User:Sven Manguard/2013 ArbCom Voter Guide
Once I have made a final decision, it will be reflected here. If a candidate does not appear in this section, I have not made a final decision about him or her.
If you are hell bent on ignoring my advice below where I caution against "Pinch-your-nose voting", I consider Seraphimblade and LFaraone the two neutrals I am closest to supporting, in that order.
- 1 Opening thoughts
- 2 Analysis
- 2.1 28bytes
- 2.2 AGK
- 2.3 Arthur Rubin
- 2.4 Beeblebrox
- 2.5 Bwilkins
- 2.6 David Gerard
- 2.7 Floquenbeam
- 2.8 Gamaliel
- 2.9 Georgewilliamherbert
- 2.10 GorillaWarfare
- 2.11 Guerillero
- 2.12 Isarra
- 2.13 Kraxler
- 2.14 Ks0stm
- 2.15 Kww
- 2.16 LFaraone
- 2.17 NativeForeigner
- 2.18 RegentsPark
- 2.19 Richwales
- 2.20 Roger Davies
- 2.21 Seraphimblade
- 2.22 The Devil's Advocate
- 3 Withdrawn candidates
- Purpose of voter guides
There is a tendency for people to, at the end of the elections, decide which guide was "right" based on how closely each guide matched the results of the election. The point of a voter guide is not for a guide author to predict who is going to win, but for a guide author to offer their subjective judgement on each individual candidate, as it pertains to the election. A good guide does this using levelheaded analysis, backed where possible with evidence. A bad guide does this based on old grudges. Either way, users should be aware that each guide writer, however respected they are, and however well written their guide happens to be, is pushing an agenda, and one that might not readily be apparent. All guides should be looked at with a critical eye. You are doing a disservice to yourself, and to the community, if you don't.
- Voting for candidates
You should support any candidates you want to see on the committee, oppose any candidates you don't want to see on the committee, and abstain in cases where you have no opinion one way or the other. Period. There are a number of alternative voting philosophies, but to be frank, I find them either to be unhealthy and ineffective.
- "Strategic voting" is the practice supporting only one or only a small number of candidates and opposing all the others. The idea behind this is that by opposing all of the candidates except for the few you support, you are bringing down those other candidates' support percentage (see right), and increasing the difference between the support percentage of your chosen candidates and everyone else. With an expected turnout of between 500 and 1000 voters, any one vote isn't going to matter enough to make this effective. It is, however, disrespectful, and if it does manage to work, will unfairly malign middle of the pack candidates while doing nothing to change the outcome of the election.
- "Pinch-your-nose voting" is the practice of forcing yourself to vote for at least nine candidates (the total number of openings this year), even if there are not nine candidates that you'd be willing to support. This practice is grounded in the belief that, if you don't pick the nine candidates that are most tolerable, one of the ones you really don't like will get in. Such a belief tends to ignore that candidates must have a support percentage of at least 50% to be elected, so the really bad candidates aren't going to get in anyways. Such a belief may also be based on the fear that the voters might wind up not electing enough people. ArbCom has survived with less than a full compliment of members for large periods of its history, and between resignations and absentions, has decided very few cases with a full complement of Arbs recently anyways.
- Questions for candidates
Lots of people post lots of questions every year. Most candidates answer them all, while some candidates pick and choose their answers. There's nothing wrong with peppering candidates with fifty questions. I subscribe heavily to the "If you can't handle the workload from election questions, you won't be able to handle the workload from cases" theory, with the caveat that there are other reasons than availability of time for why some candidates don't answer all of the questions. Each voter should look at the questions on their own and decide what answers they want to see on their own. Just because I have asked a set of questions does not mean that my preferred answers to those questions are the "right" ones. It's worth noting that when I review candidates' answers to questions, I'm looking at more than just whether they agree with my position or not.
- My thoughts on other guides
A few years ago there was some nastiness surrounding guide writers' endorsing and opposing other guides. As a result, I've come to view the practice of endorsing and opposing other guides with some disdain. I will, however, reference other guides in my guide. My choosing to reference a guide is not an endorsement of that guide as a whole, and my lack of references to a guide is not an indication that I oppose that guide. Please don't read into these things too deeply. Sometimes a reference is just a reference.
That being said, there are good guides and there are bad guides. As I said above, all guides should be looked at with a critical eye. You, as a voter, should look at each guide and decide whether the person writing it is doing so for a proper reason, is exercising good judgement, and is explaining their decisions at a level that you feel comfortable with. If you don't trust the author, or you don't feel comfortable that the guide was written in good faith and with great care, don't put much weight in that guide's advice. But it is your job, not mine, to make the determination as to which guides to give weight to and which ones to ignore.
At the time that I wrote AGK's support (below), he had the best set of answers to date. 28bytes's answers might be even better, and if he continues down the path he's started, might end up with the greatest set of answers I've seen in any election to date. 28bytes "gets it", and does so on a very high level. His answers to general questions 3, 6, and 7 were great. His answers to Rschen7754 questions 2, 3, 4, and 6 were great. His answers to Sven Manguard (my) questions 1, 2, 4, and 5 were great. His thinking on Sven Manguard (my) questions 1 and 2 are pretty much exactly my own. The candidate's answer to Rschen7754 question 5 isn't for everyone. There are quite a few editors that would take from that answer that his stance on admin misconduct as being too weak. I'm not convinced, however, that it's a bad answer. Taken alone, it might seem that way, but in the larger context of the body of answers provided thus far, it fits nicely into his theme of not making a bigger deal of things then there has to be.
I am slightly unhappy with his answer to Worm That Turned's question, specifically the end of it, because I want ArbCom candidates to be proactive, (I want to help), rather than reactive (I can help, and since the candidate pool is weak, I might as well). On the whole, however, that is not nearly enough to override what is otherwise an outstanding set of answers. Because I've seen nothing that would indicate that 28bytes' thoughts or actions differ from the thinkings he's given during the election, this is an easy support.
AGK has a proven track record of putting in the time to do this job right. That's important, especially as ArbCom is set to lose a solid chunk of its institutional memory and some of its hardest workers at the end of this election cycle. The ringing endorsement from NuclearWarfare in his guide is indicative of AGK's work ethic, and does a much better job of explaining that angle than I am equip to write.
The candidate has also delivered what is, up to this point, the best set of answers thus far to both the general and community questions. His well thought out, nuanced answers to Rschen7754 question 2, 3, and 4, Hawkeye7 question 2, and general questions 7 and 9 were very impressive. His positions are sound and clearly articulated. His answer to general question 3 is outstanding. His answers to Sven Manguard (my) question 6 and 7 are also impressive. I'm not saying that it's the "right" answer, but it's certainly a position I can get behind, and strikes a good balance between idealism and pragmatism.
In his candidacy statement, Arthur Rubin claims that his sanction as part of the 2013 Tea Party Movement case have been called "one of the worst ArbCom decisions, ever". I have a very hard time understanding how someone with a long block log (for edit warring) and and 2009 ArbCom sanctions (for edit warring) could wind up, four years later, back in ArbCom getting sanctioned (for edit warring). The fact of the matter is, it's not that hard to avoid edit warring, especially when you're manually editing in a highly trafficked area. To me, this is just a show of terrible judgement on Arthur Rubin's part. A history of contentious editing and bad judgement calls does not an ideal ArbCom member make.
My feelings towards Beeblebrox's candidacy have improved in the past year, but not by enough. In 2012 I opposed this candidate, saying "While I am not especially convinced that he would do a bad job as an Arb, I do think that Beeblebrox is controversial and carries with him too much existing drama already, and that's something that I most definitely do not want to see in an Arb." The basic gist behind that thought is that Beeblebrox has an awful relationship with Meta, and it's mostly Beeblebrox's fault. This year, however, Beeblebrox is somewhat less controversial, and the candidate pool itself is somewhat worse, which does make opposing borderline candidates harder.
Looking at the questions, however, I find myself back in opposition for another year. I am, as would be expected by anyone that's read my previous guides, unhappy with the candidate's answer to Sven Manguard (my) question 2, but I like his responses to questions 5 and 6 from my set. I am worried by the candidate's answer to SirFozzie's question. While I don't have much context to go by, going only off of what Beeblebrox said, it seems that the candidate confuses being a "designated jerk" with being an unnecessarily vicious jerk. It's my 2012 concerns all over again.
Tact is important, especially for ArbCom. Almost all of ArbCom's decisions are going to generate at least some degree of controversy. Even if the decision is near-universally accepted as solid and fair, there are a few editors that take issue with everything ArbCom does, and do not hesitate to create noise on the ArbCom noticeboards. More often than not, decisions are not near-universally accepted, and editors in good standing will come forth to ask for clarifications, or to voice disagreements. Especially in the latter case, Arbs need to be able to defend their decisions from people that disagree with them, and do so in a way that winds down the discussion rather than heats it up.
Simply put, I've seen Bwilkins fly off the handle and be far more aggressive and confrontational than a situation calls for too many times to support him as an Arb. I feel that his apparent unwillingness to be tactful in situations where people disagree with him will be a detriment to both internal committee function and the committee's relations with the broader community. Even if his judgement was otherwise flawless (it isn't), and his answers to the election questions were profound (they aren't), I am uncomfortable with electing such an unnecessarily abrasive voice to the committee. Controversial opinions are fine. Standing firmly behind your opinions is fine. Treating routine disagreements as flame wars is not fine.
An editor that was recently sanctioned by ArbCom and has a bone to pick decides to run for ArbCom on a platform of 'the system is broken, toss everyone out and let me fix it'. We've had candidates like this before, we'll have candidates like this again; it's a classic bad candidate archetype. David Gerard has also been stripped of his CU and OS tools, which other guides written by people that were active at the time will go into in more detail, I'm sure. The fact of the matter is I don't trust David Gerard, and I find his motives for running to be highly suspect.
I didn't ask seven questions because I like to hear the sound of my own voice (or see the type of my own words). I asked seven questions because I thought that there were seven questions that needed asking. I asked about motions because there has been, in my view, a bit of a history of specific Arbs abusing the Motions system to do things that would normally be outside of their remit or would never fly as part of a full case. I asked about the "Phil Sandifer desysopped and banned" motion because I think it is genuinely important to be able to see how candidates would approach it (and the aftermath) differently. Rschen7754's questions, many of which Floquenbeam also declined to expend the effort to answer, are also on-point and explore key areas that come up in ArbCom cases. The argument that I was asking an unreasonable amount of questions is flimsy. ArbCom cases have unreasonable amounts of evidence, take an unreasonably long time to resolve, and involve an unreasonably high amount of behind-the-scenes discussions. If you're not willing to spend five hours answering questions (my estimate is that it would take an hour for mine, an hour for Rschen's, an hour for the general questions, and two hours for the rest, although that estimate assumes time for research and writing that not everyone would take), what confidence do I have that you'll spend the time to properly read into cases and investigate the situations brought before the committee? The candidate already indicated said that he's "not going to be a terribly active arb". The last thing that you'd want to follow that up with is cutting corners on answering the questions.
By refusing to answer the questions, we are left with an incomplete picture of how Floquenbeam approaches key issues, but a much more complete picture of how much effort Floquenbeam is willing to put into ArbCom. The answer: not nearly enough.
Gamaliel has an admirable track record of mainspace contributions, stretching very, very far back in time. The consensus is that he is a largely uncontroversial user. As far as I can tell, there are no red flags. That being said, I've got no idea why this candidate is running. I'm not seeing a long history of conflict resolution, I'm not seeing any specific points that the candidate is using as a rallying cry. His platform is civility, but so is almost everyone's. There's certainly a virtue to not running on a platform of "XXX is broken! We must fix XXX immediately!", but as I already said, I'm just not seeing anything that would indicate Gamaliel as either a natural candidate, or even a good fit, for ArbCom.
There are two concerns I have, however. The first is that, according to the monthly edit figures, the candidate has a boom-bust edit history as of late. In other words, he makes a ton of edits over a few months, then largely disappears for a few months, then makes a ton of edits over a few months, then largely disappears for a few months, and so on. I don't feel comfortable electing people with patterns of disappearing for months at a time to ArbCom, where a member disappearing for months at a time causes strains on the rest of the Arbs, and the functionality of the committee. I also think that the candidate took a rather long time to give some rather short answers to the questions. I'm not seeing red flags in the answers, but I am seeing a lot of answers that aren't as complete or detailed as I'd want them to be.
With no real reason to support and a few decent reasons to oppose, I really should be voting oppose here. I'm abstaining, however, because when I look at the other names in the Oppose column, Gamaliel doesn't really fit. I don't really see Gamaliel as being an ideal Arb, but such a prospect doesn't concern me. So I'll abstain.
Georgewilliamherbert has some good answers to a few of the questions. In particular, his answers to general question 3 and Sven Manguard (my) question 2 are spot on. I also like his responses to Collect question 2 and general question 14. The candidate's answers tend to lack nuance and come across as rather basic, but sometimes a simple answer is good; it can make a statement more powerful. Sometimes, however, more detail is better. I'd liked to have seen more from the candidate in several of the questions
Additionally, as several other guides have pointed out, Georgewilliamherbert just isn't around very much. According to the edit count, he's had zero edits in a month six times in the last two years, and only broken 100 edits a month once in that time frame. As I explain towards the bottom (see Seraphimblade write up), I'm uncomfortable with that kind of level of absence. I am also unimpressed with Georgewilliamherbert's candidacy statement. There is a saying that I've heard from lawyers that goes "If you have the law, argue the law. If you don't have the law, argue the facts. If you don't have the facts, pound on the table." It means, when you have nothing else going for you, use emotion to try to sway the jury. Georgewilliamherbert lacks compelling credentials for ArbCom, so he is pounding on the table. I'll pass on that.
Before I go any further I should note for the record that I consider GorillaWarfare a friend and have spoken with her extensively on IRC, and have met her several times at Wikimedia New England events.
I had no idea that GorillaWarfare was planning on running, but once I saw that she was, I had little doubt that I'd wind up endorsing her. GorillaWarfare is competent and sane, with a high percentage of edits in the article namespace and acceptable (but not stellar) edit per month figures. Having had conversations with her in person and over IRC, I am impressed not only with her insight into the project (both from a technical and a community standpoint), but also her enthusiasm towards Wikipedia. GorillaWarfare is someone that likes being a public face of the project and representing Wikipedia to outsiders. She has done so as part of the educational program, as the planner and host of a Wiki Loves Libraries event, over OTRS, and as one of the faces of the annual advertising drive banners. ArbCom has historically had difficulties managing communication between the committee and the larger community, and there have been times where a lack of clear communication from ArbCom has led to confusion or anger within the community. Having someone on the committee that thrives in an ambassadorial role is undoubtedly a good thing.
As for her answers to the questions, I think that the answers to general questions 14 and 15 were spot on, and her answer to Mark Arsten's question was truly excellent. I'm a bit unhappy with her answer to Sven Manguard (my) question 2, because she appears to be leaving the door open to ArbCom picking their own cases when they feel that there's an issue and the community won't bring it to them, but at the same time she's not really endorsing it either. It's a position I'd like more clarity from her on. While her answer to general question 9 is a valid and defensible one, it's not one I agree with (despite my opposing him, I think Roger Davies' answer to that question is the best one I've seen, and GorillaWarfare's answer is pretty much the exact opposite). On the balance of things, however, the questions are still good. This is an easy support.
Before I go any further I should note for the record that I consider Guerillero a friend and have spoken with him extensively on IRC. I was also one of the people that prodded him towards running this year.
Being that I was one of the people that prodded Guerillero into running, I don't really need to see his answers to the questions before I finalize my support. I think that he's trustworthy, sane, and would do a good job as an Arb. That being said, he answered almost all of the questions already last year, and so I can point to those. His answers to general questions 2 and 3b, Rschen7754 question 2, Hot Stop question 2, and Risker's question show that, for someone whose entry into Wikipolitics took me by surprise at the time, really "gets it". I actually really like his Big Man/Chief analogy in Rschen7754 question 2 a lot. Additionally, I have to say that I was impressed to (re)discover User:Guerillero/Recall, which I assume I knew about at one time and agreed to be a part of (although I have no memory of it now), as it shows that Guerillero viewed adminship in an appropriate context. Mind you, it's rather a moot point now since Guerillero is (by voluntary resignation not under a cloud) not an admin anymore, but that doesn't change the thought processes behind that page.
In short, I trust Guerillero's judgement and consider him one of the saner and more levelheaded candidates on the field, so this is an easy support.
Behind the veneer of irrationality and odd humor (Isarra is one of the leading lights of the non-Wikia version of Uncyclopedia, Isarra is a well-reasoned, well-spoken person with a keen awareness of the faults of the Wikipedia community. I've met her in person and spoken with her over IRC extensively, and have to say that if she took the job of being an Arb seriously, I suspect that she'd do a decent job at it.
However I am not convinced that Isarra has the community standing needed to serve effectively as an arb. A great deal of ArbCom's power comes from that the community respects ArbCom as an institution, and respects the individual members of the committee, enough to carry out the committee's decisions. Simply put, I don't think that Isarra personally commands enough respect as a mediator and community leader to be an effective member of ArbCom, as she does not have extensive experience in either content building or in conflict resolution on this project.
Kraxler does a commendable amount of content creation. 79.5% of his edits are in the mainspace, his lowest monthly edit figure in the past two years is 165, and with the exception of that month, hasn't had less than 190 edits in a month in the past two years. That's all really good. That being said, the candiate has only nine edits to AN and AN/I combined, and his answer to general question 2 (about experience with dispute resolution), Kraxler reveled that his only dispute resolution experience has been speaking one on one with editors that disagreed with him in articles he was personally editing. There is certainly a case for having article writers serve on the committee, as it's an important prospective for editors to have. However, in reading through the questions he ha answered, I get the feeling that Kraxler is just way too out of his element here. General questions 3, 12, and 14 really put this on display.
Also, I'm slightly uncomfortable with what the candidate did here. It's a perfectly valid question to ask, but I'm not sure that a current candidate should be asking if another current candidate meets the qualifications or not. There are plenty of other eyes in the area that could have asked the question without having an apparent conflict of interest in doing so. I don't think that Kraxler was being unethical, but it does show just how foreign Wikipedia's political side is to Kraxler. Not getting bogged down in the nastiness of Wikipedia politics is a good thing, but we have other candidates that also manage not to get bogged down in Wikipedia politics, but still know how to navigate it when they need to.
The candidate also refused to answer any of my questions, although he made the announcement after I had already written this oppose. I find his reasoning for this decision to be weak (although I seriously doubt I'd find any reasoning for refusing to answer questions to be acceptable), as an argument that amounts to "trust me, I'm an expert" is of little value in a forum that is designed to allow people to gauge a person's qualifications.
Ks0stm looked like a good candidate, with solid if not particularly spectacular answers to the questions, and a solid if not particularly spectacular background in ArbCom related matters.
Then I got to his answer to my second question, where he said "If the community cannot resolve an issue for quite some time and no arbitration request has been forthcoming I believe (even though this is not explicitly stated in the arbitration procedures) that ArbCom could pass a full motion accepting a case on the issue". This isn't just wrong, it's dangerously wrong, as it would be a fundamental reshaping of the committee's role. ArbCom is tasked with resolving intractable disputes, but it has never before gone out and picked those disputes. The one time I remember them approaching that was several years ago when the committee used a motion to go after an editor that was sanctioned in an earlier case, despite there being a community discussion only days prior where there was no consensus for action. That incident got incredibly messy, and some people (myself included) still view ArbCom's actions in that motion as a breach of trust as a miscarriage of justice. I have little doubt that should ArbCom open cases by motion in the future, they will be similarly messy.
I can't imagine a weaker support than this one. Quite frankly, had there been a stronger crop of candidates this year, I'd abstain or oppose. However I did speak with Ks0stm over IRC to give him a chance to explain that point in greater detail, and while he did not completely alleviate my concerns, his explanations (and backpeddaling) was just enough for me to be willing to support.
Embarrassingly, I seem to have neglected to ask this candidate my set of questions, but I don't need them in this case. The candidate's answer to Rschen7754 question 8 alone warrants an oppose, possibly a strong oppose, and raises serious concerns about the candidate's approach towards non-public information. The candidate's answer to Rschen7754 question 6 certainly doesn't help his case in this regard. Looking over the questions, I see a pattern of Kww providing aggressive, blunt answers without providing any details or examples to back up his assertions and without providing any qualifiers to focus the scope of his statements. This is not at all surprising, however, as Kww has a track record of similar comments outside of the ArbCom elections. Although I sometimes agree with the underlying points he's making, he loses me with his overly broad and generally tactless delivery. It's the vociferousness that gets me here, the "trim a bonsai with a fire axe" mentality. There are places where that is useful and can make a positive impact. ArbCom is not one of them.
By reputation, it would seem that this candidate would make a decent arb. Highly respected, with experience in OTRS and advanced permissions, LFaraone has picked up a number of solid endorsements, although hasn't (or in some cases, possibly hasn't yet) been endorsed by all of the guides I feel are worth paying attention to (which is about half of them, for the record).
However I can't get excited by the answers to the candidate's questions. His answer to Sven Manguard (my) question 2 is correct, but I really dislike his answer to question 5 of that set. Obviously the law of diminishing returns comes into play, but I fail to see why Arbs laying out their reasoning in detail after cases wouldn't be productive most, if not all, of the time. I think his answer to Rschen7754 question 4 is good, but his answer to question 5 of that set is supremely naive and his answer to question 7 of that set is too limited. LFaraone has a lot of mediocre answers, and I've come away with the sense that he probably knows what he's talking about in most cases, but isn't a terribly effective communicator, and has an unrealistic view of the community's willingness and ability to handle highly polarixing things like desysopings. There are worse candidates than LFaraone, but that's not a reason to support this candidate, and I see little reason to do so otherwise.
I've had limited interactions with NativeForeigner in the context of SPI, where was a former clerk (now CU) and I was a former clerk trainee, but I can't think of any events there that would shape my opinion of the candidate one way or the other. What does shape my opinion, however, is the candidacy statement and the questions, both of which I liked. I think that his answer to Mark Arsten's question is a solid one, as well as to Rschen7754 question 3 and to Sven Manguard (my) questions 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7.
One concern I have (and why this is a weak rather than a full support) lies in the candidate's edit count figures, which show that over the past two years, NativeForeigner has eight months with less than 10 edits and another two months with less than 20 edits. That would be a dealbreaker for me under many circumstances, however it's worth noting that the activity has picked up in the past half year. What hasn't picked up, however, is the candidate's contributions to the article namespace (or any other non-administrative area), which made up a solid chunk of his edits in 2010 but barely register today. Based on what I've seen from other Arbs, being on ArbCom will only magnify that problem.
There are some questionable unblocks that a few of the guides point to, and I agree when Rschen7754 says in his guide that no one admin should be unblocking a user three times in a row. That aside, I'm seeing a lot of positives here. I think that RegentsPark has the best candidacy statement in the field, and I like a lot of the answers he gives to the questions. His answers to general question 11, Rschen7754 questions 2, 3, 6, 9, and 10, Sven Manguard (my) questions 2, 6, and 7, and Piotrus question 6 are all quite good. I'm not sure what to make of his answer to SirFozzie's question, but for some reason it makes me uncomfortable.
Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure that there's any reason why I shouldn't be giving RegentsPark a full support, rather than a weak support, other than that I've been looking over the candidate for several days and there's just something in the back of my mind that's causing me discomfort about the candidate. I wish I knew what it was, but it's not strong enough to dissuade me from supporting, and I'm not seeing anything in any of the other guides that are triggering anything more specific than a vague sense of unease. Sorry.
The picture that this candidate has painted for me is one of a person frothing at the mad mouth over the issue of incivility. Richwales does make a number of good points on the matter, but he does so with an intensity that, frankly, I find a bit worrisome. I also have to say that I really, really dislike the candidate's communication style. The often puzzling, liberal use of bold and italics in the nomination statement and answers to the questions, rather than making his arguments stronger, encourages people to dismiss them as being rants. An editor with as long a tenure and as much dispute resolution experience as Richwales should recognize this as being problematic, as it is something I would expect him to have encountered before, specifically in rants. I have very little patience for rants (a sentence that is equally correct whether "rants" refers to the trite form of argument or to the person delivering said argument). While I am not entirely convinced that Richwales is a rant, he must do better to avoid appearing like one.
Looking past the way that his points were made, and focusing instead on the substance of those points, I find myself similarly unimpressed. I like his answers to Sven Manguard (my) questions 2 and 6, striking a suburb balance in the latter. I also like the answer he gave to Heim (Heimstern)'s question. Considering that the topic of that question was the focus of Richwales' candidacy, that certainly is important. I was, however, very much unimpressed with his answer to the question from Leaky Caldron, and indeed the entire situation. While I will go on the record saying that talk page access should have been revoked for KW weeks and weeks ago when it was clear that he was using the page for purposes other than appealing the ban, revoking talk page access now creates the illusion of impropriety. However the largest red flag here is that Richwales seems to think that it would have been okay for him to delete the guide and revoke talk page access if KW had endorsed Richwales, and that it was okay for him to bring up the matter to ArbCom, but not to delete the guide and revoke talk page access because KW opposed Richwales. This is a case of missing the forest for the trees. It doesn't matter what KW said; Richwales is an ArbCom candidate, KW is writing a guide, there's a rather obvious conflict of interest here. This is a situation where I'd expect Richwales to stay away from the situation entirely, and it raises serious concerns as to whether or not the candidate would know when to recuse in full cases. Poor judgement and an unbearable communication style isn't a good combination, especially not for ArbCom.
Is it wrong for me to hold against Roger Davies today his actions from several years ago? The argument could certainly be made that I would be out of line in doing so. The fact of the matter is, though, that that because of those actions I don't trust Roger Davies' judgement, and I feel just as strongly in my discomfort with Roger Davies serving as an Arb now as I did then. I opposed the candidate's 2011 re-election largely over two motions, 1 and 2, that I felt then and still feel today were grossly inappropriate. I find myself opposing him today because of those two motions. I will in all likelihood find myself opposing him again in two years over those same motions (I expect him to be re-elected, even if I don't want it to happen). The candidate's answers to Sven Manguard (my) question 2 indicates that he is still open to such motions, so it's not a reason for opposition that I feel can simply be dropped. Also, as was the case during the 2011 re-election, I find the volume of non-ArbCom edits Roger Davies is making to be far too low. The last time spent any significant time editing outside of ArbCom related matters was 16 June 2013.
I should note though, that while it's not nearly enough to tip me in his favor, Roger Davies has what I feel to be the best answer to general question 9 out of all the candidates, and I hope that those changes are pursued in 2014 with or without this candidate as a member of the committee.
I fully expect that most of the other guides that I consider worth reading will support this candidate, and it is entirely their prerogative to do so. That doesn't make them wrong, nor does it make me wrong. This is just an area where I personally feel strongly, and other guide writers might not. Roger Davies, to me, represents the danger and damage that abusing ArbCom motions can cause.
I'm torn on this one, so I'm abstaining. On the one hand, Seraphimblade's answers to the questions were very good. The "Deletionist" explanation on his userpage shows that the candidate is able to think and express himself with nuance, and defend positions that are not necessarily 'mainstream'. He has commendable experience in dispute resolution as well. In fact, if I were going just by the questions, or even purely by what the candidate was doing while he was active, I'd definitely be supporting Seraphimblade.
I am concerned, however, with he candidate's propensity for inactivity (see edit history). I realize that not everyone is going to put hours and hours of time into the project on a regular basis, and that judging people by edit count or edit count by month isn't always terribly useful. I am supporting AGK's candidacy, and he's averaged around 200 or 250 edits a month for years, even though those numbers are low to me. However what differentiates this candidate from AGK is that while AGK has only posted two months with less than 100 contributions in the past two years (lowest being 74), Seraphimblade frequently just disappears. In the past two years, Seraphimblade has had four months with 0 edits and an additional three months with less than 10 edits. The last three months with 0 edits were March, April, and May of this year. The candidate has been disappearing like this since 2009. ArbCom is a tremendous drain on time, requires a constant commitment, and doesn't really function when the number of active Arbs gets too low. I'm not sure I can support Seraphimblade being that, based on his past activity levels, he very well might not be around for a quarter of his term.
The Devil's Advocate
I can't remember having any negative interactions with this user personally, but the candidate has a long block log and a reputation as a dramamonger. I personally don't believe that the candidate has the temperament or community trust required to be an Arb, and considering that of the nine other guides I follow, eight are opposing the candidate for this same reason (the ninth opposes him for a different reason), I have to think that the rest of the community shares in this view.
I did not write analyses for two of the four candidates that withdrew before they withdrew. However, based on my initial impressions, I was likely going to support Courcelles and either abstain or oppose Kevin Gorman.
|GregJackP - Oppose|
GregJackP's answers to the questions give me little to no hope that he will be an effective Arb. Generic question 9 asks candidates to think critically about the role of ArbCom and how it fits into the broader Wikipedia and Wikimedia communities. This is something that many users, not just Arbs, have given extensive thought to, and is something that people that want to be part of ArbCom need to give serious thought to. "I don't have a clue until I am working in the area." is not an acceptable answer. In his answer to Rschen7754 3, rather than do some research on the issue (an issue, I should note, that a serious candidate for ArbCom should not need to research), he simply responded "I don't know. I haven't really paid all that much attention to discussions on this subject.". In fact, a common theme amongst the candidate's answers to all of the questions he's responded to thus far has been an astonishing lack of willingness to think critically about core ArbCom issues, research what he does not know, and explain his views in detail. For an Arb, these are job requirements.
|Secret - Abstain|
Secret has been nothing but nice during the numerous conversations I've had with him over IRC, which makes this slightly more difficult to write.
It is not the community's place to make medical decisions on behalf of another user - to say "taking on additional responsibilities might be bad for your health, so I'm not comfortable with letting you take on additional responsibilities". For that reason, much of what was said in the 2011 RfA, and to a lesser degree the 2013 RfA, disgusted me. It is entirely the community's place, however to say "when you take on additional responsibilities, you have a tendency to casually abandon them, so I'm not comfortable with letting you take on additional responsibilities". As NuclearWarfare's guide pointed out, Secret resigned his adminship to focus on schoolwork this past April. Being an effective Arb requires a consistent, high level of participation. It's not something that you can just stop doing for a few weeks and then pick back up as if nothing has happened. Yes, you can go inactive, but that still causes issues for the rest of the committee. While it seems strange to abstain or oppose a candidate for something that might happen, giving someone a space on a critically important committee of limited size, which only replenishes once a year, with the knowledge that that person has dropped adminship several times makes me uncomfortable.
Right now, I'm putting him in the Abstain column. That might change, but it would require Secret to knock the (at this time largely unanswered) questions section out of the park, so that I'd feel that his fit for the committee is so good that it outweighs my fears that he might drop out three months in.