Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship

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RfA candidate S O N S% Ending (UTC) Time left Dups? Report
RfB candidate S O N S% Ending (UTC) Time left Dups? Report

No RfXs since 07:52, 27 May 2015 (UTC).—cyberbot ITalk to my owner:Online

Latest RfXs (update)
Candidate Type Result Date of close Tally

Jacob Lott 8 RfA WP:NOTNOW 27 May 2015 0 5 0
TheGRVOfLightning RfA Withdrawn 25 May 2015 0 3 1
Abecedare2 RfA Successful 19 May 2015 119 0 0
Ritchie333 RfA Successful 10 May 2015 138 3 3
Opabinia regalis2 RfA Successful 2 May 2015 118 22 5
Everymorning RfA Withdrawn 7 Apr 2015 26 25 9
Wackslas RfA WP:NOTNOW 4 Apr 2015 0 13 1

Current time: 14:27:35, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Purge this page

What is the longest RfA-free stretch?[edit]

We are at roughly two weeks right now. In a couple of days, we'll be able to say that we've had one successful RfA in the past two months. How long will it be before this process can be marked as historical? Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 17:38, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Last year: September and October 2014 had no successful candidates. Only one successful in three months (Aug-Oct) and only three successful in six months (Jun - Oct). That being said, November 2014 had five successful candidates so it wasn't necessarily a trend that continued. Also in that six month window there were nine unsuccessful RFAs (most NOTNOW, but some that weren't) so the process wasn't inactive. RFA numbers have been in steady decline since 2007. Mkdwtalk 17:46, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
IMO, November was an outlier, probably the result of a brief period of activity spurred by concerns over two months with no promotions. Dating back to last May, there's only been one month with more than two successful RfA. I guess 15 RfA in 6 months isn't quite inactive, but it's pretty close. What is it going to take to boost activity? Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 17:57, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Nothing. Wikipedia is in permanent decline. WMF's grand idea to stop this is to tweak the interface. Their incompetence spells the end of the project, most especially since there is no trust fund to sustain the project after donations dry up (and they will). We will never see the numbers of RfAs that we saw 9 years ago. December 2005 saw 68 successful RfAs. That, in one month, is equivalent to the number of successful RfAs from November 2012 through now...a period of 2.5 years. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:01, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
English Wikipedia. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 18:21, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Whatever it is that would boost activity, I oppose. The WMF is rolling in money. Abolish Arbcom, strip every advanced permission from existing admins and hire a few dozen professionals. Two kinds of porkMakin'Bacon — Preceding undated comment added 18:03, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Meh. I don't see WP in decline. There are still oodles of content creators out there. It's just that nobody wants to run for admin because it has become a vicious, humiliating ordeal that you have to be Superman to pass. Reyk YO! 18:42, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  • The decline of Wikipedia has been well documented ([1][2][3], and plenty more). The issue isn't if Wikipedia is in decline. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:53, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Whatever it is that would boost activity, I oppose. - Clear plagiarism of Groucho Marx [4]: Noyster (talk), 19:05, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
It seems like a lot of the RfAs I've seen over the past year occurred because a veteran editor (usually an admin but not always) went to an editor and suggested they try to be an admin and volunteered to nominate them. I don't see many self-nominations pass, in the past or present. So, if we need more admins, maybe senior editors and admins need to spot promising candidates and offer to support them. Passing an RfA is obviously a project that one can't achieve on ones own, it takes community support and the quality of the nominators is often taken into account when supporting or opposing a candidate. Liz Read! Talk! 20:47, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Rather than the decline of Wikipedia, I see it in its adolescence; it is 14 years old after all. Growth is not the same as maturation. We don't know how it will transition into adulthood or what it will look like as it does so. It may need different approaches than what worked so far. Wikipedia is still a wonderful thing, even if some in the trenches don't see it from where they are.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  23:36, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  • You are certainly welcome to your opinion. My view is abstract however. The problem I see 10 years from now is the donation stream drying up. Since there is no trust fund, the lights will go off and Wikipedia will be no more. The WMF is grossly incompetent and believe the solution is improving the interface. --Hammersoft (talk) 00:12, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  • WMF want to improve the interface so non-technical users will have an easier time getting involved. I think it's a worthwhile idea in principle, but they haven't shown so far that they have the technical or UI/UX chops to get it done. So to your competence point, the current WMF staff may not be a crack team, but their budget is pretty limited compared to say, Google, and you get what you pay for, especially in software development these days. However, Google itself has an interest in keeping Wikipedia working well since it provides content for its search results and therefore, in a roundabout way, billions in ad revenue. Some portion of that is going back into the WMF last I heard. So eventually there is going to be either a workable interface redesign or another strategy to improve and expand engagement -- or Wikipedia will be hard-forked. Andrevan@ 04:38, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  • With respect, no. The interface that we've had created the largest and (arguably) the finest encyclopedia the world has ever seen. I'm reminded of a colloquialism; "If it isn't broke, fix it until it is". Could the interface be improved? Sure. Is it worth it? No. Wikipedia must transform. Wikipedia became one of the top ten websites in the world on a fraction of the budget of any other property in the top ten. How? By relying on the immense volunteer base. That is an asset unlike any the other top tens have. If Wikimedia wants to play with the top ten, they need to emphasize their unique assets. You don't do that by fiddling with the interface. --Hammersoft (talk) 12:52, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Unfortunately, a problematic side-effect of decreased RfA activity is that administrative power has become more concentrated and therefore adminship has become more and more of a big deal. This is absolutely not what Jimbo had in mind back when the idea of administrators was invented. In order for this change, we have to start promoting more admins. What we don't need is one spurt of activity like what happened last November. That was articificial and perhaps did more harm than good, as pseudo progress can be an impedient to real progress, giving the impression that the situation is not as bad as it really is. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 15:23, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Maybe I should self-nominate me, just to keep the RfA addicts occupied? Face-smile.svg Kraxler (talk) 19:12, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Please do, Kraxler. I might even support you. Face-smile.svg Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 19:28, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
(ec) @Kraxler: Are you dropping a hint here? I haven't reviewed your contributions in any depth but in 30 seconds of drive by, yes, you should seek adminship. --B (talk) 19:31, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm a bit busy IRL these days, but I think it might be necessary to sacrifice myself, just to end a historical RfA drought... Kraxler (talk) 13:19, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Are you a virgin? Self-sacrifices are not allowed unless you are. ;) --Hammersoft (talk) 16:21, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, I'm an indeed an RfA virgin, I'd say, never having requested adminship before. Or did you mean something else? Face-smile.svg Kraxler (talk) 23:40, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Maybe I should self nominate, just for the humor factor. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:32, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Maybe I should self-nominate and see how many people oppose because of WP:NOTNOW. That would be interesting. ansh666 20:52, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
I was just thinking something similar myself. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 21:28, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Bloody right. Excellent people are turned down because they don't bring the right kind of shrubbery. We need more admins. Guy (Help!) 22:35, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
We need more admins who will go through backlogs and use the buttons. Category:Candidates for speedy deletion is massively backlogged. WP:OTRS is massively backlogged. Wikipedia:Non-free content review is massively backlogged. If anyone here is will to do that, nominate yourself and stop sitting around talking about it. There's a limit to how much anyone wants to sit there with a mouse clicking on stuff in the backlog and hence the current problem. We don't need "moar" drama - we need admins who will give a few hours here or there sitting in one of the innumerable backlogged processes and processing them. --B (talk) 22:55, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  • The problem is fewer and fewer people are interested in pursuing the bit. As well documented here, it's a bone chilling gauntlet. I've said before that anyone crazy enough to stand for RfA is too crazy to be an administrator. There's also the popularity contest aspect of it. I'm friends with nobody here, and am very happy to call a spade a spade. I've been a heavy critic of ArbCom and of the WMF. Despite being right ~99% of the time on things needing admin intervention, I would never pass an RfA. I don't toe the corporate line. Oh I follow policy and guideline to a fault, but that's not the corporate line. --Hammersoft (talk) 00:17, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • It hasn't really been that bad of a gaunlet lately. Of course, nobody runs anymore. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 03:38, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Really? The last five full-term RfAs averaged 18 questions apiece. Taking the last five successful from April 2010, the average was 10. Granted, limited data set. But, if anything, it's more of a gauntlet now. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:29, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I am thinking more in terms of the vitriol and the negativity having been dialed back. To me, RfA doesn't seem quite so angry these days. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 18:09, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • American political commentator William F. Buckley once said "I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University." A little extreme rhetorically, but his basic point, I believe, was that greater diversity of opinion and perspective in governance is a good thing. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 00:28, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

This issue will persist until Wikipedia separates its janitorial and police functions. An easy fix, but one the voting community refuses to make. Townlake (talk) 02:19, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

There are a number of administrative functions that don't require the tools but would still be useful for experienced editors to tackle. Wikipedia:Non-free content review and Wikipedia:Media Copyright Questions require experienced knowledge of copyright and non-free usage, but no tools. I go through Category:Candidates for speedy deletion on a regular basis, seeing if any CSDs can be saved, or at least downgraded to PROD or AfD. Non-admin closures of AfD are getting more and more popular, to the extent that I'm sure I've seen people oppose an RfA on the grounds of "not enough non-admin closures". So there is plenty of maintenance work to be done without the headache that is a week long RfA. I agree with Townlake's view that adminship is less of a "mop and bucket" than a "mortar board and cane" role - blocking and deleting pisses the bejeezus out of people, so you have to have good diplomatic skills to deal with the fallout that entails. (PS: Yes, I am thinking about it.) Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:33, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • We are quite clearly doomed. – Juliancolton | Talk 19:17, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Everything ends. The question is not if, but when and how. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:30, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • "Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent." — Porky Pine.  --Pi zero (talk) 21:37, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

The technical means within the software exist that we could create a new user class called "deleters", and give them delete/undelete, but nothing else, right? I know that this idea has gone over like a lead balloon before, but now that every single blessed administrative queue is so bloody backlogged, maybe it's time to rethink this idea. That way, someone who isn't sufficiently trusted to be an admin because they swore at someone five years ago could at least help out with the backlogs ... they just wouldn't be able to hit the block button. (Maybe we call the user group "janitors" so that it's not a bit you go out and collect.) The WP:Requests for Janitorship discussions could have a lower threshold for how many !votes constitute a "rough consensus" and hopefully would not get the ridiculous opposes because they haven't authored twelve featured articles. (They're volunteering to be janitors, not the Senior Editor.) --B (talk) 21:38, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Unbundling would solve a couple of fundamental problems. bobrayner (talk) 21:43, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Perennial proposal. Problem is that since delete/undelete must come with viewing deleted content, WMF demands that access requires a process at least as vigorous as RfA. WMF is a lot more concerned about the delete button than the block button, for better or worse. ansh666 04:30, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
The discussion of this at WP:PEREN under the "hierarchical structures" heading is not exactly written eloquently. That aside, I agree there should be an RFA process for the janitor button separate from the RFA process for the police button. The janitor button one will be easier to pass, as it should be, even if you use the 70/80 guideposts for both forms. Wikipedia hires police officers for life with no meaningful performance reviews; this is an insane thing to do and an even more insane thing for WMF to allow, but at least we can make this situation a little saner by making the janitorial role distinct and thus getting some aspects of site maintenance improved. I'm pretty confident more janitors than police would pass. Who disagrees? Townlake (talk) 05:56, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Insane? I don't think so. As someone noted above, blocking ticks people off. If you have any sort of reconfirmation process for admins, then those who have been blocked by that admin stand a good chance of destroying the reconfirmation. Which is more insane, no review or allowing a review to be tainted by those who have been blocked? And no, it's not as easy to say "well don't let the blockees vote!". There's multiple reasons why this idea is a perennial proposal. If it was so insane not to do this, we would have easily found a way to do it already. --Hammersoft (talk) 12:51, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Townlake, well, I disagree. In my RfA experience, !voters are much more concerned about the use of the deletion button and the closure of contentious discussions than afraid to get blocked by the future admin. So, I think it would be much easier for a civil user who has stayed out of drama to get the "police" button than to get the "janitor" button after seeing their sub-par AfD stats. Thus, unbundling probably won't help much with the maintenance of the Wikipedia. The general impression is that we need more admins for janitorial tasks, I believe, I doubt that there are not enough admins to block users, if necessary. Kraxler (talk) 15:08, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
That is an excellent point and raises the question of what is a "janitorial" power and what is a "police" power. Can a police power involve dealing with content / "property" that editors contribute? These are questions the community should be asking; classifying the customer service aspects of the site and staffing them appropriately is, to me, the make-or-break for the user experience here in the next few years. Meanwhile, the WMF is more concerned with rolling out new software to make it easier to creatively vandalize Wikipedia. The disconnect between what needs to be done and what's actually being done is pretty interesting. Townlake (talk) 15:20, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  • The WMF is effectively incompetent. They're very busy rearranging deck chairs on the WMF Titanic. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:38, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't know about the WMF but when I read WP ANI and ARBCOM archives from 2006, 2008, 2010, etc., you see plenty of editors talking about how everything on the site has gone to shit. There never seems to be a shortage of unhappy editors talking about how everything was so much better 5, 8 or 10 years ago even though the standards for adminship, for featured articles, and everything else actually has gone up. Liz Read! Talk! 18:49, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  • The decline was well underway in 2008. Peak Wikipedia was in 2007. --B (talk) 20:07, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Liz; yep. People do become wistful for the 'old days'. Me, honestly, not so much. My grave concern is the future. If the WMF had a real plan, we could percolate along just as we are indefinitely. But, they don't. If you were on the Titanic and the ship were going down, would you be preoccupied with what color the funnels were painted? Well, that's what the WMF is doing. Plus, they're paying outside agencies to tell them how great they are, and then bragging about how great they are. Truth stranger than fiction, but I'm not making it up. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:12, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

German Wikipedia[edit]

Im just pointing out that (as of 16:56, 26 April 2015 (UTC)) has FIFTEEN separate RfA's currently in progress: .

I imagine that link will change over time, but if they're like us it'll at least show the closed RFA's still transcluded. Soap 16:56, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Indeed but this is exceptional and the consequence of a call inviting to run for adminship in the Kurier, the equivalent of the Signpost at de:wp. In general, we observe a similar decline in adminship and regular participation at de:wp (see File:Entwicklung Anzahl Adminkandidaturen pro Jahr.png for a diagram with the number of admin candidacies per year at de:wp until 2014). There exist a interesting difference, though: Despite being the smaller project, de:wp has far more Wikipedians who vote in the admin candidacies. See, for example, the most recently closed admin candidacy with a participation of 419 votes (including those voting neutral). --AFBorchert (talk) 17:59, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
I think you'll agree Andreas, that this is a cultural dichotomy rather than anything specifically Wikipedia related. Take the Lokal K for example. Where do we have anything similar in the big cities of the major English language regions? ?--Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:27, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

IP participation at RfA: observation[edit]

Don't know why the section above went purple so quickly.

There is often a failure to observe the notice, found on the edit screen just above the Discussion heading, saying IMPORTANT: Only registered Wikipedians may comment in the "support", "oppose" or "neutral" sections. Non-registered users or editors who are not logged in are welcome to participate in the "general comments" and "discussion" sections. According to this, IPs are not allowed to vote, but also they are not supposed to insert comments below other editors' votes. In future RfAs I would like to see such insertions moved to General Comments: Noyster (talk), 09:38, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Actually that statement is contradictory. It states that IPs may not 'comment in the "support", "oppose" or "neutral" sections' but can participate in the discussion section. Since the support, oppose, and neutral sections are in the discussion section that would imply to me that it's supposed to be read as 'may not vote but can reply to votes and vote discussion'. I can see how it could be read the other way though; clarification would be a good idea. Sam Walton (talk) 09:42, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes. It may make sense to drop one of "General comments" or "Discussion" and structure the latter sections like this:

 Candidate details
 Edit counts [collapsed]
 Discussion [or "General comments"]
 [IPs may participate]
 [IPs may not participate]

: Noyster (talk), 10:10, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
  • IMO it would make sense to keep them off RfA altogether. The fact that they are allowed is an anachronism dating back to times when it was an oversight on the part of the Wiki software creators. Other later created Wikipedias don't let unregistered or even new users anywhere near their RfA process.--Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:38, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
    Anyone can edit. (Which appears to be an evil WP:XNR; who wants to nom that for a WP:RFD?) --Izno (talk) 00:59, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I care less about them making comments and more about them posing questions which have seen rather pointy to me. Asking 15-20 multipart questions of the candidate is onerous and while some are valid questions, others are "no win" questions where any answer can be held against the candidate. If IPs want to give their 2 cents, that's fine by me but I don't think they should be grilling candidates when they have no permanent identification. Liz Read! Talk! 01:46, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Its an easy enough problem to fix. Just permanently semi-protect the RFA's so only registered users can edit there. I agree completely with arguments that IP's should be allowed to edit and I generally think IPs should be treated better, but I really cannot see a reason why an IP or even a brand new user should be allowed to vote at RFA. Admins should be experienced members of the community and if you haven't been around to witness their conduct and make a useful suggestion then there is no reason to comment. If they do know enough to ask a valid question then they are probably evading scrutiny. There are more than enough things to do that they should be able to find work outside the RFA's. Giraffasaurus (talk) 01:56, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I think they're mostly doing it for anonymity's sake. Some are probably registered users who don't want to face the negative scrutiny that would come to them if they posted using their main account. Soap 01:30, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I think that's a fair assessment given what I have seen in some recently. Opposer's tend to get badgered and bullied into changing from Oppose to Support. So in some cases its better to just comment and bring the concern or problem to light and leave it at that than to associate ones name and reputation to the RFA. Giraffasaurus (talk) 14:15, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I cannot remember seeing IPs ask questions prior to the current RfA and the most recent RfA. In my opinion those two RfAs demonstrate why IPs should not be able to ask questions. In the current RfA there are three questions from IPs - numbers 4, 7, and 15. Question #15 is not a question, it is merely badgering about the answer to #7, making it clear that at least those two IPs are the same person. Question #4 refers back sarcastically to a similar question asked at the previous RfA, making it likely that it is the same person. At that last RfA, four questions were from IPs, and at least two of them were pointy and argumentative. My suspicion is that this sudden recent burst of IP activity is all likely coming from one troll, who has decided that it is fun to disrupt RfAs. I personally don't see why the community (or the candidate) should have to put up with this. --MelanieN (talk) 14:03, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
    • Disruptive questions are a problem, whether or not they come from IPs. Good questions are good, whether or not they come from IPs. So if the problem is disruptive questions, why ignore the problem and try to address something else? WilyD 14:11, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
      • It's pretty evident from the ISPs for those three that they are all reiterations of the "Best known for" IP user, who is not a fan of Ritchie333's. I would block, but since I'm one of the co-nominators it would look rather dodgy if I started blocking questioners; perhaps another admin would like to investigate and act as they see fit... Yunshui  14:17, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
        • What good is blocking when they seem to have an unlimited supply of IP addresses? If it is determined that these three different addresses are all the same person, and that they are being disruptive, the only solution is semiprotection. --MelanieN (talk) 14:50, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
          • The other alternative is simply to WP:DENY them. Someone running RFA is always eligible to ignore a question (and presumably to explain why somewhere or another). Or {{hat}} can be applied. There are options other than semi-protecting a page that either rely on social constructions or non-Mediawiki technical constructions that can take care of the problem. Someone can make a comment on the talk page or in the context of those questions that the bureau should take into account how badgery the question is. (All of the above are standard practices here and elsewhere….) --Izno (talk) 16:30, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
    • @MelanieN: I think it's unlikely they are the same person. At Opabinia's RFA the IPs geolocated to China (two different cities) and the US (also two cities). In the present RFA, the IPs all geolocate to South America: two to Santiago and one to Buenos Aires. --Stfg (talk) 15:06, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
      • Thanks for the information. So it's just a coincidence that IPs are suddenly commenting in droves at the two most recent RfAs - after a grand total of one IP question was asked during the first four months of this year? I suppose coincidences do happen. --MelanieN (talk) 15:44, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
        • Or someone is using a proxy, considering the discussion above. ansh666 00:34, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Some kind of reminderbot or mass messaging for RFAs in progress?[edit]

I have missed a couple of RFA's lately that I would have liked to have commented on. My fault, because I sometimes take it off my watchlist. Would it be possible, (or useful) to create a reminderbot for those interested in RFA voting who may be missing a run, or to put it up as a general banner on the mainpage, or as a mass messaging subject for those interested who may miss a run? It may increase participation as a side effect, which would probably be good. Colleagues wishing to be reminded could sign up to a bot for instance. I certainly would. Regards, Simon a.k.a. Irondome (talk) 12:34, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

You could put {{User:TParis/RfX_Report}} on your userpage or talk page. –xenotalk 12:42, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! A classic case of looking but not seeing. The RfA status table is everywhere. Trout at will. Irondome (talk) 12:46, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Have the ethical implications of watchlisting RfAs ever been debated? - Pointillist (talk) 00:55, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Can you expand on that extremely interesting point? What do you see as the negative and positive ethical implications of watchlisting RfAs? Irondome (talk) 01:02, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I presume you mean watchlisting an RfA that does not yet exist. I don't see how that is an ethical problem. If you interact with someone here and it becomes painfully obvious they are ill suited to becoming an administrator, it would be a good thing to watchlist their RfA so that when it comes up you can voice your opinion. Contrastingly, if you find someone to be particularly well suited to being an administrator, you can do the opposite. I see no issue with this. Tangentially; I would like to see a feature where you could record notes for yourself, not publicly viewable, indicating why you watchlisted something. I have over 1700 things on my watchlist, and much of it I do not remember why. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:42, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I was wondering whether there is any existing discussion or essay that might help me organize my thoughts about watchlisting. Hammersoft's editor-specific approach is one scenario to consider. More broadly, is it desirable that editors who enjoy the dramah of RfA get automatically notified whenever one starts, even if they have no prior connection with the candidate? And then there is the question whether watchlisting is in general a good thing. I used to clear my entire watchlist at least once a year to avoid feeling that I "own" my prior edits (unfortunately I contribute so little nowadays that's almost irrelevant). Are long-standing editors who permanently watchlist articles a significant bar to motivating new editors, or are they the only thing standing between us and chaos? Without watchlisting, Wikipedia would probably have very different models for onboarding new editors and preventing vandalism. Has this been debated anywhere? - Pointillist (talk) 13:09, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
  • To the general point of RfAs; no notification system is needed. The WP:RFA mainpage can be watchlisted, as it changes (almost) only when there is a new nomination. That counts as a notification system so long as you check your watchlist periodically. As to the other points, this drifts off topic from RfA so I'll comment only briefly; Wikipedia editorship in general is in decline and has been for some time now. There are many pages (an administrator can tell you how many) that are not watched at all, and likely a much larger swath that are notionally watched but in practice not watched (dormant accounts). Within this context, any watching seems positive. The model of dependency on editors who know a subject and are watching has and is failing. I see things change in recent changes, and it doesn't look like vandalism at first pass. I'd have to research to find out if it is wrong information or not, or if the edit is fixing wrong information. If I'm not knowledgeable on the subject, that could take some time. Many times, I just don't bother; takes too long. I think the quantity of subtle vandalism is going up, and the ability to fight it is going down. As editorship declines, the quality of the project declines. Ok, I'm rambling too much :) --Hammersoft (talk) 14:05, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
    • I agree that the lack of watchers is probably a bigger issue than ownership issues. The key problem is that without sufficient participants in a discussion to establish consensus, a disagreement between editors cannot get resolved. Accordingly, there is a disincentive to follow guidelines and not edit war, because the page remains stuck with the content of whoever edited it last. There is also a disincentive to edit less popular articles (which are precisely those that need more help), since disagreements on them cannot get easily resolved. isaacl (talk) 16:03, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Yep. This is a reality that the Foundation refuses to address. It's been a problem for quite some time now, and one that continues to get worse. The Foundation just sticks their collective heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away. For several years now they've hoped that someday real soon now editorship will go back up. It's idiocy, but that's what they do. They need to develop content management models that do not depend upon even static editorship (much less increasing editorship, which will never happen), but do work within a declining editorship environment. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:05, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Those are all excellent points. Looking back at the early history of Wikipedia the idea that "anyone can edit" didn't actually necessitate contributor anonymity—that was a gamble that there'd be sufficient good-faith volunteers to fix vandalism and reverse ill-informed edits. Over the years, that reservoir of goodwill has been depleted. Imagine watchlists don't exist in Wikipedia 2.0, or they exist but few editors use them, what other mechanisms might be feasible? - Pointillist (talk) 16:35, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
  • A development branch of Wikipedia (what we currently edit), a branch to incubate articles towards release, and a release branch. The release branch would not be editable by anyone. The development branch would be editable by anyone. The incubation branch would be editable only by very long established editors, and there role would be limited to fixing known errors prior to release. Allow feedback mechanisms on release branch so the general public can place requests for updates, note changes that need to be made, etc. The longer we wait to do something vaguely akin to this, the more damage the project incurs from declining editorship, the more difficult it will be to get to a stable release. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:44, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
That's a fascinating suggestion. Have you canvassed it elsewhere? - Pointillist (talk) 18:11, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Nope. Please feel free to do so. Though, I strongly expect such an idea will get shot down before it ever comes anywhere near flight. The people in authority here are very, very reluctant to change anything. I sometimes think I could show them the wheel and note what a great invention it is, and they would criticize it as difficult to implement, too costly, not well suited to modern needs, etc. :) --Hammersoft (talk) 18:36, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Actually a similar schemes/ideas were already discussed and partially declined and in particular the WMF didn't seem to like it that much. See Wikipedia:Flagged revisions including variations of it which probably was the most comprehensive effort so far.--Kmhkmh (talk) 04:51, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
I like Hammersoft's wheel analogy but the fly in the ointment is the WMF, not the volunteer commubity. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:15, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Clear as mud[edit]

Hey--maybe one of you kind souls can fix poor old Ritchie333's nomination. Some red flag came up saying "Please substitute the parser function immediately" but I don't know what that means, and there was no "subst" with brackets around to remove. Thanks! Drmies (talk) 21:17, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

  • I may have fixed it but I'm not sure. Please check whether I did it correctly--thanks. Drmies (talk) 21:19, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
    • I do wish someone would take a look at the instructions that appear when you are about to transclude an RfA nomination to the page. In my case, I read an instruction as saying "first transclude, then change the date to a week from today" - and the result was that my RfA transcluded with a label saying that closure was imminent, since I hadn't changed the date. Now it sounds as if something weird happened with Ritchie's transclusion also. I don't even know where a person can look to find those instructions - they appear when you are in the act of transcluding. But if somebody techie enough to find them could take a look at them, I think it would be a good idea. This is a more widespread problem than you might think. While I was learning how to wield the mop, I found that a lot of instructions - for example at New Admin School - were outdated. I actually corrected a couple of them myself, even though I was the greenest admin on the block. --MelanieN (talk) 04:19, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
      • Based on your description, you are describing the instructions found at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Nominate#To nominate yourself ("Once you have submitted the RfA, go to the top of the page and edit the end date to reflect 7 days AFTER the day you submitted it, by following the directions in the header source code."). QuiteUnusual (talk) 13:45, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
        • Yes, that sounds like the instructions. I believe they are mistaken. Shouldn't they say before submitting the RfA? I know that I followed those instructions and wound up listed on the RfA page as "closure imminent ". One of my nominators immediately fixed it but I felt silly. MelanieN alt (talk) 16:43, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
          • I feel like those directions in the header source code should be somewhere other than the header source code as well, so that people know what to do beforehand without having to dig it out. ansh666 21:48, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
            • Please read my description of the problems I had with this process. The instructions have been improved a bit since then, but if the understanding of how to set up timing mechanisms is something that editors should know, shouldn't there be WP:Timers or maybe a section in Wikipedia:Transclusion explaining it? Also, after reading the warning about dire consequences of making any errors at Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship, a testing page for practising the transclusion of an RfA without the stress of expected perfection on the first try would be helpful. After all, it's not necessary to be an admin onself to nominate someone.—Anne Delong (talk) 14:18, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
              • I've not tried this myself but it sounds like a process that could use some clerking to help keep it straight. Would the clerks have to be admins too? If not, the position might be a good one for aspiring admins who could use it to demonstrate competence in managing such complexity. Andrew D. (talk) 14:30, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
                • The problem is that transcluding the nomination is supposed to be a kind of demonstration that the prospective nominee knows what they are doing, so there doesn't appear to be a role for a clerk in the process. (Generally the nominee is expected to transclude the nomination themselves; Anne was unusually nice in doing it for her nominee.) The paragraph Anne linked to above says "The nomination process has clear instructions for constructing, accepting, and posting a nomination. A number of RfA contributors look askance at nominees who do not follow the instructions properly. Administrators are expected to read and follow policies. The inability to do this here is a bad sign. If something is unclear, then ask the person who nominated you, put a message on the discussion page of WP:RFA, or ask a user who has nominated someone else. Avoid mistakes rather than making them and then fixing them." That has an ironic ring to it, because the nomination process does NOT have "clear instructions", per the problems described here by numerous competent admins. I really think someone needs to look at those instructions and fix them. --MelanieN (talk) 14:45, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
                  • I'm not sure what position you are referring to. Do you mean the test page? If so, it would just be a spot where people could try transcluding blank RfAs and then deleting them again. The only management might be a bot that regularly reset the page to a default state in case it was left in disarray by the testers. Or do you mean someone who transcludes RfAs for others? About demonstrating competence: In my opinion, it is more important that admins be sensible and familiar with policies than that they be technical experts. An admin with little technical knowledge who knows enough to avoid areas out of his/her skill level or ask for help when appropriate, and is good at (for example) closing discussions based on policy and resolving disputes, is going to be just as beneficial to the encyclopedia as a technical wizard.—Anne Delong (talk) 15:34, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
                    • Count me in the list of technically competent people who thought the instructions were unnecessarily convoluted. It seems to be a case of plain old bad design; I don't see a way to follow the instructions as written and not generate the big red error. The instructions say to transclude first and then start the timer, and you can't do both at once, so you'll have a giant YOU JUST SCREWED EVERYTHING UP AND EVERYONE IS LAUGHING AT HOW DUMB YOU ARE staring at you until you make the second edit. Which, of course, you couldn't have previewed or figured out in advance unless you closely inspected Template:RfA. Getting this right on the first try is about as relevant to routine admin tasks as a physics exam is to a baseball game. Opabinia regalis (talk) 08:08, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
It's an old cliche, but "me too". I'd always got the impression that RfA transclusions were insanely complex affairs and akin to a puzzle to test somebody's admin abilities. In actual fact, they're the same as creating an AfD or DYK nomination by hand, but with a small additional time-dependent template substitution thrown in. I'm sure I could have done it, but as everyone else has said, I did not want to run the risk of ballsing it up and taking 3-4 edits (all with a summary of "fix" or "fix again" or "this should work") because I thought there would be a peanut gallery pouncing on it, saying "Oppose - can't even transclude his own RfA properly. Not fit for purpose". Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 08:48, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I have mixed feelings on this: the complexity of transcluding an RfA may be helping to prevent trolls and other clearly unsuitable candidates from wasting our (and their) time - although some still manage it, while I lean towards the opinion that transclusion, particularly of templates, is such an everyday routine process for admins that they should know how to do it (anyone tried to manually start or close an AfD, just for example?). --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:49, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Ah, I remember the days when there were no scripts for starting and closing AfDs, it were all fields round here, you could leave your front door open, and you could buy fish and chips for the whole family and still have change from £5. To be honest though, it wasn't difficult, just tedious. Black Kite (talk) 23:45, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I remember the days when the fish&chip van used to come onto our estate and I could get a portion of chips for a tanner: "Six o' chips please!" There weren't so many chippies and take-aways in those days, just as I'm sure the number of AfDs to close has increased dramatically. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:34, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, editors tranclude templates and other page elements all the time. However, the RfA tranclusion is more complicated because of the clock-setting aspect, which I have never had to use before or since, and seems to have tripped up a lot of people who went on to become competent admins. There is no explanation of this tricky bit WP:Transclusion, and a candidate or nominator will likely think they are ready for the transclusion if they understand that page. It's like a trick question on an exam so that no one will get a perfect grade. Also, Kudpung, you seem to be saying that in order to save the nuisance of dealing with truly unsuitable candidates, we should prevent candidates whose strength is in people-related areas from applying. But we need more admins willing to close discussions and resolve disputes.—Anne Delong (talk) 03:24, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Actually I also find tone of that whole cited section above somewhat irritating. It probably turns potential candidates (included well suited ones) away rather than attracting him. As long as we have more than enough admins that might not matter in practice that much and just be a minor irritation but if we're ever in need fr admins that is certainly not helping.--Kmhkmh (talk) 04:22, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Anne, No one, but absolutely no one on en.Wiki is more acutely aware of the problems surrounding adminship and its RfA than I am. I'm in my 5th year of looking for solutions and if the complex transclusion is keeping away trolls and idiots it's doing an excellent job. Problem is too many of those simpletons are aparently very capable indeed of transluding their crap RfAs. Thus, IMHO, anyone with the minimum intelligence to be an admin and all it entails, should not find it difficult to transclude thair own RfA. However, because it's a kind of sport to take people's comments out of context, I will hasten to add that I wouldn't dream of opposing a candidate just because their nominator or someobe else transcluded the RfA. At the moment there are more important issues at stake such as closing down AfC once and for all. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:16, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
What kind of trolls is supposed to keep away? I mean is or was their any issue with actual troll rfas? Was the page swamped with pseudo rfas of people who didn't be admins or who were clearly unsuited?--Kmhkmh (talk) 04:27, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Kmhkmh, check out some RfAs and you'll soon see, although many of them get deleted as nonsense before the voting starts. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:51, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Where do i find them? The only thing I've looked at is Wikipedia:Unsuccessful_adminship_candidacies_(Chronological) which doesn't look that bad.--Kmhkmh (talk) 04:56, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
I get the idea, but I'm not really sold on this argument. Relative to the time wasted by trolls and clueless newbies creating no-hoper articles, the occasional no-hoper RfA is a drop in the bucket. Opabinia regalis (talk) 08:08, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
That was my impression so far (provided i looked at the correct data) hence my posting.--Kmhkmh (talk) 09:47, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
The problem with saying that is that the process of transclusion itself, which is often what keeps away inexperienced editors, is not what we're talking about here. It's the timer clock thingy (I don't know how it works either, given my obvious lack of having transcluded an RfA), which to my knowledge is not used anywhere on this project other than here at RfA. I don't see how it's helpful in any way to bury it that deep. The people who aren't serious or experienced enough aren't typically going to read or comprehend the instructions anyways. ansh666 10:38, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

All in all, I found my RfA to be a far better experience than I had ever assumed it would be when you cross compare it against the examples in Wikipedia:Advice for RfA candidates. Perhaps it's because the community has decided that opposition needs well found and reasoned arguments, perhaps it's because everyone else had higher expectations of my abilities than I do, perhaps it's because I ignored all vote comments (all of which, from all sides, were fair comment) .... or perhaps it's a mix of all of these and more. Whatever the case, I can only say from recent events that it seems that RfA is less of a big deal than it once might have been. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 08:48, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

It was because you were a top quality candidate, simple as. QuiteUnusual (talk) 09:26, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Ritchie333, the real question there is, what took you so long? ;) Really - if you take out Sarek and me as oddball cases, all the recent successful candidates were obviously qualified ages before they actually ran. Opabinia regalis (talk) 01:25, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
Opabinia, what happened was, a couple of people dragged me to RfA kicking and screaming, so I returned the favor by dragging Ritchie to RfA kicking and screaming. And now Ritchie and I have the next target in our sites... --MelanieN (talk) 03:07, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

I changed the text of {{RfA/warn}} to make it slightly less scary, but this whole thing is set up to use a template that uses a template that uses a template that uses a template, and it's too far down the rabbit hole for me to do any more. I think it's {{substchecktop}} that makes it SCREAM AT YOU IN BIG RED LETTERS. But I'm not sure, and I think that template is used in more places than RFA, so I'm not going to screw with it.

In an attempt to automate this, with intricate template switches for every conceivable mistake, we've guaranteed that people are going to make those mistakes; it's an order of magnitude harder than if people just copied the format from an old RFA. I'm not going to get drawn into a long bikeshed conversation at WT:RFA - that way lies madness - but if you want my advice, delete about 95% of the templates used in this process, have more clearly formatted in-line comments, and make it more manual. It would be easier, quicker, and cleaner. --Floquenbeam (talk) 12:53, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

User:Kudpung, I'm all for keeping trolls and idiots away from RfA, as I'm sure we all are. What we are discussing here is a much simpler issue: a flaw in the transclusion process or its instructions, such that the initial attempt at transclusion does not display properly because it shows the wrong time. That flaw tripped me up; it or a similar flaw caused problems for Ritchie and Anne and probably others. We all got mopped anyhow, it wasn't a fatal flaw, but it shouldn't be there. All I'm asking for is instructions that, when followed, produce a clean transclusion. --MelanieN (talk) 14:18, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
I could be wrong, but anyone who was seemingly deserving of running for RFA, in my experience, hasn't had the difficulty of transcluding their RFA against them. I'm by no means an expert at templates and transclusion, but I'm fairly competent. On both of our RFAs, other editors lent a helping hand fixing a few little things here and there without any consequence to the process. The only times I've seem a lack of technical knowledge held against a candidate has been when they seemingly lacked experience and the RFA was only one of many examples. Mkdwtalk 17:07, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
The occasional no-hoper RfA is not a 'drop in the bucket' and I still contend that the complexity of RfA transclusion has the useful side effect of keeping the trolls at bay. However, at the end of the day it's a technical problem, rather than a policy issue that needs a grand debate, so the obvious solution is for someone with the time on their hands and the competence to sit down and completely rescript the whole RfA transclusion process. So instead of us all talking about it and getting nowhere (which is a common ailment of WP management), just someone please just do it or find someone who can. And then we can move on. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:47, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I was thinking about something like this: [5] (should open in edit window, so you can see the inline comments). Obviously could use some tweaking, but the general idea is get away from complicated nested templates and pre-formatted front matter (and resulting complicated instructions), and just let people fill in the blanks. --Floquenbeam (talk) 14:10, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, Floquenbeam, that looks like exactly the kind of improvement I was looking for. I vote to implement it. --MelanieN (talk) 14:16, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Template:Rfap and Template:Rfaf TfD[edit]

There's a proposal to merge Template:Rfap with Template:Rfaf, which might interest readers of this page. Alakzi (talk) 22:18, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

{{Rfah}} has also been nominated for merge. --TL22 (talk) 11:31, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Administrators' noticeboard thread[edit]

A long discussion relevant to RfA is winding down now at WP:AN#On the brink of collapse. I offered to help with one job here, but I didn't get any response there, and if I put any energy at all into fixing the problem, then I'll probably have to give up my job as a serial closer. My thinking is: when someone says "I'd be an admin if only ...", people sometimes discount that, for various reasons. But if we survey the people who actually did become admins and ask them why they chose not to run, say, three months sooner than they did, it becomes harder to discount their feedback ... we did, after all, promote them, so if we weren't taking advantage of their services sooner, that might give some insight into why otherwise qualified people aren't running. Btw, we're now less than a week from the end of the month, so we know that as of June 1, only 5 first-time admins will have been promoted this year. That puts us on track to promote 12 for the year. Everyone knows that, for a variety of reasons, most admins aren't still grinding out a lot of admin work years after their initial promotion, so that figure of 12 represents some much smaller number of projected long-term heavy-duty admins that Wikipedia might pick up as a result of this year's promotions ... say, 3 or 4, max. Clearly there's something going on that's very different from the way things worked in our first decade, and I hope someone will generate some useful data, figure out what's going on, and file an RfC that deals with whatever the actual problems are. - Dank (push to talk) 12:32, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

I would run, however it is highly unlikely that I would pass considering my first two attempts were complete failures. Plus, I'm nowhere near as active as some would like, although I never saw how inactivity correlated with poor admin decisions. I think, though I don't have any statistics for it, that wikipedia is not as popular as it was 4/5 years ago. That, and how RfA has a reputation for being brutal, stopping potential applicants. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 18:43, 25 May 2015 (UTC)