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Media Viewer RfC Question 1[edit]

We have a previous RfC consensus that Media Viewer should be default off. That RfC was never implemented due to the Superprotect controversy and a WMF Community Consultation process on Media Viewer. That community consultation process has ended and the outcome can be viewed here. I think it is time to review that outcome and determine whether we still want Media Viewer to be disabled by default. Alsee (talk) 17:33, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

(Note: There is a second question further down the page.) Alsee (talk) 17:53, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Question One. Should we reaffirm and implement the previous RfC: WP:Media_Viewer/June_2014_RfC#Consensus.2Fdisapproval_has_been_established There is a clear consensus that the Media Viewer should be disabled by default for both logged-in (section link) and non-logged-in users (section link).

Support (Media Viewer RfC Question 1)[edit]

  1. SUPPORT as RfC author. The WMF's Community Consultation Process on Media Viewer resolved essentially none of the objections raised in the previous RfC. I believe our original image page is better than Media Viewer. Alsee (talk) 17:41, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
  2. Support Obviously nothing has changed, the default should still be off unless specified by editors (i.e. if an editor wants the mediaviewer used for galleries, etc). Not that it matters. I have zero confidence in the WMF's respect for consensus at this point. 0x0077BE [talk/contrib] 16:01, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  3. Support as the attribution problem has still not been sufficiently addressed. This is a show stopper. --AFBorchert (talk) 16:13, 5 October 2014 (UTC) P.S. I think that is an inherently difficult problem, take File:Carentan Église Notre Dame Vitrail Baie 07 2014 08 24.jpg as example with a very complex copyright case which cannot be represented in any simplified manner.
  4. Support. Unless the consensus has changed, we should not allow the WMF to continue to avoid the issue of enablement, and at any rate we should not leave them with the impression of acquiescence. BethNaught (talk) 16:33, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  5. Support - I still prefer the old one and probably always will, - At the end of the day the community decided it should be off, Period. –Davey2010(talk) 16:52, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  6. Per AFBorchert.--Aschmidt (talk) 17:28, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  7. Support, although this wasn't needed; community consensus has already been formed to disable it. Consensus-changing attempts are appropriate, but that would be the only reason for having such a discussion. Let me remind the closer that "no consensus" defaults to pre-discussion, which is unambiguously "off". Nyttend (talk) 19:29, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  8. Support: The most frequent piece of feedback that WMF removed was "turn this to opt-in" and the WMF intentionally and purposefully ignored all such feedback [1][2][3]. Since the consultation was a sham, I see no reason to wait for any results.—Kww(talk) 20:09, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  9. Support. It seems to me to be common sense that WMF should care what the editing community says. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:15, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  10. Support. It's inherently inferior to the existing file page, and the community spoke after due examination of the two. Yngvadottir (talk) 21:06, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  11. Support. I don't know why we are having this discussion again. We already know that 1 a large majority of editors prefer the pre-existing system, and 2 WMF people ignore and misrepresent our views. Maproom (talk) 21:46, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  12. SUPPORT. It has already been demonstrated that a majority of the community do not like or want the new Media Viewer, so continuing to debate the subject only proves that WMF does not really care what the community thinks, and will keep asking the question until they get the answer they want. To repeat what I (and many others) have already said: The use of this new Media Viewer should be "Opt-IN" only -- it should never be on by default for anyone. FireHorse (talk) 22:20, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  13. Support. Looks like they made a prototype ([4]) and I don't see anything important that has changed. The page seems to imply (meta:Special:PermanentLink/9840243 - "Screenshot of the Media Viewer's new design prototype") that that's how things will look. And we know that is what has been rejected. I doubt there is much point in giving WMF more time - it is pretty clear that they are not going to do anything else with it. Also, "Consensus can change" - if a miracle happens and they create something good, we can simply change our minds. But let's let them develop something good first and deploy it afterwards, not vice versa... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 22:29, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  14. Support BUT - I want that Media Viewer on Commons On Commons should be left there. It is a great help on commons, but there is no text there. Please do not disable it on Commons. On Wiki it is kind of irritating. Hafspajen (talk) 23:24, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  15. Support. WP:Consensus can change, but it is up to someone else - and WMF is certainly invited to do so - to make a new RfC to see if that's the case. Until then, we have a consensus, and it needs to be implemented properly. VanIsaacWScont 00:06, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  16. Support. Absolutely. Nothing but an irritant (on the plus side, though, I must say that its combination with the typography change makes it impossible for me to ever forget to log in). Double sharp (talk) 01:33, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  17. Support. Even the most optimistic reading of recent poll data, which shows that a plurality of users find media viewer userful for viewing images, only had 49% choosing that option. Note that the question is not "Is Media Viewer better than previous image pages", but is it useful for viewing images. If less than half, or even half, or even only two thirds of people find that it is useful in serving it's main purpose, that is to view images, then it is seriously unready to be the default. If only 50% of people that used a car found it "useful for getting from place to place" it would be seen as a lemon, but somehow 49% of people finding media viewer "useful for viewing images" is a good thing. The performance of the media viewing is still seriously lacking on underpowered hardware and older browsers that many people are forced to use, and the unlabeled icons are extremely difficult to figure out for a casual user of the site that doesn't want to have to learn a new UI just to view the details on an image. --Ahecht (TALK
    PAGE
    ) 02:30, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  18. Support. I understand the need to make images easier to view, but I'm not convinced that MediaViewer is significantly better than the existing system at even that. And, as almost everyone can agree, it is far worse for viewing and editing image descriptions. As a reader of news websites, I'm not a huge fan of images that, when you click on them, occupy the whole screen against a black background. -- King of ♠ 02:38, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  19. Support. — al-Shimoni (talk) 03:45, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  20. Support: All the reasons above, my own gripe is that not only does it make editing a pain, and is hard to turn off, it also is SLOW; I can stream video faster than load a photo on the theing. Montanabw(talk) 04:15, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  21. SUPPORT Assuming lowly anonymous readers are allowed to vote. MediaViewer is still an ugly, intrusive, invasive kludge. It does _nothing_ better than the old Wikimedia Commons webpage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.140.0.55 (talk) 01:50, 6 October 2014
  22. Support: Even after all the changes that have been made Media Viewer is a a clear step backwards in functionality, usability, and performance. Despite the WMF's assertion that this is a feature for the so-called "readers", every IP that chimed in was against keeping Media Viewer enabled by default. The WMF's own survey showed that fewer than 50% of English-speaking respondents who never edit found Media Viewer useful for its intended purpose. CONEXCEPT does not apply as the obvious intent of the policy was to check actions that went against the philosophy of the movement or that presented technical issues. Neither apply. For all all the aforementioned reasons, the RfC should be affirmed and Media Viewer should be returned to opt-in by default. Furthermore, if the WMF refuses to implement this consensus, I support administrators taking any technical or legal actions to make sure the consensus is in fact implemented. --98.207.91.246 (talk) 06:38, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
    Not sure where you're getting your statistics, but they don't seem to agree with the ones I've seen, which show over 60% approval by English readers. Kaldari (talk) 07:24, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
    The 60% number is if you cherry pick the last two weeks of the survey, where responses trickled down to nothing. I was rather disappointed to see the Multimedia team be so dishonest with their data. I can't find the spreadsheet at the moment with the final results, but the cumulative reader approval rate over the whole survey was a smidgen below 50% at that time. I seem to remember looking very hard for it because the Multimedia team didn't post it in an obvious place. The last full results I can find right now puts reader approval at 37% in English, but I know I saw a similar spreadsheet that had the final results. I've removed your plots because they're misleading. The English reader plot only shows the last two weeks. The two global plots predate the English Wikipedia rollout and don't represent the opinions of readers and editors of the English Wikipedia. --98.207.91.246 (talk) 08:00, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
    Discussion of the statistics is worthy of an entire section. Please take it to the discussion area. This is a bad place to debate what numbers are valid and what numbers are misleading.
    Notice: Three images added by Kaldari were removed by 98.207.91.246. I consider it it entirely appropriate to remove images from this section. The diff and images can be viewed here. Alsee (talk) 10:11, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  23. Support--Oursana (talk) 09:15, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  24. support -jkb- (talk) 09:19, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  25. Support Ealdgyth - Talk 12:35, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  26. Support: Awful tool, unwanted, unwarranted and a technically backwards step that worsens the experience for editors, whether logged in or not. - SchroCat (talk) 12:36, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  27. Support. I think that MediaViewer is promising—in the long term it can become a useful functionality. However, it's not ready. In particular, it does not reliably render information from the file pages in ways that are easily predictable, and when it fails, it fails in ways that disadvantage the reader—especially the casual reader who may not know about the old-style file description pages, which are problematically obscured in its design (a "More details" button does not suffice). This disadvantage comes about because the underlying functionality—semantic file metadata—isn't properly available yet (as far as I know). Redesigns will not solve that fundamental problem. My distaste for lightboxes means I don't plan to ever enable MediaViewer personally, but I would like to be able to support its use by default. However, I can't support it until those problems are fixed.

    I am separately disappointed with the community for being oppositional to the WMF, and the WMF for the shameful "superprotect" fiasco. The community and WMF need to work together. The WMF needs humility—if the community says no, that should be enough to shelve a feature, despite the time and money and emotions invested in it. On the other side of the coin, the community needs to trust the WMF's good faith, because the situation in which the WMF isn't trusted by the community is nothing short of toxic. Hopefully this RfC will help smooth both over. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits}} 13:38, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

  28. Support The ignorance from the WMF regarding the valid RfCs from enwiki and dewiki and corresponding bug reports is rather telling and I doubt that they will respect them now. However, substandard software with which the Foundation knowingly supports license violations is not something that should be ignored, no matter how bad the relationship with the editorial communities. Please fix this now, review your senior staff's behaviour and competence (or rather lack thereof) and get back to all negotiating tables with the communities. That is of course, only if the Foundation's goals are still aligned with the core principles (recent comments from board members suggest they are not). --Millbart (talk) 14:19, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  29. Support: At present it is hideous to look at, worse to work with; it may improve over time. Even if we accept good intentions, it was insensitive and arrogant on the part of WMF to impose this on editors without prior discussion, trial or feedback. In a recent phone interview with the WMF politburo I formed an impression that addressing editor concerns was high on their agenda; I hope I was not misled. Brianboulton (talk) 15:04, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  30. Support – It is an utter disaster, at present. It is awful, and is completely outside the spirit of Wikipedia. It is our job to be no frills, bare-bones, like a encyclopaedic Gandhi, dressed in simple white cotton garb. This is emblematic of our goals, our mission, and all of our principles. To implement such technology as this is, useless and badly designed as it is, is to forsake what Wikipedia does right. RGloucester 16:16, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  31. Support although WMF doesn't recognize community consensus. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:17, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  32. Support, per AFBorchert, Kww, Nihilres, & others.

    In an ideal world, what would happen is that Media Viewer would be made opt-in for all users, the staff at WMF would prioritize the defects described & fix them, & once it was shown it was solid & useful, the community would then agree to set it back to opt-out for all users. But based on experience, what will happen is that the WMF will dismissive to the community's objections as if we were all children, do their utmost to force an alpha-stage software upon us, then six months later wonder at reports about increased numbers of veteran Wikipedians leaving. As Nyttend points out, this second RfC should be unnecessary, but certain people at the Foundation insist on ignoring what the volunteers on the ground have been telling them. -- llywrch (talk) 06:00, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

  33. Support. It doesn't work. What I am usually looking for is the file name, and it doesn't show you that. Worse, they don't tell you how to disable it. Even if you do figure out how to disable it, it is not disabled across all wikipedias, only the English one, so you if you are browsing images in a language you don't speak, and where the media viewer is enabled, you will not be able to find the file name or disable the media viewer in that language. —Neotarf (talk) 23:20, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
  34. Support, But let's face it! -- there have been several RfC's, Notice board issues and Media Viewer's own feedback page showed a clear disapproval. Further, their own statistics revealed that MV was not wanted nor needed, on English and German Wikipedia (it's redundant, a glorified 5th wheel and something of a flat tire, given all the bugs -- and here we are months later and they're still tinkering around with this thing). They continue to misrepresent approval. Here is what their own findings say:
    approval breakdown by language: French 71%, Spanish 78%, Dutch 60%, Portuguese 81%, Hungarian 63%, English 29%, German 26%.
    (The numbers fluctuate, but overwhelming disapproval on English and German (most of) WP remains constant.) They admit that approval is very low for English Wikipedia. What they don't want you to know however is that the number of articles, editors and readers for English (and German) Wikipedia dwarf all other such numbers in the other Wikipedias. Look at the numbers at the bottom of the Wikipedia main page. ( ! duh ? ) Since English and German Wikipedia are the largest by far, then it goes that there is overwhelming disapproval overall. All this redundant/buggy viewer is really doing is wasting server resources while amusing certain individuals on the software development team. Their "approval", such that it is, is largely based on the feedback of naive, uninformed and occasional visitors to WP. i.e.How does anyone who is familiar with all the faults and bugs in MV lend their approval?? Easy math. I know I speak for (very) many editors when I say I have lost almost all faith for certain individuals in the WMF. Apparently they see consensus as an invasion of their turf and a challenge to their authority. Get a load of the TOC on one of the archived M.V. talk pages. Good luck guys. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:18, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
  35. Support. I dislike it, but could live with it. However, when last I used it it was a non-starter because every image viewed through it violates our duty to provide proper, accessible copyright information, in a manner that is well suited to inform third-party re-users of their attribution obligations. Everything else is secondary.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 00:14, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  36. Support. I don't object to MediaViewer in principle, but as currently implemented it has so many issues - unlabelled buttons, no copyright info, inability to view full-size - that it's unfit for purpose. Mogism (talk) 00:20, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  37. Support, this new thing is quite clunky and unwieldy and slows down efforts to contribute and edit. — Cirt (talk) 12:50, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  38. Support - I have disabled MV on en.wiki and de.wiki, so I can see images as it used to be before MV was launched. Whatever the improvements are which supposedly have been made, anytime I read Wikipedia while not logged in, and want to see an image I get reminded by MV that it still doesn't function properly. Kraxler (talk) 18:51, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  39. Support, again, no evidence has been presented that Media Viewer is an improvement from the file page. Either way, the reader sees a larger version of the file after a single click on the file. The Media Viewer eliminates important information about the files and about the context of the surrounding text. On the other hand, the file page gives all of this info. One thing I would support is making files automatically open in a new tab, since 9 out of 10 times a reader will want to go back to the article after viewing the file. StringTheory11 (t • c) 19:07, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
  40. Support. Especially the brutal force to implement such a buggy, unwanted bling-thing was absolutely disgusting. --♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 10:32, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  41. HELL YES Never have so many been so upset at so few, but in this process - which I'm sure will ultimately be devoutly ignored - we have a chance to right a wrong, and maybe, just maybe, get back to the way things were: happy editors, happy readers, and happy fact checkers for articles and images. TomStar81 (Talk) 11:37, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  42. SupportWasell(T) 19:40, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  43. Suppport (everything has been said already above and elsewhere). Ca$e (talk) 19:56, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  44. I'm more of a reader than an editor these days, and I turned the thing off as soon as I figured out how to do so. The file pages are informative, and educate readers about how images are contributed to an open-source educational project. It wasn't broken, it shouldn't be fixed. It shouldn't take umpteen RfCs to get Mr. Möller's department to roll this back. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 23:51, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  45. Support. This entire affair has been unhappy for many people, and has certainly left me severely disillusioned. I have cut my contributions to Wikipedia as a result of the events surrounding the Media Viewer, and am unlikely to return to my earlier contribution level unless their is clear evidence that the WMF are paying more attention to editors' concerns. RomanSpa (talk) 05:38, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
  46. Support keeping Media Viewer disabled by default for both registered and unregistered editors. Anyone who wants it can turn it on. As several previous editors have said, it isn't an improvement on the existing situation. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:58, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
  47. I support the RFC as a sub optimal response. But I'd prefer not to have media viewer available as an option on sites that allow Fair use images. Either that or stop hosting Fair Use images. The idea behind Media Viewer seems to be dropping the boring stuff about copyright as a large proportion of humanity doesn't take that seriously. That's annoying to those of us who contribute photographs and especially those who take copyright seriously and think that this site should continue to do so. But it isn't likely to get people in trouble, except where Fair Use images are concerned. We regularly bite newbies for misuse of Fair use images, others are entitled to bite them for it in real life. If we are going to continue to allow Fair Use images the least we can do is leave the warnings about them in place, rather than on a separate link. You could of course amend Media Viewer so that it gave appropriate licensing info when displaying a Fair Use image, but then why have Media Viewer at all? ϢereSpielChequers 13:43, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
  48. Support Progress has been made with the Media Viewer, however I still prefer the non-Media Viewer page. Also, it's difficult using the back button because I can't tell when I'm "on the same page" versus when I'm "on a new page". Overall, at this time I don't believe it's ready. Crazycasta (talk) 01:08, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
  49. The Community Consultation Process on Media Viewer was a sham. I get the feeling we are bashing our heads against a brick wall here though. MER-C 01:54, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
  50. Support - Media Viewer has only gotten worse since it was first released. What used to be a minor inconvenience has become a moderate inconvenience to the editing process. Carrite (talk) 13:54, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
  51. Support. Everyking (talk) 03:42, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
  52. Support. People who like it can opt in. They should not be forced into using it by default. A later RFC could establish that there's consensus to enable it by default, but we are clearly not there yet. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 00:19, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  53. Support. Ahsoous (talk) 11:30, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  54. Support. The media viewer is broken by design. It removes the context and presents the images of an article like a slide show. Did any user ever ask for such a feature?-----<)kmk(>--- (talk) 03:20, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
  55. Support Coming out of retirement just to say how much I hate the new Media Viewer software. It merely slows down my ability to get to the actual image. It was terrible when Wikia implemented it and it is just as bad here on Wikipedia. Please, get rid of it, as a reader I really don't like it. Best, Alpha_Quadrant (talk) 20:31, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
  56. Support and let me say, I wish the Foundation would work on solution that made it easy for users to simply switch from to the other on the fly (ie: a cookie for unregistered viewers), then they can decide for themselves. Until then, utility trumps "cool feature", and the old way is more intuitive and simple to use, as it is more like the pages of an article. From the reader's perspective, this is the best starting point. Dennis - 20:29, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  57. Support Media viewer changes the viewing experience in a way that gives the end user less information and pushes attribution to the author into the background. StaniStani  09:55, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  58. Support per many compelling arguments above. Sasata (talk) 15:13, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  59. Any image viewer we use must show copyright, description, and author information along with the image itself. These aren't some kind of boring metadata detail, they are critical information. Our job isn't just to show pretty pictures, it is primarily to educate. A description places the photo in context and furthers that goal. Ensuring to show copyright status helps to prevent someone mistakenly thinking anything on Wikipedia is free for all reuse. Showing full author attribution is just the right thing to do. Media Viewer still doesn't do those things, so I can't support it. Anyone who is aware of these limitations and knows how to work around them can always opt in. Seraphimblade Talk to me 16:01, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  60. Support per Seraphimblade, WereSpielChequers, AFBorchert and others. Andreas JN466 22:17, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  61. Support, with an easy way to turn on. Grognard Chess (talk) Ping when replying 15:00, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  62. Support KonveyorBelt 18:20, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  63. Support Not active under my account, but I'm making a point to find where the discussion is on this change and supporting the revert. It's extremely slow and cumbersome to use. Until that's improved I don't see how any other viewer is an improvement for the user base. --Nonforma (talk) 05:50, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
  64. Support - The media viewer is unnecessary, cumbersome to use, still very slow, hides the meta data, and should therefore not be activated by default. As long as these issues have not been fully resolved, it cannot be more than an opt-in feature. --Schlosser67 (talk) 11:27, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
  65. Support. From a user point of view I am absolutely not convinced that MediaViewer is necessary or that it enhances the reader experience. From the point of view of a concerned Wikipedian, I think there are other far more pressing software issues that developer time and funds should be dedicated to.--Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:17, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
  66. Per Seraphimblade and others.  Sandstein  14:29, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  67. Support per Seraphimblade. I also find the argument that "they're going to address issues at some point later and therefore we should keep it for now" to be terribly out-of-sync with how things should work on Wikipedia. If it is changed, let that new version be implemented by default by consensus with a discussion, it shouldn't be on by default just because some editors think it might be fixed eventually in some vague way, and that this should supersede consensus. - Aoidh (talk) 04:50, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
  68. Support - it is a community choice to enable it standard - turn it off now, and then let the community decide when to turn it (back) on (if ever). --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:06, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Oppose (Media Viewer RfC Question 1)[edit]

  1. Not really clear why this RFC is required at the current time. Development work is still ongoing to make Media Viewer more acceptable to communities and respond to feedback. A better time for an RFC would be when a planned deployment is put on the table, and the version of Media Viewer that is proposed for deployment is available for evaluation. At the moment, there isn't really anything more to discuss beyond what was already said last time.
    On another note, I'm not sure that RFCs of this kind are helpful. They feel somewhat antagonistic to me, and seem to bring out a vocal minority of technical Luddites within this community who don't always understand the subtleties of the issue at hand. — This, that and the other (talk) 11:35, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  2. Not within the framework of WP:CONEXCEPT, section 1 and/or 4. I will add that any legal objection regarding attribution is incompetent, as coming from persons without verifiable credentials or responsibility. It is also absurd to make such claims, when practically every page on Wikipedia (eg. Main Page) has no visible origin information for images. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:26, 5 October 2014 (UTC) I also agree that this is just a VOTE, the only practical rationale offered by the RFC is, 'if you do not like it, vote support for confronting the WMF.' Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:16, 6 October 2014 (UTC) Responding futher to some of the comments particularly Seraphimblade, the claim that the MV is any less revealing of attribution and copyright is factually unsupported - just in reviewing my own image contributions and others (I only refer to my own to ward of the emotive claim that contibutors are somehow damaged) attribution and copyright information is given in the first click in MV, without scrolling, whereas on the old page the first click window provides no attribution, nor copyright, without scrolling. Even so, it remains that, per policy, the "decisions" and "acts" of the WMF take "precedence" and are not replaced by WP:Vote (see also WP:CONLIMITED) nor by WP:ILIKEIT/WP:IDONTLIKEIT. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:06, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  3. This is the wrong time. According to the outcome of the consultation process, as referenced above, We plan to complete all “must have” improvements by the end of October and deploy them incrementally, starting this week (that was on 11 September 2014). The end of October will be the time to start a thorough discussion, which may go better if editors aren't weary from a long RFC now. NebY (talk) 17:53, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  4. What TTO said. Also this really isn't an RfC, it's just a WP:VOTE. Legoktm (talk) 18:31, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  5. Per NebY. If they're currently working the feedback they have from us into the software and will have that done soon, a random RfC now on the basis of old discussion and an old software version is pointless. Discussion about the tool's future status should happen when there's actually something new to discuss. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 18:44, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  6. It's long past time to deploy this improved file-page interface, especially for non-logged-in readers who likely don't care about the cruft that we editors do. Powers T 19:21, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  7. It looks like improvements are still being made and many of the problems of the initial version have already been fixed. Kaldari (talk) 19:54, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  8. Per NebY. Wait until they get it fixed, and then if we still don't like it, turn it off. Jackmcbarn (talk) 20:20, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  9. The WMF have made an attempt to address some of the concerns of the community, we should at least wait until they are addressed before holding an RfC. I also agree with Legoktm that this is not an RfC, it's a vote. --Tom (LT) (talk) 22:57, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  10. The concerns expressed in the original RFC are already pretty much resolved. An actual RFC on this topic would review the work that has been done, and discuss it, not just have a vote for the sake of voting. And editors who don't like it can change their preferences. Risker (talk) 01:49, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  11. Keep media viewer The media viewer is a significant benefit to our readers. Yes, it does get in the way of editors, but editors have the ability to turn it off, and they do just that. Our defaults must be oriented for readers, who don't have such options. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 02:16, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  12. Oppose I agree with most of the comments above. PaleAqua (talk) 15:07, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  13. Per Risker, and the fact that this isn't an RfC. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 19:56, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  14. The media viewer is a useful tool for readers, and readers don't have the ability to adjust their preferences. --Carnildo (talk) 02:15, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
  15. Good enough. Not perfect, but helpful to readers and usable for editors. And I see the WMF is doing active development in a useful and rapid manner. DGG ( talk ) 07:16, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
  16. For an image editor or reviewer the additional clicking and disorganized image information makes efficient and quick work simply impossible. No feature should cater only to one portion of the community, be it readers or editors. All features need to be usable efficiently by all parts of the community and readership. However this RfC is too early, it's better to wait for the results of the current improvement drive. GermanJoe (talk) 08:17, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
  17. Keep Mediaviewer. Improvements are ongoing, think of MV as an extended thumbnail view. Viewers will be able to go to the file description page easily. Even if the attribution does not work perfectly, I do not consider this a "showstopper". The complex cases, where MV fails are almost impossible to grok for human as well, so not much is lost here. We should rather focus on making the meta data more accessible for humans and software alike. --Dschwen 16:18, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
  18. Per Risker this can be changed in preferences.This appears to more of an vote rather than an RFC.Pharaoh of the Wizards (talk) 02:47, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
  19. Keep Mediaviewer per all the comments above. MV isn't perfect but it is an improvement, especially for readers, and the WMF is still working on MV to address the concerns of the community. If people don't like it, they can opt out individually. It is clear to me that the issue isn't MV itself but the relationship between some of the community and the WMF. Unfortunately, this RFC does not appear to be an attempt to improve that relationship or to collaborate with the WMF, instead coming across as antagonistic and unhelpful. Ca2james (talk) 16:05, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  20. Oppose. Since something has to be default, I don't see it shouldn't be the media viewer. It is quite possibly true that it's not the best way to view image details for editors or heavy readers, but that has little to do with anything -- those people can just disable the default (I myself have it disabled, partly because I just don't like change). For casual readers -- which is what we're mainly talking about here, I think -- my uneducated guess is that when they click on an image they probably mainly want to see a larger version or at any rate a full-screen view. And I'm not convinced that the Media Viewer isn't, or can't be made to be, just as good if not better for that than the old way. I'd like to see an actual study of casual readers and new readers and see what they like, and it shouldn't be too hard to run one. Absent that, I'm opposed to the question. Herostratus (talk) 17:43, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  21. Keep Mediaviewer I still don't understand the big fuss about all this. Seems to me, most readers would want to see an expanded view of the media when they click on a thumbnail – it's standard practice all around the internet. For the people who don't like it, namely editors, it's very easy to figure out how to disable it (the "disable media viewer" link at the bottom of the media viewer). I'm a fan myself, and had it enabled before it went live to all users. Like the reader, I more often than not just want to see media, not work with it. I can't say I've ran into any bugs either. — MusikAnimal talk 18:31, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  22. Oppose Even in its current imperfect state the MV already seems an improvement for the readers, whose interests should be central to our efforts. Additionally, editors who don't like the MV can simply opt-out, so where is the problem? Given that the improvement process of the MV will last through the end of October the timing of this vote is ill-considered and not constructive. --Wolbo (talk) 21:29, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  23. Oppose June was 4 months ago and that's quite a lot of development time. No doubt MV has changed quite a bit since then and in any case consensus can change. Therefore the results of that 4-month-old RfC should not stand. WaggersTALK 09:49, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
  24. Oppose Per WP:CONEXCEPT, software development is beyond the purview of the community. Confronting WMF is unproductive, unhelpful and unnecessary. Hawkeye7 (talk) 19:51, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
  25. Oppose. The Media Viewer is intended for improving the experience of the millions of silent readers out there, and a consensus of a very small self-selected set of editors here can not possibly be representative of those people. For situations like this, I think Wikipedia's consensus model is not appropriate and such decisions should not be made this way. For better or for worse, the decision should be left to the Wikimedia Foundation. Neatsfoot (talk) 07:57, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
  26. Oppose Yes, it was a pain to have to find and click on that button to get to the original screen. But the arguments that it benefits new and non-editing users, and that it's still being tweaked, are enough for me to put aside my own selfish considerations. Drop the stick. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 13:15, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
  27. Oppose The Media Viewer appears to be good enough for default use and can be disabled by users who do not want it. Making it opt-out rather than opt-in gives it the exposure necessary for testing and improving it. Kind regards, Matt Heard (talk) 01:15, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  28. Oppose per Risker and the RfC format concerns. Mike VTalk 18:19, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
  29. Oppose. Media Viewer certainly has rough edges (which the WMF is addressing), but on the balance I think it's already a real step forward, particularly for readers who just want an easier way to see large versions of images—and personally, I'm a big fan. For those who find it bothersome, opting out is pretty easy.—Neil P. Quinn (talk) 16:56, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  30. Oppose - time to just let this controversy die, and let anybody who doesn't like the media viewer just disable it for themselves only Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:03, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
  31. Oppose - The viewer should be improved quickly, but it works well enough to be enabled by default. --NaBUru38 (talk) 21:57, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
  32. Oppose - I personally don't see anything wrong with Media Viewer (I kind of prefer it, actually). Like others have said above me, this is still under development and will probably be improved as time goes on. Perhaps we give logged in users the ability to turn it off if they don't want it, and we could also add a "View in 'Normal Mode'" button for logged out users. --Biblioworm 17:18, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  33. Oppose per Fluffernutter. Neljack (talk) 06:49, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  34. Oppose --Guerillero | My Talk 05:42, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  35. Keep Media Viewer per Oiyarbepsy. The default setting should be reader-oriented, not editor-oriented, because editors have the ability to change their settings, whereas casual readers do not. —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:14, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Neutral (Media Viewer RfC Question 1)[edit]

  1. I dislike Media Viewer and disabled it wherever it irritated me, but I see the point of those who say "Let's see the new improvements first." LynwoodF (talk) 18:42, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  2. Abstain Please review the WMF's mission statement. The question of whether MV "empowers" people or not is a matter of opinion. The role of the WMF with respect to RfC's is not. Lila, the Board, and anyone under employment with the WMF has no obligation whatsoever to make decisions based on a community RfC alone. In this case, Lila is following what is widely considered a best practice for online services: if there is a workaround to new issues (clearly there is here in disabling the feature), then avoid creating new problems with a roll back. The path Lila has chosen is to work with the community in improving MV, instead.
    Some may dismiss this as the WMF prerogative with a rock-solid argument behind them using the founding documents of the WMF. I won't. I recommend taking Lila and her team directly to task by demanding answers in to what went wrong here. Let's demand something we might actually get: a post mortem on the initial MV rollout. What changes have been made to prevent this happening in the future? I can get things started by mentioning that we have a new VP of Engineering at the WMF, for example. What forward-looking promises can we get from the WMF and Lila that we can actually hold them to? And, more importantly, how can we help them back up these promises up for the good of the entire community and our users? There's been so much talk around MV; it's time for everyone to start walking the walk. I'm going to start by getting back to editing WP with time I'd otherwise waste on these pointless petitions. -wʃʃʍ- 20:48, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
  3. I am pretty much neutral on Media Viewer itself, but one of the many who are put off by the condescending comments of people such as User:Fabrice Florin (WMF), and more generally the WMF as a whole. The WMF should listen to the community, rather than consistently dismissing it by referring for instance to "self-selected RFC discussions." Like it or not, RFCs have long been among the principal ways in which the Wikipedia community seeks consensus on important issues. And if you don't like it, it's not the community that should fork (per User:Wllm), it's the WMF employees who have lost the plot. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 16:34, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm confused. Are you suggesting that the WMF fork instead of the community? I'm not sure that's even possible, but it would follow the pattern of people at the WMF actually doing stuff while some disgruntled members of the community waste everyone's time on toothless petitioning that puts nobody's skin in the game.
As I've said many times before, people should start walking their talk. If that means part of the community leaves to work on their own fork, I believe that would be for the best for their personal well-being and the Wikimedia projects as a whole. Why waste your time complaining about the WMF in these ridiculous petitions? Put your time and effort in to a new encyclopedia if you think you can do it better. I'm gonna stick around to see where the WMF is taking this story. -wʃʃʍ- 00:38, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Reserved for official comments by WMF employees (Media Viewer RfC Question 1)[edit]

(Please do not edit here if you are not WMF)

Hello @Alsee: Thanks for following up about Media Viewer. As stated last month, we are now making a range of improvements to Media Viewer, based on the results of the recent community consultation and our usability research.

For example, we just released these new features, which were announced last week:

Early indicators suggest these improvements are working:

  • Enlarge feature: You can now click on an image to enlarge it in Media Viewer, to support a frequently requested zoom function. We now log about 1 million clicks/day for that feature across all sites -- a dramatic 20x increase from ~50K clicks/day for the previous ‘View original file’ button (see metrics dashboard).
  • File: page button: You can now click on a more prominent ‘More details’ button to go to the File: page, a frequent community request. Since this feature was launched last week, global usage has tripled, surging up to ~60K clicks/day (from ~20K clicks/day on two separate links)
  • Download button: You can now click on a separate download button that's easier to find. Since launch, global usage has tripled to ~66K clicks/day on the new icon (from ~20K/day for 'Use this file' downloads)
  • Disable rates: Since these improvements were launched, global opt-outs by anonymous users have decreased by 60%, down to ~800 disable actions per day (from ~2K/day before new features).

This is consistent with our expectations, based on the latest round of usability research for the recent prototype.

Next, we plan to work on these other improvements:

This incremental improvement process will last through the end of October, using this standard development cycle: 1) design features based on data and user feedback; 2) prototype them; 3) validate them through usability studies; 4) build the features; and 5) measure their impact.

Once we have collected and analyzed those metrics in November, we can discuss next steps based on that information. As a rule of thumb, self-selected RfC discussions are not an effective way to determine default configurations about software -- and without usage data for the latest versions of the features, they are largely based on speculations, rather than factual observations.

Finally, we are also preparing a metadata cleanup drive to address remaining issues with missing machine-readable data that result in Media Viewer (and other tools) displaying incomplete information. This is the first time the Wikimedia Foundation has taken on this type of project -- and we invite community members to contribute to this cleanup work.

You can track our progress on the Media Viewer Improvements page, where we will post regular updates in coming weeks. Sincerely, Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 12:33, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Discuss and comment (Media Viewer RfC Question 1)[edit]

Yes check.svg Done: Sending notifications to everyone who participated in previous discussions on the same topic. Alsee (talk) 15:49, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

  • I see some comments about this RfC being too early, that the items in the Media_Viewer_consultation outcome have not yet been implemented. I based my personal position on the assumption that everything in that list does get implemented. I guess I assumed other people would interpret it the same way, but I'm not going to re-write the question. The RfC clearly asks people to review that consultation outcome, and people can intelligently respond based upon that consultation outcome. It was determined four three months ago that "There is a clear consensus that the Media Viewer should be disabled by default". I see no point is stalling this another 4 months 3 months... or stalling this another 999 months in "eternal development" if there exists a consensus against Media Viewer regardless of the proposed development. We do not allow someone to shove bad content into an article and then engage in tendentious discussion about "improving" that content when there is a clear consensus that no amount of "improvement" is going to permit it stay in. Alsee (talk) 22:11, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't know where you get 4 months, Alsee, it was closed on July 9, which is less than three months ago. Risker (talk) 02:01, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
My apologies, I accidentally my used the July-RfC-start instead of the June-RfC-end in my quickie mental count. I corrected my comment above. Alsee (talk) 08:52, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
I think this makes it clear there is no claim of WP:CONEXCEPT here. The WMF withdrew it's hasty and unconsidered application of Superprotect, and explicitly asked that we not disable Media Viewer. Alsee (talk) 21:10, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Clear Conexcept issue: 'WMF: don't do it'. They do not need to apply superprotect that they still have, as long as it's not done. Like the community, which does not apply protection, when it does not need to, either. That is why it's never been applied on EnWP. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:48, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Can we agree that we disagree, and agree not to battle on a hypothetical? The issue is moot if this RfC doesn't pass, and the issue is moot if the WMF doesn't assert Conexcept as ground to reject it. The WMF decided that Superprotect as a Bad Idea, and perhaps they will decide that trying to claim Conexcept here is also a Bad Idea. Alsee (talk) 09:05, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
No. The WMF has already said where they stand. [6] ("MV" stands for Media Viewer) [7][8]. So, the only Bad Idea is this RfC, which is actually a WP:VOTE, and which is contrary to Policy. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:17, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  • No idea who added the Files from the Media Viewer Survey (I can find it in the history, but can't be bothered to check), but files from a survey with so many errors shouldn't be used to influence an RfC. Just look at the survey. The second graph has 100% of editors who never edited Wikipedia, and then additional percentages of people who did, going way over the number of respondents and over 100% obviously. The summary at the top ("Media Viewer Survey results from English readers in the last 2 weeks of the survey show significant increases in the percentage of users who find Media Viewer useful, compared to the first results right after launch. From June 24 to July 8, more English readers found Media Viewer useful (62%) than not (25%), based on 496 responses for that period.") also contradicts the box at the top right, "496 responses - 201 days (March 20, 2014 - now)". And of course, the survey says nothing about Mediaviewer as compared to standard File views, so even if a majority things it is useful, we don't know whether they actually find it any better. Please don't add such files without the necessary caveats, and please indicate who added them. Fram (talk) 08:20, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
The images can be viewed here. Images do not belong in the SUPPORT/OPPOSE section. The figures in the image are based on the last two weeks of limited survey data, and I distinctly recall seeing the WMF explaining that data was exceptionally unreliable due to dismal response rates. I will say [citationneeded] in the hopes that someone can provide the cite.
The complete survey data can be viewed in this spreadsheet. The WMF summary of that data is "A majority of global respondents find the tool useful for viewing images (56% response average, 60% average across surveys), as shown on this spreadsheet. Cumulative approval by language: English 36%, French 70%, Spanish 78%, Dutch 59%, Portuguese 81%, German 30%, Hungarian 63%, Catalan 71%"". I added bolding on the English results. Furthermore their claim of "A majority of global respondents find the tool useful" is (probably unintentionally) extremely misleading. If you survey 900 bald people and 100 not-bald people you do technically obtain "90% of respondents say combs are not useful". That is also a flagrantly warped result. I recalculated the survey results to, as best as possible, accurately represent the results for global Wikipedia visitors. When weighted to match global Wikipedia readership for each language I get 39% found Media Viewer "useful", 50% found it wasn't, and 10% were not sure. Anyone who wants to check my results can see the analysis I posted at mw:Talk:Multimedia/Media_Viewer/Survey#Survey_Renormalization_To_Match_Our_Readership 6 weeks ago. And of course the survey question itself is garbage. For example mw:Talk:Multimedia/Media_Viewer/Survey#Bias: "I actually hate the interface, but I answered yes. Because it is "useful." Had I known they were using this as an approval survey I would have said no." I saw a similar comment in one of the survey text-field responses, and I have no doubt that many of the other negative text-responses would paired with "useful" votes if we could view the text-responses matched up with "useful/not useful" responses.
The WMF also has this lovely Media Viewer - English Opt-in and Opt-out Events Graph - June 27 - July 20 2014.png. The rate of opt-outs is nearly five times as high as the number of opt-ins. And I have to wonder if those opt-in results are badly inflated. When I was testing Media Viewer I toggled it off, on, off, on, off, on, off. Realistically that should be one opt-out, but it sounds like that sort of thing triggered three bogus opt-in events. Alsee (talk) 12:20, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

If I may ask: Why do people who personally would prefer to use the traditional file description pages oppose making this new media viewer an opt-out feature? Surely setting a preference once and never needing to worry about it again is a small price to pay? Powers T 14:17, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

My reasons: 1) Because all the data we have shows that the feature isn't liked by a majority of all English-speaking groups. 2) The opt-out, at least for anons, is broken. 3) Even if the opt-out for anons worked, I'd have to set it on every computer I used. 4) Even if the opt-out worked, people now link to the media viewer when linking to images, so I can't avoid the damned thing, even if the opt-out worked. 5) There is a clear consensus that it should be disabled by default. --98.207.91.246 (talk) 14:45, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
In my case: all of that plus the fact it is inferior—making something inferior the default serves only those who developed it—it gives me an actual headache when it does its jiggling, flickering load; and I have been having to disable it on multiple-language Wikipedias, finding my way to and through the preferences in Kannada, Finnish, Latin ... it's a hassle and a half. Yngvadottir (talk) 15:38, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
It is also almost always unnecessary (it was clearly designed with galleries in mind, and most images in an article are not galleries), and actively defeats user expectations about what will happen when they click an image as well as messing with the web history. It muddles both navigation and attribution, reducing the quality of the site overall. After a few revisions, it's a lot better than it was, but the fact of the matter is that it's the wrong tool for the job. It would work much better if under image thumbnails there were a little icon you could click for something like, "Preview image", while clicking the image still brings you to the image file page. This wouldn't re-define existing behaviors, but it would allow MediaViewer as an option without enabling it in preferences. Of course, we have no leverage for a compromise, because WMF has shown that they don't give a fuck about what we think. It's really making me re-assess my monthly donation. 0x0077BE [talk/contrib] 16:25, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
Well, among other reasons, why should majority "pay the small price" instead of minority..? Also, if you really think this is no big deal, why are you still arguing instead of giving up and letting the ones who think it is somewhat bigger deal win..? I'm afraid I don't see much merit in reasoning behind your rhetorical question... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 19:31, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Should we have a third RfC that; there would be an RfC after WMF completes the implementation of the outcome of community consultation? --Fauzan✆ talk✉ mail 17:25, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  • @Fabrice Florin (WMF): Thanks for commenting. What I see missing from your thoughts is what, exactly, "Once we have collected and analyzed those metrics in November, we can discuss next steps based on that information" means. That is, let's say it's November. You've made your changes and collected your metrics. You have new numbers in hand. Now...what do you plan to do? Will you present them to the community and say "now, based on these, decide whether you want the software"? Will you have a point in mind where, if the metrics don't rise to X% of Y group, the software will be withdrawn and reworked again? What people here want to see in the discussion, I think, is a concrete course of action from the WMF. "We're reworking and re-evaluating" is great to hear, but it means little if it can't or won't be followed up with "...with X goal in mind, and if X doesn't happen, then we do Z".

    Similarly, you say that self-selected RfCs are "not an effective way to determine default configurations about software". I pretty much agree with you on that...but but but. If this type of RfC isn't going to work for you, in what manner do you want the community to comment on and support or oppose software changes in regards to this project, in particular? Petitions? Letter-writing campaigns? Skywriting "Enwp wants the WMF to change Product Q" over San Francisco? People are fighting to find, in these software deployment cases, what will get the WMF to listen to the community's will (or to their own personal opinions), and so far the WMF's response to that has been mostly of the type "Oh, you want to know how to get software recalled or paused? Well, let me tell you about the next deployment date and changelog instead!" Interesting stuff to hear, but not actually an answer to the question the community is asking, you know? I think you'd get fewer people willing to die on this hill if you gave them a sense of what they can do to change things other than dying on this hill. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 13:49, 7 October 2014 (UTC)


@Fluffernutter:: Good to meet again, and thanks for your interest in this project.
In response to your question, our goals for Media Viewer in the next few weeks are to:
1) complete the 'must-have' tasks we identified from our community consultation;
2) verify through user research and metrics that they are working as intended (using the same methodologies as reported in previous Media Viewer updates, such as the above response);
3) fix any critical bugs for Media Viewer and these features;
4) review these results with the community;
5) wrap up development on this project.
So far, about half of the 'must-have' tasks have been released, as listed in my previous response. Here are the ones that are still in development, which we plan to release in coming weeks:
  • Easy Disable/Enable Settings from Media Viewer (#836)
  • Re-enable Media Viewer from a File Page (#719)
  • Show caption above the fold in Media Viewer (#589)
  • Pre-render thumbnails in all sizes on the back-end (#301)
  • Move license label after source (#833)
  • Make MediaViewer text larger in Monobook (#876)
You can track our progress for these tasks on our current sprint wall.
As for your other question (how the community can comment on software changes), that was the primary purpose of our widely-promoted Media Viewer consultation. We asked for community feedback, we received a lot of great suggestions, we prioritized them and developed the 'must-haves'. This consultation process seems effective for limited releases like this one. (Note that we are also exploring other ideas for community participation, as described in my response to Alsee below.)
However, please keep in mind that our multimedia team is urgently needed on other high-priority projects like Upload Wizard and Structured Data. Once the most critical tasks listed here are done, we will switch our attention to these critical projects, which have been explicitly requested by the community. But we will continue to share our Media Viewer findings with the community in coming weeks, and look forward to reviewing them together in mid-November. Thank you. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 23:22, 9 October 2014 (UTC)


  • Thanks Fabrice Florin (WMF) for your friendly and helpful post in the WMF section. I fully trust the WMF to implement 100% of the improvements that the WMF says it plans to make, and my intent with this RfC was for people to take into account all of those promised improvements. I encourage people to fully consider your post before responding to this RfC.
Nonetheless, I am very troubled that the Community Consultation process was deaf by design to any community input that did match what the WMF wanted to hear. The WMF director, Lila, promised a Community Consultation process "with no predetermined outcome". The consultation outcome looks pretty predetermined to me. If this RfC passes I think it means the consultation was a failed, broken process. The nontraditional bottom-up wiki governance and the traditional top-down WMF governance models are clashing. I sincerely hope that all of us can find a better way to bridge that gap. Alsee (talk) 18:38, 7 October 2014 (UTC)


@Alsee: You make a reasonable point that there is some tension between the community’s bottom-up governance model and the more structured decision-making process of a software development organization like ours. But as you can tell from the comments above, it is not possible to design software that will satisfy every point of view. As much as possible, we strive to make our designs consistent with evolving user interface standards, easy to understand, and responsive to the needs of our broad user base.
We have already invited community feedback, extending our development time by an entire quarter to address the most important requests. The consultation outcome was not at all pre-determined and we carefully evaluated every community suggestion before making a final selection. We focused on specific calls for improvement where we could make a difference, based on some great suggestions from our community. And we were very clear from the outset that requests to turn off the software were outside the scope of this consultation.
Going forward, we are building a more robust, quantified process for measuring the success of our projects and for gathering feedback early in the planning cycle, based on some of the ideas discussed in this separate consultation about process. We look forward to evaluating all these suggestions with our product group in coming weeks, and you should be hearing from us soon. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 23:22, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
"The consultation outcome was not at all pre-determined [...] And we were very clear from the outset that requests to turn off the software were outside the scope of this consultation." These two statements are inconsistent. In light of the latter statement, the former is mendacious. It's clear from your statement that it was a predetermined outcome that Media Viewer would remain enabled no matter what happened with the "consultation." The WMF has never given a compelling reason for insisting on imposing this predetermined outcome despite a clear consensus to the contrary. A consultation isn't a consultation if you're going to declare anything you don't want to hear as out of scope. A question that has been asked many times before but never answered: "What would it take for the WMF to disable the Media Viewer in conformance to the clear consensus on the English Wikipedia, the German Wikipedia, and the Commons?"--98.207.91.246 (talk) 23:36, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
@Fabrice Florin (WMF): The IP address beat me to it, but I still need to say it. "The consultation outcome was not at all pre-determined" combined with "clear from the outset that requests to turn off the software were outside the scope of this consultation" is insulting. It's offensive. Statements like that just inflame the situation. Alsee (talk) 07:42, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

To people saying that since people can opt out, this isn't an issue: wrong. People on other sites are now linking to media viewer pages, not the file page. Even if you never want to see media viewer, it's thrown in your face if you browse the web with any regularity. Also, if you don't have an account, the opt-out periodically breaks. You also have to opt out on each computer that you use. There is also the issue that a lot of people don't know how to get to the file page. Some people don't even know what they're missing, with the version history and the full description. And finally, stop talking about the readers. Not a single reader has chimed in to support media viewer. --98.207.91.246 (talk) 03:00, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

@Fabrice Florin (WMF):"The consultation outcome was not at all pre-determined [...] And we were very clear from the outset that requests to turn off the software were outside the scope of this consultation" is just a short way of saying "we will only listen to people that agree with our predetermined outcome". Do people at the WMF wonder why we consider the statements from WMF staff to be intentionally deceitful, or do you just sit back and laugh after you write nonsense like that?—Kww(talk) 04:54, 12 October 2014 (UTC)


RfC Close challenged, close withdrawn, RfC reopened[edit]

I have posted on the closer's talk page questioning a closing which baselessly rejects a two-to-one outcome as "no consensus". Alsee (talk) 04:17, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

I've been wondering about the exact same thing myself. The vote shows that consensus remains the same: turn it off, just like the first RFC said, and just like the WMF's own feedback suggested. That's three times that the community has spoken and said the same thing: turn off mediaviewer.

I fail to see any reason for the rather subjective closing of this RfC with "No Consensus", it's a clear confirmation of the former RfC. The WMF has now the clear duty to switch the MV to opt-in, if it doesn't, it shows utter disrespect to the communities. --♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 05:17, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

I agree, ♫ Sänger, that "WMF has now the clear duty to switch the MV to opt-in, if it doesn't, it shows utter disrespect to the communities"...However, I've actually given up investing any effort or hope in seeing any actual community-driven MV decisions implemented by WMF. Given the toxic atmosphere they (WMF) created and the cynical nature of their "engagement" w/ the Community re. MV, I've done the only things I can do to register my disagreement with WMF's abuse of the Wikipedia editors who actually produce the knowledge content leveraged by Foundation to accumulate money and influence: 1) I stopped editing almost completely (even as IP) and 2) I've withheld any monetary support and encourage others to do the same.
For me, WMF has poisoned this Project Environment and now I simply won't encourage my own marginalization by user:Fabrice Florin (WMF). WMF should just drop the pretense that they believe they have any accountability to the Community, and then we'll see how enthusiastic editors are about contributing their unpaid time to supporting such a gilded elite. JDanek007Talk 22:00, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

NOTICE: The closer has simply ceased to respond to comments on his talk page. I find him to be unwilling to participate in informal discussions of this close. I am drafting a formal request for review. I am more concerned with filing a high quality review-request than a hasty review-request. I am going to take some time refining the language and arguments before submitting it. I invite comments on my talk page. Alsee (talk) 08:50, 14 November 2014 (UTC) WP:Administrators'_noticeboard#Close_Review_Media_Viewer_RfC Review Request submitted. Alsee (talk) 16:29, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

Just a friendly BUMP, as it should not be archived yet until the review request is decided. ♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 12:08, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
I've commented out my close. Consensus seems clear enough that people want it reconsidered. However, I will note that this whole issue seems to be drama over nothing, as there appears to be little chance of anything happening; bugzilla:67826 makes that clear enough. --Mdann52talk to me! 17:00, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
You are probably right, the WMF has shown their disdain of the communities before, and the hostile, unwarranted closure of that bugzilla is only one example of this. But consensus for opt-in is clear, I think some programmer will know now how to do this graceful (as opposed to the things DaB. did for deWP) with commons.js or whatever. An admin with this skills should simply do it, it's the right thing, the WMF definitely is on the bad side of this conflict. If the WMF again acts with brutal force against the clear will of the communities, they show, that they are completely alienated from their proper bosses, that's the communities. --♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 17:16, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Sänger S.G: the fact is, that is the only way for us to suppress it (that or using hacky js as a gadget, which comes with it's own issues). As per below, there is not a consensus to push this too far, too fast however, so another option may emerge later on, although I wouldn't hold your breath too much. The WMF have shown what they think of this sort of change before, especially when it has impacts on performance. Yes performance is not in our remit, but when something we do causes a lot of issues, then it is our faults. --Mdann52talk to me! 17:28, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

The directions at WP:Village Pump (technical) state what is required for any and all feature requests, and it is not an RfC result, it is a report to Bugzilla for determination. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:17, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Media Viewer RfC Question 2[edit]

The WMF made this statement when deactivating Superprotect:

Dear German Wikipedia community,

We’ve been talking a lot with many of you and at the WMF about the current situation regarding Media Viewer and site-wide JavaScript changes.

Restricting edits to MediaWiki:Common.js was a difficult decision for us. We regret that we missed opportunities to do our part in avoiding a conflict that no one wanted. At the same time, we cannot fulfill our responsibilities as the site operator when users take it upon themselves to disable functionality by editing site-wide JavaScript that is executed for all users.

We learned that the use of superprotection unintendedly created the impression that we don't trust the community. This is not the case, so we have therefore removed the restriction.

In doing so, we are investing our trust and goodwill in every community member that you will work together with us before making changes to site-wide JavaScript. And we are specifically asking you to not change site-wide JavaScript to deactivate Media Viewer or to make it opt-in.

Our commitment to you is to address open technical issues with Media Viewer based on a global community consultation process beginning tomorrow. The consultation page will address the scope, intent, and timelines of the consultation will be announced on all projects and will be open-ended. We will update here with the details when the page is live and will support German language participation.

We ask you to work with us in good faith in the upcoming month and through this effort define a better, closer way of working together in support of our common goals.

Sincerely, Lila & Erik

Question Two. In light of the statement above, should Question One carry the following implementation terms:

  • Place a 7 day hold against Community action to implement this RfC.
  • Officially deliver the closing results to the WMF.
  • Express our desire to work together with the WMF before making changes to site-wide JavaScript.
  • Express our desire to work with the WMF in good faith, and our hope for a better closer way of working together in support of our common goals.
  • Formally request the WMF to implement this configuration change for English Wikipedia.
  • 7 days after this RfC closes our JavaScript experts and other admins are directed to take any steps necessary to implement this RfC, if such steps are still needed.
NOTE: Question two shall have NO EFFECT if question one fails. You can oppose question one and still support question two, just in case question one passes.

Support (Media Viewer RfC Question 2)[edit]

  1. SUPPORT as RfC author. I want to make every effort of develop a more collaborative relationship between the community and the WMF. Alsee (talk) 18:01, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
  2. Support. First we should try to work with them, FWIW. Then, when that will fail, fiat justitia ruat caelum. BethNaught (talk) 16:36, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  3. Support. The seven days give WMF sufficient time to implement this. Features that are switched on by default and problematic in regard to copyright law (two clicks to access complete copyright information) lie within the domain of the community. How can we with good conscience use images at en:wp if, by default, this feature hides essential copyright info? This is a problem of the community as many of them work with their real names and have consequently a different perspective than the WMF who sits in the safe harbour. --AFBorchert (talk) 17:58, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  4. Support. This seems a reasonable proposal. LynwoodF (talk) 18:47, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  5. Support. I can't see why this would controversial at all. Powers T 19:23, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  6. Of course. We should try to work with them, but community consensus must be enforced as long as it's technically possible. Nyttend (talk) 19:31, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  7. Support. I don't know about all the details, but I'm coming from a position that we, editors and WMF, are all in this together. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:17, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  8. Support per BethNaught. Double sharp (talk) 01:40, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  9. Support. We should try to work with the WMF since we're all in this together. -- King of ♠ 02:43, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  10. Strong Support -- CONEXCEPT clearly was never intended to apply to this kind of situation. This does not implicate any basic principle of the movement, nor is there a compelling technical reason to oppose a return to how things were for over a decade. I disagree with the time frame. We've been stuck with this terrible, shoddy, ill-conceived software for what, five months now? It needs to be returned to opt-in immediately. The anonymous opt-out is broken and it keeps on returning. This has gone on far, far, too long. --98.207.91.246 (talk) 06:42, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  11. support -jkb- (talk) 09:21, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  12. Support. It would be nice to have more options, but no one suggested anything else and this option does seem to achieve some balance between conciliatory and antagonistic approaches... If WMF wants to reconcile with us, they have 7 days to do something, and if they do not, why should we give up just because resisting makes their life harder? If they do not act as friends with us, why should we act as if we were friends with them? Of course, it is to be understood that simply turning off Media Viewer for everyone is perfectly acceptable - if WMF doesn't like it, they are free to offer us an alternative we would prefer. Or, if they really want to use their legal rights (that some opposers discuss), they are free to ban everyone at the price of a public relations disaster (I'm pretty sure the editors will survive, I am not so sure about WMF). Somehow, I doubt they will actually do so, thus legal rights seem to be a red herring here... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:45, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  13. Support. The putsch by WMF against its employers, the communities, that generate all donations with their content creation and maintenance, was extremely hostile and must never happen again. --♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 10:35, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  14. Support And also go so far as to request that certain of the provisions such as official presentation of results be made regardless of question 1. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crazycasta (talkcontribs) 01:14, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
  15. Support per the mission statement of the WMF: "(...) to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content (...)" — Preceding unsigned comment added by KaiMartin (talkcontribs) 03:34, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
  16. Support as enforcement of decision in question #1 above.. StaniStani  10:02, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  17. Support While I have serious doubt as to whether they will respect the community's will, that shouldn't stop us from being reasonable. This is ample time to implement the change if the community sees fit, and any discussion about a compromise or other changes can happen after implementation. Dennis - 20:15, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  18. Support, in order to essentially make the antagonism reach such a height that Wikipedia dies. Grognard Chess (talk) Ping when replying 15:06, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  19. Support as sending a strong message to the WMF, even if they block it. KonveyorBelt 18:22, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Oppose (Media Viewer RfC Question 2)[edit]

  1. Per my my oppose and policy (WP:CONEXCEPT section 1 and 4) above, and to repeat AFBorchet's argument [9] (and similar) shows a misunderstanding or incompetence regarding law, and does not accord with current layout. Moreover, if you think the Foundation is doing something illegal, than the remedy is not an RfC or a WP:Vote, per WP:LAWSUIT. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:43, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
    While I don't agree with many of the things the WMF is doing, when it comes to legal issues I think it is always best to defer to them. They have a team of professional lawyers working for them who were hired for their expertise. If they believe that MediaViewer does not violate licensing requirements, then I trust them. -- King of ♠ 02:43, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  2. I'd support this if only the first 5 bullet points were present, but I can't support it given "7 days after this RfC closes our JavaScript experts and other admins are directed to take any steps necessary to implement this RfC, if such steps are still needed." Jackmcbarn (talk) 17:50, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  3. The WMF is supposed to serve the projects, not the other way around. Their removing the super-protection is too little, too late, and they should not be setting conditions. Their forcing software changes on the projects that impair our ability to execute our mission here is indefensible and is yet another indication that they have forgotten what we are here for and what they are supposed to exist for. No negotiation. Throw this thing out. Yngvadottir (talk) 21:11, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  4. Per Jackmcbarn I agree with all but the last bullet. While I think Mediaviewer should not be the default, I don't think that we should be tempting the WMF to reinstate something like super-protection. Whether we like it or not, these are still their servers, and while WMF policy gives users wider latitude for making major site changes than just about any website I can think of, I don't think we should push it. There has to be a better diplomatic solution before we declare war. --Ahecht (TALK
    PAGE
    ) 02:34, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  5. The 6th bullet point seems like the wrong approach. The others would be okay if the first passes ( granted I am opposed to that at this time as well ). PaleAqua (talk) 15:12, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  6. Bullet 6 as it stands is a bad idea; we should not commit to this until we know it will work. That is to say, we shouldn't hold this RfC until we've already written and approved a JS script that will accomplish this. Frankly, I'm not sure that any solution we come up with will be good enough. This is putting the cart before the horse. Writ Keeper  21:50, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
  7. A declaration of war against the WMF if they fail to comply will just lead to the return of superprotect or mass blockings. This isn't a major enough issue to justify an internal civil war. Mogism (talk) 00:24, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  8. Per Jackmcbarn, Mogism, etc. There's no need for any party to be antagonistic here. — This, that and the other (talk) 10:12, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  9. Per the above comments. Giving the WMF 7 days to do what you want isn't collaborating; it's tantamount to a declaration of war. A war is a waste of energies and will end up damaging the project, which seems a little like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Ca2james (talk) 16:21, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
  10. Not only is the sixth bullet point not technically feasible (see below), but it is also absurd and objectionable to talk of directing all admins and Javascript experts to take any steps necessary to implement this. What will we do to any that don't snap to attention and rush into action - denounce them as enemies of the Party? NebY (talk) 19:24, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
  11. Per WP:CONEXCEPT. This whole proposal is muddle-headed and wrong. Hawkeye7 (talk) 02:12, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
  12. Per Hawkeye7 and NebY Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:02, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
  13. I disagree with the proposal of "placing a 7 day hold against Community action to implement this RfC; 7 days after this RfC closes our JavaScript experts and other admins are directed to take any steps necessary to implement this RfC". As a community we should try to keep a cautious approach. --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:02, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
  14. Oppose I agree with the above objections to the final bullet point. Neljack (talk) 06:50, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  15. Oppose - just follow the outcome of the first RfC. We don't wait 7 days after an XfD is closed to see if something changes or someone else wants to make a statement either. Also, the WMF has all the time to comment, rebut, and/or convince while the RfC is open, no need for waiting another 7 days. --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:14, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
  1. Do we want to go through the events of this summer again? --Guerillero | My Talk 05:47, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Neutral (Media Viewer RfC Question 2)[edit]

  1. I don't care how the WMF is informed, how Media Viewer is disabled, or what schedule is followed. I just want Media Viewer disabled by default for all users (including anonymous readers) within a month of the RFC being closed. Assuming, of course, that the decision is "disable by default" or "remove it entirely". Or even "kill it with fire" but that last one presumably violates the rules about civil discourse. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.140.0.55 (talk) 01:54, 6 October 2014
  2. "Good faith"? This is not a question of "faith". The community disabled the media viewer AFTER they saw what it was doing. —Neotarf (talk) 23:38, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
  3. Neutral - The hostility is unfortunate. It may be that the WMF started out by taking a hostile attitude toward the community, but we don't need to perpetuate that hostility. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:08, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Abstain. This is pointless. First off, there is no obligation implied or otherwise that the WMF comply with any RfC in their charter or bylaws. Second, there have been many highly substantive changes at the WMF, including a new Executive Director that has yet to oversee a full development cycle and a brand new VP of Engineering that has yet to oversee anything at all.
Please, consider this; is it the community's will that we don't give them a chance? I would like to see what these leaders at the WMF can do before everyone dogpiles on them- especially Lila. 2-3 months should be more than enough to see which direction they plan to lead the community in. Or maybe we'd prefer the immediate gratification of cutting off our nose to spite our face? Here's an alternative plan: as a community, let's give them the support they need to accomplish our mutual goals. If we step up; they will either step up with us or fall down the staircase. So how bout we step up and see what happens? -wʃʃʍ- 00:36, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
  • "...see what happens"? This is what we've been doing for months now. And thanks for lending support to the nose thumbing directed at consensus by your pat referral to "by laws". Most governments of the free world are subject to the same laws as are the people -- but evidently not here at Wikipedia, something that is supposed to be a pillar of community team work. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:55, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
By "months," you're talking about the 4 months the new ED has been on the job? Sure. And while we're at it, I'd like a full list of substantial changes the VP of Engineering has made in the several days we've been waiting after he started.
This is absurd. It took years for these problems to build up. The community demanded change, and it got it. Now you expect the new management to clean things up yesterday? Give them a little time. Or continue to push these half-cocked RfCs while everyone else gets back to work with renewed vigor as the true benefits of the changes the Board and Lila have made become apparent. Worst case scenario, change doesn't happen fast enough or goes the wrong way, and you can get back to these toothless and skin-free RfC's in 6 months or so. Why not give them a chance and see where they take things? -wʃʃʍ- 21:23, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Wllm, please stop discussing things as if you are "from the community" and not "from the WMF". If you want to see what the leaders of the WMF can do, just go home, where you have every opportunity to observe that. Don't pretend to be "one of us" with your "we" for the editors here, and "they" for the WMF, when all you are is a WMF mole. Fram (talk) 10:42, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm a WMF mole? No, Fram, I'm a human. Just like you. And I show you the respect that every human deserves. I'd appreciate it if you would reciprocate by not trying to exclude me from community debates.
I am part of this community, whether you like it or not. On the flip side, I am not part of the WMF and don't represent them in any way. No doubt many WMFers would find your suggestion that I'm some sort of mole as ludicrous as I do, considering my outspoken criticism of certain aspects and actions of the WMF in the past. I'll go toe to toe with you about the "merits" of these silly petitions, and I can do it without resorting to bad-faith attempts at discrediting you. -wʃʃʍ- 21:02, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Erm, I dunno. If I'm reading this correctly, the general thrust is "Let's see if the community is OK with the Media Viewer as default, and if it is, nothing much happens, but if its not, we'll make it the not-default using Javascript, OK?". Right? I think I'm reading the intent right. Hrm, don't know about this... I'm a little unsure if the community should be doing this, and here's why: the community that is voting on Question 1 is basically editors, mostly long-term heavily involved editors. Not entirely but skewed in that direction. It's only human nature for people to want to have an environment that is best for them personally and to conflate that with the best environment generally, and also only human nature for people to have difficulty getting inside the shoes of people who are very different from them. "'It's a good thing we don't all like the same things', said the Scotsman -- 'think of what a shortage of oatmeal there'd be!'" is, after all, funny because there's a kernel of truth in there.
To avoid the first and do the second takes effort, practice, and the proper mindset. It's not something that everyone can do. That is why they don't just grab the nearest programmer to do the user interface design and so forth. So I guess one of the questions on the table is: Who is best qualified to suss what Mrs Pinckney Pruddle of Sandusky, Ohio, probably expects to happen when she click on an image.. Is it the community of experienced Wikipedia editors? Is the WMF? Is it someone else? I don't know, but I'm not confident that it's the community of experienced Wikipedia editors as opposed to the WMF. Herostratus (talk) 15:01, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
  1. Neutral - I do not believe we should fix the details of further procedures before Question 1 is resolved. However, I would like to use the occasion to state that we should generally avoid using Javascript in Wikipedia and related projects, such as to make it easier to use with simpler web browsers. --Schlosser67 (talk) 11:36, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Reserved for official comments by WMF employees (Media Viewer RfC Question 2)[edit]

(Please do not edit here if you are not WMF)

Please see our response to the first question above.

Discuss and comment (Media Viewer RfC Question 2)[edit]

(The following thread was split off of #Neutral (Media Viewer RfC Question 2) by Alsee (talk) 14:54, 9 October 2014 (UTC))

We've given the WMF months. We're still stuck with the shoddy, ill-conceived software that is Media Viewer. We've told them we don't want it. They responded by saying, "Hey, we're listening to you. Give us suggestions." And then when they summarize what we said, they ignore the dominant feedback that people don't want Media Viewer, instead focusing on little details but pretending they've made vast improvements. It still stinks. It shouldn't be replacing the file page for anyone. The community is the project, not the WMF. The WMF is a useful legal entity to do the things that the community can't. But they've deluded themselves into thinking they're the boss and they aren't. This is unacceptable. They absolutely are bound to abide by an RfC of this nature. Their whole purpose is to serve the community, like it or not. The community has given the WMF months to do the right thing. It shouldn't give them even another hour because it looks like the WMF still doesn't get it. Disable Media Viewer immediately. And if the WMF pulls another Germany, ask the stewards, on behalf of the community, to lock the WMF out so that community consensus is honored. The WMF has burned all their good faith. It's time that the nightmare that is Media Viewer ends. --98.207.91.246 (talk) 02:56, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

I doubt that most of those who don't like MV would support such a dramatic approach to the issue. And, when it comes to WMF being the boss, there are very few assets in this project that aren't given away for free. Those assets include the domain names. The WMF and the domain names are not sold separately. If you don't like the way the WMF is running things, and you feel you've given an organization with a new chief executive just 4 months on the job enough time to fix everything, your most productive path is to fork the project. Please. There are plenty of people who want to get back to building a great encyclopedia on wikipedia.org, and I venture to say that anyone who isn't interested in working constructively with the WMF won't be missed much.
It's time to call all bluffs: work with us or fork off already. In either case, please stop wasting people's time on these silly and ultimately toothless petitions and RfCs. -wʃʃʍ- 06:34, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
You're not calling any bluffs. I have no interest in working with anyone on Wikipedia and as evidenced by my refusal to actually create an account. I've never expressed any interest. You've lost nothing no matter what I do. I'm not pretending otherwise. I'm not at a point in my life where writing or editing an encyclopedia—or working on any wiki—holds any attraction for me. I'm just sick of the disaster that is Media Viewer being justified in the name of people like me who just read. I'm sick of the complete deafness in the WMF to any feedback about Media Viewer that doesn't fit with the "Multimedia vision" some middle-manager at the WMF came up with one day and now it's the plan, hell or high water—without any any meaningful community consultation. All this, while pretending they're listening. I'm incensed that the community that is actually the heart of the project is being ignored by the legal organization created to serve them when the community spoke with a clear and unambiguous voice that they didn't want this product. And I'm livid that the organization which no longer represents the community it was supposed to is raising funds in the name of that community in order to do more of the same but implying that the money is needed for infrastructure. This is deeply misleading and offensive.
Lila had plenty of opportunity to deal with this better at a very early stage. The negative feedback after the initial rollout was swift and overwhelming. It would have been a good time to rollback and reevaluate. Instead, delay, delay, delay. Let's lock a community out of its wiki when it does something we disagree with—and let's write an emergency software patch on a Sunday morning to do it. Oh, it's been out for months now... we can't roll it back now. It's a rigged game and it's bullshit. And I can't believe Lila, no matter how new she was, had no idea what she was doing.
I'm sick of Media Viewer. I can't get rid of it. Broken opt-out for people without accounts—supposedly the people that this was written for. Media Viewer showing up in external links to the site which I can't fix, even when the opt-out is working. If I cared about the mission, I might be upset about forcing this down the throats of other people similarly situated. But realistically, never show it to me again, and while I'll still think the WMF is rotten, I won't think of it until I see a stupid, misleading advertising banner asking for money the WMF doesn't need. Or the next stupid piece of software that nobody outside the WMF asked for is rolled out and makes the site more annoying to use. --98.207.91.246 (talk) 07:40, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
@Wllm: Supporting this IP. They are bang-on right. I have actually raised the issue of forking. I believe it's long past time. The WMF is a ridiculously inflated appendage that is swinging the project around - WP:FLOW will be even more of a disaster, and yet the WMF refuses to stop. The train of mistrust of the WMF left a long time ago thanks to this string of unjustifiable and mismanaged software changes. Yngvadottir (talk) 19:03, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
@Yngvadottir: I'd like to hear your reasoning in the current context, not that of "a long time ago". The Board realized there was a problem. 4 months ago Lila took over as Executive Director. Just days ago a new VP of Engineering was introduced to the community. We already see things changing, although we haven't yet seen a full product cycle in which communication and trust is established from the get-go as they should be under these 2 leaders. This is the current context, and it's quite different from previous situations. Please explain why it makes more sense to fork during this period of great change, rather than giving these people and the Board a chance to fix what's broken. -wʃʃʍ- 00:22, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
I've seen no evidence of even a single change, just lots of marketing mumbo jumbo. I tend to agree with Yngvadottir that the time for a fork may be fast approaching, particularly as Jimbo has said that he's prepared to pay for the necessary server(s). Eric Corbett 00:28, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
I've got to agree with Eric here - if there is institutional change going on as far as how the WMF will plan, deploy, and approach the community about software, that change hasn't come through to the community yet that I've been able to see. I don't doubt that they're probably trying to change, but if you're saying "But things have already changed for the better, and will keep changing like that", and we can't see any change...I dunno. Maybe they need to change harder? A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 00:39, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
I've been spending a lot of time on the wikimedia servers and even talking with the WMF director. She hasn't had the job very long, and she was honestly blindsided by the community reaction to Superprotect. In her last job as Chief product officer it was perfectly natural for management to lock down the javascript like that. She's been getting a crash course in who we are and how we work. She is planning some change in MWF approach to things, but I can't tell yet whether she plans to collaborate with us or whether it's going to be more bogus "Community Consultation" like they had on Media Viewer. I suggest lowering the pitchforks until we see what happens next. Alsee (talk) 03:57, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
But it's well beyond time for things to change, hence the pitchforks. Eric Corbett 04:23, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
I started this RfC, I'm lugging around the biggest heaviest pitchfork here. I suggested lowering the pitchforks, not dropping them. I don't want to get jabby if we can avoid it. Within a week of RfC closing, probably sooner, we'll know whether the WMF is escalating or de-escalating the situation. Alsee (talk) 16:24, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
Here are two examples of changes of a very different nature. Let's start with something very concrete. Lila hired a new VP of Engineering. If we're talking about change WRT the software the WMF develops, it doesn't get much better. Now for something a bit less tangible. I just skimmed over Lila's talk page. It looks nothing like Sue's. Lila is clearly listening, asking questions, and taking action on the feedback, which is apparent in what she's said there about the Flow project.
I think you guys are talking about not seeing the benefits from change yet. Well, big changes have happened with more to come, no doubt, and they will turn in to results in a few short months. Is it really unreasonable to suggest we wait that long before we pick up the pitchforks and light the torches? -wʃʃʍ- 00:51, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
The only concrete change I want here is Media Viewer being disabled by default, as per consensus. This ugly baby needs to die and the people who forced it down our throats need to find new employment. That would be concrete change, not the organizational lip service you've talked about. --98.207.91.246 (talk) 02:14, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
@Wllm: First I've heard of anything except the change in Executive Director. Of course you intend to stay around and see what the WMF does - you came in with her, into the WMF. The thing is, the WMF is not the management of the projects - it is a service adjunct to them. We are the ones who do the work. If your partner was "blindsided" as Alsee says, then she did not research the job. The Visual Editor debacle and before that the community's response to the removal of OBOD without providing IP editors with any replacement notification of posts to their talk pages should have provided ample history regarding the community's response to their work environment being mucked up in the name of - full employment for programmers? poorly defined change for change's sake? - and the manner in which the volunteers here reach decisions was surely in the briefing sheet (this is the second time I see you referring here to "wasting time"). For that matter, I understand the WMF refused some time ago to implement a change in respect to creation of new pages that had been decided upon by English Wikipedia. And preparations to force WP:FLOW on us are still barreling along. No, I don't see any changes on the WMF's part. The one recent piece of news I am aware of is that Jimbo insulted all of us at the latest con. Yngvadottir (talk) 04:11, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure Jimbo did so thoughtfully and with kindness though. Eric Corbett 04:38, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
Was that when Jimbo said something to the effect that those who aren't here to build an encyclopedia in good faith should find something else to work on and leave the rest of us to do what we love to do in a constructive environment? I can't say I agree with everything Jimbo says, but I'm 100% on board with that. The petty politics and nastiness that is apparent in all too many comments on this page has got to go. -wʃʃʍ- 21:35, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Which "javascript experts" are we talking about here? The self-appointed ones? The ones who took a class once and totally know what they're doing? The ones who have admin rights, and thus must know what they're doing? The ones who heard about this piece of js from someone who totally knows what they're doing, so the code must be ok? The whole reason the js-editing debacle turned into such a disaster last time is because we don't have a designated team of "javascript experts" in the lay community; instead we have a team of admin-type people who have the technical ability to edit mediawiki pages but who may or may not have the slightest idea what they're doing. If a mediawiki dev(s) or other actually-provably-qualified-to-edit-mediawiki-code person is willing to write javascript that will a) enact the community's will and b) not be buggy, prone to breaking things it shouldn't, or otherwise degrade site performance, then yeah, let's talk about the cases where the enwp community will use that code, and how we're going to limit the ability to edit that code to that person or people. But unless you're going to limit this implementation to those qualified people only (perhaps through limiting editing of mediawiki space to those actually responsible for the mediawiki software? oh, wait...), we're just going to land back in a case where a well-meaning person throws in a hack, breaks things sitewide, and has to be reverted while everyone gets very angry and shouts rude words. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 18:57, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken there's significant precedent of community management of Javascript, and I trust we have competent people for the job. Nonetheless, this RFC already explicitly designed to address your concerns. You can OPPOSE question one and SUPPORT question two. Alsee (talk) 21:29, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Well no, this isn't addressing any of my concerns, because my concern in this case is that Question Two is written in a way that's just unworkable, and I'm worried to see people voting either way on it without thinking about that. The last time around, we had someone who didn't know javascript "fix" mediawiki to match the community's will by breaking it, and there's nothing in this proposal that stops the same thing from happening again: "The community said to do X, so even though I don't know if this patch will work, I'm going to put it into our local setup, because the community's will must be done, and right now!" If we want to play hardball in this way - forcing through software changes to do what the WMF won't, taking responsibility for producing our own code that supplements or replaces theirs - then those software changes had better be absolutely bulletproof and implemented according to best practices, not hacked together by whoever happened by and volunteered themselves, whether they knew what they were doing or not. The "our javascript experts" in this proposal will end up being "whoever shows up" unless you have actual mediawiki or javascript experts who have pre-emptively signed themselves up to be in charge of this software change. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 22:22, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
    • I think instead of focusing on the "who" and instead on the "what" would be helpful here. I think it would be good policy that soon after starting an RfC that you send a notice to the WMF developers that there is an RfC, and that X is the code we currently will use to implement it. This means the initiator of the RfC needs to either supply the code or find someone who can write it fairly early in the process. If there's anything wrong with the particular code - will it break something else - then we'll gladly work with any feedback from the developers. But it's not an invitation for WMF to overturn or alter the results of the RfC, but rather is an invitation for them to give feedback and help the community implement the RfC without disrupting anything else. VanIsaacWScont 00:01, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
I think it's safe to say that the WMF has been notified, chuckle. I'm a programmer, but I haven't worked with Javascript specifically. During the Superprotect event German Wikipedia made a very hasty change which fully disabled Media Viewer rather than setting it to Opt-In. I'm sure that javascript has been widely examined and the opt-in version is well known by now. I did consider adding something to the RfC setting up public review process, but I didn't want to complexify the RfC. Alsee (talk) 19:41, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Do you know of a JS solution to this? I don't know if I'd be considered a Javascript expert or not, but I am also a programmer, and I have worked with Javascript quite a bit, including here on Wikipedia; I haven't heard of a JS solution yet, and I don't really think one is possible that will be good enough. The problem is that the current MV opt-out preference is in a place where we can't really do much to it. We can look up its value, or change it with an API call, but the problem is that it is on by default right now, and we can't change that directly through JS (since it's not a gadget). We also can't distinguish through JS between people who have deliberately checked it and people who just haven't touched the setting at all(I think we can through the DB itself, but both cases look the same to the JS), so we have no way of telling the difference between someone who has slready opted in and someone who has just registered and has simply not changed the default setting. We could create our own on-by-default gadget to physically disable the MV, but then there are two different settings on two different pages that both have to be enabled to use MV, which is bad (though undoubtedly the two-key approach will appeal to some in the audience...). I'm not sure there's any good way to do this without something more heavy-duty than JS. Writ Keeper  21:50, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I wasn't referring to this matter specifically, but to a general principle of conducting RfCs in the future. If an RfC will require a change to site code or settings, we should have that code established early on, so that the developers can submit any feedback on unintended consequences of the proposed code or settings changes. VanIsaacWScont 05:10, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
I'd say we should consider more than one option... For example, what is going to happen, if the answer to this question will be "No."? Will nothing be done, or will someone disable MV without informing WMF? Also, perhaps we have more "creative" ways to do something (like, just to "brainstorm", showing a link to the "Open letter" whenever a request for donations is shown)? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 22:48, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Oppose getting into stupid pissing contests with WMF. The terms of Use we all agreed to make it clear WMF controls and decides what the technical infrastructure is. There's nothing wrong with having discussions about how software features impact our editorial work and conveying the consensus of such discussions to WMF, nor in criticizing there actions collectively or individually (as allowed by the "good faith criticism that does not result in actions otherwise violating these Terms of Use or community policies" clause of those terms). But intentionally making edits to alter the function of the software in a manner known to be contrary to WMFs wishes is wrong. NE Ent 21:38, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
Could you, please, cite the actual text to that effect? I don't see anything that could be interpreted as a promise to obey WMF on software matters without question. Of course, I might have missed it... Or, perhaps, I have looked at a different version ([10])... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 22:02, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
Just a timestamp to prevent archiving. HiDrNick! 16:20, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
Note to Closer and everyone. Many of the Opposes on Q2 are clearly Opposed to an "implement" result on Q1, rather than opposed to adding a 7-day hold on the implement from Q1. If it helps firm up a consensus-close, the final bullet point from Q2 could be implicitly or explicitly dropped. The close could say something to the effect of "Consensus to reaffirm and, after a 7 day hold, to implement RfC:Media_Viewer/June_2014". Alsee (talk) 19:29, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Time to replace RfA[edit]

Consensus is against the original proposal to close RfA without first agreeing on a replacement. A majority seem to agree that RfA does need significant reform, perhaps by agreeing on a new promotion process that could be trialed in parallel with the existing mechanism. But this RfC is not structured to produce consensus for such an outcome. FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:04, 22 November 2014 (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.


Additional closers notes: Anyone is welcome to revert this close if they feel that would be helpful. Im only closing as have been asked to do so on my talk, as the lack of consensus for the original proposal is so obvious we don't need a crat or even an admin to make the call, and as at this point leaving the discussion open is only likely to increase reform fatigue.

While this reform proposal has failed, it's otherwise been a quality discussion conducted in good spirits, so thanks very much to all participants. There have been 3 useful side results.

1) It's been clarified that WMF would not stand in the way of the community is we tried to make the RfA process less brutal, as long as we retain an element of reasonable vetting. Philippe has said he would personally support us even if we decided upon Pgallert's suggestion to relax the level of scrutiny to the extent that candidates could obtain adminship by request at WP:RFPERM see diff for the whole story.

2) Several promising new ideas for alternative RfA mechanisms have emerged, albeit as rough outlines.

3) There's evidence to support Noyster's suggestion that perhaps RfA can be changed after all. Of the 50 oppose votes, only about 15 seem to want to keep the existing process (with possible minor tweaks), about 20 are neutral to the idea of substantial change, and about 15 support a replacement or parallel process. If we add to those 15 the 10 who voted for Topguns's proposal and the 24 who supported the original proposal, we get about 77% support for substantial change to RfA. Not too much weight can be put on that figure due to the structure of the discussion, but it does suggest that if we wait a few months for RfA activity to return to trend, and then launch a new RfC to agree and implement a replacement, there may be a chance of success.

Several have suggested conducting a study may improve the chances for the next reform attempt. I would not say that is essential, but if anyone wants to pursue this I hope they approach the WMF for possible funding ASAP, as it would likely take many months before results became available. Thanks again to all participants, and good luck to whoever takes the lede in trying to promote the next reform attempt!

It's not to be tolerated!
RfA, the "ritual center of the English Wikipedia", has been allowed to remain a failed process for too long. For many years, new admins have been promoted far too slowly to replace those lost to desysoping or inactivity. Various discussions, charts and graphs showing this can be seen over at RfA_talk. Highlights include:

  • Back in the growth years of 2005 - 2007, we promoted on average over 30 admins per month. So far this year, we are averaging barely over a single promotion per month.
  • During the past two months there have been no promotions at all.
  • As per this recruitment thread several skilled veteran editors refused to consider running, blaming RfA's "vicious character assassinations" and "toxic atmosphere".
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 (projected)
Active admins 943 870 766 744 674 633 570
Admin promotions 201 121 78 52 28 34 21
Admin attrition (actual, not net) 263 194 182 74 98 75 85

It's been suggested that the plummeting number of active admins tracks the general decline in active regular editors. This is not true. Numbers of active admins has been falling at a far faster rate than the decline of active editors. According to these wikimedia stats, there has been an increase in the number of active editors this past year ( 31,616 in Aug 2014 , compared with 30,403 back in Aug 2013). There is no good reason to expect further declines in active editorship providing there are sufficient admins to help maintain a collegial environment. The world is generating new notable topics faster than ever. By some measures, since 2008 the world's total knowledge has increased more than tenfold. In 2008 there were only 1.5 Billion internet users. Now there is almost twice that number. The world depends on Wikipedia for information more than ever.

A more convincing reason for RfA's failure is the way the process allows a minority of users with unrealistic quality expectations to block promotions. A too high quality threshold for individual promotions is a sure fire way to lower the quality of the admin corps as a whole. This paradox is explained on RfA talk with a comparison to what would happen if New York city insisted on not allowing new hires to its police force unless they're good enough to be an inspector Morse or Colombo.

There has been over 7 years of failed RfA reform efforts, even after cases where a clear majority of editors agreed the process was in need of change. Editor Townlake has therefore suggested the essential first step is to close the current process.

Once the current RfA process is closed, design of the replacement process can commence. Goals for the new process might include:

  • Facilitating a greater rate of promotions so the admin corps can replenish its ranks.
  • Ensuring any rejected candidates are not subject to character assassination.
  • Restore the editor > admin progression path, which Sue Gardner and others have said is important for editor retention and for good morale.
  • Perhaps design the process so a mix of different candidates can be promoted, for example specialist content writers, specialist vandal fighters, perhaps even editors who most prominent attributes are friendliness and helpfulness.

It may be that a new batch of RfA runs will soon begin. Due to recruitment efforts by multiple editors, possibly the existing process could see as many as half a dozen promotions in November and December. Recruitment efforts have been attempted many times in the last 5 years and are demonstrably not an effective alternative to radical reform. At best, they produce a brief blip in activity.

Trying to solve the RfA problem with recruitment efforts alone is like refusing to send a man with a gaping chest wound to hospital so you can apply some sticky plasters.

A possible model for the new RfA might be elections based on the arbitration model where votes are not public, and a fixed number of candidates are promoted each quarter. Or perhaps a form of promotion that does not need voting at all. These and other new designs for RfA can be proposed and discussed in detail once the current process is marked as historical.

Timeline for RfA reform

Milestone Date Notes
Open proposal to close RfA for voting 30 October A brief delay before the initial vote allows time for any editors who favor maintaining the current process to make their arguments.
Close the vote, with a crat to announce the result 05 November Regardless of the result, any open RfAs can continue as normal.
Open discussion for designing RfA's replacement 05 November Any editor will be welcome to propose desirable qualities for the replacement, suggest new processes , or to discuss the existing proposals. At this stage, we should also seek one of the best RfC designers such as Beeblebrox, to help ensure that once we are ready to narrow down the field, we get the best decision possible for the new RfA.
Open an RfC to determine which proposed new RfA process is best 12 November It should be understood that going back to a modified form of the existing RfA process is not an option, if the initial consensus is to close RfA, then this is also a decision for a whole new process.
Close the RfC and open the new RfA process 19 November Based on the outcome and the role crats are to play, we could also open a new discussion about replacing RfB, or possibly restoring the original process, as RfB is perhaps less obviously a failed process. Alternatively, discussions about restoring RfB could wait until the new year.
Achieve the first wave of promotions with the new process 14 December Let's give the whole word a Christmas present by taking this important step to restore our community to full health!

— Preceding unsigned comment added by FeydHuxtable (talkcontribs) 09:20, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

So, what if the first vote decides to abolish RFA and RFB (no idea why RFB is added, we have enough Burocrats since they have very little left to do in general)? IF you then don't find a consensus on any new proposal, you are left without any RFA process. How would this help with the declining number of admins? First decide on a new process, then replace the old one with a new one. Fram (talk) 09:39, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

I totally agree there is no need to change RfB - I included this per editor Townlake's original proposal to end both RfA & RfB. Also, another editor didn't agree with ending RfA, but said just RfB could be ended! Funny how some see things so differently. If you want to modify the above proposal to remove mentions of changing RfB, that's fine by me.
The risk of not finding consensus for any one new replacement can be avoided by skillful design of the final decision making RfC. I can do this myself if need be, per my edits to Deliberative democracy, Im quite familiar with the science of voting and consensus. Much better though if someone like arbitrator Beeblebrox took the lead in designing the RfC, as they have a good track record in doing that sort of thing on Wikipedia before. FeydHuxtable (talk) 09:54, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Just to add, a big part of the problem with reforming RfA is the 7+ years history of failed reform efforts. If we don't end the current process first, there would likely not be sufficient impetus to decide on any one replacement, and therefore we'd revert to the status quo by default, as has happened time and time again in the past. If it takes a little longer to decide on the replacement than predicted, it's not like having no RfA process for a few weeks will make things worse, considering the current rate of promotions. FeydHuxtable (talk) 10:02, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't think you really understand "deliberative democracy" if you believe that using that system will avoid a situation where you end with no proposal getting a majority (or consensus). Only if you present two alternatives and force the people to support either the one or the other can you be sure that you end up with a consensus (barring a perfect 50-50 vote of course). But such a thing will not be acceptable to many people here. While a well-crafted RfC can increase the chance of getting some consensus on one proposal, there is no guarantee at all that this will happen. Any proposal to abolish RfA without having a new or improved process agreed on already is doomed IMO. Fram (talk) 10:11, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Indeed - this proposal is completely back-to-front. Establish a new process first, then get consensus to replace the old one. The idea that "turning off" RFA is the first step is simply ridiculous. In addition, the timeframe above is hilariously over-optimistic in its assumption that a new process can be developed before the end of the year; RFA alternatives have been debate at Talk:RFA for years now, with no perceptible movement towards agreement.
While I'm ambivalent about whether or not we need a new process to replace RFA, I'm pretty sure that removing the only method we have for promoting admins and then blindly hoping that an alternative will present itself is not the way to go about it. Yunshui  10:54, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Some strong adjectives there Yunshui. It precisely because we've had years of reform attempts with "no perceptible movement towards agreement" that we should first end the existing process before starting detailed discussions of the alternatives. Im surprised even someone like Fram doesnt seem to see that ending RfA as we know it would supply far greater impetus to design a new one. Its not like a few weeks with no live process would make much different to the current rate of promotions. Granted there will be no way to ensure everyone is happy with the replacement, but surely only a tiny fraction of editors would prefer to have no RfA process at all if they can't have their first choice? FeydHuxtable (talk) 11:21, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
If this proposal is approved, I see the almost inevitable consequence being a prolonged debate for about six months over what should replace the RFA process, with no guarantee that any consensus will develop, and no functional way of promoting admins during that time. Call me a cynic, but I expect that after about six months, the need for a process would be sufficiently great that we'd end up setting RFA back up again in pretty much its current form. I'm sorry if I come across as harsh, Feyd (it's not my intent), but I feel this is a very badly designed proposal - to offer a parallel, if I'm not happy with the service I get from my gas provider, am I better off using them while I find a better service, or turning off the heating in the hopes that the onset of hypothermia will spur me to spend more time on uswitch.com? Yunshui  12:41, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for using more gentle wording, which is appreciated. All other things being equal, it certainly makes sense to decide on a replacement before terminating an existing gas supplier. However, what if for whatever reason you and your partner had been arguing about the best replacement for years, making no progress even though the existing supplier is now only providing gas for one hour per day. In such a case, would some not eventually consider cancelling the existing contract to force a decision for a better one?
Having seen how folk like Beelbebrox can structure a RfC, (e.g. for Pending changes) I think it could be set up so the new RfA process would be decided on in a finite amount of time. FeydHuxtable (talk) 13:54, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

The problems with RFA are threefold and interrelated. First, it doesn't address our real need, which is editors with admin tools willing to deal with other editors having problems with each other. Admins don't want to make controversial decisions or wade into volatile situations. For example, I've had to wait so long to get an admin to pull the trigger on a topic ban appeal that I actually had to unarchive it. Yes, we get backlogs behind the scenes from time to time but we have no critical shortage of mop and bucket type admins. Second, the community (or at least a very large minority of it) clearly disagrees with the idea that adminship is no big deal; as long as the RfA process doesn't reflect that reality then we're setting people up to fail. Lastly, most people take deletion related tools and the ability to fairly and competently render decisions on dispute very seriously, especially in the context of imposing restrictions on other editors, but most people aren't seeking the tools in order to engage in that work. We should retain RfA for all tools not involving deletion and placing restrictions on other editors ability to contribute (banning/blocking/etc). This will get RfA back to a "no big deal" environment. The "new process" should be one for tools involving deletion/deleted material and the ability to place restrictions as RfA works when it's truly no big deal. GraniteSand (talk) 10:02, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

The "real need" isn't dealing with inter-editor relations. In general, no admin tools are needed for that, just people willing to spend time at AN, ANI and the like. Admins may be needed to implement the solution (e.g. a block), but you don't need admin tools (or the admin "title") to discuss things. What admins are most needed for is deletion/undeletion, protection/unprotection, and blocking/unblocking. Other things, like editing through protection, are relatively minor. Wikipedia:ADMINSTATS gives you an idea of what admins do with the tools (although editing through protection isn't included). Fram (talk) 10:16, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't clear. It's not dispute resolution I'm talking about, we have options for that all over the place; it's being willing to be the admin that takes up a problem, renders a meaningful and competent decision, and then acts upon it in a tangible and appropriate way. Never mind, I'm getting off topic. My basic point is that only RfA works for 80% of the tools it grants. Let's keep it for that 80% and reassess for the other 20%. GraniteSand (talk) 10:23, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I like GraniteSand's proposal and analyses, though I think the time to discuss it in detail is once the existing RfA is marked as historical. If however you guys want to change the timeline so that we try to get consensus for this (or another) proposal before marking RfA as historical, I would not object. However, it's my strong opinion that doing could quite likely doom this discussion to follow the precedent of all other reform attempts, and fail completely. Huh, even the massive amount of work that went into WP:RFA2011 , led by Kudpung himself, did not achieve a single tangible change. I guess the bright side of this reform attempt failing, even in the face of the overwhelming evidence that RfA is broken, is that it might encourage Jimbo or the Foundation to step in and implement reform by force majeur, setting a useful precedent. (Jimbo did suggest he was thinking this might be needed a few years back.) Not all would see abandoning the hope of community led reform as a bright side of course. FeydHuxtable (talk) 10:47, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Jimbo can propose anything he wants, and it will be judged on its merits. Stepping in and imposing anything is a very good way to piss off even more people than he has alreday achieved though. His last attempts at imposing anything by force (his attempts to make Commons "better" by repeatedly deleting old works of art) backfired badly. I don't think that hoping (or threatening, depending on your point of view) that anything will come from that direction is useful or realistic.Fram (talk) 11:04, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Can't argue with that Fram. In that case I guess we should pray that some sort of community led reform finally takes place. FeydHuxtable (talk) 11:21, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Has WP:NOTVOTE been revoked, then? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:30, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Nothing here is intended to violate NotVote. It's suggested the initial decision process include an element of voting as per common practice. We'd put a request for a crat to close on their notice board once the discussions end is approaching, and they would very likely close based on strength on argument, not purely a vote count.FeydHuxtable (talk) 13:54, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Just wanted to note that I'm changing the header of the whole section, so that it can be linked properly from {{Cent}}. For whatever reason, headers with question marks don't seem to work properly. Nyttend (talk) 12:39, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

I'm beginning to take a good deal of interest in the RfX processes, and you can guarantee my participation in the discussions and the RfC pertaining to these proposals. I have a few comments, though.

  • Like Yunshui, I at least suggest that you come with some proposals as to what might replace RfA. It doesn't have to be a rock-solid plan just yet, but at least an idea. If you want, I might be able to present an idea or two.
  • If this proposal succeeds, RfA will be abolished. If the new system results in more admins being promoted, we'll start needing more 'crats. RfB is especially selective in the ones it promotes, and with some of our older 'crats retiring and going inactive, we'll need more. Have you thought about RfB reform, as well?
  • In any new system, one thing I'm really hoping for is that all candidates will be appreciated for their area of specialty. In the current RfA system, the fact of the matter is that it's near impossible to please the !voters unless you perfectly balance everything (with no mistakes). If you specialize in content, they'll say you don't have enough experience in "backstage" work. If you specialize in "backstage" work (like anti-vandalism, which is what my specialty is), they'll say you don't have enough content creation. Do have any ideas as to how this could be avoided in a future system? (Assuming, of course, that this proposal succeeds.)

Best regards, --Biblioworm 15:47, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Couldn't agree more that it would be good to promote more specialist admins, and did hint at this above. There's almost no chance the community will settle on my ideal RfA, but to outline for you, it would be a quarterly Arbcom style election with non public votes, and a briefer period of questions before hand. There would be 3 or more tranches, say 15 places for generalists, 15 for veteran content writers, and 20 for backstage Gnomes & Vandal fighers, who would not have to have experience in content creation or XfD. I like GraniteSand's idea too.
It might be preferable to postpone detailed discussion of RfB reform until after the new RfA process is decided upon. Possibly RfB would not need to be changed. It could be crats would play a somewhat different role in the new RfA. Thanks Biblioworm for your thoughts, and if you wanted to outline your ideas for possible new RfA processes that would be great. FeydHuxtable (talk) 16:15, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I was just thinking about the election system you suggested, and I have a question. If a person were elected under a specific section, would they be forced to stay in that one area of work for the entirety of their adminship, or would they be permitted to branch out into other areas as they gain experience? (For example, let's say that a vandal fighter wanted to get involved with XfDs.) --Biblioworm 17:02, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
You're welcome. IMO, it would be fine as long as they branched out cautiously. I don't think this would need to be formalized, but if they rushed into a new area making bold decisions left right and center, they'd be signing a warrant for their own desysop. FeydHuxtable (talk) 18:11, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
After asking my questions, I've pretty much formulated my opinion. While I'm completely on board with the overall idea of a new system, I think it's quite realistic to say that this RfC will fail unless you present a good idea of what might replace the current system. So, I'd recommend postponing this RfC and opening a separate thread to discuss alternative methods for promoting new admins. Thanks, --Biblioworm 20:47, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Biblioworm. That's probably good advise. Im not going to make that change, as I agree with SMarshal and others that there's been too many such attempts in the past. Literally thousands of editor hours have been lost in the time sync of trying to agree on a new RfA process, only for us to default back to the increasingly broken existing system. As I keep saying though, if someone else wants to change the initial vote motion so that we simply vote to agree the current systems needs replacing and then move on discussing a new system, Id not object. FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:04, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
  • People have been complaining about RFA since 2006 when I started, so the idea that people are still complaining the in face of a few failed RFAs isn't shocking. As Fram said, replace it with what, exactly? This looks like a vote against RFA, not a vote for anything. And I haven't seen real proof that the lack of people running at RFA is due to the RFA process itself. I've made a number of nominations for admin, and have talked to many, many editors about a possible run. No one loves the process, but it isn't the only or main reason they don't run. There simply isn't any convincing evidence that the RFA process is the reason we have so few running for admin. I don't care what process we use to promote admin as long as it is consensus based, but I don't see an actual proposal here. What I see is a proposal to end a system that at least works, for something that hasn't been determined, because it is the problem, even though that hasn't been proven, or even substantiated. Dennis - 17:25, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I think there is proof that people are not running because of the process itself. At the recent discussion at AN, many veteran editors stated that they would not run because of the "character assassinations" and "the toxic atmosphere". Even more, some good editors who have gone through RfA and failed have said that they will never go through another RfA again, for the same reasons mentioned above. --Biblioworm 17:56, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Have to agree with Biblioworm here. Dennis, maybe for whatever reason you have a bias to talk to folk who don't want further responsibility, and that's why you get the answers you do. For the vast majority of prospective admins, the hostility and randomness of the process is the sole reason they don't want to run. Non anecdotal evidence of this has been posted several times. If you don't want to be convinced you won't be convinced. But in the words of Henry Kissenger "Only very strong [or insensitive] personalities are able to resist the digitally aggregated and magnified unfavorable judgments of their peers." And when someone like Kissenger says 'very strong' , he's talking about a very exceptional person indeed. Huh, many of those declining to run for RfA may be strong enough to have a DGAF attitude, but still decline as they see the current process as a waste of time. FeydHuxtable (talk) 18:11, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
FWIW I agree with Dennis and came here to say as much. The process itself has remained essentially unchanged for a long time yet the number of successes decrease year-on-year… It's hard to reconcile those two facts with the idea that the RfA process is the one key we should focus on for healthier admin recruitment. benmoore 20:41, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Plus the excuse "I don't want to go through RFA" is easy to throw out, even if it is only part of the reason someone is afraid. That could also mean "I'm afraid I wouldn't pass at RFA", and isn't always a damning statement on the process itself. The process isn't perfect, I'm not here to defend it, I'm just saying you have to understand human psychology a bit when looking at what is being said. Plus, being afraid of a process doesn't mean it is broken. So before we throw this baby out with the bathwater, tell us what BETTER idea you have to replace it. If you don't have something better, then this is academic and a waste of time to discuss. Dennis - 21:27, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I strongly object to the ultrashort period for voting on such an important proposal. The process as proposed lacks consensus. Maybe it is this proposal which should be marked as "Failed" and "Historical." If it is to go forward, then at least run it for 30 days, so that all who might be interested in the issue have an opportunity to learn about it and register their views. If the proposer of some such radical change on his own initiative can specify 5 days, then what would would prevent him from specifying 1 day or 1 hour, so that a few like-minded individuals could rush in and endorse the desired outcome, when in fact it represented a view held by only a very small portion of the community of editors? I agree that RFA is too often an abusive process of character assassination, wherein a few cranky editors seek to settle old scores by dragging up the candidate's worst couple of edits, and argue that we mustn't give the tools to such a horrible editor, while ignoring the other 99.99% of their excellent work on the project. I also strongly disagree with ending the old process and banning anything like it ever being reinstated. Perhaps after due deliberation, nothing better is found, so the community will decide on some improved version of the present RFA, such as a term limit with a renewal vote after a year or two, making it less of a big deal. Instead, propose a better process, and make a smooth transition. We could be stuck in limbo indefinitely with no way of authorizing new admins. This proposal is like burning the bridges behind our army so that they will win a victory rather than retreating. This has sometimes ended badly. It is like feeling that one should get a better paying job than his present crummy one, so he up and quits, in the belief that only thus will he be motivated to apply for and get a better job. This also could end badly. What about Wikipedias in other language communities? What about other online communities? Have any of them come up with a better process for creating admins? Edison (talk) 17:33, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I thought the suggestion to end the current process first was a stroke of visionary genius. But many others feel as you do; perhaps it's just too innovative. The other language Wikipedias mostly follow our lead in these matters, AFAIK. I think we have to seek our own salvation. If you wanted to amend the above timeline, (or even mark the whole thing as failed as long as you present an alternative reform approach) then no objection from me. FeydHuxtable (talk) 18:11, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
The OP has it right, RfA serves no useful purpose beyond promoting those who should have become admin long ago. And the replacement is quite obvious to me, it is WP:RFPERM. That's exactly the venue where I would request permissions that might come handy and are no big deal. All we need is a The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away procedure which would mean gathering stewards to watchlist RFPERM. --Pgallert (talk) 19:49, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Added after User:S Marshall's +1: Not sure how RFPERM rights are generally removed, all I remember is AN/I threads. What I meant was, we would need bureaucrats to watch RFPERM to actually grant admin rights, and stewards to watch whatever forum of admin misconduct to take the bits off if necessary. What we would also need is a rule like 'Don't take away a right that has never been abused, and do take it away if it was.' --Pgallert (talk) 20:13, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
If by an RFPERM process you mean that someone (presumably a bureaucrat) checks length of service, block log and edit count against some checklist, I don't think that is nearly adequate. We all know people with a long editing history who would be temperamentally quite unsuitable to be admins. If you mean approval after the sort of investigation of the candidate's editing history, interactions with others, and contributions to discussions like AfD and ANI which RFA voters undertake, that is a heavy responsibility for a single bureaucrat to take. Also, RFA allows non-admins a voice: there are already some who complain that existing admins make promotion difficult so as to maintain their grip on power, and selection by bureaucrat would only add to suspicions of a self-perpetuating elite. JohnCD (talk) 16:58, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Well, the details could still be worked out (e.g. min 2 crats per proposal). I didn't have a checklist in mind, rather that the crat working on the request would do what today RfA !voters do: Look through what the particular crat finds important, make a decision, and briefly document it. Still think this would eliminate the drama completely and entirely, for instance because it would not be a statement like "the community (=all of us) said". --Pgallert (talk) 12:17, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with Pgallert. If we intend to fix RfA we have to kill the current process first. Trying to find a solution without killing the current process first has failed many times before, and it's certain to fail again. We should start with the thing that most editors will agree on: that RfA is broken. Once we've marked it historical, a new method or combination of methods will appear. If we don't mark it historical then there will be no change.—S Marshall T/C 19:54, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
It Seems to me that most people who don't want to run for RFA don't want to run because of how ugly they can turn and how fast it can happen. To be honest, and maybe I'm just short sighted here, I don't see a new system that would prevent that. Even if the consensus is to shut down RFA, which I personally am on the fence about. What would the replacement be? What would happen to current admins who went through RFA? Would that system still be honored even after the death of the thing that gave them their mop? Forgive me for rambling, I just have a lot of thoughts on this and I'm not sure how to formulate them out.--Church Talk 20:27, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
You're probably right there would always be some potential for an unpleasant experience. But we should be able to make that much less likely, for example by replacing the current process with an Arb style election. Nothing at all would happen to existing admins. If anything, a few might see old school admins as having a slightly higher status than those who pass with the new and easier process, but the distinction would fade in time. FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:57, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Just out of curiosity: why do you think an ArbCom style election would be better than the one we have right now? --Biblioworm 21:08, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Three reasons. 1) in past RfAs most hurtful remarks seem to have been made in the oppose vote comments. If we had non public votes or at least comment-less votes, that would cut of that form of attack. (There would still be a risk of attacks in the question phase, which btw would probably be more light weight than an existing arb election. As it would be a new process, we could maybe introduce more effective clerking to prevent loaded questions etc.) 2) The much lower pass threshold would help increase the promotion rate, and also any flak the candidates take would be easier to shrug off it it's not coupled with formal rejection. 3) We could have tranches for specialist admins. FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:04, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
The answer is going to depend one exactly what you mean by "ArbCom-style elections". If you mean "secret votes", then eliminating the ability to post comments about why you vote against someone would reduce some of the nastiness that keeps candidates away. Alternatively, if by "ArbCom-style" you mean getting a bunch of candidates and taking the top 10 vote-getters (where "10" is however many we think we need to elect during the next X months), then it's possible that more people would be willing to run because losing wouldn't be so personal. You wouldn't lose because you personally were horrible; you would only lose because you happened to run when 10 even better people did. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:17, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
At the same time though, most people would probably also be curious of what they could do better. I know during my RFA's many years ago I got a lot of good advice from my opposes that I took to heart. I agree that some of the nastiness needs to be kept away, but I think a new system should also allow the "candidate" (so to speak if that's how it happens) to know how they can improve and give them something to work forward if they don't happen to get the bid. Reading more of the discussion I'm starting to lean towards maybe splitting some of the tools.--Church Talk 22:42, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
While not a bad idea, proposals to unbundle the admin tools have always failed. I think one major issue is that the WMF has made it clear that any person with access to deleted material (and admins, of course, can access deleted material), must have gone through thorough community scrutiny. Really, I don't think any unbundling proposals will ever succeed (just my opinion, of course).
Church does make a good point. It can be good to see why people !voted against you, so that you can work on those issues and improve next time around. As of now, however, the ability to freely (and publicly) voice your opinion on a candidate is being abused, as a person can make an editor look terrible by picking out a diff or two and saying, "Look! He made a mistake/got angry/etc.! He'll surely misuse the admin tools, so I oppose." (Of course, any human occasionally makes mistakes and gets angry.) I think a good solution (assuming that we adopt the ArbCom style election) would be to give !voters a place to make an optional comment when casting their !vote (while making it very clear that the comment should be reasonable and professional), and when the elections are all said and done, the comments could be sent to the candidate so they would have a chance to look over them. --Biblioworm 23:24, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Proposals to unbundle admin tools have not always failed. Rollback used to be admin-only. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:02, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
That is true, but I'm talking more about the "bigger" tools like blocking, protection, deletion, etc. --Biblioworm 02:34, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
The question is what would be unbundled and what would be the deciding factor for who gets what tool? Some people may request the ability to block others to help out at AIV or one of the other boards but may not be trusted to delete articles. The problem is that all of these tools would require significant trust from the community which is what RFA was supposed to determine if there was. --Church Talk 02:22, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Let's get this right: to solve the problem of not having enough admins you want to prevent any more admins from being created? And this on the very uncertain assumption that the community will agree on a replacement? I could spend time to argue the wider points others have mentioned, but I don't have it right now. If you have a good idea for RfA reform, propose it and see what we think. Otherwise, we need some process for this, faulty as it may or may not be. BethNaught (talk) 23:16, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

I am highly sympathetic to the theory that nothing new will arise, nothing will get better, until we kill the existing process. --j⚛e deckertalk 02:21, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

What happens if we do decide to kill RFA and then no consensus can be reached in it's replacement? What would we do then?--Church Talk 02:23, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I suppose that would mean we would be forced to re-institute the old process. --Biblioworm 02:34, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I do not believe the community will long tolerate a process that does not allow for new admins, and I would hope consensus in the new process would be developed in a process that started from "We have to do something, which is better, something like X, or something like Y, or something like Z", and recurse into specifics. It'll take a little time, but I'm confident we'll have a lot of motivation to settle on a mechanism. --j⚛e deckertalk 02:42, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I think you over prescribe the community's sense of urgency. That same community, myself included, is far more concerned about limiting the active damage of bad admins than it is about the procedural decay of being understaffed. GraniteSand (talk) 09:28, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
RfA application progression (pie chart).png
RfA application progression (projected until 2015).png
Percent of successful RfAs (projected through 2020).png
It's clear to me that not only is the current system not working, but it's driving away users and people are refusing to even run because it is so broken. We need to get rid of this system driving users away... Simple. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 14:18, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Active administrators on May 12: 592.
Active administrators on July 2: 590.
Active administrators on October 30: 591. Dekimasuよ! 21:03, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
The graphs above are misleading and linear regression was not a good choice of model. It looks like a robust regression or non-linear model would show that actually the percent of passing RfAs, rather than being in monotonic decline, has remained essentially the same since 2007. benmoore 07:38, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Opinion[edit]

This is no small deal, people. There's a systematic problem with our community. We've seen a number of superb admins like Fastily, WilliamH and others retire from enwiki (some of them left enwiki, but continued to work at Commons, meta and other wikis). I'm going to make this long, so just grab some popcorn (due to the current crisis of server kittens, free distribution of e-popcorn has stopped, visit your nearest Walmart ASAP), or something. First of all, we've understood one thing for sure, the RfA process is broken. But trust me, it's not that, it's US. Everything that happens here is because of us. We are the ones that cause problem and we're the ones that must find out the solution. RfA, now can be attributed to a slaughterhouse, a source of constant badgering to be received for the tiniest error. There's a concept that admins are super-users who control the well-being of everyone by using their almighty mop. But, trust me they're not. Just some users with more experience. With more knowledge. And most importantly, more wisdom. I've seen users getting opposed on criteria like:

  • Edits through IPs. Which when disclosed upon request to a few trusted users, cause more opposition.
  • Sense of humor. I mean......
  • Less article count.
  • And more...

I, am quoting a relevant comment from above:

In any new system, one thing I'm really hoping for is that all candidates will be appreciated for their area of specialty. In the current RfA system, the fact of the matter is that it's near impossible to please the !voters unless you perfectly balance everything (with no mistakes). If you specialize in content, they'll say you don't have enough experience in "backstage" work. If you specialize in "backstage" work (like anti-vandalism, which is what my specialty is), they'll say you don't have enough content creation.

The fact that someone from the community has noticed is amazing enough. Trust me, before fixing the process, let's fix ourselves. Personal attacks, jeering at people, proposal to fish with CU to just to list a few of the various relatively good things we've done at RfAs. Before fixing the policies, let's just try a bit of self-reflection. And all will be well. Just my two cents. --Ankit Maity «T § C» 08:42, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

  • General comment - I have not read this entire thread; I am not sure if this is even the right venue to post a comment on the process as a whole, but am going to nonetheless. I found my RfA to be an inherently non-toxic experience ... while I did pass without any opposition, that is not to say that editors did not express disagreement with my positions, ask probing questions, etc. Administrators need to be able to tolerate good faith criticism/interrogation, and the current RfA system is a good barometer of that, insofar as at least lately (let's say the past year), I have rarely seen much bad faith participation at RfA, and when there is, it is quickly quashed by a team of de facto clerks, who appropriately maintain decorum. Does our current process inhibit some from being elected? Sure. But does that mean we should rush to change it for the sake of having more administrators? Not necessarily. Rather than fix RfA, I think the community ought to focus its attention on a desysopping process (perhaps something like the administrative standards board mentioned below), which ultimately might make RfA "fix itself", as voters would have a willingness to "take a chance" on a candidate. Just my opinion. Thanks. Go Phightins! 03:37, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Comments or, more accurately, personal observations.
  1. I have considered a few times to go for admin in the past, when I was more active, but every once in a while I'd run into a conflict with another editor, so I was sure I would meet opposition. It is my personal opinion, that admins don't have to be ideal. The process is much too demanding. The only thing that should really be forbidden is misuse of admin privileges. Simply put, I agree that the acceptance process should be simpler and friendlier.
  2. On the other hand, as long as we don't have a process for demoting admins, it makes sense to be overly careful before we accept an admin. In other words, these two issues are related, and point in opposite directions. Nevertheless and taking all into account, I'd prefer to tip the scales in the direction of leniency with acceptance.
  3. In general, and not directly related to the above, I have noted on my watchlist that the number of straightforward reverts is raising. This, in my humble opinion, indicates that more and more articles have reach a point where the average change is not necessarily an improvement. I think it is important to take note of this fact. Perhaps this means we need more admins now, perhaps less, I am not sure, and both arguments could be made. Debresser (talk) 23:19, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

The case for retention[edit]

OK, let's try to assemble a case for retaining the current RfA system. (1) It's what we're all used to, (2) we know WMF are OK with it, (3) any shortcomings could be addressed by reforms, not wholesale abolition: Noyster (talk), 10:18, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

It is (4) based on consensus, which is how most potentially controversial decisions are made around here. (5) It gives everyone a chance to express their opinion. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:25, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
  • It isn't based on consensus. It's a popularity vote, with there only being a small margin within which bureaucrats exercise some decision making. Any stretch beyond that becomes instantly controversial. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:34, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I disagree; it is based on consensus; the fact that, in this one case, well over two thirds of participants need to agree on a course of action for it to be taken does not deny that it is still a consensual issue. As for calling it a popularity vote, i'm inclined to assume that the majority of !voters at RfA have given some thought to the candidate and are not simply voting based on whether they like him or not. I may be naïve and forgetful, but i do not remember seeing a lot of comments/!votes i'm not willing to make that assumption about. Cheers, LindsayHello 14:46, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
And (6) it has proven in practice to be more or less effective in eliminating bad candidates for Administrator. That is, potential bad actors are not gaining tools, they are being weeded out. Carrite (talk) 11:03, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Until the replacement is agreed to and has the blessing of WMF I do not endorse any process that closes down the current regime for promoting Admins. Closing down the current shop and then holding us hostage to come up with a new process is dangerous and only going to cause more stress for the already stressed admin corps. Hasteur (talk) 16:31, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't think the WMF is going to bless any process. They do not get involved here. So in effect, they hold us hostage in reverse. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:33, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Personal hat on: yes, they do. RfA is a process LCA are likely to care about, given the implications it has for accessing deleted content. There have been discussions around granting OS permissions to non-admins in the past that made this clear. Ironholds (talk) 20:36, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
@Ironholds From remembering what Sue had to say on deletion matters when we met her at the Pendell arms back in 2010, and from Phillipe's post ...any permission which includes the ability to view deleted content must be identical in style and substance to the RFA process of the time. As long as that requirement is met, we're unlikely to object... I'd have agreed with Hammersoft that there would be no risk of WMF vetoing a community led change as long as the new process retains at least some element of vetting. As staff you'd know better than me. If you're saying it would be advisable to seek pre approval from WMF for any replacement before proceeding, I think we ought to close this thread right now, so as to avoid wasting community time. FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:57, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm a research-monkey, not a lawyer ;p. I think you should certainly throw the idea off Maggie or James or Philippe just to ascertain what vetting they'd require, as due dilligence. I'm not qualified to say if it'd be pre-approval or post-approval or..what. Ironholds (talk) 21:09, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Ta. I have some experience with lawyer speak, and Im not going to ask at this stage as it wouldn't feel respectful of their time. If we pass the initial motion to mark current RfA as historical, that would be the point when I'd ask Philippe. I've a feeling they might unfortunately rule out Pgallert's suggestion of WP:RFPERM due to insufficient vetting, but I'd eat my hat if they vetoed most other alternatives. FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:04, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Even on RFPERM any particular thing to look for in future admins could be documented and implemented. After all, only the 'crats can hand out this permission. They are so few they could be informed by personal messages ;) Pgallert (talk) 05:35, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Noyster and Graeme Bartlett have it right. Adminship will continue to be a big deal until desysopping gets easier. Only the draconian RfA process currently in place gives me a reasonable belief that the candidates can be minimally trusted. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:35, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I can't really argue with that logic either. I'd give up half the active admins we have from the promiscuous days of '05-'07 for a quarter of their number in contemporary peers. Bad, entrenched admins have left such a nasty taste in people's mouths that RfAs have become something resembling a security clearance investigation. GraniteSand (talk) 09:25, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree that part of the reason the present system is draconian is that we are creating a life tenure for the new admin, unless his behavior is so egregious that there must be a de-sysopping. One solution is to have an easy-peasy process for desysopping, but that would allow some abusive group who were dedicated fans of some fringe theory, some proud nation, some walled-garden subject, some hobby or some religion to eliminate any admin who follows Wikipedia guidelines and policies and gets in their way of creating vanispamcruftisements or of slanting articles to suit them. We would just have to make sure that a broad enough portion of the community participated in any recall election to keep in place good admins who had stepped on the toes of bullying publicists, nationalists, partisans or loons. I've also suggested having the election to adminship be for a set term such as one or 2 years. That said having 500 or 1000 discussions and votes a year would be tedious and it would be hard to get enough eyes on each one to prevent some entrenched group from block-voting out those those get in their way, or to prevent machine politics from backing offline a slate of amenable admins. The present system does seem to get a number of editors to look at each candidate. Unfortunately some cranky editors seem overrepresented and spend too much time opposing RFA candidates than contributing otherwise to the project. In summary, I suggest keep something like the present RFA, but somehow improve the level of discourse, as well as making it easier to desysop those who turn out not to be good admins. There are probably cases where an editor walks on eggs to avoid controversy and build up unobjectionable edits until get gets the bit, then lets his true feelings become clear and acts harshly toward others. Edison (talk)

The "system" is fine, we're just using it wrong. Take a look at how other projects do it - this Wikinews "requests for permissions" archive is a great example. The system they have is the same as ours, they just don't go in for the full scale interrogation of every candidate. That's what we need to change. When there's an RfA the question we have to answer is simple: can/do I trust this editor? We should do so on an WP:AGF basis; not assume there's some dirt to dig up on them and bombard them with questions until it comes out. Frankly it's the attitude of the community of editors that frequent RfA that needs to change, not the methodology itself. WaggersTALK 12:09, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Cast a wider net[edit]

One thing that might help is to cast a wider net. Some people watch RfAs, some just coincidentally notice an editor they know is running, and apparently there are allegations of off-wiki canvassing, which only brings in the negatives. With the current load, we could put a notice on people's watchlist, which would bring in more editors who have had positive relations with the candidate, and increase the amount of qualified admins passing. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 21:02, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Not a bad thought, although notification fatigue could set in, especially with the NOTNOWs gumming up serious candidacies. As it stands, participation isn't broad and is prone to serious selection bias. Alternately, but along the same vein, we could accept and list nominations all month long and then have a set period of every month when active questions with the candidate and !voting is accepted. This would expand exposure, allow for persistent banner notifications (it's RfA time!) as well as allow for people to assemble their thoughts on candidates and perform coaching in the Talk space without votes dragging out. Something like the last five days of every month? The last ten days of every quarter? GraniteSand (talk) 21:58, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Alternatively, add the notice only if 24 hours have passed since the beginning of the RfA. This weeds out most NOTNOWs. -- King of ♠ 00:36, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Participation isn't broad, but I don't remember the last time I saw someone post a note saying "So-and-so is at RFA now" (e.g., at a WikiProject or project page) without promptly being accused of canvassing. I eventually concluded that only people who had no idea who the candidate was were welcome to respond. If you want to bring in more voters, then you have to find ways of letting them find out about it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:07, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I think a yellow top banner used by the WMF for project-wide announcements would be perfect. GraniteSand (talk) 02:53, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't that be seen by EVERYONE on Wikipedia? Including the readers who don't care at all who admins this site or not? To me, if I didn't know or care anything about Wikipedia I wouldn't want to see a notification about it.--Church Talk 03:19, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes. We're talking about a "crisis" here, right? Staffing the project with an adequate number of competent administrators is essential to the functioning of the project. Furthermore, admins affect everyone who edits here, one way or another. Much like fundraising or ArbCom elections or meetups, if editors choose not to acknowledge the broad call to participation then so be it, that's up to them. The imposition of passive notification is not arduous or unreasonable if conducted five out of every 30 days or 10 out of every 90. GraniteSand (talk) 03:28, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Since I started this...[edit]

I'm the editor Feyd cited as proposing to close RFA. I stand behind the idea. The current RFA system is laugh-out-loud stupid -- the population of potential admins has voted with its feet to verify that -- and there are many potential alternatives. But those alternatives will only be seriously considered by this shortsighted community if the current system closes. As long as the current system exists, our resident process wonks will insist everything is fine because the project hasn't exploded yet. Keep defending RFA, and it may well be the hill this project dies on. Townlake (talk) 02:38, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Why not? I say it's worth a shot. If things don't go so well, we can always revive what we currently have until another solution can be found.

Yes, the reason RfA is so difficult to pass is the fact that editors are held to an unrealistically high standard; they are expected to be well-rounded and have a breadth of experience in their professed areas of interest, as opposed to a demonstrated knowledge of how processes work and a willingness to think things through before acting. In my book, qualifications are far more important than credentials when assessing potential administrators. I also think that we should try to distance ourselves from this trend towards rejecting specialist administrators, or those that only wish to use the tools on a limited basis.

So how would an altogether different community process produce different results? In theory, it wouldn't. And in theory, a light object in free fall would descend at a slower pace than a heavier object. It wasn't until someone (often believed to be Galileo, but it probably wasn't) tested this hypothesis by dropping two objects of different masses in a controlled setting that this long-held belief was ultimately disproved; barring other factors (such as air resistance), acceleration due to gravity on Earth remains pretty much the same. It is always going to be roughly 9.81 m/s2. This person's experiment meant that we had to change the way we looked at gravity. These observations were made from a different perspective, and the results deviated from conventional thought. Perhaps an alternative to the current RfA process will actually bring about a change in community perspective; then again, it may not. But unless it is tried, we'll never know for sure. Kurtis (talk) 04:45, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

  • The problem I keep pointing out is simple: you can't get rid of the existing system until you have a replacement, or you make the problem worse. If you ditch the existing system, NO ONE can run for admin until a new system is put in place. That could take weeks or months, and if the Foundation comes in and says the new system is inadequate (and they do have a vested interest in whether or not the system properly vets or not), then you start over. You effectively prevent anyone from becoming an admin for a while. Resorting to ad hominem and calling people wonks and such isn't helpful or persuasive. Many of us are already on the record being critical of the system, and here with open minds about a replacement, but if there is a better way to do RFA, show us before you kill off the only avenue we have for appointing new admin. Saying "kill it and we will figure out a better system later" is a very weak argument, particularly since people have been barking up that tree for years and no one has come up with a better way that the community agrees on. And if the current RFA system is the silver bullet that kills this project, then it needed to be put out of its misery anyway. That whole statement is nothing but hyperbole, which really doesn't add to the discussion. Dennis - 13:49, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
    "You effectively prevent anyone from becoming an admin for a while" - That would only be marginally worse than the current system, which has promoted only 2 admins in the last 4 months. Mr.Z-man 14:56, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
    Dennis cheerfully ignores the reality that years of efforts to fix the current system have yielded absolutely nothing. I'm trying to address the real problem; whether he realizes it or not, Dennis is falling back on the tired old defenses of the current system that are preventing this community from actually addressing the problem.
    Folks, if NO RFA system is in place, or an unpalatable system is used in the interim (e.g. let the bureaucrats handle all RFA permissions), then the community will feel a sense of urgency to rebuild the RFA permissions system in a better way. Townlake (talk) 15:44, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
    That is a bit rude, and you are reading things into my statements that aren't there. I've spent years trying to get changes in the RFA (easy to find the diffs if you check the RFA talk page). I've actually been through a particularly nasty and drama filled RFA (134/31/2) that had blocks, bad math, and bad faith, so its safe to say I actually know what it feels like, so the problems aren't just theoretical perceptions for me, they are actual experience. All I've said is "what do you have?" I've offered my ideas over the last few years, and even down below. You haven't offered an alternative, I have. So the phrase "put up or shut up" comes to mind, what do you have that is BETTER than what we have? Seriously, unless you have a replacement in mind or some basic idea, talking about removing the current system is just silly. Dennis - 18:46, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
    Two years ago I was indefinitely topic banned by Arbcom from "making edits concerning the RFA process anywhere on the English Wikipedia." That tells me all I need to know about the viability of this proposal. Eric Corbett 19:08, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
    Dennis, what you call "silly" seems to be getting some serious traction here. I can offer you a hug if that will spare your feelings; otherwise you should stand aside. Your. Way. Failed. Townlake (talk) 19:58, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
His way may have failed, but I haven't seen anything from this discussion that points to any other method of appointing administrators gaining steam. Tone it down a little bit, we don't need tempers getting heated before the vote starts. Hell, we don't need it at all.--Church Talk 20:04, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder Church. Dennis is a longtime contributor to this project and I respect him. I think he's a grownup and can understand that we're just speaking frankly here. He clearly has a particular point of view on this, mine is a polar opposite, and we both are taking this seriously. Townlake (talk) 20:14, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
@ Dennis. We're not offering a specific solution as we don't have one we know would be broadly acceptable. What we are offering is what we consider to be a close to infallible method to agree on something better. (Possibly the first new method we decide on would not be better in practice, but then we just need to use this same method again to replace it.) We're saying have faith in the community's ability for positive change. I've gave it my best shot at explaining this in the 'No safe option' section below.
@ Eric. I'd not normally take the liberty, but as you're here, my opinion is that it's bizarre to the point of perversity that an editor who's done as much for the project as you - in article writing, helping others to write, and (mostly) being friendly - hasn't been given adminship. Maybe you'd unblock a few friends, but you'd not be the sort to use tools to block an opponent or delete their article. On the other hand, I also think anyone using the C word should trigger an automatic desysop and 4 week block. FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:26, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps you're an American? For myself, I don't see this C word as being any worse than many others, but if you feel like agitating for a change in the rules about what words can and can't be used on WP then feel free to do so. I'm much more enraged by being accused of being married to another editor I've never met simply because we both belong to the same WikiProject, as that has real-life implications. But this is of course an unnecessary digression. Eric Corbett 20:48, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Im English 'till I die! Myself and the Colonel (also very British) tried to push for a change back in the great civ case of 2012. Probably a lost cause. I agree accusations that might afffect real life relationships are worse. FeydHuxtable (talk) 21:08, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
But you don't get blocked for them, you get blocked for using the C word. Anyway, I'm probably already stretching my ArbCom topic ban to the limit so I'll say no more. Eric Corbett 21:28, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Speaking in general and not just this RFA concept, my experience has been that nothing ever gets done because there is always a group that wants EVERYTHING changed, and when someone supports an incremental change towards their goal, they flip out. "All or nothing" is their mantra, and they get exactly that: nothing. I'm an incrementalist, willing to accept small steps in the right direction to test out ideas, where the risk is lower and the rewards are delayed but more likely. You might think you are getting traction, but wait til the voting starts. Even if the community voted RFA out, WMF wouldn't allow that. I would rather try to find common ground and a partial solution that will do some good, than talk in circles and a month later, not a damn thing is different. This IS a perennial proposal because people try to do too much at once and are usually ill prepared to answer the tough questions. RFA has problems, yet I've still managed to push 6 candidates through as nom or conom and about to nom at least one more this year. But I do a lot of homework and vet them myself. [11] Not all the problems are the RFA system, which is why I say come minor tweaks might be a good place to start. If that doesn't work, try something bigger. Dennis - 21:49, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

I like gradual changes too, but again this has been tried before. Dozens of minor changes are on offer at this page alone , some as minor as ending the use of 'weak' and 'strong' support. AFAIK only one of these ideas got consensus (albeit informal) on RfA talk itself. This was for clerking. MBizance himself tried to put this into practice, redacting overly harsh votes. Despite the previous apparent consensus, he soon got push back, including from a fellow crat, and the system went back to character assassination as normal. The existing RfA is like something out of a horror film. It can't be changed. Kill it! FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:32, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
seems to me that the idea of ending character assassination could get consensus. Eiler7 (talk) 18:15, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

How about tweaking the current system?[edit]

I doubt abolition with no replacement is going to pass, nor should it. It seems to me that tweaks to the current system have a better probability of success. For example: (1) Reducing the super-majority needed for approval from 70% to 60%; (2) Changing the basic questions asked from 3 bland ones to a dozen better ones and segregating unique questions to a lower visibility area of the page; (3) Making Adminiship a 2 step process with a 12 month probationary period followed by a reconfirmation vote rather than instant granting of a lifetime term; (4) Creation of a process making recall of bad Admins easier. Make no mistake, WMF is going to meddle with this process and even in the unlikely scenario in which RFA is abolished with no replacement, coming up with a new system which not only meets community muster but WMF's legal concerns is unlikely. Carrite (talk) 11:13, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.—S Marshall T/C 12:08, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
    • "Destroy RFA and then something better will be devised" is like scuttling all the lifeboats on the Titanic so that the crew and passengers will be motivated to devise a way to keep the ship from sinking. I agree with Carrite on a 12 month probie adminship with a review/confirmation. Edison (talk) 15:09, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Carrite. We should ask the WMF now what their requirements are, rather than work something out and then have a battle with them. I like the 12-month reconfirmation idea for new admins; or, in default of an easier desysop process, three-year reconfirmation RFAs for all could become feasible as the number of admins falls. There would be several per week, but with a lighter-touch process that would be manageable.
My suggestion for improvement would be to disallow threaded exchanges, where most of the venom turns up. At least one person is already banned from threaded exchanges at RFA, while still allowed to vote, for this reason. Each opposer (or supporter) gives their reason; the candidate may reply if s/he chooses; that's it.
It would be possible to show only the totals, hide the comments and communicate them to the candidate privately. That could help to avoid pile-ons, but I don't like the loss of openness. While I don't say hostile comment during RFA is a good thing, anyone unwilling to face it is unlikely to be an effective admin, which can bring much worse abuse. JohnCD (talk) 12:46, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Sorry if Im reading this wrong, but it's almost like some think our relationship with WMF is adversarial. I can see there is some reason for this, but IMO at least, WMF absolutely want to have a friendly and collaborative relationship with the community. In specific cases where their objectives are opposed by a significant portion of the editors, there is always a risk of friction. But as long as our objectives are aligned, as Im sure they would be in terms of having a functional RfA, there's no reason to think they'll make things difficult for us. However, as several much more experienced editors seem to think differently, I've asked Philippe, and if he responds just on his talk page, I'll cross post here. FeydHuxtable (talk) 14:37, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps I phrased that badly, but RFC result versus what WMF will allow has been a sensitive issue lately. What I meant was, we know that WMF Legal have concerns about the selection/vetting process for people able to see deleted content which may include BLP violations; therefore we should understand their concerns and take them into account when devising a new system, rather than agree on something and then find it is unacceptable and have to go back to the drawing board. It will be hard enough to reach agreement once. JohnCD (talk) 16:11, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Understood. Hopefully Phillip will clarify for us soon. FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:26, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I've always thought you limit the support/oppose/neutral vote to around 50 words (or a different number, and diffs count at 0 words), no threads, and move the threaded discussion to the bottom below Neutral. This lets each !voter give a reason for their vote, allows passersby to view the rationales, you still have the discussion about being fit on the front page, but it prevents the threads from drowning out the big picture. Crats should consider the entire front page, including threads at the bottom. This is a tiny tweak, but I think it is a safe tweak to start with and might reduce a little drama, as the reward for the drama is less, the impact is less. We need to do small things first. The basic layout isn't the problem, but allowing threads up top gives drama mongers a perfect stage to beat their drum. Currently, we don't even USE the "discussion" area very often (which is currently above the voting), except for procedural notes, it all gets jammed into the polling, which is the problem. Dennis - 13:57, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • "tweaks to the current system have a better probability of success" - As Feyd pointed out at the beginning, people have been proposing reform and tweaks for years and nothing significant has come of it. If we're considering that approach to be the most likely to succeed, we might as well just give up. Mr.Z-man 15:02, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
    If we can't agree on tweaks, what makes you think we can agree on a completely new system? Dennis - 15:04, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Debating how to fix the current system is in the "perennial proposals" section for a reason. Suggesting modifications to the failed system already in place is a waste of time. Townlake (talk) 15:40, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

  • A 12 month "probation" would, at least for me, result in more "support" !votes than currently is the case. I'm hesitant in the current RFA for example, but would not have been in case of a probation. Making de-sysopping easier would also be a good idea, although the process would have to be designed carefully (admins tend to make enemies, no matter how careful and friendly they are...). As for the current RFA process being toxic, I disagree. This may have been the case some years ago, but in the 12 months or so that I have been following them, I find most comments constructive (there's always the odd exception, but those are generally ignored by everybody). --Randykitty (talk) 12:30, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Alternate RfA[edit]

What about having a new process coinciding with the existing one, and allowing candidates to choose? That would allow us to close the old one if it works, or close the alternate one if it fails. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 18:19, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

To me it seems that consensus is that the old system doesn't work, which is why we're here.--Church Talk 18:31, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
On paper an excellent idea Oiyarbepsy. Jimbo Wales himself championed a possible parallel alternate RfA back in 2011. Unfortunately, is seems to have failed for the same reason all other reform attempts have. As long as the old system remains in place, there's just not sufficient impetus for consensus to cohere on any one possible alternative. FeydHuxtable (talk) 18:38, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
It looks like the !votes below that give rationale for maintaining the current one point out that they would have gone for another system if it would first exist and then removing the existing one should be debated - which is a good argument in itself. Creating a parallel process first with option to choose any would pave way for taking that out of the equation (or maybe not and the wiki can have two permanent ways). --lTopGunl (talk) 17:38, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
This is the approach I support. Create the alternate process and let it run concurrent with RFA as we have it now. The candidates can choose for themselves which process they prefer.—John Cline (talk) 14:05, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

No Safe option[edit]

There's three broad options to the RfA problem.

Do nothing
This is essentially a choice to embark on a dangerous social experiment. There will be further concentration of power and responsibility on admins who chose to remain. The unwavering decline in active admins over the past 7 years leave no doubt this is where 'Existing RfA road' leads. To a place that seems unfair both to admins and the community. At best, conscientious and dedicated admins will put an increasingly amount time and effort into Wikipedia, neglecting their own best interests, but perhaps keeping things ticking over for another 5 years. At worse, the perceived gap between regular editors and admins will widen to a chasm. Increasingly powerful admins will be more prone to abuse and harder to desysop. Admins will have less time to make considerate decisions, and the resulting distress caused by a more hostile editing environment could take years to heal.

Attempt to agree on a replacement RfA process while leaving the existing process in place
On paper this is the obvious choice. The only problem is its been tried hundreds of times before, to no effect. Thousands of editor hours have been expended on this cause, including from some of our very brightest editors. To see evidence of this, click WP:RFA2011.

Each new attempt to decide on a new process seems not only to waste time, cause frustration, and increase reform fatigue, thus making successful reform even less likely. Einstein had a word to describe the practice of repeatedly trying the same approach and exspecting to get a different result. That word was insanity.

End the existing disused RfA process, then agree on a replacment

Cortés scuttling his own fleet so there is no going back to how things were before. He then proceeded to conquer the smallpox-crippled Aztec empire with only a few hundred men.

Several editors understandably feel ending RfA without first agreeing on its replacement is reckless. To clarify, Townlake, myself, SMarshal, Mr Z and others are not lunatics. We're trying to be realistic about the fact that historical failure to reform RfA means we're dealing with something close to mission impossible. Burning ones bridges or ships is not something one does lightly, but it does have a track record of being used to pull of close to impossible feats. The tactic's been used by the ancient Chinese and Romans even before Christ, and perhaps most famously by Cortés.

In our case, we have all the advantages this method conferred upon the Spaniard, but almost none of the risks. This is how easy it was to create an RfA process from a clean slate

It's not going to be quite as simple as it was for Camembert back in 2003. So we're proposing a more structured method. After we agree to mark the current RfA as historical, we can have a week long creative period where we build up new and existing ideas for replacement, such as a modified version of RFPERM, or Arbcom light style elections with tranches for specialists. Then a further week where we eliminate the less well supported options, until we settle on our final choice. With a well structured RfC to ensure we get a result, and with no option to return to the harmful status quo, how can this fail? FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:26, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Proposal: administrators must be civil servants, not politicians[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia talk:Administrative standards commission Oiyarbepsy (talk) 23:13, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

The problem with RfA, as it is presently structured, is that it is based on what are essentially democratic principles. Being a Wikipedia administrator is a technocratic job. It is a job of maintenance. It is not a position of leadership, nor is it a legislative position. Democratic principles stymie and obfuscate the purpose of adminiship, and turn it into a populist post. Civil servants are properly appointed, not elected. That's the way it works in most governments, and that's how it should work here. We need to remove the democratic element, and stop this mob rule nonsense. Therefore, I'd propose the following. This is just a basic idea, sans details. A search committee is created with the sole purpose of appointing administrators. The committee is elected by the community, similarly to the present Arb Com elections. The committee would accept applications for adminship, and evaluate them based on merit. A simple majority of committee members in favour of a candidate would lead to that candidate being granted adminship. The committee would not just accept applications, but would also seek out potential candidates. This strikes me as the best way forward. Democracy is not the answer to every question. RGloucester 04:21, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Now that I like - the first major change proposal here that I could support, though success should require more than a simple majority. Suggestions to flesh it out: number on the committee at least six, maybe ten. Once it's established, two-year terms with half retiring (but re-electable) each year, to maintain continuity. Committee's deliberations are private, but where they decline a candidate the reasons are stated publicly. JohnCD (talk) 09:19, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I've suggested this before, in the labyrinthine by-ways of Wikipedia RFA discussions. This culture directly elects its enforcers and you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to see why that's a problem. What we should do is elect a supervisory body ("commissioners"?) who will run our admin corps: they'll select, promote, coach, support, discipline, encourage, demote where necessary. Arbcom lose their "emergency desysop" function in this proposal, which I think is a good thing: they're already overempowered and overloaded.—S Marshall T/C 09:52, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
A system like that would have my preference, too. It saves time for the community (no need for dozens of editors going through candidate's histories) and be easier on the candidates themselves (I certainly would have gone for admin earlier under such a system). --Randykitty (talk) 12:34, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I've proposed a variation of that idea more than once, but it hasn't received any traction. While it doesn't address all issues, I think it does address some of the important issues. My most recent post was written as a response to someone else,, I've edited slightly to write it as an essay: User:Sphilbrick/RfA reform. It short, we should start with an organized selection committee.--S Philbrick(Talk) 13:13, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I knew I had already seen this idea. And the problem is also that the Foundation requires vetting by the community to see deleted stuff, as it contains copyvio and other bad things. The other problem is that being on that committee to select admins, that is a LOT OF POWER, so you've made that a political position. One corrupt person there, or someone that is forcing their ideology in secret (no Christians allowed / No Republicans /No whatever) and you have a worse situation. That method is vulnerable to corruption, which would be far reaching before it was noticed. Dennis - 13:26, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
The committee members would be held to account by elections, just as arbitrators are. As suggested above, they'd be required to release a report on why a candidate was granted adminship. To be frank, I feel the fear of corruption is unwarranted. The present populist system is much more prone to "corruption by mob", than this system will be prone to "corruption by individual". Also note that there are enough members on the committee to override any one corrupt individual. RGloucester 13:32, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I accept that the community need to have an up-or-down vote, partly because the community ought to have that role, and partly because the WMF requires a vetting process. I see a two-stage process, where a committee reviews candidates in an organized way, presents the candidate to the community with a summary report and recommendation, then the community gets to do an up-or-down vote. Some "voters" will not trust the committee report, and do their own review, which is fine, some will trust the committee completely, and vote accordingly, some, like myself, will review the report, and do my own review based upon areas of weakness identified by the committee. Obviously, there are details to be worked out. The use of the word "committee" implies a fixed set of editors chosen for the task, while I envision that anyone could sign up to do the review of some aspect of the candidate and contribute to the summary report. A hybrid is also an option, with a small elected committee whose job is mainly coordination and organization of the summary write-up.--S Philbrick(Talk) 16:08, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
I strongly disagree. Democracy is crap system. It doesn't choose the best possible candidates, just those that haven't rubbed certain people the wrong way. The point of this committee is to take the failure that is direct democracy out of the equation, and allow the community to elect a Commission that will grant administrative tools on merit. Your proposed system doesn't solve any of the current problems with RfA, and continues to rely on the bunk system that is democracy. RGloucester 16:16, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
This is an interesting idea and in theory I think would be better. The biggest practical problem I can foresee is in selecting the committee, in particular the risk of a shortage of good candidates. There's also the risk of giving the appearance of adminship being a "private club" if the majority (or all) of the committee members are admins. Mr.Z-man 15:58, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I would suggest that the committee should have an equal number of seats for administrators and non-administrators, so that both sides of the coin are included. RGloucester 16:04, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Admittedly, this is not a bad idea, and something to think about if all other alternatives fail to work. However, I'm concerned about the lack of outside participation and the extra level of bureaucracy that this would add to our already bureaucratic system. I have an idea or two concerning a new election process, but I'm not going to post them until the RfC is finished. --Biblioworm 16:27, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Our system is one of mob rule, and it isn't working. Sysop candidates should not ever be subjected to a public humiliation, a popularity contest, or indeed any kind of mass vote. They need to be selected on merit. We need administrators with skills. We do not need political leaders who can figure out how to wheel-and-deal people into "voting" for them. There would be outside participation, that is, the committee would be elected by the community. We need a way to check the mob, and this is it. RGloucester 16:41, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
What would the requirements be to get elected into this committee? Would there be terms for committee members? How could a committee member be stripped of his membership if he started to behave unacceptably? --Biblioworm 16:53, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Personally, I'd want to offer Eric Corbett one of the seats on the first commission.  :) Yes, I think there'd have to be terms for commissioners: they'd be re-elected every year or so. Unacceptable behaviour by a commissioner strikes me as an unlikely circumstance, but part of their charter might be that a commissioner could be de-appointed by simple majority vote among the other commissioners (which action would trigger a by-election for a new commissioner). Or something. The details can be sorted.—S Marshall T/C 17:14, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I'd propose that the body we create be termed the Administrative Standards Commission. This body would consist of eight commissioners, each elected by the community for a term of one year. Election procedure would mimic the Arbitration Committee's election procedure. I would propose that four commissioners be non-administrators, whilst the other four would be administrators. As stated above, a commissioner could be removed from office by a simple majority vote amongst the other commissioners, triggering a new election. The duty of the commissioners would be as follows: to search for potential candidates for adminship, to accept applications for adminship, evaluate those applications, to appoint administrators, and to serve as a forum for the review of administrative actions. I'm not opposed to the idea of maintaining the existing RfA process as a parallel option in the interim period. RGloucester 18:41, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
This is definitely an interesting system that I would be willing to try out. My only concern would be what to do in case of ties? Say the four administrators vote for a candidate and the four non-admins don't? Is it just marked no consensus? My suggestion would be to forget the whole admin, non-admin thing and just let the entire community elect who they feel is right and have an ODD number of people (Say, 7) there to prevent that from happening. --Church Talk 18:45, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I think it is good to ensure representation for non-administrators. We must remember that "adminship is no big deal". It has become inflated in importance in recent years, but that's not how it should be. Having non-administrator representatives will entrench the idea that adminship is no big deal, and that administrators are not "ranked" higher than anyone else. They are technocrats employed by the community to take on tasks important to the maintenance of the encyclopaedia. I wouldn't be opposed to an odd number, say the seven you proposed. In that case, I'd recommend three non-administrators and three administrators, with one slot open to anyone. RGloucester 18:52, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I like this idea, but there should be a limit on how long anyone can serve, so that we do not get an entrenched oligarchy. I suggest a three year term, with zero or one repeat (community choice when it is set up). There would be three classes with initial elections for one, two and three year terms. If we wanted an odd number there could be 9 positions, with three new ones elected per year. There could be 5 designated nonadmin seats and 4 designated admin seats. To avoid a buddy system, nonadmins leaving the body could be excluded from running for admin for one year. Edison (talk) 19:53, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I would not mind if all members would be non-admins, in the spirit of "no big deal". I would not even object a system where admins would be excluded, given that this committee would also deal with desysopping. The elections would ensure that non-qualified people (e.g. somebody who just joined with 300 edits and such) would not get a seat. --Randykitty (talk) 19:57, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't think excluding admins entirely would be a good idea. The main job of the board is choosing people to be admins, desysopping will hopefully be a much smaller task (if not, then they're probably doing their first job poorly). It makes sense to have some people who actually know what being an admin entails. Not having any admins would be like having a medical board with no doctors on it. Mr.Z-man 20:18, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Why 4/4 or 3/3/powercard? Administrators make up about 4% to 6% of the population of active editors on wiki, so why give them so much power in this process? I'd much rather see a 1 crat, 2 admin, and 4 non-crat/non-admin editors who would not be eligible for the admin tools during their term. I'd see this as a much closer representation of the population of editors (although still skewed in favor of crats and admins). — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 20:07, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • It would be extremely hard for commissioners to do their admin-supervising job unless they could view deleted contributions, so I think that for reasons of practicality they'd have to receive the admin tools on being elected.—S Marshall T/C 20:37, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be possible to grant them the ability to see deleted contributions without giving them other administrator powers? Given that these candidates will have been vetted by the community in the elections, I see no reason for the Foundation to object. RGloucester 20:42, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • This is getting out of hand. The key to proposals like this is that they cannot be overly complicated. I stick by my suggestion that we should have one-year terms. I'm strongly opposed to complicated distributions of power based on population representation. As said above, administrators are the ones that deal with administrative matters on a daily basis, and hence are important to a balanced Administrative Standards Commission. I think that a 3/3/1 allocation is the best we can hope for. Three administrators, three non-administrators, one open seat. I see no necessity for bureaucrats to be allocated a seat. RGloucester 20:29, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
With that said though, I don't think we should prohibit a crat from holding the seat if the community decides that. Crats are admins after all.--Church Talk 21:29, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Of course. They merely would not be allocated a special seat. RGloucester 22:06, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Moved to Wikipedia talk:Administrative standards commission Oiyarbepsy (talk) 23:13, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

  • I support this change, as it removes the popularity contest element and the issue of previously begrudged editors derailing nominations. I actually think a majority of long-term regular editors would be suitable for adminship. The raw goods are there and allowing a small group of appointed people would also reduce the overheads in the process (as the appointees would gain the skills to review more candidates more quickly and no more than seven people would need to go through the editor's past edits etc). SFB 20:42, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

@RGloucester: You wrote above: "Sysop candidates should not ever be subjected to a public humiliation". Why not? Sysops are subjected to public humiliation when they take a controversial action. Why not be prepared? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:15, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

I don't think public humiliation is ever appropriate. We have a pillar that's supposed to address that issue, don't we? RGloucester 22:16, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
Saying that it's fine to humiliate RfA candidates because they "...are subjected to public humiliation when they take a controversial action" is a convenient excuse for ignoring the WP:CIVIL policy. Candidates' ability to perform under pressure should be evaluated based on earlier behavior, such as conduct on noticeboards, their response to criticism, etc. --Biblioworm 22:30, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

List of incremental improvements to RFA over the last five years[edit]

There's been tons of time and typing spilled on the RFA issue in various wikifora over the last 5+ years, attempting to achieve incremental improvements to the process. Can someone provide a list of the actual improvements to RFA that have come from all this effort in the last five years? Townlake (talk) 15:08, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Are we limiting the list to reforms that lasted, rather than something that was tried a couple of times and given up on? If so, then I believe that the complete list of lasting reforms is in this box:
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
But perhaps someone else knows more than I do, because I don't usually follow RFA reform discussions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:22, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

List of RFA Alternatives Proposed[edit]

Regardless of the vote calls for I see no harm in getting all of our ideas in one place for convenience and this is my attempt to do that, please feel free to add your idea if I forgot to add it.

  1. unbundling the admin tools and having them be open in a process like Requests for Permission.
  2. Arb-Com Style Elections for Administrators
  3. The creation of a committee that would actively "search for potential candidates for adminship, accept applications for adminship, evaluate those applications, to appoint administrators, and to serve as a forum for the review of administrative actions." - see WP:Administrative Standards Commission
  4. Tweaks to RFA to limit commenting, appoint clerks, and other suggestions that would keep the basic RFA process we've come to know. See also User:Application Drafter/Sysop applications draft. (Sorry for inserting this in someone else's comment, but I don't know how else to do this.) Application Drafter (talk) 03:09, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  5. User:WereSpielChequers/RFA reform#Upbundling, especially of the block button.
Feel free to update this list as you see fit. Regardless of if we close RFA or not I think we should not give up until we can hammer something out. This multi-year long debate dies here if we make it die here. I'm not for RFA, I just think it should stay until we can actively set up an alternative.--Church Talk 19:30, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I added the upbundling one (#5), since the block button is the one that most makes one want to look at demeanour issues, and these are where the criticisms can get personal. --Stfg (talk) 21:01, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
See item number 6, above. Application Drafter (talk) 03:09, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
I moved item 6 as a subsection of tweaking RFA. This proposal basically keeps RFA the same, it just changes the questions. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 02:44, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
I am against the first two. #1 is too less scrutiny. We need consensus. #2 is too much drama. As we've seen before. --Ankit Maity «T § C» 14:52, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
  • This discussion has gotten very large and sprawling very quickly, and probably should be a more structured discussion on it's own subpages. I don't think this thing is going to get anything done as it is currently constructed. It violates nearly every principle in my own essay on how to put these things together. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:22, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Proposal: Admins should serve terms[edit]

As most people probably know, if you are elected as an admin in the current system, you hold the position for life unless you voluntarily resign or ArbCom takes it away. This fact may play a part in the restrictiveness of RfA, because as of now, there is no easy way to remove adminship, so the candidates that you elect must be really good.
However, this problem could be solved by having admins serve "terms". How long your "term" is depends upon the amount of support you get. For example, if you get 50%-75% support, you're only elected for a one year term. If you get 75%-100% support, you get elected for a two year term. At the end of this "term", the admin would go through a reconfirmation, where it would be confirmed that they haven't done anything to warrant a desysopping. A predefined list of things deserving a desysopping would exist as a guideline, so that we could ensure that an admin couldn't be desysopped merely for making a couple of mistakes, which would not be out of the question if it was up to the mob. If no outstanding issues arise during the reconfirmation, a 'crat would close it as successful, and the admin would serve for another term. As long as the admin remains trustworthy and does not violate the desysopping criteria, there would be no limit to the amount of terms that an admin could serve.
I feel that, if implemented, this would loosen the requirements in electing new admins, because an admin could always be desysopped if he acted unacceptably during his term. I'm looking forward to everyone's input. Thanks, --Biblioworm 23:41, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Strongly oppose – As I said above, adminship is not a political position, nor a leadership position, nor a legislative position. Admins should continue to serve on merit, in line with their duty as technical servants of the Wikipedia community. Forcing them to run for "election" will politicise the post even further, resulting in administrators who are good at wheeling-and-dealing, not dealing with the maintenance of the encyclopaedia. RGloucester 23:55, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm not trying to turn this into a political position (besides, being a member of a committee is also a political position). I'm just saying that the notion of "admin for life" is probably a main reason why the admin position is thought to be a big deal. Once you have it, you cannot lose it unless ArbCom revokes it, which can be difficult to do. In my opinion, we'll never fully get rid of the "power", "authority", and "mystery" surrounding admins until we have a more convenient way to desysop. In fact, this proposal is not completely incompatible with the proposed ASC, as the committee could review admins at the end of their term. --Biblioworm 00:11, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
This is a good and thoughtful proposal. I especially like the protection you've built in against mobs. I don't fully agree with RGloucester on admins being purely servants. In practice their role does contain an element of executive function and leadership , even if some of the more maintenance orientated admins chose not to get involved in that side of things. IMO opinion you wouldn't get rid of the "power" element even with an easier desysop (which I probably wouldn't support due to the risk of anti admin witch hunts) There's two reasons I like RGloucester's ASC idea even more. It wouldn't feel right to retrospectively apply terms to existing admins, and so this would risk making all new admins second class. And compared to the selection board, this proposal would still allow scope for the same sort character assassination that happens with existing RfA. (Im skeptical that even bolting on clerking would not prevent this.) FeydHuxtable (talk) 00:26, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
As I mentioned above, this proposal can easily be adapted to fit the ASC. I suppose, though, that the advantage of the ASC is that desysoppings can be done on a rolling basis rather than at set intervals. Even if my proposal isn't accepted in its current state, I do strongly believe that we should have some sort of convenient desysopping procedure. I really don't care if the ASC or the community handles it, so long as it's something. (However, I am beginning to increasingly support the concept of the ASC, but it does still need some work.) Whatever desysopping procedure we adopt, it has to have some sort of "mob protection". --Biblioworm 00:41, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
I do strongly agree that administrators should be able to carry out their duties without being hanged on a whim, which is one of the reasons I like the idea of the WP:ASC (the proposal now has its own page). RGloucester 01:01, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
I must say, this could work. It would mean a lot of "re-adminships", but what do we have to lose? --AmaryllisGardener talk 01:31, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
We have plenty to lose. Such a proposal further entrenches the wrong idea that adminship is a "big deal". We need to be curtailing this notion, not furthering it. RGloucester 01:33, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
Off the top of my head, and from the last 30 times this has been proposed: you stand to lose a lot of admins. If we already have trouble finding enough candidates willing to run the gauntlet that is RFA, forcing everyone to run it again and again will only exacerbate attrition. Not to mention a significant additional bureaucratic burden that takes everyone away from what we are supposed to be here for: building an encyclopedia. You also risk massively reducing the number of admins willing to take on controversial tasks because of the very same predilection for "character assassination" as FeydHuxtable so aptly terms it above. Why would anyone take on a tough job if the only they they can expect as a result is reams of abuse? Resolute 13:51, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
Ultimately, adminship is a bigger deal than it was in 2003 because Wikipedia is a bigger deal than it was in 2003; there's probably no going back on this. Standards are a bit higher, because the seriousness of our fuckups is higher. In the interim "I'm concerned there aren't enough administrators, so let's start removing admin status from the existing admins" makes no sense. WilyD 13:38, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
I could not agree more with this comment. This would insure fewer admins. Term limits make perfect sense for arbcom, or for real-world politicians, but I have never heard of a scenario where low-level unpaid volunteers need to run for re-election n order to do thankless drudge work. I have always felt that such proposals are based on the very, very wrong assumption that being admin fills one with a godlike sense of power and authority. It isn't like that at all. For good admins, having the tools is an obligation, to help out the community to the best of their ability wherever they can. There are not so many bad admins that we should subject every last one to a reconfirmation. The only form of this I would support would be for very long terms, like ten years or so. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:17, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
COMPROMISE IDEA. How about keeping the RFA system. But also allow people to apply for interim administratorship. These positions would be for a year with reconfirmation into a regular administrator after that. So that everyone wouldn't be forced to apply for this (and face being discriminated against compared to what the current administrators have to go through), have it so you could apply for interim administrator only if your qualifications were a little short (someone could come up with the criteria but maybe a user with 5,000 edits, not 20,000). See if the interim administrators are a success. If they are, they could encourage people who don't live on wikipedia to apply. Disclaimer: I am not interested in interim adminship. EatingGlassIsBad (talk) 00:13, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

It's already hard enough to find admins who are wiling to make controversial decisions, or even decisions that will make a minority of people angry. "Term limits" will only exacerbate this problem at their future RfAs. GraniteSand (talk)

Oppose The hassle of adminship and re-adminship with the help of community consensus will cause way too many problems. De-adminship is waste of time. If the community believes that the admin is useless, we'll force them to run for a second RfA, do a RfC/A or ask them for a recall. --Ankit Maity «T § C» 14:59, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I agree with Beeblebrox. Let me be frank. I've been an administrator now for nearly three years. I'm not a very controversial admin: I've had the occasional moment where I've said something dumb or made a silly mistake, but I mostly seem to get things about right, I hope. I don't block many people. I don't use my admin tools much, but when I do, I mostly get it right. I've not had decisions taken to deletion review or really made any controversial blocks. I mostly steer clear of WP:ANI and so on these days and just plod away with what I want to work on. I edit, and I have some extra buttons I can push when I feel the need to. I close some deletion discussions occasionally, hand out some user rights at WP:RFPERM when I feel like it, and occasionally WP:RFPP requests when there's a bit of a backlog. There are lots of admins like this: they keep themselves to themselves. Sometimes they are even less public-facing than I am, just merrily working away in some quiet backlog—the file namespace or the category tree or closing MfDs or enforcing some bit of bureaucracy that the community decided admins should work on.

I'm perfectly happy to be accountable to the community: if I make mistakes or make bad judgments, I like to think I'd handle that in a mature and responsible way. The RfA process is stressful even if it is a shoe-in—there's always a risk some grudge-bearing sock or weirdo is going to turn up out of the blue and turn it into a circus. Would the reconfirmation RfAs happen every year at the same time? What if you are busy at work or you've got a family holiday or some personal crisis and don't exactly want to participate in another blasted RfA? After the first or second reconfirmation, I'd almost be tempted to pack it in. Wikipedia is something I participate in because it is fun and I try not to participate in the bits that aren't fun—there are other far more important things in life to care about. RfA was a chore once, let alone doing it again and again forever more. Indeed, if I were contemplating running for adminship and annual reconfirmation were in place, I'd probably consider whether I'd bother running in the first place.

Most admins I think are trying to do their best. Let us do the job that we're (not) paid to do. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:57, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

(Responding to proposal) An administrator hoping to be re-elected, might be tempted towards favouritism. GoodDay (talk) 01:02, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I concur entirely with Beeblebrox and Tom Morris. Furthermore, a term system would simply introduce tons more bureaucracy and increase the number of venues and opportunities where people can be nasty - exactly which has been putting off users of the right calibre from running for adminship in the first place. And as per Tom, the very thought that they would have to run again in a year or two would discourage even more candidates. There is also the fact that some admins might work towards re-election/reconfirmation and thus be less bold in dealing with contentious issues. There will always be some admins that need to be desysoped - even arbs have been thrown out - but there is no proof whatsoever that 'admin for life' spawns an intolerably high number of badmins. What we need is a faster (and efficient) system for addressing poor admin behaviour, one that is far less bogged down in its own bureaucracy than Arbcom and which unlike Arbcom, ANI, or RFC/U, will take a formal look at patterns of long term inappropriate behaviour and/or reckless use of the tools rather than just isolated ussues. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:55, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Voting[edit]

If you support the proposal but advise any changes to the suggested timeline above , please mention in your vote.

The proposal to vote on is:
The community supports marking the existing RfA / RfB process as historical, thus providing a clean slate on which to design a suitable replacement.

Please vote Abolish (Support) to abolish our current RfA system or Maintain (Oppose) to maintain it (for now).

[[#ref_{{{1}}}|^]] I just felt this was required. Forgive me, WikiKnights. --Ankit Maity «T § C» 15:28, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Abolish current RfA system[edit]

  1. Strong Support. (I'm the first one here. Face-smile.svg) The more I'm thinking about this, the more I'm becoming convinced that we're not going to get anywhere unless we just blow it up and start over again. For years, the community has wasted time and effort trying to reform RfA, but none of them have yielded results. Unless the current system is shut down, there will be no motivation to come up with a new one. (By the way, I do think this RfC should be extended to last about 30 days, since this is such a major proposal.) Thanks, --Biblioworm 00:09, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    While I'm not opposed to the idea of blowing it up and starting it over, I think we should do it in the other order - first construct the new process, then demolish the old one and start using the new one. If this proposal passes, then how will a user try to become an adin the day after we close down RFA? עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 19:40, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  2. Strong Support per Biblioworm. FeydHuxtable (talk) 00:21, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  3. Me too. In order to address some of the opposers' concerns, I suggest that if this process succeeds and RfA is marked historical, then the RfA process should be suspended with effect from, say, 1 January 2015, so we've got a known end date but we also maintain some process for promotion (even if it's dysfunctional) for a month or so until the end of December.—S Marshall T/C 00:51, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  4. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Years (7 according to Feyd) of incremental reform efforts have led nowhere. It's time to try something different. In the past, RFA was functional enough that this plan would be too extreme. But at this point, the promotion rate is so low, not having a process for a couple months will barely make a difference. Mr.Z-man 03:11, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  5. This is the only way to fix RFA, but I expect this effort to not achieve "consensus". It's a shining example of the failure of the consensus model to govern a community that has clearly outgrown it. With no adults in charge, clearly-broken processes can't be changed. Good luck making those "incremental changes," folks. Townlake (talk) 03:37, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  6. Support. Essentially agree with Biblioworm and Mr.Z-man, above. Cheers, — Cirt (talk) 04:30, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  7. Support. Let's dispense with the notion that it's radical or irresponsible to deconstruct a system (and what is permissible within it) that is gradually failing to do its job, particularly with the understanding that we are dedicated to work together to build something better. Editors arguing that there are other factors besides the system are probably right, but there is sufficient evidence that the system is a major factor and is something malleable that can be improved. I encourage editors who do not consider the system to be a significant problem to read over WereSpielChequers observations, comments in this recent invitation for candidates on AN, some of the feedback at User:Juliancolton/Why I hate RfA, and User:Dayewalker#My RfA, and good faith advice on yours. I, JethroBT drop me a line 08:05, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  8. Unbundle the tools, unbundle the tools, unbundle the tools. Come up with weak and strong versions of the tools, so that some users can demonstrate their facility with the weak version before getting the strong version. For example get a permission to block only anons, and only for a short time, with progressively more authority needed to block registered editors, and to impose longer/indefinite blocks. bd2412 T 19:39, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    You realize some people would go completely nuts over that proposal, calling you an elitist, IP hater, via WP:IPs are people too, as that makes IP sound less human than registered editors? Dennis - 20:14, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    • I hadn't thought about it, but what other division can we use to give editors a trial power to block a subset of all editors? bd2412 T 20:18, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
      • Duration. ie: 1 week or less. They still have to go through RFA, however, per WMF. A talk page (mine is fine) is better for extended discussion) Dennis - 20:32, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  9. Support For those who are opposing because it would disrupt the adminship process: What has RfA done for you in the past two months? Nothing? Then I don't see why suspending the process would be disruptive. KonveyorBelt 20:12, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  10. Support, the current system comes from another time and another place. It has served us well, but it's time to let it go, because it's clearly not serving us well anymore. It's clear after years that 'reforms' aren't going to stick, so I think the first step to a better way to fill the admin corps is to abolish the current system, and force us to design a better one. Lankiveil (speak to me) 22:49, 30 October 2014 (UTC).
  11. Abolish which is a support !vote for those who didn't read the directions above :) - this process is clearly broken, otherwise why would RfA reform be one of our most well-known perennial proposals? Nuke it, it's the only way. I'll not be opposed to maintaining the existing RfA until the RfC closes, to placate those worried that being without a system with such a pathetically low turnover rate would be disastrous (it clearly wouldn't), but when the RfC closes, the existing RfA must close with it. Ivanvector (talk) 23:07, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  12. Support. It doesn't work anymore; almost nobody is getting through. Everyking (talk) 01:08, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  13. Support and see my proposed template at User:Application Drafter/Sysop applications draft. Application Drafter (talk) 03:10, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  14. Strong Support There must be better ways of doing this, getting rid of Rfas would be a start. ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 20:52, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  15. Strong Support I don't understand all the hand-wringing about how this would temporarily leave us with no promotion process. We wouldn't be having this discussion if the current process was being regularly used. What's the difference? Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 16:17, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  16. Let's give it a shot and see what happens. It's not like it can't be undone later. Kurtis (talk) 03:54, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
  17. Support - Changing anything on this project is like pulling teeth, but sometimes change is necessary, and clearly the RFA process needs to be changed. If abolishing the current system must be the way to motivate such change, then so be it. It's not as if the current sytem can't be brought right back to life later on, if need be.. –Prototime (talk · contribs) 04:37, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
  18. Support, in my view RfA is broken beyond repair. --Pgallert (talk) 06:47, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
  19. Support - I totally support the idea of specialist admins, not everyone is a content writer (which still remains the most absurd requirement) or wants to go vandal hunting and overhauling the system so you can at least be judged on your ability and the fact you'll use the tools, not if you've gotten enough articles to FA standard. tutterMouse (talk) 19:46, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
  20. Comment -- Speaking from my experience on Wikipedia, I like the idea of unbundling the Admin tools. One of the chief barriers to being an effective Admin is lack of experience using the tools, & being allowed to get accustomed to them gradually would allow a new Admin gain the necessary skills & experience to use them. Further, when a given Wikipedian has a majority of these Admin tools, it becomes more difficult for nay-sayers to claim that person is *not* qualified, thus hounding qualified people away from being Admins. And it appears this is the method the English Wikipedia is moving towards: we already have unbundled many of the Admin tools; & this process can be followed in parallel with the current -- but barely functioning -- process. -- llywrch (talk) 17:22, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
  21. Strong Support/Abolish. I completely agree with Biblioworm and Mr.Z-man (above). It is time for change, and unless the current process is abolished, change is not possible (as seen in the past). --Tony Tan98 · talk 21:19, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  22. Support. Agree with Biblioworm and Mr.Z-man, above. As Gough Whitlam would say, it's time. Luxure Σ 08:32, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
  23. Support Even though it's "punishing the poor admins". LOL my god is Wikipedia stupid. Nothing will ever change because the gang of clowns who benefit from the current system control everything. 69.210.241.175 (talk) 04:30, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  24. Support. The shortage of admins can be felt all over the project; admin backlogs are getting absurd. I support RGloucester and the Wikipedia:Administrative Standards Commission proposal. Swpbtalk 13:18, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  25. Oppose I am not convinced of the extent of the problem as described or the benefits promised for abolishing the current system. Abolishing the current system would not make way for other systems to be tested. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:18, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Maintain current RfA system[edit]

  1. Oppose I'm afraid that I can't get behind this idea. I'm not comfortable removing RFA with at least a general idea of what the replacement would be. With that said, I'm not opposed to moving to support and I plan to think this over in the coming days but for right now I just have too many questions and concerns and too little answers. We can go gun-ho all we want about this, but I can't help but think incremental changes would be better then destroying RFA completely. The big argument is that it's been done and it didn't work numerous times. I don't have an answer for that right now, but I'm extremely uneasy removing the one way we have to promote administrators for any amount of time.--Church Talk 00:27, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    I believe one idea is an ArbCom-style election, but there hasn't been extensive discussion about that. If this RfC does fail, I suppose we can open yet another discussion to collect some ideas for a new election system. --Biblioworm 00:35, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    Looking at the data, not enough people are using the RfA process to make it worth keeping. Why not just blow it up and build something new and useful? — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 00:58, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    I'd rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.--Church Talk 01:02, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    • What you are saying is you'd rather have something that won't be used and is apparently harmful to the wiki instead of build something new that will be useful in increasing our core of editors and producing new and improved content for our readers. I entirely understand. Why does Wikipedia need administrators anyways? Let's just do away with all of them! Nevermind, my sarcasm would simply be wasted in this forum...  ;) — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 01:10, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) I never said that I was against change or removing RFA. I simply said that I'm not willing to take a leap of faith with the only option we have right now. RFA has apparently been detrimental to the community for a long time, I don't see how it could hurt to have it awhile longer to at least have a good list of alternatives before we decide to retire it.--Church Talk 01:27, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  2. Maintain I oppose abolishing as reckless. Where is the study that says the RfA system is the problem? Better may be: 1) Conduct a study that explains the low numbers. 2) If the study shows that the system itself is the reason for the low numbers, design a new system. 3) Post here proposing switch. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:23, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  3. Maintain What Anna said. Well meaning, but this isn't going to make things better, it will just divide the community even more. We should look at tweaking what we have instead. Dennis - 01:32, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  4. Oppose any proposal in which RfA is disbanded without an immediate replacement by something else. This is being done backward; first get consensus for a new process, then either modify or disband the old one. StringTheory11 (t • c) 02:30, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  5. Oppose a specific transition plan should be ready to take over, perhaps even with an overlap (during "beta" of the new process) prior to discontinuance of the existing process. — xaosflux Talk 03:20, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  6. Maintain Not a single person has suggested a replacement system, and some proposed fixes have been suggested here that I don't think have been tried. If someone had some good replacement, I'd reconsider, but I don't see that happening. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 03:43, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  7. Maintain per Anna and Dennis. INeverCry 04:01, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  8. Maintain, what Anna said. I'm not convinced RfA is the problem (my personal opinion is that it lies closer to the lack of its opposite process); whatever the problem, i believe it would be foolish, at best, to dump a process with no replacement in place. Yeah, Cortés burned his ships, as is mentioned above; he also was unbelievably brutal, benefited from disease, and inaugurated several hundred years of exploitation. Not sure i'm comfortable following his example.... Cheers, LindsayHello 05:15, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  9. Maintain, at least until something better is worked out. The work still needs to be done. As I have remarked elsewhere, any process can be made ineffective by complaining, belittling and pointing out problems until no one wants to be a part of it, and then pointing to the resulting lack of participation as further evidence against it.—Anne Delong (talk) 06:05, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  10. Maintain, but experiment - I have no problem with the proposal to appoint a board for a limited term as an experiment (maybe limit their chosen admins to needing an RfA after a year), I just think it is highly premature to eliminate RfA. If the board can act with good judgment and find competent and thoughtful admins who would not have pursued RfA, then I think it would just become the de facto adminship process. But eliminating RfA without any experience with a new system is madness. VanIsaacWScont 06:11, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  11. Oppose I don't think the problem is with RfA, but with attitudes towards adminship generally. If people don't want the job, they're not going to apply, regardless of what the application process is. --ais523 06:13, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  12. Oppose. RfA is not too great a hassle or an insurmountable obstacle. Rather, the performance of admin work is a stick with no carrot. Most editors who would be good candidates for the job are not interested in having it, and that's not a problem with RfA. Dekimasuよ! 07:00, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  13. Oppose as ill-thought out and quite possibly misguided. We need to find more editors who want to stand and who have a chance; the current process does promote people who are qualified. BethNaught (talk) 07:44, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  14. Oppose RfA related RfCs/proposals won't pass when it's just one or two editors dreaming up a wacky "solution" and then opening it to a vote. It should have been obvious from the short thread at WT:RfA that Townlake's suggestion was not widely supported. For actual change you need to take part in existing discussions, feel the way the wind is blowing, reach out to people and look for something likely to be accepted by the community. benmoore 08:17, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  15. Oppose. Maintain current system, but experiment. Full marks to Feyd and Townlake for a BOLD proposal, but I don't accept either of the propositions behind it: (a) RFA is so uniquely bad that anything cobbled together under pressure against a short deadline must be better, and (b) the unique badness of RFA is the reason why so few are applying. As regards (a), I don't see much evidence that RFA is passing people who shouldn't be admins or failing people who should; as regards (b) this year's numbers are about one third of those for 2011 - has RFA got so much more terrifying? We should look elsewhere for the reasons why the numbers of people who want to do this fairly thankless task are falling. JohnCD (talk) 08:49, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  16. Oppose/Maintain. The whole thing seems to hinge on the idea that once RFA is abolished, it would only take a week or so to put together an acceptable alternative. That is hopelessly naive. Neatsfoot (talk) 08:50, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  17. Maintain Marking it historical is a sure way to ensure failure. But I do like the idea of adding additional mechanisms. I have proposed the idea of a selection board in the past as mentioned above by Vanisaac. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 10:13, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  18. Maintain I'd love to see improvements in the RFA process. Those who say it's the people that's broken, not the process, overlook that processes are there to be operated by people. So I agree that RFA needs improvement to remove, or at least reduce, the nastiness and arbitrariness. But this is rushed; the idea that we can come up with consensus so quickly just because we've marked the current one historical is wildly optimistic; and the prescription that "going back to a modified form of the existing RfA process is not an option" prejudices consensus and is a showstopper for me. Instead, we should be trying out ideas like some of those suggested in User:WereSpielChequers/RFA reform, piecemeal and with the option to reverse them. --Stfg (talk) 10:31, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  19. Maintain but move straight on to agree a reform package. Credit to the proposers for kickstarting this debate. Don't agree "it can't be reformed without scrapping it": when previous credible attempts were launched, the recruitment rate had not been so low for so long: Noyster (talk), 10:56, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  20. Oppose, though I find myself extremely sympathetic to the other side as well. I think the proposers might well be right that the best way forward from our current format might be "blow it up and start again from the ground up," but I find the notion that if we do blow it up, the people will magically come together, quickly and neatly, into consensus to be naive. Historical efforts to change RFA have failed largely because while everyone agrees it's broken and needs to change, everyone's fix is different; if we want any hope of fixing RFA, we're going to have to first find a way to route around the tendency to agree in a cacophony of disagreement. I think we may have reached a point now where people are going to be willing to compromise on RFA/proposal format in exchange for a discussion that ends actually-truly-actionably, and I think floating that sort of proposal should be our first step, not just blowing up RFA and hoping the rest fixes itself. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 13:37, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    Thanks fluff. In fact our thinking wasn't quite as naive as it might seem. We did anticipate some of the difficulty you foresee (the Abilene paradox ) but we felt if we could first kill the beast , it would open the way for a well structured RfC (perhaps a recursive version of the pending changes RfC) to narrow down the available alternatives. Beeblebrox was mentioned above as the first choice to lead that had the first stage of this reform attempt found consensus, and had he declined, I had your good self in mind as the second choice. In hindsight it might had been better to have planned this out better, I was perhaps too concious of the too much prep/ not enough action issue that has sunk so many previous attempts. FeydHuxtable (talk) 15:14, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    As a former Abilenian, I will grant you +1 point for linking to that relevant article. Dennis - 15:25, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  21. Maintain - There's nothing wrong with RfA as it is. Good candidates are approved without much fuss (apparently we have right now a good example ongoing at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Jackmcbarn), bad candidates ared snowed under, and controversial candidates will have to answer a lot of questions. Those who complain are mostly the candidates who are either ambitious or egocentric and were voted down for evident failure to comply with the minimum requirements. Please give me some examples when a real good candidate was voted down by vicious antis for no good reason. Kraxler (talk) 13:57, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    Three good candidates have passed in the last four months, counting Jackmcbarn. I don't mean to pick on you, but your rationale doesn't address the underlying problem. I completely agree with you that the current system rejects bad candidates, and that's desirable. But it also repels good candidates who aren't interested in subjecting themselves to the scrutiny of hundreds of self selected evaluators who all get to use their own criteria. Look at how many candidates sign up for an RFA nowadays; something is quite obviously wrong with RFA as it is. Townlake (talk) 15:22, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    We also have to think about what is truly "bad". The problem is that many !voters sometimes have unreasonable expectations of candidates, and when they (understandably) don't meet them, we call them "bad" candidates. If we loosened the expectations a bit, I think we would find that some candidates who would normally be called "bad" would actually make pretty good admins. --Biblioworm 15:33, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    Very good point Biblioworm. A few seem to have such a strong belief in the infallibility of the current system, they think the very fact someone failed is proof they were a bad candidate. There are several failed candidates who would have been top tier admins IMO, but pointless to point out who they are. The problem is there's no comparable alternate way to assess someones quality that would be widely accepted. And no point pitting one's personal opinion against aggregate community judgement as expressed by the RfA monster! FeydHuxtable (talk) 15:44, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
    I also want to add here that a single nomination that appears to successful (so far) is not sufficient evidence to claim that this downward trend is changing. I, JethroBT drop me a line 01:22, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
    Ok. So, no examples are coming forth, just theoretical diffuse criticism, because someone you supported was voted down. I've not always voted the same as the eventual result, but I've never been on the verge of abandoning Wikipedia because of it. Strange/unconvincing/nonsensical oppose rationales can amount to 30% of the votes without prejudice. I doubt that more than 30% "trolls" (many rationales are judged unconvincing and nonsensical by some, but heartily endorsed by others, but for argument's sake let's say "trolls") would appear at any RfA. Overall, explanations for the declining number of successful candidatures might be: A)) Editors who create mainspace-content don't want to lose time with janitorial tasks. B)) A general decline of the number of editors leads to a general decline of numbers of admins/RfAs. C)) Many, including otherwise "good", long-time editors have been involved in unsavoury controversies and scandals in the past. If they run, they are voted down despite their expertise, because the community wants to avoid more trouble. If they don't run, the number of RfAs declines, but at least the editors show common sense. Etc. et al. Kraxler (talk) 13:29, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  22. Oppose - we should either reform RFA, or draft a new one and replace the current one with that. We shouldn't shut down RFA until we have a new process to replace it. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 16:05, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  23. Maintain - By all means experiment by limiting comments as suggested above but I am not convinced there is a better way of doing it. I get the impression that almost anyone could get to be an admin in the early years. We are now getting the best.Charles (talk) 18:48, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  24. Maintain - Blowing it up solves nothing other than more arguments and nothing getting done, There's no doubt about it RFA one way or another needs to change but personally I have no idea how!.... –Davey2010(talk) 19:44, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  25. Expecting a polarized, dysfunctional group of people to behave less dysfunctionally when put under additional pressure seems unwise. See Budget sequestration in 2013. --Floquenbeam (talk) 23:07, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  26. Maintain RfA works for most tools. We should remove the two sets of privileges which people have real trust issues with (deletion and restriction oriented tools) and then move forward from there. GraniteSand (talk) 23:18, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  27. Simmer down, folks. – Juliancolton | Talk 00:44, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  28. Read WP:RFA2011 - apart from the fact that NOTNOW applications happen, RFA is about where the community wants. Although a lot of people agree that it's "broken", their perceptions of the brokenness go in various directions, and it's the sensible compromise. If I think the thermostat is five degrees too hot, and my wife thinks it's five degrees too cold, we both agree that it's at the wrong temperature, and yet, that doesn't mean there's a better temperature for us to set it at. Parallel process proposals don't fail because the existing process exists, they fail because other potential processes all have less community support than the process we have. If you want to increase the number of successful RfAs, there's only one course of action. Go do new page patrol, and assist and mentor new editors, rather than chasing them away and deleting their work. In the interim ... well "We want more new admins to be created; therefor, we want to eliminate the only method of creating new admins" is a sow's ear. WilyD 13:31, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  29. Oppose. Counterproductive and reckless to hold a vote on abolishing RfA when you haven't come up with a community-approved replacement beforehand. Resolute 13:52, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
    I keep seeing this argument and I consider it bizarre. The current system is virtually unused, and has been for a long time. It isn't reckless to bulldoze an abandoned house. Townlake (talk) 15:17, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
    Alternately Townlake it isn't "doing" anything or "impeding" anything and there are candidates who could pass that are not running. One or more might decide to run soon. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:34, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  30. Oppose until consensus reached on alternative. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:34, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  31. Maintain. RfA generally works (maybe needs a few tweaks) but we need more editors to want to take on the admin tools, and there are factors unrelated to RfA that put people off. The constant complaining about how terrible the RfA process is is probably as off-putting as the process itself. Make adminship a more pleasant experience and encourage good editors with sufficient experience who we can trust with the tools to apply and the rest will take care of itself. --Michig (talk) 10:38, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  32. Maintain - much good has come of this discussion. Its Achilles heel is the notion that RFA must be dismantled before a new process is developed. It may be best to recognize this flaw, and withdraw this proposal now; refocusing on an alternative process while there is still a surplus of positive energy.—John Cline (talk) 14:25, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
    Thanks for the suggestion John. As the original thread starter, I don't plan on having further involvement here unless by some miracle this !vote gets close enough so it's worth calling in a crat to determine the result. But if anyone wants to close this vote and re-purpose the discussion to seek consensus for a parallel or replacement RfA process, that would be fine by me. Pinging I, JethroBT , Church and Oiyarbepsy as they seemed especially interested in a new process or were the first to propose running one in parallel, but yourself or any other editor would be most welcome to step in too. FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:40, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
    Thank you FeydHuxtable, for acknowledging my dissent in such a kind manner! You can expect my participation in any discussion that ensues from here. I do have some information, not yet shown by a link, that I believe could be helpful and will gladly share. But I could not muster the strength, participation requires, unless I was following your lead; a beneficiary of the therapeutic recharge you exude – in optimism, sincerity of purpose, and tireless zeal. These infectious qualities are more essential to success than any other tangible thing and they manifest in abundance by your thoughtful endeavors. I do hope you've the strength to forge on! Sincerely.—John Cline (talk) 15:28, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
  33. Secret account 02:02, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  34. Maintain/Oppose. If it ain't broke don't fix it.  Philg88 talk 06:03, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
    It ain't broken, eh? [12]. --Biblioworm 19:46, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  35. Maintain/Oppose An imperfect system is better than none at all, and per my comment in the discussion above. WaggersTALK 13:45, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  36. Maintain the current — This is a conflation of correlation and causation. Speaking as an admin myself, I simply have less time in real life, and I feel a similar sentiment from others society-wide. We're volunteers, and the current political and economic landscape is not conducive (even hostile) to volunteering, because the time spent volunteering is instead being spent trying to stay alive. There's a political rant to be made, but I'll refrain. Of course, wiki-side, the simple problem with RFA is that !votes aren't ignored by patrolling bureaucrats when they aren't in line with current admin policy. For example, when people "oppose" based on "not enough article improvement edits" or "I don't like this edit they made" or "this edit made a mistake" (an extremely common occurrence) when someone's clearly almost exclusively an anti-vandal patroller or something, it's not at all an argument that's in line with the admin policy (there's precisely zero requirement for admins to make article improvement edits or be generally well-rounded wiki citizens); therefore, they should probably summarily be ignored but in actuality aren't. I, myself, probably haven't made substantial mainspace edits for years—doesn't mean I don't try my best to clear out backlogs—the place where admins are most needed—when and if I have free time. Similarly, RFA questions that are divisive, contentious, or loaded to select for an ideology, much like those posed to political candidates, could also be screened for and removed by bureaucrats or other editors. Regardless, nuke-and-rebuild is contrary to the way things typically work in this community, and I think simple changes—diffs—should be the method of first resort when possible, and, for RfA, it's obviously possible. --slakrtalk / 15:19, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  37. Oppose When we come up with something better then our current system will become moot. Until then we should not dismantle what we have in the hopes that we come up with something better later. Chillum 15:23, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  38. Maintain It is an unwarranted assumption that some new admin process will gain consensus soon after we scuttle the present process. There will be just as many naysayers, power-mad demagogues or just-plain stubborn people insisting on having things their way with RFA dead as there have been in the past. Burning bridges is not always a winning proposition. Let's see a replacement process. I for one would welcome an improvement. Many of the brainstorms suggested above were very unworkable. Wikipedia editors have the ability to craft a really good process for choosing and supervising sysops. Edison (talk) 20:31, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  39. Maintain. Unless having no new admins is an acceptable outcome, removing the current process is not the first step in approving a new process; it's the first step toward anarchy. (Some say we are already there.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:49, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
  40. If you have a broken arm (minor injury), you just don't replace it. You need to find a way to repair it. Many months ago, a proposal by Anna Frodesiak wanted a pre-RFA page where possible candidates get to have a feel and understanding on what they may expect in an RFA and if they are qualified for it (or something like that, I forgot where the discussion page is). A process like that is ideal for an RFA as it gives possible candidates confidence and most of all a good feedback on your standpoint. RFA may be a difficult process for some, rather than replace a process which have been on Wikipedia for years, there is no need to replace it at this time. If there is need for more candidates, just look around, it isn't complicated. ///EuroCarGT 19:40, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
    The thread is here. The best argument against it was that one can create it in their own userspace. However, I reject claims that it would be another hoop to jump through because it would be optional. (I was out of town during the discussion and was unable to state my views.) I think it may produce admins, and being optional, would at the very least do no harm. Plus, it may inspire watchers to consider themselves as candidates. I really wish it could be created and tested for a month. If it doesn't work out, MfD it. What do we have to lose? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 22:00, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
  41. Maintain After much thought, I've come to this: RfA is very broken, but the process isn't the problem. RfA has community problems. The community wouldn't agree on any new system even if RfA was abolished. --AmaryllisGardener talk 19:49, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
  42. Andrevan@ 05:15, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  43. Oppose – The system certainly has its flaws to an extent and requires community input to adequately consider what specifically needs change. With that said, I don't believe scrapping the system in its entirety is appropriate, in response to aspects which can be worked on should we get a common understanding on where it's failing. —MelbourneStartalk 13:33, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  44. Oppose Until a replacement is in place that is accepted by the community, the burecrats, and WMF I will not close the route for promoting new admins. Hasteur (talk) 15:23, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  45. Oppose, not because RfA works as it is (it's flawed at the moment and right now not enough people are being promoted), but because there hasn't been consensus for a replacement yet. Theoretically, if consensus dictates that RfA be abolished, but a replacement system is not implemented until later, we could go for quite a while without any new admins. I'd rather have only a handful of editors becoming admins than none at all. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 23:15, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  46. Oppose My comment is pretty much the same as most other people's ones here; we need to have a proper solid framework for a new process before abolishing the current one. RfA is seriously flawed, and can be derailed by trolls very quickly... but it IS better than nothing, albeit marginally. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 11:32, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  47. Maintain . There was a time when I was one of the loudest proponents for change or replacement. If WP:RFA2011 didn't bring about any physical changes, it nevertheless provided masses of useful data, most of which is still relevant today, and demonstrated that the problems were largely due to the behaviour of the !voters. It sent a clear message to the community and if the proponents of this RfC had done their homework, they would not have ignored the fact that for a year or two now RfA has become far less of the venue where editors and trolls could post their drivel with impunity. The issues with the voters can be fixed as recent RfA have shown and in doing so reinforces the message to the community that excessive drama on RfA is no longer going to be passively tolerated. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:25, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  48. 'maintain In practice, it has worked. We have sufficient admins for the necessary work. There are no critical lags: AfDs are closed soon enough, CsD are closed very quickly. We do not need more admins , as such, we need more good admins; or, more exactly, a higher proportion of admins being competent, active, willing to enforce policy, and not going off on their own personal interpretations and hoping to get away with it. In all these respects, the situation is improving (primarily through attrition) Those RfAs that closed negative did so for good reason, in general. If we open the role to those without community confidence, the main consequence is that we will need a better procedure for removing them. DGG ( talk ) 11:09, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  49. Support I am content with the present system. It needs improvement but is not a net harm. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:20, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  50. Maintain. It can be improved upon, but I see no convincing arguments here for abolishing it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:41, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Draft and implement a parallel (or replacement) system first[edit]

I have added a third option here as I think the whole discussion, suffers from impromptu structuring and is missing to target something that is being supported but not asked for in the RFC section itself. Many 'maintain' / 'oppose' !votes state (including mine) they would rather support a replacement or parallel but not outright abolishing; effectively supporting the #list of parallel options in a section above but not taking it into consideration here in objective consensus building. With that in mind, I have added this and moved my own comment here to establish consensus for clearing out atleast one thing that a parallel process is okay if there is no abolishing or abolishing is done on its own merit if at all at a later stage (or not; that can still be counted if no one moves their !vote here). Hopefully achieving a clear cut consensus on going for a parallel or replacement (either or both) process will perhaps result in a fresh discussion such as hashing out Wikipedia talk:Administrative standards commission on basis "now that consensus for trying without abolishing is established". If this section gets a wide consensus, this debate is less likely to die out as community would have made clear that they want to start a structured discussion on proposals and not WP:SNOW any attempt for new proposals and that would automatically start a discussion about just proposals (as per consensus even if it includes sorting of all possible proposals in the list). --lTopGunl (talk) 10:36, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

  1. Support parallel as nom. Maintain for now, while I propose another section right below this which defines and establishes consensus on one or more experimental proposals. Such a proposal can run as an alternate route to RFA in parallel and we'll have A/B testing results soon enough while at the same time there will be iterations on the experimental system to near the refinement of RFA. While the experimental system remains (and ofcourse after some basic refinement), it can be optional for candidates to choose either. --lTopGunl (talk) 13:48, 30 October 2014 (UTC)Moved here from oppose. --lTopGunl (talk) 10:38, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
  2. Support - I have no doubt that the current system is problematic, but we need some system in place continuously. Once a new systewm is prepared, we can discuss replacing the current system with it, or having both in parallel. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 12:15, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
  3. Support yes we need a replacement, but RFA does let some people through and should be kept until we have a replacement ready. ϢereSpielChequers 14:33, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  4. Support - I proposed a weaker consensus requirement for admins open to recall, and there was not much opposition. All the best: Rich Farmbrough23:52, 11 November 2014 (UTC).
  5. Support - As per Od Mishehu. -Fimatic (talk | contribs) 06:23, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  6. Support - This discussion is unlikely to give birth to any clear, sane alternative to the current RfA process, which is what we'd need in order to facilitate a swift and orderly transition. Blowing something away before you've even built the replacement is almost certain to cause a meltdown. Reticulated Spline (tc) 00:09, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
  7. Obviously we should first have something ready to replace the existing process. Or, even simpler, just make the existing process simpler. Debresser (talk) 23:34, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  8. Support while I agree the existing system is very flawed, I would feel a lot more comfortable if with ditching it if we had some other way of creating admins available, as not having any coherent system available is the most certain way of ensuring we get fewer admins. John Carter (talk) 02:08, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  9. Support in principle - but any parallel beta test should not under any circumstances make the tools easier to obtain. To do so would play into the hands of those who are simply hoping that reform will increase their likelihood of getting the bit; also to do so would play into the hands of those who maintain that it is already too easy, who believe that too many badmins abound, and who generally tar all admins with the same brush. An alternative scheme must have a clear consensus for testing only by a large turnout of the community , with a firm promise that implementation would only follow after a further RfC following proven, positive results of the test. Let it be noted however that for any test to be realistic, we need to get back to having a sufficient number of candidates every month for at least a year for such testing to be conclusive. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:23, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    Personally, I think it might be useful if we created something like "yeoman" or "-in-training" admins. Giving the people who seek adminship some of the lesser tools first, particularly any that they might have some interest in using, and seeing how well they do with them for maybe up to a year before seeking the more controversial admin tools, might be one way to ferret out some people with perhaps less than optimum judgment. And, maybe, having some more people active in an editor review process for wannabe admins might be useful to, although we would know that a lot of those seeking such review will be editing very carefully in preparation to their candidacy. John Carter (talk) 02:31, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    John, not wishing to deflate your idea, but similar suggestions are WP:PEREN and have never reached consensus. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:07, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  10. Support Not only would I support the development of modifications to the current system, but also I would support Wikimedia Foundation grant funding to the person or team who proposed to work on infrastructure or tools to improve it. There are years of good ideas which cannot easily be created by volunteers, but might be created by someone supported with funding. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:22, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

What problem are we trying to solve?[edit]

I think more important than the number of admins or the process for making admins is: what problem are we trying to solve here? Are we trying to reduce backlogs? Close more discussions? Deal with AN/I reports in a different manner? We only have about 3,000 users making more than 100 edits a month, yet we have 500 admins (1/6). I think a better way forward for this discussion would be for concerned users to identify and discuss what areas they'd actually like to see improved (eg. backlogs, etc.), as I don't believe simply having more admins will resolve some of the underlying problems which many users discuss above (eg dealing with difficult, contentious or stressful issues). So my question is: if we have more admins, what problems will be solved? --Tom (LT) (talk) 21:48, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

We don't need 500 admins. We need 500 active ones. And the fact that the number of them is appalling and the fact that the current RfA has been described as a "toxic atmosphere" and "character assassination" (just to state the relatively good ones) by our most veteran editors makes me ashamed, if not all of us. --Ankit Maity «T § C» 13:06, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
I see. But why do we need 500 'active' admins? If there is some particular problem or backlog that requires this amount of admins? I think a more fruitful discussion may be to see what can be done there. --Tom (LT) (talk) 05:20, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes we have circa 3,000 editors who make over 100 edits a month and 500, rather 580 "active" admins, but the "active" admins are those doing over 30 edits in the last two months, I don't know if anyone measures how many editors we have who have done over 30 edits in the last two months, but I'd bet it is far more than 3,000. However those aren't the numbers I would compare. Our need for admins is more closely related to article creation and new editors than it is to the number of active editors. Apart from edit warring and occasionally incivility the regulars don't generate much work for the admins, or not much compared to newbies and IPs. A high proportion of new articles by newbies get deleted, and the vast majority of blocks are of IP editors or newbies. We need admin cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to delete attack pages and block vandals as fast as we do. Doing that with volunteers, many of whom put little time into doing admin work, requires a lot of volunteers. If 500 of our 3,000 most active editors were admins then I could see people getting complacent and thinking we have plenty of time to solve the admin problem, but that depends on your definition of the admin problem. To me one of our admin problems is that we have a wikigeneration of editors who are almost unrepresented in the admin cadre, with only 18 admins whose first edit was this decade, and some of those will have had earlier accounts we have a gulf between a large part of the community and the admins. My solution to that would be to encourage candidates who started editing in 2012 or before and meet the de facto criteria. As long as have added referenced content, have had no recent blocks and any deletion tagging you have done recently is accurate, then an active editor can have an easy ride at RFA. If anything the increased emphasis on the question section and the lack of people who actually spend hours looking through your edits means that RFA is easier than it has been at some times in the past. ϢereSpielChequers 12:35, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
I passed RFA in April of 2012, and yes, it is easier to pass now. I had 1800 AFDs with a 80+% success rate, and over 90% CSD correct ratio, and 31 opposed. You see people complain (me) if they have ZERO experience in deletions (which is a fair reason), but the bar and drama is noticeably lower than it was 2-4 years ago. Dennis - 15:54, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
I am not sure where you get the figure of 18 from, WereSpielChequers, but if it's true that's quite interesting. --Tom (LT) (talk) 05:20, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Admins aren't necessarily needed to police the 3000 active, known, good-faith editors at Wikipedia, but the tens of thousands of drive-by, random, vandalous, ax-grinding, sock-puppet accounts we have. The idea that admins should be some fraction of the "active" editorship, and that over (or less than) that fraction is bad is fallacious, and a bullshit stat. Indeed, there was a time when "active editors" were basically all admins; the bit was given to anyone who hung around long enough to prove they weren't going to screw it up. Perhaps we should formally go back to those days. The admin bit has become far to precious, and if we gave it away more freely, we could take it away freely too, and people wouldn't make such a big deal about it. --Jayron32 23:50, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
    • We keep saying that a de-sysopping process would be good, but in reality, the trend goes something like this:
      • Contributor says that Wikipedia needs a de-sysopping process
      • Community agrees
      • Contributor draws up a proposal for a de-sysopping process and presents it to the community
      • Community rejects proposal
    • If we keep that up, we will never get anywhere. --Biblioworm 00:01, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
      • Welcome to Wikipedia. Dennis - 05:08, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia moves very fast when there's a real problem that needs a real solution. As things stand now, de-sysopping is easily done by presenting evidence of actual abuse. When there's been real abuse, community pressure is intense, and the admin usually resigns right away. If not, the case is brought to ArbCom and rectified. I've come around to the view that this process works well enough. If it didn't people would jump aboard some of these other proposals. Jehochman Talk 15:58, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • There's a case before ArbCom that will likely be accepted very shortly. At the crux of that case is an administrator who has been uncivil for many years. It's taken that long for something to be done about it. If that's working "well enough", then I agree it's working as well as RFA is at vetting candidates. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:12, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • You are right, but the problem with that case is Wikipedia has never found a good way to define incivility or deal with it on any level. I don't think RFC would help. On balance I think it's good to minimize the venues where people can talk about each other, and instead get them to talk with each other (via user talk pages) or to go edit an article. Jehochman Talk 13:56, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • We are not really trying to solve anything. What this recent flurry of discussion is doing is simply to propose solutions/measures that will just create even more bureaucrcy on a Wikipedia that is totally bureaucratic already, and based on a very loose theory that RfA is still as toxic as it was when I started WP:RFA2011.
Jehochman, you might move very fast sometimes, especially in areas where you feel passionately concerned, but Arbcom is a very sluggish engine, one which even needs to calculate the quantity and quality of its fuel before it will accept a charter for each journey. It is also in fact quite rare that it will entertain the taking of patterns of behaviour into consideration. If it would, a lot more admins, paid editors, agents of incivility, and self-proclaimed prolific content editors who consider themselves immune to sanctions would have been subjected to restrictions by now. It's interesting to see how many admins have been desysopeed 'for cause' over the last 4 years (and Arbs thrown out), and in each and every case I saw the writing on the wall for them long before formal complaints were made. Even WMF staff are not exempt from being desysoped, but by and large, IMO, desysoping does not take place as often as it should. That's what the community should be looking at and not a reform of the RfA process right now; but of course without starting witch hunts or tarring all admins with the same brush as some are wont to do. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:06, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
I agree with what you are saying, Kudpung. Much like the decline in editors, I think we need to identify what are actually worried about -- eg quality of edits, backlogs, etc., and then see what can be done specifically for those. It is my personal opinion that we should consider unbundling some tools and consider some sort of desysopping process to decrease the heat associated with the admin process. There are a number of small changes that can be made as have been suggested by some above. Some things that might increase the actual activity level on some forums may be making it much more difficult for admins to revert each other (which I think contributes to a general level of 'fear' of acting in many instances), and considering increasing the role of bureaucrats / admins, so that admins have a role to direct a course of action (conclude discussion, etc.) and bureaucrats the role of implementing it. --Tom (LT) (talk) 05:20, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
I think unbundling the tools has gone as far as it will ever go, (with the recent exception Template Editor), and on all the other discussions the community has clearly voiced its opinion that the tools should stay in the hands of those who were elected to use them. Of course, there's no harm in trying, but check out WP:PEREN first. I'm all in favour of giving the Bureaucrats more to do, Wikipedia:Administrators/RfC for an Admin Review Board for example. If their mandate were to be expanded perhaps we would see more candidates for 'cratship. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:20, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that a number of regulars take due care of messing up and mobbing RfAs, and introducing more drama, yet we have no mechanism to prevent them from doing so. We only block people for vandalism and insults, but not for being a mildly polite good-looking nuisance, bordering trolling without actually crossing some important lines (often not even close to crossing them, but still being a nuisance). Gryllida (talk) 00:56, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Another problem is that adminship and technical helper roles are getting more and more apart. I know sysops who don't know what a gadget or mediawiki namespace is. Now, we have technical editor as a separate user right. In my view these people should all just be piped to sysops group (surely they know how not to touch the bits they don't know?). Sysop role is becoming more and more political, thanks to that. Gryllida (talk) 01:01, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
And a third problem is that we have an inhumane blocking workflow, involving talk page templates. This means blocking backfires and is a boring activity with relatively severe political load. Think I'm done talking here for a bit. Gryllida (talk) 01:03, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
The last couple of RfA have demonstrated that we are no longer going to tolerate that kind of thing. The only problem is, that to remain impartial, whoever decides to strike or indent an inappropriate vote will have to abstain from voting. 'Clerking' RfA is not reserved for the 'crats alone, though I would like to see them getting bolder and more involved with policing the process.
Being an IT geek does not automatically infer that one has excellent social skills or even a sufficiently profound knowledge of Wikipedia policy - we see this every day within the walls of the Foundation office and one employee was recently desysoped. Conversely, it would be a fallacy to assume that all admins should be computer freaks. All an admin should be required to have is a reasonably thorough knowledge of Wiki markup (no more difficult than posting on a web forum or using the built-in satnav and bluetooth in your car) and the basic use of the templates that go with the admin toolset. Most of the regular users are so young they grew up using computers since Grade 2. I had to teach myself from scratch at the age of 38 when the first consumer accessible PCs arrived in the shops. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:44, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
I hesitate to believe that blocking goes wrong often enough fo us to consider it has reached crisis proportions. I've blocked 503 users to date and no backfires and I fail to see how it can be 'political'. Of it being boring is a sweeping statement - we are all volunteers whether admins or not; nobody forces us to do anything. Admittedly some tasks are more exciting than others, but by and large we don't do the things we don't like doing (for me that would hist merges, for example). Only admins actually know how dreary or inhumane their work is. Non-admins can only speculate.
We must keep such ideas in perspective. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:44, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I think you missed the keyword of "workflow" on the last part Kudpung. What I read that last statement to say is that the blocking workflow doesn't work well because of the people blocked, not enough of them really understand why they were blocked which results in them "just saying whatever it takes to appease an admin to unblock them", which ultimately results in a reblock for the same mistake. Can you give a ball-park estimate of how many of the editors you've blocked that were first time blocks, never reblocked, not IP/CU/SOCK blocks, and not just changes to block settings? I've looked through a number of the 546 entries in your blocking log, and while I didn't look at every single one of them I couldn't find any. I think a "reblock" would be considered a backfire in the sense that the blocking workflow did not work as intended. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 15:24, 21 November 2014 (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.

A new kind of gadget[edit]

Hi all. I'm a persistent contributor since 2008, but mainly to the Spanish Wikipedia and MediaWiki. Some time ago I thought that many articles would benefit a lot if we could embed simple programs, widgets, to illustrate the concepts within them. More recently I realised that this may be accomplished through gadgets, so today I adapted an app I made some time ago, turned it into a gadget that could serve to illustrate the article Langton's ant (I make this proposal in the English Wikipedia because that article doesn't exist in the Spanish Wikipedia, and I don't feel like translating it yet). The code of the gadget can be found here and here. Basically, what it does is insert a small widget with a Langton's ant cellular automata inside any div with id "LangtonsAnt". I've put one of those divs in the Langton's ant article, so you can see it in action (after you copy the gadgets code to your own common.js and common.css, of course).

The widget/gadget is very simple, almost disappointing, but I didn't want to devote much time to it before knowing your opinion. If your response is a positive one, I'll enhance the widget/gadget and internationalise it for other Wikipedias to follow. I also want to do one for Elementary cellular automaton and maybe another for Conway's game of life. Other users may create widgets/gadgets for completely different articles of course. For example for ilustrating the movement of planets around the Sun, or old astronomical theories, or whatever, the field is huge.

If you visit the gadgets section in your preferences you'll notice that gadgets are divided in sections (Browsing, Watchlist, Editing, etc). What I propose is to start a new section, titled Articles or whatever, where would go gadgets that insert widgets into articles, to illustrate the concepts within them. I'm presenting the first of these widgets/gadgets to help convey the idea and start a healthy debate (if you criticise the gadget itself, you didn't understand the proposal). Any support? Any objections? Any comments? Thanks! --LFS (talk) 20:59, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

  • If I understand it correctly, I am vehemently opposed to this proposal. Gadgets are only usable by logged-in editors, which represent a miniscule proportion (I believe well below 1%) of en-wiki page views. If I'm understanding your proposal right in meaning that pages will contain certain content which is only visible by people who've registered, this creates a hierarchical structure among readers to go with the existing anti-IP prejudice among editors, and goes against everything Wikipedia stands for. 80.43.178.28 (talk) 21:27, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
    • "Gadgets are only usable by logged-in editors" No they're not. Jackmcbarn (talk) 02:14, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
      • How can anons use gadgets? I've been looking for a while but couldn't find a way. Anons can't even create a common.js page under their own user page. However, even if anons can't view the widgets right now, it doesn't mean that they will never be able to do so. For example, if we follow Technical 13's suggestion below and create a gadget that checks for widgets for each page, that gadget may eventually be moved to MediaWiki:Common.js, where it would run for every user, anon or not. --LFS (talk) 15:23, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
        • @Luis Felipe Schenone: Anonymous users can't control which gadgets they use, but if a gadget is enabled by default, it will be enabled for all anonymous users (unless it's been set up specifically not to be). Jackmcbarn (talk) 02:05, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I think what's confusing about this is the terminology. Basically what you're asking for here is a way to attach JavaScript to particular pages (that would run for anyone, user or not, visiting the page), the same way it's possible to attach editnotices to particular pages; this would be quite different from a gadget (other than with respect to programming languages). (It would certainly be a bad idea to have scripts intended for one page to work site-wide, for performance reasons). One thing that worries me is security, but that would likely be fixable (e.g. by only allowing admins, or perhaps template editors, to update the pages; this is the same restriction as exists for editnotices). With respect to the proposal as I see it, I'm reasonably neutral; technically it could be made to work, but I'm unclear as to whether it's a good idea. --ais523 22:19, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  • This could be done reasonably, but not in the way that the proposer has suggested. It would be done as a single gadget in the "Browsing" section. This gadget would check and see if a page existed called "MediaWiki:{{PAGENAME}}", and if such a page existed, it would import the script and reload the page. In order to get a script for a specific page, you would have to put in an edit request for an administrator to review your script (might be slow, not a lot of *.js reading admins atm) and post it to the appropriate page. Keep in mind, anything that would be done by a script for a specific page would need to be additional content for readability (generated table or content pulled from someplace else) and not required for the topic to exist as the topic would have to show it's own notability without the "extra". There are a couple places that such a feature might be useful, and I would support it if put together properly. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 00:14, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
    • We'd also need to make it clear that the article must be useful to a reader even when JS is disabled or when the article is printed. Anomie 01:18, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
      • That was part of what I was trying to say, thank you for clarifying my words. I know I suck at communicating some most of the time... — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 02:19, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm glad to read that the objections are mainly to the implementation and not with the general idea of including widgets into the articles. I now see that making one gadget per article would be very inefficient, as it would load every gadget in every page, so I agree with Technical 13's suggestion of making one gadget that checks if there is a widget available for the current page and loads it. However, one correction: the gadget shouldn't check on MediaWiki:{{PAGENAME}}, but on MediaWiki:{{PAGENAME}}.js, MediaWiki:{{PAGENAME}}.css and MediaWiki:{{PAGENAME}}.i18n.json as I expect many of the widgets to have JavaScript, CSS and possibly internationalisation code. But that's a technical issue. The important thing is that I could code such a gadget. Should I? What other objections or problems are there? Also, one advantage of this gadget is that if the initiative works, its code could eventually be moved to MediaWiki:Common.js, where it would run for anons as well as for logged-in users. --LFS (talk) 15:23, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  • This could be accomplished with Brion VIBBER's mw:Extension:EmbedScript. (The page says it's a work in progress.) --Yair rand (talk) 16:26, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
    • There's also the mw:Extension:Widgets, but the problem with these extensions is that in order to use them we would first need the Foundation to approve them and deploy them, which is a slow and uncertain process. I think it would be more efficient to first develop some widgets as gadgets, and if we see that the idea catches on, then request the Foundation to support it by deploying some extension more fit to the task. --LFS (talk) 16:00, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I support this kind of initiative – many of the best science museums are taking advantage of hands-on small-scale models to demonstrate concepts. Web applications can deliver something similar online. It is completely different from anything we have on Wikipedia at the moment, but I think this is a very valid expansion for a website like ours. Games can be amazing learning tools and such applications could help users engage more easily with complex topics, like Monte Carlo method for instance. SFB 20:18, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  • If we're discussing technical suggestions, I'd suggest causing page-specific scripts (I hate the term "gadget" for this, it clearly isn't) to replace images. Users with JavaScript disabled would just get an image (perhaps an animated one). With JavaScript enabled, they'd get an interactive image in the same place/size on the page. --ais523 12:11, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
    • Sounds like a good caveat. SFB 18:01, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
    • That sounds fine for scripts that are intended to change an image, but not all scripts would do that. There might be a table on a page that has static information that is relatively up-to-date, and a script that pulls information from some source on the most up to the minute information. This might be a table in a category of images for example (not likely in article space as that would be OR) that gives the most recent information about it's members (page size, last updated, last editor, image size, etc). I remember someone asking me for such a script for a wikiproject a while back (which I had all but forgotten about until now). — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 18:39, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
    • I agree that having alternative content for users without JavaScript is a good idea, but there is no need for it to be an image. The widgets can enter the DOM by replacing the content of a span or div appropriately named (for example with id "HandsOn", see my comment below). If the div contains an image, then that image will be displayed for users without JavaScript. But the div could also contain a table, a gallery, a simple message, or nothing, whatever fits best. --LFS (talk) 21:14, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Considering what has been said, all that may need to be done to kickstart the project is to add the following to MediaWiki:Common.js:
if ( mw.config.get( 'wgNamespaceNumber' ) === 0 && mw.config.get( 'wgAction' ) === 'view' ) {
	importScript( 'MediaWiki:HandsOn-' + mw.config.get( 'wgPageName' ) + '.js' );
}
The code checks if the page is in the main namespace and if the user is viewing (as opposed to editing) the page. If yes, then it loads the script at MediaWiki:HandsOn-{{PAGENAME}}.js The "HandsOn" prefix is to avoid confusion until this project gets its own protected namespace. I chose "HandsOn" because of the comment by ais523 above, but if anyone has a better suggestion for naming the project and/or the prefix, please bring it forth. I mentioned earlier that many of the widgets will probably include CSS and i18n code, but the calls to import such resources should be done from within the widgets main JavaScript file, to avoid unnecessary calls when they don't exist. So what do you all think? Is this approach appropriate? --LFS (talk) 21:14, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Close, except it would need to check that there was page specific code to run before trying to import it. Also, do we want to limit this to article namespace, or could this be useful for portals, wikiprojects, categories, etc? The test for being in view mode is good. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 22:24, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
I thought about it, but to check if the title exists requires an API call, and then another call to include the script, whereas if we just import it, we would do only one call, and if the page doesn't exist then we would just include an empty document (I've checked). The console outputs no error. It's kind of ugly, but it's harmless and saving one call per page load may be worth it. What do you think? Regarding the other namespaces, I can't think of many uses yet, but I'm sure the community will eventually find them, so I'm in favor. --LFS (talk) 00:30, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
I've found a solution: to check the DOM for the existence of the #HandsOn div. If it exists, we can safely assume there is a corresponding page-specific script. If it doesn't, then we don't. This way we do one call max, and in the rare case in which there is a #HandsOn div and no page-specific script, we do the harmless import I was talking about above. --LFS (talk) 18:24, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
if ( mw.config.get( 'wgNamespaceNumber' ) === 0 && mw.config.get( 'wgAction' ) === 'view' && $( '#HandsOn').length ) {
	importScript( 'MediaWiki:HandsOn-' + mw.config.get( 'wgPageName' ) + '.js' );
}

Thinking again, it is probably better to get rid of the first two conditions, and leave only the check for the existence of the #HandsOn div. This way the script can run in any namespace in which the div is found, and it can also be viewed in the preview of the edit form! --LFS (talk) 13:11, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

if ( $( '#HandsOn').length ) {
	importScript( 'MediaWiki:HandsOn-' + mw.config.get( 'wgPageName' ) + '.js' );
}

I've translated Langton's ant to Spanish so I'm also proposing this in the Spanish Wikipedia, my home project. While doing so I realised that "WikiWidget" would probably be a better name and prefix than "HandsOn", for being clearer and more understandable in other languages. --LFS (talk) 20:08, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Jackmcbarn, ais523, Technical 13, Anomie, SFB, what's the next step? Should we start a voting? --LFS (talk) 01:32, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
I've activated the widget in a test wiki of mine, so that everyone can see without having to do all that common.js stuff. Here is the link. --LFS (talk) 21:34, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

RFA reform Proposal: Automatic admintools to users with 1 year of registration and 3000 mainspace edits[edit]

This RFC is a proposal to give administrator status to all editors with one year of registration and 3000 mainspace edits. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:28, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

The tools should not be a big deal. So give them automatically to users who satisfy some minimum bar, for example 1 year of registration and 3000 main space edits. The only good argument against this is the risk that some of those people will turn out to be abusive. This risk is not a problem for the following reasons: 1. Some admins already are abusive, and because there are so few of them it is hard to keep them in line, more and more diverse admins would make it easier. 2. the current process specifically is aimed at recruiting people interested in power because of the insane amount of obstacles they have to deliberately plan a strategy to cross to get the tools. By making it automatic we will get more admins who are not primarily interested in power. They will be the ones who can keep the abusive ones in check. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:02, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Another way to get the same result would be to let it be contingent on continued mainspace editing so that any month you dont make 250 mainspace edits you lose the tools the following month - regaining them only once you start editing again.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:58, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
This is a WP:PEREN and it will never gain traction from the serious side of the community. And certainly not before a very fast and very effective method of desysoping were to be put in place - also a WP:PEREN. That said, assumptions #1 and #2 come with absolutely no statistical or factual support. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:37, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
Holy spacegoats, Batman!
365 days after that policy is implemented, probably to the minute, the block logs will explode.
Mind you, we could always implement compression. The string "Eric Corbett" repeated 135 thousand times wouldn't take up that much space. Andy Dingley (talk) 01:47, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, but not sure I agree with the specific numbers involved. Like Kudpung, I have concerns over removal of the tools; if we implement something like this, we'd need to implement some sort of desysop procedure; for users that abuse the tools we should perhaps have some sort of 1-year reset on their timer; or something like that. But I think that if we made the tools less precious, we'd have less people bitching (inaccurately in most cases) about admin corruption and abuse. 1 year feels right; I'm not sure if 3000 is a good number or not, maybe higher? But in general, making it easier to get adminship AND easier to get it taken away would be a useful thing in most cases. Most studies show that we only have about 3000ish "regular" users anyways, most of them I would trust with the tools absent any specific reason not to. Anyone who doesn't give a reason not to should have them; it was how it was done "back in the day", and perhaps we need to get back to that. --Jayron32 01:48, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - Clearly, this is going nowhere, but I just wanted to throw out another concern that may not yet have been considered ... this could potentially allow for COI editors/POV pushers/paid advocates, etc. to lurk for a year, and then all of the sudden have admin tools ... that is obviously bad. Go Phightins! 01:52, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
As if that is not possible now. The point is that it doesnt matter if there are bad apples with tools if the ratio of good apples is much higher. That would be the opposite of the ratio that the current system produces.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:10, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
'Good intentioned users outweighing the bad' works great as a description for normal, autoconfirmed, editors but I really don't think it applies to admins. The potential for doing harm when you have access to the extra tools is much higher. Sam Walton (talk) 17:25, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose for way too many reasons to list. With apologies to Jimbo, Adminship might not be a "big deal," but it is not a minor one either. In the wrong hands the tools could become an instrument for wreaking havoc. The OP grossly underestimates the potential harm that could be inflicted, even without malice, by misuse. I don't even want to contemplate the mess a handful of determined saboteurs armed with the tools could create. I'm sorry, not everyone can be an Admin. This is a candidate for my top ten list of worst WP suggestions. -Ad Orientem (talk) 17:14, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I think this would be quite interesting to just set up a test wiki somewhere, implement this, and see how it goes. Obviously you'd need to expand the bureaucrat position and stewards, to make sure that bad admins are desysopped, but even just say-a 5 day trial for editors when they reach that mark, and then taken back away, would serve as a good benchmark for RfA and how they would perform as a real admin. KonveyorBelt 17:26, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes, exactly the change would also mean that desysopping would become easier and much more common for minor abuses.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:23, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Admins not only have tools for special types of 'edits' to the project, which can be undone by other admins if something went wrong. They also have access to deleted content, which can have been deleted for various reasons. Some of these require that only trustworthy users get access to the material, since handing out data is something that can't be undone. How to determine trustworthiness is a difficult question, but just the number of edits and age of the account are hardly enough. — HHHIPPO 19:54, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose per Hhhippo and Kudpung. I also think that this could lead to some people doing constructive mainspace edits for a year just so they can get the tools, and then cause major and detrimental disruption to many parts of Wikipedia. With people doing this to get the tools to use them in bad faith, they could also edit the admin-protected page that determines if ClueBot NG is on or off, and they could let tons of vandalism slip by with that. Sorry, but I think that this wouldn't really be beneficial. -Fimatic (talk | contribs) 20:00, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - I like the idea of allowing certain functions to be more widely permitted. I'm not myself sure blocking and deletion are among them. One of the comments above, about how admins are allowed access to deleted information, is particularly troubling to me, as it would basically make some really problematic BLP violations much more readily available and possibly circulatable. With some clarification of such details, though, I think it could be workable. John Carter (talk) 20:18, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Seems to me that all the opposes are based in simple lack of good faith. The same kind of lack of good faith that has frequently been used as an argument against democracy with the pretext that "common people can't handle the power". People should be considered trustworthy users untill they provide evidence to the contrary. And the argument that some people would lie low and then wreak havoc is along the same lines, denying hundreds the benefit of the doubt out of fear for what a potential minority of abusers might do. Simply not a very wikipedian argument I would say, more of an old aristocratic way of thinking. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:27, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't think the proposal is without merit, but, unfortunately, I also think we have had even recently some editors of several years experience (I think one of them may even have been a sysop) revealing they were socks of previously banned users and not being caught. Telling some (not many, but some) individuals that "all you need to do is spend one year and 3000 edits to be in a position where you might be able to, well, create hell, seems to me to be maybe too tempting to some people. Maybe. Granted, with a fairly quick and low level of desysoping, we would probably catch most of the problem admins faster. But probably only most. The apparent almost absolute predictability of the adminship, even without even the minimal "review" we sometimes give through RfA today, could well wind up attracting more of the wrong sort of editors to the project than we already have. I really can't assume good faith of people when I tell them, "Oh, yeah, here's the vault. Lockboxes with diamonds and securities everywhere. Sorry, I gotta pee. You promise you won't take anything while I'm gone, right?" and without knowing better how quickly the desysoping could be implemented and any damages undone I have to have some doubts. John Carter (talk) 21:18, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
The presence of bad apples among the editors and admins is an argument *for* this reform not against it. We already have admins who ought to be banned users, but who are not for various political reasons. And just for the way of prediction what sort of problems did the socking banned users you mention actually create with their socking? Not a whole lot as far as I can see. They certainly did not cause "hell" or any irreversible damage. So I entirely fail to see what the problem would be with having faith in our users' ability to behave untill they prove otherwise. Especially since even when they have proven otherwise they frequently reform when given a second chance (or when taking that second chance through a sock account). User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:50, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose as an editor who doesn't have the toolset and has been here over three years and has 3,438 article space edits, 26,911 total edits on enwp, and 27,974 total global edits on all projects. It's not about the amount of time or the number of edits made. It's about the user's need for the tools to carry out tasks the community wants taken care of and the volunteer is interested in. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 20:47, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Horrible idea Do you know how many undisclosed paid editors we have here? A good number have lasted over 3000 editors without being exposed. Recipe for disaster. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 20:52, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
And why would it be problematic if they have access to the delete and block tools? Deleted pages ca be recreated when there is consensus to do so, and blocks can be undone.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:19, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose This is absolutely the worst idea that I have ever heard. Do you wish to destroy Wikipedia? Even if you claim that you do not, it's quite obvious that that is what this would lead to. It has nothing to do with aristocracy, but more with "Do you want this site to fall apart"? There is absolutely no way that this would work, full stop. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 21:03, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
The paranoid and hysterical hyperbole is certainly entertaining. The site by the way *is* falling apart, partly because of a lack of admins and too many bad admins to the good ones. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:17, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't disagree with you in that the site is starting to fall apart. However, it looks to me like you're making a proposal that you don't even realise the effects of. Just because one extreme causes a problem does not mean that the opposite extreme is the answer. It's quite obvious that doing what you are suggesting would destroy the encyclopaedia. I'd give it a year before the entire site collapsed, and (if it recovered) would have to be put back together again slowly. Within that time, many people would likelily lose faith in the encyclopaedia, and abandon it.
Nevertheless, if you wish to call anything relating to halting chaos "aristocratic", then I can't stop you. I will tell you, however, that that is a clear misapplication of the term "aristocratic". But I suppose you can do what you wish. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 21:28, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
What would cause this alleged collapse with in one year. And what makes it so obvious that you need not provide actual arguments in support of your prediction? I predict the opposite. Within one year people will no longer be complaining of administrative abuse, the backlogs will be gone and editors will be coming back. And yes claiming that the only way to "halt chaos" is by keeping power in the hands of a small ruling elite is the very definition of aristocracy.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:45, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
The collapse would be caused by a horde of advantageous vandals. The reason I felt that there was no need for elaboration on that is because I thought we understood generally the patterns of vandals. As others said before me, we have plenty of editors that have ill intent in mind that simply have lain low for years, and slowly amassed edits. We can't give an exact figure for that, due to the nature of the matter, but nevertheless that would likelily be the bane of Wikipedia if we enforced this proposal. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 22:12, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
No, you need to be more specific. Exactly because you are claiming something is obvious you need to be particularly well able to explain why it is obvious, and what mechanism will bring it about. How exactly will all these "vandals" (as far as I know most vandals are IP editors who make three childish edits and then leave) being about the collapse through their calculated and concerted use of the block and delete function? Do you really believe that wikipedia is besieged by hundreds of sleeper accounts of vandals just waiting to find a way to bring down wikipedia once and for all. How do you make that belief consistent with AGF in your day to day editing? Do you really believe that the only defense against these sleeper cells of vandals is the exclusive use of block and delete functions by a small corps of editors selected specifically for their willingness to endure abuse and humiliation in order to rise to "power"? User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:19, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
I can't really myself offer a good and satisfactory response to the last question, any more than I can say I think someone who really wants to be in political office is a prime candidate for such office. It would help to know the nature of the de-adminship process though. Another detail, and it is admittedly just a detail, which might be useful would be to know how if at all people who may have, stupidly, broken a rule in a minor way to lose sysop privileges but have either learned from the mistake or, in some cases, the lack of awareness of changed guidelines or policies (assuming such happens), might or might not be able to have the privileges restored to them. (Disclaimer: Personally, I would in no way consider having the admin privileges I have requested be taken away from me restored to me, and there is nothing in the above which should be taken as indicating some sort of ulterior motives on my part). John Carter (talk) 22:29, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Here's an answer to the last question: No, I don't. But not believing that the current system is perfect and believing that your suggestion is better are two different things.
About day-to-day AGF: assuming good faith towards any editor you encounter until shown otherwise and assuming that bad faith editors don't exist are also two different things. — HHHIPPO 22:51, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
Who is assuming that they dont exist?User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:53, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
I was answering to How do you make that belief consistent with AGF in your day to day editing? I don't think that has to be made consistent since it is already. — HHHIPPO 23:03, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose at present when the only procedure for desysopping is the ArbCom. Oppose if there is some procedure implementing for desysopping. Just because there are a few administrators who are abusive or corrupt does not mean that we should eliminate all advance scrutiny of whether new admins will be trustworthy. I agree that some sort of change to RFA is needed, but this is not the answer. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:32, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
The logical procedure for desysopping would be the simple consensus among the admin corps. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:55, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Extremely strong oppose - are you crazy? Apologies for the hyperbole, but this is a terrible idea, not just because of the possibility for serious misconduct and damage to the project, but also because the WMF will never go for it. Admins have access to tools which enable looking up users' private information (IP addresses and physical locations, among other things) and The Office have stated that they will not support granting these tools to any users unless they are vetted by the community in a process similar in rigorousness to the current RfA. More experienced users can provide more background on this. Perhaps a case can be made for automatically granting some of the maintenance-level tools (deletion, etc.) but automatic granting of the current admin toolset is a terrible idea and is never going to fly, no matter how high you set the bar or how effective a desysopping process we might come up with. Ivanvector (talk) 23:00, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
    As far as I know only checkusers have those tools.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:25, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
    @Ivanvector: To your claim "Admins have access to tools which enable looking up users' private information (IP addresses and physical locations, among other things)": regular admins can't see the IP address of a logged-in user - only users with the CheckUser right can do that. There are approximately 40 such users, and if they do make such a lookup, their action is logged, even if they do nothing more with it. But if you have somebody's IP address, anyone - even those that are logged out - can find out which country you are in, sometimes down to city or town level. You can try it yourself: look at the contribs page for any logged-out user, at the bottom there is a box beginning "This is the contributions page for an IP user"; in that are some links. Try the five from WHOIS to (Alternate). But Geolocation by IP address is not an exact science, see User:Redrose64#Where am I?, or put in your own IP address in the User: box at the top (even if you never edit logged out), click Search, and try those five links at the bottom. --Redrose64 (talk) 00:46, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying. Clearly I've got the details wrong, but it does appear to be true that the WMF wants to have an RfA-like community vetting process to appoint(/elect/whatever) admins, or they won't go along with it, so this automatic-granting-of-rights proposal just won't go anywhere. I don't remember where I read this or I would link to it. It's also just a bad idea - some users (maybe most users) shouldn't be admins ever. Have a look at some controversial topic like Gamergate or Macedonia or pseudoscience - if all those users had admin rights there'd be nothing left but a smoking crater. Ivanvector (talk) 15:43, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I oppose this even more than Flow: Not only is this a non-starter, failing the WMF's requirement that admins undergo community scrutiny, it is a surefire way to cause havoc. I'm sure even the proposer can think of users of sufficient tenure under this proposal who they would not want to be admins, and having to weed them all out individually would be a nightmare. Seriously? BethNaught (talk) 23:09, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  Philg88 talk 23:10, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
That is the exact problem that this proposal solves. IF there are enough of them they can do it themselves, democratically. As it is now, noone does.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:20, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
I might personally think that making the process not entirely "automatic," but basically automatic, maybe at some higher levels, might have a better chance of gaining acceptance. Some sort of defined disqualifiers, like maybe being blocked for two months in the first year, some consistency to the edit history, like not 90% over two months in really minor edits like adding categories and few if any major ones, and maybe, unhappily, some sort of defined committee which could blackball candidates if good reasons were presented to them for doing so, openly or covertly, might address some of the concerns of making it automatic. It would still benefit from having a bit clearer indicator of what qualifies as grounds for desysoping. John Carter (talk) 23:27, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • It is clear that this will be a snow closure, but I must say that I am more than a little surprised and dismayed by the apparent complete lack of any belief in the concept of self governance among my fellow wikipedians. I will say that as long as it is inconceivable to you that ordinary users could make good admins and organize wikipedia without turning it into a madhouse, then the current defect RfA process will remain in place. And as long as it does so, it will be due to your own anti-democratic thinking, and you will have the exact governance you deserve and consequently no right to ever complain about the admin corps.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:28, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
    Comment - The proposer criticizes our anti-democratic thinking. Wikipedia is not a democracy. The WMF owns the Wikipedia servers, and, as some other editors have mentioned, the WMF demands that there be some scrutiny of the issuance of administrator privileges. Also, the proposer's hostility toward criticism of his idea (saying that if we do not support this idea or some variant, we will have no right every to complain about the admin process) is not helpful. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:36, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
The commenter's addressing me in the third person is not appreciated. Wikipedia is not a democracy, but it is based on democratic ideals about the abilities of everyday ordinary people to collaborate without external hierarchical direction. I am not hostile to critique, but that is not what is being offered. What is being offered is hyperbolic outcries that refuse to even entertain the possibility that something good could come from letting people govern themselves. That and statements about my mental health. Neither of those are actual critiques, since a constructive critique at the least explores the pros and cons of a suggestion before dismissing it.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:20, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, though I'm flattered - 9yrs experience, over 95,000 mainspace edits-. GoodDay (talk) 23:31, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support if all requirements are met, it needs first to be tested on a broken WP, i think the German Wikipedia would be best, we also need a well working User:ClueBot Admin NG enhanced with the Watson API for realtime desysop.Mion (talk) 23:49, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The idea of giving the proposal a test run on one of the more problematic wikipedias seems to me a very reasonable idea. I'm not sure how to propose it for one of the less functional wikipedias, being only active on the English one myself, but think some of the wikipedias even more clearly broken than this one might not be seen as having as much to lose by as many people. John Carter (talk) 23:59, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The idea has some merit. If we start with a limited number of edits (an easily trackable and reversible number) and supervision before expanding to full privileges, its really not that different from taking our chances with new Admins. By virtue of having the tools doesn't make you bad or good, nor by virtue of having the title voted on by a largely uninformed audience make you all knowing. It is your behavior. Used well, it could do good. We need a way to get rid of the rats, whether they have the power now or will get it in the future. Its like any politician. Some go for the power to do good, some don't. Trackinfo (talk) 00:54, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Without getting too much into WP:BEANS territory, the main admin tools (block/delete/protect) are not really the most dangerous of the admin tools in the wrong hands. Certain things could be done that could cause sitewide disruption and possible real-world consequences. And there are some things that an admin can do that are not easily reversible. Admins are not politicians. They have no more role in governance than any other user. They are janitors, and with that job comes the master key to the building. RFA is broken, but RFA and "no review whatsoever" are not the only options. Mr.Z-man 01:16, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

I would like to point out to Maunus that "ordinary users could make good admins""ordinary users should just all of a sudden be made admins". I don't think that it is being claimed that the former is untrue; rather, that the latter claim is problematic. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 03:10, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Moot oppose This a pointless discussion. THe WMF have already said that they require users who are granted the tools to go through a community approval process (currently RFA). No approval process = no buy-in from the WMF = no chance of this ever being implemented, even if it passes an RFC (which, let's face it, ain't going to happen anyway). Let's go and do something else, instead of having this unnecessary debate. Yunshui  10:11, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Moot oppose Despite this not having any chance of happening per foundation standards for viewdelete I will give me opinion anyways. Automatic adminship is like automatic trust, a very very bad idea. Trust aside nothing in the criteria will demonstrate someone is competent to use the tools. Chillum 19:19, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia is founded on the principle of automatic trust. Competence and trust should be initial assumptions only set aside when proven wrong.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:16, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Again, Maunus, "ordinary users could make good admins" ≠ "ordinary users should just all of a sudden be made admins". Just because it is probable that a user who has contributed much to Wikipedia has good intentions in mind, we can't just place all of our bets on that belief and have each and every user that has met the criteria that you aforedescribed be automatically made admins. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 22:18, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Your silly equation is a strawman. And meanwhile yes, just because editors have contributed positively that is more than enough to assume that they have good intentions. Indeed we even assume as much before they even start contributing which is why we allow them to contribute in the first place. So yes we can safely place our bet that users who have demonstrated a will to contribute positively to wikipedia will also be able to use the admin tools positively. Indeed it is absurd to think that the Rfa process is better at sorting the "bad apples" from the good ones, than simply allowing them to have the tool and then take it from them if they turn out not to.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:58, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
I have never claimed that the RfA process is adequate. What I will say, however, is that the RfA process is scores times better than what you are proposing right now. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 23:52, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Yeah thats like...your opinion, man.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:34, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
It is actually a very common opinion. Chillum 04:18, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Oppose 3000 mainspace edits and 1 year of registration is a fairly reliable indicator that someone's got a good deal of experience and probably isn't too flaky. However, their work as an editor isn't necessarily indicative of how they'd use the admin tools; plain editors could be working in any area: for example, I might someday reach over 3000 mainspace edits just from replacing PNGs with SVGs (or some other equally ephemeral task), and that wouldn't make me a good candidate for adminship. Besides--and I don't know if this point was already raised since I didn't read the entire discussion, but I'm going to mention it anyway--a common objection when discussing edit counts is the use of automated tools. Automated tools are a great way to increase your edit count to something really impressive, but also something people take issue with because the edit count becomes 'artificial' in a way, no longer reflective of how much work you're putting into the project. (I don't have a strong opinion on the subject.) In short: I believe the correct course of action is to judge candidates based on more tangible criteria than numbers. ekips39 00:37, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Oppose 3000 mainspace edits and 1 year of registration is already the absolute minimum requirement I expect for a candidate to bring with them to even enter our current RfA process. I can't imagine anything of greater danger to the Wikipedia project than handing out admin tools based just on an extremely low level of participation and tenure and without any scrutiny whatsoever on whether they are suitable or the job. Ironically, I believe even Wikipdiocracy is managed without giving the moderator tools to 90% of its regular participants. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:22, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose since the eminent result would be all pages getting deleted, and everyone getting blocked, thus preventing the pages from becoming restored. An editor's competency has to be evaluated in one way or another prior to be handed the mop set (speaking of which, it seems as though the current method for even that is up for debate right now. There's too many discussion forks happening right now all over Wikipedia.) Steel1943 (talk) 20:47, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Do Away with RFC/U[edit]

The Request for Comments on User Conduct is not constructive or useful and should be discontinued. Because the requirements for certification are complicated and rigid, it is seldom used. When it is used, it is confrontational, and is typically a device for one combative editor to beat up another combative editor. The RFC/U process also is too often inconsistent, in that the stated objective of the certifiers is usually to persuade the subject editor to be more flexible, but the RFC/U is a process that promotes defensiveness, not flexibility, and typically the real objective of the RFC/U is not to change the behavior of the subject editor, but to restrict the editing privileges. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:13, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Historically, it appears that one of its purposes was as a preliminary measure to requesting that an editor be banned by User:Jimbo Wales, when it was the basis for presenting the evidence to Jimbo. Jimbo no longer uses the reserved power to ban users. Users are instead banned by the ArbCom, based on a full evidentiary case, or by the community at the noticeboards. RFC/U is only seldom used as the basis for requesting arbitration. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:13, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Note - It looks like Robert neglected to notify about this on the page he's proposing to abolish. I've put a notification there. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 15:55, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Do Away with RFC/U: support or oppose or other[edit]

  • Support. I agree with your thoughts on this, and thanks for bringing this up, Robert McClenon. In my experience it seems to be a prolonged way of letting users be reminded or notified about their past failures with hopes of inspiring a mea culpa and provoking change. I do not think this is a healthy process and, like you mention, "certifying" a request means it is rarely done and fills WP with yet more bureaucratic overhead. I hope this discussion continues here or elsewhere. --Tom (LT) (talk) 21:36, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support – This is a prime example of a process laden with bureaucratic nonsense, which serves no real purpose, and which does not function. It is a combative approach that is only bound to fail. We have other channels that work much better for this purpose. RGloucester 21:39, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, conditionally. The absence of an RfC/U is often used as a basis for ArbCom to decline arbitration. If RfC/U is removed and ArbCom will not require it anyway, then we merely have a simplified structure. @RGloucester: What other channels do we have? ANI? I see three potential constructive uses of RfC/U, two which don't require the structure, and one which is, in fact, not constructive. (Using "he" for the subject of the RfC and "she" for commenters, without an attempt to imply which gender is more likely to be problematic.)
    1. To let him know what she thinks of his actions. (Good, but the structure is irrelevant as to whether it would be believed or followed. The discussion would need to be on a page other than his talk page, though, and that and ANI are the only current pages on which such a discussion would be allowed.)
    2. To let him know what she think he should do in order to avoid future problems. (Doesn't work.)
    3. To provide information for a future ArbCom request. (Currently required by ArbCom in some circumstances, and probably helpful to ArbCom even when not required. But, again, the structure is not necessary unless required by ArbCom.)
    Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:04, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Abolish and find a more constructive way to discuss potential user issues. I do believe the process is useful, I just feel that the methods currently employed are degrading to all users that contribute. Our current method seem to me to be like putting someone in the Village stocks where the only thing you are allowed to throw at them are prickly cacti and they must be thrown with bare hands. This leads to editors with sore hands and one with a sore face... This is not productive to resolving conduct issues. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 22:22, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
    • You might have that the wrong way around; we should find a more constructive way to discuss issues first before we abolish the existing one. Sincerely, SamBlob (talk) 08:53, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
  • My views on RfC/U are long held, and I've only rarely seen instances where it was conducive to a positive outcome. Additionally, it has fallen into disuse over the past couple of years or so, which I think is emblematic of the evolution that our community has gone through over time. There have to be other ways of addressing user conduct issues; as far as I'm aware, AN and AN/I have yielded results more often than not. Kurtis (talk) 15:50, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
    • In case it isn't obvious, this should be interpreted as a support for abolition (of RfC/U, I mean). Kurtis (talk) 16:11, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Abolish RfC/U and shift the process to an equivalent that can actually achieve results, e.g., ArbCom or AN/I. Rationalobserver (talk) 16:12, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support abolishing: it does not have any binding results and is a probable tool for harassment and confrontation without direct consequence. Technical 13 explains it elegantly. When things get bad, and discussion from more editors is needed about an editor who genuinely wants to improve without binding results or when an editor wants to get himself evaluated generally, a regular RFC can be used on their talk page. RFC/U is not of much value per se; and this is coming from an editor who has faced continuous hounding in past on many levels. As for ArbCom requirement, they can call an RFC on their own page or a subpage if they want community input before taking decision or for deferring to community. --lTopGunl (talk) 17:13, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Request for clarification: Does this proposal to abolish RFC/U apply to "user of administrator privileges" RFCs as well as "general user conduct" ones? (Not supporting or opposing anything, just seeking clarity.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:53, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Abolish. The only one I have ever taken part in was Wikipedia talk:Requests for comment/Apteva, you can see how much confusion there was at the end about a "motion to close", since the person did not agree with the comments made about them. Finding an admin to do anything about the results was another problem--back to the drama boards over and over. This was a year-long nightmare for the twenty or so editors involved, and ended in four editors getting sanctioned for no reason at all, when the user filed one of many frivolous WP:AE requests against one of the signers of the RFCU. The RFCU process is high risk for established editors, and low risk for disruptive editors. Compare incivility as a tactic--much more effective. When you see what the alternatives are for dealing with genuinely disruptive users, you start to have some sympathy for those who are chronically abusive. Now, imagine what it might have been like if the twenty of us had been able to spend our energies on editing that year, instead of dealing with the disruptive user. —Neotarf (talk) 05:28, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - abolition as proposer. For reasons given above, as a mechanism which maximizes disruption while minimizing likelihood of actual result. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:24, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - User:Newyorkbrad: Yes, my intention was that it applies to "administrator abuse" as well as "general user conduct". At the beginning of this year, the ArbCom desysopped two administrators without a preliminary RFC/U. In the recent case before the ArbCom, there is unnecessary drama about the RFC/U itself, which complicates the issue of whether the ArbCom should review issues about the actual conduct of the administrator. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:24, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
    Especially admins. It is a very, very bad idea for anyone to get on the bad side of an admin, especially an abusive admin, just in case the attempt fails. —Neotarf (talk) 13:34, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
    And a regular editor who runs afoul of an admin will eventually be frozen out of Wikipedia, entirely, because admins are presumed to be right in disputes with mere editors. After all, in an environment where WP:IAR is paramount, the whims of the admins are law. -- Jay Maynard (talk) 18:39, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I've been saying it is a toothless process for years. That said, a process between WP:ANI and WP:ARB for non-admin might be useful, a dedicated page where discussion can happen over a couple of weeks, BUT there is still the possibility of sanctions if needed. That shouldn't stop us from killing a process that has failed to deliver results almost every time it is used, and RFC/U certainly is a failure. Admin are an odd case, probably better served by lowering the threshold for Arb review instead of a middle process (unless it really was just about editing...rare indeed), since Arb is the only body that can take issue sanctions. Dennis - 19:48, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - Dennis Brown is spot on. Hard pressed to find any success from RFC/U that is not based on the subject making change on their own behalf. Typically RFC/U serves as a barrier to meaningful dispute resolution. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 05:45, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - RFC/U, just like AN/I, is a place where POV pushers write absolute bullshit about someone who has got in the way of their POV pushing, with no fear of negative consequences for the lies being written. Until BLP standards are applied to anything that's written about another editor on Wikipedia, both places are disaster areas for truth and justice, and the appearance of Wikipedia as a place for honest, informed, mature discussion. HiLo48 (talk) 08:03, 10 November 2014 (UTC)1
  • Support - RFC/U is terribly designed - it is the antithesis of mediation as it is designed for people to make pronouncements and speak past each other...it actually doesn't appear to serve any purpose and its construction and layout likewise preclude anything useful. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:45, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - Truth to be told I've never seen the point in it - User conduct 9 times out of 10 goes straight to AN/I, & Jimbo does bugger all hence Arbcom deals with it all instead.... All in all IMHO the board's as much help as a chocolate teapot. –Davey2010(talk) 14:57, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - All things being relatively equal, having the unified document listing out the faults of an editor (or administrator) makes for a penultimate "Come to the light" discussion. Yes the target of the RFC/U is very adversarial, but if it's risen to the level of an RFC/U there's already been multiple attempts to try and prevent the behavior before. Having a RFC/U makes it easier for others to point at for the eventual ArbCom case or AN community ban. Until the advocates can present a valid replacement, I'd rather keep RFC/U with warts and all because it does somewhat work for the time. Hasteur (talk) 15:38, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
    Those warts include the ability to tell absolute lies about the accused, with complete impunity. That cannot be part of any sensible justice system. HiLo48 (talk) 18:17, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
    I recall that you declined to participate in the RFC/U against you (you might recall that I defended your right to do so), but I don't recall any policy that says editors can "tell absolute lies about the accused, with complete impunity". In fact, I believe it's rather typical to see complaints made at ANI during RFC/Us, and editors do get reprimanded and blocked for what they say in RFC/U discussions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:44, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, essentially per Casliber (talk · contribs), above. Cheers, — Cirt (talk) 17:08, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. It's really hard to argue with the case Robert McClenon makes here. Like WP:WQA before it, what RfCU could be if done well and what it is at the moment are so far removed from each other that I think it's time (if not past time) to retire it. If that means that editor and admin conduct concerns go straight to ArbCom, then so be it: ArbCom has been pretty good (though not perfect, of course) about sorting out which disputes and conduct issues are ripe for arbitration and which ones aren't. 28bytes (talk) 17:56, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. While it used to be useful, I don't think it's serving the purpose it once did. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 19:45, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, never had any real teeth and was at best a bump in the road to ArbCom or a community banning. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 02:32, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Either have the community deal with it at AN(I) or just send it off to ArbCom. -- King of ♠ 03:53, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. From what I've seen from RfC/U, it's a way for opposing fractions to lobby shots and accusations back and forth at each other in attempt to force one side to capitulate or be blocked. The process is toothless, and all it does is allow grievances perceived or otherwise to fester. I can't see most people facing an RfC/U seeing the light, but instead feeling rightly or wrongly that they have been unjustly attacked. RfC/U seems more harmful than helpful. PaleAqua (talk) 08:54, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support right now, RFC/U basically serves as an impediment. People will say 'this is at the wrong venue... it should be at RFC/U' even though almost everyone knows that RFC/U is toothless. Getting rid of it is the best solution. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 17:06, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - RFC/U is overly bureaucratic, flawed and usually ineffective in actually resolving user conduct issues.- MrX 18:03, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose: the certification process is precisely to prevent it being used as "a device for one combative editor to beat up another". Kicking this upstairs to Arbcom means more rushed, un-nuanced decisions. Alternatively we will need a Village Pump (user behaviour). Certainly I would be sympathetic to a more rigorously policed RFC/U where attacks, doxxing, outing, unsupported allegations etc, were summarily removed. I don;t see how RFC/U is worse than some of the mammoth threads on AN/I, except that there may be less admin/expuser oversight. All the best: Rich Farmbrough00:08, 12 November 2014 (UTC).
"Less oversight" is one of the primary problems. Such an RfC/U in any form, reformed or unchanged, will always have less oversight than a community noticeboard, leaving such RfC/Us open to the typical messes that they are. RGloucester 00:21, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
RFC/U and AN/I are both routinely full of lies, unsubstantiated allegations, and general bullshit from POV pushers, including Aministrators. Neither serves Wikipedia well. HiLo48 (talk) 00:31, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but as I said below, at least the structure of the AN/I noticeboard itself is not adversarial. There are times when AN/I works, and times when it doesn't. When it doesn't, the dispute should go to ArbCom. There is no need to add on the extra layer of "RfC/U", which doesn't work at all and tends to make the situation worse. RGloucester 00:34, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Weak conditional oppose until and unless we have some sort of clear and clearly defined alternative available. Maybe all that would require would be a separate main section at ANI or elsewhere, but I have no real reason to think that if this proposal to move it to ANI is assumed to be the outcome by most that others will necessarily think so as well and the lack of a clearly defined place to report such concerns would itself be problematic. John Carter (talk) 00:40, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, as being a process that is no longer useful. The thing is, if you're doing your job as an admin properly, you're going to make enemies. The problem with any discussion on admin conduct therefore becomes sorting out the whining of contributors who have properly had their spam/personal attacks/whatever removed, from legitimate criticism. RFC/U does not offer a way to filter out the chaff, so any filing becomes a mass of unfocused complaining and whingeing, often masking real problems with admin conduct. I think at this point ArbCom or some other body where there is a human review before a case becomes real, is the best way to work out which user conduct cases require further attention, and which are just sour grapes. For full disclosure, I am an administrator myself. Lankiveil (speak to me) 07:37, 12 November 2014 (UTC).
  • Support - We need (1) a working process for the community removal of tools from administrators acting badly; (2) a fast process for the removal of tendentious POV warriors from the project. The existence of RFC/U stands in the way of the processes we actually need. Carrite (talk) 15:23, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Long overdue. → Call me Hahc21 19:07, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Neutral: I can't support, because I might be seen as biased - I was recently taken there myself (and nobody saw it proper to actually inform me for a further twenty hours, during which time 13 people were talking about me behind my back) for a triple matter: (i) to complain about two edits that I made that were entirely in accordance with WP:PER; (ii) to get an edit made to a protected page (which is outside the purview of RFC/U); and (iii) to get a page protection lifted. Of these, (i) was a non-issue; (ii) could have been dealt with by following WP:PER procedure and letting any admin respond, rather than insisting that I do it; (iii) should really have been sorted by the simple expedient of filing a WP:RFPU. So perhaps there is a lack of understanding as to what RFC/U is actually for. --Redrose64 (talk) 21:30, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
    • @Redrose64: As editor who (mistakenly) took part in the RfC against you, it is my opinion that 1/ the RfC was unwarranted, 2/ the people initiating and participating in it generally did not know what an RfC was used for and used it improperly (and I include myself in that), and 3/ we acted impulsively in response to a sensitive topic, that was better handled with cooler heads. Supporting RfC abolition wouldn't make you look biased, in my opinion. Kumorifox (talk) 18:12, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I have said this for years now, RFC/U are a waste of bytes --Guerillero | My Talk 21:44, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Abolish it. RFC/U has outlived its usefulness. ANI and ArbCom are more efficient and more effective at dispute resolution. Keep it simple and go with what works. Ignocrates (talk) 04:59, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Having participated in 2 or 3, I've long since felt the process is a waste of space. WormTT(talk) 13:53, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support RfC/U's are a huge time sink and rarely improve things. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 17:21, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. I get the impression that they're typically filed because other dispute resolution mechanisms can't be put into place until the RFCU has been tried. Process for process' sake: WP:BURO anyone? Meanwhile, most RFCUs seem to be either a pile of tendentious people piling onto an innocent editor, or a huge group of people rightfully making objections about someone who ought to be sanctioned somewhere else without waiting for the RFCU. Neither one is a good idea: leave the innocents alone, and don't make proper sanctions wait. Nyttend (talk) 01:23, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - For every RfC/U that has ever worked, there are a small handful that either achieved nothing, or made things worse. Whilst I disagree that ANI or ArbCom are necessarily any better - ANI is a cesspit at the best of times, and ArbCom is so broken that it's beyond a joke, after all - the simple fact of the matter is that RfC/U does nothing other than give trolls a great big target in most cases. It cannot provide any binding sanctions, it cannot provide any binding remedies, and I seriously doubt most people know how to actually use it properly in the first place; at least, anyone who hasn't been dragged there before, or anyone who hasn't filed a case there. An entirely new method is needed; something that avoids most of the flaws of both ANI/ArbCom and RfC/U. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 00:12, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • support I have in the last 5 years seen only one or two cases where it has resulted in anything, and those could have been settled informally. It's just another bureaucratic step, and we at WP are much better at devising bureaucratic procedures than in making rationalism. Yes, it will throw an addition burden on arb com, which perhaps should resume its former role of deciding quickly on relatively minor matters. I think it would also call for an major improvement in AN/I, and I'm going to make a suggestion about that in the section below. But the first step is getting rid of it; it accomplishes so little that having nothing would be an improvement. DGG ( talk ) 09:16, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. And please make AN/I removal/reform next. (Who made up these disgusting venues?! How much intelligent thought went into their designs before implementation?! [This is what Man had to show for itself in the 21st century!? How embarrassing.]) Happy to see this going WP:SNOW. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 19:34, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Not much to add to the above, I see a lot of names above I trust to know what they're talking about, and I've always had reservations. - Dank (push to talk) 04:30, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I didn't have a pleasurable experience in my own Rfc/U (who ever does?), yet until we come up with a replacement, we should keep the Rfc/U. GoodDay (talk) 06:15, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support abolishing – I see no practical use for this process anymore. The informal aspects can be talk page discussions, which can be structured or unstructured according to need. The formal aspects should be going to the Arbitration Committee anyway. I support abolishing processes that needlessly duplicate functions and make Wikipedia harder to use. Harej (talk) 06:47, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - All the arguments have been expressed already. The RfC/U process is both ineffectual and subject to abuse. I would not object to another process replacing it if it had the appropriate safeguards. BMK (talk) 07:53, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support: Oh hell yes. I've participated in a number of conduct-related RfCs, and without exception they've been toothless delaying actions, putting back for as many as several months the point where decisive action is taken against serial offenders. I have never once seen a RfC that resulted in an offender saying "I've been so terribly wrong, and will mend my ways from now on." Far more often, they're a vehicle for admins and the community to chorus, "Well, we can't do anything against this prolific editor merely because he's committed civility and NPA violations that'd get fifty newbies banned -- you haven't gone through an RfC yet!" It's an absurd waste of all our time. Ravenswing 07:58, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support abolition: it's an obsolete and exceptionally nasty process that brings no benefit to anyone, instead acting as an ideal place for witch-hunting. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:22, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - RFC/U is too bureaucratic and tries to be a mini Arbcom but with out the power. I've participated in a couple and although they achieved the desired result (after being referred back to ANI) I felt they were exceptionally tedious and an unnecessary step in addressing issues of user behaviour. (More in the discussion section below). --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:17, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support It is too bad that this process is generally misused, but that is the way of it. It requires massive restraint and good-faith, generally among parties that are inclined not to. I think I would leave it for the possible times it can work, but its mere existence has been misused too many times, so that 'take it to RfCU' has become an increasingly poor failure to address issues. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:47, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment many comments here suggest that AN/I is adequate alternative, but see "ANI process ... no longer think it fit for purpose. AN/I just does not usually work for high profile editors. The AN/I process lacks natural justice as there is no clear divide between prosecutor, defence, jury, judge and executioner, which means that sections can become kangaroo courts. In other cases because the process is unstructured, it just becomes a rehash of a content dispute in another forum. If RFC/U is to go and there good reasons for it to do so as it too mixes up prosecutor, defence, jury, judge and executioner, then an alternative needs to be considered as AN and AN/I are in most case not a suitable alternatives. -- PBS (talk) 12:27, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
    I agree that AN/I is prone to thoughtless mob justice. It's okay for a simple "incident" that can be looked at in 30 seconds. For deeper matters, it's not deliberative. I think that the best place to discuss an editor is their own talk page. We can use some sort of flag, such as {{RFC}} to invite outside comments. If the user doesn't want to talk, then an admin can be summoned to apply a block if problematic behavior continues, the matter can be brought to arbitration. WP:ANI isn't for dispute resolution; it's for requesting administrative action when clearly needed. Jehochman Talk 12:49, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't like references to legal terminology, here. Such terminology strikes me as highly inappropriate. "AN/I does not work for high profile editors", PBS says. Nor do RfC/Us, nor would any other process that does not involve the Arbitration Committee. The only process that is capable of resolving intractable disputes of the kind that are not suited to the AN/I mob is ArbCom, because it is theoretically protected from the mob by elections. Whether that works out in practice is another sorry, and we shall have to see how, for example, the GGTF case turns out. Regardless, no proposed "replacement" would solve the problems you mention. The best thing to do is lower the threshold for ArbCom, and removing RfC/Us is one of the ways we can do that. RGloucester 13:28, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict):::AN/I has become all these things because we've allowed it to become the playground for meta wanabees and the peanut gallery, and that's why so few admins want to work there. Those who are sufficiently thick skinned have to run the gauntlet of the anti-adminship brigade who arrive there to defend anyone who has quite rightly been accused of inappropriate editing or behaviour. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:42, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Support, regrettably. RfC/U has not been a useable process for years. Unless and until there are rules of procedure, etc., along with a clear way of using the results, it's no different than an AN/ANI subpage. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 14:11, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Snowball Support: If it works, its most 'useful' aspect is as a bludgeoning tool. We're at a ratio of 9-1 to close, and this RfC's been open for coming up on two weeks. There's little doubt about the outcome of this. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:16, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. It's a toothless tiger, just like Wikiquette assistance that is also abolished. OhanaUnitedTalk page 18:53, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Reluctant support. I like the idea of RfC/U. I have seen discussions hop straight from ANI to ArbCom (although I generally avoid reading the proceedings either much these days, having more important and enjoyable things to do with my life than watch Wikipedians bicker). The hopeful part of me wishes that with just a little bit more process—a little bit more weighing in from the community, a bit more reasoned discussion—some of the more tiresome disputes would sort themselves out, and that perhaps RfC/U would be part of that process. But the realist in me realises that this is a hope that shall not be fulfilled. RfC/U has failed as a process. The times I've seen it in action, it has ended up being a month where everyone airs their grievances and digs in their heels on whatever the drama of the moment currently is. At the end of it, everyone is more bitter, more partisan and more jaded than they were when they started—and the case usually still ends up going to ArbCom, where they spend another month (if you are lucky; if you aren't, a number of months) arguing about it. The toxic and bitter politicking of all these dispute processes keep most well-adjusted people far, far away to avoid breathing in the stench. The sad thing is I am so jaded with watching all of these processes fail, I can't think of any way to improve them anymore. —Tom Morris (talk) 22:46, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - as the target of a failed one of these [13], a month later I'm still waiting for it to be deleted. --SCalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 00:22, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support – nearly fell out of my chair when I saw this. Social discourse will have to replace bureaucratic process; people should discuss their reasons for change, draw consensus or compromise, then move on. Ray Wyman Jr (talk) 01:07, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Oppose - after speaking to other editors and reading more about the process, I've changed my position. I have never had to use this process nor have I been the subject of one, but I think that it is better than nothing. I have yet to see a clear description or proposal about an alternative for conflict resolution. RFC/U may be a broken process for conflict resolution, but it seems to offer a forum where conflicts are made public and communal pressure is brought to bear. As Coemgenus (talk · contribs) points out below, perhaps change is growth and maybe that's all you need. --RWyman 01:17, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've only ever participated in one RFC/U and, while it seemed not to work at the time, the subject of it became a better, more cooperative editor in the years since. I don't know that RFC/U was solely responsible for that metamorphosis, but maybe seeing so many complaints against him from so many corners of the encyclopedia helped to make him realize that his behavior needed to change. In short, it sometimes works and still has some value in my opinion. --Coemgenus (talk) 01:29, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, strongly. RFC/U is one remaining possible vehicle for editors who are concerned about Wikipedia's bullying and incivility to make a difference. It's possible that concerned editors could use RFC/U's systematically to document individual small matters of bullying going on, with formal consensus decision by the community that person X has indeed behaved badly. Such small but formal RFC/U actions are a way that records could be built up that establish a pattern of bullying and deeply incivil behavior, and cited in larger later actions such as arbitration. As it stands now, a typical victim of bullying can do nothing, nor can bystanders. Launching and "winning" a full arbcom case is huge and effectively impossible to complete, in terms of addressing any bullying. ANI and 3rr are not concerned with fairness, they do not determine fault. Launching an ANI or 3RR incident will not ever address bullying, nor will they establish even that one incident was an example of bullying. ANI and 3rr incidents are typically closed by administrators explicitly without attempting to determine fault, but rather to end disruption and close as soon as possible. Thus ANI and 3RR incidents effectively cannot be cited usefully in arbitration or anywhere. Arbitration is not feasible for bullying victims or concerned others to use in addressing bullying/incivility. Arbitration cases are too comprehensive and mixed and the arbitrators are looking to implement the community consensus and/or to end immediate disruption, and not to determine fairness, either. Arbitrators can just say that a bullying editor has other good qualities, like that they have contributed writing or whatever, and come to no judgement or action on bullying, like is done at ANI discussions. Arbitrators follow, do not lead, the community. What is needed is smaller, clear, finite judgements by the community. An RFC/U action can determine that in some article or Talk space that action A and action B were examples of unnecessary bullying by editor E. Editor E then would stand warned. If/when similar judgments pile up, the community can take further action. Victims of E can cite the judgements in arbitrations, etc, where the arbitrators could not simply dismiss it as complicated/mixed like they dismiss ANI discussions.
There is no new dispute resolution process on the horizon to address bullying, at all, and there are no real other prospects of the community taking on bullying, in the necessarily detailed way that is needed. It is nonsense to think that arbitrators will pick up slack and address what the community needs to do. I've been intending to propose at suitable venues that the existing process, RFC/U, be used by concerned editors in this way. Getting rid of RFC/U would play perfectly for entrenched administrators and other Wikipedia insiders who can never be touched. Eliminating RFC/U, the one remaining process that can at all be concerned with fairness, would be a mistake. I actually can't believe that this is being considered, much less achieving a lot of support. --doncram 01:53, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Please provide an example of one RfC/U in the past year that has provided some kind of good result, and which hasn't merely fanned flames or been an inquisition. RGloucester 02:03, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
(With some repetition to my comment further below, against Snow closing this):
  • It would pretty horrible to end the one remaining method that the community can possibly use to determine fault / fairness, given failings in ANI, 3RR, arbitration in dealing with bullying and deep incivility. I think it would be rash and a big mistake to drop RFC/U. I myself don't have fond memories of any RFC/Us, but it is fair to say that the fault was in the unskilled implementation, I think. When a group of concerned editors want to work positively to label bad behavior as bad behavior, RFC/U, done right, is a possibility. There is no other possibility as I see it. I expect that many/most RFC/U's to date have been of the vindictive, bullying, throw-everything-negative-you-can type of "dispute resolution" processes, with hurt being extended, with bullying persons running rampant. In my opinion, the persons running the RFC/Us usually make a mistake in trying to include too much. But ANIs and 3RRs are rushed, and arbcom cases have their role but are corrupted from being "fair" by the arbitrary power given, and I have no hope those processes will really change anything. And, I do happen to have some hope, that some creative good people in Wikipedia who are concerned about deep incivility and bullying can get together and use the existing RFC/U process in a deliberately, limited way that is ultimately more constructive. I have no hope whatsoever that good people in Wikipedia can get some brand new process created, or change RFA, or change arbcom, or change the rules of RFC/U, or anything else major. By deliberately starting small with narrowly defined RFC/Us that within the existing rules of RFC/U and are "toothless", but in which a community judgment can be made, I think some progress can begin to be made. For example, a group of 10 or 20 editors, perhaps at something like the Editor Retention wikiproject could compile a current list of seemingly obvious injustices done against newbies, and commit to running a set of a dozen or so fair, limited RFC/Us, where the facts are properly considered, and come out with a dozen well-reasoned accurate consensus judgments on what actually happened. In each case the judgment would be on whether some experienced administrator or other experienced editor was indeed deliberately and unnecessarily bullying, in the common English sense of the word, or whether there were some extenuating circumstances that explain it otherwise. E.g. perhaps the apparent victim is not so innocent. It would really help the newbie victim-type, to have there be a real and fair judgment of the facts, either way it turns out. And it would really help me and a lot of other experienced editors too, I think, to see bad behavior called bad behavior, when it turns out that is what it clearly is. Frankly I would deliberately mix up the starter dozen RFC/Us, to include a variety of editors' apparent unfair moments, and I would seek to get the good 10 or 20 to commit to reading and judging all dozen of the RFC/Us fully, towards reducing anyone's ability to say the RFC/U was biased by only having involved editors judging.
  • I've been thinking about this for a while. I am not happy to be on the spot suggesting use of this approach right now, amidst a move to chuck it all. But it is unacceptable to completely give up on there ever being any process that gets after what is a fair judgment. Arbcom is not it. ANI is not it. This is it, or can be, I think. Don't pre-judge what a group of good people actually concerned about fairness, above all, might be able to do, just because you haven't seen it yet. It was a long time coming in U.S. history, before good people ran civil rights lawsuits with success, for one example...but at least there was a means for them to run them. --doncram 09:48, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
This is a nonsensical answer. I don't even know what "fairness" is, and I'm fairly certain the RfC/Us are not an avenue to fairness. They do not work, and you cannot even provide an example of them working. Rubbish gets tossed in the rubbish pile. "Bullying persons"? What "bullying persons"? This is a tough world. Wikipedia seems like the last place on Earth to be concerned about "bullying persons". In fact, it seems like your answer favours a "group of editors" holding an inquisition into an editor they dislike. "Bullying", though I prefer "badgering", if I've ever heard of it. That's all I can see here, and it is exactly why RfC/U is rubbish. "Real and fair judgement", again, what is this the "real and fair"? Nothing about RfC/Us is either "real" or "fair", and anyway, our goal here is not to be "fair", but to build an encyclopaedia. You can't even demonstrate why it is "real" and "fair". The existing avenues work. They curtail disruption. This is not a court of justice. We don't care about fault. We care about building an encyclopaedia, and ensuring that we can do so sans disruption. RGloucester 14:54, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
I disagree. RGloucester, you and I have to agree to disagree. Bullying and deep incivility and injustice do matter, and for long-running situations, we certainly should care about fault, as part of addressing the problems and the feelings and future actions of the people involved. Yes, your view is common, that disruption should be curtailed...without judging on fault...without addressing the problem, really, IMO. As noted above by Jehochman, "AN/I is prone to thoughtless mob justice. It's okay for a simple "incident" that can be looked at in 30 seconds. For deeper matters, it's not deliberative." About others on this page calling for talking to a person at their Talk page, what about those persons who don't give a s*** about whether they offend new and old editors....the existing avenues of ANI and arbcom do not work. Keep RFC/U to allow community to act positively, against odds i grant, in bad situations. --doncram 18:06, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Your comment might make sense if you could provide evidence of RfC/Us ever working positively. In fact, you can't, which is why most people here believe it to be rubbish. It doesn't work positively, it doesn't work in any fashion at all, other than as an inquisition, which in-of-itself is the behaviour you seem to want to curtail. As I said, I'm all for AN/I reform. ArbCom needs a lower threshold, so that it can address more cases. There is a proposal on this page to break-up ArbCom into subcommittees, one of which could potentially address user conduct issues. I think this is a much better approach than maintaing a system that does not work, has not been shown to work, and has been shown to work negatively, against the goals that you are striving for. RGloucester 18:49, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If this is removed, many users will likely be able to silently bully more timid users into submission. This is the last thing that we need happening here. That is, unless you truly have a legitimate replacement for this that would work better, and I don't think that the current suggestion fits that description. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 02:56, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    Could you please explain that? (Because I see it as just the other way around. The current structure of RfC/U puts mutiple motivated users on one side of issue, a lone editor on the other. The bullying potential is just the reverse.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 03:05, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    I see RfC/U for how it should be working, not for how it happens to be working at the moment. If we get rid of it now, it can never be corrected to function as it should. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 12:07, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Hasteur and doncram. I've never used RFCU because ANI is easier, but the community needs a forum to handle long-term abuse issues. Chris Troutman (talk) 03:33, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
RfC/U is clearly not that forum, given that it doesn't actually handle anything, since it is not process that can provide results. The only body that really handles "long-term" abuse is ArbCom, and you can bet that if there is realy a problem, RfC/U would only be a bump on the road to ArbCom. Let's remove the bump, and provide a smooth path to the veritable arbitrator. RGloucester 14:59, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, it would be fine in theory, but it just does not work. --Cavarrone 07:19, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support abolishing it as it is a mostly ineffective and easily perverted process. JMP EAX (talk) 15:57, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose There are too little forums for dealing with conduct. Removing RFC/U will only make that worse. You have WP:AN, WP:ANI, WP:30 (which is useless since it has to be only between you and another user), and just in general, things don't get to be resolved on noticeboards. The quick archival rate and the almost mob rule makes it impossible to seriously get into a big discussion about a user's conduct without making it inflammatory. The non action and non teeth of RFC/U is a feature, not a downside, as it prevents users from unnecessarily inflammatory the discussion in itself. While some inflammatory is tolerated on WP:ANI and even rewarded (by derailing a proposed decision or whatever into just people hating on each other), RFC/U there is no incentive for that. As a result, it should be kept just in the way for general comments about a user's conduct. Additionally, while it's not necessary for ArbCom, it could be useful as it demonstrates that not just a few users have issues with a certain user's conduct. Its loss would be detrimental to the project imho. Tutelary (talk) 20:47, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose There are too little forums for dealing with conduct. Hafspajen (talk) 21:06, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I think that RfC/U is a useful vehicle and less judgmental than an ANI thread: the idea is that an RfC/U produces some findings of fact and proposes possible solutions short of iBans or blocks or whatever, which is the kind of outcome ANI should produce. Recently I've seen some bantering about what RfC/U is for; I look at it as the proper forum to discuss a pattern of editor behavior. RfC/U should take a long approach rather than the instant result (dramah included) of an ANI thread, and is not primarily intended to produce punishment. If we abolish that idea, then it seems to me we're giving up on a less adversarial and less heated means of a conflict resolution. That RfC/Us have failed in the past is not a reason to do away with them. Oh God, it seems I'm agreeing with Tutelary--what is this world coming to? They put it quite well. Drmies (talk) 22:49, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. People legitimately taken to the venue don't honour the result, hell-bent as they are on self-destruction. People wrongly taken to it (too many for comfort) are ritually humiliated by enemies and become embittered. How does this help the encyclopedia? AGK [•] 23:16, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. There should be an easier means for editors to seek redress. This is too little used and too complicated. It seems its primary purpose is to dismiss complaints because one wasn't filed or was filed improperly. And if you successfully complete one, there is no guarantee anything will result from the effort. Gamaliel (talk) 00:23, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - good arguments from proposer. Process is obsolete, overly complex, ineffective and divisive. Gandalf61 (talk) 08:56, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
    • That sounds more like an argument for reform than an argument for abolition. Sincerely, SamBlob (talk) 08:53, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - essentially as per AGK and Gamaliel. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:55, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Largely for the reasons given by DGG, Chiswick and Kudpung. However I can see the argument of Drmies and Hafs, and if there was some reform to the ANI process and RFC/U made more efficient I can see that it might create less drama.♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:31, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Unconditional support RFC/U, if it ever worked, doesn't work with the community we have today (that's not a slur on the community, I don't think it was ever a very well thought out process). There's no need to have a fundamentally adversarial process where the required outcome is advisory. Presuming that an RfC isn't dominated by factional disputes (as is often the case where user comment is most needed), the outcome is an admonition written by your enemies that you're supposed to take onboard as though it is friendly advice. It doesn't work. Add in all the bureaucracy to get one going and the phrase "The RFC/U for so and so is a red link" becomes a cruel joke. It's the only process we have to deal with long term user problems and it's so bad we normally just circumvent it whenever someone commits a venial sin that can be used to start an AN/I discussion. Get rid of it. Protonk (talk) 17:13, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Half-hearted support There are no good options. In its current state, RFCU is useless, possibly worse than useless. But it's easier to destroy than create, especially in the near anarchy of WP: I fear if we destroy it first, a "no consensus for anything" paralysis will mean we won't replace it with anything, which would also be worse than useless. Doing it on ANI instead is useless, possibly worse than useless, too - that cesspit is no improvment; things are more likely to get done, but the odds of them being the wrong things will be pretty high. I'd much rather reform RFC/U and make it useful, rather than nuke it and try to start fresh. But that, too, is nearly impossible in the current environment, so opposing nuking RFC/U and instead supporting reforming it comes off as unintentionally obstructionist; helping increase the inertia when that inertia is what annoys me the most. While I have a bad feeling that this is mostly due to despair, I guess nuking it in the long shot hope that we come up with something better in spite of ourselves is the least bad. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:14, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose There are too little forums for dealing with conduct. -- Weapon X (talk, contribs) Germany 18:48, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Even if that is true, how does that justify maintaing a process that presently does not serve as a forum for dealing with user conduct? It does not deal with anything, since it doesn't work. There is no reason to keep a rubbish process if it does not work. Perhaps other new processes are needed, but these should not have anything to do with this flawed concept. The wound is present, and it is infected. We must cut off the dead processes, cauterise the wound, and prepare to build a new processes. Allowing an infection to fester only leads to death. RGloucester 19:13, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose First, multiple editors here are assuming that certain other DR venues will agree to act as a replacement, but nobody asked those venues if they are willing to do so. Second, RFC/U is purely voluntary. If you don't like it, simply don't participate rather than forcing everyone else to not participate as well. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:34, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
I didn't find it voluntary when RFC/Us were run about me. They were attempts by editors whose POV pushing I was getting in the way of to get rid of me. They were full of lies and bullshit. I had no recourse. If you offer to police the bullshit in every future RFC/U, immediately blocking any editor who lies, I might change my mind. HiLo48 (talk) 01:26, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
The fact of the matter is that it was voluntary, you had every right to not respond, and, as all the comments here calling RFC/Us "toothless" show, there are no negative consequences to not participating.
You do, however, identify a larger problem, which is that you, like many people, feel compelled to respond to what you see as "full of lies and bullshit" about you. (I have not looked at your particular case and am not taking sides). There are plenty of venues on Wikipedia where one can either tell lies about someone or make a legitimate complaint, depending on what side of the complaint you are on. Do we close them all down so nobody can complain about user behavior? No. That's like tearing up all the roads to stop bank robberies.
If you feel that RFC/U or any other Wikipedia venue has been used illegitimately against you, file a complaint at WP:ANI. If indeed there are "attempts by editors whose POV pushing you are getting in the way of to get rid of you" the admins will take action and put a stop to the disruptive behavior. And if it turns out that you are the problem, WP:BOOMERANG will kick in. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:41, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Other. Yes, I know all about standing in the middle of the road and getting squashed, so please be kind. Like some others, I neither support nor oppose wiping out RFC/U. It looks as if most contributors want to do away with it, and yet I've read some opposition arguments that are compelling. There are two choices:
  1. get rid of RFC/U, or
  2. keep it and fix it.
The first choice looks like "the easy way out", and that is seldom the right choice. The second choice would be harder and would probably require the skills of a committee of volunteers who may look all this over and carry out the necessary steps to fix this process. As I am neutral, I must remain an observer and hope for the best. Joys to all! – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 11:16, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support There was once a time when RFC/U, like ANI, would get results and people would be able to get back to editing content. However, the process is lengthy and cumbersome, which isn't really geared up to people wanting a quick solution to a grievance. Moreover, putting an RFC/U in a public place sends out (or at least can do) a huge "I don't like you" signal to the recipient, which makes collaboration with said editor difficult. And since user disputes seem to invite an open season from the peanut gallery, any suitable remedy just gets drowned in the noise. I have participated in a few RFC/Us, but the last one I looked at, Dan56's, just didn't seem to be going anywhere and I'm not sure anything was actually done about it. There are other, informal ways of getting a better result than RFC/U, such asking an admin you trust for a third opinion, or walking away and editing some other article. Genuine long term disruptive irritants can be dealt with at ANI, or failing that, Arbcom. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:58, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. It seems to me that one of the reasons why there is a perception that it is difficult to take a problem to ArbCom is that requests for arbitration are often met with demands for RfC/U first ("it's a red link", etc.). I'd rather remove that roadblock. Although I appreciate the comments above about RfC/U providing a record of discussion of conduct, I think that the process suffers from an inability to establish a consensus: it's more like two "sides" posting opposing "views". In thinking about where else in the dispute resolution process the function of RfC/U will move, I suspect that it will entirely be ArbCom, and I'm OK with that (especially if ArbCom unloads its non-arbitration functions). --Tryptofish (talk) 22:10, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. I think starting with DRN (and posting {{tlx|rfc}}), then AN/I if the first doesn't work before presenting before ArbCom are sufficient, given that ArbCom drops RfC/U from its requirements. There are other tools to use to obtain a neutral input on the subject, removing the concern for abuse perceived with RfC/U. I was going to comment that we need to abolish RfC/U while introducing a replacement, but it seems (reading through guidelines on dispute resolution) that other routes are already available. --Abderrahman (talk) 13:03, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support closing the forum I support granting the advertised benefits that this forum promises, but this forum does not actually deliver these benefits. I share the concern that some others have that there are no dedicated forums for resolving a certain kind of user conflict. I do not know what the solution is to all user behavior problems, but to address the extreme and serious cases, I have been floating the idea of having a paid staffperson funded to address the most troublesome cases which otherwise are not addressed at all. See meta:Grants:IdeaLab/Fund a community human resources staffperson for the proposal. I have no idea who would want to manage a position like this. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:08, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support absolutely. I've seen exactly two of these abominations, and while one eventually led to a (pair of?) Arbcom cases, both had a distinctly rotten flavor. The basic premise of this procedure seems to be "Here, TargetUser, what we're gonna do now is sit you down and tell you every reason why you suck; advertise this little session here so that every drama addict in town who's ever had a beef with you can come in here and participate; and we're not going to turn them away even if their only concrete grievance is that you stole a cookie from them in the third grade. Oh, and despite not actually resolving any disputes, this is part of the Official Dispute Resolution Process, so as long as we don't actually get abusive per se, any complaint you have about this is moot at best (and may actually be held against you if it strikes too close to home). Non-participation will be treated as a sign of guilt." If Kafka had remained alive through the hippie generation, he would have put something like an RfC/U in The Trial. Scrap it and good riddance. ☯.ZenSwashbuckler.☠ 18:42, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I support any attempt to strip away layers of Wikipedia's bureaucratic nonsense, including this one. LHMask me a question 19:37, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The process does not work. No need to keep it.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:03, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. When a problem user just needs an attitude adjustment, this process doesn't accomplish anything that can't be accomplished on talk pages or with a few blocks. When there's no solution except to remove the user from the project, this process actively stands in the way. It's a nice idea, but it's not working. Lagrange613 21:50, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
Ah-ha! Gotcha! See, this is what I was talking about earlier. This logic of "There's no solution except to remove the user from the project" can easily be abusedly utilised in situations where it's not correct. Removing things like RFC/U that would allow more room for reckoning before one comes to such a serious conclusion may lead to more "hate blocks" and "opinion silencing blocks". Sure, we could, in such situations, simply have the administrator questioned in their reasoning and (in scenarios where they had been abusing their powers) relieved of their duties, but why not just nip things in the bud here? Remember, people aren't haphazardly blocked or banned for the sake of being blocked or banned. We block and ban only to protect the project; that's all. Furthermore, whether or not it's currently as functional as it could be, this process can certainly work to help make sure that we don't have to resort to the harshest punishment when it isn't actually necessary. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 14:59, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
But I don't think it is abused. Admin actions are transparent and easily reversed by other admins when they go too far. The specter of "hate blocks" and "opinion silencing blocks" is just that—a specter. (And in any case RFC/U is hardly the last defense against our descent into such a regime.) For some users only administrator intervention including blocks suffices to demonstrate the boundaries of acceptable behavior. That's just an empirical fact. For others that just need a talking-to, there's nothing about RFC/U that's better than engagement on user talk. On the contrary, getting dragged into this toothless, drama-promoting, bureaucratic process can make matters worse. Lagrange613 22:26, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
Also, I would feel differently if I thought Wikipedia extended too little good faith to people who come here in bad faith. If anything it's the opposite. We reward people who come here seeking drama by stirring up more drama around their behavior instead of showing them the door. That's how you protect the project. Lagrange613 23:38, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Since not a single claimant came forward to inform that RfC/U worked, then why keep junk on board. If it doesn't work, please, remove it as fast as possible. All the reservation and discussion about replacing it with something or keeping it there as a hypothetical step between talk pages and ArbCom is pretty unnecessary. It doesn't work as the step before ArbCom because it doesn't work at all, and there is no meaning in replacing something that doesn't work. Aditya(talkcontribs) 15:26, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
...What?
I have heard of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it", but I have never heard of "if it is broken, don't fix it".
What sort of logic is that? Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 16:05, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
This seems like a sort of density, on your part. Sometimes, things are broken beyond repair. Some things are defective the moment they are taken off the assembly line. Therefore, we put them in the rubbish bin. RGloucester 16:18, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
...And then go back to the drawing board to come up with a replacement. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 17:15, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
Not if the concept is flawed, no. It is so flawed that it cannot work in any form. There is no need for a replacement, and in fact, many people here have expressed a disdain for the bureaucracy of such processes, and want RfC/U removed for that reason: to curtail bureaucracy. This type of process has added nothing to dispute resolution, and it never can do. RGloucester 18:01, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
If that is indeed the case (I withhold my judgment anent that, but my current vote still stands for now) then WP:DRN, WP:3O, WP:NPOVN and WP:MEDCOM need to be expanded and deepened in functionality and usefulness. WP:AIN cannot be made the only real area for this type of thing.
I guess the best way of saying what I mean is this: there needs to be something in between WP:DRN~WP:MEDCOM and WP:AIN. Otherwise, one is encouraging things like this to happen (these comparisons are non-literal, so please don't say things like "WP:AIN is not a court of law". I'm well aware of this. Please just gruntle me for the sake of argument):
So-and-so and Such-and-such are in an argument. They can't resolve it amongst themselves, and their friends haven't been able to succeed in helping resolve it either. As such, they take it to the State Supreme Court.
Now, essentially encouraging things like that to happen is no good. We need something else to come before WP:AIN so that we can be (more-or-less) certain that nothing else could have been done about a situation.
Whether you feel that you agree with that or not, I ask you to just honestly consider it in your mind for a moment. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 19:10, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
I have considered it, and I consider it wrong-headed. The fewer processes we have, the better. Swiftness is key, and layers of endless processes only deter swiftness. As it stands, it takes ages to get to ArbCom, which is the only forum that can properly resolve a dispute and evaluate user conduct. We need to make ArbCom more accessible, and one of the ways to do that is to remove layers. As I've said, I'm open to reform of AN/I or to the potential creation of ArbCom subcommittee for user conduct issues. However, those are separate matters. The only important thing in this discussion is that RfC/U is a junk process, always has been a junk process, and only gets in the way of dispute resolution. No one has provided any evidence to contrary, which is quite telling. For those reasons, it must be eliminated. RGloucester 19:18, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
Swiftness is the key? What if honest-to-goodness users are "decommissioned" due to this swiftness? Do you truly believe that that is all right (pardon me if I am misunderstanding you)? Not everything is black and white.
If a man has a house infected with pests, and then runs in John Rambo-style spraying bug spray and accidentally offs his dog with it, would that also be acceptable?
As Biblioworm said in the proposal below this one, WP:AIN isn't suitable for those who wish for civil, moderated dispute resolutions (though I disagree with Biblioworm as to the reason behind why that is the case) whilst WP:ArbCom is designed to be used only for grave matters, and since most disputes are not as severe as that, they don't justify a case there.
My point is, we had ought to have dispute resolutions have the lowest chance of offing good, actually helpful users as possible. I disagree with the idea that swiftness is the key. Rather, I propose that justice is the key. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 19:59, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
There is no justice here. We're here to build an encyclopaedia. "Honest-to-goodness" users that cause disruption should be blocked until they can demonstrate that they will not cause disruption to our purpose, which is to build an encyclopaedia. Swiftness is key to prevent disruption of editorial processes. "ArbCom" is not only for "grave matters". It is for matters that could not be solved at AN/I, &c. If a matter cannot be solved otherwise, it should go to ArbCom. ArbCom is the only place where strict rules contain any potential frivolity. It is also run by vetted arbitrators who have the trust of the community. One of the main problems that you're having is that you're conflating dispute resolution with user conduct issues. In cases of dispute resolution, DRN and MEDCOM are appropriate. In cases of user misconduct, there is not a "dispute", so much as there is a case of a one or multiple users acting poorly. Of course, if others have vendettas against such an editor or group of editors, they can use it to toss them out the window. RfC/U has served as a forum for these vendettas. The only proper way for user conduct to be dealt with is by an uninvolved committee with strict procedural rules. That's ArbCom. RGloucester
You said "AN/I, &c", but there really won't be any other place to resolve these issues if we go your route. Many users will haphazardly rush to WP:AIN whenever even the tiniest issue arises, rather than talk to the individual in question and try to see what is up.
I agree that if a matter could not be solved through other methods, it should go to WP:ArbCom. However, if the only thing that, if we go your route, really comes before WP:ArbCom is WP:AIN, it leaves plenty of room for mistakes, and the losses of legitimate, helpful editors.
The other thing is that a lot of cases might not even reach WP:ArbCom. Some shenanigans might go on during their review at WP:AIN, and they might have run into an administrator that was having a bad day. God bless all of the administrators here for doing what they do, but it's no question that everyone has a bad day sometimes and/or might make the wrong decision in a particular instance. As such, we need more than two places where users' behaviours can be assessed. That is, unless you wish to make "levels" of WP:ArbCom? If you wished to do that, we would probably want something that functioned like WP:MedCom for the lowest level, and more or less the current WP:ArbCom at the highest level. That could work, perhaps. But I have yet to see anyone suggest something like that.
Also, keep in mind, I never said that WP:RfC/U was adequate as it is. Far from it. I said that it needs either an overhaul or a complete replacement (that may or may not function similarly to how it does). Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 01:25, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support abolition The intrinsic nature of the process rewarded vote-stacking, canvassing and worse. Too often, sock masters, and people with few edits were dominating the process, making it not only unfair, but an actual disgrace as a process. Cliques would !vote en masse in order to make an apparent "consensus" which never actually existed. Collect (talk) 01:37, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - the set-up of this is completely wrong, it is actually one of the few good things about ArbCom: there a set of independent editors determines whether there is a cause for a case, not a few who are unlikely to be independent. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:32, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support with reservations Caveat: I have no direct experience with RFC/U so I am operating on what I have been able to discern from the long list of !votes and comments along with a rather abbreviated look at some of the archives. That said, the process seems ineffective to whatever its alleged purpose was. I do think there should be some forum or venue for the proverbial "come to Jesus" discussion with long term problem editors short of Arbcom. But I concur with most of the preceding comments, this does not appear to be working. -Ad Orientem (talk) 17:41, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The process serves to magnify the underlying group dynamics surrounding some disputes an define the divisions, but it is probably not the most productive way for editors to address conduct issues. --Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 12:09, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose I see so few forums on Wikipedia like this. Though it has problems, it serves a function and I do not know what would take its place at present. Juno (talk) 17:54, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support There are plenty of reasons given above. Pick two. AtsmeConsult 01:19, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support RFCU is toothless and time consuming.-Serialjoepsycho- (talk) 03:16, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Unlike content RfC, this only looks like a good idea. But it did not work in a few cases I am familiar with. These discussions only fueled tensions, wasted a lot of time, and finally resulted in a few people being expelled, but only with a much greater drama. My very best wishes ([[User talk:My very bes
  • do away with RFC/U it spectacularly fails at what it claims it's intended purpose is. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 05:25, 26 November 2014 (UTC)t wishes|talk]]) 05:23, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support abolishing RFC/U I've done some work in dispute resolution, and I've never seen an RFC/U lead to anything productive really. They are poorly participated in other than by involved parties, and not much more useful than a WP:3O at best, assuming that someone neutral even bothers to comment or close it. At worst they just serve to increase tensions and resolve nothing. Gigs (talk) 18:10, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. I did not even know about this forum until the RFC appeared on my watchlist. If I ever have any issues that fall under the scope of the RFC/U process, I've always used WP:ANI. Steel1943 (talk) 20:42, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Discussion (RfC/U)[edit]

  • Question. Partially reflecting Newyorkbrad's question I'd like to know what the replacement device for serious requests for input on admins would be, short of a onerous filing at ArbCom. Is there a replacement? GraniteSand (talk) 09:21, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
    • Obviously not, but I can't think of a single Arb case on an admin that had a reasonable RFC/U first. It doesn't really change anything, except forcing Arb to have a lower threshold, which many are willing to do. Most singular admin issues are currently handled at WP:AN now, and we actually handle those fairly well: Block reviews and the like. We have other venues to review single events as well, such as WP:DRV, etc. RFC/U was for long term behavior problems/patterns, which is a miserable failure for admin and non-admin alike. Dennis - 10:03, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
      • My question was more about the presentation of systemic issues with an admin but I'll concede that cases with traction didn't really end up at RfC/U. Still, with the way things are laid out, I'd say they should. I do take issue with your assertion as to the effectiveness of AP:AN. I have, for example, been waiting almost three weeks for admin input on a request for a block review at WP:AN. How does getting rid of this medium help people who can't meaningfully engage with admins on issues of other admins? GraniteSand (talk) 10:15, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
        • As that isn't related to this discussion, I will answer on your talk page. Dennis - 10:19, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
          • I'm unsure what it is you're going to answer on my talk page. My basic question here was, if we eliminate RFC/U are we replacing it with anything? If so, what? If not, then how does that affect editors ability to ask for comment, especially with admins? GraniteSand (talk) 10:28, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
            • I thought I had explained it, but we replace it with nothing. It doesn't work anyway, so nothing of value is lost. We deal with admin as we do now, using WP:AN, WP:DRV, etc. and then with RFC/U gone, Arb is quicker to take admin cases. So how do we handle it? Most likely poorly just as we do now, but with less bureaucracy, and less frustration as RFC/U gives the promise of a solution, but no possible chance of it. Dennis - 11:13, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
                • No replacement required. WP:AN is better at attracting uninvolved editors, and isn't arranged in a confrontational way. Sure, there is drama at AN and AN/I, but at least the very structure of AN or AN/I don't lend themselves to that drama. I also support the lower threshold for ArbCom that would be established by eliminating RfC/Us. The best thing we can do is eliminate the bureaucratic processes we have that cause disputes to be stretched out over months. RGloucester 16:37, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
                • I did muse on what we should replace it with...but really it makes arbitration one step closer after discussion elsewhere, which is a good thing for admin tool use and some other issues as well. We need less bureaucracy and fewer venues to deal with all these sorts of issues. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:47, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Regarding administrator misconduct, there is a current proposal, WP:Administrative Standards Commission, that could someday be given the right to review administrator conduct and revoke administrator rights. If approved, the commission wouldn't have this ability at first, but it could be added to their duties later. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 15:57, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • discussion was prematurely closed at this point. I restarted it. Jehochman Talk 06:06, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Post-Discussion Comment: I only just now saw this discussion, so I thought I would say... I do agree that the chance of this changing is at most negligible, but I have always supported the idea of waiting one week. Would that be too much of a problem? This can really go for most any discussion which may affect any sort of community process, and I think that other editors should at least have a bit of time to see the discussion and maybe come up with superior alternatives (that are not already available) or similar suggestions. While I severely doubt that the consensus to abolish RFA/U will change, I do think it would be nice to allow other users the opportunity to possibly discuss what kind of changes to follow with, or otherwise. I mean more than just what I have said, but I think that is all I will say, at least for now. Dustin (talk) 04:08, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Friends, the number of editors participating on this lightly watched page is not sufficient to establish such a consensus. Please advertise this discussion on the notice boards and consider listing on WP:MfD to generate more thorough feedback. If it's a good proposal, greater participation will only help. The process has been around for a decade. There is no rush to mark it historical after votes by a dozen or two editors. Also, this should not be closed by a non admin. Jehochman Talk 05:51, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Let me throw out an idea, to let simmer. Assuming RFC/U is shut down, it would fall on ANI to pick up the slack. If that were the case, then in some cases, it might be worthwhile (once a case gets large) to break it off into a separate page, but make sure there is a stub on the main ANI page pointing to it, and that stub doesn't get archived until the case is over. The new page would still be free-form and subject to all ANI standards (or lack thereof). This would be a purely procedural move and doesn't require an RFC, just a simple consensus on WP:AN to use this procedure under certain circumstances. It won't even require an admin to do it. It is something to think about once RFC goes down. Most of the time, it wouldn't be needed, but if a single case hit 100k (or some other number) and you have two or three on a page, it makes sense to do for technical reasons. As long as it isn't done to "hide" the discussion, I see this as a way to cope with the rare issues the lack of RFC/U will raise. Otherwise, the page can get so large, some browsers won't open it, making it impossible for some to participate. Dennis - 16:07, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
    • Another alternative might be to institute some new procedures at WP:DRN to specifically deal with matters of editor conduct, and if the specific case is found by (in this case) the multiple or at least plural number of DRN volunteers to have sufficient merit there, or for problematic behavior to recur in similar form thereafter, to start a discussion at ANI with links to the prior discussion(s). John Carter (talk) 16:45, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
      • Honestly, I think that would be a mistake. DRN has enough troubles, it would just be RFC/U lite, and technically, these are matters that have already been to ANI individually, and the reason for review is for ANI grade behavior that is now a pattern of behavior. This is the same delimma with the failed WP:WQA, you are just better off getting in front of admin and editors who can quickly tell if it needs simple handling or a larger case, in a free-form environment. All this formality is the problem and stands in the way of solutions. Dennis - 16:55, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
      • Try it and many DRN volunteers, including me, will strongly oppose it, and if the attempt to change DRN succeeds I personally would resign and attempt to create a new DRN with the same rules DRN has now. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:23, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) Assuming it would be default fall on AN(I) to pick up the slack may not be accurate. However, in cases where it does, as a simply technical procedure, it does make sense to move the discussion to a subpage of AN(I) with a {{Moved}} and a {{DNAU}} as placeholders on the main AN(I) page. It would also make sense that all subpages of AN(I) fall under the same jurisdiction as the respective AN(I) page and all guidelines and expectations would be equivalent. I would also expect, just as it is the original poster's responsibility to notify all involved parties on their respective talk pages that there is a discussion on AN(I) about an issue they may have been involved in, that is would be the responsibility of whomever moved such a section to notify everyone that has contributed to the discussion thus-far or is mentioned in the discussion on their talk pages. As this would be a strictly technical move, I also would support the creation of a bot to monitor the section size (both prose size (number of words) and text size (number of bytes)), make the move when it hits the threshold, leave the notices, and take care of the notifications. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 17:04, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
      • As for a bot, that is an interesting idea. I'm sure that ANI will be the venue to pick up the slack, unless we designate another board or create another board (I'm against that just yet). ANI is the de facto "I don't know where else to go" destination for any behavioral and sometimes content related issue. It is the editors that made it so, not the admin, by virtue of always going there for behavior and sometimes content issues. It reminds me of a story (true or not?) about a college that built new buildings, but intentionally left out sidewalks. A year later, they just poured the sidewalks where there was no grass due to foot traffic. Now the sidewalks are exactly where they are needed and the students stay off the grass. ANI is where there is no grass, it is where they are already coming to. It is simpler and better to find ways to accommodate editors instead of have them come there, then send them somewhere else. Dennis - 19:06, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Mr Brown. I'm not opposed to a long-term reform of the nature of the AN/I and AN boards, but that's a matter we should deal with after having dealt with this. RGloucester 19:10, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
(e-c) I basically have two reservations about using AN(I) for this purpose. (1) Although many editors, even newer editors, do use the boards, they are not the ones who frequent them or generally the ones who respond to comments posted by others. The people who respond tend to be admins (or in my case former admins) or other long-term editors who will often have some degree of pre-existing opinion about any "established" editor or admin and it might be harder to get some of them to not engage in "defending a friend" or otherwise rushing to some sort of "no action against the old hand" judgment. Others have complained of this sort of behavior before. (2) Honestly, the boards are too damn long as is. I know if I see a bowel-liquefying table of contents of 100 or more entries needing addressing on one of the noticeboards as is, I tend to give the list as a whole only a very quick once-over before basically saying "I'm outa here." If others do the same, and I think many of the less frequent contributors of the boards do the same, these requests will probably get only the same minimal attention many of the comments already posted on the pages complain of getting. If it would be possible to get them placed in a separate listing somewhere where even only a few individuals competent to address the concerns expressed can give some degree of more focused attention to them, particularly given the fact that RfC/U matters tend to be more serious than a lot of others on the boards, I would have to think that would be a net plus. John Carter (talk) 20:06, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
I completely agree there will be challenges and the page is already too long. Using subpages for the longer stuff (and having a bot do removes any question of neutrality) moves it out of sight and out of the temptation of bored eyes, which would shorten the page TODAY. ANI IS an admin board, we admin have more authority than we push there because we don't want the drama. If someone just goes and opines on every case without actually adding to the case, then we can take action now, we just seldom do. Then again, if a non-admin comes in an actually helps by his actions, then the system is less dependent on admin. We have some guys like that now; it adds balance. It WILL take a firm hand at times, but we can handle it. If it gets too bad, we could probably pass General Sanctions for ANI/AN specifically without too much problem, to quickly remove lurkers who are habitually causing drama. I don't have all the answers, but my gut says that centralizing it will be easier to manage, and each case can be paced and formatted in a way that is best for it. We need some rules (no closing a proposal in less than 24 hours, etc), but we can use WP:AN to adopt simple but flexible procedures to make ANI run more smoothly. Dennis - 22:02, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Question To those who find RFC/U useless/toothless...if RFC/U had teeth, would that make it useful again? That is, rather than an RfC/U's results being advisory, what if it operated like any other RfC, where the result is binding, and an RfC/U could impose sanctions on users? Revamping how RfC/U operates is also an option here, besides just eliminating it entirely; I'd like to hear from others whether they think such a revamping would make it useful again or just delay the inevitable. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 19:57, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
No. Such bureaucracy doesn't work and won't ever work. AN/I and ArbCom are better venues. RGloucester 20:01, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
So far as I can tell, the basic problem with a lot of RfC/U's is the often wildly disparate nature of the proposed remedies, and the fact that in at least some cases allies and adversaries of the "target" tend to more or less do as would be expected in such cases and make the real outcomes less clear. If a reasonable procedure to make RfC/U more effective could be enacted, I think that would help a lot, but that is a very big "if". John Carter (talk) 20:06, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
Fluff, I think we have three problems with RFC/U: 1. The format is limiting. 2. There is no one with any authority to police the proceedings with trouble makers/trolls/drama queens. 3. There is no chance of sanctions, so no motivation for the person to even participate in good faith. Above on this page, you see where I talk about making longer case integrated into ANI (I know, I know...) which is kind of making RFC/U a subset of ANI, but without format and with sanctions, and if it gets more than a fixed size, it goes to it's own page, with a stub at ANI pointing to it for as long as it is active. Some will just peter out, others en some will end in a block decided by an admin, in others, the community will vote for a topic ban, etc. Other times, the person can make a binding pledge to avoid sanction. Short issues would look like any other ANI case, there isn't a distinction anymore, ANI is just the "behavior problem" place for all levels of problem. That means every possible solution is on the table. RFC/U currently offers no solutions, just a place to talk about the problems. To me, if RFC/U goes away, ANI WILL become the default place, whether we want it to be or not. It is all about how we manage it. Dennis - 22:11, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
Even Administrators don't seem to understand RFC/U. At Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Middayexpress we have two administrators, one setting it up, the other certifying it, asking for a topic ban during which it was hoped the editor would learn to play nice - despite the fact that you specifically cannot ask for a topic ban and the sentence introducing that sentence says "It should spell out exactly what the changes they'd like to see in the user, or what questions of behavior should be the focus." One solution might be simply to have volunteers run it. Dougweller (talk) 21:44, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I think a simpler process would be a very good idea. For instance, if you have a concern about a user, go to their talk page and discuss it. If that fails, go get a third opinion from an uninvolved editor. Perhaps we need a central place where people can volunteer to provide such opinions. If that third person comes in and still the concerns aren't resolved, use the RFC template that we drop on article talk pages on the user's talk page to get more opinions about the issue. If that doesn't resolve things, go to WP:AN to request some sort of community action (maybe a sanction or reprimand), or in the case of an admin, go straight to ArbCom. I think people are complaining (rightly) about RFCU's bureaucracy. The underlying principal of getting more opinions to help resolve a problem is a good one and shouldn't be tossed. Jehochman Talk 20:54, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
    • WP:AN already has way, way too much irrelevant traffic as it is. It should be what it is supposed to be, announcements and such that are directly related to admin, including review of admin actions by any person requesting it. The admin corkboard. We tolerate a lot more there now, but really, we need less ANI type stuff there, not more. Otherwise, some admin will stop reading it altogether. Dennis - 22:16, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I suggest that for each RFC/U, a moderator be selected who would consolidate the input of the commenters into a summary statement on an ongoing basis: as new comments are entered, the moderator would update the summary as necessary. This should help avoid redundant comments, thereby making the process more concise, and the moderator would be able to frame the commentary in a constructive manner. isaacl (talk) 02:28, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I think a moderator or clerk is a good idea for disputes, but the place where it should be applied is at AN/I for those instances that warrant it. I'm not sure how we'd dod the details--perhaps there will simply be volunteers, with the understanding they would not also close the discussion. DGG ( talk ) 09:16, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
    • I think nearly all of the discussions on Wikipedia where the parties are having difficulty working together, including those raised at AN/I, can use a moderator who can shape discussion. Volunteers are fine, though due to the time-consuming, thankless nature of the task, I have suggested that paid professionals might have to be employed in order for there to be enough assistance available. A professional might also help maintain detachment from the topic of discussion. isaacl (talk) 14:16, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • For AN and AN/I it would make sense to have "on duty" admins (and even "on duty" non-admins, although it would be somewhat harder to select the pool of non-admins, because admins could just volunteer), with perhaps a four-six hour rotation. Anyone can participate as now but the "on duty" accounts would a least have a moral obligation to take care of business (with the usual restrictions eg., non-involvement). Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:01, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

I think it would be good to have more discussion on how to reform the process of giving feedback to another editor in a thoughtful way that minimizes confrontation, before closing down RFC/U. I know this is inherently difficult, but for the handful of cases where the editor in question is receptive to feedback, it is useful to provide a framework where someone can provide their comments in a standardized manner, as it can help depersonalize the comments, which typically reduces tension. In addition to my suggestion of moderators, here's another idea: perhaps we could have designated intermediaries (ombudsmen), whose role would be to accept feedback on an editor, and relay it in a standard format, using diplomatic language. isaacl (talk) 14:36, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

  • If this RfC reaches a consensus to do away with RFC/U, some immediate thought must be given to an overhaul of ANI. Suggestions for clerking sound interesting but more admins need to be encouraged to be bold enough to watch the page - it appears that a relatively small number of rather brave admins regularly participate there. Much of the problem may be that of too much free-for-all commenting by uninvolved users, in particular the peanut gallery, in what is essentially an administrators' venue, hence its name. What puts me off from participating there more often (I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty) is that ANI is an unmanageable page: premature archiving and the inevitable frustrating edit conflicts due to someone editing an unrelated case, to name but a couple of the practical problems. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:40, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
    My thought is to conduct discussions on the user's own talk page rather than ANI. It's easy enough to put a template on the page that adds it to a category so uninvolved users can find the discussion. As for ANI, the problem is that the consensus there isn't representative. Most productive editors don't watch that page, while those more prone to disruption and drama mongering do, because they've been summoned there previously. The audience is far from being representative of our editors. Jehochman Talk 14:08, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
    Jehochman, agree 100% your comments re the nature of ANI. But your idea of using a user's Talk, is a really bad idea. (Think a bit about a typical user's relationship to her/his Talk. Then think of the radical change you'd bring to it. Then think of the consequences re the previously mentioned relationship between a user and her/his Talk. [Today that relationship is a good one. Your idea would destroy that. Some editors' retentions may currently be only because they have some solice/control of their own user spaces. Your idea, if implemented, would be a destructive invasion to that, with damaging consequences even re editor retention, to mention only one.]) p.s. Which is my whole point about planning. No doubt RfC/U and ANI/I are dysfunctional because they were similar ideas not thought through, and simply implemented. We shouldn't want to do that again. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 00:04, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    Should people who obviously can't behave themselves be spared the embarrassement of such a disciplinry process taking place on their talk page? No not really, we do it with blocks all the time. But I'm not saying that I am necessarily in favour of Jehochman's idea. I work at ANI occasionally, but I don't have a high opinion of the place. With some careful consideration it could be vastly improved. As I've said before, the usefulness of ANI is diluted by the presence of too many uninvolved people who have nothing of substance to add and who just turn the ANI page into an even longer drama roll of virtual paper, or who simply populate the page just to maintain a strategic plan of opposition to all things adminship. Restrict ANI participation to admins, people who are directly concerned, and users in good standing, then there will be no peanuts thrown from kangaroos sitting in a virtual jurors' gallery. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:50, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    Agreed only to the extent AN/I being open to "anyone can edit" is the problem. (But your solution sucks. Some admins are the worst kangaroos around. Including you. [Didn't you just fuck w/ Jehochman's username signature? A reg editor would get warned of a block for that. Your supposition that "admins are better" is opposite to the reality that the behavior of admins is at a lower standard not a higher standard as espoused by Jimbo what is expectation of conduct from admins.]) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:18, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I've been here for nearly 10 years and have only certified an RFC/U once. I've requested and had accepted at least half a dozen arbitration cases. I don't think RFC/U will be missed, and I don't think ArbCom will see any noticeable increase in workload. If ArbCom thinks an RFC/U would be useful before accepting a case, they can say so and establish one on a subpage in Arb-space according to whatever rules they see fit, and they can ask an arbitration clerk to oversee the page. Jehochman Talk 20:38, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

If Rfc/U is to be abolished, I would assume any ongoing Rfc/U would be allowed to run their courses. -- GoodDay (talk) 04:24, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

  • I haven't been following all of this discussion, but would like to make a comment for consideration by whoever is going to figure out what to replace this with. The only RfC/U I've been closely involved with was Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Paul Bedson, which did exactly what it was supposed to do -- banned a user who needed to be banned, with almost complete unanimity. Because that was my only involvement with the process, I had a fairly high opinion of it. I'd like to request that whatever process replaces RfC/U makes it, at worst, no more difficult than it is now to ban obviously unproductive editors such as Bedson. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:01, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Wikiquette & the screen-wide 'orange' notification bar, are extinct. Now, Rfc/U is about to join them. Alot has changed in these 9-years. GoodDay (talk) 01:42, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

Proposed Replacement (RFC/U)[edit]

Instead of RFCU, the new procedure would be (1) discuss any concerns with an editor on their talk page. (2) If that proves insufficient to resolve concerns, use {{RFC}} on the user's talk page to obtain outside input on the issue under discussion with the editor. This process minimizes bureaucracy, reuses a process that works well already, provides a mechanism to obtain outside input, and avoids placing new burdens on noticeboards or ArbCom. If a concern can't be resolved on a user talk page, or if the user refuses to engage, the matter could then be escalated. I am sure this could be fine tuned in practice, but I think it would be a good start. Jehochman Talk 15:00, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

  • No replacement necessary – Our other processes work as well as they need to, for the moment, and RfC/U is so inept that losing it will not actually affect our existing processes in a large way. RGloucester 15:26, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as this is exactly what my original comment stated in favour of abolishing RFC/U. Infact it does not matter if this proposal is supported or opposed here. It is a de facto fall back line after there's no RFC/U; the only difference is putting it out there for new users to follow too with instructions. I doubt there's any restriction in place stopping an RFC at a user talk page about their conduct so opposing here on that is pointless. If Jehochman wants to formally state it on wikipedia namespace so that newer editors can use it as a process before escalating, there's no issue with that. Since this will be the user's talkpage, there will be much less bureaucracy and this will only be able to continue if the user !owning the talkpage allows it, ie. wants to constructively engage. If he blanks the section, it simply suggests a refusal to go through the process and it can be escalated to a process like ANI on its own merit. --lTopGunl (talk) 15:45, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
That doesn't sound very conducive to a positive result. The "default" option is not to involvee RfCs at all, which I think is for the better. If we're talking about contingencies, I support Dennis Brown's above proposal to spin-off a user-conduct sub-board of WP:AN. However, my primary position is that AN reform should be dealt with elsewhere. I oppose instituting any replacement, and I oppose recommending the use of "RfCs" on user pages. RGloucester 15:48, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict)What I am saying is, it does not matter if this proposal was not even made by Jehochman or any one at all. This is something that can always be done. I take Jehochman's proposal to be opting for a suggestive WP guideline for new users who would not think this use of an RFC (I have seen user page RFCs in presence of RFC/U and I guess they would be class apart from RFC/U). This does not interfere with presence or absence of any other proposals. This is something that can be reverted at whim of the !targeted party and that makes it compatible to being toothless and collaborative. --lTopGunl (talk) 15:57, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
As I said, there is no doubt that the use of an RfC will still be "possible" on a user's talk page. I am merely saying that we should not recommend doing this as part of our guidelines or policies, or dispute resolution process. RGloucester 16:00, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
While I haven't expressed my view on this as yet, I personally don't understand your comment RGloucester. I thought the whole idea is to suggest RfC as a possible step (not a compulstory step). Whether it's for users on their talk pages if they wish or some other space, that's a separate question; newer users would not be aware of how it works if it is not even suggested or recommended as a possible step anywhere. Were you were meaning to say policy/guideline pages shouldn't recommend it as an almost compulsory step like they have so far? Or something else? Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:27, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
If he means it shouldn't be a threshold or prerequisite for something like ArbCom or ANI, I tend to agree. Otherwise I doubt why it can't go in atleast as an essay style suggestion if not formalized guideline. I'm fine either way. --lTopGunl (talk) 16:31, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm saying that while such an RfC is possible, it should not be recommended, or otherwise endorsed as a possible part of the dispute resolution process. No new process should be created. The existing RfC process does not prohibit user-page RfCs, nor does it specifically allow for them. This is ideal. If it is determined in a particular case that an RfC of this sort should be held, then so be it. Otherwise, it is not appropriate process for dispute resolution, and is likely only to continue WP:BATTLEGROUND behaviour, given the way user talk pages are set-up, and given the nature of RfCs in general. I would not want new editors thinking that this process is even an option. It is a loop hole, rather than a generalised convention. RGloucester 17:41, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Not tenable, because WP:TPO allows a user to remove comments from their own talk page. NE Ent 16:19, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
The fact that a user can remove the RFC or comments (although they can not remove comments that have replies without removing the replies too) is exactly why it will be clear to what extent it is useful and to what extent the user wishes to engage and as such, the user who started an RFC can also similarly remove the RFC tag and withdraw if the process is being hindered by talk page !owner. With that said, I get the point by RGloucester and would let consensus decide whether this should be used as a suggestive guideline or not. --lTopGunl (talk) 16:25, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

User:RGloucester wrote above "Our other processes work as well as they need to", no they do not neither AN or ANI are fit for purpose. As I wrote before:

For many high profile editors it is a lottery of how may of their friends and enemies happen to be online at the time and happen to be watching the ANI or are informed of it thought the bush telegraph. Add that some people are taking part in ANIs expressing opinions that are clearly not based on polices and guidelines and contributing nothing but clutter, making it harder to see what the real arguments are, and what the informed consensus is.
There are a number of other Wikipedia processes that deal with editorial behaviour (such as RFCs) that I think also lack natural justice as there is no clear divide between prosecutor, defence, jury, judge and executioner.
I have little faith in the ANI process because I no longer think it fit for purpose for anything but to carry out requests for the most simple tasks. I think it is time the whole process to be replaced.

Original written on 8 November 2011, See "ANI process ... no longer think it fit for purpose" for more details and links back to an example. -- PBS (talk) 12:08, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Whatever replaces Rfc/U, I strongly recommend that it be setup to exclude involved editors. Neutrality can only be secured with uninvolved editors. GoodDay (talk) 16:41, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

I agree. -- PBS (talk) 22:30, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that generally speaking, third-party bystanders won't be sufficiently motivated to perform the time-consuming research to get involved in a potentially confrontational process that doesn't directly involve them, so I believe input from involved parties will be needed. I think through effective moderation by a third party the feedback can be groomed to avoid redundancy and still capture the essential points, while removing the personal animus. isaacl (talk) 00:00, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I happen to agree that having too much "involvedness" has undermined the usefulness/effectiveness of many RFC/U's. That doesn't mean that that problem has to undermine every RFC/U. There's no replacement forthcoming. There's not going to be any replacement. So RFC/U has to be kept, for those good editors who might use the existing RFC/U process well, avoiding obvious pitfall of having too strong a voice of too-involved participants. It has to be kept to allow some to address some small issues in a toothless or not-so-toothless way, to determine fair judgments, to address rogue editors, administrators, arbitrators that other processes are not capable of addressing. You don't casually take away the public's one means to run a process that some skilled good persons can use productively, possibly, sometimes, please. --doncram 09:54, 18 November 2014 (UTC)


  • I myself don't have fond memories of any RFC/Us, but the fault was in the unskilled implementation, I think. So the useful RfC/U you want to keep exists in theory only, as a potentiality, but not practice. (I.e. it doesn't exist.) So, your thoughts seem more oriented toward proposal yet undefined, or reformed RfC/U, as replacement, that has the positive potentialities you see. p.s. In the RfCUs I've read, the bullying shoe was on the other foot. (Do you really see the current structure of RfC/U as fostering ability to "determine fault/fairness"? [By its nature there are multiple motivated editors on one side of issue; a lone editor on the other. The result isn't forgone conclusion?!]) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 02:41, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    I expect that many/most RFC/U's to date have been of the vindictive, bullying, throw-everything-negative-you-can type of "dispute resolution" processes, with hurt being extended. In my opinion, the ones running the RFC/Us make a mistake in trying to include too much. But ANIs and 3RRs are rushed, and arbcom cases have their role but are corrupted from being "fair" by the arbitrary power given, and I have no hope those processes will really change anything. And, I do happen to have some hope, that some creative good people in Wikipedia who are concerned about deep incivility and bullying can get together and use the existing RFC/U process in a deliberately, limited way that is ultimately more constructive. I have no hope whatsoever that good people in Wikipedia can get some brand new process created, or change RFA, or change arbcom, or change the rules of RFC/U, or anything else major. By deliberately starting small with narrowly defined RFC/Us that within the existing rules of RFC/U and are "toothless", but in which a community judgment can be made, I think some progress can begin to be made. For example, a group of 10 or 20 editors, perhaps at something like the Editor Retention wikiproject could compile a current list of seemingly obvious injustices done against newbies, and commit to running a set of a dozen or so fair, limited RFC/Us, where the facts are properly considered, and come out with a dozen well-reasoned accurate consensus judgments on what actually happened. In each case the judgment would be on whether some experienced administrator or other experienced editor was indeed deliberately and unnecessarily bullying, in the common English sense of the word, or whether there were some extenuating circumstances that explain it otherwise. E.g. perhaps the apparent victim is not so innocent. It would really help the newbie victim-type, to have there be a real and fair judgment of the facts, either way it turns out. And it would really help me and a lot of other experienced editors too, I think, to see bad behavior called bad behavior, when it turns out that is what it clearly is. Frankly I would deliberately mix up the starter dozen RFC/Us, to include a variety of editors' apparent unfair moments, and I would seek to get the good 10 or 20 to commit to reading and judging all dozen of the RFC/Us fully, towards reducing anyone's ability to say the RFC/U was biased by only having involved editors judging.
    I've been thinking about this for a while. I am not happy to be on the spot suggesting use of this approach right now, amidst a move to chuck it all. But it is unacceptable to completely give up on there ever being any process that gets after what is a fair judgment. Arbcom is not it. ANI is not it. This is it, or can be, I think. Don't pre-judge what I and a group of good people actually concerned about fairness, above all, might be able to do. --doncram 06:45, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    Am concerned about fairness, too. Am not sure what your idea is with the 10 or 20 to thoroughly examine a "starter dozen" cases -- are you suggesting that such thorough reviews would continue for all RfCUs!? (If so, I agree w/ you the results would have a great chance of being fairer. But what you're suggesting is time-intensive, resource-intensive, so would have no chance for successful promotion in the current "anyone can edit & enjoy the thrill of judge, jury, & executioner" culture. The deal is you are right -- time & uninvolved serious participation/review has probability to deliver fairer, more accurate views. But the environment is currently plain schizoid regarding sense of fairness expectations on the WP. [Otherwise how could admin Brown repeat for the 10,000th time his favorite chant: "No justice, only solutions" with apparently no protest from anyone other than me?!])

    Would you agree that elimination of "anyone can edit/review" in these cases would improve things? Would you also agree that one or two uninvolved/neutral admins as reviewers, without overwhelming time constraints on them, would improve things? (Well if you agreed those would be improvements, then you've just cut the people-time and drama-level down by vast amounts, even throwing in right or two of appeal. And wouldn't those savings render much greater chance for acceptance & implementation? Your idea how to achieve fairness can't be argued against, but would die on practicalities especially in current environment. [Agree?]) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 07:42, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

    It seems to me that fairness is pretty much disregarded on Wikipedia, in effect, though not the fault of many good editors who do speak up and try to get to fairness sometimes. Overall there's a crisis of confidence that anything can be done fairly, and those who care about fairness are burnt out. Many RFC/U's themselves have been unfair, and I think that is partly because of lack of skill/training/cooperation of good people who could use the tool better. It would not help to eliminate the RFC/U process, preventing good people from teaming up and trying to do it better in a series of cases that could make a difference. Yes, perhaps starting with a list of about a dozen cases where there is great perception of unfairness going on, e.g. where experienced administrator(s), arbitrator(s), or other experienced editors appear to have been bullying some relative newbie or other relatively defenseless editor. I hope to enlist, or to join up with, a group of editors who'd like to make a difference about cases like that.
    About your questions on whether "one or two uninvolved/neutral admins as reviewers, without overwhelming time constraints on them, would improve things?", I don't understand what you are driving at. You don't have any real proposal there, do you? --doncram 10:07, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    Not a proposal just a question. (The idea is 10–20 editors is too great an investment to find wings. But will 1–2 uninvolved/neutral admins produce results in the same positive direction as your 10–20 conception?) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 06:13, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

The vast majority of people agree that the current RfC/U is no more fit for purpose. Rather than just dropping it completely how about modifying it and limiting its scope. For example putting in a level of clerks/overseers to make sure that the requirements for an RfC are met before it proceeds. To go with the clerks/overseers, detailed requirements to make the process more likely to be used positively rather than to bludgeon an opponent:

  • Is the content of the "Statement of Dispute" and the "Desired outcome" focused enough and within policy to be something that any reasonable editor would be willing to abide. -- Too often the "dispute" is defined using a shotgun approach of hitting multiple targets which makes the desired outcome to be too nebulous.
  • Does the description given meet the requirements for a description section?
  • Have to at least two user independent of the dispute in good faith tried and failed to resolve the dispute. At the moment some of the statements put forwards as "Evidence of trying and failing to resolve the dispute" are lamentable, and often include statements put forward by "Users certifying the basis for this dispute".

-- PBS (talk) 12:50, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Yes, let's fix a process that people describe as rigid and bureaucratic by adding another level of bureaucracy to make it even more rigid. Mr.Z-man 13:54, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

No need for replacement or reform[edit]

I disagree with any of the proposals to replace Request for Comments on User Conduct with anything else. First, the original purpose of the RFC/U has been obsolete for nearly a decade. The original purpose of the RFC/U was as a structured means of providing input to User:Jimbo Wales to request that he ban users. Since he no longer uses that reserved power, there is no need for a means of structured input. The evidence page for the ArbCom and the diffs at WP:ANI serve the same purpose for those venues to ban users. The ArbCom does not require an RFC/U as a preliminary step to taking up a case, even in cases of administrative abuse. The ArbCom has, within the past year, desysopped two administrators without first requiring an RFC/U. The heat that is surrounding a particular ArbCom request concerning alleged administrative abuse is mostly the result of the failed RFC/U, and the case could have been brought anyway. Second, there have been proposals to make RFC/U either more rigid or less rigid. Some sort of reform of RFC/U would only be needed if some sort of RFC/U procedure were needed. RFC/U is not RFA, another troublesome process. The English Wikipedia does need RFA, because it does need administrators. It does not need RFC/U, because other mechanisms exist for dealing with user misconduct. Making RFC/U more rigid would just make it more difficult and equally disruptive. Making it less rigid would just permit more disruptive RFC/U proceedings. Third, the suggestion has been made to use the dispute resolution noticeboard. That would defeat one of the strengths of that noticeboard, which is that it only handles content dispute, and rejects cases that involve conduct. Fourth, the suggestion has been made to create another noticeboard. That would have most of the disadvantages of RFC/U. Any replacement for RFC/U either would not work, or would have the same disadvantages as RFC/U. We should simply get rid of it. Its original purpose was to request that users be banned by Jimbo Wales. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:06, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Do think that WP:ANI is fit for purpose? -- PBS (talk) 10:47, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
+1. why get consensus to remove a process that we don't need anymore only to replace it with a slightly more streamlined process we don't need. Just send stuff to AN and AN/I, it's where most of it goes anyway. Protonk (talk) 17:15, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
As no replacement has been proposed, the Rfc/U will likely remain. GoodDay (talk) 17:24, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
The reason I want it abolished is because I want the process eliminated, so that we can reduce bureaucracy. Meaning, I have no desire for a "replacement", since no replacement will work. The concept is just too flawed. What you are saying hardly makes sense. RGloucester 19:08, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm not certain if those in charge will be willing to scrap Rfc/U, without it being replaced. They may prefer the current number of bureaucracy steps. GoodDay (talk) 00:31, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I o not know who those in charge might be, but the community has the absolute ability to remopve this process, and if the conclusion of the RfC is sufficiently strong , it will be removed. Changes like this are not one of the thing under the jurisdiction of arb com nor of the Foundation. There are csome things the community can and should do of its own responsibility, and this is one. DGG ( talk ) 11:15, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Except the community does not agree that this process should be removed. Everyone feels differently about it. Furthermore, if it is not replaced with something if for some odd reason it is removed, then we are just digging ourselves into a hole that we will never get out of.
Also, Protonk, "why get consensus" seems like another way of saying "why bother discussing". Are you insinuating that the opinions of those that disagree with removing RFC/U should just be ignored? Just because the original purpose of RFC/U is no longer needed now doesn't mean it can't be fixed up to be something better (or, you know, replaced by something similar but more functional) If we didn't decide things by consensus, Wikipedia would be overrun by whomever has the most time on their hands. We have to run this by the book, because this is a major decision that needs to be thoroughly discussed, and allow everyone and anyone who wishes to do so to be able to give their tuppence worth on the matter. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 03:14, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
Tharthan, correctly reading consensus from a Wikipedia discussion comes from a lot of experience, usually from taking part in a lot of discussions and also having contributed significantly in areas that require sound judgement. Running 'by the book' means reasonably accurately gauging consensus, not glancing at a long discussion and simply 'thinking' what the majority wants. Closing a discussion like this can often take hours.
I share the opinion of those who based on their experiece of Wikipedia feel that RFC/U is no longer useful, and that it should be replaced with nothing - or at least nothing where trolls, foul-mouths, and the peanut gallery are allowed to participate. But it's probably best of all not to replace one piece of bureaucracy with another. I think we should preferably be looking at improving the functions of ANI and Arbcom and keeping some of the regulars away from them who only come along to disrupt the processes or simply take swipes at admins and arbs whoever they are. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:18, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
I can tell by the opinions given here that the community is divided. I think that is relatively obvious. Or, are we going to get into one of those arguments?
I respect your opinion, but personally I think that this needs to either not be removed, or (if removed) replaced with some sort of better process and not just nixed completely with no replacement. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 19:32, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

@Tharthan: I'm not sure what you mean. What I'm saying is why bother having an RfC like the above (which looks like it will end up eliminating RFC/U) only to replace it with a fundamentally similar process? It's possible that the discussion should be closed with a recommendation to create a replacement but IMO we don't need a replacement. RFC/U is not a high functioning process with some problems, it's a fundamentally broken process with few success stories (and plenty of alternative for DR). Protonk (talk) 20:03, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Well, first of all one never truly knows the outcome of this kind of discussion. Secondly, what do we do if the removal and lack of replacement of this process leads to bigger problems down the line? I agree that we should nip it in the bud and fix this problem, however fix does not necessarily mean destroy. No, instead, we should repair this broken system so that it functions the way it had ought to. Or, like I said before, alternatively, we create something new to replace RFC:U that does what RFC:U was supposed to do but better and more functionally. Tharthandorf Aquanashi (talk) 20:29, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
No we don't know, but that's why the comment is basically conditional. If we decide to remove RFC, then there's no sense in replacing it with something fundamentally different. As for the rest, what RFC/U was supposed to do was be a precursor to sending someone before Jimbo. That hasn't been a mechanism for dealing with editor conduct issues for about a decade. In the meanwhile, what has RFC/U accomplished that we should fear deprecating it? What major function does it perform well that "repairing" it would further improve? As I said in my vote, the incentives behind the process are staggeringly broken, we don't actually see many RFC/Us and the majority of situations where we want a community discussion with an enforced outcome can happen elsewhere (and are happening right now). What's there to fix? Protonk (talk) 21:09, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Proposing DRN for user conduct issues[edit]

Upon reading about the Wikipedia dispute resolution process, I have discovered that although there are many venues for resolving content issues (such as WP:3O, WP:DRN, etc.), there are not very many at all for resolving conduct issues, aside from WP:ANI, WP:RFCU, and WP:ARBCOM. There are issues with all of these:

  • ANI is not suitable for persons seeking friendly, moderated dispute resolution, as it is largely ruled by mob.
  • RFCU is about to be closed, because the latest DangerousPanda controversy has shown the process to be rather unhelpful.
  • ArbCom is only for the most serious of disputes, and the majority of disputes do not reach the level of seriousness required to justify an ArbCom case.

Therefore, I propose that we create another noticeboard, similar to WP:DRN. However, this noticeboard would be for resolving user conduct issues. Like the current DRN, this noticeboard would be a moderated environment (attended to by volunteers) where users in a dispute involving conduct could discuss the issues at hand. If implemented, this noticeboard would serve as a "stepping stone" between the initial talk page discussion and ANI, which would (hopefully) reduce the amount of drama and mob rule that regularly occurs as of now.
Thanks in advance for your input. --Biblioworm 21:01, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Kind of like WP:WQA? The community shut it down[15] because it was "doing Wikipedia, and it's editors, more harm than good." The community seems to want less bureaucracy, it keeps shutting boards down, and I have to admit, it has been for the better. Let me add, I would probably be against ANYTHING unless the dust has settled with RFC/U gone. How do we know what void to fill until we've had time to look at the void? Like with WQA, we just *might* be better with NO replacement. Regardless, it seems early to be worrying about it. Dennis - 21:27, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with Dennis... why not wait until after the RfC/U discussion above has had a chance to settle, and then see where we are? As the number of editors and admins declines, it's only reasonable that the number of processes and noticeboards should decline as well, as there are fewer volunteers and less volunteer time available to help at each one. 28bytes (talk) 22:04, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
    • I've made a suggestion above, a slight procedural change at ANI for cases that get too large. That alone should be sufficient to deal with the extra traffic, plus you don't have to "decide" if a case is ANI or more RFC-ish case when filing, it is allowed to grow and be dealt with in a more organic fashion. Unlike with RFC/U, it is a purely admin board, with tool use being an option. Dennis - 16:28, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
      • I oppose expanding DRN, as my experience there is that it is a toothless process similar to RfC/U, and suffers from a certain bureaucracy that just doesn't work. Our best processes are the free form ones at AN/I and AN, and I support Mr Brown's suggestion above that we reform AN and AN/I to better serve the interests of community. RGloucester 19:12, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
        • I understand you point about excessive bureaucracy and such, but is it possible to deny the fact that ANI is an uncivil battleground that is ruled by mob? If anything, AN and ANI need reform, like a couple of others above me have said. --Biblioworm 19:25, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
          • I agree that AN and AN/I need reform (as I said), but they work better than any other processes we have. AN/I often works. It can be uncivil, but that is not a problem particular to AN/I. It can be dramatic, but that is not a problem particular to AN/I. At the very least, AN/I allows grievances to be voiced in public, surrounded by "uninvolved" voices, and does not require the strict formatting requirements of RfC/Us or DRN. It is efficient. In cases when it is not efficient, the appropriate thing to do is head to ArbCom. RGloucester 19:28, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
            • The mob is at Wikipedia, and will follow the drama. It doesn't matter the venue or the process. The mob will go to where it is called. --Jayron32 17:23, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
              • The primary reason the mob rules at AN/I and similar places is that the people represented by the "A" in the name allow it to rule. HiLo48 (talk) 07:00, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
                • I think you have a complete misunderstanding of what the "A" people are empowered to do at Wikipedia. --Jayron32 12:32, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose creation of a new DRN. Let's review: Serious user conduct issues requiring admin intervention go to AN or ANI, issues the community is otherwise unable to resolve go to ArbCom. Non-serious user conduct issues that don't require admin intervention then have nowhere to go, which is a good thing because it forces users to either talk these things out or simply let them go, either of which is better than formal dispute processes which tend to escalate things and result in hurt feelings. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 21:12, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, not because I think it's a bad idea per se, but because AN/I tends to fulfill this purpose, although with frequent drama, but that comes with the nature of the requests. It is possible to have civil discourse there, but quite often hostility is brought over from whatever talk page the fighting is already happening on, and I don't see how any new or existing (or historical) process or noticeboard could deal with that drama more efficiently. And frequently, admin tools are required to implement the will of the community, so AN/I is a more appropriate venue anyway. Ivanvector (talk) 22:32, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose: that's the same as WQA which was shut down. I didn't !vote at WQA, so I guess I can suggest the nom to try getting WQA back on with a new reform which would be something like he's proposing. Then again he has to watch for WP:SNOW. --lTopGunl (talk) 06:41, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • "ANI is not suitable for persons seeking friendly, moderated dispute resolution, as it is largely ruled by mob." - what makes you think any new forum would not be the same (or, at least, would not suffer the same failings, whatever they are)? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:47, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
    • I'm not really even watching this discussion anymore. However, the reason I think this would work is because the current DRN for content disputes has seemed to work out fairly well, because civility is required and enforced there. ANI, however, is the place where people go to seek revenge, turn discussions around people who bring up good-faith complaints, etc. All in all, it's just a terrible place to get any rational dispute resolution done, unless some people make themselves self-appointed ANI mediators (not a bad idea). --Biblioworm 14:13, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Personally, I think most users are dissatisfied with the system as it exists after having had some experience with it, and there seems to be a significant push in recent months for changing procedures and processes. The fact is though that this is all happening a bit late, and should have occurred some years ago - but alas, it was rashness which led to procedures being enacted back then, and it's the same rashness which is now shutting them down (without first putting in effective systems in place). For this reason, I must applaud Biblioworm for at least recognising some part of this and making an effort propose some alternative to add to the extremely limited options available. That said, I fear Wikipedia history has shown that enacting this particular idea is likely to end up being no different to previous noticeboards (such as the sanctions noticeboard and WQA) which were subsequently shut down. A proposal which would lead to a mediation of conduct disputes - so that if mediation fails and the parties are simply unable to come to a resolution, then it proceeds further - might be worthwhile, but it again comes down to a lack of incentive by parties to participate in a meaningful way. It is a website after all. Ncmvocalist (talk) 15:23, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The best venue for discussing user conduct is the user's own talk page. Go there, raise concerns politely and talk to them like a human. This usually works. No special noticeboards are needed. Taking a concern to a noticeboard is inherently hostile and almost always intensifies a dispute. Jehochman Talk 15:26, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I Agree with Dennis Brown and partly with Jayron32. Let the dust settle over the closure of RFC/U but creating another venue to fill the void would be a big mistake. Start looking how ANI can be improved by turning it back into an Admin venue, disallowing comments from uninvolved newbs, admin wannabes, and general admin haters and others with an axe to grind who have been allowed to exercise their mob justice there for far too long; disallow NAC, and please, NO self-appointed moderators from the peanut gallery. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:29, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
    Who, slow your roll bro... I agree with approximately zero percent of what you said there. Admins are not a special class of Wikipedia user with their own special playground where non-admins aren't welcome. No aspect of Wikipedia should ever be closed off to non admins. Having a few extra editing tools to protect the text of Wikipedia articles from vandalism and disruption does not grant admins special social rights at Wikipedia. The idea that the admin bit allows a small cadres of users to shut other users out of discussions at ANI or anywhere is abhorrent and I weep for your soul if you believe that. --Jayron32 02:36, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
    I was going to comment, but @Jayron32 said just about everything that I was going to. --Biblioworm 04:08, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
Jayron32 (and I thought for a moment you were an admin), I'm surprised you didn't read what I said before launching into an almost 100% PA. You are fully aware that ANI is almost saturated by hardly relevant comments from the spectators' gallery. It resembles as much discipline as a Grade 6 classroom while the teacher is out of the room. If more admins (of the nice kind, naturally) were to risk having to duck the missiles and participate there more often, perhaps at least it could be turned into the decorum of a proper meeting and more judgement and less kangaroo justice would ensue. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:40, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I am an admin. I have been for six years. And you have confused "personal attack" with "calling you on an opinion I disagree with". People who say you are wrong are not personally attacking you. It is fundamentally wrong to "disallow comments" from anyone. It is not a personal attack to tell you that. Of course, when you use derogatory names like "newbs" and "wannabes" and "haters", that isn't a personal attack, but when I use zero derogatory names, and tell you that you are incorrect, I am personally attacking you? Again, I can find no reason to agree with you on that one. Perhaps you need to learn that personal attacks is what you did using the words you did. So I say again, slow your roll and learn that you didn't earn the right to call other people names when you became an admin, you did not become immune from criticism when you became an admin, and when you make overt statements which are exactly against Wikipedia's open community ethos, expect people to call you on that and tell you why you are wrong. --Jayron32 20:28, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

RfC: Should ArbCom be broken up into smaller boards[edit]

Proposal: Should ArbCom be broken up into several smaller, independent boards, each of which would be tasked with one part of the current ArbCom's responsibilities? --Floquenbeam (talk) 12:48, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Extended comments by proposer[edit]

Being on ArbCom kind of sucks, and as a result, the number of quality candidates has (IMHO) decreased steadily (so much so that last time *I* got elected!?!). I note that with 4 days to go this year, for example, we have a grand total of 2 declared candidate.

I've been sort of thinking about a different way we could go about organizing ArbCom, but it's in its early stages.

To the extent that I'm allowed to specify the scope of the discussion, I really hope we could avoid discussing specifics like exact # of boards, # of people per board, how they're elected, whether people could serve on more than one board, the exact process we'd follow to establish it, whether this should be for the 2015 election or the 2016 election, etc. First step is really just to gauge the interest, and uncover any disadvantages with the general idea that I haven't thought of.

So, the examples I give below are examples, not part of a specific proposal.

What I had in mind is, each board would have a fairly limited scope, and thus a smaller workload. I think if the workload was more reasonable, more good potential Arbitrators board members might be interested, and the damage that bad potential board members could do would be reduced. More people means an even smaller workload which would mean even more people: a virtuous cycle. A single 30-member ArbCom would become paralyzed, but (say) six 5-member boards might work much more efficiently.

Not too many boards, but enough so there is work to do on each, but not too much. Maybe something like (and this is off the top of my head, with about 3 minutes of thought):

  • Final block/ban/AE appeals
  • Icky child protection issues/accusations (which should be a WMF thing, but isn't)
  • Admin conduct review (I'm kind of burying the lede here, I think this might have a lot of interest) Note: This idea is currently under discussion and I added the link Oiyarbepsy (talk) 21:28, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Intractable user behavioral issues not solved by the community
  • Intractable content issues not solved by the community
  • Intractable policy interpretation issues
  • Some kind of group to liaison with WMF?

I hope this can either gain some traction, or the obvious problems with this that I haven't seen can be pointed out. I fear that inertia will kill an otherwise good idea. --Floquenbeam (talk) 12:50, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Discussion (Break up ArbCom)[edit]

  • Not trying to be difficult, but what is the current workload of ARBCOM? How many cases do they hear at any one time? How much time do ARBCOM members need to devote, on average, to be successful at their job? It would help to have some reference to know what is currently expected of ARBCOM members before we can know if splitting it up is needed. Also, it would be good to hear from more people on the inside of ARBCOM if they also think they are overburdened with their workload. --Jayron32 12:53, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
That's not being difficult at all; good questions. I've used up my allotted Wikipedia time this morning, but I'll give some info on my experience, at least, later today. Sneak preview: hearing cases is not the majority of an Arb's time; For a while I was spending maybe 1 hour per day on it, and I was definitely not pulling my weight. --Floquenbeam (talk) 12:59, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Jayron, the workload varies. Right now I'd say we have a "high" load, that is - 2 recently closed, 3 open, 3 pending requests (of which only one is at decline, and two have more accepts than decline), 6 (or 11 depending on how you look at it) clarifications/amendments. We've also handled about 20 BASC appeals in the past month. There are two reviews of procedures currently running or stalled, a rules review and a BASC review. There are other areas where we have work, which should not be discussed publicly. Additionally, there are Arbcom elections happening, meaning an intake to the committee who will need to be brought up to speed along with all the natural housekeeping of a turnover. I would DEFINITELY recommend splitting up the areas. NB, part of the reason I'm not planning to run again is that I need a break. WormTT(talk) 13:49, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
    Further - have a look at edit counts of arbitrators. The years they are on Arbcom generally have edit counts of between 1/4 and 1/2 of that which they have otherwise. It eats your time (and possibly your soul!) WormTT(talk) 14:06, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
@Jayron32: About responsibilities: You're not just dealing with reading evidence and workshops and deciding actual cases, you're dealing with case requests, clarifications and amendments, ban and block appeals (this is a big one), dealing with people emailing information on suspected pedophiles and other malefactors, dealing with people emailing random complaints about other editors that you have to point to the proper on-wiki channels, wading through a truly massive amount of spam on the mailing list (the spam filter can't be trusted to not lose something important, so I believe every single piece of spam gets filtered out by one of the arbs who have volunteered to do so), helping coordinate the clerks. Not every arb does all of these things. To be clear/honest, when I was there I helped out very little or not at all on many of these tasks. Arbs kind of self-select for things they're interested in/have a skill for/have time for.
About the amount of time spent being an Arb: it varies wildly from one arb to another. Some have found a way to spend a relatively small amount of time, chiming in usefully now and then, and are happy to handle it that way; they aren't likely to burn out, but they aren't really reducing the workload. Others get burned out with too much work, and others (ahem, cough) get burned out worrying about the fact that they aren't doing too much work, but should be doing more. There are currently, I'd say, a couple of arbs I'd guess spending 20 hours or more on arb stuff; maybe another 4-5 that spend 1-2 hrs per day. But these are just guesses; all I can really say for sure is that I spent around 1 hr per day, which doesn't sound like too much, but really prevents the vast majority of people with real life complications from participating. At the risk of annoying them, I'll ping the current arbs @All of them: so they can describe their own workload if they wish. --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:35, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
Sigh; I should proofread more. replacing the placeholder ping above with an actual ping: @AGK, Beeblebrox, Carcharoth, David Fuchs, GorillaWarfare, LFaraone: @NativeForeigner, Newyorkbrad, Salvio giuliano, Seraphimblade, Timotheus Canens: --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:44, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
You forgot about Worm, @Floquenbeam. --Biblioworm 20:57, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
@Biblioworm: He already commented above... --Floquenbeam (talk) 21:08, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
I have no objection in principle to this. I am concerned that it would lead to massive instruction creep. I would also point out that (just as on WP generally) there is no need for anyone to be involved in every decision/discussion. All the best: Rich Farmbrough13:42, 14 November 2014 (UTC).
  • I think ArbCom should be split, but more than 3 or 4 committees would be overkill. I suggested this a few times and most recently here at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/BASC reform 2014. Since this is very much to the point and I would only paraphrase myself, I'll cite and append if necessary :
    (...) I would go further in the mandate afforded to this new committee [Appeals Committee], extending it to cover all community sanctions (such as topic bans) [and maybe indeed AE too]. Now, the matter of its composition ? The structure proposed by Beeblebrox seems adequate for the time being, although in the long run I would prefer that all members be community elected. If the concern is that the pool of candidates is too small, this is already mitigated by the fact that users may stand in both ArbCom and 'AppCom', and if necessary we can have arbs filling missing seats. This would not be an issue in the long term though, see infra.
    Something similar should be done with AUSC, there must be a dedicated committee [Audit Committee] separate from ArbCom with final say on CU/OS matters. I had suggested this in the past but arbs were reluctant to the idea, arguing that this was the 'fiduciary duty' of ArbCom as mandated by the wmf privacy policy. In fact this is not at all the case, the policy makes possible for local arbitration committees matching certain conditions to take upon this duty, but this is in no way a requirement, and indeed several wikis have arbitration committees matching these conditions but without any of those responsibilities. Here again, I would extend the mandate of this 'AudCom', specifically to misconduct by administrators outside formal arbitration cases. Any case overlapping between the three different committees [ArbCom, AppCom, AudCom] would be resolved by a joint subcommittee.
    All in all, I think it is a step in the good direction to 'decentralize' ArbCom, and in fact return it to its more basic role. It is true that there has been lots of progress in the recent years and the threat of an 'all powerful' [...] arbcom has diminished, but it did not disappear altogether and introducing concurrent committees affected to different duties would make this threat much more remote. In addition, these committees would have a more focused role, so would be more efficient, the members wouldn't have to be proficient in so many areas and would have less work, meaning a less demanding job, so more attractive, and the pool of candidates would increase as a result.
    I'm going to resume my thoughts in a condensed manner. A large committee with a vast number of responsibilities is bound to be inefficient, the solution is to divide it in several committees with more focused responsibilities. Of course, I'm not advocating the extreme opposite which is just as inefficient, but a middle ground such as described above seems like the most efficient solution, not only for Wikipedia but for the committee members.
  • End citation. This isn't particularly refined, but you got the idea. Cenarium (talk) 14:07, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
This is an interesting idea, but I would be worried about splitting it up into too many groups. If you have one committee that needs to elect 6-7 people every year and you want 3x as many candidates to give people a good choice, then you only need 18-21 candidates. If you have 7 committees with same number of people, you might need over 100 candidates (depending on how many people decide to run for more than one committee). There's also the issue with managing such a large election, as well as voter turnout and information. For a major role like ArbCom, there's a lot of people willing to vote and hopefully most of them are doing some research before voting. But are enough people going to care about the smaller roles of smaller committees to research more candidates and vote? Mr.Z-man 14:33, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

I've long stated my opposition to proposed ideas for improving the project where there is a solution looking for a problem. It is all too common here that people have fantastic new ideas for how we can further the project. Indeed, our very ethos strongly encourages this. However, such methods catastrophically fail when they are implemented without an understanding of their place within problem solving. Here we have a demonstration of this; we have an idea for how to improve the situation with ArbCom, without scoping out what the situation is with ArbCom. There's general reference to a decline in candidates for ArbCom, and that's it. Where's the research to support this simple statement? Understand; if there is a decline, the decline isn't the problem. It's the symptom. The question is the symptom of what? The proposer says it's a symptom of ArbCom sucking. But, there's no research to support (or oppose) this. RfA is in decline too, but is it because RfA sucks? We don't know. General editing is trending down too, but is that because Wikipedia editing sucks? See the problem here with solutions looking for problems? With all respect to the proposer, this is a very unprofessional approach to "solving" the problem with ArbCom, and will lead to disaster. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:04, 14 November 2014 (UTC) (ps: for what it's worth, the average number of nominees at 4 days out from the deadline over the last 4 years was 8, and the final average number of nominees 22. Clearly there is a big increase of nominations in the days leading up to the deadline. One year does not a statistical trend make)

I definitely think some sort of admin conduct review venue is needed. Others not sure about. My worry would be shortage of applicants for multiple boards.....and not sure that it need to be split up. But will see after the nomination period has ended.Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 09:32, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Efficiency - well a smaller Arbcom would likely be more efficient - less votes needed to pass or decline - less waiting on the others, etc. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:06, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of an ArbCom that is split so that cases can be undertaken more expeditiously. Seven people working on one thing and seven others working on another should help make our plodding school bus of a system more agile and zippy taking and disposing of cases in less than eight weeks... Carrite (talk) 17:59, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Just an idea here: Could we just expand the number of ARBCOM members, and then allow them to self-segregate into subcommittees based on interest/skills/needs? We could have one subcommittee dedicated to cases, one to BASC, one to ombudsman-type activities, etc. We could even have the members rotate through the subcommittees every few months to prevent burnout in any one segment. Just an idea. --Jayron32 20:35, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
    • It's likely that additional members will just make it harder to achieve compromise, which I assume is essential in the commottee's work. Perhaps it might make sense to reduce the number of members, and simultaneously give the new body the poser to decide certain kinds of cases with less of the bells and whistles a full case requires now - a streamlines procedure for a streamlines committee. BMK (talk) 08:10, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I see this proposal as complementary to the on on the BASC. This will increase the workload at arb com; the other will reduce it. DGG ( talk ) 04:22, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The primary problem I see with this proposal is that ArbCom interprets policy. Multiple mini-ArbComs are likely to interpret policy in slightly different ways, which gives rise to the need for a way to settle the differences between them, much as the US Supreme Court settles the differences in interpretations of US law made by the circuit courts. With such a Supreme ArbCom, we're back to having the ArbCom the proposal attempted to get rid of, with the unwanted addition of a bureaucratic level below it. I'm afraid that we're just going to have to continue sacrificing editors to the maw of a single, over-worked ArbCom. BMK (talk) 08:05, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • To mostly repeat something I said in another section above: personally, I think most users are dissatisfied with the system as it exists after having had some experience with it, and there seems to be a significant push in recent months for changing procedures and processes. The fact is though that this is all happening a bit late, and should have occurred some years ago - but alas, it was rashness which led to procedures being enacted back then, and it's rashness which is dominating the proposals being actively floated at the moment. I agree with Hammersoft's comment above in respect of this proposal. To address one part of the proposal, I would add that it is sad that each group of users elected each year tend to be shocked by the "icky child protection issues/accusations" that they are stuck dealing with, but well, unless WMF do take those issues, I can't see why any decent number of ordinary volunteer editors/admins would actively want to have to deal with those issues, alone anyway. Ncmvocalist (talk) 15:08, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of maybe breaking up the ArbCom into multiple functions, or, alternately, adding more members to the ArbCom to functionally decrease the load on each individual member of the ArbCom. I recently suggested to someone some of us are trying to talk into running for ArbCom that I think we would get more good candidates for ArbCom if the potential candidates knew they were not likely to be forced to review interminable reams of paper or the electronic equivalent on a regular basis, and maybe have some sort of month-on/month-off shifts on ArbCom. If separate entities with different purposes were to be created, which would presumably have different individuals, and hopefully more individuals, willing to take on those responsibilities, I think that would be a net plus for the community. John Carter (talk) 19:15, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Agreed, I think a split committee would be effective. Having them would split their responsibilities into different segments.Sam.gov (talk) 21:24, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree that simply splitting arbcom so that cases can be heard by a 7, and appeals/queries by even fewer (say 3-4) would go a long way to increasing the efficiency and decreasing the workload of Arbcom. Such a change is easy to implement and doesn't require any extra bureaucratic overhead. --Tom (LT) (talk) 05:23, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The original idea, of six different committees rather than one, is not one I think I can support. Right now, members select into their preferred tasks, but if we're getting an absolute flood of one thing or another, we can ask that a few extra eyes work over there for a while. The idea of active arbitrators on a per-case basis is interesting, but I don't want to get down to so few that case management is affected, nor to the point that a couple of individuals might be making major decisions about whether and how an individual may continue editing here. I'd also echo concerns raised above by BMK and Mr. Z-man. Right now, and with apologies to Churchill, I'm afraid the case might be "ArbCom is the worst way to do this, aside from any other way that's been tried." Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:09, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • FWIW, if you are speaking of my proposal of a month-on/month-off system as a "per-case" basis, I should indicate that I also in the original proposal said that I thought it would work best if we actually increased, or basically doubled, the number of arbitrators. I tend to think that there would be more individuals willing to take on the duties of ArbCom if they knew they were not going to commit themselves to handling every case presented over the next year or so, and think that we probably could get roughly double the number of arbitrator candidates if they knew that it wouldn't be a "full-time" position. John Carter (talk) 20:14, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  • If we could start the process by doing one thing right, it would be to spin off BASC to the community. Sanctions created by ArbCom can still be appealed to an ArbCom subcommittee; sanctions created by the community will be appealed to the community. This single change will simplify ArbCom's tasks and allow it to hear more disputes in the absence of RFC/U (see above) before they become intractable. Ignocrates (talk) 20:43, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I think the most important thing is for ArbCom to deal only with arbitration of cases brought to it, and not with all the other "private" things that have fallen to it by default. I like the idea of rotating subgroups of members deciding individual cases, instead of having to herd all of the cats for every decision. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:44, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I would more propose that ARBCOM remain the same. These other groups be created to take some of the workload off and ARBCOM to exist to provide final oversight.-Serialjoepsycho- (talk) 03:37, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

The sky isn't falling[edit]

In the original posting of this RfC a claim was made that being on ArbCom sucks, and this has negatively influenced the pool of candidates. The 'proof' of this was that there were only 2 candidates declared with 4 days to go. In 2009 there were 22 candidates, 2010 there were 21 candidates , 2011 there were 17 candidates, 2012 there were 21 candidates, 2013 there were 22 candidates. In fact, the average number of candidates from 2009 to 2013 was 20.6. We now have 20 candidates, a decrease of 0.6 candidates. It would seem ArbCom sucks 3% more than it did on average the last five years :) --Hammersoft (talk) 14:38, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

Comments[edit]

First, this Request for Comments appears to be really a Request for comments rather than a Request for Consensus, and therefore will not necessarily be closed with a community recommendation.

I strongly support the concept of doing something to permit the ArbCom to decide cases more quickly. In 2005 and 2006, the ArbCom was able to decide a hundred cases a year. (Most of them had to do with banning of flamers, trolls, and vandals, who are now banned by the community. However, the community cannot deal with polarizing editors.) It now deals with at most two cases a month. It is my understanding that a major part of the problem has to do with ban and block appeals, and that something should be done so that the ArbCom is not burdened with them. However, in general, there is a need for some sort of enforcement reform in the English Wikipedia, which is too large to rely only on the ArbCom, "the community", and single-admin blocks that can be overturned by any other admin.

I would support the idea of having the ArbCom hear cases in panels of three, with some provision (rarely) for en banc rehearings.

I don't think that splitting different types of cases into different ArbComs is a good solution. Having the ArbCom hear cases in panels of three is a better idea.

The original poster mentioned intractable content issues that cannot be resolved by the community. That is an editorial board, and English Wikipedia has never had an editorial board, and that is not an ArbCom reform, but an idea that, in my opinion, would have to go to the WMF. For the time being, I oppose an editorial board, until it is better explained.

I agree that icky child protection issues should be handled by the WMF. If they can't take legal responsibility, what do they do other than get paid?

This is beyond the scope of this RFC, but I would support some sort of jury system of panels of three below the ArbCom to decide on blocks for user misconduct.

Robert McClenon (talk) 18:00, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

  • There is a lot going on at the moment - I've rarely seen the VP 'Proposals' section populated with so many serious topics at the same time. This RfC is indeed not like one about about VE, MediaViewer, or Article Feedback Tools, or a MoS or notability issue, its about a handful of community-internal management issues that are inseparably interlinked and which need a holistic approach in order to resolve. This would take a while, maybe a year, but perhaps a management consultancy drawn from the community could officially be designated to look into all these issues, come up with unarguable facts, and present a proper bundle of solutions for approval. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:37, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

All this and only one hit for "obudsman" and it's not even about WP:OM[edit]

The Wikipedia Ombudsman (WP:OM the redirect has been reused for something else in the interim, so WP:Ombudsman) was proposed almost ten years ago when it wasn't essential. It was proposed as a one person effort on this noticeboard and turned down.

The role of ombudsman is common to all modern authorative structures, to review said authority, where they might otherwise not be scrutinised, mainly in government departments such as police. It was proposed as a single volunteer elected by Jimmy Wales and to not only review, but to instruct and to also be responsible for ARBCOM.

NOTE: The ombudsman could be anything in the detail, but the existence of fair impartial review would strengthen the admin noticeboards with steel. So I make comments here about the details, but they are only secondary to the ombudsman itself, and it is my response to what you will find if you click that link and see the previous proposal (and there was a WP:OMBUDSMEN proposal).

ARBCOM is under full public scrutiny. If ARBCOM is not doing what it should, they do not avoid scrutiny. Ombudsmen are only effective in those situations where scrutiny is not effective or apparent.

The WMF has recently had enough spare contribution to employ outside help and does for things like structuring help and co-ordinating stuff like equality measures from outside professionals. Couldn't some sort of professional be employed as an impartial reviewer of things like ANI to give solid reports on wether process is being followed or not?

In the wider world, ombudsmen are at first feared as an apocalyptic horse by some institutions, but over the course, they remove pressure from an authorative structure in that they remove the need for said authority to review each other and cause division and disharmony in the will to practice according to sanctioned procedure. If there is a working ombudsman, issue where you blame each other become irrelevant because someone else follows the blaming, and the following courses of action, should they be required, are rigid, automatic, not decision based. We already have instructions what to do when problems are found. the issue is wether those things are being done, and this is precisely the role of an ombudsman, or the WP:OM if you like.

So you could write books length about the value of ombudsmen, and argue endlessly about the details, but the principle would remain, impartial review. Arguments about wether admins were being effective would be, in large part, irrelevant.

So nobody is talking about that, but there are various threads above to which this is practically called out for, that having procedure does not prove that it is followed. If that was what you were looking for, there it is, ombudsman/men. Get it implemented. And don't base it on what I have written. Base it on the value of the ombudsman, and what you want from it your self, draw your own conclusion, ~ R.T.G 16:23, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

  • So let me try to understand what you are proposing. With respect to the United States' government, the ombudsman is to the President as ArbCom is to the Supreme Court? Would this be like a system of checks and balances where the ombudsman and ArbCom each prevent each other from getting too much influence? Also, would ombudsman be elected in the same way ArbCom members are? Everymorning talk to me 20:44, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
@Everymorning: I am not an expert on the details or anything, but basically an ombudsman is an impartial unconnected reviewer. It's not specific to presidency or anything like that. It's specific to comparing procedure with actuality from a neutral uninvolved position. It's an outside reviewer with no connection, other than that they review, should a review be required. It's like a legal clerking job hired in to be unconnected to the legal structure, and report if they are following the rules or not. It's a very commonplace role in structures such as government, particularly well known for reviewing police activity, but again not specific to that. It would answer the questions above which claim that AN is mob ruled and cannot be trusted and such. These are the sort of accusations which instigate such offices in the wider world also. ~ R.T.G 22:28, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The problem with creating a new oversight position such as an "Ombudsman" or other such position is Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?; We have groups of people who serve that role: they are the ARBCOM and Admins and Bureaucrats and Oversighters and Stewards, etc. People complain that, for example, ARBCOM doesn't have enough oversight, can't be trusted, etc. So, you create a new position whose job is to review the job that ARBCOM is doing. If no one is watching THAT group, they become subject to the same exact criticism. You don't every get away from that; you just shift the criticism to new bodies. It's an infinite recursion of criticism, leveled against whatever group is being trusted to do their job without higher oversight. It solves nothing. --Jayron32 17:32, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
    I agree. If a process is subject to suspicions, adding another layer of process will just add another layer of suspicions. The real way to reform is to increase transparency of existing process. ArbCom should be quicker to hear cases of admin abuse, quicker to dismiss claims that are bogus (and sanction serial false-accusers), and continue to quickly desysop for actual abuse. The main opportunity for ArbCom to improve would be for them to conduct more of their deliberations in the open, and less on the private mailing list. Jehochman Talk 17:47, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Not that ARBCOM is transparent in any way. It deliberates in secret, and doesn't even bother to explain the reasons behind its decisions. The ombudsman would provide a much-needed check on an organisation that is out of control. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:31, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
    Who checks the out-of-control ombudsman? Either you trust the ultimate arbiter or you don't. Creating a new ultimate arbiter just creates a new office to mistrust. --Jayron32 02:39, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
    No, that is incorrect. The ombudsman's only job is to keep ArbCom honest. So long as they are independent of each other, we can trust both of them more than either. Mathematically, if we trust ArmCom p and the Ombudsman q, we can trust the two of them 1-(1-p)(1-q). Hawkeye7 (talk) 03:30, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
    Who keeps the ombudsman honest? --Jayron32 13:10, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose would likely create bureaucracy and dramah without really solving anything. Those who hate Arbcom would still hate Arbcom, but they'd have an additional target as well. A broader issue might be raised about why people are often keen to have Wikipedia mimic real-world political governments, when (1) a volunteer website aiming to build an encyclopedia is nothing like governing a real-world soverign nation and (2) even under the best of circumstances, governments have plenty of problems too. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 17:13, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

Enable content translation[edit]

Please enable Content translation on opt-in basis in the beta tab. This is a configuration change and we may have to gain consencus in order to do it. Gryllida (talk) 22:23, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

  • As an opt-in beta, I imagine this will be fairly uncontroversial. I would certainly love to give it a test. Reticulated Spline (tc) 00:49, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I can see no problem in trying this as a beta opt-in. S a g a C i t y (talk) 20:14, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't see a problem either. We should have it as an opt-in option in the beta lab. Tony Tan98 · talk 20:17, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Non-administrator arbitrators[edit]

I've proposed a modification to WP:ADMIN related to arbitrators getting administrative rights if they don't already have them. Please participate in the WT:ADMIN section of the same name as this one. Nyttend (talk) 18:01, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

RfC United States same-sex marriage map[edit]

I opened up an RfC for the U.S. same-sex marriage map due to the complicated situation of Kansas: RfC: How should we color Kansas? Prcc27 (talk) 09:27, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Local administrators should be able to view and transfer Commons deleted file history[edit]

Sometimes Commons deletes an image that is used on a Wikipedia article even though the image can satisfy Wikipedia's image inclusion criteria (or that of another project). So it's worth retrieving the image, but one has to ask a sysop at Commons, which can take some time, etc. I think local sysops should have the ability to directly view the deleted file history (both upload and page), so that they can retrieve the image and its description easily. The link would read something like View or restore x deleted commons edits?. For attribution, this would require retrieving the history and transfer it locally too. We could ask for a new userright allowing this that would be granted to admins on local projects. Cenarium (talk) 20:50, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 113#Commons admins with viewdelete is related but proposes the opposite: Commons admins having the ability to view deleted pages on other projects. SiBr4 (talk) 21:08, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. This was implemented recently by bug 14801http://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=14801, not actively used yet. The RFC is at m:Requests for comment/Global file deletion review. The easiest solution would then be to allow local sysops to be assigned to this usergroup as well, since they would see commons files in particular. So we may make a RFC at meta for this. Cenarium (talk) 21:28, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
While I don't frequently deal with images, this issue became a consideration with commons:File:RavKav Israeli Transport Card.png - a clearly unfree file which I presumed would be fair use here. After asking at Wikipedia:Media copyright questions (now archived at Wikipedia:Media copyright questions/Archive/2013/August#File:RavKav Israeli Transport Card.png), I uploaded the file here - but had to do it (or at least get the image there) before the original was deleted at the commons. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 09:10, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't as well, but last year I happened to notice a removal of File:EuthanasiePropaganda.jpg from an article because it was deleted at commons. It had been moved there from here, so I just undeleted it here and added a fair use. But it wouldn't have been possible if it was only uploaded at commons. Cenarium (talk) 11:04, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Reviving the Weekly contests[edit]

I am proposing to revive the Weekly contests. I am most active on the Swedish Wikipedia where we have these contests almost every week. I think it is a fun way of collaborating more. I have held in a few contests there and would like to do the same here. There are many different ways of making a contest with many different goals. I have made a example contest in my sandbox (here) with the "simple" goal of making more articles and I am prepared to start it next week (or some other week). Do anyone have any objections or some other comments that I need to consider? The Weekly contest page does of course also need to be updated and that I can do as soon as I start with the contest(s). - Averater (talk) 09:46, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

Mahatma?[edit]

Scotland[edit]

Should Scottish products, services and other things be credited to Scotland rather than the UK? Should Scotland count as a separate country in all Wikipedia contexts? Pablothepenguin (talk) 23:50, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Uh, no? Scotland isn't a "separate country", so I don't know why it would be considered as such. It may be helpful to refer to something as Scottish when it only exists in a Scottish context. I.e. one might say "Scotmid is a Scottish independent consumer co-operative", given that Scotmid has no presence in the rest of the UK. Otherwise, however, that doesn't make Scotland a "separate country". RGloucester 00:04, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
Scotland is a constituent country, it's not sovereign. We should stick with using United Kingdom. GoodDay (talk) 00:08, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
We have our own government, snob. Pablothepenguin (talk) 00:26, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Calling people "snob" doesn't mean you get your way. Rather, it usually means people will forever ignore your possibly good ideas. If you avoid being insulting, and show an attitude of cooperation instead, you're likely to have more success. --Jayron32 01:08, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
And so do 50 states in the United States. Or the provinces of Canada, or Australia, all of which have more autonomy than Scotland does. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 08:18, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
Myself, I'm a North Briton. Plenty of administrative sub-divisions have governments, but that doesn't mean that they are a "separate country" from other administrative sub-divisions. Do we consider Aberdeenshire a "separate country" from Midlothian? No. Britain is a unitary state, and all state sovereignty rests at Westminster. This theoretical debate is pointless, anyway, because no matter how one looks at it, "Scotland" is not a "separate country" from the rest of Britain. We refer to things as "Scottish" only when it is necessary to disambiguate from things elsewhere in Britain, or when it is necessary to provide preciseness, as in the Scotmid example. RGloucester 01:02, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
It's an essay but see Wikipedia:Nationality of people from the United Kingdom. If Scotland counts as a separate country in all contexts then what was Scottish independence referendum, 2014 about? PrimeHunter (talk) 01:11, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
Follow the sources. If the sources you're using to verify a product, service or other thing credit it to Scotland, then so does Wikipedia. Ivanvector (talk) 17:01, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

"Today's Featured Article" coordinator - change proposed[edit]

See WT:TFAR#Notice of intention to stand to down as TFA coordinator and the discussion that follows it. BencherliteTalk 15:28, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Admins should serve 3-year terms[edit]

RfC: alternative to RfA: appointment of administrators[edit]

After much discussion on this page about the future of the RfA process, I'd like to propose a new alternative process for granting administrator status. This proposal is the product of discussion both on this page, and at the page I'll link in just a moment. It is proposed that the Wikipedia community create a body called the Administrative Standards Commission (ASC) to appoint administrators in parallel to the existing RfA process. The text of this proposal can be found at the link I've just provided. The talk page of that proposal is where it was discussed and drafted. Should we implement this proposal as specified at the proposal page? RGloucester 00:48, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Discussion (alternative to RfA)[edit]

  • I dont like the idea of creating more bureaucracy to deal with this. It seems to me that it just bureaucratizes the problem instead of solving it. What I like about the proposal is that the "bureau" also proposes desysopping, presumably with some weight so that it is actually acted upon. I think it would be a better idea to make the process more participatory, but less onerous. The problem is not broad participation in deciding who gets the tools. It is the bar that needs to be lowered. Nonetheless I am pretty much willing to try anything new at this point so I may end up supporting this proposal.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:03, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I understand the reservations of bureaucracy creep, but, at the same time, creating some sort of board to deal with unforeseen circumstances as they arise could reduce the number of specific qualifications under unusual circumstances which would probably have to be itemized for a broader "automatic" proposal to pass. John Carter (talk) 01:26, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
No, "broad participation" is the problem, because it turns administrators into politicians, a role they should not be playing. Administrators should be technocrats, carrying out tasks necessary for the maintenance of the encyclopaedia, in line with the principle of "no big deal". Technocrats cannot possibly carry out their duties to the extent necessary in a climate where they will be strung up in front of a mob. We don't want administrators who are of a lesser quality, merely we want administrators who can do their jobs appropriately. The present system patently discourages those who are best at doing these jobs from ever running for adminship. Removing the mob from the equation is the appropriate way to solve this problem. We need to put our trust in representatives, elected by the community. RGloucester 02:17, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
If that is the reasoning then I cannot support this proposal. The "not politicians" argument makes no sense since you are exactly proposing a board of elected "politicians" to appoint dmins instead of just appointing them directly through election. That simply moves the problem by adding an additional level of bureaucracy. The reason admins get embroiled with "politics" is because by necessity they deal directly with users and exercise power. They can no more be "technocrats" than law enforcement officers can - they are in their very essence a political class. Your proposal solves none of the problems you or I see (which I clearly not the same) and it adds the problem of an other small clique of powerful users who make decisions on the behalf of others. Nothing could be further form the spirit of Wikipedia. Back to the drawing board. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:27, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
That's the point, fellow. We must separate the politicians from the administrators, which is how government does it. Politicians appoint administrators on behalf of their electorate. This is because people that carry out technical work need to be able to do so without being taxed by political manoeuvring. Likewise, that's what we'd do here. Administrators are patently not politicians, nor should they be, neither is a constable a politician. Politicians are those that trade in discourse. Administrators should not trade in discourse, nor should constables. They should carry out the tasks needed to maintain the encyclopaedia, and to curtail disruption to editorial processes. They are trusted by the community to do this. They exercise their power on behalf of the community in this way. When a constable is forced to run for election, however, he becomes beholden to populism, to bargaining, and to politics. No longer will the quiet technocrat do the job well, but instead, the gregarious politician will do the job poorly. We need to return adiministration to its roots, here. Administrators began as technocrats, and they should remain as such. RfA has moved us away from that ideal. This proposal allows us to get back to our roots. It is anything but far from the "spirit of Wikipedia". In fact, it preserves the encylopaedia in away that RfA never can. Being an administrator should be "no big deal", and this proposal enshrines that principle. RGloucester 02:36, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
It does entirely the opposite. It makes it a requisite for admins to suck up to a small clique of powermongers. It is this kind of system that leads to Feguson and Ayotzinapa in the real world.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 03:28, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
No "power-mongers" are involved. Commissioners would be elected by the community, in the same manners as Arbitrators. They'd be trusted, for that reason, just as Arbitrators are. They would not have any power over anyone. The only power they'd have is to accept applications for administrative rights, and to vet candidates for adminship. RfA would continue exist as a venue, concurrently. Democracy is rarely the answer to any problems, not least technical ones. Populism is our a problem, this Commission is the solution. However, I fear you are merely standing on a soapbox, and haven't read the proposal, so I shan't respond to you further. RGloucester 03:36, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I've read it thanks for the confidence. "Democracy is rarely the answer to any problems" describes very well where you are coming from and why you and I will never see eye to eye. I honestly don't know why people with that outlook would even be evolved in this eminently democratic project. Certainly I will stand on a soapbox if that is what it takes to stop people with ideas like yours from removing the singlemost sane and reasonable aspect of this project.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 03:51, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't consider this project democratic. Wikipedia is not a democracy, as we're oft told. Wikipedia is a compendium of knowledge, and I happen like writing a bit of prose here and there. We have stringent editorial guidelines, and fight we fight for quality, rather than quantity. As guardians of knowledge, we must discriminate. Regardless, democracy is rarely sane. It works as a check on the apparatus of power, but it is not capable of exercising that power on its own. People like to think, these days, that they're special, that they're an "individual" in the liberal sense. They fragment themselves from the totality of human reality, which causes an intense fragmentation of society. This is evident in every part of our contemporary society, and is evident here. People put their own "right to decide" over what's good for the project. This results in the disaster we now have at RfA, and elsewhere on this project. We must reform these processes to remove populism the equation, and focus on the collective interest of our fair encyclopaedia. This proposal does that. RGloucester 04:45, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like cryptofascist "dark enlightenment" crap to me.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 05:34, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I've never heard of either of those terms, but I do know that I am certainly not a fascist in any form. I'm a Marxist, if you will, and I believe that the interest of the collective is of greater importance than the interest of the individual. Working for the common good requires that we recognise our collectivity. That applies here as much as anywhere. In fact, the internet seems to give the individual outsize importance, as so many usual human urges to yield to the collective are suppressed by the computer screen's lack of humanity. However, I digress. RGloucester 05:43, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Then substitute stalinism for the desired effect. The result is the same, a select ruling class of "technocrats" keeps the unruly masses in order for the sake of the greater good. Not something I would ever lend my voice or vote to.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 05:54, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
The commissioners would be elected. They would not materialise out of thin air, or take control with swords and guns. I liked Mr Stradivarius's suggestion below, which is that one could run for election if one really has such concerns. Regardless, I don't think going on about the spectre of Stalinism is likely to be productive. RGloucester 05:59, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Since this is a major proposal, we should find a way to widely publicize it. Perhaps we could add this proposal to MediaWiki:Watchlist-details? --Biblioworm 02:52, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

I don't know anything about that. I'm now demoralised by the misconceptions above, so forgive me whilst I vacate this forum and allow others to comment. RGloucester 02:54, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Just wanted to note that I've added this discussion to Template:Centralized discussion. --Biblioworm 03:38, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • What exactly would be the limits of this ASC? They'd obviously be able to appoint the administrative toolset. Would they be able to revoke access to the administrative toolset if an issue where to arise? What would be their limits in regards to the sets of tools such as crat, OS, CU, TE, etc? I understand there seems to be a rush to offer an alternative to RfA based on the slew of recent proposals and RfCs on the topic, but I want to make sure I have a firm understanding of exactly what such a new "committee" would have authority to do. I'd also like to understand better what the set of board members for such a committee might look like as in representatives for editors with various interests and abilities. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 03:06, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Please read the this section, which makes it clear as to what their duties would be. At first, if the establishment was approved, they'd only be able to appoint administrators, and also to search for candidates. The commission would be composed of both administrators and non-administrators, in line with this section. If you read the implementation section, it says that the powers of the Commission could be expanded to include review of administrative action at a later date. This would not be included in their initial duties. RGloucester 03:14, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Thank you, those links to specific sections was very useful. Couple more questions I didn't see addressed in those sections. What would the thresholds be for various things such as appointment to the committee, the threshold for which requests hold "merit", and threshold for agreement to appoint (or other final decisions). I'm thinking like the minimum 50% required for ArbCom appointment and the 70%ish support for the current RfA system. I'm also thinking the threshold for "merit" should be set relatively low to allow discussion. Would there be any any requirement for a potential grantee for the administrative tools have to accept the toolset (I know it may sound silly to some, but I think this question has merit based on the number of editors who have been given access to other user groups without requesting them and have never used the tools or have quit editing all together)? — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 03:41, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
The elections are meant mimic ArbCom elections, as it says in the proposal. The threshold for merit would be decided by the commissioners, as part of their rules of order. The proposal provides for the idea that the first commissioners would establish rules of order, so that the commission could function. They'd be constrained by this framework, but they'd be free set-up their own workings. Of course, if someone didn't want the tools they wouldn't be made to take them. RGloucester 04:00, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Thank you for your candid answers to my questions about this proposal. That said, I'm unmoved by this proposal in either direction. I've recently started helping out at WP:ANRFC and have found that I really enjoy reading all of the arguments in both directions and closing discussions. That said, I'd be happy to contribute to the closing of this discussion when that time comes. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 04:18, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I sort of like the idea in theory but see a some issues with the setup. Here are my thoughts:
    1. One is that it solidifies the admin vs. non-admin thing with the make up of the board. While I realize I am probably in the minority here for the most part the admin bit is really no big deal even if we make it that way. By setting the makeup to be current admin vs. not an admin we would end up codify that perception. I would think a better metric would be to mostly consist of editors that have successfully nominated someone else for admin. I believe nominators don't necessarily have to be admins, so it still allows "outside" views, but it also would encourage people to nominate good candidates if they want to get on such a board. It also means that people deciding on the board have a better idea how potential members would evaluate successful admins.
    2. Another issue is that thirteen seems like a bit large a group, while an odd nunber is good if straight forward majority voting is used. But given that the group is intended to be an alternative to RfAs and that anyone that tries can still go through an RfA or possibly try again after a period of time, a veto system might work better. Say a much smaller board of 5 with all having veto power. This means that the board can quickly skip candidates as soon as someone vetos and also allows for deeper investigation as board members should be able to prove why someone makes a candidate or what concerns that have to another panelist. If the board deadlocks and fails to promote any candidates in X time a new board should be elected.
    3. I'd suggest such a system start small, with a limited rate of mop hand outs if it is formed so that the community can judge the effectiveness.
    4. I'd also split searching for candidates off from the duties of the board. The board should be able to appoint clerks who would do searches for potential candidates ( besides the self-submitted ones ) and would do some of the grunt work research on the candidates. This leaves a leaning central board that can focus on the issues while off-loading much of the grunt work to volunteers. PaleAqua (talk) 03:50, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your suggestions. I think it is essential that non-administrators have representation on this Commission, to enshrine the principle of "no big deal". Administrators and non-administrators must be considered equal, and this proposal makes that clear. I originally had a smaller group, seven, as the number of commissioners. However, we realised that a larger group is necessary, because there may be commissioners who resign, or are absent, which frequently happens on the Arbitration Committee. For these reasons, I think thirteen is a good number, because it ensures that the smooth functioning of the commission won't be hampered by a few absences. Searching for candidates was the original purpose of this Commission. That's one the benefits of having thirteen commissioners, I'd say. As it says in the proposal, they'll establish their own rules of order, and whatever. They may decide to delegate power to certain commissioners, or to hire clerks. That's for the commissioners to decide amongst themselves. RGloucester 03:57, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Perhaps this is a little early, but I've gone ahead and created WP:MOPCOM. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 08:55, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, I have an idea that I'm kind of half-joking about; how about we just close WP:RFA, turn Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/Administrator into a requests page? I mean, the right can only be granted by bureaucrats, and as far as I can tell, one of the major aspects of becoming a bureaucrat is being a good judge of what makes an administrator. Seriously, when I saw this proposal first, that's what I thought if was for... Steel1943 (talk) 23:52, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Support (alternative to RfA)[edit]

  1. John Carter (talk) 01:02, 26 November 2014 (UTC) - This proposal has a lot of the strengths of one of the other proposals above regarding possible "automatic" appointment of admins while also having the one thing I think that proposal lacked, which is some sort of body to see that there is some sort of review of candidates.
  2. It's time that we have some sort of change. Let's not be fooled into thinking that "there is no problem, after all" because of the recently successful RfAs. In fact, we lost a great vandal fighter as a result of RfA just a few days ago. --Biblioworm 01:09, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  3. Support as proposer – This proposal will allow RfA to continue. It will not, as they say, throw the baby out with the bathwater. It will allow the community to trial an alternative method of appointing administrators. It will remove the toxicity of RfA from the equation, allowing for candidates who are more technocratic, but less able to handle the political requirements of RfA. Commissioners will be representatives of the community who will work to solve the problems we face, least amongst them the problems of having good administrators. This proposal, as far as I can see, is flexible and worth a shot. We've seen this debate go on for years, and now we have a chance to do something about RfA reform. We need this Commission. RGloucester 02:21, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  4. Support - I helped with drafting the proposal, BTW. We will have a lot more good administrators if all they have to do is ask. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 03:33, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  5. Support. This will allow good candidates to become admins without the stress and hostility of an RfA, and should result in many more good editors applying for the position, and in many more good admins. Bad candidates would still not get the position, and there would finally be a way to desysop existing admins without starting an ArbCom case. If editors are worried about the standards that ASC would apply, they can always run for the committee themselves. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 05:34, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  6. Tentative support I like the concept, though I do have concerns with the details, but they can get fixed later. See my comments above for some detailed thoughts. For example, I do think that the community should have more of a say in the ground rules of such a board and worry that it will find itself bogged down on discussions of perfectly acceptable though less than perfect candidates. I feel a more vetted more streamlined process might better serve the project in the long term even if it rejects some okay would-be admins to the RfA process or a future attempt. PaleAqua (talk) 05:50, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  7. Tentative support but only if this ASC isn't filled with the same old boys club who make RFA so toxic in the first place. Community choice should be an aspect but the community I feel is idiotic and holds absurd standards as who and who cannot be an admin and if anything I want to see that sort of self-selecting removed from the equation, I'm not sure if this new body would do that (and heck knows there'll be some bleating from those who make RFA a hellhole citing a denial of their opinions for objection) but enough with shoving people in front of a board of peers who already failed the candidate before they walked through the door.tutterMouse (talk) 09:53, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  8. As others have stated, mob rule does not work; it scuttles RfA, ANI, RFC/U (which is probably soon to be disbanded), and partly also Arbcom cases. Apart from the trolls, peanuts, and regular system detractors who participate on RfA, there is a huge number of one-off voters and I am curious to know what part of the Wiki woodwork they come out of to place a vote on RfA. I am fairly certain that on some RfA a certain amount of canvassing takes place. Anyone who wittingly allows such canvassing is probably not to be trusted to be an admin while anyone who actively canvasses for their RfA (even offline where don’t catch it) is corrupt from the start and should never be a sysop.

    Genuine candidates who have no skellies in their closets should not fear the current system and if they have kept their noses clean through their Wiki careers they will almost certainly pass, with little drama, and with flying colours. Whatever the section however, there are always silly votes that should not be counted. Comments such as “Seems OK to me’’ equate to: ‘’I don’t know the guy. I haven’t done any research, but his user name sound right.’’ I won’t go into providing examples of some of the utterly ridiculous oppose statements, but a completely drama-free RfA is an extremely rare occurrence indeed. Although WP:RFA2011 did not realise any physical reforms, it left behind an enormous legacy of research which clearly identified the main single problem with RfA. The individual regular ‘elements’ of that problem have got the message, and a couple of recent RfA have shown that the community is now going to be bold and do something active about unruly or inappropriate behaviour there.

    I therefore no longer believe RfA is the broken place I (and Jimbo Wales) claimed it to be 4 years ago. However, I see no reason why this current proposal should not be tested before the community, so I SUPPORT it in principle, with just a few minor tweaks to be made later (e.g. I year terms, No limit to the number of terms; the WMF will not allow non admins to view deleted content), and it’s now up to the broader community to voice their opinion. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:05, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

  9. Support Good candidates will get through in any case; but present-day RfAs generate a lot more heat than light, and draw us away from more useful work. Voters can always be characterised as a mob by the losing side, justified or not. It doesn't bother me now if User:Xaelrukfhpaw gets rollback rights without my say-so; well same goes for the remaining admin tools. (Please clarify re elections: 3+4=13??): Noyster (talk), 10:59, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    That was an error left over from an earlier draft. It has been fixed. RGloucester 13:41, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  10. Support - The community has simply grown too large and impersonal to expect that any discussion involving 100+ people will be civil, rational, and drama-free. Delegating this task to a smaller, elected committee may increase some bureaucracy, but the resulting reduction in drama and incivility and making adminship even a slightly-less-big deal makes it a net positive IMO. Mr.Z-man 16:09, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  11. Support.—S Marshall T/C 16:29, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  12. There's room for discussion about the particulars of the committee's composition, but after the recent Andrevan fiasco, this proposal has serious merit. Townlake (talk) 16:33, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  13. Support Please don't oppose this over small details like the composition requirement, if you support the proposal otherwise. The details can be changed later. The added bureaucracy of this is a small price to pay for potentially fixing so much that is wrong with the current systems. And if it doesn't work out, I'll be right there with you getting it disbanded. It's absolutely worth a try. We can't keep doing the same thing and refusing to even try something different. Gigs (talk) 17:46, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." -Albert Einstein --Biblioworm 18:18, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  14. Weak support - I had this in the neutral section, but on the balance I guess I support this. Wikipedia is not a democracy, so comparisons to democratic models are basically irrelevant. However, to put this in a democratic frame, Administrators are effectively our police force, and it makes sense to me that they should be qualified rather than elected, and having an elected body evaluate qualifications makes sense in that democratic framework. I see strengths and weaknesses to this proposal. I would prefer if this process were to replace RfA, rather than run parallel, otherwise we will have two classes of admins, those appointed by Commissioners and those elected by the community, subject to different disciplinary processes, and that's bad. In order to work, all admins (even those who endured RfA) must be subject to reviews by ASC. And that's going to be controversial, but in general yeah, it's a good idea for admins to be subject to a common disciplinary process. I'd like to see more in the proposal about the election of Commissioners, in particular I'd like to see a process for the community to express loss of confidence in the Commission, which would trigger a new election. I won't support removing individual Commissioners - either the Commission works as a whole or it doesn't, and if it doesn't then it should be wholly replaced. I'm also concerned that this won't really solve the "no big deal" issue - adminship will be no big deal but we're just shifting the "big deal" onto election to the Commission. Then again, maybe that should be a big deal. This is a step in the right direction, anyway. Ivanvector (talk) 18:34, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    You are abusing the "not a democracy" policy with this argument. Wikipedia is not a democracy, but our governance and core values are democratic. Specifically a form of deliberative democracy. So yes comparisons with democratic systems are absolutely relevant when someone is trying to highjack the system by turning it into technocratic authoritarianism. Also you seem not to have noticed that we are also not a bureaucracy.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:48, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    You seem to have not noticed that we are a bureaucracy, in many ways. Some level of bureaucracy is necessary to administer and maintain a project of this magnitude. What makes Wikipedia somewhat unique is that all of our bureaucracy and administrative process has evolved from community consensus over time, and it continues to evolve. At times that looks like this or that form of existing system, because sometimes that's what's best to serve the community's purposes. Sometimes "consensus" means we come to a community decision that a certain subset of people are best equipped to deal with a particular problem. That looks like bureaucracy, and it is, but that's not inherently bad. We can't always leave every little routine task up to the will of a community of millions, and promotion/demotion of administrators should be much more routine than it is. Ivanvector (talk) 20:36, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  15. Cautious support, on a trial basis only. My initial reaction to seeing this proposal was to oppose strongly, but on thinking about it, I think it is worth a try, as a sort of experiment. I'm uncomfortable with taking the process out of direct community control, especially because the community may discover information about a candidate that a committee might have overlooked, but I also think that the community will have exerted as much control over the composition of the proposed committee as they currently do over ArbCom. I think we should implement it for one year only, and require a followup RfC to determine whether the community will agree to continuing it beyond that. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:39, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    • Comment: If it isn't explicitly stated in the proposal already, I haven't checked, I think it would be a good idea if perhaps it had a sort of suggestion or pending period before confirmation built in, between the time of a potential candidate being suggested and the time of actual confirmation, which would allow other editors to contact the committee with their concerns, and possibly discuss them, publicly or privately, at some length if needed, the concerns raised. FWIW, and I think some kind of clear statement here might be useful, I myself hope that the committee winds up being one which in a sense is predisposed to approve pretty much all candidates who don't obviously disqualify. I know that would of course be dependent on the personalities of those who actually get on the committee, of course, but still think some clarification might be useful. John Carter (talk) 22:47, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Please read the full proposal, specifically the implementation section. This proposal is only for a trial period, to be followed by a new RfC. RGloucester 22:56, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Yes, I did read that. What I said goes a little further in terms of making it a trial only. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:12, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  16. Conditional Support only and only as a supplementary processes and not for replacing RFA in foreseeable future. Currently the lede states it's for supplementing or replacing it. If it is clearer that a later consensus would be needed to discuss a possible replacement and there's no implication of replacement without another discussion at a later stage, I would change to 'support'. --lTopGunl (talk) 23:22, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Please read the implementation section. RGloucester 23:24, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Thanks... the lede confused me. --lTopGunl (talk) 23:28, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  17. Strong Support While the idea of additional bureaucracy is difficult, this would help address a number of backlog problems. I'd actually support this completely replacing the Admin election process. DocumentError (talk) 09:15, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  18. Support There needs to be an alternative to the bear-pit of RfA. Bazj (talk) 13:30, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  19. Weak support I don't think it's the best idea in the world but I'm up for trying something new. The proposed implementation plan makes it straightforward to revert to what we have now if it doesn't turn out well. WaggersTALK 13:32, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  20. Support There needs to be an alternative for the battleground we call RfA. --AmaryllisGardener talk 14:21, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Oppose (alternative to RfA)[edit]

  1. The most extremely strong oppose anyone has ever opposed, which can never be over opposed by anyone ever The last thing we need is another clique of oligarchs, or commissaries or what ever you want to call them. What we need is more and better admins. And the realization that the tools are no big deal.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:29, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  2. Oppose as above. Yet another proposal which would foolishly put too much power into a small clique of officials, complete with even more of the bureaucracy everyone already hates. Seriously, take 30 seconds and ask yourself, honestly, what sort of person would seek to get elected to something called the "Administrative Standards Commission". Really, really think about it. Then, take 30 more seconds and consider whether giving more power to those people is a good idea. If you think that sounds just swell, congratulations, you're officially part of the problem. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 03:51, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    You would probably need to be crazy to want to run for ASC. But then, at the moment, the same thing could easily be said for RfA. We should be encouraging good editors to become admins, and the current system is having the opposite effect. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 05:46, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  3. Oppose. There isn't much to say here that hasn't already been said. Creating a middleman - regardless of whether it replaces RfA or not - sets a dangerous precedent. ProtossPylon 03:55, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    What "precedent" is that? They are not a "middle man". They would be a group of people elected by the community to carry out an important function for this project's survival. RGloucester 04:01, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  4. Oppose Creating admins requires community approval, and as a community member I do not want to cede my approval to a commissioner. — xaosflux Talk 04:15, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Additionally, I oppose lowering the bar for creating and removing administrators to 54%. — xaosflux Talk 04:21, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  5. Oppose per Andrew. RFA needs major overhauling, but replacement by a middleman would be worse. "Middleman": in this context, a group standing between the community and the admin-choosing process. Also known as "republic" versus the current "democracy". We've previously had a system with a republican setup, where regular editors chose people with the power to make decisions: see how we dealt with it by reading through Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Esperanza in depth. Nyttend (talk) 04:18, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    I think anyone who reads both this and the Esperanza page in depth would immediately realize the blatantly obvious differences. This would be more like the Arbitration Committee. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 05:08, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    I was bored this morning and wasted most of an hour reading through the Esperanza MFD, the deletion reviews, etc., and this looks very much like the depictions of the Advisory Council in the MFD that I linked. We need to remind bureaucrats to start doing like we administrators tend to do in discussions and ignore votes that conflict with policies (WP:DEAL, here), ignoring the people who object on grounds such as "Not enough FAs" that don't speak to whether the person is likely to abuse the tools. Nyttend (talk) 06:35, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Exactly. One need only read RfA discussions from years ago (when the process functioned as intended) to see how these inexplicable demands have contributed to the toxic atmosphere. —David Levy 07:12, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Lol. What on earth makes you believe that RfA was functioning as intended. It hasnt been functioning for the past 5 years at least.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:02, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Perhaps you overlooked the words "from years ago". —David Levy 19:38, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    I've now taken the time to read all this Esperanza rubbish, and I can frankly say that it bears no relation to the ASC I've proposed. That body sounds like it was some kind of odd social organisation with a sprawling membership and a propensity for self-promotion. This body would not be like that. There would no membership, only commissioners. They'd would be like arbitrators, not like these so-called "Esperantos", or whatever they were called. Their only function would be to work on appointing administrators. No "social" elements would be involved. Your asking of bureaucrats to "ignore votes" seems like an acknowledgement that the overly democratic nature of RfA is the problem. Given this, rather than entering into subjective "ignoring" of people, why don't allow the community to elect the ASC to vet candidates in line with community-accepted principles? As I said below, the well is already poisoned. The genie is out of the bottle. There is no going back to how RfA may have been "years ago". The culture of Wikipedia simply won't allow us to go back in time, in such a way. We need to move forward, not backward. This proposal allows us to do that. RGloucester 16:55, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    If the crats thought they had the freedom to ignore such votes, they'd be doing it already. RGloucester is right, that would basically turn them into what this ASC will be, except without the consent of the community. An overall worse idea than just approving this and going forward with people who are explicitly empowered by the community to have such latitude. Gigs (talk) 17:54, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    RfA is intended to function as a consensus-building discussion, not a simple majority vote. The bureaucrats are supposed to weigh the comments made, not tally the votes and call it a day. The problem is that we lack a clear set of criteria regarding which rationales are valid and invalid (which the bureaucrats don't feel empowered to invent). Yes, replacing RfA with the proposed ASC would effectively assign "such latitude" to those elected. In my view, that would be a very bad thing – and not "basically" what Nyttend described. No one here advocates that the bureaucrats substitute their personal judgement for that of the community, which is exactly the role that the proposed ASC would assume. Instead of bureaucrats examining a community evaluation and applying a defined set of standards to determine its outcome, an elite group of editors would decide on the community's behalf. You're entitled to prefer the latter, but please don't equate the two. —David Levy 19:38, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  6. Oppose forgive my vanity, but I prefer having a say (tiny as it is) in who becomes an administrator & who doesn't. GoodDay (talk) 05:27, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  7. Oppose. A bad idea with even worse execution. (No offense intended toward the editors behind it, by the way. I'm trying to word this as delicately as possible.) We have a process that worked well in the past, and it can work well again. To accomplish this, we need less bureaucracy, not more. —David Levy 07:12, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    I think we need to accept that the well has been poisoned. RGloucester 13:46, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Replacing RfC with the proposed ASC would be like dynamiting the old well and constructing a new one in exactly the same location. Until we eliminate the actual poison, it will continue to rise to the service.
    You propose that we replace toxic adminship requests with toxic "elections" to an elite body of editors in charge of selecting administrators on the community's behalf. I'm baffled as to how this is supposed to address the actual problem. If anything, it might even amplify it; because the ASC seats are guaranteed to be filled, the nonsense that currently leads to failed requests at RfC would instead skew the results of these "elections". The same pool of users currently denying trustworthy editors adminship would be responsible for voting in a group of editors with carte blanche (for a time, at least) to grant or deny adminship to whomever they please. —David Levy 19:38, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    The proposal is not to replace RfA, but to supplement it. Are ArbCom elections "toxic"? Does ArbCom exist as an "elite body of editors"? RGloucester 20:39, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Eh....yes and yes?User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:50, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    I'm sorry you feel that way. There is an ArbCom election going right now, and I haven't seen any "toxicity" anywhere. I've never seen arbitrators acting as an "elite body of editors". They seem to relatively demure. I fear that such liberal views as yours are simply not reconcilable with reality. RGloucester 20:57, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    I dont think you are in a position to make that judgment, it doesnt seem to me that "reality" is a place you frequent a lot.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:38, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    The proposal is not to replace RfA, but to supplement it.
    You've conveyed quite clearly that you want to replace RfA (and the proposal explicitly calls for consideration of this). But that's a tangential point, as I'm addressing the premise that the new process would somehow be immune to the "poison" affecting the old one.
    Are ArbCom elections "toxic"?
    Part of the problem is your apparent failure to recognize that material distinctions exist between the objective of RfA and that of an ArbCom election. I do believe that the latter is subject to some degree of toxicity, but the specific "poison" contaminating RfA isn't present there. Conversely, given that the ultimate goal (recruiting new administrators) would remain the same, I see no reason to believe that it wouldn't remain in force in the proposed ASC process. It would simply impact the election of "commissioners" instead of interfering with the promotion of administrators.
    Does ArbCom exist as an "elite body of editors"?
    In certain instances, its members have behaved as such. (That's a separate issue, of course.) But again, you're missing the point that the underlying functions differ materially. The ArbCom exists "primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve", not as a substitute for community decision-making. It's when they veer off course in that direction that they start to resemble "an elite body". —David Levy 22:10, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  8. Oppose The system we have works well. Chris Troutman (talk) 15:52, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  9. Oppose. Tweaking the existing RfA process would be a much better approach than creating a bureaucracy that would most likely represent the views of the community poorly. --Michig (talk) 16:56, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  10. Oppose An administrator should have the consent of the community, not some committee. What happens when we don't like how the committee is acting? This is just moving power around and diluting the communities direct authority over who is an admin. It is a shell game and like any shell game you cannot win. Chillum 16:59, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    These administrators would have the consent of the community, because the community would be entrusting the commission to appoint them through elections. That's how it works in the tangible world. No one is concerned about the "consent" of a state's populace when someone is appointed to work as functionary in the civil service. If you don't like how the commission behaves, elect different members. RGloucester 17:13, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    You are talking about second hand consent. Once selected they can just choose whoever they want. Your analogy to the state does not fill me with confidence as they don't have a stellar track record. Chillum 17:19, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Social contract? RGloucester 17:22, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    With respect that is at best innocent of you and at worst naive. People are going to act like people. Chillum 17:28, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Yes, and I believe that when people act like people, they act for the good of the collective. RGloucester 20:29, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Acting 'for the good of the collective' is only done by idealised people; real people naturally act for their individual good. That is what 'acting like people' essentially boils down to, and it is common to other species as well because such an instinct is the most conducive to survival. Attempts to create a collective and to force people to act for its good rather than their own are often misguided and always flawed, as demonstrated by Ayn Rand novels and the Soviet Union. That is not to say that selfishness is the highest good and collectives are evil, but rather that one works and the other doesn't. ekips39 05:35, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
    I disagree. I also disagree with the idea that there is any such thing as "instinct". Sadly, I fear you are a rationalist, and I shan't engage in a diatribe that has little relevance to the topic at hand. RGloucester 06:30, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  11. Oppose - I think implementing this would just be 'moving the mess'. The root cause of problems with RfA are people - not all those people who contribute there, not even most, but enough to cause things to degenerate into madness far too often. We need more robust guidelines for contributing to an RfA (e.g. what sort of arguments are substantive and should 'count', clearer lines on what is and is not 'badgering', etc.) and stronger moderation of RfAs based on these. We do not need more process and indirection; Wikipedia is not Vogsphere. Reticulated Spline (tc) 18:29, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  12. Oppose, sorry. In my view, the last thing we need, with our article space dying due to lack of attention, is another layer of project-space bureaucracy, least of which a layer that will remove the direct say that editors have in the promotion of administrators. I also agree with Andrew Lenahan and GoodDay. --Mkativerata (talk) 20:03, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  13. Regretful oppose. Great idea, but I must oppose for the following obvious reason: Sometimes, an RFA can be derailed by one detailed "oppose" vote, and the same thing could very well happen if the editor "running for administrator" has interacted with someone from the proposed committee in a way that would cause them to vehemently oppose the candidate. Rather than having a pool of hundreds who could prove the opposer wrong, the "candidate" would be at the mercy of the other representatives on the committee agreeing or disagreeing with the opposing committee member's opinion, giving the "candidate" less of a chance to recover from the "oppose vote". Steel1943 (talk) 23:39, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Please note the implementation section, which people seem to not have read. This process would be a parallel to RfA, at the start. If someone has a problem with ASC, they can go to RfA, or vice-versa. RGloucester 02:40, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
    If that is the case, then my worry would be that an RFA oppose vote would be "per the ASC discussion" or vice versa. Two forums that attempt to accomplish the same outcome almost always interfere with each other's purpose, even if that is not how it was intended to be designed. Steel1943 (talk) 05:39, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
    There's that too; but in any case, the prospect of having two forums for the same purpose does not negate the value of objections to one of them. ekips39 14:56, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  14. Oppose I'm not as intimately familiar with RFA as some of the people here undoubtedly are, but I have a reasonably clear notion of what the alleged problem is. I basically agree with Reticulated Spline: What we need is a more well-defined set of standards to judge candidates by, not a more limited set of people doing it. I believe that having the entire community decide who gets to be an admin helps to counter the risk of having a narrow, biased set of views on the subject. As I point out above, people naturally act in their own interest; with enough different people acting on enough different interests, that effect is more likely to be neutralised. Clear criteria for !votes (which I plan to elaborate on at some point) seems a better way to solve the problem of insubstantial arguments. ekips39 05:35, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  15. Oppose - Per all of above. Plus, I'll not cede my review process to a committee of six. Those sis may not even heard of me when I submit my review and then how on earth they can come to know about my editing character? Will they go through all my edits (For instance, if it Justin, with over 1.4 million edits) and then analyse my editing character? RfA should always be a community opinion, not just an opinion of six users. They may not select a person who would get 100+ supports in RfA, because enmity can have its probability for a committee at maximum, but minimum in public process. --The Herald 12:50, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
    @The Herald: Actually, the proposed number of the committee is 13: six admins, six non-admins, and one position for either an admin or non-admin. These numbers could be changed after further discussion. Also, there would likely be a space for non-committee members to submit evidence about admin candidates, so there would still be a place for community review, although the final decision would be taken by the committee. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 13:11, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
    If community review remains a component (and I agree that it should, so I'm not finding fault with the idea), the elimination of "drama" (on which some of the above support is based) is removed from the equation. What does that leave us with? Instead of a system in which the aforementioned community review is analyzed by one or more bureaucrats to gauge consensus, we'll have one in which thirteen "commissioners" receive essentially the same input ("drama" included) and are free to heed or disregard it and decide whatever they please. How, exactly, is that an improvement? —David Levy 13:44, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
    It would put the focus on facts, rather than on percentages. I'm thinking of a format similar to, e.g., ArbCom clarifications and amendments, where each user can comment in their own "Statement by UserX" section. The current RfA discussion structure has a tendency to make editors worried about the number of opposes, which leads to lots of heated comments (a.k.a. "badgering") in the oppose section as supporters try to win editors over. If we got rid of the support and oppose sections entirely, editors would no longer have a reason to try and argue with opposers who have already made up their minds. Editors would try and win over ASC members, of course, but assuming that members of the committee were rational people willing to look with an open mind at evidence both for and against a candidate, I would say that there would be a lot less potential for drama there. This format would have the added bonus of making it obvious that frivolous opposes (or supports) would be ignored by committee members. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 16:07, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  16. Oppose per all above. --Fauzan✆ talk✉ mail 13:09, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  17. Oppose Back during RFA2011 I thought the problems with RfA had been blown way out of proportion, nowadays when even Kudpung will say things aren't so bad it's strange to see the same vague rhetoric about "broken"-ness. On those grounds I see this as a solution in need of a problem and cannot spport. benmoore 16:13, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
  18. Oppose. What we don't need is people electing elected officials who elect other elected officials. We don't need a group of Soviet Commissars for Administrative Affairs! My name isnotdave (talk/contribs) 16:33, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Neutral[edit]

  1. Tentatively neutral extended comment moved to support Ivanvector (talk) 18:34, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  1. OpposeNeutral - I'm strongly in favor of a major reform to the process by which we appoint and remove users from the admin role. As I mentioned on the proposal talk page, I can not support this proposal as written. I agree with the idea of specifically allocating a minimum fixed number of seats to non-administrators. I disagree with specifically allocating a minimum fixed number of seats to administrators. Of course nothing would stop them from being elected to seats that are not allocated to non-administrators. I also have some concerns about transparency, but I'm open to persuasion on that issue.- MrX 17:14, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    As said above, the particulars of the implementation are open discussion. If you'd like to propose a change, please do so in the discussion section above. If you at least support the principle, I would ask for your voice of support, or even a voice of what one might call "neutrality". We have a very narrow window, here, and I'm willing to do whatever work needs to be done to try and get real reform through. RGloucester 17:27, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    The RfC states "Should we implement this proposal as specified at the proposal page?" (emphasis added) That doesn't convince me that we're now voting on the idea and will vote on the specifics later. I am more or less neutral on the idea of an admin commission (if properly constituted). I support the idea of a major reform of some sort, mainly because I think we need a streamlined process for desysopping.- MrX 17:49, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Nothing in our policy or processes is ever set in stone. That's especially true of a newly formed process. If this passes I'd fully expect a couple follow-up RfCs to sort out details. Gigs (talk) 17:58, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    That's true, but if this proposal passes, the commission would have seats specifically reserved for admins until such time that the community decides to change it, if it ever does. For that reason, I can't support this.- MrX 20:10, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
    Would you like to elaborate on your concerns? RGloucester 04:55, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Giant changes to RfA will not pass[edit]

It seems every week someone has invented the better mousetrap and it never passes, and this has been going on for years. There are 3 proposals on this page right now to radically redefine RfA now and probably over 50 in the archives. We are stuck in a loop and we need to take a different approach.

Instead of people constantly bringing proposal after proposal to radically change RfA why don't people suggest small, sensible incremental changes at WT:RfA? Simple things like the community defining the expected level of decorum at RfA would go a long ways to improving the current system.

Lets fix what we have, it works pretty well it just needs tuning. Chillum 17:02, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

There is nothing sensible about tinkering with bits of archaic rubbish and hoping to make them work properly. To move forward, one must draw up something new. RGloucester 17:07, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure RGloucester and myself have never agreed on anything in our lives. However, what he just said is spot-on, in my opinion. The baby is an adolescent with a driver's license now. This is one time we can safely throw out the bathwater. DocumentError (talk) 09:22, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
In agreement. Smaller scale proposals will have a better chance of passing. PS- Shouldn't this discussion take place on the talkpage? GoodDay (talk) 17:09, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I posting it here because this is where everyone proposes the constant stream of major change proposals for RfA. Yes the talk page is a better place for incremental improvements. Chillum 17:17, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
They may have a "better chance" of passing, but that doesn't mean they'll solve the problems we face. RGloucester 17:13, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
This might sound ridiculous, I don't know, but for myself I could see maybe doing something like giving each proposed process that has some support and some possible benefits over the current system a "trial period" with some sort of administrative oversight option, maybe lasting a month or two each, or possibly as I indicated on Jimbo's talk page try to implement one or two in some of the foreign language wikipedias desperately lacking in administrators, and then waiting for a year or so and seeing the results of each process. I acknowledge that there would be questions about which good and bad candidates self-select which process, but those questions might not be so major as to be make the results discreditable. I honestly don't see it as being impossible to give each of the proposals some sort of "probationary oversighted" trial period of some sort somewhere in the WF. John Carter (talk) 19:18, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

There aren't usually so many RfA discussions. The earlier discussion proposing to just shut it down got everyone thinking about it, and now they are all throwing out their ideas. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 08:17, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Not a Democracy? Or not democratic?[edit]

Some people here are referring to the policy "Wikipedia is not a democracy" in a way that I think both misrepresents the policy and wikipedia. As I read the policy it means that wikipedia is not an experiment in democratic governance but an encyclopedia, AND that we make decisions through deliberation and consensus formation not through voting. This in no way challenges the fact that wikipedias basic ideas and principles are all highly democratic. We are not here as a social experiment but to build an encyclopedia but what makes this encyclopedia different from others is that we are doing it democratically. Specifically the system of decision making we have is a form of deliberative democracy. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. A democratic encyclopedia. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:45, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

I think the keyword you use is "deliberative." And, unfortunately, I think most of us would realize that to be really useful in matters of deliberation there is some obligation to know the foundational requirements, and it is also true that in most instances many or most people who might be only tangentially involved in a specific field may not be at all competent in those matters. It is also an entity owned by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, and certain clearly legal matters arise there particularly regarding liability. As an individual, I myself wish that were not the case, and I even more regret the fact that the US has, as a proportion of the population, roughly 50 times as many lawyers as the 2nd ranking country for lawyers-by-population (and much higher for most other countries), but the foundation is required to deal with those unfortunate realities as well. John Carter (talk) 19:57, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • This should go to Wikipedia:Village pump (policy). Cenarium (talk) 20:21, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • You might have noticed that our definition of consensus, which is quite different from how the word is used elsewhere, is based on the quality of arguments in line with our policy and guidelines. That, in of itself, is inherently undemocratic. RGloucester 20:32, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
No it is not, it is an inherent feature of most forms of deliberative democracy.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:59, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
That's not really democracy, then, is it? Everyone doesn't have an equal say. No "one man, one vote", here. If someone puts forth a stupid argument, it will be viewed as stupid. It won't simply be accepted because most people endorse that stupidity. If it is antithetical to our policies, guidelines, and common sense, it shall be struck down. RGloucester 21:02, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes, deliberative democracy is a form of democracy. One man one vote is not the only form of democracy. But you are right about the antithetical being struck down, which is luckily what is happening to your proposal which is antithetical to the democratic structure of wikipedia. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:18, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
That doesn't sound like democracy to me. Sounds like elitism with a convenient guise. Regardless, I find it hard to believe that this proposal is "antithetical" to Wikipedia or democracy, given that we have an Arbitration Committee, and given that all democracies in the world have appointed administrators. RGloucester 21:28, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Well your lack of imagination is hardly an argument. Your proposal is not necessarily antithetical, since it could be carried out democratically and with broad participation, but your own elitist and technocratic statements make it clear that that is not its spirit. Which makes it antithetical to a project that is a democratic encyclopedia that anyone can edit, with a flat hierarchy and a basic tenet of ignoring all rules.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:31, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't see how this proposal limits anyone's ability to edit, alters the hierarchy, or hinders one's prerogative to ignore rules. RGloucester 21:36, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • That, for example, the Morpho is in the family Nymphalidae, is not to be decided nor influenced, in the least, by the demos of the Wikipedia polis. Nor is, for example, that we have just licensed these phrases by the mere posting of them here. Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:37, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Decision about content and decisions about the political governance of the community are two different things. Knowledge is not democratic, but wikipedia social oranization is.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:59, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Repeating what Cenarium said above, this discussion is less about the proposals than about policy matters, and it would probably get more and better informed input from others if it were moved to the appropriate page for such discussions, which seems to be Wikipedia:Village pump (policy). John Carter (talk) 21:58, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Proposal for countering systematic bias[edit]

I propose to add a short subsection or atleast a bullet point forbidding editors to request help at country Wikiprojects (doesn't count for generic wikiprojects) for the purpose of content disputes (and more specifically inter-country / international disputes). This is synonymous to introducing deliberate systematic bias by inviting editors from a wikiproject with a very high probability of shared nationality and ofcourse as it is done at the posting editor's choice, it's almost always when they need an opinion where most from that nationality will share their POV. In my opinion and experience, this is never 'countered' by informing at the counter part wiki projects which are not as active or have a few editors or not as active WP:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. It only takes only a few editors from the informed Wikiproject to come and tilt the balance of discussion due to POV and bias even if a majority of the editors know better so AGF for the majority Wikiproject members is moot. Same is the case with the less active counter part that may have editors who know better and do not get canvassed to the discussion and hence the few of the few is much less than few from the many (if that makes some sense). It shouldn't count as canvassing when an obscure article needs editing without a content dispute, it should be only considered during a content dispute or to game the system by doing the same later etc. I will also note that this act is not always intentional by the editors but has almost always the same result and informing them of WP:CANVASSING that specifically clarifies this will counter systematic bias. --lTopGunl (talk) 07:31, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Support as nom as I have seen this happen alot and I have felt that I can not (always) clearly suggest WP:CANVASSING to them though it does already apply in blatant conditions. This type of posting is unhealthy in such situations even if it is clearly not canvassing and promotes WP:BATTLE. --lTopGunl (talk) 07:31, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Note: this is a transcluded copy, please respond at Wikipedia talk:Canvassing to comment; it will reflect here. I have also transcluded this discussion to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. --lTopGunl (talk) 07:44, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Restrict title blacklist override and no rate limit to account creation for account creators[edit]

The account creator usergroup was given title blacklist override (tboverride) in order to create accounts matching the title blacklist, but the userright allows to override the title blacklist everywhere, so also for moves, pages creations and editing of title blacklist protected pages (used for editnotices, TFAs, etc). A userright allowing override only for account creations (tboverride-account) was created a few years ago, but we didn't switch back then because there was some purpose in allowing selected non-admins to edit those. Now, we have the template editor usergroup, specifically designed for this purpose, so there is no longer any need for it. And account creator is granted increasingly easily to any user who claims to need it for an event or meetup, without regard to experience; this wouldn't be a problem in itself, but this creates a pointless security risk. So we should grant them tboverride-account instead of tboverride. The same goes for the userright bypassing rate limits (noratelimit), which allows to create more than six accounts per 24 hours but also makes page moves unlimited, etc. We could request switching to a userright allowing bypass only for account creations. Cenarium (talk) 13:48, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
PS : Restricting no rate limit will also allow us to give more rate limited rights to all autoconfirmed users without taking big risks, such as a rate limited move subpages userright. Cenarium (talk) 14:19, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Personally, I don't see the point. If people abuse the right, then it should be removed. I think granting them the full lot is a net positive, as it allows them to carry out this work. Unless we are going to make another group to allow people to bypass the blacklist to create pages etc., why reduce the pool of people who can do this? --Mdann52talk to me! 14:04, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the blacklist bit, but not the rate limit. Reason why? If the bit is abused, it's removed. Since we already have an account specific flag, I see no reason not to use it. However, creating a flag creates some unnecessary technical work, depending on the mood of the devs. What I see more viable is adding a technical featuring that places a time limit on the bit, and automatically removes it after the time limit expires. That would definitely work for account creator bits.—cyberpower OfflineHappy Thanksgiving 14:09, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
@Mdann We already have that other group now, template editor, which is why I'm suggesting it now. Account creators only use their rights for account creation.
@cyberpower This will also allow us to give more rate limited rights such as a rate limited move subpages feature without taking any additional risk. It's what prompted me to look into this, actually. Cenarium (talk) 14:19, 27 November 2014 (UTC)