The annual Arbitration Committee ("ArbCom") elections are about to kick off. Arbitration 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 terms on 1 January 2010.
The election process has officially started and candidates can now nominate themselves. Nominations close on 24 November.
Nomination is open to any editor in good standing who has at least 1000 mainspace edits as of 10 November 2009, and who is over the age of 18 and of legal age at the editor's 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).
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. 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 begins on 1 December 2009. 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 was recently used in the Audit Subcommittee election.
Timeline and links
Here are the important dates for the 2009 ArbCom elections:
10 November – Candidate nominations open and the question period commences
24 November – Nominations close
1 December – Voting begins
14 December – Voting ends
by 21 December – results announced by Jimbo Wales (expected date)