User:NuclearWarfare/ACE2013

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Hello, I'm NuclearWarfare (talk · contribs). Since 2010, I have written something for the Arbitration Committee elections. In 2010 and 2011, while I was an Arbitration Committee clerk, I wrote an election guide. In 2012, I threw my hat in the ring and was very grateful to the community (at the beginning anyway) for electing me to a two-year position. Unfortunately, I was not able to serve until the end of my term and had to resign about nine months in. This year, I am again writing an election guide.

Having served on the Committee has entirely changed my perspective on who would be good for the role and who wouldn't be. I will be voting to support several candidates who I am sure are completely wrong in how they approach both particular issues and several broad topics. The criteria I will be using can be ascertained from the general thoughts section below, though what I wrote in User:NuclearWarfare/ACE2011#Criteria still applies in full.

General thoughts[edit]

A number of Arbitrators in the past have written great pieces about what you should do before you decide to run for ArbCom. A few that stand out to me are User:Risker/FAQ for Arbcom Candidates, User:Risker/Thoughts for Arbitration Committee Candidates, and User:AGK/ACE2012. Please read those above pages. Even if you are not planning on running, they provide an invaluable sliver of something that can truly only be understood by going through the process.

I want to expand on just a couple of things in this brief introductory statement that are covered in the links above.

Expect people to connect your Wikipedia identity to your real-world identity. This isn't just a possibility, it is extremely likely to occur, and the linkages between your on- and off-wiki lives may or may not be revealed publicly. The role of arbitrator is high profile in this project (some were even identified by username on The Colbert Report), and the Arbitration Committee as an entity has been discussed in scholarly and news sources in the recent past. Becoming an arbitrator is a poor choice if you feel strongly that you wish to keep your personal and Wikipedia profiles completely separate.

User:Risker/Thoughts for Arbitration Committee Candidates

This will happen. If you intend to remain pseudonymous, you are fooling yourself. If you think this will not have real world consequences, you are likely also mistaken.

  • Will you be outed? Yes.
  • Will you be contacted by email by people off-mailing list? Yes.
  • Will you be contacted through other venues? Likely.
  • Will you be sued or threatened to be sued in a court of law? It has happened before.
  • Will the fact that your real life identity is not masked make it easier for this to happen? Yes.
  • Will the Wikimedia Foundation provide you with a lawyer if you are sued? Most likely. The ones that they contract out to apparently have a quite solid reputation.

You cannot overestimate the amount of work involved. While in theory one could constrain ArbCom activities to a set number of hours a week, arbitration business tends to consume an unbounded amount of time. At any one time, there can be tens of active tasks that need timely resolution, and inactivity tends to mire things down to a crawl. In practice, expect that ArbCom duties will occupy at least a few hours of your free time every day and tends to spill into work and leisure hours as time-critical matters pop up.

User:Risker/Thoughts for Arbitration Committee Candidates

This is entirely true. However, the time you put into this position is highly variable. I hope it is not some great surprise that some Arbitrators do less work than others. Some Arbitrators do substantially more work and others do substantially less. As an example of the former, Ban Appeals work was handled by less than half the Arbitrators, and one Arbitrator in particular easily handled a solid half of the appeals who also pulled more than his fair share with the rest of ArbCom work.

ArbCom work is surprisingly diverse in nature. There is of course the one that everyone thinks of first—case management—but that is harder to get involved with than one would imagine. Two Arbitrators each draft one case, and the rotation is such that it would be surprising if you drafted more than five cases in a two-year term. But there is plenty of other work. Case amendment, clarification, and opening requests take a significant amount of time to read and corral everyone else into. Ban Appeals is another one. Checkuser and Oversight auditing used to be one, but now that has almost no work associated with it. What does have a significant amount of work associated with it is organizing the annual or biannual checkuser/oversight/auditor appointment process as well generally liaising with both the broader functionaries’ team as well as the Wikimedia Foundation. There’s also the miscellaneous stuff, like discretionary sanctions updating or just replying to the huge number of people that email the mailing list every week. There is plenty more that I am either not addressing now or have simply forgotten, but I’m not about to dig into my email archives to relive those fine memories now. There are just about exactly 1,000 email threads in my inbox with the "arbcom-l" tag from the first nine months of 2013. That’s threads, not individual emails, and it is only one of ten mailing lists Arbitrators are on (besides arbcom-l, there are the rarely-used arbcom-en-b and arbcom-en-c; the mostly silent arbcom-audit-en; arbcom-en-appeals; clerks-l; functionaries-en; oversight-l; otrs-en-l; and the global checkuser-l).

But as I said, you don't have to be involved with everything always. However, just as an example, there was one Arbitrator who was heavily involved with Ban Appeals work for a solid half-year before realizing that they needed to take a break from it all. And so they did. That's pretty normal—it’s entirely straightforward to say that you need to stop doing so much work for ArbCom. And that’s normal and healthy. However. It does tend to screw everyone else over a little. Working patterns on the Committee are rather viscous most of the time. Sure, they can change, but in general there are some Arbitrators who focus on the day-to-day matters of the Committee, and others whose focus is broader. Some in both categories of Arbitrators work more than others do. Once Committee members take that break (and again, it is fine if they do), backlogs happen—either with the day-to-day or even with cases like Tea Party movement. I am not trying to blame anyone for the latter, but if no one is willing to step up to look into a matter more deeply once it is clear that the proposed solution isn’t satisfactory, it won’t be done.

You will join a body of experienced contributors. Be prepared to be proven wrong, and to prove them wrong. Your colleagues were elected because they are esteemed, experienced, diligent, and sensible people (for the most part). Different arbitrators have different strengths and weaknesses, and both you and each of your colleagues will be wrong at some time. This disagreement is essential to the effectiveness of the committee (Aristotle once said that the wisdom of a mob is greater than the wisdom of even the most virtuous man), but you must embrace and manage this disagreement. You must be willing to disagree with your colleagues, and to argue for your position; and in turn you must be prepared to accept when your position is wrong. It is immaterial whether these changes in position happen during a mailing list discussion (where your ego, should you be afflicted with one, will take less damage) or on-site (where the entire community will notice your change in opinion), but stubbornness and irrationality have no place on the committee. If you find it hard to admit when you are wrong, or to argue your case in a short and polite message, then you will make a bad arbitrator.

User:AGK/ACE2012

Know when you have to recuse.

No one said this last one, but it is important to take into consideration if you are elected. You will have had personal interactions with plenty of the parties who appear before the Committee. In some of these cases, these interactions will cause you to need to recuse. Especially if you find yourself as one of the few Arbitrators with a particular point of view and you feel like everyone else might be biased, consider that the problem might be yourself. On the other hand, it might also be the case that you are correct and that the rest of the Committee is making an incredibly dumb decision.

It may seem that I say that last sentence facetiously, but I truly believe it to be the case. I have certainly been on the losing side many times. In some, I eventually realized that I was too involved to see the bigger picture, and ought to have recused. In others, I am still convinced that the Committee got it wrong. If you end up on the Committee, it is incumbent upon you to find a way to express your disagreement while still being able to uphold the Committee's overall decision. It becomes easiest to do this if everyone's votes are in the public record. Handle as little as possible off-wiki and get prior consent for failed off-wiki motions to be publicly posted. This forces everyone to give at least a bare on-wiki explanation for their actions, and this is invaluable in providing accountability.

ArbCom exists to solve intractable disputes. Be prepared to make difficult decisions.

User:AGK/ACE2012

This does not mean you are on "GovCom". I tend to think that the conception of Arbitrators trying to overstep their remit and use their position to govern The Community™ is not an accurate depiction. Certainly I did not observe that among anyone in the 2013 Committee. We were of course accused of doing so, and I imagine that I personally was so accused as well.

However, there are cases where an Arbitrator suggested that the Committee avoid taking a particular action and look for all possible avenues to avoid it in order to appear politically neutral and for ArbCom to retain institutional credibility. ArbCom only loses institutional credibility when Arbitrators fail to take action that they otherwise would because of fear of political payback. Vote as if you only want to serve on the Committee for one term, and then if you want to run again in two years, that's on you. The Committee is not a place you go to earn power; it is where you go to do what you feel is best for resolving issues the English Wikipedia community has. If you aren't willing to do that first and foremost you shouldn't be on the Committee.

Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.

Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources

This final quoted sentence has been in both my 2010 and 2011 election guides. When you're on the Committee, this is what you should look to as your ultimate goal. Don't have any sympathy for the cranks, no matter if they have ten edits or ten thousand. A civil POV pusher is far worse than an uncivil combative editor. If an editor is not willing to follow this guideline above all else, sanction them. You do no favors to anyone else by keeping them around.

Well, that’s what I have for now. I hope you can take something from it. My planned votes will be below, along with a brief explanation of my reasoning. They likely will not be as detailed as they were in years past. I don't know how helpful they will be for you all, but I thought I would put them out there in case any of you could take something from it.

Candidates and votes[edit]

Currently Running[edit]

User Statement & Questions Rights Edits[1] Since[2] Preliminary notes Opinion
28bytes
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A,B ? ? For whatever reason, I can't really get a firm opinion of 28bytes. Everyone seems to like him, and he has certainly been around the wiki. I just haven't had any significant amount of interaction with him, and I don't really like voting for people based solely on what I have read on their question pages. Symbol abstain vote.svg
Abstain


AGK
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A,CU,OS,Arb 39,508 2006-02-27 AGK is also one of the hardest working Arbitrators on this year’s Committee. He was whom I had in mind when I was talking about the second type of Arbitrator above, the one who handles the day-to-day stuff. He took care of ban appeals, handling Arbitration Enforcement, Clarification and Amendment requests, and liaising with the functionaries. But while that is the first impression I had, it is also incomplete. AGK also does a tremendous amount with drafting cases and more importantly, assisting with adding new proposals and direction in situations where he disagrees with the drafting Arbitrators' evaluation of the case (and not enough Arbitrators make the effort to do this). I disagreed with him quite a lot. But that is less important than the fact that I already know what level of effort he will put in during his next term. Symbol support vote.svg
Support


Arthur_Rubin
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A ? ? Subject to an active sanction in Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Tea Party movement (2013) which I think was deserved. There was also a problem in Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Date delinking (2009) and was appropriately admonished by ArbCom. (Unsure if there is any connection between him and User:CalendarWatcher, which I believed at one point but am not sure of.) But the bigger issue with Arthur Rubin's editing is not that ArbCom remedies have been passed against him multiple times, but rather that his editing was repeatedly problematic. I cannot trust him to adequately judge and sanction POV pushers and other disruptive editors. Symbol declined.svg
Oppose


Beeblebrox
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A,OS ? ? Not sure if they would temperamentally be suited for ArbCom, but I think there's a position that will be missing with the absence of Courcelles on the Committee. I'm willing to give Beeblebrox a shot. Symbol support vote.svg
Support


Bwilkins
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A ? 2006-03-13 I like Bwilkins and I think one time told him to run for a functionary position, but I just have nothing to base on whether or not he would be a good Arbitrator. Symbol abstain vote.svg
Abstain


David_Gerard
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A 112,313 2004-01-04 I know very little about David Gerard as a community member and Arbitrator in the years before I joined Wikipedia. But in general I dislike candidates who are running because they have some particular issue in mind that they think ArbCom did badly on and would like to change. Once he does that, what is going to happen? Will he stick around and seriously work hard at resolving disputes? Will he put time into ban appeals, working with the Foundation or answering clarification requests on cases that he doesn't care much about? I can't really see it happening. Symbol declined.svg
Oppose


Floquenbeam
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A 15,588 2008-08-13 I'm very excited that Floquenbeam is running. I have been hoping this for many years now. He’s not going to give you any bullshit, and will treat parties with fairness and respect for contributions that follow (actual) collegiality and (eventually) lead to the production of respectable, policy-compliant content.

"Floquenbeam! You could do worse!" is a defensible campaign slogan. But so is "Floquenbeam! It would be hard to do better!"

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Support


Gamaliel
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A 58,674 2004-02-17 No interaction with him; actually, before the election, I had never even heard of them. Still, overall they seem sane. Still, I have been overall rather favorably impressed with his writings that I have read since then, but again, I am not really willing to support someone whose personality I don't really have a long-term grasp on. Symbol abstain vote.svg
Abstain


Georgewilliamherbert
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A 14,561 2005-07-31 I'm willing to overlook some inactivity—I myself wasn't the most active arbitrator when I was elected—but there just seems to be too much of it here. I wasn't already jumping to support, and the inactivity is enough by itself for me to say no. Symbol declined.svg
Oppose


GorillaWarfare
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A,OS 24,713 2007-07-28 Very happy that she is running, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, and I fear that this is the hardest to convey through text, GorillaWarfare gets it. She has what is unfortunately all too lacking among the Community and even among many of the candidates—the ability to prioritize common sense over wiki-politics. Like Floquenbeam (but nicer), I see her as someone who is willing to cut through the nonsense and truly perceive what the real issues are in a case. That by itself is the only major qualification I'm looking for, so I am happy to support.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, she is the only serious female candidate this time around.[3] With Risker's departure, I believe the Committee will be all-male for the first time in its history(?) if GorillaWarfare were not elected.

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Support


Guerillero
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A,CU,OS,AUSC ? ? Not thrilled with the nomination, but nothing specific I can point to. Nothing specific to oppose over either. Symbol abstain vote.svg
Abstain


Isarra
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Statement
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None 3,568 2010-06-09 Judging on first impressions can be misleading, but from a cursory look through their contributions and the questions page, you're not missing anything if you vote in opposition based on the statement alone. Symbol declined.svg
Oppose


Kraxler
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Statement
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None 23,508 2006-08-28 No serious dispute resolution experience and not an administrator. Neither is necessarily a negative (and probably is a positive), but I don't think I can see any major thinking about any of the relevant issues. Symbol declined.svg
Oppose


Ks0stm
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Statement
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A,OS 12,314 2007-05-29 Same as Guerillero. Symbol abstain vote.svg
Abstain


Kww
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A ? ? Completely wrong-headed views about BLP, and just about everything else besides sockpuppetry too. Symbol declined.svg
Oppose


LFaraone
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A,CU,OS ? ? Does quite a lot of oversight and functionary work, so don't be fooled by his lack of on-wiki activity, but overall, I just simply trust him. Seems to have thought about the relevant important issues, and in a way that I mostly agree with I think. Symbol support vote.svg
Support


NativeForeigner
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A,CU ? ? Worked with him on-and-off over the years. Is a very competent checkuser especially, but I just don't know how well that will translate to Arbitration. Symbol abstain vote.svg
Abstain


RegentsPark
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A 19,782 2007-07-18 Despite Heimstern's comments to the contrary, which are really giving me pause because I trust Heim a lot, I just have an OK gut feeling about him. The unblock that everyone keeps talking about was a one-off incident I think; his overall approach to POV pushing in an area that isn't looked at often by most administrators gives me hope that he'll be good in other areas where many Arbitrators have trouble applying the hammer when it is necessary. Symbol abstain vote.svg
Abstain


Richwales
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A,CU,OS,AUSC 13,252 2005-03-06 I just can't get a good sense of him. The civility platform part I would normally not be willing to get behind, but overall I think he's got a decent head on his shoulders so I'll overlook the parts I disagree with. Unlikely to burn out I think, and quietly competent. Symbol abstain vote.svg
Abstain


Roger_Davies
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A,CU,OS,Arb ? ? If there was a single Arbitrator whom I disagreed with on the Committee the most last year, it was Roger. In my view, he was dead wrong on a number of decisions we had to make, ranging from a sockpuppetry case in January/February to a mid-year ban appeal to his views on medical sourcing and a failure to understand what is and is not a conflict of interest to assorted votes here and there. Nevertheless, like AGK but to a different degree, I am voting to support Roger's candidacy. The candidate pool is not excellent this year, and I see merit in having candidates who are known to be hardworking and familiar with ArbCom work remain on the Committee. Roger often focused on some of the big picture things that need to be done, including most notably putting in a proper structure for child protection (in a way that changes things from having individual volunteers handle everything) and assisting AGK, Tim and myself with discretionary sanctions redrafting. Overall, my expected disagreement with Roger is probably more than my expected disagreement of a composite of the other twenty-odd candidates on this page, but there are more important things than having an Arbitration Committee that perfectly matches one's views. Symbol support vote.svg
Support


Secret
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A ? ? [1] was only this past April. ArbCom will be an even worse experience. Symbol question.svg
Undecided


Seraphimblade
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A 23,080 2005-03-14 Long-term Arbitration Enforcement administrator who has consistently been good. Happy supporting. Symbol support vote.svg
Support


The_Devil's_Advocate
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None ? ? This user should have been banned as a disruptive net negative to the community some years ago. Symbol declined.svg
Oppose

Withdrawn[edit]

User Statement & Questions Rights Edits[4] Since[5] Preliminary notes Opinion
Courcelles
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A,CU,OS,Arb ? ? So apparently I am voting to support all three sitting Arbitrators for re-election. However, these are not instinctual votes to support my friends. I truly believe that these candidates are among the best possible candidates this election. My vote for Courcelles in the end though is very different than the other votes. Courcelles at time was far too harsh for me. He would vote to ban, topic ban, desysop, or otherwise sanction almost at the drop of a hat. But it was very rarely mistargeted. Even when I disagreed with him, I almost always saw where he was coming. Courcelles represents a perspective of "not willing to take your bullshit"—something that is scarce on ArbCom. He works well with the rest of the Committee, despite some of his differences (which, to be fair, are usually shared by a variable number of other Arbitrators depending on the case), and I hope that he rejoins the Committee for the next two years. Symbol support vote.svg
Support


GregJackP
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Statement
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None 19,486 2006-11-22 Absolutely not. Sorry, but I'm not going into more detail. Symbol declined.svg
Oppose


Kevin_Gorman
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Statement
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None 7,919 2011-01-26 ? Symbol question.svg
Undecided

Notes[edit]

  • Positions
  • Admin-level-or-higher rights
  • "None" refers to no admin-level-or-high rights
  1. ^ Reflects edits only from the account that the user is running with
  2. ^ Reflects start date of account they are currently using
  3. ^ I only know, or believe I know, the genders of about half of the candidates, but I don't think that I am mistaken. Regardless though, the general point that there are not many female candidates would still stand.
  4. ^ Reflects edits only from the account that the user is running with
  5. ^ Reflects start date of account they are currently using

See also[edit]