John Lee wrote:
I think that's what those of us bitching about
abandonment of involvement in the wiki have in mind. There's nobody on
Wikipedia who can absolutely put his or her foot down on something and
say, "Stop it you f*ckfaces, that's just wrong". Some members of the
arbcom could theoretically do that, but at the risk of eroding what
authority and semblance of impartiality they have. IMO, a number of
major disputes related to the userbox wars, wheel warring, etc. could
probably have been resolved with less acrimony had Jimbo, Angela or
someone else with their level of authority stepped in. As things stand,
there's a lot of confusion and ill-will within the community, still
breeding and stagnating.
Hopefully this all part of the wiki process, and we'll manage just fine
without Jimbo. Still, I have my doubts about how much longer we can
continue to scale the old model.
I agree that having someone on hand who can make these decisions is
important. Obviously Jimbo can't do it all himself, because he can't be
everywhere at once or spend the time needed to fully understand the
specific disputes. It's not at all a question of the positions that he
supports or what articles he would choose to delete. When he only
occasionally steps in it makes matters worse because those appearances
are unpredictable, and it leaves offenders with the hope that he will
somehow step in and take their side.
The authority of such a person would be separately determined for each
sister project. The issue really breaks down to what kind of person
would be suitable to the task.
1. The person must have the Jimbo's trust to the extent that Jimbo
will not override his decisions without first discussing the issue
fairly but not necessarily publicly with him.
2. The person must have the broad trust of the community even when
he takes unpopular decisions.
3. The person must be seen as more a conciliator than one who
insists that there is only one solution for every problem.
4. The person must be capable of finding a balance between public
consensus and established policy. There are times when rigid adherence
to policy is completely wrong, and other times when public consensus
fails to consider the broader implications of that consensus.
5. The person must accept that he will sometimes make decisions
that will incur hostile responses.
6. The person needs to be appointed rather than elected. The risk
in an election is that it leaves a minority that may not feel
represented by the person.