It's a surprise to see the shape of this year's arbitration elections, particularly the voting trends on reelection candidates. It's tough work deciding Wikipedia's most stubborn disputes. And in making those decisions, inevitably some of the people who care about a case will return at election case holding a grudge. But there's a big difference between last year's pattern and this year's.
In the 2007 elections two former arbitrators sought a return to the Committee. Although neither of them made it, they finished a respectable seventh and eighth in the overall results and tallied solid two-thirds support.
Percent support: 65.08%
Percent support: 64.96%
This year three arbitrators are seeking a return. None of them are faring nearly so well. As of this writing here's how the vote is shaping up:
Percent support: 16%
Percent suport: 18%
Sam Korn (candidacy withdrawn)
Percent support: 51%
What's even more interesting is to read the rationales for those supports and opposes. A good number of people articulate the desire for change, and it may be significant that the returning candidate who fared best ended his previous term before 2008.
So maybe it's time to ask if that big gray thing in the corner is an elephant in the room: are these results about the candidates, or are these results an informal referendum on the 2008 Arbitration Committee?
Look at this string of comments:
105. Oppose. I see you as the continuity candidate. Skomorokh 01:19, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
106. Oppose The current ArbCom is a disaster. We don't need more of the same. AniMate 01:47, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
107. Oppose sitting arbcom member --Random832 (contribs | signing statement) 02:04, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
108. Oppose. Let's have some fresh faces. --Wetman (talk) 02:28, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
109. Oppose. It's a change election. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:36, 2 December 2008 (UTC)