This week, the Wikipedia Signpost examines the requirements to become an Arbitrator and the duties of an Arbitrator.
The Wikipedia Arbitration Committee does not have any official requirements for becoming an Arbitrator. However, all Arbitrators have been administrators, and one is currently a bureaucrat. Though there are no official requirements, it is highly unlikely that someone who is not an administrator could gain the amount of community support necessary to become an Arbitrator.
After a "large number of clearly unsuitable candidates" and non-administrators applied in the December 2004 elections, Jguk proposed several changes to the 2005 elections in August of this year. The first of the proposed modifications to the rules involved restricting candidates to admins. Despite having some support initially, the community rejected the proposal later. Said Arbitrator Theresa Knott: "I oppose this. It's unnecessary. Let innapropriate (sic) candidates run and fail. This looks cabalistic." Many others agreed with her, stating that it would be highly unlikely that a non-admin would win, making the rule unnecessary.
Arbitrators also have several duties, most of them unofficial. Besides deciding whether to accept or reject a case, Arbitrators must listen to arguments from both sides, look through evidence and diffs, and decide on findings of facts, remedies, enforcements, and other decisions. In addition, Arbitration policy also states that Arbitrators have a duty to recuse themselves when they are either involved or may be biased in a certain case.
Besides recusals, Arbitrators also discuss cases with themselves, often on the Arbitration mailing list. In addition, Arbitrators must also deal with community reaction and respond accordingly. For example, a recent Requests for adminship for Stevertigo, mandated by the ArbCom, was met with such community opposition that the ArbCom agreed to re-open the case and consider alternative remedies.