Monday, December 01, 2008

A mandate from the community?

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.

Support: 233
Oppose: 125
Percent support: 65.08%

Support: 317
Oppose: 171
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:

Charles Matthews
Support: 21
Oppose: 108
Percent support: 16%

Support: 26
Oppose: 119
Percent suport: 18%

Sam Korn (candidacy withdrawn)
Support: 56
Oppose: 54
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)


GerardM said...

Hoi, if change is what some people want, then at least they will get a change of faces. This does not imply at all that they will get improved service from the arbitration committee. It does mean that there will be a disconnect with the work done in the past and, this is an issue in its own right.

So as the voters are "obviously" right, it does not follow at all that the change they are voting for will be the change that they like.

Joshua said...

Gerard makes an excellent point. Although many of us are not happy with the current ArbCom it isn't clear that many of the new candidates will be much better. Some of the candidates who seemed very good such as Bishonen have dropped out.

One thing to note about the voting system we are using is that reduces the need for protest votes. Thus rather than support Kurt, people are opposing the current arbitrators. I suspect he would be getting many more votes if this was a closed ballot bullet election or something similar.

Gregory Kohs said...

Durova, that was some top-flight near-trolling on Jimbo's talk page. I was going to give you 4 stars, but then I saw the East German reference, which bumped you up to 4.5 stars.

It's amazing how far everyone can stick their heads in the sand about how abysmal the ethics of the 2008 ArbCom were. It's like to be a full-blown Wikipediot, you have to be half ostrich!

Durova said...

Good heavens, Greg--we agreed on something?

Why, thank you.

Indeed, a strange election...