Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee Elections January 2006/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3


I got an idea. How about when we figure out a way to elect some people, they can appoint say 3-5 people from a list of users who want to help. These volunteers/electees are randomly put into a group, then take a case and vote on it, majority rules. The only problem I see with this is that it could be easily rigged/exploites (but this implies that we would nominate wikijerks, not trusted members to appoint individual commitees). We could keep the election process the same while hopefully killing off the backlogs. If a volunteer member of the committe is slow, it is put forth to another individual arbcom for consideration of punishment/banishment/exile/flogging/removal of that user from the program. --Herzog 07:47, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Why is this called an election when it is not an election?

This is called an election repeatedly, but when you read the fine print of the article, it says the election is meaningless, and what will probably happen is Jimbo will decide who will be appointed and then appoint them. So why is it called an election? It is not an election, or at least it is a completely pointless and meaningless election.

If I edited articles regarding socialist governments run by Communist parties that have elections more democratic than the method here, I would be reverted and be accused of having extreme POV. Yet on Wikipedia this non-election is called an election. Ruy Lopez 22:25, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Ruy Lopez, I've reverted your changes. The previous name is consistant with all the links and past elections and there is no reason to change it to a new name. Just because the election will be under a different format does not neccessitate a move to a different name. In either case, your assertion that is not an election or is a meaningless election is disputed; that is no reason to move the page. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 00:47, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Flcelloguy: perhaps, though, we can refer to it as the ‘selection’ process instead? :) E Pluribus Anthony 02:11, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Groucho Marx speaks up

I wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would have me.

There's an important voice missing in the world of arbitration: those who have not proposed themselves for membership.

Shouldn't there be some effort to recruit simply by offering the job to random people and seeing who's game? Say, "you can have this job, without politicking and without risk other than your time. Will you do it?"

Because otherwise the bureaucracy is full of, well, bureaucrats. Which is precisely the problem this part of it is meant to fight... 23:58, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

The problem is that most people aren't willing to put forth the time. Not to mention that going to random people can be problematic. Ral315 (talk) 00:00, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
It's my thesis that going to people who are drooling for a little more power under a dime-store halo can be problematic as well... 02:08, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
That is the great difficulty of selecting leaders - finding leaders who are not attracted by power but yet have the skills and time to do the job. Self nomination is one of the alternatives that works. Personally, I would prefer that Arbitrators be nominated by someone else (or a committee of people that identify people with the required skills) and then the nominated person can accept or reject the nomination. Unfortunately, in practice this ends up being exposed to charges of "playing politics" and "establishing an oligarchy". Trödel|talk 14:34, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
We should not conflate people who have an interest in things from those who would abuse it. There have been many historical figures who have reshaped parts of the world while doing little or no abuse. --Improv 18:22, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
We don't want leaders, we want arbiters. Jurors. The general public. Those capable of divorcing themselves from their need to rationalize their own past actions as members of the government, and judge a situation on its merits. Flawed though the jury system is, the Wikipedia isn't going to reinvent a better wheel on its account. -- 18:30, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Arbitors are not jurors. The roles are not even very similar -- they're closer to being judges. Jurors typically need instruction as to what the law is so they can apply it, serve only for a single case, and are making relatively simple judgements. Note also that the American system is not the only system in the world - I doubt there is anything radically novel about the way things work here. --Improv 22:38, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Time period

What will be the time period of the processs now approved by Jimbo? -- DS1953 15:26, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Straw poll closed and arbcom elections

I left this message on Jimbo's talk page, repeated here for more eyeballs:

I think deciding the election procedure based on a straw poll, which is designed to get people's feedbacks on a range of available options, with around 40-50 people participating in total (which isn't significantly larger than the number of people standing for the Arbitration Committee) is a inherently bad idea. It's not like there was a significant majority in favour of any one of the proposals, either.

The result of a straw poll is not to use the procedure with the most support, it is to find out why other people didn't like that proposal, and work on improving it so that people who didn't support the original idea will support an improved version (or at least, not oppose as much). Talrias (t | e | c) 15:29, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

So, 49% is a consensus in favour of change now. Filiocht | The kettle's on 15:43, 14 December 2005 (UTC)


Since Jimbo has asked the community to begin the process and model it after RfA, I've taken the initiative and have created Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2005/Vote as a basic page for voting. I'm thinking that we could have a subpage for each candidate, and then let voters vote "Support", "Oppose", or "Neutral", along with a comments section. Thoughts? Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 15:57, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

We're not having a secret ballot? Talrias (t | e | c) 16:00, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
It appears not; his announcement says The community can and should begin a community approval process immediately, patterned as closely as is reasonable after the RfA process. The point of the process should be to generate a pool of acceptable candidates from whom I can make appointments. I emailed him asking him about this last night before the announcement but haven't heard from him. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 16:03, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
I think this is a tad hasty. I thought the idea was to avoid the mess we had last year, not to delay, then re-create it. Filiocht | The kettle's on 16:07, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, Jimbo's annoucement says that the community should begin the process, patterned as closely to RfA as possible, immediately. Someone's got to take the initiative and get the ball rolling. Thoughts on that page? It's basically copied and pasted from RfA. Also, does anyone have any comments regarding elections date and voter eligibity? All the past elections have lasted two weeks and have only been open to people who have been a registered user for 90 days or more. Thoughts on that? Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 16:09, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
In this case, it may be appropriate to ask WWRD (What Would RFA Do)? Johnleemk | Talk 16:25, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, all registered users are welcome to vote on RfAs, but a new user's vote will most likely be discounted. The past elections all have used 90 days as a cut-off point, and the Board election, if I remember correctly, required both 90 days and a minimum number of edits. RfAs run for one week, but I feel that this should last longer, simply because of its importance. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 16:40, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
I share Filiocht's concern. What's the difference between an "oppose" vote here, and a last-year-style "disendorsement", which seems to be so widely reviled? TacoDeposit 16:56, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Even though the vote is to be "patterned as closely as is reasonable after the RfA process", are we going to permit explanations of votes (pro and con) or simply require the voters limit their votes to Support and Oppose? I would prefer the latter since this voting process is characterized as "approval" rather than "consensus". Otherwise, it seems that we will be back in the infamous disendorsement situation. -- DS1953 17:16, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
I mentioned this to Jimbo Wales on IRC, who said "<jwales> Talrias: there are significant differences though. :-)" Talrias (t | e | c) 16:58, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
That is not a convincing argument. TacoDeposit 17:02, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Hello! I share F's concerns. ... I will assist the mode that has been selected. In the very least, now we need to develop a critical path and refine the mechanics/process. Let me know! E Pluribus Anthony 18:42, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

There's no point in arguing about the elections process; community consensus supported Jimbo's second proposal and he made the change. What we should be discussing, though, is how to conduct this. Thoughts on the suffrage requirements, time length, and the process? Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 19:32, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
A 49% vote is not consensus. Let's be clear about that. Filiocht | The kettle's on 08:48, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Sorry if I wasn't clear; I'm in general agreement with you both. There seems tbe some dissent above, particularly from those advocating merely for a vote, about how to proceed. My request of Jimbo was to indicate that we indeed have a clear mandate to act (or to specify who can, since he noted the Board of Directors too) without succumbing to procedural gridlock or wrangling.
Since it seems Jimbo has endowed us with a mandate to act – and I think we can – we need to: plan ... reiterate and clearly detail the chosen process (Jimbo 2) here, strike a neutral polling body/administrator, refine any points of process contention, establish a timeframe/review period, define candidate eligibility (if applicable), devise marketing (e.g., posting notices on appropriate pages), implementation the plan, and candidate selection/'certification'.
Details (only basic):
  • suffrage requirements: loose – any Wikipedian in good standing, except perhaps for those adminstrating the vote until the very end, if at all
  • timeframe: given the need for perfunctories, we should try to initiate a vote Sun. 18 Dec. and have it proceed until year's end or shortly into 2006?
Make sense? Thoughts and comments are, of course, welcome. More to follow soon ... E Pluribus Anthony 19:57, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
We've already lost a lot of students for the holiday. There is no way we can reasonably start any elections until the new year.Geni 01:36, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
That's a good point -- though there's nothing stopping us from running the vote as long as we want; however, pushing it to start 2nd week of January would allow it to happen in an orderly manner. And at the moment, I don't see any big rush; ArbCom looks from the outside to be running pretty smoothly right now. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 05:20, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I somewhat agree with Jpg: alot of Wikipedians will die between now and new year's ... that's no reason to not get underway now (or soon). On the other end, more people may be home during the holidays and with more time to edit Wp and participate. As well, the vote can last until the 2nd week of January: the terms of the current arbitrators expire at year's end. (By analogy, a Canadian federal election was recently called and will take place in late January.) Thus, we need to equitably deal with the transition: any new cases will be dealt with by the new ArbComm and current cases under their charge can be grandfathered until they are concluded. This will ensure continuity and stability. E Pluribus Anthony 07:57, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
As I potential candidate, I'd like to make a simple statement. I will not be near the Internet from Dec 23 to Jan 3. I will not be able to respond to any issues that arise during that period. Filiocht | The kettle's on 08:48, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I will be (with measure) and others worldwide, who may not celebrate during this period, may or may not be. I would think, then, that it be prudent for us to get your input before your respite, potentially initiate a vote, and let it continue into (early/late) Jan. You can 'campaign' before the 23rd and after the 3rd. While I'm not resistant to initiating a vote after the holidays, this isn't preferred: I'm more concerned with ArbComm continuity. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Mind you: I'm willing to assist but can't lead this venture, so I'll defer to the 'committee/consensus.' :) E Pluribus Anthony 08:59, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
As well, as a candidate, F, would your input and participation in devising a plan of attack here put you in a potential conflict of interest? (I'm not a candidate.) I'm not implying anything of the sort (and hope you don't take offense), but there could be a perception of impropriety or partiality. Of course, we still need to determine membership, suffrage, etc. E Pluribus Anthony 09:04, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Sections make the world a better place :) Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree ... sorry for complicating the issue! :) E Pluribus Anthony 12:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Voting pages

I would suggest that the voting be done on the already-existing "questions-for-the-candidate" pages, e.g. Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2005/Candidate statements/172. RFA pages have a similar questions section, and these pages show already-asked questions and responses. Of course more questions would be welcome. Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Sure, as long as the pages are clearly marked (but see "Allow comments on votes" for more). E Pluribus Anthony 12:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)


As suggested above, I'd say holding the vote in January would be best (e.g. Jan 7st - Jan 21th). Evidence from earlier years shows that editing drops by the end of december. Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I still think the vote can start before year's end and continue throughout into January, garnering more votes/user input with time. But I'm not rigid on this point. E Pluribus Anthony 12:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I would prefer not to stretch the vote for longer than two weeks. It feels unnecessary to stretch it like that. In my experience such votes get a lot of attention the first five days or so, and then it drops off rapidly. Radiant_>|< 13:03, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I somewhat disagree with that: more time will allow more input. For the prior HDI vote I administered, for instance, the period of voting/commentary was almost a month (and many captive users commented), and we garnered somewhat sizeable vote tallies (50 or so) that determined the course of action. It continues to garner votes (but at a very low pace)! What sort of feedback have we garnered on RfCs (like this iissue) over two weeks? Do you think it a sufficient amount of time to garner a significant number of votes? If so, OK; but, in any even, I'd suggest a compromise 3 weeks, or even 4. I'm easy! :) E Pluribus Anthony 13:13, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Why not run it January 1st to January 14th? Technically, most of the arbitrators' terms end on January 1st, so we should get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. Ral315 (talk) 15:01, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

OK; how about three weeks: 1–21 January 2006 (inclusive, UTC time based)? This will allow us sufficient time to refine/codify process and to get everything underway, yet to log even more votes, captive or otherwise. E Pluribus Anthony 15:26, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I prefer January 15-28, with the new terms to start on February 1. This places it solidly after most Christmas breaks, and after most of the confusion of starting a new semester at most universities.
Based on experience with older polls, anything running for more than two weeks doesn't work too well. The vast majority of votes come in during the first week, and by the end of the third week, many people have forgotten about the poll. Starting a poll on January 1 or January 8 puts that critical first week either in the middle of Christmas break or during the first week of a new semester -- both very bad times for university participants. --Carnildo 20:40, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
A later start date seems wise, but I do not see why the vote should remain just two weeks long ... I'd say three weeks: 7-28 January 2006. It's not much longer but will also allow more votes to be logged and provide potentially smaller margins for error. E Pluribus Anthony 23:46, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
The first week is the most important in getting votes. After that, it's old news. If the poll is opened while many people are still distracted by holiday-related events, far fewer of them will vote. --Carnildo 00:48, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
I think we're in general agreement about when the vote should start. Looking at the calendar, actually, 10 January would seem a better start date: people will be returning to work (at least in the West, and after Epiphany)) and to their computers wanton of editing Wp. :) I think we differ on when it should end: one week, and even two, may be too short a period to garner sufficient vote numbers upon which to make these decisions. I advocate three precisely because we/Wikipedians need more information, not less. If a groundswell prefers two, I'll support it, but I don't see it yet. So, I propose 10–31 January. If there are no objections ...E Pluribus Anthony 08:26, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, I object, per the above. A wikiwide vote gets most attention in the first five days or thereabouts, and later input wanes and does not to significantly alter the results. Look over the result of earlier major votes (e.g. 2004 election, boardvote or even the CSD vote) and you'll see that one week is in fact long enough a period to "garner sufficient vote numbers". Extending it to two weeks would be reasonable to allow latecomers to catch up, but there really isn't any need for three. Radiant_>|< 15:37, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
AOK. I've changed this in the proposed ruleset; two weeks ... I'm easy! E Pluribus Anthony 16:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)


For rules disputes and common sense issues I'd be willing to trust a newbie as much as anyone. However, to make a meaningful vote in ArbCom elections, one has to be reasonably familiar with at least several of the candidates. Therefore I would suggest to allow voting only to accounts that have existed for three months prior to the start of the election. Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

This seems reasonable. How valid a suggestion is it to include only those contributors with alias names, instead of IP numbers? This isn't a sticking point ... E Pluribus Anthony 12:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Sounds good. Generally, anon votes are discounted everywhere else on the Wiki. And of course sock votes get discounted, per the usual. Radiant_>|< 13:03, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
OK! E Pluribus Anthony 13:13, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Allow comments on votes?

To prevent "disendorsements" I would strongly recommend that votes in the ArbCom election consist of only a signature, and that any other remarks be summarily removed. Of course, honest questions to the candidates are fine, but they go in the 'questions' section. Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Agreed: for manageability (there are over 20 candidates, methinks), should we consider keeping comments and questions on a different page; perhaps we should do so as well with the actual votes, with appropriate wikilinks? E Pluribus Anthony 12:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
It's meant to be done like RFA. This means comments. At least untill jimbo clarifies.Geni 12:50, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Comments can still be made elsewhere: we don't need diatribes muddying the actual vote and tally. E Pluribus Anthony 12:53, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
since this election will be entirely decided by ngative campaining we might as well keep it organised.Geni 14:00, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Even given prior events, that seems subjective: it denies the possibility that Wikipedians will research candidates on their own and make their own choices. I support R.'s proposal immediately below. E Pluribus Anthony 14:04, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
With the 50% requirement there is no point in campianing to increase someone elses vote share since the person yuo want to stop will still get in. Thus the only logical tactic for preventing people getting in is negative campaining.Geni 11:57, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Noted. E Pluribus Anthony 12:04, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I would like questions on the same page as votes, because this encourages people to read those questions before voting. Note that each candidate already has a subpage. Transclude the lot of them someplace if you find it convenient. Not every candidate has their statement on their subpage as well, but that's a simple matter of copy/pasting it from the main list. Radiant_>|< 13:03, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Makes sense, R. E Pluribus Anthony 13:13, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Though I think any comments, if we must have them (as I think we will), should be on the same page as the votes, I would like to see them separated from the actual vote in a distinct "comments" section, for two reasons. First, on RFA the large majority of "comments" seem to reflect a simple feeling that some comment is necessary. Even RFAs that are being approved 30/0/0 or 40/0/0 are full of repetitive comments like "good editor". Let's take off the pressure to explain votes. Second, many explanations contained in "oppose" votes on RFA have elements of pros and cons on the candidate but are nuanced by the fact that they set out are in the "oppose" section. In the spirit of dispensing with the disfavored "disendorsements" of last year, grouping all comments in one section would allow the comment to be interpreted free of an influencing label. -- DS1953 15:28, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
By the way, this is not intended to imply that I favor comments. I would prefer to bar them. At the end of the day, however, I think we will have them. If we do allow comments, I propose separating them from the votes. -- DS1953 15:32, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree; segregate them on the same page, and move comments (or delete?) when they contravene. E Pluribus Anthony 15:41, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Candidate eligibility

This doesn't require set standards, I should think. Some people proposed limits such as "only admins may be arbs" but we don't need rules like that; people who believe in such criteria are welcome to vote 'oppose' on grounds of them. Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

As long as candidates conform to the 'Suffrage' requirement, I agree. E Pluribus Anthony 12:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I notice one candidate with about two dozen edits. I don't particularly care if that nomination is stricken as WP:POINT, or if everybody will simply vote to oppose (as they undoubtedly will). Either way I don't think it requires a strict rule. Radiant_>|< 13:03, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
If this means it conforms to the 'Suffrage' requirement (for consistency), I agree. My point/for example: can a candidate who isn't eligible to vote (e.g., with two dozen edits), a more basic criterion, be allowed to run for the ArbComm? It's like this: do we let a child run for office, even when they cannot vote? I'd say no. E Pluribus Anthony 13:13, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Election results

Interestingly, Jimbo's proposal doesn't state that the candidates with the most votes will be elected. It only states that candidates with 50% support (which should be very easy for most of them) may be instated and those with less support won't be. Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Perhaps the limitation should only be a proviso if most or all candidates receive positive votes (e.g., a 'consensus')? Alternatively, perhaps an ArbComm pool can be formed of everyone with Y = 50% + 1? We'll have a better idea as the vote progresses, but we should pin down the threshold and structure now to obviate any perception of excluding candidates who garner near-parity votes but to also address the issue of candidates that may be contentious (e.g., 51% Y, 50% + 2) In any event: should a supermajority be used or considered – like 60% (or even 55%) Y? E Pluribus Anthony 12:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I believe Jimbo's intent was to take anyone with 50%+ into a pool, from which he could select. I doubt the need to do supermajorities; if very few candidates get 60%, it limits us unnecessarily; if a lot get 50%, Jimbo can pick the ones that he and the community trusted most. Ral315 (talk) 15:08, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Makes sense. A simple majority: 50% + 1. E Pluribus Anthony 15:16, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
A super-majority would pose the question of the order of merit between a candidate who gets five support votes and one oppose vote (83%) and one who gets 30 support votes and fifteen oppose votes (67%). Palmiro | Talk 02:10, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
The basic election rules and course of action (edited by Jimbo) are now in place on the project page, so I think this is now fait accompli. It'll be interesting to see how many candidates garner majorities either way. :) E Pluribus Anthony 05:35, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Official neutral body?

Having an open vote such as this obviates the need for a "neutral polling body/administrator", which is good because it would be hard to find someone that isn't perceived as non-neutral by some. Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I don't disagree. I only suggest active contributors here and organisers refrain from voting or do so at the end of the voting period to maintain an appearance of propriety. For instance, the Chief and Deputy Chief Electoral Officers in Canada are prohibited from voting to maintain impartiality. The last thing we need is for a vote administrator to be challenged by a vote (or candidate) due to this and that. E Pluribus Anthony 12:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Hm, interesting question... would it be proper for candidates to vote? Voting for oneself tends to be discouraged on RFA; but if a group of candidates vote for one another that might cause other people to yell 'cabal!' Radiant_>|< 13:03, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
We should, then, not encourage that practice here: i.e., candidates not voting for themselves, but any other restriction might be onerous (e.g., they can for other candidates). I'm more concerned with us voting at all earlier than we should. I can abstain or until the very end, if need be. E Pluribus Anthony 13:13, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I vote for Anthere as Chief Elections Officer ;-) Guettarda 15:06, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Not to be dense, but who's that? E Pluribus Anthony 15:10, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
She's a Board member, Vice-Chair of Wikimedia, long-time Wikipedian, and, IMO, one of the most neutral and reasonable voices in Wikipedia. Guettarda 15:37, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll research (for my own information) ... but if others support her here, fine with me! Is she willing? E Pluribus Anthony 15:39, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
See the Foundation page. Real name is Florence Nibart-Devouard. I have no idea if she'd be willing, but I think she'd be a great fit for the position. Guettarda 15:42, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
TY! We should approach her, and then present her with an outline (once agreed) regarding the details discussed herein (in a single, simple document, which I can craft); then we'll see if she has any comments/improvements etc, or envision challenges that we can assist with. Make sense? E Pluribus Anthony 15:46, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • We need someone to do sockpuppet checking. IIRC, everyone with checkip ability is either an overworked developer or a member of the ArbCom. This could present a problem. --Carnildo 20:45, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree with this; I don't think I can do it (unless someone guides me; I'm not an admin (yet?)), but support it anyhow. E Pluribus Anthony 08:33, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Please read up on what meta:CheckUser is; only six or seven people in the wiki can do it, all of them are either devs or ArbCom members. I think it would be perceived as inappropriate if a candidate were to run sockchecks on the votes, but an arbcom member that is stepping down now, or has a term that doesn't expire this year, could help us. I doubt sockpuppetry would be a major problem anyway. Radiant_>|< 15:39, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
I'll read up; thanks for the info. Regarding the elections: we need to discourage sockpuppetry and indicate this; enforcement is another issue. it needs to be said. And if Anthere or Angela agree to function as chief electoral officers (and have the checkuser capability, so much the better; this is preferred to letting oe depending on a current arb or candidate to do so (i.e., potential conflict of interest). E Pluribus Anthony 16:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
I would prefer an independent person to certify the results, not a member of the arbcomm, although it might make sense to have that person work with a member of the arbcomm whose term was not expiring to certify the vote. Of course, it looks like Anthere has that power, at least in fr. Guettarda 15:44, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Hence the WEO in the proposed ruleset. E Pluribus Anthony 16:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
How about both Angela and Anthere? Both are board members - has anyone asked them their thoughts on this yet? Flcelloguy (A note?) 15:47, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Go ahead and ask them, or the devs. They're usually busy, but they may have time for this election. But note that the criterion of requiring three months activity before voting already makes sockpuppetry next to impossible. Radiant_>|< 15:51, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
I will ask both; head on over to the ruleset and take a gander. If the capability to checkuser is limited to a few, and if it may be problmatic during the election (perhaps from those who have been around for more than 3 months), we should assume nothing and state prohibition of WP:SOCK and consequences for noncompliance. I intend on presenting it to whomever we ask to be the WEO (for which there seems to be more support than not above) and to get their comments or approval ... unless there's an objection. E Pluribus Anthony 16:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Promoting the vote

Marketing is easy, the first step will be monday's signpost. Other than that we have our usual channels, e.g. WP:A. Radiant_>|< 12:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Public voting

One thing that I have to say disturbs me about this process is that (it seems) that a public vote is planned. I fear this will have repercussions (i.e. Candidate X votes against Candidate Y; Candidate Y retaliates by voting against Candidate X) Is there a way that we could still use Special:ArbComVote? Ral315 (talk) 15:01, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

My thinking on this is that if we have potential candidates behaving in such a fashion, it'd be good to know about it as we decide. The nice think about wiki voting is that people can adjust their votes based on behavior in the voting process. It seems to work well enough for admin candidature, so I think it should work well here as well. If it doesn't, well, we change it next time. :-)--Jimbo Wales 22:43, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I think that would be unnecessary and anti-Wp: if there are any disruptions, we should take it upon ourselves (when formulating election guidelines and process, consistent with Wp policies) and throughout to mediate and ensure they are dealt with. A cryptic private page would obscure the vote for those who may not know of its existence. My two cents ... E Pluribus Anthony 15:01, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't think so. The page I linked is currently not working (I believe the page was removed after the last elections, or I linked incorrectly). I don't believe it's cryptic at all; in fact, using the page (which, after all, was created for ArbCom voting) would automatically lock people out if they didn't have 90 days editing or X edits. Ral315 (talk) 15:04, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Ah I see; I misunderstood. OK. This seems good in concept: we are also contemplating (above) excluding IP-number aliases and candidates from voting for themselves ... is there any way to incorporate these notions? E Pluribus Anthony 15:08, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
This would exclude IP addresses. It would not exclude candidates from voting for themselves, as far as I know. However, I don't think there's any pressing need to do so; if every candidate votes for themselves, it's equal. Not to mention that with a significant amount of votes, the help that voting for yourself gives you is quite insignificant. Worst case scenario, I believe it could be coded in, or vote organizers could manually discount all votes by candidates for themselves, but I think this is unnecessary. Ral315 (talk) 15:11, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Good. But since voting for oneself in RfAdmin is discouraged, there's no reason to make an exception here. One can infer support for oneself without voting to do so. (It would be interesting if a candidate would vote against oneself!) Whether this is an automatic or manual intervention (deletion), I think it should be laid out ... we should assume nothing. :) E Pluribus Anthony 15:22, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

One problem with the ArbComVote thing that I didn't immediately think about is that by abstaining from voting for a candidate, you are in fact voting against them. This would eliminate nearly every possibility for a candidate to gain 50%. I support public voting, then, unless the ArbComVote software is rewritten to include "Yes", "No", and "Abstain". Ral315 (talk) 15:14, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. If only the software could interpret an abstention as we do, i.e., ambivalent. E Pluribus Anthony 15:18, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
Uh, one supposes that Jimbo's 50% is of those voting. -Splashtalk 18:00, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm reading between the lines, perhaps, but I think 50% approval does mean 50% of those voting, however they vote. Personally, I interpret a "neutral" vote as a vote that is not in favor and would count it in the total votes in determining whether 50% approval was obtained. On the hand, the word "abstain" connotes to me not registering a vote at all. If its not a vote, it should not be counted. The issue is one of semantics. The key will be to make it absolutely clear how those "neutral" or "abstain" votes will (or will not) be counted. If we allow comments, there is no particular reason why someone who doesn't want their vote to be counted should feel compelled to register a "neutral" vote -- they could merely leave a comment and not vote. We just need to decide how the "neutral" or "abstain" entries are treated and make it very clear. -- DS1953 18:36, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I generally agree, DS. To me, though: an abstention is analogous (in this instance) to a spoiled ballot; neither positive nor negative and one of indifference or even protest. Of course there is the 'silent' abstention: to not vote at all. If a third category is included (and I'm not rigid about including one), I agree that we should clearly lay out how such votes should be counted, i.e., including 'neutral' votes in the total vote count as per DS' suggestion. E Pluribus Anthony 23:46, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
  • If one abstains to vote, one does not vote. An abstention is obviously not the same as a vote to oppose. Hence, abstentions should never be counted towards any kind of percentage. If people vote in a confused, ambiguous, or ill-understood way (e.g. "neutral") we should ask them if they actually mean that to be a vote to oppose, and if not, the vote should not be counted. Simply put, a candidate passes if the amount of 'support' votes exceeds the amount of 'oppose' votes. Radiant_>|< 15:48, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
OK: do we exclude the third category entirely? This would simplify matters. E Pluribus Anthony 16:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Exclude it. What value does entering a vote as "I either don't care or am sufficiently ambivalent not to want a make a difference in this person's candidacy one way or the other" have, other than a typing exercise? If you want someone, vote yes. If you don't, vote no. If you can't decide, don't vote. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 10:29, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Agreed; done! E Pluribus Anthony 12:05, 17 December 2005 (UTC) can't count abstains, or almost no one would get 50%. Only one arbitrator got 50% of the total vote last year... Ral315 (talk) 20:54, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • That's not an appropriate comparison - last year's vote was to select the best people from a group, and this year's vote is to determine suitability of individuals. This will obviously influence the way people vote, and it's far easier to get to 50% in the latter way. Radiant_>|< 22:37, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Summary ... and feedback requested!

Hello! As a result of our ongoing discussions above, I've summarised a provisional rule set here. This is meant to serve as a concise guide for all of us and Wikipedians regarding the elections and process thereof. Please feel free to comment and edit; once this is done, I'll present to Anthere and Angela, get their support and I'll post it on the article page; then we can create, configure, and link to ArbCom candidate pages.

Moreover, this is contingent (somewhat) on whether Anthere or Angela wants to act as the electoral officer; I've called this position the Wikipedia Electoral Officer; interested Wikipedians (e.g., me!) can function to help administrate the elections and are subordinate to the WEO. In any event, if we're OK with this summary, I'll approach A & A and we can get cracking!

Whatyathink? Comments are invited. Thanks again! E Pluribus Anthony 12:35, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Thank you all for your comments; I've tried to integrate all of your comments and address them, so please pay another visit to the above link and comment/edit as needed. Merci! E Pluribus Anthony 16:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Note that the original comment regarding a "chief electoral officer" had a smiley-face next to it. Radiant_>|< 15:48, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Ah! Sorry; I thought it a glitch or something-or-another; there seems to be support for such a neutral and ad hoc position. Thanks for the levity!  :) E Pluribus Anthony 16:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Hello again! Thanks again for your input on the ruleset. Based on that and our discussions (as of this note), I will approach Anthere and then Angela to review the ruleset and (hopefully) agree to function as an ArbCom electoral officer. Wish me luck! But feel free to comment and edit the rules s'more.  :) E Pluribus Anthony 09:04, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Update: I've asked Anthere; I'll wait to hear back from her before approaching Angela. E Pluribus Anthony 12:07, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Have election pages been setup

It looks like the rules have been generally agreed on. But I can't find anywhere to support/oppose specific candidates. Is there a page similar to WP:RfA if not I would propose Wikipedia:Proposed Arbitrators with subpages of Wikipedia:Proposed Arbitrators/Username to indicate support. Although Arbitrators serve for specific terms, I think we will continue to have attrition because the job is so difficult, as that happens new arbitrators can be proposed elected/appointed thoughout the year, and maybe even have 2-3 alternate arbitrators who are available to be immediately put on the committee when someone resigns. Trödel|talk 01:50, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

There's a provisional template here. While the rules we've drafted seem fine, ArbCom member Kelly Martin (currently seeking re-election) has sought fit to dissent with the process, implying that the rules haven't been derived through consensus (though she hasn't discussed anything here beforehand), and has contacted Anthere to recommend another course of action. I've responded there and expressed concern to Anthere: while KM is free to do as she sees fit, I believe this is a clear conflict of interest. Feel free to weigh in. In any event, we should probably wait to hear back from Anthere, and or to propose this to Angela too, and get their feedback. E Pluribus Anthony 12:03, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks - I don't quite understand the objection. These pages are widely watched and discussed on the mailing list - and if there were substantial objections - they would be voiced - it is a wiki afterall. Trödel|talk 12:36, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I know! As mine and yours, KM (and her minority dissent) is but one voice among many ... but at least we're openly discussing it. We should wait to hear back from Anthere before moving forward, but I wouldn't besmirch you or anyone for doing so anyway. :) E Pluribus Anthony 12:51, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Could well be this entire process -- including the process of determining the process -- should be put in abeyance until after the turn of the year. There has been too little participation (for whatever reason) in this discussion for it to have any validity. If I were boss, I'd say "everyone find something else to do for a couple of weeks, then we'll get back to this arbitration election stuff." --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 18:05, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Fine with me. E Pluribus Anthony 19:01, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Agreed - I have had few entries lately - and will probably have fewer until after Christmas Trödel|talk 03:20, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes. As far as I'm concerned we're just brainstorming, and any good ideas here will (likely) be used unless someone comes up with a better idea (which is certainly possible). I've dropped a note on WP:AN for more feedback, and until there is any there's little more to discuss. Radiant_>|< 22:43, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Agreed; thanks, R. (By the way, nice note on WP:AN.) E Pluribus Anthony 22:47, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I like the general approach outlined here. I am not sure if enough people are aware of the discussion to say there is broad consensus, but perhaps they are and choose not to comment? If something else has to be done to get broader consensus, it should be, I guess. On the topic of secret ballots, have there been other elections here that used them rather than public approval voting processes? The page about the board election didn't make it clear whether they used public or secret ballots, or else I missed it.++Lar 14:16, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Agreed: I'd love for there to be more input on the proposed ruleset or anything else discussed herein with the goal of arriving at or IDing consensus. Anthere has been presented with the rules developed so far and has been asked to participate; we are awiting her feedback and, otherwise, some of us have decided to give it a rest for now. Another discussion is underway at the admin's noticeboard, but more may be needed. And then there's the "silent" majority. Perhaps a note on the village pump?
Radiant's direction below about last year's Board election process is good: e.g., that was based on approval voting and I infer a public vote (but could be mistaken). For the current issue, it would make sense to borrow workable elements (as from the administrator selection process) and incorporate them in the rules aleady discussed, in a manner similar to the Board process, or similar. That's it for me. E Pluribus Anthony 16:01, 21 December 2005 (UTC)


Can someone update me on things? I haven't had time to follow for the last week or so. Will all us candidates get our own pages where people can support and oppose, like admin noms? What is the target date for starting the election? Are there any problems that are still left to be worked out, and if so what are they? Everyking 07:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Voting and questions will be put on the questions-for-the-candidate page, which each candidate should already have. Format is nearly identical to admin noms. Voting is expected to start in the second week of january. There are two problems; the first is that several people object to open voting and prefer closed voting; the second is that Kelly objects to most of these suggestions on principle, if I understand correctly this is either because they were not created by the person she wishes to be in charge of elections (Raul Mark), or because there hasn't been enough response to them. Radiant_>|< 12:44, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
who was in charge for the board elections?Geni 13:26, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Please read meta:Elections for the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, 2005/En. Radiant_>|< 13:30, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Do you think we could get any of them to oversee arbcom elections?Geni 14:21, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Why don't you go and ask them? My personal opinion is that we do not need an official election authority person; it's an open election and therefore the community watches. Radiant_>|< 15:00, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Hi! Earlier, I asked Anthere to review the ruleset, et al. and she said she'll be getting back to us after her review. Additional discussions are also underway on the admin's noticeboard. Until then, a few of us have agreed to wait for more feedback and to give it a rest; that doesn't preclude other efforts, though. IMHO: a neutral electoral official/body is necessary to keep things on track and in order, but that's a matter of debate and we can agree to disagree.  :) E Pluribus Anthony 15:44, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Can we work a bit harder on assuming good faith, please? I objected to E Pluribus Anthony's proposed rules because they had not been commented on by a sufficiently large portion of the community and because they are instruction creep. This nonsense about "not being created by the person I wish to be in charge of elections" is poppycock, although I would prefer that they be drafted by someone who is actually in possession of a clue and who understands why instruction creep is bad. Nor do I have any idea who "Raul Mark" is. Kelly Martin (talk) 16:31, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, let's all assume good faith. More input, not less, from others. I will not belabour this but, frankly, I (and would assume others) object to your "clue[less]" statement et al., which is part-and-parcel of why your comments (none earlier) and actions should be given all the attention they are due. Respect is reciprocal. E Pluribus Anthony 16:41, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
First off, no personal attacks please. Second, that is precisely my point: you haven't made any objections to the content of the suggestions (including those here), nor have you engaged in any constructive criticism - you have merely suggested that they be ignored because of lack of consensus and/or disrespect for the person who proposed them. That is, you fail to assume good faith, in that you should judge ideas by their merit and not by their proposer. Pot, meet Kettle.
By "Raul Mark" I meant Mark Ryan, btw. Oh and third, I believe you haven't noticed who pointed out the instruction creep in EPA's prose in the first place. Radiant_>|< 17:15, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
TY, R. E Pluribus Anthony 17:26, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Well so much for having elections in December. I suppose we should have started thinking about this earlier. — Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 17:43, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

We did. Back in august I seem to recall. we Had pretty much got everything sorted out. Then Jimbo got involved.Geni 01:27, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Second week of Jan. sounds rather late to me...why not Jan. 1? Even if you account for participation being lower during the holiday season, it would run for two weeks, until mid-Jan., so I don't think there'd be any problem with that. Everyking 23:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

The vast majority of the voting and discussion of any poll takes place during the first week of the poll. If we start the election on January 1, then that first week of discussion occurs when most university classes are out for the holidays and students no longer have their always-on high-speed connections, and the election ends during the incredibly-hectic first week of class. Most of the people with the time to be involved in running Wikipedia are college students, so we'd be effectively locking them out of the election. --Carnildo 00:16, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Hectic first week? Hell, I've got exams when I go back! Talrias (t | e | c) 00:25, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Hi! IMHO: it might be problematic to get underway quickly (i.e., on 1 Jan./06) without a process being hammered down yet or a consensus not yet within reach. The provisional set of rules that some of us have been working on accounts for this somewhat (startdate of 9 Jan./06). I think we should await feedback from Anthere or others before proceeding definitively? That's it for me. E Pluribus Anthony 00:58, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't see that as a very important issue. If they want to participate, they will. What I think is really important is that we've now gone past the deadline, so we need to hold it as early as reasonably possible so that we don't go over the deadline any more than necessary. In the future we need to take the deadline more seriously. Everyking 01:06, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Let's not put the cart before the horse. If there was a consensus to act, moving forward wouldn't be an issue; however, given the above, we might not have it just yet. A day or two now will allow valuable (and neutral) input from those who have been solicited for that input (e.g., Anthere, admins). Otherwise, it might be fool-hardy to proceed: the last thing that we need this year is for the process or results of any ArbComm vote questioned because it was administered without a general framework or agreement. And given this, IMHO, I do not believe the election can or should start on New Year's. Patience, even for precious days, might be a virtue. E Pluribus Anthony 01:18, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
This latest lot of discusion has for the most part taken place after the end of the uni term. On top of that I doubt much is going to happen between christmas and new year which means we are either fixing all the remaining problems in two days or we try and fix them while a lot of people inlcudeing me are not going to be around. Include the problem of people who are not going to declare their candidacies untill we have a solid system in place and jan 6th is as early as we can get.Geni 01:27, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Well, yeah, we need to find the earliest date that is also practical for us. I suppose Jan. 6 is fine, not much of a difference there. What I don't like is waiting until the middle of the month and then having the new ArbCom not get in until Feb. How is arbitration going to be handled during this limbo period? Will terms expire as usual on Jan. 1 and arbitration will just cease to function for a while, or will the terms be extended? Everyking 01:56, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Another issue that occurs to me is what happens if we can't get majority approval for enough people within the specified time frame. Do we force the result by accepting a lower percentage for success, or do we extend the voting for as long as it takes to get enough candidates at 50%? Everyking 02:00, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Ask Jimbo.Geni 02:16, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I really don't like all these solutions which just say "Ask Jimbo". We have to come up with some way to live without Jimbo. What happens if he dies in a freak gasoline fight accident? Talrias (t | e | c) 02:20, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Then we would have started the election on the 1st of December. We had everthing set up to run without Jimbo but then he decided he needed to be involved. Fair enough short of a board vote we would have a hard time stopping him from being involved. The problem is he hasn't really told us what he wants. Therefore beyond a certian point everything is guesswork. Even at this stage the sensible thing would probably be to go back to last year's system (ie one that we know works to a degree) however that is unlikely at this stage.Geni 02:44, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I doubt that would work; Jimbo rarely responds to anything. Which is very bad, in my opinion, if he is determined to take on this kind of executive role. He needs to either be willing to devote the time to dealing with this stuff, or he needs to let the community do it itself (preferably the latter, but I'll take either one over this frustrating business of exercising control but procrastinating and hardly even responding to the community). Everyking 02:27, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I know it is unlikely to work but can you really think of any other way out?Geni 02:44, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
No, that was just complaining. If he wants to control things, which I don't approve of, he needs to at least be actively involved. He can be a dictator and work hard at this, or a constitutional monarch and stay aloof from it, but he can't be a dictator who just lets the papers pile up on his desk. Everyking 02:58, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I think we're getting a bit off topic and revisiting (perhaps unnecesarily) old ground. Jimbo has already specified the way we should go – regardless of whether he's intimately involved – and that must be respected. (Perhaps involvement can be addressed again after this year's ArbComm elections.) As well, the rules that some of us have worked on already address some of the basics (when, how, etc.), so they should be approved, refined, or otherwise dealt with. (The start date in the draft rules is 9 Jan./06). To that end, we should wait to hear back from Anthere (on the Board), et al. before moving forward and determining the precise process: to do so without agreement or a clear mandate – and we're not there yet – is a recipe for trouble (methinks). My two cents ... :) E Pluribus Anthony 03:19, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

I strongly object to a procedure modelled on RFA

The proposal Jimbo put forth and people voted on in that straw poll read like this:

Jimbo can put forward candidates for community approval, 50% majority is enough. And also the community can put forward candidates for Jimbo's approval, with the same 50% majority being enough. Any dually approved candidates above the number of seats on the ArbCom go into a pool of reserves. Jimbo states a general intention to always appoint candidates approved by the community as a matter of convention, while reserving the right to refuse to seat any particularly problematic candidates.

I did not support this proposal but I didn't object to it either since it did not appear unreasonable to me. I assumed that he was talking about a closed vote performed with some technical solution like last year's approval vote. But now Jimbo has stated that what he meant was a process modelled on the RFA process. I strongly object to that and I think it is a recipe for disaster. I doubt most of the people who voted for this option thought they were supporting something like that. If we go forward with this it will mean, I predict, much more acrimony than we had last year. Negative campaigning will be rampant. - Haukur 11:41, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

you would probabl be better off complaining to Jimbo.Geni 12:13, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Neah, he always takes ages to respond :) But seriously a complaint from me alone may not do much good. If we could get a short list of people to endorse a statement opposing the proposed system we may get somewhere. - Haukur 12:18, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't think further petitions are going to get us anywhere. We need this election, and we need it soon. As stated above, starting around January 6th sounds about right. That is what, two and a half weeks? During which most of the wiki is low on activity. So if you wanted to contest Jimbo's decision, why didn't you do it the moment he made it in the first place? Radiant_>|< 12:52, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't watch Jimbo's every move as he makes it. I just read in the Signpost that he'd made this decision and came here to protest it. The delay in the proceedings is not my fault. It is, to put it bluntly, Jimbo's fault. He decided he wanted to be involved, left us in the dark for weeks on how he wanted to be involved. Then he set up a poll which gave no consensus for anything and finally he's decided we should go with an option which was, in my opinion, not even specified in that poll. - Haukur 13:19, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Quite. And all of this was perfectly clear (to me at least) in the way the poll was conducted. Unfortunately, it is probably too late to turn back the clock. As a prospective candidate, I've tried to keep out of this discussion for a while now, but I'd like to put on record that I believe that an RfA-type poll is the worst possible option. Filiocht | The kettle's on 13:25, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Even at this late stage it would be posible to use last years system with the aleady agreed modification.Geni 13:57, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Let's return to what Jimbo has stated (in addition to the above):
The community can and should begin a community approval process immediately, patterned as closely as is reasonable after the RfA process. The point of the process should be to generate a pool of acceptable candidates from whom I can make appointments.
Notice that the way this is designed, all candidates must go through the approval process, so my role in putting forward candidates is essentially just a way for me to communicate pre-approval to the community. I don't plan to do that in this term unless it appears that we are overlooking someone particularly noteworthy.
If an open RFA-like vote is found to be unreasonable (and I don't think it is in Wp, nor does Jimbo infer that in his statements), one can argue that the converse is: as with RfA, public voting exposes candidates to scrutiny (good and bad) and may embolden voters who have not asserted a position either way. And this can be done with or without comments. Moreover, a neutral administrator can ensure everything is on track and conducted properly (including participation in discussions like this). I'm really neither here nor there (i.e., public or not, comments or not) but we should proceed as Jimbo has indicated ... within reason. E Pluribus Anthony 14:22, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I concur with R. – we need to move and soon, in a manner that's consistent with the letter and spirit of Jimbo's decision, and do so when there's general agreement or sufficient input on how. If someone wished to lead that charge and organise, IMHO, it should be a neutral third-party: an administrator or other interested party who is neither a current ArbComm member nor a current candidate. That's why, as suggested days ago, Anthere or even Angela (as Board members, ergo authority/legitimacy) might be ideal. Anyhow ... E Pluribus Anthony 13:13, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Since Filiocht has expressed an opinion, I will too: I am completely opposed to the notion of an open (RFA) style election. First, even if the rules (such as those suggested by E Pluribus Anthony) prohibit discussive voting, people will make discussive votes nonetheless, which will just repeat the disendorsement problem from last year's election. Second, public voting may tend to have a chilling effect on voters, as some voters may feel intimidated against voting against a candidate, especially if that candidate is a current Arbitrator. Kelly Martin (talk) 13:45, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
    • There seem to be one or two candidates with a history and reputation of retaliating against others for past issues. While it may be chilling to vote against those, it should be obvious that such people have no business whatsoever being an Arbiter. Radiant_>|< 14:12, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
      • That's not the point, although it does illustrate why public voting is inappropriate: people will take the advantage to make unfair and slanderous digs at people they don't like. The problem is that voters may feel chilled (whether or not such feeling is justified; perhaps due to the result of a malicious slander campaign orchestrated by others opposed to that person's candidacy). In any case, a candidate who was prone to such behaviors would presumably prefer open voting, precisely because it would give that candidate the opportunity to make threats. Kelly Martin (talk) 14:54, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
        • So, as Jimbo likes open voting per RFA, he must want to make personal attacks! Talrias (t | e | c) 15:38, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
    • I wasn't planning on commenting on the proposals at all, but as Kelly and Filocht have, I shall. I am very very concerned about open voting. Unless there is a hard-and-fast rule that the only comment allowable is a signature (i.e. no "strong support", "weak oppose", or "extreme lesbian neutral" voting and no comments at all) it seems a very poor idea. I am concerned, however, that this could become an RFA-style pile-on, which is ugly and unconstructive. [[Sam Korn]] 16:04, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
      • We have the perfect tool for conducting a commentless approval vote: Special:ArbComVote. Jimbo can then interpret the results as he likes. - Haukur 16:29, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
        • The page is Special:Boardvote. IIRC, it only lets you approve a candidate or not, so the way to set it up would be to have an entries for each of the candidates (i.e. Aranda56, Blankfaze, etc.) as well as entries to vote against (i.e., AgainstAranda56, AgainstBlankfaze, etc.) so as to leave open the option of abstention on particular candidates. All we need is someone with both the access and knowledge to set it up. —Cryptic (talk) 16:39, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Any developer could do it. I suspect stewards could as well.Geni 16:45, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Either of these options may fly in the face of an RfA-styled vote as Jimbo has indicated; again, is it reasonable to proceed with either of these unique features? Jimbo can still select candidates with or without comments. That being said, IMO, I'm not rigid: I'd support using Special:ArbComVote or Special:Boardvote if a consensus agrees to and if they're are administered properly/neutrally. E Pluribus Anthony 16:49, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Ease-of-editing section break

  • Before we FUD ourselves to death over this issue, I should point out again that it really isn't that big a deal. It's already been proposed that all comments attached to votes are to be summarily removed, thus leading to the hard-and-fast rule Sam Korn mentions. Regarding bully candidates and slander campaigns, I should point out that
    • The community is smart enough to identify candidates that bully or make threats, and they would not be elected regardless of how elections are done
    • Threats and retaliation have a strong tendency to backfire on the instigator
    • Malicious slander campaigns work equally well regardless of whether voting is open or closed
    • I haven't seen anything related to malicious slander campaigns relating to the Arb elections, leading me to doubt their existence
    • I've seen quite a number of MSCs on WP:ANI and WP:RFC and they have a strong tendency to backfire.
  • In other words we shouldn't worry about it overly much. Certainly the allegations of potential threats and slander are no real grounds for either an open or a closed election. Radiant_>|< 16:59, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
    • I agree, R. E Pluribus Anthony 17:04, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
      • Removing inappropriate comments doesn't remove them from the history. You can't unring the bell. Kelly Martin (talk) 17:26, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
        • True, but most people won't read through the entire history (because most of it will consist of "I, user:foo, vote for/against user:bar"). People will make snarky remarks no matter what we do, but this method will keep them to a minimum, and will get them ignored most of the time. (also, might I add, straw man since you're ignoring most of my arguments). Radiant_>|< 22:53, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't agree that the manner of voting is somehow an unimportant issue. It's of pretty high importance during an election, which this is (rare for Wiki, but it is). It strikes me as extremely unlikely that anything other than bad-blood will ensue from a public voting process. Yes, the community might filter bully candidates by whichever means we choose, but that does not lessen the problem in the first place. There is a damn good reason that most countries did away with public voting for powerful positions a long time ago: it doesn't do anybody any good. If there is to be public voting, I personally will either oppose all candidates since they are running through a process that is inherently unfit for the selection or because there are a number I would oppose, and to avoid chill winds I will have to oppose everyone else too. We have a functioningish secretish voting system. I can think of no good reason not to use it. -Splashtalk 00:39, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
As this vote is modelled on the public voting process of RfAdmin, there is little at this point to reasonably prevent a public ArbComm vote. IMO: if Wikipedians have issues with a public process (or with each other) any which way, they need to either reconcile their differences within the norms of behaviour and or refrain from participating (i.e., voting or running for the ArbComm). E Pluribus Anthony 06:00, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Just modelling it on some existing process doesn't make it right. I don't really need lectures on how to behave, either, thanks. I'm saying, with absolute certaintly, that a public vote will yield bad blood because people won't do as you pray. Given that we have an opportunity to avoid that problem, I can't see why we actively go seeking the problem out. -Splashtalk 16:18, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Noted. To each one's own – modelling it on something else or anew doesn't make it right (or wrong) either, nor is the process inconsistent with Jimbo's fiat. Besides: this opportunity to avoid a problem may create other unforeseen problems. And my comments are directed at anyone who can't or won't act (voting or otherwise) within the norms of behaviour ... things we should already be doing. Take it for what it's worth; that's it for me. E Pluribus Anthony 16:45, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Candidates voting

If we do have open voting, would it perhaps be an idea to disqualify candidates from voting? If candidates are also eligible to cast publicly recorded votes, a number of problems arise. Apart from the obvious but probably less likely case of some of them being tempted to "exchange votes" with other candidates, or to vote for other candidates against their own inclination in order to get a reciprocal vote, candidates might be particularly unwilling to vote against other candidates, even if they thought they should. I'm not saying that any of these eventualities are likely to happen, just that they're possibilities. Also, if successful candidates feel hurt about other successful candidates not having voted for them - and it's surprisingly easy to feel hurt by what happens when you run for an election - it might militate against the development of a good atmosphere in the new Arbcom.

I would suggest that if the vote is to be open, it would be in the best interests of the candidates themselves and of the future Arbcom that candidates not be eligible to vote at all. Palmiro | Talk 01:29, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Your reasoning is sound. The problem is that this would disenfranchise a substantial proportion of the people who care most about the election. In my opinion the problem of candidates voting is yet another reason not to have an open vote. - Haukur 01:38, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
We discussed this earlier, with varying proposals to prohibit a candidate from voting for oneself but not for other candidates and (conversely) to allow candidates to vote freely to prevent disenfranchisement. Candidate self-voting is already discouraged in RfAdmin, upon which the ArbComm vote should be based, and IMO is not an unreasonable expectation here. The rules indicate, though: "any user that has registered an account on the English Wikipedia on or before 30 September 2005 may cast a vote for or against each individual candidate." Given discussion, I'm unsure if there's yet carte blanche agreement on this point, and perhaps it requires clarification. E Pluribus Anthony 06:00, 31 December 2005 (UTC)