- Co-ordination of clerking duties takes place at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Clerks. The clerks' procedure guide is at /Procedures.
The Clerks of the Arbitration Committee (usually known as the arbitration clerks or simply the clerks) are editors selected by the Arbitration Committee to assist with the administration and running of the arbitration process. The position of clerk was by the Committee in January 2006 and incorporated into the arbitration policy ratified in June 2011.
The following is a list of current arbitration clerks; attached are lists of the inactive and the former clerks, as well as any bots run by the clerks or advisers the clerks may appoint. Active clerks who have "(trainee)" prepended to their list entry are trainees, and may not yet be qualified to deal with all clerk issues. If you require the assistance of a clerk for a general matter, you should post to WT:AC/C (or e-mail the clerks' mailing list if discretion is required); for assistance with a specific and currently-open case first post to the case's talk page, and (if your response hasn't been addressed in a suitable period of time) you may contact the designated case clerk (who is listed at the top of each case page) on their talk page or by e-mail.
- This list is accurate as of 1 January 2021.
- Active clerks
- Inactive clerks
- Automated Bots
The basic purpose of the clerk office is to complete all necessary administration of the arbitration process so as to lessen the workload of the arbitrators. Such administration has a broad scope, and include (but are not limited to):
- Opening, managing, and closing arbitration cases and case requests;
- Enacting and implementing the Committee's decisions;
- Maintaining and organising the Committee's pages, and enforcing Committee guidelines on statements and comments;
- Offering procedural and other advice to parties and to those participating in an arbitration case; and
- Maintaining good order and format on arbitration cases (using, as necessary, their authority to issue formal cautions and bans – enforceable by block – from arbitration pages).
Many of these tasks are routine in nature, and are often undertaken at the explicit direction of an arbitrator on the clerks' mailing list.
To help carry out their tasks, the clerks can write to the Arbitration Committee's mailing list without having their e-mails held for moderation. Clerks are also permitted to edit proposed and final decision pages for purposes such as making clerical changes and drafting implementation notes. They are not granted any other privileges, such as posting proposals to the Proposed decision page or voting on cases. Former clerks do not retain clerk privileges; inactive ones can return to active status with the consent of the clerks (and ultimately the arbitrators).
The clerks are, because of the nature of their role, familiar with arbitration matters, and are frequently consulted by the parties on administrative matters relating to open cases—whether they are officially assigned to them or not. However, the clerks are not themselves "arbitrators" in any sense, and do not participate substantive arbitration decisions.
Clerks must recuse on any item of arbitration business on which they have a conflict of interest. Clerks should not perform clerk duties in cases in which they have been involved in the dispute being considered, or if they have had significant prior negative interactions with any of the parties.
As may all members of the community, clerks may participate in arbitration cases. Comments made by clerks on the merits of a case are submitted in their individual capacity, and not as clerks of the Committee, and have no priority over comments by any other editors. Substantial participation by a clerk in non-procedural matters requires recusal by that clerk.
Clerks can request feedback from other clerks and can request reassignment of cases where necessary on the mailing list. Full guidance on recusal was written by an arbitrator, on behalf of the committee, and can be read here (clerks' mailing list subscription required).
If an editor is concerned that a clerk is acting in a manner that would require them to recuse, that editor should open communications with the clerk to relay their concerns. If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily as a result of direct discussion, then the editor should contact the clerk body (on the mailing list or at WT:AC/C). The Arbitration Committee is the final authority on matters of clerk recusal, but the clerk team typically resolves the issue before arbitrator involvement is required.
The activities of the clerks are coordinated for the most part on the clerks' mailing list. An on-wiki co-ordination page also exists at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Clerks (previously at a page called the clerks' noticeboard), although the primary function of that today is to allow non-clerks to solicit clerk assistance in an on-wiki forum. An IRC channel, #wikipedia-en-arbcom-clerks, also exists, for informal coordination and discussion of routine business (and for monitoring the feed of changes to Committee pages from the IRC bot wm-bot). There is no head clerk or chairperson position.
The clerks have a mailing list, called clerks-l (clerks-llists.wikimedia.org), that is the primary venue for clerk co-ordination and is used for:
- coordination of clerking duties;
- direction of the clerks by the committee;
- internal clerk discussion (including clerk appointments);
- reports regarding behaviour of other editors on arbitration pages; and
- requests from community members regarding things on arbitration pages.
The subscribers to the clerks' mailing list, as of 1 January 2021, are:
- ^ These subscribers also administer the mailing list (in mailman nomenclature, they are list owners).
The mailing list's archives are private because topics not appropriate for public discussion are very occasionally discussed. However, the list is primarily used for coordination.
Clerks are appointed by the Arbitration Committee, acting in consultation with the clerk team. New clerks are first appointed as trainees by consensus among the clerk body and interested arbitrators. Trainee clerks will complete a period of mentorship, which includes being taught how to complete all clerking tasks. Following the completion of a traineeship (in the judgment of the full clerks), the full clerks may terminate the traineeship or recommend that the Arbitration Committee appoint the trainee as a full clerk. The Committee has no obligation to accept the clerks' recommendation that a trainee be appointed, although they have never ignored such a recommendation. The clerks or the Committee can terminate a traineeship upon majority agreement of either body.
Editors interested in becoming a clerk should contact the clerk mailing list at clerks-llists.wikimedia.org. Clerking requires a balanced blend of diplomacy and firmness, and demands more caution than expected of the typical Wikipedia editor. Potential clerks are also expected to be competent (clueful), trustworthy, non-controversial (because clerks will have to work with many different parties from many backgrounds), and good communicators. Generally the clerks will look for an editor who has edited for at least a year and has developed a track record for working well in heated areas and are not currently or recently subject to sanctions.[note 1]
Editors interested in clerking tasks are encouraged to apply for a traineeship. Because the clerks are the appointed representatives of the Arbitration Committee and act on behalf of the Committee in the context of their clerk actions, the following tasks should only be performed by clerks and trainees:[note 2]
- Opening and closing cases;
- Make announcements on behalf of the Committee;
- Enacting, archiving or removing motions;
- Removing threaded comments from arbitration pages where threaded discussion is not permitted;
- Removing or shortening excessively long presentations on the main page or on the evidence page;
- Removing rejected or withdrawn case request from the main page;
- Editing /Proposed decision subpages;
- Editing the case status templates, or other maintenance templates transcluded to arbitration requests or case pages; and
- Reversing a clerk or arbitrator's edit or action in arbitration space for any reason.
If any of the above tasks are necessary in an arbitration proceeding, please reach out to the clerks at the clerks' noticeboard or, if the matter is urgent, through the clerks' mailing list at clerks-llists.wikimedia.org.
- These qualifications not all-encompassing; generally, discussion among the clerks focus on whether they think the applicant will be able to be an effective clerk based on their interactions with other editors.
- This is not intended to discourage administrators from responding to ordinary administrative situations in arbitration space, or to discourage editors from responding to ordinary vandalism or abuse. Administrators are allowed and encouraged to take administrative actions as necessary; editors are allowed and encouraged to respond to vandalism and abuse occurring within arbitration space to the same extent as anywhere else.
A procedural guide for clerking operations is at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Clerks/Procedures.