Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Jguk

Case Opened on 01:47, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Case Closed on 30 June 2005 15:33 (UTC)

Please do not edit this page directly unless you wish to become a participant in this request. (All participants are subject to Arbitration Committee decisions, and the ArbCom will consider each participant's role in the dispute.) Comments are very welcome on the Talk page, and will be read, in full. Evidence, no matter who can provide it, is very welcome at /Evidence. Evidence is more useful than comments.

Arbitrators will be working on a proposed decision at /Proposed decision.


Involved parties[edit]

  1. User:Slrubenstein
  2. User:MPerel (I am involving myself so as to make the statement below in protest of Jguk's actions)
  3. User:Zora
  4. User:SouthernComfort
  5. User:Sunray (I wish to become involved in response to certain inaccurate statements made on this page)

Confirmation that all parties are aware of the request[edit]

  • 14:18, 22 May 2005

Notified Jguk [1]

Confirmation that other steps in dispute resolution have been tried[edit]

I have not taken other steps because they would be pointless. Jguk is not merely arguing with editors over a partcular page; he is going from page to page making the same change everywhere. He does not explain his change on the talk page, and he does not respond to comments on the talk page. I believe that his pattern of behavior does not reflect a conflict on one page that could be mediated, but the crudest form of POV warrioring.

All of this started on the Jesus page, when JimWae changed BC and AD to BCE and CE. Someone reverted him; I reverted back and explained why. A very lengthy debate involving many people ensued. At one point, a couple of people proposed a compromise: use both BCE/CE and BC/AD. I accepted this compromise but Jguk refused, see [[2] (it is from archived talk; the time was 16:10, 14 May 2005 (UTC)).

The situations in question are not over complex issues of wording or content, but the simple issue of: should this particular article use BCE/CE, or BC/AD. This is the kind of dispute that needs arbitration, not mediation.

Based on Jguk's comments on my proposal and in edit summaries, it seems clear that he can conceive of no circumstance under which Wikipedians could use BCE/CE, despite the fact that this is permitted by the style guidelines. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:06, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Statement by User:Slrubenstein[edit]

Everyone is well aware of the controversy concerning my proposal. Clearly, the community is divided, but most people disagree with me that BCE and CE should be the NPOV standard. But this is not the issue at hand. Now the question is, are we allowed to use BCE/CE at all? Since I forwarded my proposal, Jguk has been behaving in a very aggressive manner. I am not exactly sure what is happening, but have two theories;

  • he is harassing me and people he identifies with me (e.g. User: SouthernComfort), looking at articles we have edited and changing BCE to BC and CE to AD
  • he is targeting articles of Jewish, Muslim, and Persian content — where BCE and CE are appropriate — and changing BCE to BC and CE to AD

Either way, the effect is to eliminate any usage of BCE/CE at Wikipedia. This violates the Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers), which states that "Both the BCE/CE era names and the BC/AD era names are acceptable" (see [3])

Evidence The Bible article has used BCE/CE for a long time. On 23:03, 17 May 2005 I changed the date for the close of the Hebrew Bible canon from 100 CE to 200 CE [4]. Note: I did not change the dating system, I only changed the number. Jayjg disagreed with my change and explained why, ending the disagreement between me and Jayjg. It was at this time, however, that Jguk turned his attention to the Bible article, and changed BCE to BC and CE to AD. He has never explained his changes (all of which are to change BCE to BC and CE to AD) on the Talk: Bible page, although several other editors have explained why the article should use BCE and CE. See this discussion:[5].

  • 12:29, 19 May 2005


  • 19:33, 19 May 2005


  • 06:46, 20 May 2005


  • 15:41, 20 May 2005


  • 08:07, 21 May 2005


  • 09:01, 22 May 2005


He has not limited himself to Jewish topics:

Islam related pages: [12]

User:SouthernComfort has been putting a lot of work into Persia-related artcles. Since Persia/Iran are non-Christian countries, BCE and CE are entirely appropriate. Jguk's actions in my opinion can be interpreted only as a pattern of harassment. He has gone to almost every article User:SouthernComfort has worked on, to change BCE to BC and CE to AD: [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

On some articles, there has been the kind of edit-war that occured on the Bible page:


  • 08:16, 22 May 2005


  • 08:42, 22 May 2005


List of kings of Persia

  • 08:43, 22 May 2005


  • 08:14, 22 May 2005


  • 11:46, 19 May 2005


  • 19:23, 28 Feb 2005


Jguk seems to know something about cricket. But he is not a historian and has expressed no knowledge whatesoever of Judaism and Jewish history, Islam and Islamic history, Persia and Persian history. His POV is that Wikipedia must not use "BCE and CE" and he is imposing his POV on these articles. Aside from POV warring, it is forcing good editors to waste a lot of time. The only solution I can see is banning him from articles on Jewish, Muslim, and Persian-related topics. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:55, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Response to Jguk's comment[edit]

Jguk writes, "Slrubenstein recently made a proposal to replace all instances of BC/AD in WP with BCE/CE." This is clearly not so.

My proposal in short, was this (emphasis in original):

I want Wikipedia to accept a general policy that BC ("Before Christ") and AD ("Anno Domini", "In the year of the Lord") represent a Christian Point of View and should be used only when they are appropriate, that is, in the context of expressing or providing an account of a Christian point of view. In other contexts, I argue that they violate our NPOV policy and we should use BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) instead. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:13, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

It is clear that there are places where I think AD and BC must be used. Jguk's statement is just another example of his campaign to misrepresent me.

Be that as it may, the fact that my proposal has not been adopted does not mean that "BCE and CE" are banned from Wikipedia. The style manual permits it, and clearly there must be some places where its use is appropriate. Clearly, the people who have contributed most to articles on Jewish and Persian themes agree that BCE and CE are appropriate in these specific contexts. No one is implimenting a non-existing policy. Many articles already use BCE and CE. It is Jguk who wants to impose a non-existing proposal, that BCE and CE be banned from Wikipedia.

Jguk is either a POV warrior, or harassing me and SouthernComfort.

Response to RickK's comment[edit]

RickK writes

When Slrubenstein discovered that his attempt to force a mass reversion of BE to BCE and AD to CE had failed, and was losing the vote he himself called, he decided to unilaterally go around making changes to articles anyway.

This is a flat-out lie. It is not a misinterpretation or a misunderstanding, it is simply a flasehood. I did not go about changing articles from BC to BCE and AD to CE. I did go to articles where, within the last week or so, Jguk had changed dates from BCE/CE to BC/AD, and restored them to their previous version. Be that as it may, I will change BC to BCE and AD to CE in clearly appropriate cases, namely articles that are explicitly about non-Christian peoples and their history. No policy in Wikipedia forbids this.

Statement by party 2[edit]

Slrubenstein recently made a proposal to replace all instances of BC/AD in WP with BCE/CE. That proposal failed (and there was a lot of acrimonious discussion surrounding it). Unfortunately a small number of editors do not accept the failure of the proposal and are trying to implement it on a small number of articles. Since I have been at WP, we have followed the rule not to change an article that consistently uses BC/AD notation to BCE/CE notation and vice versa. All I have done is reverted recent changes from BC/AD notation to BCE/CE notation in line with current practice.

I suggest ArbCom reminds Slrubenstein and other users that when a proposed policy has had a full airing and does not reach consensus then it should not be implemented, and all users have the right to revert any such edits on sight.

Kind regards, jguk 16:30, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Statement by MPerel[edit]

When Slrubenstein proposed to make BCE/CE the Wikipedia standard, editors were basically split nearly evenly 73-90 last count. While most editors in general demonstrated a preference for BCE/CE as the academic standard, many of these same editors voted against the proposed policy as they did not want to completely eliminate BC/AD as an option. Those rejecting Slrubenstein's systemwide proposal for the most part were not against BCE/CE, but against making it the only standard. Jguk has interpreted this to mean opposite of what it means, that all dates should now be BC/AD. Even in specific cases where the consensus found it was more NPOV in a particular article to use BCE/CE (see Jesus where a 2/3 majority favored BCE/CE over BC/AD), Jguk refused to allow BCE/CE, even rejecting the widely accepted compromise of BC/BCE incorporating both. He has an obvious hangup about BCE, even refusing to allow "Before the Common Era" as the first definition on the BCE disambig page.[26] I'm not sure jguk needs to be banned from particular articles, but perhaps he should be prohibited from changing BCE/CE to BC/AD since he is clearly on a campaign pushing his personal POV systemwide.

Even though there is no current policy standardizing a preference of one over the other, only a nonbinding style guide that permits both, Jguk has been unilateraly changing BCE/CE to BC/AD systemwide. Here is a sampling since February (only the tip of the iceberg) even predating Slrubenstein's policy proposal:

And more recently:

Statement by Party #3[edit]

I've added myself to this dispute because I'm extremely upset by Jguk's monitoring of my edit history and intervening to change to BC/AD dates whenever I post something. I think I've been editing on Wikipedia for a year now, and I've routinely been using BCE/CE dates, with no protest from anyone. I remonstrated with Jguk about his behavior re some of the Iranian pages and now I'm on his "hit list". It found it particularly irritating to have him intervene in the Islam and other religions article which I had just completely revised (merging the old version and material deleted from the Islam article, then re-arranging in a chronological treatment). Two hours or so after I posted this new version, he changed it! I'm not sifting through Wikipedia looking for BC/AD dates to change; I'm making edits based on my interests and skills. If Jguk wants to argue about BC/AD usage in articles to which he actually contributes, fine. I'll stay out of it, thank you. But I protest against being made the target of his crusade. Zora 08:15, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Statement by RickK[edit]

When Slrubenstein discovered that his attempt to force a mass reversion of BE to BCE and AD to CE had failed, and was losing the vote he himself called, he decided to unilaterally go around making changes to articles anyway. User:Sunray and User:SouthernComfort are his accomplices in this practice. They are trying to make the claim that all articles about non-Christian subject matter must be BCE, and are using the disingenuous, but false, contention that the changes should be made because that was what the original authors of the articles they changed originally wrote. Perusing the article histories of the articles proves that such is not the case. When Jguk reverted their changes, they began a round-robin revert war with him, and when that failed, because Violetriga joined in with Jguk to prevent this attempt at violating the vote on the subject, they decided to write this RfAr against Jguk. This is bogus, they, in fact, should have an arbcomm ruling against them for making changes without support. RickK 22:26, May 22, 2005 (UTC)

Statement by El_C[edit]

Well, I haven't followed these developments, so I am having difficulties keeping up with RickK's argument without evidence. I have no special preference for either dating system and as an (20th Century) historian, I use both interchangebly. And while I realize the Committee dosen't do content, I still would like it to note certain trends in the scholarship which I compiled at the request of SlR. The only point I wish to make is that this isn't original research on SlR's part, rather it is (also) Peer Review which largely forms the basis for the opinion he and others hold on the use of dating systems. Please see Talk:Common_Era#Professional_scholarship and a related exchange. El_C 23:10, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Statement by Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters[edit]

I am not directly involved in the current RfA against Jguk relative to the BCE/CE vs. BC/AD usage issue. I have not modified any pages in regard to that issue, nor expressed any opinion on best usage. However, I have had some experience with Jguk that is likely to be illustrative.

Jguk was the most active participant in the recent "style wars"—i.e. the issue of whether styles ("His Holiness", "Her Majesty", etc) should be used in biographical articles, particularly prefixed to the initial mention. Jguk vociferously advocated their use (but only among his favored European Christian figures); modified many pages to match his desired usage; unilaterally changed the MoS to declare his usage correct; continually reverts pages to match his usage; and acted as a general obstructionist to the conduct of a survey around the issue. Moreover, Jguk has tried to "game" WP in several ways to act vindictively against people who disagree with him on this issue (a spurious VfD on an article about me; spurious RfC's against myself and User:Whig for advocating a different MoS policy). Furthermore, much as several users report relative to this RfA, Jguk developed a habit of watching my edit history to capriciously revert changes, simply because I made them.

Continuing on the same line, I have also noticed that Jguk has a tendency of inserting commonwealth spellings into articles, even to the point of revert wars around the issue. I have seen a number of cases where he has made edits that consist of nothing other than a spelling change or two from USA to UK spelling of a few words, in articles that otherwise use USA spellings. While the choice of spelling is pretty well trivial, I think Jguk's obsession around this characterizes his editing pattern in most topics. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 23:05, 2005 May 22 (UTC)

Statement by Zocky[edit]

I accidentally stumbled upon one of the articles that this has been going on and proceeded to read the correspondence between Southern Comfort and Jguk. Southern Comfort has substantiated his edits with the reasonable argument that using BCE and CE in articles dealing with non-Christian cultures is more neutral. OTOH, Jguk's only argument beyond (often incorrectly) quoting policy has been that readers won't know what CE and BCE means. By that reasoning, we should not use multisillable words. Maybe not enough people are aware of the existence of the simple Wikipedia?

Seems to me like Southern Comfort is trying to make the encyclopaedia better and Jguk is pushing his POV on subjects on which he isn't particularly knowledgable.

Zocky 06:42, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Addendum: Now that this has moved to real arbitration, I'd just like to say that I don't see why anybody should be punished in any way (nor how could the Arbitration Committe decide questions of style). IMHO, all that is needed is a clear restatement of some basic principles that have succesfully guided us through the years — consistency is less important than accuracy and good will among editors; popularity is not Wikipedia's goal but rather a welcome byproduct of it being a good encyclopedia. RfC would've probably served better for that. Zocky 09:40, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Statement by Smoddy[edit]

Firstly, I should state that I consider jguk a friend. I have worked with him very productively on cricket articles, and consider him a good editor. Without wanting to form an opinion on this case (I certainly consider Slrubenstein and Southern Comfort equally culpable), it should be noted that many of the links above are not actually the blanket changes that Slr and MPerel would have you believe. Most, I would say, are either revertions of changes made without consensus by Southern Comfort or other editors (e.g. [121] and [122]) or consistency changes (e.g. [123] and [124]). Smoddy (Rabbit and pork) 10:29, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Statement by SouthernComfort[edit]

I would like to first state, for the record, what my intentions are in regards to this issue of dating conventions. In short, my argument is that BCE/CE is appropriate and justified in articles having no connection to Christianity, e.g. Iranian and Jewish history and civilization, and other non-Christian cultures. Furthermore, specifically in regards to Iran-related articles, the BCE/CE convention is well established in the fields of Near Eastern/Oriental studies, and the BC/AD convention makes absolutely no sense in regards to these articles, since Iranian history is not Christian, nor has Iran (and it's civilizations and dynasties) ever been Christian. I have also argued that if there is any dispute as to which convention is most appropriate as regards these articles, that it should be left to the consensus of those editors involved with these specific articles.

Jguk, however, is not involved with Iran-related articles and decided to immediately revert my changes (from BC/AD to BCE/CE) without proper discussion (please see Talk:List of kings of Persia). He also accused me of violating WP policy and trolling [125] [126] [127] [128]. I have checked WP policy and have found nothing which states that my changing the convention from BC/AD to BCE/CE in Iran-related articles is wrong. Despite my attempts to communicate with him, he refused to do so and insisted on maintaining the BC/AD convention based upon non-existent policy and would not allow the issue to be left to the consensus of editors involved with the articles in question. As has been stated by others, he proceeded to revert every single article where I had changed the convention from BC/AD to BCE/CE. I feel that this behavior is not in accordance with the spirit of WP.

In response to RickK's accusations, they are false. I have never stated that "all articles about non-Christian subject matter must be BCE." I have, however, argued that there are articles where BCE/CE is more appropriate and warranted than BC/AD, e.g. Iran-related articles, and that if there is any dispute it should be left to the consensus of editors involved with those specific articles. If he is implying that I wish to force BCE/CE upon all non-Christian articles, regardless of editorial consensus, this too is false. I have never made such statements. I have not changed dating conventions in non-Iranian articles, nor have I attempted to do so. As with Jguk, both RickK and Violetriga stated that my actions were against WP policy. When I asked to see this policy, my request was ignored. The fact remains that I have not acted against WP policy, nor do I have any desire to impose BCE/CE upon all WP articles. However, as with Slrubenstein, I believe that there are articles where BCE/CE is more appropriate and justified (and more NPOV) than BC/AD, such as Iranian and Jewish history and religion, which are clearly non-Christian, and with such articles I will continue to change the convention from BC/AD to BCE/CE. There is nothing in WP policy which prohibits this action. SouthernComfort 19:25, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Statement by violet/riga (t)[edit]

My involvement has been explained on various talk pages. I have created Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Eras as an attempt to solve the edit wars. violet/riga (t) 22:13, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Statement by outside party: tznkai[edit]

Amicus curiae breif not in favor of any party: This case should be split before any arbitration continues. Two major issues I have identified are: 1. Accusassions of Harrasment ("Edit Wars") and 2. Appropriateness of the use of diffrent dating systems.

as of 19:03, 24 May 2005 UTC, we have two conflicting arbitration acceptance votes:

  • Accept: Not to judge the actions of either party in particular but to consider the issue of consensus and disputed style changes. Neutralitytalk 17:06, May 22, 2005 (UTC)
  • Accept (to look into issues of who's been doing things unilaterally, as opposed to issues of policy. Ambi 08:52, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

To continue to arbitration proceedings like this would confuse the issue.

Statement by Sunray[edit]

Having given evidence in this matter, I’ve since thought about this case further. I wish to make a statement about its import. I should also like to comment on certain points made by others in the foregoing statements.

During my association with Jguk for almost five months, I’ve reflected about his motives relating to Wikipedia. While he may have done some good as an editor in the past, I believe that, with respect to BCE/CE, he is functioning as little more than a vandal. I believe that the arbitration decision will be important to correct this situation.

This case did not start on the Jesus pages, as Slrubenstein states. As evidence by Mperel and others, shows, Jguk has made hundreds of edits and reverts with respect to eras dating for months prior to the recent “revert war” on the Persian pages. With many of these, his edit summaries show that he is attempting to apply the letter of the MoS guideline regarding eras: consistency.

Jguk has, all the while, shown himself incapable of working in a consensus framework. What he is doing with respect to BCE/CE resembles a crusade. It is the worst kind of vandalism, since it is highly invasive while cloaking itself in a patina of legality. It is important that the arbitration committee see through some of the careless thinking (such as that of RickK and others) that suggests that what happened on the Persian articles was merely a “round-robin revert war” by Slrubenstein and his “accomplices” to get their way concerning BCE/CE. It is very far from that. For my part, I do not accept the label “accomplice” of anyone. As my evidence shows, I have experienced Jguk’s POV on eras since January. Leaving aside the motives of Slrubenstein—I know no better than RickK what they might have been—we have a conscientious new author, SouthernComfort, who evidently saw the logic of Slrubenstein’s proposal that BCE/CE was NPOV. He may have overstepped his bounds in his zeal to change to that notation. However, I am sure a courteous word to him would have sufficed to get him to alter his approach.

Instead, we have the peremptory reverts of Jguk—a form of activity he has been engaging in for many months. As the evidence shows, his behaviour with respect to BCE/CE is contrary to what Wikipedia stands for:

Those who edit in good faith, show civility, seek consensus, and work towards the goal of creating an impartial encyclopedia, should find a welcoming environment.[129]

Whatever the outcome of this arbitration, I do hope it will take this into account. Sunray 17:19, 2005 Jun 5 (UTC)

Preliminary decisions[edit]

Arbitrators' opinions on hearing this matter (6/0/1/0)[edit]

  • I await a response from Jguk. -- Grunt 🇪🇺 15:08, 2005 May 22 (UTC) Accept to investigate the mass of confusion that surrounds this issue. -- Grunt 🇪🇺 00:04, 2005 May 23 (UTC)
  • Accept: Not to judge the actions of either party in particular but to consider the issue of consensus and disputed style changes. Neutralitytalk 17:06, May 22, 2005 (UTC)
  • Accept. I think this needs looking into. →Raul654 22:51, May 22, 2005 (UTC)
  • Accept (to look into issues of who's been doing things unilaterally, as opposed to issues of policy. Ambi 08:52, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Accept Fred Bauder 11:36, May 23, 2005 (UTC)
  • Accept - David Gerard 21:09, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Recuse - I'm currently involved in a dispute with Jguk --mav 03:49, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Temporary injunction (none)[edit]

Final decision[edit]

All numbering based on /Proposed decision (vote counts and comments are there as well)



Style guide[edit]

1) Wikipedia has established a Wikipedia:Manual of Style for the "purpose of making things easy to read by following a consistent format," see [130]. The prescriptions of Wikipedia's manual of style are not binding, but it is suggested that with respect to eras that "Both the BCE/CE era names and the BC/AD era names are acceptable, but be consistent within an article." [131].

Passed 6 to 0 at 30 June 2005 15:33 (UTC)

Optional styles[edit]

2) When either of two styles are acceptable it is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to change from one style to another unless there is some substantial reason for the change. For example, with respect to English spelling as opposed to American spelling it would be acceptable to change from American spelling to English spelling if the article concerned an English subject. Revert warring over optional styles is unacceptable; if the article is colour rather than color, it would be wrong to switch simply to change styles as both are acceptable.

Passed 6 to 0 at 30 June 2005 15:33 (UTC)


3) Courtesy between Wikipedia editors is important, especially with respect to matters which are in dispute.

Passed 6 to 0 at 30 June 2005 15:33 (UTC)

Revert wars considered harmful[edit]

4) Revert wars are usually considered harmful, because they cause ill-will between users and negatively destabilize articles. Users are encourage to explore alternate methods of dispute resolution, such as negotiation, surveys, requests for comment, mediation, or arbitration.

Passed 6 to 0 at 30 June 2005 15:33 (UTC)

Sincere disputes are unlikely to be resolved by forcing the issue[edit]

5) At times the proper implementation of Wikipedia's NPOV policy will be a matter of dispute between reasonable editors who sincerely wish to uphold the principle. In these cases, no attempts to dictate the proper solution, whether coming from the Arbitration Committee or from a mechanism such as a poll, will be helpful. All that can be done is to insist that the participants in the dispute remain civil and respectful.

Passed 4 to 1 at 30 June 2005 15:33 (UTC)

Findings of Fact[edit]

BCE-CE Debate[edit]

1) User: Slrubenstein both on the WikiEN-l mailing list and on Wikipedia raised the question of whether the use of AD and BC rather than CE and BCE in general articles violated NPOV, see Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/BCE-CE Debate. An extended discussion was followed by a vote which was evenly divided leaving the existing policy, both styles are acceptable, unchanged. See also Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/proposed revision (proposed revision to policy is at Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)/proposed_revision#Eras); and Common Era and its external links. There is a proposed vote at Wikipedia:Eras with an extended discussion at Wikipedia talk:Eras

Passed 5 to 2 at 30 June 2005 15:33 (UTC)

8.1) Both Jguk and Southerncomfort edited articles to change BC/BCE and AD/CE references to their preferred style. This was done in some cases to make articles consistent, but in other cases, involved changing date systems outright, which was against policy.

Passed 4 to 1 at 30 June 2005 15:33 (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.

3) Jguk, Southerncomfort, and other involved users are warned strongly to abide by our policies (as described in FOF 8)

Passed 4 to 1 at 30 June 2005 15:33 (UTC)