Arbitration is evil. Mediation is good. Is that clear enough. In arbitration you are putting your legal issues before a person(s) who charge a bunch of money and make a decision which you can not appeal, which may be wrong, and may not even follow the law. While it may be the only time you are before that arbitrator the other side may have been before them several times and as arbitrators can be stricken by a party how would you feel knowing that the decision on your case will be made by someone who knows that your opponent will be back in the future and he may never see you again.
Mediation is a voluntary settlement conference where both parties meet with a neutral person in an attempt to come to an agreement. Neither side can be forced to settle and the mediator does not make a decision which can be forced on you. If you don’t settle the case in mediation, you can continue on to trial and nothing is allowed to be discussed about the mediation, what was said or done. It is as if it never happened. Mediation has about a 85% success rate for settlement.