The annual Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) elections are upon us again. ArbCom is the final stage of Wikipedia's dispute resolution process, and the members of ArbCom are typically experienced and respected project volunteers. The 2009 election will select as many as eight new arbitrators, who will begin their term on 1 January 2010.
Although some preliminary activities have already begun (see below), the election process will get properly underway on 10 November 2009, when candidates can nominate themselves. Nominations close on November 24, and voting will take place between 1–14 December. The results and the appointments will be announced by Jimbo Wales within a few days of the conclusion of voting.
Nomination is open to any editor in good standing over the age of 18 and who is of legal age in their place of residence. Candidates are not required to be administrators or to have any other special permissions.
Potential candidates may also be interested to know that current ArbCom member Risker has written a personal commentary on both the overall election process and the overall experience of being an arbitrator. (For information on the specific procedure of registering as a candidate, see here).
Requests for comment (RFC)
A set of requests for comment are underway, examining aspects of the overall ArbCom election process. Topics under review are:
All Wikipedia editors are warmly invited to participate in these discussions.
Every candidate will be required to provide answers to both general and specific questions from the community.
General questions are broad in nature and are designed to explore the candidate's overall philosophy. All candidates are expected to provide answers to the general questions. The general question list has not yet been finalised but the drafting has begun.
Once a candidate has nominated him/herself, editors will then be free to ask that candidate specific questions about a range of topics such as their intended approach, their project experience or their opinions on past decisions.
Voting is open to any editor who had 150 mainspace (article) edits as of 1 November 2009. The actual voting process has not yet been decided. Votes will be cast either using the public method of previous years (see last year's election for an example), or possibly through a secret ballot using a software extension known as "Secure Poll". (For more information, see the Public or Secret Voting section of the RFC.) The SecurePoll facility was tested earlier this year and is currently being used in the Audit Subcommittee election.