At a stupendously rapid pace (for them), ArbCom lifted an interaction ban between administrator SarekofVulcan and Doncram in a vote that took place in just over a single day. For those unfamiliar with the Doncram case from five years ago, it centered primarily around articles about buildings or locations in the National Register of Historic Places. Much of the actual content dispute was trivial to say the least. There were arguments about the extent to which NRHP listings should be quoted for copyright reasons, objections that some articles were incomplete when initially created, and various disagreements over the quality of some listings.
Were it just that the dispute would undoubtedly never get anywhere near ArbCom. However, the matter that truly made it ArbCom-worthy is that Doncram was being pursued with hyperzealotry by a gang of three admins. One would show up within minutes of an article being created to raise a fuss over any problems, even the minuscule and questionable was enough to start a fight. Said administrator created two hit piece in her userspace about Doncram and occasionally threatened to add to one (consisting of insults he has made) should he ever respond uncivilly to her obsessive stalking and aggressive nit-picking of his Wikipedia activities. The other admin aside from Sarek, Nyttend, had several times abused his tools in disputes over Doncram's contributions. I detailed the behavior of both here.
Though I considered the obsessive following by one of the admins the bigger concern as it seems to have contributed to a lot of Doncram's uncivil outbursts that were cited against him, the focus of the case was on Sarek's behavior. As I noted in evidence at the time, two of the major blocks were by Sarek who was in both cases an involved party and thus abusing his tools. Some time later, once he was widely considered involved, he began by his own admission a practice of deliberately engaging in edit-warring with Doncram on articles in order to provoke him into blockable activity. He relied on the idea that admins are let off more easily and that Doncram already has prior blocks to help orchestrate Doncram's removal from Wikipedia. The incident that likely prompted the ArbCom case was a situation where Nyttend abused his tools to delete some of Doncram's work, move-warred with Doncram over pushing it into userspace, Sarek jumped in to participate then move-protected the work, and Doncram was ultimately blocked. For this behavior Sarek was given that interaction ban and narrowly dodged a desysop, but resigned afterwards of his own volition.
Learning that in an unusually quick decision his harasser was allowed to target him again despite his objections, Doncram lashed out. Nyttend has decided to respond to this by calling for serious action against Doncram saying, "It's time to lock the door and throw away the key." Already one admin, former arbitrator and officious jerk, Thryduulf has echoed Nyttend's blood-thirsty demands by suggesting a one-way interaction ban on Doncram and a week or two-week block. Cooler heads have already weighed in, but it is a tenuous situation that could easily turn against Doncram and all because he raised the completely reasonable concern that the person who harassed him before might start up again.
However, what I find most unsettling is how the various parties commenting on the lifting of the restriction and the AE case have talked as if Sarek has shown remarkable improvement. This was also the case during his abortive run at ArbCom. What is the truth? The truth is that just as Sarek cynically and calculatingly targeted Doncram in a harassment campaign to drive him off Wikipedia together with a couple other admin harassers, he has cynically and calculatingly been seeking to reclaim his past power and ascend to even greater heights. As Doncram notes, the interaction ban was an impediment to that during his ArbCom run. All you need to see is his contribution history over the past five years.
Immediately after the Doncram case his activity went from monthly triple-digit contributions to double- and even single-digits. The only exception in the subsequent year was January of 2014, which was coincidentally the same time he made an attempt at regaining his position. He want back to double- and single-digits until a few months before his second attempt at regaining admin status. Right after that his contributions plummeted again, but even further than previously. For the next two years he never had a triple-digit month, and regularly was in low double-digits or single-digits. In fact, for the first time in a decade he had months with zero contributions including the first time since the very first months he started editing that he had consecutive months without contributions. It was his longest and most serious slump. When did he come out of it? Why, right before he decided to make a run at ArbCom! Convenient!
There has been a lot of talk, even on Wikipediocracy, about how Sarek has improved and is not like he once was, but to me the above speaks volumes. He is still the same cynical and calculated operator that he was before and there is no credible reason to believe he has changed. Sarek has simply found the right level of activity necessary to convince people otherwise. Contrast that with Doncram who, despite a slight slump in the aftermath of his case, frequently contributed in the triple digits each month and even breaking four digits in some months. During that time he has seen every last restriction against him lifted entirely or suspended and has not been blocked for three and a half years. Without question, Doncram has proved he is worthy of consideration and leniency. The fact some admins (particularly one of Sarek's harassing cohorts) are determined to see him hang for merely objecting to the rapid lifting of his harasser's restrictions against engaging him says much about the environment on the site.
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