|This is an information page that describes communal consensus on some aspect of Wikipedia norms and practices. It is intended to supplement or clarify some other guidance or process. This is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline; please defer to such in a case of inconsistency with this page.|
|This page in a nutshell: Sometimes a Request for adminship stands no chance of succeeding. On these occasions, experienced editors may close it before the scheduled end time, after respectfully notifying the candidate. If that has happened to you, please remember this does not mean we don't want you in Wikipedia, just that we have high standards for adminship and the community does not think you are ready yet. Many highly respected admins passed the second or more times around, and you are welcome to apply again in the future, provided you have addressed the concerns raised.|
Administrators, commonly known as admins or sysops (system operators), are Wikipedians who have certain extra tools. These can only be acquired through a Request for adminship (known by the initialism, "RfA").
RfAs run for up to seven days after being transcluded onto the main RfA page, although if they are clearly not going to succeed they are closed early. If you are reading this page it is possible that this has happened to your RfA. Alternatively, you may have been sent here by another Wikipedian, whom you approached because you wish to become an administrator. In either circumstance, you have been directed here to find out why both newcomers and those with only moderate experience are extremely unlikely to pass RfA and become admins.
Reasons for early closure
Although RfA has no specific minimum requirements, in general, the community looks for certain basic levels of contributions without which an RfA is certain to fail. When a candidate fails to meet a number of fundamental community-accepted criteria, occasionally a pile-on of oppose comments may occur. This can be demoralizing for the candidate and some users feel deterred from further productive contributions. This is clearly not in the best interests of the candidate or Wikipedia, because it often takes more than one attempt. An RfA that is clearly going to fail will often provoke a number of responses suggesting early closure.
Things to note if your RfA was closed early
- You are welcome to reapply in a few months when you have more experience and have taken care to address the concerns brought up by opposers.
- If your past conduct was a concern, it will be seen as old after some months, once a better track record exists and you can show it is 'old'.
- Comments made on an RfA are not personal. Other editors are commenting on your suitability to be an administrator today, based upon the current accepted norms, not on you as a person, or even your general contributions.
- Many experienced and highly respected administrators have failed one or more RfAs before being granted the tools. Do not think that a failed RfA reflects badly on you or prejudices a future RfA. It explicitly doesn't.
What to do if your RfA was closed early
- If you accept that there was no chance of your request passing at that time then you don't need to do anything. The editor that closed your RfA will have made you aware and probably pointed you at this essay. They will have taken care of the technical aspects of the closure.
- If you do not accept that the early closure was a good thing please ask the editor who closed it to reverse their actions. In general, assuming a good faith nomination or self-nomination, if a candidate wishes the RfA to run for the full time then this is acceptable. However, please consider editor review as an alternative method for getting feedback on your contributions.
What not to do if your RfA was closed early
- Don't worry about it too much. Again, it happens. It has happened to some of our best administrators on their first attempts at RfA.
- Don't quit Wikipedia. You would not have submitted yourself, or accepted a nomination, to be an administrator if you hated the place. An early-closed RfA is not a good reason to start hating it. Go back to what you were doing that made you enjoy the place, or even take a wikibreak.
- Don't refuse help. There are many great options and willing editors ready to help you grow as a Wikipedian. Several options are listed in the "Further reading" section.
- Don't immediately reapply for adminship. The people who contributed to your first RfA have given you feedback, and you need to understand and act on it before trying again. Argumentum ad nauseam will put everyone off, and effectively mean it takes even longer for you to pass RfA. Remember that an admin needs to be a good judge of consensus, even on issues that concern them personally.
Cautious use of this essay
This essay is specifically written to ensure that we do not discourage newcomers or the relatively inexperienced, and to explain why certain minimum standards are expected at RfA even though they are not codified in any document. This guideline should not be linked to from RfA's of more experienced Wikipedians; this could be perceived as condescending or rude to seasoned editors who are well aware of what adminship entails. See also Wikipedia:Don't template the regulars.