Thursday, November 27, 2008

Why I chose not to run for ArbCom this year

Walter Faulkner, candidate for U.S. Congress, ...This is not me...
Image via Wikimedia Commons
I have received a number of queries about why I am not running in the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee elections this year.

I was seriously considering it. I felt duty bound to put up or shut up, to try to effect the "change we need". But when I saw the quality of some of the candidates (whose views I by and large agree with) that were standing, I decided to stand aside. I have a lot of things to do and the last thing the project needs is another arbitrator that can't give full measure, attentionwise. I'd rather someone else were elected that could devote full attention. I hope I'm not wrong in judging their quality (and winnability) and that candidates I support and agree with do end up getting elected, and candidates I oppose don't.

But another factor is that with the SlimVirgin-Lar case so recently closed, after some analysis, I felt that the potential for drama and disruption if I ran was high enough that standing aside seemed a good thing to do for the good of the project. I'd note that the SlimVirgin motion has, even though it's been closed and SlimVirgin desysopped, been used by ElinorD to re-raise issues I feel are already well and truly settled, and by others to trumpet some of the victimization memes we've heard before.

As far as that case goes, I continue to feel constrained by privacy considerations about what I can and cannot say, and by decorum in not wishing to use the same level of vitriol as some of my opponents have employed, and by honesty in not wishing to distort matters in the way I feel some of my opponents have done... an election campaign with me in it at this juncture would possibly lead to more disharmony. Given that there are competent, generally right thinking candidates standing, why do it?

Instead I put those questions of mine together, at some considerable thought, as a summary of some of the important issues and philosophical underpinnings facing the project. Candidates have been evaluated by me (and others... I want to single out Kato for his particularly cogent and insightful work in this area) on how well they answered them. If the community nevertheless chooses candidates that fail to answer these well, so be it. But asking these questions and NOT running seemed more likely to effect the change we need than NOT asking them and running, and having the campaigns veer off into internecine warfare and drama.

So that's why.

If next year is a rerun of this year, if the candidates we elect this time, with the strongest community mandate for change we've seen yet, nevertheless give us the same arbcom we got before, or worse ... then maybe I'll run next year. Or find a different hobby. Because if there isn't a change for the better, we're in for it. And since I've been there, done that... I don't want to do it again.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Bail out the Big Three?

Ford Modell T - 1914, in HerzogenrathImage via WikipediaEveryone's talking about it, so surely this is just one more voice in a sea of noise...

Bailing out the Big Three (Chrysler, General Motors, Ford) automakers is a bad idea. They should be allowed to restructure. Even if that means bankruptcy. Why? Because without restructuring, we are just postponing the day of reckoning and making it worse when it does come.

Look, I'm from Michigan. It will be painful. Hugely. People will lose their jobs. But the alternative is worse. The Big Three made some bad decisions. Bankruptcy is a way to take the useful assets and try something different.

Some will say that bankruptcy means everything shuts down. Nope. The automakers will still be making autos, still be making spare parts. Just not under current management and with current contracts. Airlines keep flying. Railways keep running. Stuff just gets cut.

Some will say that no one will buy cars from a bankrupt maker. If the maker is bankrupt it doesn't mean the car that was OK to buy yesterday all of a sudden falls apart. Nor does it mean that parts will never be available or that cars can't get repaired. Parts come from a network of suppliers. Ford hasn't made Model T parts in over 70 years, but they're out there, in the aftermarket. Repairs are carried out by dealers. And dealers make most of their money from service, not sales... dealers will continue to repair things, they'd be foolish not to.

So... let them fail, if they're going to. And let them KNOW they will fail if they can't sort things out themselves... that will give them incentive.

Schumpeter speaks of creative destruction. Let it create. This is a case where the village has to be destroyed in order to save it.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new..

Out with the old... Good bye Bush II!

In with the new... Hello new little one!

Today I should be a grandfather. I sit here in the hospital waiting. Daddy (newly become a citizen, this is his first election) stopped to vote on the way to the hospital. Priorities seem right to me :)

Update: I AM a grandfather.

And McCain's concession speech was high class.

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