You'd be okay with ArbCom decreeing a mechanism by which the community would make a decision on a given issue?
(That's a sincere question, not SarcSnark.)
Sure. I think that's the most realistic way for reform to happen. I object to the ArbCom supervising and dictating a reform process, but I have no objections to the ArbCom using its authority to initiate a process that it would not control.
We didn't have control over the planning committee. In fact, Kirill resigned his arb chair to rebut such criticism. Unfortunately, that didn't satisfy you, Slim Virgin, or any of the others opposed to the idea.
What exactly would it look like for ArbCom to initiate such a process? A referendum on whether the community wants a governance structure? Then what? From experience, the community will reflexively oppose a principle referendum until the details are known. In most cases, the community then opposes the proposal due to the details. How would we avoid this problem without even a hint of ArbCom control?
The Advisory Council was appointed by the ArbCom and explicitly worked under its direction--it was intended an advisory council to the ArbCom. And the community wasn't buying what you guys were selling, no matter how much you argued that the control could eventually be turned over to the community. Was it just me and SlimVirgin and a few other loudmouths? No, the opposition was overwhelming--something like 75% of those who registered an opinion registered it in opposition. And what did the ArbCom do in the face of a community consensus against its decision? Did it acknowledge the consensus, reverse itself, and listen to arguments for a community-directed approach? No, it simply allowed the whole idea of reform to wither and die without any further statements or actions. But the RfC didn't just demonstrate a consensus against ArbCom-directed reform--it also demonstrated a consensus in favor of some kind of reform. The lesson is obvious: if the ArbCom can't use reform to expand its own authority, it just isn't interested.
I remember making a specific proposal at the time. It went something like this: hold a referendum on the creation of some kind of body like the Advisory Council, and then have an election for it. The council then formulates governance proposals and submits them to the community to be voted upon. The only step in the whole process where the ArbCom would decide anything would be step one, and that would only be a decision as to whether to formally ask the community a question.