User:Razr Nation/ArbCom 2013
Okay. This is the second ArbCom elections guide that I make, and I hope this helps to give an insight on each of the candidates, as well as my personal opinions on their suitability to become Arbitrators. Notwithstanding, I give you the standard disclaimer: This represents my views and opinions, especially on Wikipedia philosophy. I encourage you to do your own research.
A bit about me: I am Hahc21, a wikiarchaeologist who created his account on 2 March 2008 but never got into editing as a whole until September 2011. Overseas, I am an administrator at Wikidata, Wikivoyage and Wikinews, and bureaucrat at the latter two. Here, I am a delegate at the featured list candidates process and an clerk for the Arbitration Committee. I am a member of Wikimedia Venezuela, the Wikimedia OTRS team and the Foundation's Individual Engagement Grants Committee. I am the editor of the featured content section of the Wikipedia Signpost, though my name has popped here and there at the News & Notes section.
A lot of things have happened since 2012's elections. 2013 has been a very tumolted year for the Committee. March was the hardest month of all. It all started with Kevin's unblock of Cla68, which spawned a lot of controversy and drama after the Committee decided to desysop the former in the midst of an outing debate involving the latter and Wikipediocracy. That same month, they unblocked Russavia (who was later re-blocked and banned by the community) and Fæ. The outing issue was so hard that on March 13, arbitrator Hersfold presented his resignation, and retired from Wikipedia.
That same day, the committee released a statement linking controversial user Malleus Fatuorum's sock puppet account, George Ponderevo, to his main account. This caused a lot of drama about whether the committee technically allowed Malleus, now editing as Eric Corbett, to use sock puppets without being held accountable for it. A day later, on March 14, arbitrator Coren followed Hersfold's footsteps and also presented his resignation from the Committee. Then, everything calmed down a bit until June, when the Tea party movement case request began. However, things were kept in calmed waters until Ironholds and Kiefer.Wolfowitz touched the Committee's doors after a disgraceful series of events, which saw the former desysopped and almost banned, and the latter banned.
To stir up the drama even more, the Committee had to hear the Infoboxes debate, which almost saw Andy Mabbett banned from the site, and handed restrictions to several users, including Mabbett himself. To make things worse, Bradley Manning decided to change his name to Chelsea Manning and made public his desire to be addressed as female. This spread incredible levels of drama, battlegrounds and edit wars all over Wikipedia which, as expected, ended up in the hands of ArbCom. Before the case (which saw a handful of users topic-banned) could close, another arbitrator left the group. NuclearWarfare, elected with the second-highest turnout in the elections of 2012, expressed that he was unable to continue his tenure in the Committee, and left on October 3.
Ten days later, Mathsci was banned by amendment of the Race and intelligence case. Now, on November, the Committee had to solve a difficult case regarding the Gospel of the Ebionites, a dispute that was present for several years now. Administrator John Carter requested a desysop and retired as a result of the case. Also that month, and as a result of a second escalade of outing issues, administrator Phil Sandifer, involved in the Manning naming dispute case, was desysopped and banned by the Committee as a result of his actions of outing and harrassment of another user in an external website.
So, in general, 2013 has been a very delicate year for the committee. It has had the highest number of resignations since 2010, when Hersfold, Vassyana, Wizardman, Rlevse (now PumpkinSky), Steve Smith and Fritzpoll left the committee. In 2011, Iridescent and Shell Kinney were the only ones not finishing their terms. No arbitrator resigned in 2012. Given the amount of resignations, this year will see nine seats fulfilled. Eight of these for two-year terms, and the ninth one for a single year. From the arbitrators whose seat expires this year, Risker, SilkTork and Kirill Lokshin have said they won't run for re-election.
ArbCom: 2012 vs. 2013
Almost everything people will remember about ArbCom in 2012 was the unfamous "Not a Wikipedian" series of events. For those not aware of what does it mean, it all started when a clarification request for the Civility enforcement case was filed, specifically asking the committee to evualuate how far could reach Malleus Fatuorum's topic-ban from RfA pages. The request rapidly turned into a lynchmob against Fatuorum, who had to face a motion to indetinitely ban him from the English Wikipedia. Five arbitrators voted in favour, five against, but what really dropped the bomb was arbitrator Jclemens' comment, stating that "all we do here is acknowledge that Malleus has never been a Wikipedian, no matter how many otherwise constructive edits he has made."
Such comment would start a series of events that led to him losing the 2012 elections thanks mostly to the comment, but also to an email leaked by arbitrator Elen of the Roads where Jclemens' supposedly declared war to all arbitrators standing for re-election. The email leak increased the already burning fire, and the 2012 elections were all about Elen and Jclemens. Both of them lost, and Elen of the Roads unofficially retired a couple of months later, in 2013. However, this was only the swan song of a very controversial year for the committee.
2012 started with the desysop of Malcolm in January, a long-standing administrator who was discovered had been using sock puppets to vandalize and disrupt the project. February followed with the closing of the Muhammad images case, which saw Ludwigs2 banned for a year. Another two users, Racepacket and former administrator Betacommand, were also banned that month. February also saw the close of the Civility enforcement case. Hawkeye7 was desysopped in that case, which also gave admonishments to administrators Thumperward and John. A weird case, TimidGuy ban appeal, closed at the end of February. In it, the Committee vacated the ban Jimbo Wales imposed on TimidGuy, and at the same time desysopped and banned longtime user Will Beback.
However, the most controversial cases of 2012 were, without a doubt, Rich Farmbrough and Fæ. Both cases were extremely delicate; the first handled the use of automated tools and misuse of administrative tools by Rich Farmbrough, who was desysopped and topic-banned. The latter saw Fæ desysopped and banned, as well as Michaeldsuarez banned.
We could say that 2012 and 2013 have been on par with regards of series of events, although September-November 2013 has been way more calmed than the same period of 2012, when the email leaks and "Not a Wikipedian" events were pretty fresh. However, several proposed decisions have caused considerable amounts of discontent among a slice of the community, but since most of the current arbs whose term is expiring have decided not to stand for re-election, no major repercussion can be expected this time, unlike last year's elections.