News and notes
ArbCom election results announced
Figure 1—The percentage of voters who supported each ArbCom candidate. Green represents successful candidates who gained a two-year term, and blue a one-year term; unfilled bars represent unsuccessful candidates.
On Thursday 10 December, the three scrutineers for this year's Arbitration Commmittee election—Wikimedia stewards Mardetanha, Shanmugamp7, and Einsbor—announced the results, a little more than three days after the close of voting. The nine new arbitrators, who will take up their roles on 1 January, are Opabinia regalis, Casliber, Keilana, GorillaWarfare, Drmies, Kirill Lokshin, Gamaliel, Callanecc, and Kelapstick (all two-year terms but for Gamaliel, who will have a one-year term). Three have already served terms on the Committee (Casliber, GorillaWarfare, and Kirill Lokshin); two current arbitrators who stood for election—Thryduulf and LFaraone—were unsuccessful. Five retiring arbitrators did not seek re-election: Euryalus, Seraphimblade, Roger Davies, AGK, and NativeForeigner. A graphical representation of the Committee's membership from 2014 to 2018 appears on the election page.
Figure 2—The number of voters from 2008 to 2015, showing a precipitous rise this year
Figure 3—Supports, neutrals, and opposes in the past seven elections
Figure 1 at the top shows the proportion of voters who supported each candidate. Successful candidates are represented by green (and blue for the one-termer). The ternary support–neutral–oppose system, from which a percentage rating was calculated, resulted in two departures from this raw measure of support: Kelapstick leapfrogged over Rich Farmbrough, Hawkeye7, and Thryduulf to be elected, and further leaped over Gamaliel to gain a two-year spot. Gamaliel, in turn, was elected to a one-year spot despite winning a greater proportion of raw support than two other successful candidates.
There were several notable features of the election, related to the much larger number of voters. A remarkable 2674 editors participated, nearly five times that for last year's election (Figure 2); this means that an astonishing 53,480 voter choices were made—a total of 2674 voters × 20 candidates. The sole apparent reason for this precipitous increase was the posting of notifications before the election to all eligible voters' talkpages. Embracing a much larger part of the eligible electorate was associated with a huge rise in the proportion of neutral votes, since this attracted many voters on the periphery of the traditional core of ArbCom-interested editors: last year, 35% of votes cast were neutral; this year, 50% were neutral. Figure 3 shows the breakdown of supports, neutrals, and opposes for the past seven elections (starting with the introduction of Securepoll in 2009). Over the years, the contour of the grey bars (proportion of neutral) is similar to that of the number of voters (Figure 2).
Related to the surge in neutrals was a slight drop in the proportion of supports (from an average of 30.0% to 28.8%), and a major drop in opposes, from 34.8% to 21.3%; it is unclear why this should have been associated with the broadening of the electorate, and readers may be able to provide further interpretations of this phenomenon. So much was the drop in opposes that, unlike last year, there were significantly fewer of them than supports.
Another consequence of surge in voter numbers was a reduction in raw proportional support for the most popular candidates. Last year, the top four candidates were supported by between 50% and 60.5% of voters; this year, the top four were supported by just over 40% of the electorate, and the other successful candidates ranged from the high 30s down to 27.6%.
Community members have provided interesting and informative tables and graphs on the election talkpage. Among these are one showing the distribution of voters' edit counts over the past three elections, prepared by Opabinia regalis, and a table of the alignment of each voter guide with the result, prepared by Smallbones.
The Signpost's editor-in-chief Gamaliel was a candidate in the election. In line with our conflict-of-interest policy, he was not involved in any way with the preparation or writing of this article. Mdann52 serves on the Signpost's editorial board and has just been appointed as a trainee ArbCom clerk, but was also not involved in this story.
- Philippe Beaudette joins Wikia: Philippe Beaudette (Philippe (WMF)) has joined Wikia as their Senior Director of Community. Wikia, a for-profit wiki hosting company whose wikis include a number of popular pop culture websites like the Star Wars wiki Wookieepedia, was founded in 2004 by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley Starling, a former member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Beaudette worked for the WMF in various capacities since 2009 and announced he would be leaving the post of WMF Director of Community Advocacy in September (see previous Signpost coverage).G
- Mdann52 appointed trainee clerk: On 11 December, the Arbitration Committee approved Mdann52 as a new trainee ArbCom clerk. They are one of four appointed trainee clerks at this time.GP
- A wake-up call for hibernating administrators: An RfC was opened proposing to increase the activity requirement of administrators to ten edits and three admin actions per year.E