when the Arbitration Committee has predetermined the set of escalating sanctions to be imposed for violations of a final decision, the severity of the sanction imposed should be commensurate with all circumstances of the case at hand, including the seriousness of the violation and the possible recidivism of the editor in question. When dealing with first or isolated instances of borderline misconduct, informal advice may be more effective in the long term than a sanction. Conversely, editors engaging in egregious or sustained misconduct should be dealt with robustly.

Administrators do not need explicit consensus to enforce arbitration decisions and can always act unilaterally. However, when the case is not clear-cut they are encouraged, before acting, to seek input from their colleagues at arbitration enforcement.

When a consensus of uninvolved administrators is emerging in a discussion, administrators willing to overrule their colleagues should act with caution and must explain their reasons on request.

Placing sanctions and page restrictions

Broadly construed

broadly.construed When considering whether edits fall within the scope of discretionary sanctions, administrators should be guided by the principles outlined in the topic ban policy.


sanctions.user Any uninvolved administrator is authorised to place: revert and move restrictions, interaction bans, topic bans, and blocks of up to one year in duration, or other reasonable measures that the enforcing administrator believes are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

sanctions.caveatsPrior to placing sanctions that are likely to be controversial, administrators are advised to elicit the opinions of other administrators at AE. For the avoidance of doubt, enforcing administrators are not authorised to issue site bans; to require the removal of user rights that cannot be granted by an administrator or to restrict their usage; nor to enforce discretionary sanctions beyond their reasonable scope.

sanctions.noticeThe enforcing administrator must provide a notice on the sanctioned editor’s talk page specifying the misconduct for which the sanction has been issued as well as the appeal process. The enforcing administrator must also log the sanction.

Page restrictions

Amended on 15 January 2018

Any uninvolved administrator may impose on any page or set of pages relating to the area of conflict: Page protection, revert restrictions, prohibitions on the addition or removal of certain content (except when consensus for the edit exists), or any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project. The enforcing administrator must log page restrictions they place.

Enforcing administrators must add an editnotice to restricted pages, using the standard template ({{ds/editnotice}}), and should add a notice to the talk page of restricted pages.

Editors who ignore or breach page restrictions may be sanctioned by any uninvolved administrator provided that, at the time the editor ignored or breached a page restriction:

  1. The editor was aware of discretionary sanctions in the area of conflict, and
  2. There was an editnotice ({{ds/editnotice}}) on the restricted page which specified the page restriction.

Editors using mobile devices may not see edit notices. Administrators should consider whether an editor was aware of the page restriction before sanctioning them.


sanctions.enforcement Should any editor ignore or breach any sanction placed under this procedure, that editor may, at the discretion of any uninvolved administrator, receive a fresh further sanction. The further sanction must be logged on the appropriate page, and the standard appeal arrangements apply.



This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures#Logging. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including discretionary sanctions.
Adopted on 26 March 2017
Amended on 14 December 2022

All sanctions and page restrictions must be logged by the administrator who applied the sanction or page restriction at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log. Whenever a sanction or page restriction is appealed or modified, the administrator amending it must append a note recording the amendment to the original log entry.

To be valid, sanctions must be clearly and unambiguously labelled as an arbitration enforcement action (such as with "arbitration enforcement", "arb enforcement", "AE" or "WP:AE" in the Wikipedia log entry or the edit summary). If a sanction has been logged as an arbitration enforcement action but has not been clearly labelled as an arbitration enforcement action any uninvolved administrator may amend the sanction (for example, a null edit or reblocking with the same settings) on behalf of the original administrator. Labelling a sanction which has been logged does not make the administrator who added the label the "enforcing administrator" unless there is confusion as to who intended the sanction be arbitration enforcement.

A central log of all page restrictions and sanctions (including blocks, bans, page protections or other restrictions) placed as arbitration enforcement (including contentious topic restrictions) is to be maintained by the Committee and its clerks at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log.

Discretionary sanctions are to be recorded on the appropriate page of the centralised arbitration enforcement log. Notifications and warnings issued prior to the introduction of the current procedure on 3 May 2014 are not sanctions and remain on the individual case page logs.

Dismissing an enforcement request

This section is transcluded from Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures#Dismissing an enforcement request. It applies to all enforcement decisions, including discretionary sanctions.
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.

Appeals and modifications

Appeals by sanctioned editors


Modified on 4 June 2017

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


Modified on 4 June 2017
Amended on 13 December 2018.
Amended on 19 April 2019.

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).

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

sanctions.freshNothing 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.

sanctions.formeradminsAdministrators 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:appeals.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 discretionary sanctions 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.


cont.noappealNothing in this current version of the discretionary sanctions process constitutes grounds for appeal of a remedy or restriction imposed under prior versions of it.

cont.alertsAll sanctions and restrictions imposed under earlier versions of this process remain in force. Warnings issued under earlier procedures are not sanctions and become alerts for twelve months from the date of the passing of the motion authorising this procedure (3 May 2014 [1]), then expire.

cont.pendingappealsAppeals open at the time this version is adopted will be handled using the prior appeals procedure, but this current process will thereafter govern appeals.

Current areas of conflict[edit]

See also: Wikipedia:General sanctions#Arbitration Committee-authorised sanctions

The following list is stored at Template:Contentious topics/list.

The following topics are currently designated as contentious topics. The italicised link after each topic names the associated arbitration decision.

The following topics have previously been designated as contentious topics, or had discretionary sanctions authorised under the previously used procedure, but this designation has been rescinded or superseded by later cases. The italicised link after each topic names the associated arbitration decision.

See also[edit]