Note: One soi disant "guide" calls me "a party to the Tea Party case" which is misleading as I was added to that case for the sole purpose of proposing sanctions after the workshop and evidence phases were closed and I find the suggestion that I was in any way properly a "party" to that case to be a personal affront not worthy of any administrator, nor of any editor on Wikipedia. That editor says to stay away from this guide -- I would, in fact, tell folks equally to stay away from any guide which engages in such name-calling and/or guilt-by-association McCarthyist tactics. Collect (talk) 12:29, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
Arbitration Committee elections for 2013 are now upon us.
I have proposed the following questions to be asked of all candidates:
1. An arbitrator stated during a case "I will merely say that now arbitration of the dispute has became necessary, it is exceedingly unlikely that we would be able to close the case without any sanctions. Problematic articles inevitably contain disruptive contributors, and disruptive contributors inevitably require sanctions." Do you feel that once a case is opened that impartial arbitrators will "inevitably" have to impose sanctions?
2. Do sanctions such as topic bans require some sort of finding about the editor being sanctioned based on at least a minimum amount of actual evidence about that person, or is the "cut the Gordian knot" approach of "Kill them all, the Lord will know his own" proper?
3. Do you feel that "ignoring evidence and workshop pages" can result in a proper decision by the committee" ("I think that for the large part, the evidence and workshop phases were ignored in this case"  is a direct quote from a current member about a case) Will you commit to weighing the evidence and workshop pages in making any decisions? (I have added the exact diff as one candidate appears to take a combative attitude towards the question suggesting that either the quote was incorrect or taken out of context - attacking the messenger is rarely a great idea :( )
4. Past Cases: The Arbitration Committee has historically held that prior decisions and findings were not binding in any future decisions or findings. While this may have been wise in the early years of Wikipedia, is any avoidance of stare decisis still a valid position? How should former cases/decisions be considered, if at all?
5. The "Five Pillars" essay has been mentioned in recent discussions. Ought it be used in committee findings, or is it of explanatory rather than of current direct importance to Wikipedia?
6. Biographical articles (not limited to BLPs) form a substantial part of conduct issues placed before the committee. Without getting the committee involved in individual content issues, and without directly formulating policy, how should the committee weigh such issues in future principles, findings and decisions?
7. "Factionalism" has been seen by some as a problem on Wikipedia (many different names for such factions have been given in the past). Do you believe that factionalism is a problem? Should committee decisions be affected by evidence of factionalism, in a case or around an article or articles? If the committee makes a finding that "factions" exist as part of a conduct issue, how should factionalism be treated in the remedies to the case?
The latter four questions were asked for the 2012 elections. I would ask anyone who agrees in whole or part with my views regarding candidates to either post their own ACE2013 page, or to link to this one from their own talk pages, so that the views may be widely disseminated.
List of Candidates
Name Points Opinion 1.1 28bytes 16 Neutral 1.2 AGK 1 (see notes above) Unqualified for such a position - Oppose (note: he seems to think that calling me less than honest  that he will change my understanding of the manner in which he answered the questions posed. Amazingly enough, my ratings here are based on the answers given to the questions posed, and attacking me for doing what I said I would do is a poor indication of a person seeking to be an "impartial arbiter" at any level whatsoever.) 1.3 Arthur Rubin 0 Oppose 1.4 Beeblebrox 25 Support 1.5 Bwilkins 0 Oppose
1.6 Courcelles1.7 David Gerard 15 Neutral(late answers but fairly innocuous) 1.8 Floquenbeam111 12 Neutral 1.9 Gamaliel 26 Support 1.10 Georgewilliamherbert 24 Support 1.11 GorillaWarfare 26 Support 1.12 GregJackP29 Strong Support had he not withdrawn 1.13 Guerillero 21 Support 1.14 Isarra 27 Strong Support even with the odd platform, the answers are very clueful 1.15 Kevin Gorman1.16 Kraxler 22 Support 1.17 Ks0stm 27 Support 1.18 Kww 21 Support 1.19 LFaraone 18 Weak Support 1.20 NativeForeigner 0 Oppose 1.21 RegentsPark 20 Support 1.22 Richwales 30 Strong Support 1.23 Roger Davies 17 Weak Support 1.24 Secret 0 Opposewithdrawn after posting 1.25 Seraphimblade 27 Strong Support 1.26 The Devil's Advocate 34 Very Strong Support
I realize that I Support 15 candidates (only 4 get to Strong Support or better, with 2 at "Weak Support")) -- which means the overall quality is quite reasonable, and I only have only 4 specific Oppose positions. (Currently I have 2 "Neutral" positions) . I have 4 Strong Support positions -- including one interesting candidate, who appears far more clueful than some appear to notice. I urge editors to vote No on those whom I oppose -- if they are unable to provide thoughtful answers to questions here, they are unlikely to provide thoughtful answers in cases. If any add responses, I shall, of course, weight them with the same criteria I weighed responses so far, just as I did last year. I do consider those with higher scores to be preferable over those with lower scores. Collect (talk) 16:48, 22 November 2013 (UTC) Collect (talk) 22:35, 23 November 2013 (UTC) (modified)
At this point, I am the only notable support for three of the candidates, so I shall address them here:
Georgewilliamherbert is experienced and knowledgeable in many areas of Wikipedia and the Internet (yes - I consider Internet experience as salient) -- including OTRS etc. (which do not show up as "number of edits") Commons etc. Most importantly, he would provide a person experienced in real life. Isarra presents a strange sense of humour, but I think that humourlessness is not a really good character trait. Her answers, moreover, show a great deal of actual thought about the questions asked, and I suggest she would bring fresh insight to the committee. The Devil's Advocate is, in my opinion, a person who would be admirably suited to keep the committee on the straight and narrow - and reining it in from any excesses. This is, in my opinion, a trait needing representation on the committee. Would I want any set of clones of anyone to run a committee? Nope. TDA would, however, be a good addition to the mix.
As for those who, on any candidate, say "Not an Admin!!!" - I find that such a weak argument as to be risible, indeed.
I have examined the answers to each question from each candidate in an impartial manner -- assigning values from 0 to 5 for each answer (non-answers are an automatic zero, for obvious reasons) In several cases the aim of the question is to get a feeling for the Wikianschauung of the candidate, and thus it is wrong to assume that I only seek "right answers" here. Collect (talk) 13:43, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
On the Arbitration Committee:
The committee is defined in scope and action by specific policy, which includes:
- 1.To act as a final binding decision-maker primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve.
which defines and delimits the primary remit of the committee. Thus it's primary remit is to address serious and ongoing behavioural issues about editors, and not to address trivial and non-ongoing behavioural disputes about editors, nor to seek out to prove for itself that a behavioural issue exists which no one else has presented to the committee.
The procedures of the committee are delimited by
- The Committee may create or modify its procedures, provided they are consistent with its scope
Thus any variance which violates the remit of the scope are also violating the remit of the committee.
Issuance of topic bans and other sanctions for trivial issues are beyond the remit of the committee. Issuance of sanctions for non-ongoing behavioural issues is beyond the remit of the committee, and "righting great wrongs" is beyond the remit of the committee. The level of evidence for any findings of behavioural issues should not be labile, but be consistent regardless of any arbitrator liking or disliking any party whatsoever. And if the community has not even seen the issue as being "behavioural" about an editor, nor provided any evidence in a case as provided by the committee, then the committee has exceeded its remit.
The members are generally intelligent, but there is no precept that a group of intelligent persons can not manage to ignore the remit within which they are supposed to function.
The questions posed are, in a general manner, trying to find out whether the candidates show cognizance of the policy under which they have authority, or are misusing its aegis as they make the committee into its own epigon.
Additionally members are required to:
- 3.Participate conscientiously in the Committee's activities and deliberations
Where a candidate appears to opine that "conscientious participation" can include ignoring evidence and workshop phases which they do not esteem, I consider that they are also ignoring the policy as clearly stated.
One of the true cores of any project is "Do no harm." This is a core value of WP:BLP and likely should be applied overall on Wikipedia. The BLP question seeks to get candidates answering this issue ... with interesting results, it seems.
- What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn
appears applicable -- any member who would be affronted by any action towards themselves should be equally affronted by such actions against others.
As a Hearing Officer under both Democrats and Republicans, I was required to act precisely according to the letter of the law. I could not judge people I liked differently from people I did not like - impartiality must exist in all phases of any process of judgement at any level, else the entire concept of "labile rules" makes the entire concept of decisions non-viable. So ought it be with ArbCom -- labile standards of conduct based on liking or disliking anyone are improper, making up rules as ArbCom goes along is improper, and arrogation of powers not specified in policy is improper. In my opinion, any member, candidate, clerk or editor who does not understand this is unfit to serve. The chronophagous and arbitrary nature of many decisions and near-decisions leads me to question those whose responses to my questions indicate a problem -- not based on any personal like or dislike I have for anyone, but based on strictly impartial standards, and I suggest that those who hold these same standards ought consider carefully my positions. Those who "do not have the time" to answer questions at the outset may not be able to give full attention to all evidence and workshop pages - thus I fear that they can not be supported here by me.
When I was just a lad, I learned arguing with a teacher about an essay question rarely had a beneficial effect on a grade. Were I to assert the teacher was misquoting someone, the odds would have been worse. And if the quote were actually correct, one may surmise the grade one would get. (In one question (7) I specifically stated that it was not about "tag-teaming" - so of course one person wrote about ... "tag-teaming" as a response!) Those candidates who view questions as being intrinsically confrontational, make them so themselves.
With regard to outré claims that the committee can do whatever it wishes, that is an arrogation of power not granted to it by the policy establishing it -- its scope is well-defined, and actions beyond that scope are errant. The concept that the committee is a "Dungeon Master" for Wikipedia is abhorrent to me. For example, banning anyone or any group for "wrong opinions" may well make sure that "right opinions" get expressed, "solving the problem", but the problem lies in what are eventually deemed "wrong opinions." The policy does not posit that the committee can ban anyone for lawful opinions expressed in conformity with policies, yet some appear to argue that if such a ban "reduces conflict" that therefore it is "right" to act outside the remit. I demur strongly. Collect (talk) 14:23, 22 November 2013 (UTC)