The whole scene says We're rowdy and disorganized but we get stuff done, and don't mess with us. A lot more than Kafka that's the spirit today.
Speculation has floated around about why this request for comment went live when it did. The people who were present for yesterday's Not the Wikipedia Weekly recording can confirm this chain of events: we got to talking about what was developing on the Administrators' Noticeboard and decided to do a breaking episode. Not the Wikipedia Weekly isn't quite journalism--some of us participate in the issues we discuss. It's a little bit like a group blog: we sensed that important developments were happening and wanted to document the experience of the events unfolding. That often gets lost after the fact on page archives.
Until Mbisanz joined our discussion I had been saying that Lawrence Cohen's draft request for comment on the Arbitration Committee was looking a lot more likely to go live, but I'd been saying not yet, not now. I wanted to wait for events to sort themselves out better. Then Matt announced he Lawrence's retirement and Lawrence's parting request to move the page into Wikipedia namespace and bring it live. Lawrence's wish was going to be fulfilled and soon; the only question was how. I asked Matt to let me do it at the end of our recording. When the wikidrama is running high even a short delay helps. That bought two hours, and what's more important it was an opportunity to start on productive terms: process, not individual grievance. I really hope that outlining procedural issues sets the right tone. One of the biggest dangers with opening this discussion is that people may try to hijack it to rehear their own cases. Yeah, we can rise above that. It's what's best for the site that counts.
Of course a few people interpreted the timing in the wrong light. So we wind up with this. I invited both Jimbo Wales and the Committee to participate. So far, the only current or former member of the Arbitration Committee to come to the page has not inspired confidence.
Concur with Cool Hand Luke. A cock-up (which this appears to be) is a terrible foundation for a discussion of reform. Hard cases make bad law. Mackensen (talk) 01:45, 28 June 2008 (UTC)The cock-up surmise was posted by a former arbitrator who still has access to the arbitration mailing list and whose input may affect current decisions. He appears not to have noticed either the introductory statement or the page history that demonstrates the request for comment could not have been structured around recent decisions: the page went unedited from March 14, 2008 until June 28, 2008 when I brought it live. With the Committee's own performance under scrutiny he posts this way; I wonder how this person evaluates case evidence.
My understanding of history indicates otherwise... Exceptional cases make for bad laws in the general case... But it's long been evident that exceptional cases in regard to people in positions of authority make for some very good laws indeed. Many of the fundamental laws of modern society were born in such cases. Ask William of Orange. --Barberio (talk) 01:55, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
However, it is by no means clear what the authority is. Until and when the committee clarifies what's going on this is premature. Mackensen (talk) 01:59, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
With all due respect to the committee, clarification was asked for, the result was not compelling. Even assuming that the committee is too slow and over burdened to explain themselves, I think it's not appropriate to expect the community to let the arbitrators 'wait out the clock' till the next round of elections. As has tended to happen when issues of Arbitration Policy have been raised. --Barberio (talk) 02:06, 28 June 2008 (UTC)