Real-life voting the hard way, by queue. While there are no queues for the SecurePoll ArbCom vote, editors are urged not to risk server lag by leaving it until the last moment to vote on Sunday.
Voting in the annual Arbitration Committeeelection began last Friday. One editor, General announcement, managed to register their vote in the first minute after midnight; DC voted in the second minute. Since then, voters have been out in force: well over 400 votes were cast during the first three and a half days, which puts the election on track to repeat last year's total of around a thousand. In this shorter voting period—10 days, down from 14—North American voters are reminded that voting will close on Sunday before 7 pm (east coast) and before 4 pm (west coast).
Last week's Signpost reported that there were 15 candidates. Since publication, there was a last-minute surge of nominations, bringing the total to 23; however, two candidates withdrew before the start of voting, bringing the total down to 21 (now 20 due to the events reported below). The resignation of Arbitrator Steve Smith just before the start of voting has increased the number of vacancies from 11 to 12, since Steve Smith was not due to retire at the end of this year.
One-year block for candidate
In breaking news, checkuser Avi issued a one-month block to one candidate, Loosmark, for "abusing multiple accounts". Avi announced at the election talk page:
The English wikipedia checkusers were informed this morning of possible irregularities with Loosmark's editing, and after multiple checkusers, who neither currently serve on ArbCom, nor are currently running for ArbCom, have investigated the issue, it is clear that Loosmark has been running multiple sockpuppet accounts for a long time, apparently evading various sanctions as well as outright dissembling to the English Wikipedia electorate.... The socks have been tagged and indef blocked, and the Loosmark account has been blocked as well. Decisions with respect to the continuation of Loosmark's candidacy are left to the election volunteers and the community.
Loosmark almost immediately appealed the ban: "I have not abused multiple account. I request who 'informed' the checkusers about alleged 'irregularities' in my editing is disclosed." This was reviewed and declined by Hersfold: "Checkuser evidence very conclusively shows [on both technical and behavioural grounds] that you have used several dozen accounts". Within four minutes, admin and election coordinator Jehochman had banned Loosmark for one year: "Loosmark, I have blocked your account for a full year as a matter of arbitration enforcement under WP:DIGWUREN discretionary sanctions. You've been socking to evade a six month topic ban. The matter is further compounded by deception in the candidate statement where you did not declare any of these 40+ socks. So we have WP:SOCK, WP:DIGWUREN and WP:GAME violations of a very serious nature."
Less than 12 hours later, admin Gwen Gale informed the candidate that "there has been a consensus at AN for a community ban." Loosmark replied "Ok. I will respect the decision of the community, and will not edit wikipedia anymore. I apology to everybody and ask that somebody puts that tag "retired" here."
Voting guides are an established tradition at ArbCom elections. This year, there are 21 of them, more than the number of candidates. Voting guides explicitly represent the views of their authors, and are linked to from the official election page. The guides reveal surprisingly different approaches to the election, the candidates, and ArbCom. Among the more colourful pages was that of Polargeo, which took a humorous view of the candidates through a gallery of pictures, many of them visual puns on usernames. Among them were a picture of a hare, a royal cavalryman (no ships in sight), a sheep, a crustacean poking out of a shell, a teddy bear, and (you guessed it) a real live bot to stand for a member of the Bot Approvals Group. The sole objection by a candidate resulted in Polargeo's removal of an image of a toilet bowl.
The Signpost has compiled a quick round-up of the numbers of supports/opposes/neutrals in each guide, where provided, and a few quotable phrases. In a few cases, we've had to use a little guesswork on the numbers; we disregarded the words "strong" and "weak". The numbers were calculated before Loosmark's site ban.
Aiken drum 7/9/5: comments provided on specific candidates.
AGK 10/9/2: "it really doesn't make much of a difference who is elected, so long as they aren't going to release privileged communications or other private information".
CT Cooper 13/5/3: "The political issue which will probably impact on my vote most in this election will be the summary motion regarding [BLP] deletions".
DC 12/9/0: "... arbcom needs a few fresh faces.... This isn't to say all current arbs should be voted out.... Arbcom needs a balance, and there are a few outstanding sitting arbs who deserve re-election".
Ealdgyth 8/10/3: "... I want content contributions, or at least the concept that they support content contributors.... I'm also looking for folks who don't get so wrapped up in enforcing civility or rules that they forget that first goal above, the writing of the encyclopedia".
Elonka 13/8/0: Requires admin access, integrity, experience with article-writing, and hands-on knowledge of the dispute resolution processes
Heimstern 4/5/ (and 12 undecided): "Making [the decision] more difficult is the draconian regime the current election coordinators are running that is stifling attempts to ascertain information".
Lar 6/11/3: Lists three important criteria—willingness to support "the increased structure and repeatability of processes that the committee has instituted"; attitudes to the BLP issue; and a growing problem with generally unhelpful behaviour from long-time contributors.
Ncmvocalist: "My primary criticism of the committee is that it is generally so focused on our conduct policies that it ends up leaving the actual encyclopedia behind." Concerns about POV pushing, particularly WRT "nationalist troublemaking".
NuclearWarfare 10/9/2: Wants "to see evidence that they have thought hard about the scope of the [BLP] problem and perhaps even how to address it." Concerns about "a governance model on Wikipedia" and how the project has traditionally addressed content disputes.
Offliner 5/9/ (plus 9 undecided): time availability, consistency, importance placed on process, trustworthiness with sensitive information, communicativeness, and openness.
Privatemusings: unclear tally; comments provided on specific candidates.
RegentsPark 7/10/4: "too much drama, too much adherence to the letter of the policy – bad; lots of reasoned content additions, productive personality style – good".
SandyGeorgia 8/13/0: longevity and wide active involvement; trustworthiness, balance, fairness, respect, and diligence; [harder] position on editors who evidence lack of maturity with respect to the pillars of Wikipedia; support for the "reform of RFA, RFC/U and Wiki processes to deal with admin actions"; knowledge of and support for content contributors; strong enforcement of BLP policies, and knowledge of high-quality sourcing and responsible writing in BLPs and science/biomedical articles.
Secret 13/7 (plus one undecided): experience in dispute resolution, issue of how to handle administrator abuse, content work.
Vyvyan Ade Basterd (incomplete numbers): mature, calm and focused on reducing drama; support for the rigorous enforcement of the BLP policy; experience with complex dispute resolution
WereSpielChequers 12/3/1 (plus 5 undecided): responsibility and trustworthiness; a record of both correctly reading evidence and of making good judgements; clear communication about decisions; compassion;
Wizardman 9/9/3: the likelihood of burnout/inactivity; main areas of expertise. (i.e. content, bots, dispute resolution); trustworthiness with sensitive information; "thinkers" or "doers"?; the letter vs. the spirit of the rules.