Wikipedia:Featured articles/2012 RfC on FA leadership

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There is a very strong consensus here that the role of the FA director should remain as it is and that User:Raul654 should remain as director. Consensus is also clear that Raul654 should not be subject to periodic reconfirmation. While there are a lot of ideas about FA processes and there seems room for future clarification and refinement of the system, the community agrees that conversation should be need-directed. RfC is an appropriate avenue for recommending major change, including in leadership, should need arise. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 03:04, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This is a request for comment on aspects of the leadership of the featured article process.

Context[edit]

Background discussions on this RfC can be found in this FAC talk archive; also see this RfC's talk page and talk page archives.

The areas and processes of Wikipedia that are within the remit of the featured article process include:

A history of the Featured article process was written in 2008. Raul654 began taking a leadership role in that process in 2003 and was ratified in his current role by a vote on WT:FAC in 2004. Following Raul's 2004 confirmation, the featured article director position has not been subject to elections. Occasional informal discussions on WT:FAC have not resulted in any change.

Raul654's definition of the role of the Featured article director is:

The featured article director is the person whose job it is to:
  • promote and demote featured articles, and maintain the definitive list of which articles have featured status
  • select featured articles that will appear on the main page
  • write up the blurbs for the featured articles appearing on the main page
To that end, the featured article director is responsible for refereeing FAC and FAR discussions, for interpreting Wikipedia and FA policies as they apply to such nominations, and for deciding which objections are valid/invalid and actionable/inactionable. The featured article director is responsible for, in conjunction with the community, defining FA policies and processes. (“In conjunction with" is deliberately vague here because there's no single model for how that works. Most of it is done by discussion, but some of it by the featured article director’s initiative) The featured article director may choose to share some or all of these jobs with people whose judgement he trusts – the delegates.

Raul also added the following note to this definition:

Now given all the recent discussion about changing how the position operates, it's worth pointing out that the above description is normative, not prescriptive. That is to say, it is not a description of what I or anyone else thinks the job should entail; it's a description of what it actually entails on a day-to-day basis.

Stating that he needed to delegate work, in 2007 Raul began appointing delegates; more appointments were made in 2009. There have been four delegates assigned to WP:FAC, five to WP:FAR and one to WP:TFA. Some delegates have either resigned (Karanacs FAC, Joelr31 FAR) or were replaced after becoming inactive (Marskell FAR, YellowMonkey FAR, Laserbrain FAC). Current delegates are SandyGeorgia (resignation effective February 7) and Ucucha at WP:FAC, Dana boomer and Nikkimaria at WP:FAR and Dabomb87 at WP:TFA. Raul has indicated that he has privately received recommendations on new FAC delegates from the existing delegates; appointment will not occur during this discussion.[1]

A straw poll was conducted which was closed with the determination that an RfC on FAC leadership should be held. Discussion of the wording of the RfC can be found on the FAC talk page archive for this RfC, and this RfC's talk page archive.

Notifications have been posted to the talk pages of the following pages: Featured article candidates, Featured articles, Featured article review, Today's featured article (requests), the Village pump (miscellaneous), and Centralized discussion. A request was made for a watchlist notification, and the RFC was announced in The Signpost, twice. On February 7, it was also announced at WT:MAIN [2] and on the foundation maillist. [3]

RfC questions[edit]

Please indicate your support of or opposition to the following proposed outcomes to this RfC by placing your name in the relevant section.

Consensus role vs. elected role[edit]

(1) Should the post of FA director remain unelected (status quo), or become an elected role? If the post becomes an elected role, the timing and structure of the elections are to be defined by further discussion.

Support keeping the role as is

  1. On balance, community discussions and gradual consensus for change are better than elections which could be divisive, but I do think periodic reconfirmations are needed to ensure the incumbents retain the support of the community. Carcharoth (talk) 00:29, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  2. This comment should not be considered an endorsement of the question. While I have a lot of respect for Mike, the wording and timing of this question is deeply flawed. It amounts amounts to asking people "do you want more power?", before the qualitative discussion on the pros and cons has even taken place. That said, given that I want my opinion to be heard, I have no option but to air it here. In theory the decision is not binding, in practise it will be.

    What is not in doubt is that FAC and TFA currently offer high standards. Sure, everyone believes there are rough edges, some might even go as far to say that an element of unfairness is built in, but fundamentally they are even-handed processes that achieve good results. For me, the prerequisite for considering change is whether or not a credible alternative is being offered, which can guarantee that we maintain high standards, and can outline why the new way might even be an improvement. Thus far no such proposal is on the table. It would be in the interests of those who believe that there is a better way to postpone this discussion until they have gotten their acts together – I would be open to making a choice in those circumstances. —WFC— 03:02, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

  3. Support, do not politicize FAC with elections; doing so will compromise reviews and the quality of FAs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:36, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  4. Support - Raul has done an outstanding job and there is no need to fix what isn't broken. Obviously Raul will leave at some time in the future, and I'll ask him to consider how the leadership will work then, but hopefully that's a long time in the future. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Smallbones (talkcontribs) 05:09, 20 January 2012
  5. There is no known problem (other than a few unhappy people—but there will always be plenty of those). No fix is needed. Elections would lead to favor swapping and an unsteady balance between maintaining standards and building alliances. Johnuniq (talk) 05:37, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  6. Support; I think it works out quite well the way it is and Raul does a good job. Ain't broke, don't fix. Antandrus (talk) 05:47, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  7. Support Jimfbleak - talk to me? 06:22, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  8. Support, as I oppose RfA-like voting Bulwersator (talk) 07:05, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  9. Support; keeps politics out of this. --Rschen7754 07:35, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  10. Electoral democracy is a radical step backwards from the current productive consensus power of the FA community to recall the FA Director at any time. Electing the role in fact "depoliticises" the role, and leaves it open to base interest and popularity games—The Director is held politically accountable to the extent that circumspection and community awareness is required of them, at all times, even when they're doing nothing. The proposal to make the role elected disempowers the FA community and empowers a Director elected as the result of a popularity game. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:24, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  11. Support. Elections not required. Colin°Talk 08:42, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  12. An election in this specialized area would be too easily gamed. The process should be opened up a bit, maybe just say that it should be discussed about once per year. But elections in a specialized area like this would be a mess. North8000 (talk) 11:08, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  13. Support – It's not broken, and a fix is not required...Modernist (talk) 12:45, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  14. Support. Any flaws in the FA process are not caused by the lack of elections. --Coemgenus (talk) 15:08, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  15. While I do think there is room for improvement (namely, I would prefer if Raul got more involved in the day-to-day operations of the FA process, besides just scheduling articles at TFA), the lack of elections is directly responsible for the long-term stability of the process. I do not see elections producing anything but periodic opportunities for drama and histrionics. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 16:37, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  16. Support. I have views about the director's future role which I have left in the "general discussion" section at the foot of the page. (Can someone find an alternative to the "ain't broken don't fix" cliché?) Brianboulton (talk) 17:03, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  17. +S. Ye Gods, RfA at FAC? Besides, ain't broke, don't fix it. Now someone o do what's really needed: find, train and retain new reviewers.–OneLeafKnowsAutumn (talk) 17:56, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  18. Not currently broken, no need to fix. Ben MacDui 19:50, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  19. The FA process has worked because it's free of unnecessary drama and politics. An elected director will be beholden to the "constituency" that elected him/her, not to the process and criteria that produce "our finest work". There is too much potential for favor swapping in elections. Imzadi 1979  20:34, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  20. Oh come on, let's not turn WP:FA into WP:RFA! The FA directors have done a fine job of keeping FAs at an appropriate quality, and elections greatly increase the chance of adding popular but unqualified candidates. For example, I was relatively popular, but I would make a terrible FA director. As the old saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Reaper Eternal (talk) 20:59, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  21. Support - Basically what Titoxd said above. This whole mess about leadership has taken discussion away from where it should be - bringing in new reviewers and fixing any issues with the process itself. Dana boomer (talk) 21:39, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  22. Support - voting hasn't done the Wiki much good of late, I'd prefer to stick with consensus for these sorts of roles. Hchc2009 (talk) 07:34, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  23. Support - I do not see a problem with the leadership of FAC Ruhrfisch ><>°° 11:10, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  24. Support. In some areas a vote is the best way. But in this task, Raul and the delegates have to make calls involving the fine balancing of the criteria and other factors. This is not only complex and subtle, requiring a skill-base that a vote will not necessarily deliver; it is highly undesirable for these editors to know that at their next election they may face the wrath—whether openly or not—of nominators they may upset by archiving. They need to function without fear or favour, and if upsetting a few nominators (or reviewers) is the cost of maintaining high standards, so be it. By analogy, the system of electing judges, magistrates, and sheriffs has been dropped by most American states as a relic of the 19th century; where it still operates, it is highly problematic. Funnily enough, ArbCom is a different matter: arbs are there for two years, make decisions as a large body, and deal with cases that are already problematic; they are unlikely to face organised campaigns at elections by significant numbers of WPians (although thank god we use SecurePoll). Let's be practical at FAC, please. Tony (talk) 11:26, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  25. Support - The FA process needs to remain even, neutral and fair; politicising the director's role would threaten this. Consensus will work much better: if there is ever an issue, the incumbent director can be recalled; if there are no problems, elections seem unnecessary. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 18:25, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  26. Support For fear of compromise. This sysyem is, imo, the best functioning area on the project. Tony above mentions a skill-base, that to me is formost, and will not always come to the fore in a popularity vote. Ceoil (talk) 19:24, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  27. Support, possible politicization, whether compromising the director's role, or by voting in a popular but inadequate new director, is a bit too much for me. I'd like to see a straight-up reconfirmation of Raul every few years though. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 19:54, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  28. Support. Finetooth (talk) 20:33, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  29. Support as is. I'm speaking as someone who hasn't (yet) exposed myself to having an article reviewed, but I'm very interested in content quality nonetheless. The way I see it is that Wikipedia is a sort of grand experiment. We have a lot of processes that are filled via election, and it's nice that this one isn't. As best I can tell, it has been working impressively well, so let's continue it until such time as consensus comes to be that it is no longer working. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:23, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  30. Support - I've read everything here and what Tony1 wrote resonates the most. Truthkeeper (talk) 21:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  31. Support: Why change something that works well? --Sarastro1 (talk) 23:47, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  32. Support – All of what has been needed has been said. Mitch32(Never support those who think in the box) 00:38, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  33. Support. I agree whole-heartedly with Tony. –Fredddie 00:57, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  34. Support. Democracy has an abysmal reputation. No reason to believe that it would work any better here. Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:30, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  35. Support: What Dana Boomer said. The FAC process isn't broken; the main reason it may be slipping is an unfortunate lack of knowledgeable reviewers, not faulty or stagnant leadership. María (yllosubmarine) 15:10, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  36. Per Tony1's analysis. However, I disagree with simplifications of this analysis that say "don't politicize FA". "Politics" has become something of a dirty word, but is an essential part of human interaction. Politics is involved whenever more than two people disagree on an issue, and political process is a way of resolving those differences. There are plenty of political issues related to FA, whether editors like it or not. However, politics does not necessarily mean voting or elections. Almost all political systems have a non-elected element, and on Wikipedia we favor consensus building as a political process, so that even when we have a "!vote" or "straw poll", we consider the weight of argument, not just the tally. That does not mean I oppose elections in principle, and indeed they work elsewhere on the 'pedia, but a compelling case needs to be made here, and I've not seen it. Furthermore, a case for an elected Director is likely to be quite different from a case for elected Delegates: those seeking elections need to be clear which they want and why. Personally, I think the stability provided by a non-elected element at FA is invaluable, and the Director is the obvious place to look for such stability. On the other hand, there are reasonable concerns about risks to quality and impartiality associated with elected Delegates rather than appointed ones. Geometry guy 16:28, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  37. Support as per Tony1. Some roles just need to be apolitical for reasons of social hygiene. Malleus Fatuorum 19:56, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  38. Support because (a) functioning well enough, and (b) risk of popular campaign to make it, say, easier to pass or something. In essence, little to gain and more to lose. Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:52, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  39. Support Tony1's analysis matches my view. Not the point in the process where change should be considered. Iridia (talk) 03:28, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  40. We should not change a functioning process just because a small group of dissatisfied users with fancy but heavily flawed slides has made a lot of noise. Sven Manguard Wha? 05:52, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  41. Support. In my experience with FAC and related processes, I've considered this role crucial to the mission of Wikipedia. The FA domain requires care and feeding that's best lead by a consistent and stable advocate. New people will always enter and question the legitimacy of the role being non-elected. The resounding refrain from everyone with any substantive involvement has been "It's not broken." As Cas said, we have little to gain and more to lose. --Laser brain (talk) 15:17, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  42. The vote is lopsided, but I'm going to register my support anyway just in case this RFC gets added to the top of the watchlist of every registered user, which would be a disaster. - Dank (push to talk) 15:29, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  43. Support as maintaining both sanity and commitment to quality in a FA process which does not need the instability of elections, and is already constantly under community scrutiny. . . dave souza, talk 17:02, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  44. Support. Tony has articulated well thoughts I share on this matter. To make some comments about the themes among those currently opposed: my first encounter with FAC was as a nominator, not a reviewer. My nomination was flawed to the point that Sandy herself recused to oppose it – held in the face of 5 supports and no other opposes, nonetheless. Being overly pedantic, I appreciated the unapologetic adherence to the criteria and began to review myself, indeed ultimately becoming an “FAC regular”. My participation was always welcomed. The notion that FAC is a clique hostile to new-comers does not reconcile with my personal experience and is, frankly, objective rubbish. To review and be reviewed critically can be emotionally taxing (to say nothing of time and effort), especially on those who have difficultly divorcing the notions of personal and professional criticism. Not all temperaments are suited to this circumstance, which is a large factor in the frustration of nominators and a related decrease in reviewers. It can be easier, and (understandable, to a degree) human nature to denounce the process, rather than to swallow one’s pride and make inconvenient changes to an article about which one is passionate. An elected director does not resolve this or any other genuine underlying issue, nor is it in any way necessary or prudent. Эlcobbola talk 19:26, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  45. Support -- Sorry, but I sometimes wonder if the naysayers are getting out enough. Here we are, in a volunteer project, and we're talking about replacing a system that probably works more smoothly -- in a volatile user environment -- than many I can think of in my commercial and government experience, where people get paid to do the job. 'Nuff said. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:05, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  46. Support Lets get past the idea of throwing out what's working just because a handful of people want everyone to listen to them, and move on to how to make FA/FAC better. --PresN 00:13, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  47. per tony --Guerillero | My Talk 20:36, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  48. As others have noted, there's no need to fix something that isn't broken (and the introduction of elections might even break things). If the community becomes unsatisfied with Raul's performance as featured article director, we can reach a solution via consensus. —David Levy 23:18, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  49. Support Opposed to politicizing this. Kafka Liz (talk) 01:01, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  50. Support. There's a reason we only have one big election each year. Can you imagine the drama? UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 15:15, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  51. Support keeing the role as is. I have nightmares of what could happen if there are elections - I see slipping standards in FA's future, or, at the very least, changing standards which make it difficult for those who review and write articles to keep up. Karanacs (talk) 16:29, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  52. Armbrust, B.Ed. Let's talkabout my edits? 20:44, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  53. Support per Tony. --Avenue (talk) 07:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  54. Support, although a discussion on what should happen when the current Director is no longer able or willing to continue would be beneficial. SpinningSpark 15:39, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  55. Support, per SandyGeorgia. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:23, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  56. I do not think required periodic elections would be beneficial. If the leadership were to need changing, I would expect a motion of no confidence to soon occur. Gimmetoo (talk) 00:02, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
  57. Johnbod (talk) 12:32, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  58. Graham Colm (talk) 18:23, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
  59. I can see absolutely no problems with the current setup. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia-writing project, not an experiment in democracy. We can revisit this question if and when there are problems. Hans Adler 03:00, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
  60. Moni3 (talk) 23:23, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
  61. Support, but I could see my views on this changing in the future. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 23:05, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  62. Support - if it ain't broke... — Mr. Stradivarius 03:23, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  63. Support – Don't think regular elections would work well at all for FAC (the risk of politicizing the FA process would just be too great), and I don't think they're needed. If someone has a problem with the director or one of the delegates, they should call for the ouster of that editor on FAC talk, and the community can weigh the strength of their argument in a reconfirmation (see below). However, I wouldn't mind seeing a confirmation process for new delegates/directors. It doesn't have to be like RFA, just a simple yes-or-no. Giants2008 (Talk) 18:36, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  64. Support. Kablammo (talk) 16:52, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  65. Support. I appreciate Raul's work; the system isn't broken; I really wish the community would focus on what needs to be fixed, rather than what is working perfectly fine. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:13, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  66. Support Not broken, no need for fixes. Hipocrite (talk) 17:55, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  67. Support. The current system works fine. the wub "?!" 18:15, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  68. Support Raul has done just fine in the role, and there are plenty of good people supporting. I see no need to politicize FAC. Resolute 20:25, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  69. Support per UltraExactZZ and User:PresN. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 20:44, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  70. Support If it ain't broke, don't fix it. --Tango (talk) 22:37, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  71. Support. Nobody gives a ... cares until somebody comes along and demands that we Think of the Children, then we go back to nobody caring again. Raul does a thankless job, because nobody else will do it. Things are completely fine just the way they are. The Mark of the Beast (talk) 22:39, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  72. Support. Ain't broke.--Pharos (talk) 11:34, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  73. Support. I have often been impressed by the way the system works. Macdonald-ross (talk) 11:45, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  74. Strong support so long as Raul is doing it. I'd potentially be open to other ideas if/when Raul ever stops doing the excellent job he's been doing for so long... despite the frequent moans about the detail that come his way (from me, as well as others) --Dweller (talk) 12:12, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  75. Support. For now, it runs reasonably smoothly, and alternatives seem like to me to produce more bureaucracy, policy pages, and politics for relatively little gain. There's enough broken on Wikipedia that we don't need to fix something that mostly works ok! --Delirium (talk) 13:20, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  76. Support I've only been there once accompanying a far better writer, the system worked ok for a well-prepared article.J3Mrs (talk) 09:19, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
  77. He seems to be doing a good job. (don't fix what isn't broken) --Enric Naval (talk) 02:42, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Support elected role

  1. Featured articles are definitely an important part of Wikipedia. As with most everything else on the project, the community should have a say in the matter, and having a certain amount of accountability will make the entire process stronger as a result. I have confidence that the Wikipedia community, as a whole, can make a wise decision on FA Director. If the decision is Raul, so be it. Why not have elections to doublecheck that he has the support of the community? --Elonka 05:46, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  2. On the basis of the general principle that all positions of leadership/power, of any sort, should be filled either via election or via appointment by another body/leader (any chain of appointee-appointer eventually terminating in an elected officeholder). Aside from this particular historical oddity and WMF roles, I'm unable to come up with another current WP position that's not filled via election (recall and terms of office being other issues entirely; we get along pretty well despite admins not having these, so we could very well apply the same policy here). --Cybercobra (talk) 06:33, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  3. Elections are better. I feel confident that people willing to not approve articles would still get votes just fine. FAC is way too clique-y. We are missing out on people that could be attracted into the process and have an essentially absent, historical figure here, who likes having a title. The program is shrinking (and makes excuses about overall Wiki, but spends no time or effort to innovate or improve, barely even monitors its progress except in terms of avoiding passing bad articles).TCO (Reviews needed) 22:35, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  4. There is no basis for the assumption that elections will automatically lead to corruption. That does not seem to be happening on other areas of the wiki, and there's no real reason to assume that it would happen at Featured Articles. I challenge whether the Featured Articles programme is the best that it can be; just because it is currently functional does not mean that it is optimal. The current leadership is indifferent to the benefits that might be gained from modernising the mark-up on the working pages of the FA process, and hostile towards technical improvements for the articles. This has, in my opinion, been holding back the development of the whole website, as best practices from a technical standpoint are not being promoted at FA, and in fact are being denigrated. When it comes to web page design, if you're standing still, you're actually regressing, because the world is changing around you. We need a more nimble, change-friendly leadership. The whole FA process is hostile to newcomers and is shrinking as a result. The current absentee leader might not actually be the best person for the job. --Dianna (talk) 11:59, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
    Discussion on Wikipedia talk:Featured articles/2012 RfC on FA leadership#Response to Diannaa. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:02, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  5. In my personal opinion, FAC is broken, stagnated and, if it continues this way, likely dying. The entire spirit of the project is that its a collaborative process, with editors choosing how the encyclopedia is run. We use elections in various other arease which seem to work fine, and actually requiring that the director do a good job in order to be reelected might breathe a spark of life back. As for the 'horrors' of democratic elections, as Sir Winston Churchill once said, "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." SalopianJames - previously Colds7ream (talk) 14:46, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
    Support elections per all above so I'll only say that I see no valid argument as to why FA is so special. Other projects don't have a director/coordinator for life, arbcom doesn't, admins and crats go through an election, and so on.PumpkinSky talk 15:21, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
    Information about this !voter for the closer. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:28, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
    Or, more directly--SPhilbrick(Talk) 14:37, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
    Sockpuppet vote indented. Reaper Eternal (talk) 17:40, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  6. I agree with comments made above, FAC is a clique and if you don't clique you get ignored and "harassed".(lack of a better word atm) I constantly see moaning and groaning over the lack of reviewers but to my knowledge there is nothing being done to even figure out why that is. It may have been a year or more ago that I posted the reasons why I wasn't reviewing much anymore but what I wrote at that time was ignored and then later scoffed at. An FA Director should be trying to solve possible reasons for lack of reviewers and I don't see that going on and if it isn't, then it's time to elect someone who will. The FAC process is hostile to outsiders and to some extent plays favorites because no one person is paying much attention to the overall process. Brad (talk) 15:46, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
    to my knowledge there is nothing being done to even figure out why that is - actually, the lack of reviewers (and the cause thereof) is precisely what we were discussing on FAC when TCO, Alarbus et al decided to hijack the discussion in order to push for elections. Raul654 (talk) 15:57, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  7. The role should be an elected one. There isn't any other way to do it properly. You can't have someone sitting there for life, based on his own say-so and some semi-mythical "consensus" purported to have existed long ago. I don't believe any such consensus exists, certainly not now. If we're going to establish a consensus in any meaningful way, we have to do it through a vote. Everyking (talk) 19:39, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
    I don't believe any such consensus exists, certainly not now. - Well this certainly proves that you didn't spend too much time reading this page as you were editing it. Good to see that some things never change. Raul654 (talk) 20:26, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
    Perhaps someone with a fuller respect for other editors would be better suited for the job. If you are so thoroughly endorsed by the community, why do you feel the need to take potshots at critics? Everyking (talk) 14:06, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
    Please learn from previous mistakes: reading this page (or just counting those with a view opposite to yours), would show that a comment like 'semi-mythical "consensus" purported to have existed' is profoundly uninformed. Johnuniq (talk) 23:18, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
    Raul654, do you think that comment was really necessary? Wouldn't it have been better to have addressed Everyking's point rather than criticize Everyking himself? Acalamari 12:11, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  8. I happen to agree with Jimbo Wales that February 7's featured article was "a really really lame thing to put on the front page of Wikipedia" and wonder, as Jimbo did, "what is wrong with the process." I have not been able to find any evidence that there was any community input into this particular decision to feature prior to Raul654 deciding on January 26. On February 8 Wikinews' Main Page included "art' that featured the head of socially conservative politician Rick Santorum and praying hands together with a dildo, condoms, and lube. I call attention to Wikinews' front page here in order to ask what is preventing the Santorum "neologism" article from being similarly featured on Wikipedia's front page should it otherwise meet the criteria of a FA (which are unconcerned with offensiveness)? Leave aside the fact that I'm a conservative who believes that the constant parroting of WP:NOTCENSORED adds up to a deep functional bias in favour of a libertarian political agenda. This sort of thing undermines perceptions of Wikipedia's authoritativeness and is more likely than not to cause grief for the project's fundraising. We shouldn't be turning people off before they even get to the articles. There's a difference between censorship and editorial judgment. Given the apparent widespread support for Raul654's judgment and the community's libertarian tilt, a conservative FA director candidate very likely couldn't beat Raul654 in an election anyway, but going through the motion of an election ought to at least compel all the candidates to outline some sort of editorial vision about how Wikipedia, by means of its cover, should be positioned in the information marketplace. Today, February 9, we've had two FAs on the Main Page, the first one with copyright issues and the second one with dead links. It wouldn't have taken much more than a minute to click on the less than two dozen links to see if any were dead before putting the article up on the Main Page. If there were an election a candidate might step up with a proposal for how to avoid these outcomes.--Brian Dell (talk) 20:59, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Discussion

The status quo is "Consensus role". It isn't "Raul is king" or "Jimbo appointed" (which wasn't the case). It was a role that was ratified by the community and is being re-confirmed in the question below. So it has accountability to the community, and has the consensus support of the community. Should the community decide Raul or any other director is not fulfilling the role properly, an ad-hoc RfC can be created. The key distinction this question is asking is whether the role is appointed using elections.

Elections are overrated and some earlier commentary seemed to follow the naive assumption: democracy = elections = good. Nearly all positions of power in the "free world" are not elected or subject to periodic re-election. And when you do get an election, the choice is heavily restricted/biased and you probably didn't vote for the person anyway (you voted for their party, or even voted tactically against another party). And chances are, your vote didn't count. Did you elect your dad, your daughter's husband, your boss, your school teacher, your social worker, your GP, the leader of the club your children went to, the person who taught you to swim, your closest friend?

If the person directing the FA process is doing a good job, why on earth would knowing he or she was elected make any difference to how they did their job? If they are doing a bad job, we can kick them out. We don't need to wait till their term of office is up, or until we have other names on some ballot paper. Colin°Talk 08:42, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

The point about kicking out people who are doing a bad job is a red herring. That would happen regardless of whether they were elected or appointed, and it could happen at any time as needed. Ad hoc RfCs would still be possible even under an elected system. The real question is one of weighing up the inertia and drift that can arise in an open-ended system (or the stability and long-term planning if things go well), with the focus and immediate targets that term limits brings (or short-termism if things go badly). What I was hoping is that some balance of the two would be possible, but those arguing against periodic reconfirmation appear to have misunderstood what the intention was there. Maybe the question should have been: should the FA director and the FA community engage in periodic reviews of the FA process (possibly including reconfirmations of the director and delegates if needed)? If that question was asked, I suspect the outcome might have been different. Carcharoth (talk) 02:34, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

If the role is determined to remain as is[edit]

This section is only relevant if the previous question's outcome is that the role should remain as is.

(2) Raul is reconfirmed in the FA director role

Support

  1. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:36, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  2. Smallbones (talk) 05:11, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  3. Johnuniq (talk) 05:40, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  4. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 06:21, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  5. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:25, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  6. Colin°Talk 08:44, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  7. Support. Then raise the question again in 1-2 years. North8000 (talk) 11:10, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  8. Modernist (talk) 12:48, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  9. Antandrus (talk) 14:41, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  10. Johnbod (talk) 14:47, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  11. Coemgenus (talk) 15:09, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  12. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 16:40, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  13. Brianboulton (talk) 17:05, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  14. I'm in. –OneLeafKnowsAutumn (talk) 17:54, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  15. Ben MacDui 19:51, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  16. Imzadi 1979  20:34, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  17. Reaper Eternal (talk) 21:02, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  18. Dana boomer (talk) 21:39, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  19. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 11:11, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  20. If, well yes, I would. But it's an if. Tony (talk) 11:26, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  21. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 18:26, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  22. Ceoil (talk) 19:13, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  23. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 19:54, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  24. Finetooth (talk) 20:37, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  25. Truthkeeper (talk) 21:54, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  26. Sarastro1 (talk) 23:48, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  27. Mitch32(Never support those who think in the box) 00:37, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  28. Fredddie 00:59, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  29. Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:32, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  30. Malleus Fatuorum 19:54, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  31. Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:54, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  32. Iridia (talk) 03:30, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  33. Per my reasoning in the first section. Sven Manguard Wha? 05:53, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  34. Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 08:50, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  35. Laser brain (talk) 15:27, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  36. Support. - Dank (push to talk) 15:31, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  37. dave souza, talk 17:03, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  38. Ian Rose (talk) 23:11, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  39. --PresN 00:13, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  40. --Guerillero | My Talk 20:44, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  41. I've seen no evidence that Raul's performance is unsatisfactory or that someone else's would be superior. —David Levy 23:18, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  42. Kafka Liz (talk) 01:02, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  43. Have been waiting on Raul's answers to my questions (on his talk page (links elsewhere in this RfC), but now that he has answered most of the questions that I had, I'm happy to support. I do think such a discussion should have been held before the procession of voting seen above (and said so in the run-up to this RfC), but that's an argument for another time. I disagree with David Levy above, in that there are signs that Raul's performance needed questioning, or at least a reconfirmation was needed, and I also disagree that there is no evidence that someone else would do a better job. I happen to think there are several that could do a better job, but if most people are happy with Raul then that is fine as well. I would ask, though, that the delegates be as accountable as Raul, and we don't get a situation where the most active (or experienced) delegate becomes de facto leader in the absence of a director who takes a hands-off approach. My views may also change depending on the response by Raul once the RfC has closed, and the direction the post-RfC discussions take. Carcharoth (talk) 08:39, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  44. Support. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 15:15, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  45. Support Seems to be working fine as is. --mav (reviews needed) 01:44, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  46. Support provided that Raul wants/agrees to do whatever consensus decides the role description is. Karanacs (talk) 19:17, 26 January 2012 (UTC
  47. Armbrust, B.Ed. Let's talkabout my edits? 20:45, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  48. User:EngineerFromVega EngineerFromVegaT 05:43, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  49. Support Whatever is wrong with FA, its not the Director. SpinningSpark 15:35, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  50. Support. Raul's work on featured content has been one of the most effective things about on Wikipedia. I heartily support his reconfirmation. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:27, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  51. Gimmetoo (talk) 00:02, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
  52. Graham Colm (talk) 18:26, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
  53. Of course. Hans Adler 03:02, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
  54. Support. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 23:07, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  55. Support - Sure. — Mr. Stradivarius 03:26, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  56. Support. Giants2008 (Talk) 18:38, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  57. Support. Kablammo (talk) 16:54, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  58. Support. I appreciate Raul's work; the system isn't broken; I really wish the community would focus on what needs to be fixed, rather than what is working perfectly fine. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:10, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  59. Support Still not broken. No fix needed. Hipocrite (talk) 17:55, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  60. the wub "?!" 18:17, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  61. As per my comments in the section above. Resolute 20:26, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  62. Support --Tango (talk) 22:38, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  63. Support - you betcha. The Mark of the Beast (talk) 22:42, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  64. Support --Pharos (talk) 11:36, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  65. Support. Macdonald-ross (talk) 11:49, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  66. Yup per comments above. --Dweller (talk) 12:13, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Oppose. If Raul is not reconfirmed, the timing and structure of the process to replace him are to be defined by further discussion.

  1. Raul is not actively leading the program. Instead of defending the status quo, we should be using FAC to build the encyclopedia. But that is not even on the radar screen. Just status quo defense and the worry that "change" might make something worse. No vision for growth.TCO (Reviews needed) 22:37, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  2. Absentee director presiding over a failing process. SalopianJames - previously Colds7ream (talk) 14:47, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
    PumpkinSky talk 15:21, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
    Information about this !voter for the closer. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:28, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
    Sock vote indented. Reaper Eternal (talk) 17:41, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  3. Brad (talk) 15:55, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  4. Everyking (talk) 19:41, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
  5. Not that this will make much difference at this point, but I don't think that Raul654 should be reconfirmed: I left this note the other day, but since then this comment (containing more unnecessary remarks) has been made. I think the FA director, regardless of who is in the role, should be willing to address critics reasonably (regardless of who they are), not criticize them back. Acalamari 09:05, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  6. Raul is unacceptable. User:Fred Bauder Talk 16:28, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  7. Recent FA choices have shown me the lack of accountability in the system as it currently stands - would prefer to have a transparent elections system. Calliopejen1 (talk) 22:35, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  8. I have doubts about our current FA director's judgment. He recently accused the generally respected Wiki bureaucrat Matthew Bisanz of essentially being a party to some sort of ArbCom conspiracy. Matt, who is currently running for Steward, once set up a process for his potential recall. I have not seen this sort of attitude from Raul, which goes to the issue of accountability.--Brian Dell (talk) 09:31, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Discussion

  • I think a reasonable addition here would be a direct statement from Raul explaining why he should or should not be reconfirmed. That would give people more information to go on when answering this question, rather than relying on what others are saying. I explain this in more detail on the talk page. Carcharoth (talk) 00:15, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I'd agree with Carcharoth's point (and the discussion below) - I've seen very little of Raul, to be honest (as compared to his delegates, say, who I can positively say have done a fine job) and would find it hard to support or oppose him as a result. Hchc2009 (talk) 07:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I also agree. I think that we all happily would accept Raul's undertaking to be more visible and leave it at that. Is that too much to ask?--Wehwalt (talk) 21:22, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Update: Raul replied the same day to my initial questions. His reply is here. I've just now posted some follow-up questions, but will put a diff to that in a new section as it covers more than just this section. Carcharoth (talk) 01:12, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

If Raul is reconfirmed as FA director[edit]

This section is only relevant if Raul is reconfirmed as FA director.

(3) Raul's tenure should be subject to periodic reconfirmation

Support. Please also indicate what period you would support.

  1. Anything from annually to every 2-3 years. See also discussion section below. Carcharoth (talk) 00:24, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  2. Assuming that the community has no stomach for open elections, periodic reconfirmation would still be wise. Every two years would probably be appropriate. --Elonka 05:49, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  3. Weakly, but appointment for life seems inappropriate. Johnbod (talk) 14:50, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  4. I'd like to be able to regularly discuss the appointment without it necessarily feeling like an attack on the incumbent (I want to be periodically asked "do we all agree that X is the best person to still be FA director?", without someone having to declare "I raise a RFC against X", which wouldn't seem like a pleasant or community-reinforcing process). Hchc2009 (talk) 07:32, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  5. Hchc expressed my exact thoughts on this. I'd think a two-year reconfirmation period, with a straight-up vote on Raul alone, would be beneficial and much easier than declaring another RfC – we all saw the drama that ensued with this one. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 19:54, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  6. Of course (although this seems the same as saying we want elections).TCO (Reviews needed) 22:40, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
    absolutely. everyone else is subject to some sort of review/election at least once, why not FA?PumpkinSky talk 15:23, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
    Information about this !voter for the closer. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:28, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
    Sockpuppet vote indented. Reaper Eternal (talk) 17:46, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  7. Support, per all above - makes sure there is some motivation to do a job. SalopianJames - previously Colds7ream (talk) 15:33, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  8. An unelected role needs the support of the community, and I believe it is a much more healthy attitude to have a periodic expression of confidence in the Director than rely upon the principle that anyone can call a vote of no confidence at any time: indeed such calls are likely to be more disruptive than a regular reconfirmation, whereas regular reconfirmation would discourage them. In the spirit of not simply voting, such a reconfirmation could also play the role of consultation and feedback. In this way the Director would be more engaged, and more aware of community views on the leadership editors believe FA needs. In turn such regular expressions of community support enhance the legitimacy and authority of the Director's role. Geometry guy 16:41, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  9. Definitely, agree with several of the foregoing. This procedure confers legitimacy on the leader. A regular review will benefit all.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:11, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  10. Brad (talk) 15:53, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  11. Per Elonka and Geometry guy. --JN466 19:17, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  12. Annually Everyking (talk) 19:42, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
  13. Support. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 23:09, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  14. Agree with the above. Acalamari 09:06, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  15. I think a vote every 4-6 months would be appropriate. Go Phightins! (talk) 04:06, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Oppose

  1. Unnecessary, RFCs can be called at any time, no change is needed, setting a specified period for reconfirmation needlessly introduces poltics into a process which is already covered by RFC procedures. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:36, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  2. RFCs are fine Smallbones (talk) 05:13, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  3. No one has demonstrated a need for a solution like this—what is the problem that requires this solution? An RfC is the right tool. Johnuniq (talk) 05:45, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  4. "Unnecessary, RFCs can be called at any time" Bulwersator (talk) 07:15, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  5. We currently have more power than this, and I am unwilling to let my power to recall (or reconfirm) Raul be limited. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:25, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  6. Unnecessary and unhelpful. A term of offices imposes implicit restrictions on the holder, on the community, and adds disruption where none is required. Colin°Talk 08:53, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  7. Doesn't seem necessary. --Rschen7754 09:04, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  8. Not at all required...Modernist (talk) 12:48, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  9. Keeps politics to a minimum. An RFC is always available. Antandrus (talk) 14:42, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  10. Again, the system works as is. --Coemgenus (talk) 15:12, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  11. Per Sandy and others Brianboulton (talk) 17:14, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  12. If Raul did something that required us to get rid of him, I have no questions about the community's ability to grab the pitchforks and light the torches. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 18:38, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  13. Tricky one this. In principle, I agree with Elonka and Johnbod above, but in practice it feels unnecessary. It seems somehow churlish to demand something of a hard-working volunteer they are apparently unwilling to offer. Furthermore, user pages may be a poor guide to the personalities behind them, but Raul does not seem likely to suffer from senility anytime soon (per church secretaries whose "capabilities have long deserted them" below). I do however offer this support in a "Raul-specific" sense, in honour of his contributions to date. It might well be better to have a 2-year tenure of some kind for whoever comes next. Ben MacDui 20:03, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  14. I sympathize with Elonka and John, but like Titoxd, I'm sure the community can locate their pitchforks and torches with all due speed when required. Like Sandy, I agree that specified periods will introduce politics. Do we see all of the FACs promoted and all of the FARs kept in the period immediately before a scheduled reconfirmation to "buy" the electorate? Imzadi 1979  20:43, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  15. It would be exactly the same as asking admins to go through RFA every couple years. I'm opposed to that and opposed to this. Reaper Eternal (talk) 21:03, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  16. Set reconfirmation periods are essentially the same as elections. Dana boomer (talk) 21:39, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  17. Per Antandrus, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 11:14, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  18. I agree with the gist of Sandy's and Dana's comments: slippery slope. If Raul or a delegate pissed a large number of people, the option is there to complain in concert; that is quite flexible enough. I've not noticed remotely unsatisfactory service by any FAC officials. I say: "Well done, guys". Tony (talk) 11:28, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  19. The system does not need to be changed – it works as it is. Cliftonian (talk) 15:32, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  20. As others have said, this does not seem necessary - if Raul needs to be recalled, there are processes by which that can be achieved. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 18:27, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  21. For the avoidance of politics. Raul has been very astute in positioning his role, its one of the reasons that, imo, FAC has been sucessful. Ceoil (talk) 19:17, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  22. The current system works well. Finetooth (talk) 20:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  23. The fact that this RfC is happening suggests the system works. Sarastro1 (talk) 23:51, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  24. Not necessary. Truthkeeper (talk) 00:05, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  25. Absolutely not. Mitch32(Never support those who think in the box) 00:37, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  26. Again, it's not necessary. –Fredddie 00:59, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  27. Cannot see the logic of fixed terms without elections. Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:37, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  28. I'd be open to a three year reconfirmation, but again opens up to politicking. A much more open way is to open an RfC if one is needed. Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:57, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  29. Per my reasoning in the first section. Sven Manguard Wha? 05:53, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  30. As needed. The concept of planned confirmations presents needless bureaucracy at set times. --Laser brain (talk) 16:07, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  31. An unnecessary waste of time and effort. Having a RFC would only be appropriate if and when any problems arise and need community discussion: I've seen no sign of that here and now. . . dave souza, talk 17:12, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  32. Don't see the need for a set time for reconfirmations, it'll just get us into election mode. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:22, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  33. Reconfirming on a set basis is just elections where the first election's winner is already decided. --PresN 00:13, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  34. Lets cut down on the drama for the sake of drama. --Guerillero | My Talk 20:48, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  35. As others have noted, the community is free to review Raul's role if and when concerns arise. There's no need to enact an arbitrary schedule. —David Levy 23:18, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  36. As per the above - there is no need to add arbitrary timeframes to this process. Raul should step aside if and when community consensus dictates, or when his own workload/life dictates - not before. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 15:17, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  37. Armbrust, B.Ed. Let's talkabout my edits? 20:45, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  38. Oppose. Raul's work on featured content has been one of the most effective things about on Wikipedia. As long as he continues to discharge his functions, she should not have to spend time on campaigning to keep the job. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:41, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  39. The community seems capable of a constructive motions of no confidence (or RFC) should the need arise. Gimmetoo (talk) 00:02, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
  40. Graham Colm (talk) 18:29, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
  41. Absolutely no need for this kind of drama. Problems can be addressed if and when they occur. There is no need to throw a spanner into one of the few parts of this project that are working flawlessly just to reassure ourselves that we can do it. Hans Adler 03:06, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
  42. Oppose - I agree with Hans Adler. There's no need to create drama here. — Mr. Stradivarius 03:33, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  43. Oppose – Don't think a strict time period for reconfirmations is needed. As I said above, if editors have an issue with Raul's performance there's nothing stopping them from calling for a new director on FAC talk. The community can then determine whether to go in a different direction. Giants2008 (Talk) 18:41, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  44. Oppose unless every admin voting support is willing to be reconfirmed as well. Hipocrite (talk) 17:56, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  45. Can't see that this would be helpful. the wub "?!" 18:22, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  46. Oppose No need. People are more than capable of creating an ad-hoc RfC if they feel the need to (as evidenced by the fact that we're having one now). --Tango (talk) 22:40, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  47. Oppose. It ain't broke. The Mark of the Beast (talk) 22:43, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  48. Oppose. Introducing any sort of "election cycle" where it's not absolutely necessary is, at best, a pointless distraction, and at worse introducing politics for politics own sake. APL (talk) 00:22, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  49. Oppose Why would we do that? He does a good job. If he ever started doing a bad job, this decision does not prevent us from starting a new discussion. Pointless dramamongering would be prompted, and worse, it'd periodically prompt Raul to reconsider his role. --Dweller (talk) 12:16, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Discussion

  • I asked Raul about this recently, and I think the replies he gave here and here are relevant. I interpret that as Raul seeing the position as his until he decides to relinquish it, something I absolutely disagree with. I've also said more on the talk page of this RfC. Carcharoth (talk) 00:24, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Actually I like Raul's response. Consider the role of secretary in a charity or a church. Often these positions are for a fixed period upon which the person must say whether they want to carry on or stand down, and if they want to stay, then they are re-confirmed in the role. I've seen, and am sure others have too, people in such roles where they no longer "feel like doing it any more" (as Raul puts it). They feel obliged to remain for their term. On the other hand, someone might be rubbish in the role and the group generally feel they can or should do nothing about it until it comes up for renewal. Colin°Talk 08:53, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
      • I am amused by Colin's likening of Raul's role to that of church secretary, but I don't think tha analogy is altogether apt. My experience of people in that or similar roles is that they can be reluctant to relinquish the job even when their capabilities have long deserted them. And nobody dares say to them "your time is up". I am sure that Raul will have the sensitivity not to follow that example. Brianboulton (talk) 17:14, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
        • Hmm. I guess there are benefits to term-limitation too. As you say, we're judging Raul's character (and the community's character) here rather than any future director. Colin°Talk 18:49, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
          • It doesn't even have to be about term limits. It's more the principle of not appointing "for life" and not having to overcome inertia if someone comes along who could do just as good a job and possibly a better job (those who start something off are not always those best placed to take something forward later on). Inertia is famously difficult to overcome on Wikipedia, and I'd hate to think that those with ideas for change were reluctant to broach those ideas because they gain the impression that the FA community and/or director are resistant to change. If someone does have ideas for change, it is not clear whether they should approach Raul or the community that is involved in the FA process. This feeds into what Brian said elsewhere about the need for a forum for this sort of thing that is separate from the main WT:FAC page. The other disadvantage of an open-ended appointment, with no defined point for review, is that it is easy to get into a rut and just drift along. It is a question of balancing the need for stability with the flexibility for change, and having more accountability than just 'it ain't broke, so what's the problem?'. When I asked Raul why he should be reconfirmed, I was hoping for more than 'judge me by what I've done' (I'm paraphrasing from memory). I was hoping for an actual summary of what he has done in the last two years (say). But that discussion should really have happened before the RfC was launched. Carcharoth (talk) 01:33, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Raul has occasionally made comments that seemed to imply that the position is his in perpetuity and includes the authority to make any and all decisions related to the featured article process (with no possibility of being overruled by the community). And while I'll admit that this bothers me, I can think of almost no situations in which he's actually used his purported powers in a manner that seemed inappropriate. In general, he's receptive to input and seeks consensus-backed implementations. —David Levy 23:18, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
    • You are an admin, Carcharoth. Will you stand for reconfirmation? Hipocrite (talk) 17:58, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
      • I think I see the point you are making here (those who are successful at RfA effectively get the admin tools for life), but the role of Featured Article Director is different to that of an administrator in several ways (not least that there is only one FA Director and anyone can, in theory, be an admin - hundreds of admins periodically standing for reconfirmation is different to a single person standing for reconfirmation in a single role). Above, in your !vote, you said "unless every admin voting support is willing to be reconfirmed as well", so I'm not sure quote why you are focusing on me here (unless it is because I !voted first and started the discussion section)? FWIW, the wording of the question itself was agreed by consensus before the RfC started. If your question is serious (and it wasn't just a rhetorical question to make a point), I'm happy to discuss it further, either on the talk page of this RfC, or on my talk page. Carcharoth (talk) 00:26, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
        • My question is both serious and rhetorical to make a point. You apparently have no problems with admins for life, bureaucrats for life, checkuser for life, oversight for life, founder for life, OTRS for life, or any of the other (s)elected positions, but FA director for life? That's "something [you] absolutely disagree with." Pshaw. The FA Director doesn't even have any tools, and could be overthrown by ArbCom in about ten seconds. Hipocrite (talk) 04:56, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

The question, when put in context, is unclear. Is it "Open to review" vs. "not open to review" or is it "review on a timetable" vs. "open to review at any time" ?. North8000 (talk) 11:15, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

It is "review on a timetable", with the timetable to be determined by the closer of this RfC if there's support for a timetable and a clear consensus is visible in the supporting comments. That's why there's a request for those who support this to mention a time period they think would be acceptable. If there's consensus for a periodic review, and no time frame has apparent consensus, a subsequent discussion would be necessary to determine the timetable. The reason there is no "open to review" question on this RfC is because the position is currently open to review by ad hoc RfC -- there's no way it could not be. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:24, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
When I supported periodic reconfirmation above, I assumed it was in addition to being able to review at any time if the situation warranted it. The point of periodic reconfirmation was not to insulate incumbents from criticism and restrict review to specific times, but to ensure that we don't get a situation where things just drift along for a few years with everyone being so busy writing and reviewing that no-one looks at the bigger picture. Carcharoth (talk) 01:52, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I guess my comment made it sound as though the periodic reconfirmation was the only one that would be allowed. You're right; there was no intention in the wording of this question to exclude ad hoc RfCs -- as I said above, that's not possible in any case. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:01, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I guess I could be described as a Wikipedia insider, but an FAC outsider (so far). I found this discussion, but I don't think it's been widely publicized, so its organizers might want to consider whether or not you are really getting a representative sample of editors (or conversely, whether you want one). Anyway, I think that there is a pretty good case that there just isn't a need for a formal, required reconfirmation process, but there is also a case that the Director, as well as the Delegates, have positions of "power" within Wikipedia, and as such, should be subject to feedback from the community, beyond what already occurs at WT:FAC and individual user talk pages, whether they want it or not. We currently have WP:ADREV as a purely voluntary process for administrators. Perhaps a similar dedicated page for the Director and Delegates, with nothing binding on them but with a dedicated space for editor feedback, would be both helpful to the FAC process and also increase the confidence of the community in it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:33, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
    I'm hesitant to ask for a site notice because it's not clear to me that this justifies it, but I'll do so if enough people suggest I should; and Alarbus indicated an interest in doing so independently. I also thought of the main page, but the talk page there is specifically restricted to main page topics. Are there other locations you can think of that could be used to publicize this? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 00:31, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Is there a form of site notice that only gets displayed to editors logged-in? If there isn't, then there probably should be one. I'd support a notice that went to all editors, but certainly not a notice to that went to all readers. I don't think that would generate anything other than a big global "meh". Colin°Talk 08:55, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
      See Previous revision of MediaWiki talk:Watchlist-details. It's not been acted on, resulting in lopsided participation. Alarbus (talk) 09:38, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
      An entry at centralized discussion is normal for RFCs I think. Many people who are clearly aware of the debate, & were involved in the discussions prior to it, have chosen not to vote yet. You for example. Johnbod (talk) 10:07, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
      This is supposed to be a request for comment, not a request for votes. See also: WP:Polls are evil. Alarbus (talk) 10:30, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
      Very convenient that you should say that after it doesn't go the way you wanted despite two months of guerrilla campaigning. Raul654 (talk) 14:35, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
      "Featured Article Director of the English Wikipedia, 2004–present" is on your resume, right? Be honest.
      Now go add a notice to the watchlists. Unless you're concerned about more participation in this... Alarbus (talk) 14:46, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
      On my CV, there's a list of 4 Wikipedia-related events I attended, only one of which (Bag Lunch: Users as Editors: What's the Key to Quality Social Media Content?” Software and Information Industry Association, December 5, 2007) was even tangentially related to FA. There's nothing Wikipedia-related on my resume at all. As for bringing in a whole bunch of non-FA people here to discuss how FA should run, I've already had to deal on my talk page with one ignorant person who, as Moni commented, [uses] bombast, hyperbole, and other melodramatic language to make up for not having this knowledge. I'm not especially keen to fill up this RFC with lots more people who don't know what they are commenting on. Raul654 (talk) 15:02, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
      so much for "requesting outside input". Alarbus (talk) 15:14, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
      If this RFC is open for 10+ days, then I am certain that anyone with any recent interest in or knowledge of the FA system will have seen it, and either have commented or decided not to. If Alarbus seriously imagines that there is an array of "outside" WP editors, longing to express opinions about how the FA process is run and burning with suggestions on how to improve it but denied from doing so by some deliberate exclusion policy, then I'm afraid he is deluded. Brianboulton (talk) 16:30, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Looking back here, I feel sorry that my earlier comment mainly led to discussion about publicity for the RfC, which was actually just a part of what I said. (For what it's worth, I think a watchlist notice would be a bad idea, bringing in too many users favoring an uninformed vision of "democracy", but a listing on CENT might be reasonable.) But what really strikes me as more to the point is that (1) I don't think the existing system is broken, and (2) it's clear from some of the comments on this page that there is a perception of cliquishness in the process. Perceptions can matter. Perceptions can also be remedied. It strikes me as a sort of public relations issue, in which the "public" in this case are the editors who propose pages for FAC. There ought to be a way of reassuring the community that the process is actually not cliquish. I don't know whether the remedy is an ADREV-like process that I suggested above, an annual report that someone else suggests below, or something else, but it seems to me that the biggest lesson coming out of this RfC is the value of constructing something along those lines, rather than changing the leadership structure. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:24, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  • It's clear that better communications/publications/outreach/hospitality/record keeping/history pages/information/FAQ are needed (if, as you say, for nothing else than to combat perceptions, but also to rebuild FAC to what it was before the lengthy arbitration issues affecting FAC that culminated in 2010, and to revitalize it). Without getting into the reasons the Dispatches (which served that purpose) cratered, one (of the many) thing(s) I'll be proposing is that the Featured article process starts its own newsletter, so we're not subject to deadlines and editorial stances of The Signpost. But, some folks will need to pitch in to make it (and more) happen-- only a few of us were doing all the work on the Dispatches. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:42, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

General discussion of the FA director role[edit]

This section is for general discussion of the FA director role.

Comment I'm sure this has been said before, but I'll be brief: elections are emotionally charged, as is the process of having your research and writing criticized and rejected. The two will affect one another, and degenerate the quality that this process is supposed to entail. This is the same reason why elected politicians never try to do something daring; their job security is a couple years at best. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 04:13, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm not against elections per se - they are just not needed under the current circumstances. I hope that well before he leaves Raul will try to set up some succession system and get general input and approval for it. I'm afraid a general RFC type of system might have all the faults of a simple election and none of the clarity. It all depends how the election is set up. A reasonable system might be to have a troika rather than have a single director. Each with a three year staggered term. The general goal would be to have change (every system needs it), but no single election would upset the apple cart. No one of the three would be tempted to promise "I'll change this ...", since they simply couldn't deliver. They'd be forced to simply say "These are my priorities and I'll do my best to get them accomplished." Well, I'm not arguing for a specific system, just saying the the system can be changed with the goal of minimizing conflicts in the selection procedure. And it is simply not needed right now. Smallbones (talk) 05:27, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Neither of the above comments really relate to a discussion of the FA director's role, so let me kick off. As defined by Raul the role seems essentially a book-keeping one, the only directorial element being the appointment of delegates. When this leadership question has been resolved, the priority will be to restore the FA process to its best levels of service, and I believe the director should be an active and visible part of that process. The "if it ain't broke..." mindset, so frequently evidenced above and elsewhere, can become a recipe for never changing anything until it is terminally defunct; why not seek to maintain and improve what is good before it turns bad? When the current dust has settled, I would welcome a brief "vision" statement from the director. I would also like to see him/her lead a forum in which ideas for maintaining the health of the FA process (FA/FAC/TFA etc) can be sure of considered debate, not just slapped down. (I mean a controlled forum, not the FAC talkpage). If the director feel it necessary to remain detached from such day-to-day discussions, perhaps a liaison delegate should be appointed to handle such matters? Brianboulton (talk) 16:58, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

  • I don't know what you mean by "book-keeping". Raul's personal hands-on work concentrates on TFA, sorting the blurbs, and so on. This is out of sight for most of us compared to FAC, where he rarely intervenes, but involves a considerable amount of work. This is a perfectly acceptable way of ordering matters, it seems to me, and probably preferable to, say, having the director run FAC hands-on, with a delegate doing TFA. But it has the disadvantage that many are not aware of him much, and so recent criticisms of his supposed inactivity. Johnbod (talk) 17:07, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Raul's personal work in connection with TFA is of course acknowledged, but it cannot properly be described as "directorial", and I believe that this role has now largely been delegated, correctly so in my view. But that is not the main issue I am raising. I would like to know Raul's vision (if it is he); I would like a climate in which one is free to discuss how FA/FAC/TFA might be improved without being presumed to be rocking the leadership boat. I would like to hear the director's wise counsel, should the process again come under attack as it did last year. Such attacks suck all the energy from the system; I don't want to see that happening again. Circumstances evolve, and if an attitude is fostered whereby nothing is ever changed or even questioned, the process will inevitably become weaker over time. Brianboulton (talk) 18:04, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
      • I am confused by your question, Brian (so I can speculate that Raul may be as well). We had a long leadup to the 2010 RFC, that resulted in changes to several FAC procedures, and we've had similar many times before. I could put out a verrrry long list of improvements that we could make to FAC, and we could RFC those proposals, and I could do all of that without "attacking" anyone or any group of editors active at FAC, and without finger-pointing and name-calling and failing to understand the process-- things that result in disrupting FAC, denigrating FA writers, de-motivating reviewers, etc. ... in short, a good faith attempt to change FAC is well recognized, while proposals that are founded in nothing and based on attacking groups of editors are also easily recognized, but if the community is silent each time that happens and doesn't take those folks to RFC, what can be done? ... so I'm not sure what you're specifically asking. Raul has always been open to discussion, and has changed horses mid-stream many times-- if someone in good faith points out changes that are needed (as I started out to do in the New Year when I raised several issues that led up to this RFC and intend to resume once this phase is settled :) it's not a problem. We have processes that deal with good faith proposals for changes and improvements, and they've worked before. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:01, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
        • I am not really asking a question, I'm stating a tentative three-fold viewpoint about the director's role which may be summarised thus: (1) I would like to see Raul (let us assume it is he) in a more visible role, particularly in circumstances when the FA/FAC/TFA process is under sustained attack; (2) it would be useful to know Raul's vision for the FAC process during the forthcoming years; that would provide a reference point for discussions about improving the process, and (3) I would like to see a better framework for discussions relating to these improvements. Sandy assures me that we have such processes and that they've worked before; that may be so, but my own experience tends to be that anything raised on the FAC talkpage turns into a discussion about something else. Maybe I choose the wrong place. My views are not in any respect an attack on a system which I have repeatedly asserted is not failing and has much to be proud about. Brianboulton (talk) 22:38, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Just noting briefly that (as should be obvious from what I've said here and elsewhere) that I agree wholeheartedly with what Brian says here. I may try and pull together some of what I said earlier, but Brian has covered most of the main points (forward planning and vision, liaison and outreach work, visible presence, avoiding inertia). The only point not covered is whether the director needs recent experience in contributing to featured articles and in reviewing featured article candidates. Possibly not, as that is more something the delegates need, but that is something I think should be discussed - is it possible for the director and delegates to lose touch with the nuts and bolts of writing and reviewing, and should they consider sabbaticals to regain that experience, especially as standards change over time? Carcharoth (talk) 02:14, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
      • I would generally concur that the things Carcharoth mentions would be things I would hope to have at the FA processes, just as the atmosphere that Brian mentions is crucial to attracting good people, and having them stay. That being said, I'm out of ideas about how to get there from here.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:55, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Has anyone put these questions to Raul on his talk page, or attempted in some forum to ask Raul about potential changes in the director/delegate positions that were not predicated upon replacing him? Such as, "Raul, X number of people at FAC/FAR/TFA agree that the processes seem to be stalled. We would like to see more of a leadership position either from you or the delegates. Specifically, we would like you to communicate with us more frequently, by updating us on X, Y, and Z, at AA intervals; and we would like you, the delegates, or all of us to come up with a 2-year plan to achieve Things 1, 2, and 3." Normally, I'd also put a "If you are unable or unwilling to respond as the community would like" consequence--as dependent upon the resolve of the FA regulars, but in light of the recent fracas about replacing Raul, I'm going to decline that right now and just suggest crossing one bridge at a time. --Moni3 (talk) 18:40, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't know if that's necessary (Raul avoids acting as a "dictator"), and I'm confused why Wehwalt is "out of ideas", because I've got millions. This is not the time and place, and when I tried (in the New Year), discussion was sidetracked, but there is no shortage of things that can be tried and proposed, if the shooting stops (that is, the history of what led to the decline after 2009 repeated itself at the end of 2011-- you don't build up FAC by chasing away writers and reviewers and denigrating them. Plenty can be done-- but that is for WT:FAC, not here). I personally appreciate that Raul lets the community decide, but think we could use more help when/if we ever again see a repeat of what happened in 2009 and at the end of 2011, where FAC was certainly disrupted, and we lost lots of reviewers and writers. All for another discussion. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:00, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Very well, Sandy, I look forward with interest as to how you propose to assure the things I spoke of. We can probably close this after the minimum time, and then I will be looking forward to seeing what you have to say.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:10, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I know you don't mean that we should close this in the next couple of days, but this seems like a good opportunity for me to say that I don't think this should be closed any earlier than about ten days, regardless of the number of supports and opposes, and that it should probably run rather longer than that. There were twelve people who supported the idea of elections in one of the earlier straw polls, and I think only one has so far commented here; with that level of support we need to be sure that we've left this open long enough that those who support elections have time to find this and comment. It's also the case that Alarbus, at least, was hoping for much wider publicity, including a site notice; I'm not sure this RfC would qualify for a site notice, but if it happens it would bring a lot of people here. This should stay open until either the site notice has happened or it has been turned down or it's clear nobody is going to request one. Finally, just because of the contentious nature of the discussions, I think the RfC should stay open long enough to avoid any possible complaint about an early close preventing others from commenting. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 20:36, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Note: Alarbus wanted wide publicity for a general discussion on FAC. He specifically did not want the discussion limited to a poll on Raul or restricted to leadership. After claiming this RFC lacked legitimacy, he's probably not interested in participating in it or publicising it. Colin°Talk 09:00, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
That would be original research. Please don't speak for me. Alarbus (talk) 09:34, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I see you've requested a watchlist notice. I'm pleasantly surprised and have corrected my statement above. I haven't fixed the "he's probably not interested in participating in it" because all the evidence so far is very much agreeing with that one. But I'm willing to strike that too if you want to prove me wrong. Colin°Talk 16:39, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Certainly there are several days more before we need consider any such thing.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:04, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
What part isn't necessary? The consequences part or the actual communicating how some of the FA regulars wish the project could be different? The latter part seems to be pretty important to communicate quite clearly, not only the parts that FA regulars wish to see, but how important it appears to be that these changes be put into place. I agree this isn't the place to do it, but it's pretty simple as to how to go about achieving it. --Moni3 (talk) 19:18, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
(ec) One thing to be conscious of is the wearines of discussion, burnout and alienation of reviewers and writers alike, so I hope we can proceed at a calm pace, tackling things one at a time, trying to avoid more burden on the already discussion weary, not trying to solve everything in a blitzkreig.IMO (FWIW) FAC experienced a high level of productivity, camraderie and collaboration in 2008 and early 2009, but never recovered from the disruption visited upon it in 2009 and into 2010; it may take time to rebuild, but I believe it can be done if we can stem disruption and keep discussions focused. @ Moni, the part that I'm not sure is necessary is asking Raul to "dictate" or "direct" the discussions-- it's perhaps my own bias, but I have always appreciated how Raul let's the community decide, and doesn't exercise his position with a heavy hand. He really respects consensus, and stays out unless he's needed. My suggestion is that he can step in more quickly if we again see the kind of disruption we've seen twice now in FAC's recent history. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:22, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think Raul should dictate anything, merely be aware of and acknowledge that FA regulars wish the processes were different in specific ways. He shouldn't be responsible for enacting all the changes either. There's nothing anyone here shouldn't suggest without being willing to do part of it themselves. Raul clearly has a less is more approach to communication, so it's likely that he would not be aware of the different issues FA regulars are discussing. He needs to know what is being proposed. If he has objections, perhaps FA regulars don't have all the info, or rather FA regulars can get creative in overcoming potential problems. The issue here is accurately communicating what people want to see, as well as the desire to see it different. If Raul doesn't wish to be the one in constant communication, then someone else does the updating or whatever. None of what I'm referencing is about Raul dictating. Just being more of a presence in these forums. --Moni3 (talk) 19:30, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I think we three are in general agreement that if Raul were seen more, it would be a good thing. He does not have to engage in the discussions, if that is not his style; but it would be wise if he showed awareness of them at WT:FAC and similar areas. In that way, he would be seen to be doing something, which is certainly preferable to the alternative!--Wehwalt (talk) 19:51, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

This may seem like silly question to some, but why is there only one director? Yes, we have delegates, but why couldn't there be two or three directors who each have their own set of delegates? –Fredddie 01:03, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

why couldn't there be two or three directors who each have their own set of delegates - what you're describing is a committee, which (as anyone who has ever served on one can tell you) is probably the least effective way run something. Raul654 (talk) 15:04, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Is the role of the FA director written down anywhere? And am I correct in my belief that the delegates have the same authority as the FA director? Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:46, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

The role is explained at the top of this page, in essence. As to your second question, no: the director has oversight of the entire FA process (and all the delegates), whereas the delegates have limited "authority" to act in a particular subdomain - FAC, FAR, or TFA. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:13, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

A small proposal[edit]

I agree wholeheartedly with Raul that the Director role should be descriptive rather than prescriptive. In that spirit, I'd like to propose a small change to the description to better reflect the practice. The notion of a FAC or FAR Delegate refers to their historical origins as editors entrusted by Raul to carry out parts of the Director's job on his behalf. However, in practice they are appointments made by the Director subject to community approval. Furthermore, as far as I am aware, Raul does not anymore wish to be actively involved in the regular management of FAC and FAR closures. An obvious benefit of this position is that the Director is at a distance from the processes, and hence always available to scrutinize them or hear appeals impartially. I submit, consequently, that the concept of "Delegate" at FAC and FAR has become something of an historical anachronism, and it might better be retitled FAC or FAR "Coordinator" or "Appointee". One could also argue that TFA is heading (or should be heading) in the same direction, so that there is a clear separation of roles between the oversight, leadership and responsibility of the Director, and the day-to-day management of the components of FA.

I therefore propose that the Delegates become "FAC or FAR Coordinators, appointed by the FA Director, subject to community approval" and that the Director's position should involve the responsibility for making such appointments, rather than a notional role at FAC and FAR which is then delegated. Such a small adjustment, consistent with current practice, could go some way to addressing perceptions or misperceptions that FA is resistant to change, while adding clarity, independence and perhaps even new energy to the various roles. Geometry guy 17:39, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree, but I suspect if the process is dragged out any longer, or a new RfC is launched after this one to make such a cosmetic change, that might do more harm than good. Maybe spend a few weeks working on and discussing possible follow-ups on the leadership aspects, and/or try and work it into the RfCs that will follow this one (the discussions on actual elements of the FA process, rather than just the leadership). Me, I'd add "should the FA director and the FA community engage in periodic reviews of the FA process (possibly including reconfirmations of the director and delegates if needed)?" as one question to ask (continual review would still be possible, but the idea is to avoid years passing with no formal reviews - part of the reason TCO's review made such a splash, I think, is because there had been no recent internal review by the director or delegates to counter what was said there). I'd also note that though proposal 3 is currently getting more opposition than support, it is getting more support than the other two, and I hope this gets taken into account. I'd also like to know when the last proper formal audit and review of the FA process was done (e.g. an annual report of numbers of FAs and stats on promotions and demotions). I found some signs of it in the FA dispatches of 2007 and 2008, but was anything done after that? Carcharoth (talk) 18:16, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
The discussion was about the director, rather than the delegates. I assumed that if the director was replaced, that a new director could replace all the delegates with her own appointments. This new proposal seems to have two parts: (1) removing the director from day-to-day management and (2) requiring appointments of delegates to be subject to community approval. The first seems cumbersome to me in forcing the director to work through the delegates. If, for example, a delegate leaves suddenly, even temporarily, a post might become unfilled for some time, as an immediate replacement would not be at hand. The second brings up the issue of what constitutes "community approval". My first thought was of an RfA style process in which the director nominates delegates and the community registers approval, but this may not be what you intend. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:38, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this section of the RfC is entitled "General discussion of the FA Director role", which means that such discussion is deemed appropriate for this RfC, so lets discuss it, rather than second guess what might do more harm than good!
At present the Director role includes the role of the delegates, as the latter are deemed to be carrying out parts of the Director's job on his/her behalf. This is what I consider to be anachronistic, and anyone who believes that discussion of the Director's role does not include the delegates is implicitly concurring that this is an anachronism.
As stated at the beginning of the proposal, my intention is to describe the role more accurately, not propose anything fundamentally new. Any Director who wants to be involved in FAC and/or FAR on a daily basis could in principle include themselves among the coordinators, although in my view, it is better if they reserve that option for exceptional situations such as those which concern Hawkeye7. Regarding "community approval", I am merely describing what happens at present: the Director proposes appointees at WT:FAC and invites comments. I don't recall this ever requiring some sort of RfA style process, as the community support has been manifest. Geometry guy 21:11, 22 January 2012 (UTC)


From my experience as a delegate, I communicated with Raul when there was a) the need for a new delegate, b) when Sandy and I were both COId on an FAC and needed someone to close it, and c) when Sandy and I saw a pattern of disruption/potential disruption that we wanted to bring to his attention. For everything else, we operated based on community consensus, and I think it would have been difficult to have a dictator trying to give alternative instructions. Sandy and I (and later Laser Brain and Ucucha) also did very, very little coordination behind the scenes. We tried to be as transparent as possible. Karanacs (talk) 16:59, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Follow-up questions[edit]

Moni was quite right above to point out that people should be more proactive about going to Raul's talk page and asking him questions if they have them, though it would help if it was clearer when to ask questions of the FA community and when to ask questions of the director and his delegates. Anyway, I recently posted a set of follow-up questions to Raul, and I'm posting this diff here so those following this page are aware of the questions asked. Carcharoth (talk) 01:16, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Update: Raul replied here and I replied here. Full thread is here and any more comments made before archiving should be here. Carcharoth (talk) 07:56, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Annual feedback[edit]

I would like to see a yearly (Dispatches-style?) report back from the Director and delegates in each area on how each process is going: statistics, thoughts, reviewer levels, points to improve in reviews, etc. Reflect out to the community the coalface knowledge that the delegates acquire. Perhaps provide it in mid-January, giving a bit of time to collate and without having it lost in early December hubbub. It could then be used for a general community discussion on what might be improved for the new year. Iridia (talk) 03:51, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I'll be proposing-- among other things-- that the Featured article process start its own newsletter, for better communications on things just like this. Help will be needed to put that together! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:24, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Great idea. I think that help will not be lacking... Brianboulton (talk) 00:11, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Wonderful! Iridia (talk) 00:53, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
It is a lot of work, so help will be needed. I recall that there was a time when Sandy kept track of review comments on a regular basis, but I've forgotten the details (although my information is all onwiki somewhere!). Such monitoring by FAC coordinators could be used to provide helpful feedback to reviewers. Geometry guy 01:21, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I can fill you in :) It wasn't just me-- Maralia helped me once, and I think (?? can't remember??) Ealdgyth helped me once. For four months, we went through every FAC archived or promoted, scored the helpfulness of the reviews (vis-a-vis the final outcome), and awarded the top 10 reviewers each month. That work took days-- it was seriously hard work. I would have continued it, but some (who know history :) may recall that it became difficult for me to reward or recognize good reviewers because it was then claimed that they were part of some "FAC clique". Which meant we stopped recognizing reviewers. Among other things. The effect of folks being allowed to denigrate FAC. In other words, someone other than delegates will have to do this sort of thing, since the finger-pointing about "favoritism" cliques" and "FAC cabal" made it impossibe for me to continue to show appreciation to those who did all the work. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:31, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Was it only four months? (I mean the information gathering, not the "top 10 per month" award.) Anyway, something similar happens at PR without causing any complaint, but how information is used and communicated is as important as what information is collected. For instance, reviewers may simply want to know that their reviewing is helpful, rather than whether they are among the very best. It is definitely worth revisiting whether similar information could be used in a widely encouraging way, without drawing criticism for cliquishness. Geometry guy 02:08, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I want to review the very best, like other reviewers has. To review them is my real test; to support them is my cause. I want to traverse the disciplines, searching far and wide. Each review to understand, the quality that's inside. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:30, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
That is quite possibly the most awesome reference on this page. Nikkimaria (talk) 04:01, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  • If there is any sort of review of reviewers, one way to forestall charges of The Cabal etc. would be to let reviewers opt out. They could opt all the way out, i.e., "I don't want to take up your time; don't even look at my reviews." Or they could opt half the way out: "I would be honored and grateful if you look at my reviews as you do that task, and offer me any thoughts you have to spare etc., but please don't put my name on any list of honor." One way to keep it real with the rewards would be to list the top 10, but leave blank spaces for those who opt halfway out. That may seem counter-intuitive, as editors would then perhaps be unable to be #1, but if I am any example of common human responses, I know I would be more motivated by a desire to knock that anonymous twit off his throne than by being an (undeserved) #1 ... As for a FAC newsletter – ye gods, I wish I could edit FT. That would be something I'd love to help with. Maybe next year. Meanwhile, all the best –OneLeafKnowsAutumn (talk) 04:59, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  • This discussion is moving somewhat away from the role of the director to the role of the reviewer, and should perhaps be continued elsewhere. Before it is, may I just say that in my view nominators need educating on the process of preparing an article for FAC, at least as much as reviewers do on the process of reviewing. Most of the articles that become mini-epics on the FAC page were simply not prepared with sufficient attention to the criteria. Brianboulton (talk) 06:53, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Amen. –OneLeafKnowsAutumn (talk) 10:58, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Yep-- we have bits and pieces of information everywhere-- some in Dispatches, some at WP:FAS and its talk, some in Ealdgyth's userspace, some in Nikkimaria's, some in mine, some in reviewer guides, some in the instructions that new nominators rarely read, etc. I relied on the The Dispatches via The Signpost in 2008 and 2009 as a place to publish updates, stats, reviews and added a template to the FAC talk. That's history. We need our own space, and a committed effort to designing our own newsletter to cover all of this, plus outreach, hospitality, FAQ, and more. But, on the subject of the Reward culture, I continue to think it just doesn't work. EONS (years) ago-- when it GOCE was brand new-- I raised at the WP:GOCE that they were spinning their wheels editing copyvio and non-reliably sourced articles. Today, in a "reward culture" push, we see editors there halfway copyediting articles (and removing the tags when the articles still need attention) whose text should be mostly deleted, and putting their work up for an award contest. I used to review reviewers with a specific set of criteria relative to the outcome of the FAC (not just quantity), hopefully to avoid rewards based only on how many nominations were reviewed. We don't want quantity over quality.

    We have a lot to do on this newsletter; I hope many folks will be involved, as there are many "departments" that will need coverage.

    Another thing to consider is delegating or electing clerks for the tedious tasks that can really sap delegate time. I spend as much time updating the Urgents, pinging for image reviews, pinging for source reviews, making sure nominations are in order, etc, as I do reading articles! I used to do all of that for Raul before I was a delegate-- as well as run through every nomination on the page at least twice a week to highlight what was needed still. There has always been a subset of routine tasks that anyone could do, and often one person does them without being asked-- and that is an indication of who would make a good delegate. But we can't keep relying on just a couple of editors to carry the lion's share of the work-- gotta figure out how to get more of that covered by more editors (I suggested yesterday that the single thing that MilHist could do to speed up their FAC turnaround, since they are one of the largest nominating groups, is train someone over there in image reviews and sourcechecks). Without Jappalang, Elcobbola, others, it's a matter of time before we have a big image blowup on the main page errors report, like we haven't seen in years. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:03, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Sandy, if I return to normal editing, I have noted what you've said about MilHist and spotchecks. I have previously published regarding plagiarism in their newsletter (in the spotcheck mode); and have put a fair bit of effort into indicating how to check source quality with them. But I have noted this, and will act on it if I return to normal editing. Thanks, Fifelfoo (talk) 01:38, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I would strongly support such an initiative, both an annual review and a regular newsletter. This is what I was hinting at when I said earlier "I'd also like to know when the last proper formal audit and review of the FA process was done (e.g. an annual report of numbers of FAs and stats on promotions and demotions). I found some signs of it in the FA dispatches of 2007 and 2008, but was anything done after that?". This will also provide documentation to point at when others do their own analysis which may or may not be of comparable quality and may or may not reach similar conclusions. The right balance will still need to be struck between navel-gazing and outreach and not letting it be a timesink. The emphasis should be on encouraging high-quality throughput of nominations and reviews. And getting on to the subject of reviews, I don't think a ranking table for reviewers is a good idea. A better idea would be for the delegates at both FAC and FAR (after asking the reviewers and nominators) to collectively pick a couple of what they thought were the best and most incisive reviews and to explain why the reviews were good (i.e. deconstruct the reviews with reference to the criteria). This would help spread better reviewing practices, and could also help people be more aware of common mistakes made both by nominators and reviewers. This might then also spark (productive) community discussion where needed. Carcharoth (talk) 08:15, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Since you've posted before to the talk page of WP:FAS, I thought you already knew where to find those stats; they could be more effectively listed in a newsletter, since it seems many people miss them, and some data that was already available at WP:FAS was reconstructed recently at WT:FAC-- another indication that our informtion is spread across too many pages and we might better consolidate with a newsletter. More can and will be done-- once someone comes forward to replace Dr pda, who hasn't been editing and did useful indepth analysis. I've never seen a "ranking table" of reviewers, don't think such a thing could be done or would be useful or helpful, and I wouldn't recommend such a thing, as it would be likely to offend. Deconstructing a good review is a good idea for a newsletter-- deconstructing a less helpful review would be even more instructive, but can't be done without the risk of offense. It's much simpler to say that unhelpful reviews are those that don't engage WIAFA, or reviews that go on longer than the article itself without the reviewer ever entering a declaration of Support or Oppose (that is, peer review). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 09:27, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

I like the idea of an annual report and/or a quarterly newsletter. Many of us participate in only one subset - it could be interesting to see FAC and FAR and TFA stats together. I would not go so far as the detailed analysis of helpful reviews (that is a timesink), but it may not take too much to analyze number of reviews per promoted/archived FAC, number of reviews from someone outside that wikiproject, number of TFAs per wikiproject, viewing stats for TFAs, average length (and outliers) for articles between promotion and demotion, general trends that we're seeing articles lacking in (the Milhist example above). There are a lot of stats of that kind that we may be able to get a bot to help us calculate and could provide some useful information for starting to identify issues. Karanacs (talk) 16:58, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Image and spotchecks[edit]
I for one would be happy to see feedback, good or bad, on reviews. BTW, just to comment on the 'MilHist example' point, as I've mentioned elsewhere to Sandy, a number of reviewers at MilHist A-Class level do image checks and spotchecks, what we haven't been doing is providing a link back to those when nominating the same articles at FAC, and that's something we can do if it will aid the FAC delegates/reviewers. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:41, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Is there any point in giving A-class articles the full FAC go-over when the majority of A-class articles cannot become featured, even if of sufficient quality? Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:18, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Well we don't we quite give articles the full FAC go-over at ACR -- although we're spot-checking more often, we don't always, and the image and MOS checking may not be as rigorous. A-Class articles are supposed to be of near-FAC quality at minimum, but not all are destined to go the next step. As you say, even those of FAC quality may not get there because of the one-FAC-at-a-time-per-editor limit. My point was that if image/spotchecks have been done at ACR, then it sounds like we should mention/link them in the nom. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:33, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "...the majority of A-class articles cannot become featured, even if of sufficient quality". Who? What? Where? When? And the $64,000 question: Why not? You know, I am seeing tons upon tons of bitterness here from a number of editors. There can only be one explanation for this bitterness, at least as far as I can fathom: failed FAs. I want to know which articles were rejected as FA, and where, and when, and why. I don't think this thread is relevant to the header it's under, so perhaps a different thread or even a different forum would be better. But this bitterness needs to see whether it can stand up to the light of objective examination. If it can, then systemic changes may be needed. If it can't, then it is just sore loser/bad form/poor sportsmanship, or something similar. If the only reason is the one-FAC-at-a-time-per-editor limit (I mention this possibility only because it was mentioned above, by Ian Rose), then I would say this: perhaps in some Utopian world, that constraint would be considered inherently unfair, but in a world of extremely scarce reviewer resources, it is in fact the fairest (or very nearly the fairest) way to deal with things. –OneLeafKnowsAutumn (talk) 01:45, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Whoa there, OneLeaf! I didn't notice any bitterness in Hawkeye's observation, and he has had many successful FACs. If you need clarity on what he meant, I'd suggest asking him rather than reading too much into his brief words above... ;-) Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 02:46, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I did ask – see all those question marks? And if you're suggesting it should be done on Hawkeye's talk page, see my comment about fora. And if you're wondering why I smelled bitterness, I think the words "even if" in the phrase "even if of sufficient quality" sets up a condition in which the failure of some FACs (presumably, specific ones known to Hawkeye) is framed as being contrary to Hawkeye's expectations. This state of being contrary to expectations opens up two relevant questions: Why does Hawkeye think they were they failed? What is the relevance to him of their failure? The most easily/intuitively accessible answers to those questions are "because of some unfairness or systemic problem" and "he feels a sense of frustration or injustice". And so on. –OneLeafKnowsAutumn (talk) 04:00, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I'll bite-- I have no idea what the last three of you are talking about. Can I get in on this? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:51, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Heh, I'm not sure it's worth getting in on but if you follow the thread from where (I think) it began, it's really all your fault Sandy... ;-) You mentioned image/spotchecks in MilHist, Karan picked up on it in her last comment above, I clarified, Hawkeye briefly responded to me, I responded to Hawkeye, OneLeaf picked up on something Hawkeye said and that's about where you came in again...! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:29, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • It is not a matter of failure; "even if of sufficient quality". It is a matter of throughput. There are current 340 A-class MilHist articles. If we assume 17 nominators, and a month to review each featured article candidate, then it would take over two years to review them all. Hawkeye7 (talk) 04:41, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Ah, then it's a question that should be taken up at WT:MILHIST. I suggest that many of the A's are pseudo-A's, if they have not been at least to some degree checked for (for example) image compliance, copyvio, etc. I would suggest setting up a rigorous checklist, and see which articles have at least been given a once-over for every item on the list. Those that haven't... but again, that's all to be hashed out at WT:MILHIST, not here... –OneLeafKnowsAutumn (talk) 06:31, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I guess I'm not going to get an answer to my query then, and I will remain in the dark on this conversation. So, does most of this belong on talk, instead of here? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:35, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Sandy, Sandy, do I need to get a bigger signature block -- it seems to be getting missed alot these days... ;-) Already responded to your previous query as best I could above -- the only thing that particularly mattered to me in this thread is what I said in my reply to Karanacs' last post, i.e. if the FAC delegates would like to see prior image and spotcheck reviews (e.g. at MilHist ACR) linked in FAC noms (e.g. here). Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 22:35, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Allrighty then, unclear what many of the posts above are about, so will speculate, picking up on several themes: SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:09, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

  1. FAC reviews might process more quickly if it standardized a means of linking previous image reviews and sourcechecks that occurred in other processes or previous FACs, and instituted some method of recordkeeping on previous spotchecks that occurred for repeat nominators. (Now, most of the list of "who has had a thorough spot check of sources" is in my head-- not a very good place for recordkeeping :) That's not to say we should become lax at FAC, though; it's just to provide easier access to what has already been done. (Side note, I know of at least three MilHist GA/A-class articles that have improperly licensed images, that would not likely pass FAC-- quality of image reviews is spotty throughout Wikipedia content review processes, partly because we just don't have enough knowledgeable image reviewers, it's hard work, and they often leave, dejected. Just because an article has passed A-class elsewhere doesn't mean it will sail through FAC quickly. We still have to take care that, just because something passed GA or A-class, it doesn't get an automatic pass.) Still, if nominators linked to previous reviews, it might speed up the work needed at FAC, as well as shine light on issues that aren't being detected elsewhere. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:13, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
  2. On the one-nom-at-a-time issue, please see the 2010 RFC. It was demanded by "the community" (19 to 4) largely (IMO) as a kneejerk response to abuse from two users and WikiCup issues. I did not support (several MilHist editors did); I felt that requirement restricted delegate discretion-- that is, to prevent the abusive nominators from using FAC as peer review, while allowing responsible nominators to put up more than one nomination. So, I still haven't understood the reference above to "it's really all your fault Sandy ... " but I hope the next delegate isn't shot at for upholding "community" consensus, even when the delegate disagreed with the consensus. I always thought it unfair that nominators who were all over FAC, reviewing and helping others, had to be held back because of the abuses of a mere handful, who never review, and treated FAC as peer review. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:09, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
    1. Thanks for that, Sandy, it was just the response I was after when I posted this, which started off this last thread (eons ago, it seems)! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:19, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
    2. Just to be clear, the one-nom-at-a-time thing came up after the image/spotcheck thing, and "all your fault, Sandy" had nothing to do with it. Per this, it was my light-hearted way of telling you that you inadvertently helped kick off the very thread you found confusing, when you mentioned image/spotchecks re. MilHist -- no-one is "blaming" you for one-nom-at-a-time at all. My apologies if a sense of humour/irony, even punctuated with a winking smiley face, doesn't always work on a page like this! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:19, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
      Thanks Ian ... I thought I was losing my mind ... oh, wait! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:00, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

A third way[edit]

Deciding featured articles by *community* consensus instead of any group (unelected or elected) making decisions "for the people"?

Perhaps a third option might be the best one, the way to move forward being to decide Featured Articles on consensus by the community as major decisions on Wikipedia are generally meant to be taken in? :) Rather than any one individual having the power to decide things "for the people" :) It seems a bit like doing things for the sake of tradition, "it's always been this way", "the tradition" rather than what's better, but at the same time it's always been from the very start - other than a few oddities like this situation - for the community to decide things themselves as a group, to form consensus: Really, there should be no kings in Wikipedia - something Jimbo agrees on, even voluntarily giving up his founder permissions previously: Because he thinks the community should decide things themselves. :) Raul654 has said to people proposing a more consenus-based approach "such behavior will not be tolerated. Consider yourself warned" which to me seems an excessively aggressive attitude for an administrator to take, a battleground mentality - WP:BATTLEGROUND - that some administrators seem to fall into, sometimes without even realising. There should not be an atmosphere on Wikipedia that criticism should not be tolerated, there should not be messages of intimidation being left for "dissenters" - people should be able to discuss things openly on Wikipedia itself and small groups of established editors - which happens naturally when power is concentrated rather than needing any conspiracy, just due to how human nature is - should not be deciding independent of the community what they think the community wants without consensus because it only leads to bad things happening due to human nature. --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 01:25, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

This is how things are done now. Bureaucrats are the editors selected to weigh the consensus at RfA, and administrators are the editors selected to weigh the consensus at XfD processes. Yes, I know that there are non-admin closures, but for the most part, its the admins that do closures. For FAC/FAR(C)/TFA, the director is the one who has the ultimate responsibility to weigh consensus, and he has delegates that perform those tasks as well. As for your comments about the "battleground", that was directed at an editor that was going to "award" FA status to articles without using FAC, which is just unacceptable. FAC is the community-designated forum for an article to be reviewed for promotion as a Featured Article; any other process is disruptive in the worst kind of fashion. Imzadi 1979  01:37, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
(ec with Imzadi, who is saying pretty much the same) You're misrepresenting that quote from Raul—he was warning someone who was proposing to unilaterally promote FAs outside of the current, community-supported process. Otherwise, I'm not sure what the point of your proposal is. The current situation is not that Raul arbitrarily picks articles to be FAs; it is that a small group of people assess consensus on community discussions over whether to promote articles to FA status. Ucucha (talk) 01:39, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
You said that FAC is the community-designated forum, but there don't appear to be any links in this discussion to a discussion where the process was decided as consensus, it seems like it's just been one of those things that's "always been that way" and no one's really though about if it should reflect the more modern way decisions are made in Wikipedia now as the years have gone past, with less focus on politics where just a few people largely dominate things but a true community, which is a very good thing for Wikipedia as a whole - authoritarian attitudes should not be in any position of power because they are always the ones who are most likely to abuse it. The community should be making these kind of decisions as a group, not just being "allowed" to talk about if they want but also being the ones actually making the decisions. :) That's how it's done everywhere else in Wikipedia, even administrators have to decide things as a group, why should this be diferent is what I'm getting at. As the years have gone past there's nowhere else in Wikipedia, not even from the Wikimedia Foundation, where one person has the final say over so much, especially not someone who is so open about their disdain for the rest of the community. I know it's not just one person but a group, but in the end that group is picked and created with the blessing of one person - nowhere else does that happen in Wikipedia - and the whole idea of "clique politics"is overall toxic to Wikipedia and creates a WP:BATTLEGROUND environment that drives off many, many people --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 01:58, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Someone has to evaluate consensus, and they need to do that using weight of argument against strict criteria (that is already a third way between voting and dictatorship). The same issue arises at GA. Article quality is not a vote, but something that needs to be discussed in the context of quality criteria. Arbitrary comments with no basis in the quality criteria cannot be considered alongside carefully argued criticisms with respect to those criteria. Actually this is much more of an issue at GA because editors sometimes try to impose their own, higher standards on articles. GA manages to handle it without creating a battleground, so I think you may be missing the point here. Geometry guy 02:10, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) There's a discussion going on here right now. Anyone is welcome to commence an RfC (such as now) or discuss matters on WT:FAC which happens from time to time. The whole process is an algorithm, and hence it is very difficult to deviate from, so is fair. Often the people who are unable to participate in collaboration...are unable to participate in collaboration. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:06, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, but why not try create something new instead, the whole discussion of "leave it unelected or make it elected" is besides the point as to whether this system should be like how it is at all - the beauty of Wikipedia is that none of these structures are set in stone, they are all just wiki pages, the FAC process seems to be like it is due to how it's "always been that way" early on when roles were doled out by Jimbo to people that seemed trustworthy at the time - when everywhere else on Wikipedia has transitioned to more community based discussions than small groups of people having the say, everyone should not just be included in discussions but the community be the one that makes the decisions :) --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 02:16, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo didn't "dole out" the role to Raul. Raul was doing the job, and the community ratified the position by consensus years ago. Raul, or the delegates, can't unilaterally decide to promote, demote, or archive articles, and never could. The decision has always been based on the consensus of the reviewers commenting on the nominations. The lone exception to that is the choice of TFAs, which still has a nomination process to guide and advise the selection process. The community does make the decisions, it's just that direct or delegates "pull the trigger" to affect that decision in the case of promotion/demotion/archival, just as a lone admin does at AfD. I think your perception of how this works is not based in the reality of the situation. Imzadi 1979  02:26, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
You seem to have just argued yourself that there is no reason that a power group above the already existing community need exist if it were truly in their hands? --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 02:39, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
What power group? What is the problem that needs to be solved? Johnuniq (talk) 03:10, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Someone else [4] commented on the "clique"-ism] too, but I've replied further below --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 06:22, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Selina, freshly unbanned after five years for violating just about every rule on Wikipedia, has made a lot of claims above. And as with most things she says, these claims should be taken with a large grain of salt. For example:
  • She says: Raul654 has said to people proposing a more consenus-based approach "such behavior will not be tolerated. Consider yourself warned" - That warning was to someone who, unlike what Selina claims, was proposing that he would start unilaterally promoting FAs himself outside of the FA process. Had she linked to the actual diff (rather than to WikipediaReview, a website she administers) this would have been obvious, given that I explicitly quoted the user's words to that effect back at him.
  • She says the FAC process seems to be like it is due to how it's "always been that way" early on when roles were doled out by Jimbo to people that seemed trustworthy at the time , when in fact I did not get my job from Jimbo. As is explained at the top of this very page, I started doing it when the need appeared, and I was subsequently ratified in that role by the community.
  • She claims but there don't appear to be any links in this discussion to a discussion where the process was decided as consensus - apparently she didn't look very hard, because it's plainly stated in the fifth sentence on this very page. Raul654 began taking a leadership role in that process in 2003 and was ratified in his current role by a vote on WT:FAC in 2004.
Beyond that, the rest of her spiel pretty much amounts to "hey let's try something new". She hasn't yet supplied a single reason why this would be preferable, and has ignored the huge majority of people on this page have expressed their opinion that the leadership at FAC is not a problem. I'd respond more to her comments, but there's so little substance to them I can't thing of anything to say. Raul654 (talk) 03:49, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Selina: if FAC were eliminated (which, as fae as i can see, is what you are advocating), then the FA bronze star would become (in all seriousness) a barnstar. I am not exaggerating. Here is what would happen: 1) For a very short time, there would be a time lag until the community found out that anyone can give the FA star. Things would teeter on the edge, and wouldn't look seriously broken. In fact, one or two articles genuinely worthy of FA might get promoted. 2) Then two groups of POV editors would descend like vultures and tear the carcass apart. The first group are the more innocent but still destructive fanboys/fangirls. Every wrestling, manga, porn star, etc. article would get an FA star. Then the more sinister types would descend, and political POV pushers would Fa-star various... articles. Then people would FA-star their friends' articles, then their own, then.... it's a barnstar. You may not think this would happen, but human nature makes it inevitable. Ling.Nut3 (talk) 04:01, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Nono, I'm not saying that at all, please reread what I said? :) I am saying that it should be a consensus-based discussion, not that any one small group of people gets to decide whether to slap a FA star on something as you say - it should be more similar to how article deletion discussions are handled, it's the same theme, good article or bad article, why not? Smile.gif
As for Raul654's personal attacks on me above apparently to try try discredit me ("as with most things she says, these claims should be taken with a large grain of salt" ... n.b. the reason the block log is so big is not because of as many blocks as because I was repeatedly unblocked because it was so controversial to block me as my main problem back then was occasionally being too shouty about issues whilst actually contributing quite a lot to the encyclopaedia) - he is not exactly known for fairness and even-handedness - or distract from the issue... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mistress Selina Kyle (talkcontribs)
I thought that's what we did: have a community-based discussion on how the article does or doesn't meet the criteria, but that we required that the consensus to promote addresses all of the criteria and applicable policies. When there's that necessary consensus, the director or the delegates promotes the article; if after a reasonable period, there isn't that consensus, the nomination is archived. Archivals are also done with an eye to keeping the overall FAC page manageable for potential reviewers. Imzadi 1979  06:43, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes. The community does decide. There is no licence required to be a FAC reviewer. Anyone can show up and do it, similar to the way anyone can show up and participate in an WP:AFD discussion. FAC just requires a lot more work and far wider knowledge base (about many things) than WP:AFD does. Essentially, FAC and AFD are identical, although FAC is a great deal more detailed, and the two processes have quite necessarily evolved different methods of expressing their views. Ling.Nut3 (talk) 06:52, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Can't agree more with Ling.Nut here. I can't think of many worse things than straight up-and-down votes on what is supposed to be our highest indicator (in many ways, the only one) of quality. You're just asking for gaming of the system. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 10:43, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Decisions based on consensus - a better process, not just different people[edit]

This just seems to go to show how far this has been turned into a political discussion rather than a "lets sit down and work how we could do things more fairly" - the issue or unelections are a red herring, the issue is that the community are not the ones who get to make the decision in the end but by a small group, something even very established Wikipedia administrators agree on... --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 05:22, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

And the issue, that Elonka didn't seem to grasp with her nomination, is that articles have to meet all of the FA criteria and applicable policies. She's personalizing a request for a source check. I had to have one of my articles reviewed for possible plagiarism/copyright violations, and so does Elonka. Without that check on at least one article by the nominator, we haven't done some due diligence. These spotchecks were instituted after the Grace Sherwood fiasco when a FA made the main page with plagiarism issues. That check hadn't been done yet with Franco-Mongol alliance, so any delegate would be remiss to end the nomination until it's done. Yes, it's a touchy subject, but Elonka's comments have indicated that she feels accused of something, when all we want is a basic check once. Imzadi 1979  07:02, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
A few things here: One, the community does for all intents and purposes make the decision. If an article gets enough oppose votes, for example, it will not be promoted, and if enough people vote support, generally the delegates will wait (for a very long time, in some cases) until all important reviews - on images, references, and prose - are done and promote the article. The red herring on this page is not the elections discussion, as this is what this RFC is about (it says it at the top of the page and everything), but the constant blaming of the FAC delegates for the problems at FAC when all they do is work to determine a very specific type of consensus.
Two, in terms of reform, yes, the discussion on elections is a red herring, one some people chose to pursue until an RFC was mandatory. These are the same people that are now telling us it is a red herring discussion. ClayClayClay 20:38, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok, here's Captain Obvious. On this page, far above, is a list of more than 60 editors who frequent FAC/FA/FAR, who don't think elections are the best way to go. Is this not consensus? Are the 60+ editors the clique here? What are you trying to accomplish in this discussion, Selina? --Moni3 (talk) 22:08, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Selina's indefinite community ban got reinstated today. I don't think she'll be answering you anytime soon. Raul654 (talk) 01:22, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Who cares[edit]

If you want my real opinion, I'd say to dump the whole FA process. It only has meaning to the self appointed (anointed?) FA "leaders" and those who seem to enjoy collecting badges anyway. Anyone who actually spends any time actually looking at articles which become "featured" vs. those that fail know that the FA badge itself is a joke anyway. Getting an article to the point where it can be considered for nomination is good enough. The actual FA badge is all about pleasing a pedantic band of egotistical braggarts anyway, and adds very little real value to articles.

You folks can do what you want, but myself and the rest of the world can simply continue on ignoring the silly games being played im spaces such as this. (go ahead and cry to each other about "lack of 'good faith' here, now. My attitude here is a reflection of the attitude that this process holds toward everyone else, and so my 'good faith' for process things such as this is completely exhausted now.) If anyone says anything at all in reply to what I've said here it'll likely only be to justify the reasons for continuing with how things are currently done, so I don't expect anything to come from this statement. Just so you know, I view all of you FA wonks with quite a bit of contempt, and seeing the RFC inspired me to share. Enjoy!
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 22:27, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

It's fairly clear the editors in this RfC care enough at least to post here. And you apparently care enough to post here as well. So that's about 80 editors who care. --Moni3 (talk) 22:30, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I think the point being made was that those who don't care won't be saying that here. It is a valid point, as there are large areas of Wikipedia that are really only of interest to those that frequent those areas, or have an interest in them. This is one of the tensions of opening up discussions like this to a wider audience (as seems to have happened recently, due to the main page talk notice and the foundation-l notice). You get more responses of the "who cares" variety. I agree that the response of those who do care enough to post here has (and had) been conclusive, and FWIW, I hope discussion begins to wind down soon, as there is a need to move on and do the work needed around here, though given the recent new publicity it may be a few more days before that happens. I do hope this RfC won't run 30 days as I saw mentioned elsewhere. Carcharoth (talk) 00:32, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
"but myself and the rest of the world can simply continue on ignoring the silly games" - so please ignore this, add css to disable FA star and stop attacks ("pedantic band of egotistical braggarts") Bulwersator (talk) 09:08, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.