Arbitration policy

Is there a well-defined Bisq arbitrator policy?

I’ve been involved in a number of trades now, and noticed that different arbitrators apply different policies in very similar situations. Most notably, some arbitrators punish traders that break the Bisq trading protocol by taking (a piece of) their deposit and giving it to the honest counterparty. Other arbitrators just give everyone their deposits back once the dispute is settled.

IMO the first policy is much better. It punishes users that break the rules, while rewarding users that ring the alarm bell about a protocol breach. This keeps everyone honest. Honest mistakes can and do happen, and users shouldn’t be robbed of their entire deposit for small mistakes. But I’ve seen pretty blatant protocol breaches without any repercussion for the violators, which deteriorates the Bisq user experience for everyone else…

General documentation is at:

The FAQ contains some informations concerning arbitration:

There is also a slack channel devoted to arbitration.

Arbitrators aren’t really intended to have strict rules I think. In my eyes, they are there to give that human factor in solving and adapting to different problems.

Sometimes arbitrators get a feeling that some mistakes might be due to users trading for the first time or something. They can be forgiving at times and I assume most of the time they are.

Bisq is still quite new and in rapid development. Arbitrators probably understand that and are more understanding when people mess up because of it.

I have had a similar experience recently.

I spent a hell of a lot of time trying to provide adequate evidence to the arbitrator of transferring funds. The seller only responded to the arbitrator six days after the dispute was opened (seven days after the transfer).

Deposits were returned to both parties which I felt completely unfair as I had to waste six days of checking and providing evidence.

Surely, there must be some sort of incentive to not waste everyone’s time??