Dispute resolution > Mediation > Arbitration

This is a draft for a possible mediation framework. It only covers the players in the process, and what they should contribute to the process, not the process itself. The process itself, and additional groundrules to the framework should be in accordance with the precise problem under mediation.

Scope and Purpose of Mediation


The main purpose of Wikipedia mediation framework is to provide a means to resolve disputes over articles when the standard consensus editing model is not working.

It is not the purpose of the mediation framework to make policy decisions. Iit is not the purpose of the mediation framework to address disputes unrelated to articles, or where a dispute between users has arisen affecting multiple unrelated articles.

Unlike mediation in legal and business matters, Wikipedia mediators are permitted to use their own best judgement to recommend a solution that is in the best interests of the project, particularly where the position of one disputant is unreasonable, fringe, or POV.

List of people involved


The above may need some tweaking. I haven't thought of every eventuality yet, this is just a draft.

The remit of the mediation process

  1. Mediation is solely intended to achieve a way for people to keep working together and build better articles.
  2. It doesn't need to produce mutual amity between the disputants.
  3. It also should not decide any matter of policy. If the conflict is over something not covered by current policy, the matter should be returned to the wikipedia community as a whole.

Again this needs much more. Shall add more, as I think up stuff.


  • Mediation can only occur between two parties, which may consist of a single disputant, or a cohesive group of disputants in common cause.
  • Any disputant may refuse mediation, though this is considered bad form.
  • If there are more than two parties mediation can proceed only if the dispute can be reframed as a number of independent and separately mediated disputes between two parties.
  • In case a multiparty dispute cannot be reframed, or the disputes are not independent of each other, other conflict resolution techniques remain available.
  • Disputants are self-selected if two opposing parties.
  • Original call for mediation can be made by any disputant or group of disputants.
  • A third party may suggest that the disputants seek mediation which they may, if they so wish, concur with.
  • Either disputant may withdraw from the mediation process at will, though this is considered bad form.
  • In common cause a group of disputant usernames can in consensus choose to dispute through mediation with a single disputant or another disputant group.
    1. Disputant groups have to choose a representant from amongst them who may consult with the group during the process.
    2. The representant is the only one who speaks.
    3. In exceptional circumstances the representant may be switched mid-process.
    4. The disputant group may in consensus withdraw from the mediation process, in which case arbitration and summary action by Jimbo Wales still remain as options.
    5. A single username or a faction of usernames within the disputant group may withdraw from consensus, ending the mediation process, which may be restarted and reframed if possible as ab novo, separate and independent mediations; also arbitration and summary action by Jimbo Wales still remain as options.
  • Usernames of disputants are publicly announced.
  • Usernames comprising a disputant group, and the username they have chosen as their representant are publicly announced.


  • The mediation process is private and the mediator and disputants are expected to keep the process confidential. However, the mediator may consult with others in the "mediation committee" for guidance.
  • No permanent record shall be kept of mediation proceedings.
  • At the conclusion of mediation, the mediator may report on whether or not a consensus was reached, and may report to the community whether each disputant acted in good faith.
  • When mediation is called for, the members of the "mediation committee" may select a representative or may work as a group.
  • Mediators may refuse to involve themselves in disputes for any of a variety of reasons. Good reasons include disputes where disputants have not tried to resolve the problem themselves, disputes involving policy discussions best left to the community, disputes where an impartial or uninvolved mediator cannot be found, situations where a mediator may incur legal liability, matters better left to law enforcement and the courts, and disputants who do not appear to be making a bona fide effort at compromise.
  • Mediators should recuse themself if they feel they are a party to the conflict.
  • Provided they can do so without revealing anything about their assignment, the mediator may consult and seek advice from anyone they wish, on factual questions, techniques for dispute resolution and all matters which may benefit the mediation; inside or outside wikipedia
  • While consulting others, they must not divulge anything they have learned during the mediation process. However, publicly available information such as article and talk page contents may be referenced.
  • The username(s) of the mediator for a dispute is publicly announced.

Silent overseer

  • The silent overseer is chosen from the pool of mediators by Jimbo Wales.
  • The silent overseer may freely refuse an assignment without giving justification.
  • The identity of a silent overseer is kept secret from everyone else, including all the participants of the mediation (the mediator too).
  • If the chosen silent overseer feels he is a party to the mediated conflict, she or he should recuse himself/herself.
  • The silent overseer shall be presented without the slightest delay with all the data and all exchanges of view that have to do with the particular mediation.
  • The silent overseer shall only communicate to Jimbo Wales and to the mediator.
  • The silent overseer will only receive exclusive communication from Jimbo Wales.
  • Any exclusive communication to or from the silent overseer will only consist of codified standard phrases which do not convey any extraneus instruction or influence.
  • The silent overseer shall send a standard codified phrase to a mediator when the mediation is in danger of derailing.
  • The silent overseer shall send a standard codified phrase to Jimbo Wales when the mediation has been derailed.
  • After receiving a standard codified phrase from Jimbo Wales to the effect that Jimbo concurs with the judgement of the silent overseer, the silent overseer may bring a halt to the mediation if it becomes clear that the derailement of the mediation is irrecoverable.

Dispute escalation

  1. Disputants are expected to make a bona fide effort to resolve their differences using consensus editing and discussions on appropriate talk pages.
  2. If such discussions are not fruitiful, mediation is a possible next step.
  3. Arbitration is available if mediation is unsuccessful. While disputants may skip the mediation step and appeal directly to arbiters, this is not recommended and the arbiters may refuse to hear disputes where a bona fide effort at mediation has not been made.
  4. Where a disputant is dissatisfied with the results of arbitration, or does not wish to follow the arbitration step, other means are available, such as appeal to the community, appeal to Jimbo, or forking the database.


  1. Articles are reverted to their pre-dispute contents and are closed to any editing while mediation proceeds. Boilerplate text is placed at the top of the article and the page is protected.
  2. Mediators seek common ground among the disputants and try to clear up misunderstandings.
  3. Mediators make a special effort to consider the merits of the question involved without regard to the background or editing history of the disputants.
  4. Mediators set the pace to balance the benefits of "cooling off" with the goal of reasonably rapid closure. Most mediation efforts should be completed in a matter of 3-10 days.
  5. Mediators may propose solutions, which may include specific article text.
  6. The mediator may update the article with any changes that both disputants accept.
  7. When consensus is reached, the fact of article mediation and the agreement reached is documented on the article's talk page. Once disputants make an agreement, they are expected to follow it.
  8. The article is reopened to editing once mediation is complete.