You seem to be
using the word "cabal" here in a sense that
is neither derogatory nor ironic. I find that highly disturbing.
You may find it disturbing, but the truth is that there are people like
Jimbo who can make high level decisions, and there are sysops that have
more power than ordinary users. Many of these decisions already happen in
places that most people don't know about (e.g. the mailing list). Glossing
over the truth doesn't make it go away: there is a Wikipedia cabal.
I have already suggested a voting scheme that would
decision processes by the inevitable administration. Aside from extreme
opinions like "voting doesn't work", I see few arguments against that. We
need to talk openly about this kind of stuff, or what you find disturbing
will turn into a nightmare eventually.
Which reminds me:
For future issues, we could set up a special "voting" page at the
wikipedia, where proposals can be submitted (with several options to
choose from, including "just leave it as it is"), where every logged-in
wikipedian can vote (once!), with a time limit (say, one or two weeks)
so everyone get a chance to vote, but it won't hang there forever.
Why not use Larry's proposed read-only 'pedia instead? A new skin and a
few restrictions (that would be set to "unrestricted" for wikipedia, of
course), a nice little server, done :-)