Arbcom election reflections

The results are in and I came third from last. Not entirely surprising. Heh I was actually having trouble writing a candidate statement that I’d vote for. Throw in largely running because I was worried about numbers and then largely losing interest once there were enough sane people running and I’m somewhat surprised I didn’t do worse. In fairness if I had been running competitively rather than as a make up the numbers candidate I would probably have done even worse. A candidate statement starting with “do not vote for me if you are looking for a boring option” would not I feel have gone down well.

So in terms of experience well not much since other than answering a few questions I didn’t interact much with the process. Being involved with running the things has been much more of an experience in the past. Still I did establish some strong opinions on the questions. Case by case:

Arbcom and policy questions. No realistic candidate is going to suggest that arbcom should change policy. Ask this question once ask it dirrectly then leave the issue alone. You are not going to learn anything more by re-asking it.

The various questions on 2011 actions. Unless you are only interested in seeing sitting arbcom members and clerks running from arbcom this is not a good route to follow. Most people haven’t followed most of the cases in 2011 and it is probably not entirely desirable to limit arbcom to those who have. Since most arbcom cases have as much text as a reasonable length novel it is unrealistic to expect candidates to be able to catch up via reading the archives.

Questions that try and force the candidate to nail their colours to the mast on a contentious community issue. I’m an admin if not the most active one these days. I plan to continue to be an admin after the elections. One of the standard skills of adminship is avoiding having identifiable positions on contentious issues. As a result if you ask these kind of questions you are going to get flannel. To use a now largely settled issue consider Gdańsk vs Danzig. If I actually care enough to give an apparently serious answer you will get a bunch of flannel about needing to do research and build and informed consensus while considering a global perspective. You will learn very little and we would both be wasting our time. Otherwise I would just point out that the album isn’t called live in danzig.

Questions that are about a specific case but pretend not to be. Come on. Any politically active wikipedian can spot these a mile off. You will just get flannel. Don’t waste our time.

What I call interview question. What is your biggest weakness and the like. These can sort of work in interviews since they can make life difficult for an unprepared candidate but these days the candidate is far more likely to be prepared. In a written format when the candidate has time to think you are just going to get flannel.

So what kind of questions do work. Individually focused ones are a fairly safe bet as do those that cover meta behaviour on arbcom. Remember 95%+ of arbcom cases will be about issues you don’t care about. Its far more important to establish if the candidate can deal with those cases well than on which way they will jump with regards to issues you care about.

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