Dwindling participation: voter and candidate numbers since 2008.
ArbCom elections come to a close, with eight successful candidates elected
At 20:20 UTC Sunday, almost eight days after the close of voting, the stewards Bencmq
, and Vituzzu
announced the results
of the ninth annual election for the English Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee. Of the 17 candidates, 10 achieved a support percentage-ranking of more than the required 50%, and thus all eight vacancies were filled—seven for two-year terms, and one for a single year to fill the vacancy created by a late resignation.
What made this election notable was the continuation of the downward trend in voter numbers, to just 729, down from 854 in 2010 and from nearly a thousand in 2009 and 2008. The number of candidates too has fallen steadily, from 28 in 2008 to just 17 this year. Opinions varied on why the voter participation rate is so low, from the overall sagging in editor retention to the decision not to run a site banner advertising the election.
The pie graphs to the right show the aggregate proportions of the support, oppose, and no vote/neutral votes by all voters. They indicate the marked effect of SecurePoll in increasing "voting intensity". Before the use of SecurePoll, which made expressing an opinion on each candidate mandatory, more than three-quarters of voters' potential to support or oppose went unused. In 2009, the first year of software-assisted voting, this fell to less than 45%, then 38% last year, settling on 35% this year. Because of this increase in voting intensity, the actual number of supports this year was 4,312 (an average of almost 6 supports per voter), whereas in 2008 that number was only 3550 (3.6 supports per voter). We do, in fact, have much more voter engagement than we used to, in this respect.
In 2011, Courcelles was the most popular candidate: 59% of voters clicked Support for him, while the seven other successful candidates achieved 55, 51, 51, 48, 42, 47, and 43% support respectively. Again, voters appeared to favour editors who have already had experience on the Committee: five of the eight new arbitrators have already served in that capacity.
The eight successful candidates are:
- Courcelles, who takes up a seat for the first time. He has been an admin on en.WP for 18 months, a member of the Audit Subcommittee for almost seven, and was confirmed as a permanent Checkuser and Oversighter a few months ago. He is also an admin on Commons and Meta, and a member of the Volunteer Response Team. He has contributed to the promotion of 23 featured lists, 2 featured articles, and a featured topic.
- Risker, who has been an arbitrator since 2008. During this time she has contributed to the development of a community-based checkuser and oversighter corps, as well as the development and functioning of the Audit Subcommittee. Her work has ensured that checkusers, oversighters and auditors are expected to be available and active, and has put the management of the checkuser mailing list and data on a better footing.
- Kirill Lokshin has served on the Committee for nearly five years, concentrating on the drafting of case decisions, of which he has written more than 60. He was coordinating arbitrator from February to July 2009, and deputy coordinating arbitrator since February 2010.
- Roger Davies has been active at both the Military History WikiProject and Featured Article Candidates. He has been an arbitrator for three years, has heard about 50 cases, and has drafted or co-drafted decisions for ten. He served for a year on the Ban Appeals Subcommittee and had a four-month stint on the Audit Subcommittee. He helped draft the committee's checkuser and oversight procedural policy. He was instrumental in drafting the new arbitration policy that was ratified by the community this year. He has been the coordinating arbitrator since July 2009.
- Hersfold served as an arbitrator from January to May last year, when he was forced to resign because of real-life commitments. He is an admin, a checkuser, a bureaucrat, and ArbCom clerk, and has been active at the Bot Approvals Group. He is highly experienced in sockpuppetry investigations, unblock requests, account creations, and bot management.
- SilkTork will be new to ArbCom. He is an all-round Wikipedian, with experience ranging from Good Article nominations and reviews to administrative tasks such as maintenance and backlogs.
- AGK has experience on the Mediation Committee and has been its chair since April 2010. He is a checkuser, has oversight access, has been a member of the Audit Subcommittee, and has worked in Arbitration Enforcement and as an ArbCom clerk.
- Jclemens served a one-year term with the Committee this year. He has experience as a checkuser, in oversight and high-profile OTRS queues, and with other, non-public tools such as the arbitration wiki and various mailing lists. He has just posted his first case decision as a primary drafter.
- ^ These abstentions are counted as "Neutral" for purposes of these graphs, while the default option of "Neutral" in 2009 and 2010 was renamed after objections to "No vote" in 2011.
Cases and motions
A case was requested this week concerning Muhammad Images, after long-festering discord over which depictions if any of the prophet Muhammad are appropriate to showcase appeared to be beyond the community's ability to resolve. Fourteen parties were named and at the time of writing no arbitrators have voted to reject the case, while 7 have indicated their wish to see it opened, and a binding RfC has been mooted as a potential solution to the underlying dispute.
TimidGuy ban appeal and Betacommand 3 remained in the evidence phase, while requests for clarification were sought regarding Fringe theories, the Eastern European mailing list case and the Abortion motion.
The Signpost is seeking a regular writer for the Arbitration Report. If you have an interest in the Arbitration Committee and its proceedings and would like to see the report continue, consider applying either by emailing wikipediasignpostgmail.com or by leaving a message in the newsroom.