User:Hersfold/RfA a big deal

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While it has been said by Jimbo that adminship is no big deal, one must keep in mind that the admin tools are only granted to a few users for a reason. Adminship itself may not be a big deal, but deciding who gets adminship is a big deal.

With great power...[edit]

The sysop tools allow a user greater access to sensitive parts of the project. Sysops can (un)delete pages, (un)block users, (un)protect pages, edit the MediaWiki interface, and generally cause massive amounts of difficult-to-correct mayhem if they were so inclined. A quick glance at the Main Page's incredibly long activity log and history makes this point even clearer - Wikipedia's welcome mat has been the site of so many administrative actions it's a miracle the site hasn't crashed (although it has gotten close in more than one situation (cf) - thankfully, nobody can delete the page again). Those who are granted the tools must demonstrate that they can be trusted with those tools, so that the servers don't crash, the project remains secure, and the Reichstag remains unclimbed.

More work than you think[edit]

Being an admin isn't for the thin-skinned. There is a reason they are called "glorified janitors" and the symbol of the admin is a mop. They do all the dirty work that nobody else wants to do because they're going to get yelled at for it by one person or another. An admin has to be willing to carefully and convincingly explain every action they take, and deal with the people who simply refuse to listen to anything other than their point of view. Admins will, as a result of all of this, have a much higher level of Wikistress than other users. Someone seeking adminship should ask themselves if they are willing and able to handle this, and those reviewing RfA's also need to take this into account. If a user has, in the past, shown that they can't handle attacks or high levels of stress, it may be in their best interests to oppose their nomination, and leave a note explaining this.

Always room for improvement[edit]

Many people who go through RfA fail, or do not get enough of a consensus to receive the tools. Many current administrators has to go through RfA multiple times in order to pass, including some of our best administrators. With this, and the above, in mind, it is important that useful comments are left when opposing, or even neutral, to help the nominee improve themselves for a future nomination. Users should be encouraged to seek the admin tools - we constantly need more admins to handle all the work on the wiki, and as previously mentioned, many of those who fail the first time do eventually pass and do an excellent job. Therefore, it's important to leave useful comments, and avoid unhelpful comments. For example, simply because someone self-nominated themselves doesn't mean they're powerhungry, it just means they're more willing to help out. On the other hand, someone who nominates themselves multiple times, without seeming to take given advice to heart, will often be quickly withdrawn by a bureaucrat.

The bottom line[edit]

Requests for adminship are serious, and need to be handled as such. 98% of the time, a nominee seeks to improve the project, and good faith must be extended to them. However, since the admin tools can cause a great amount of harm, someone who does not seem responsible, experienced, or capable enough to handle the tools should be given careful, useful advice as to how to improve.