Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-03-03/Bureaucratship candidacies

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The Wikipedia Signpost

Eleven users apply for bureaucratship

By Ral315, 3 March, 2008

This week, after just two requests for bureaucratship in the last seven months, a record eleven users applied for bureaucratship. As of press time, six had withdrawn their requests, and as of press time, one looked likely to pass, with another RFB within discretionary range. All five remaining RFBs are scheduled to end on Thursday.

The series of nominations began after Majorly posted to Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship, asking for administrators to nominate themselves: "This is a general request for all admins: if you think you can take on the role of a bureaucrat, please nominate yourself for bureaucratship today! At the moment, there's only (I think) 3 really active bureaucrats, and I believe that a new face or two would be a good thing at this time." Many other users agreed, and on February 28, eleven users nominated themselves for bureaucratship.

Active RfBs

As of press time, the five active RfBs were:

  • Avraham (nom):
    This request had a tally of 39/18/1 (68.4% support); most users opposing cited his weak participation in RfAs, commenting in just eight RfAs over the six months prior to the request. Supporting users mentioned Avraham's good judgment and understanding of consensus.

  • Neil (nom):
    This request had a tally of 65/26/7 (71.4% support); many users who opposed did so due to his views on re-confirmation RfAs; in the past, Neil has opposed all re-confirmation RfAs, though a few supporting users mentioned that they believed this to be immaterial to his opinion on closing such RfAs.

  • Riana (nom):
    This request was, as of press time, within what some consider the bureaucrat's discretionary zone, at 88.3% (219/29/3). Nearly all of the users who opposed mentioned her co-nomination of controversial user Kelly Martin for adminship in October. Some supporting users, meanwhile, countered that the nomination may have been a lapse in judgment, but was relatively minor.

  • The Rambling Man (nom):
    Likely to pass, with a tally of 121/1/2 (99.2% support). The one comment in opposition is by an editor who has generally taken the position that new bureaucrats are not needed.

  • Wizardman (nom):
    This request had a tally of 86/20/4 (81.1% support); users who opposed did so for many independent reasons, but the most common reason for opposition were Wizardman's views on consensus at RfA, which some users viewed as inaccurate. Supporters, meanwhile, mentioned his work as an administrator and OTRS respondent.

Withdrawn RfBs

The following six users withdrew their nominations, as of press time:

  • Acalamari (nom):
    Withdrew with a final tally of 27/7/2 (79.4% support).

  • Majorly (nom):
    In his third RFB, Majorly withdrew with a final tally of 41/27/5 (60.3% support).

  • Maxim (nom):
    Withdrew with a final tally of 10/22/3 (31.3% support).

  • Mr.Z-man (nom):
    The first to request bureaucratship, Mr.Z-man withdrew with a final tally of 36/14/2 (72.0% support).

  • RyanGerbil10 (nom):
    Also in his third RFB, RyanGerbil10 withdrew with a final tally of 3/6/0, after just two hours.

  • Ryan Postlethwaite (nom):
    Withdrew with a final tally of 45/7/0 (86.5% support); despite the reasonable degree of support, Postlethwaite believed that his support percentage would decrease over time, and withdrew after just three hours.

New records

The occurrence of multiple bureaucratship nominations is not uncommon. In July 2007, a then-record seven nominations over a few days resulted in the promotion of two bureaucrats (see archived story). However, never have so many users (eleven) nominated themselves in one day, nor have so many users (six) withdrawn RfBs in one day.

RfB standards discussed

In the wake of the RfBs, users questioned what the current consensus was for RfBs. While the guide to requests for adminship's section on bureaucratship indicated a usual passing percentage of 90%, some noted that Andrevan's July 2007 RfB passed at just 86.7% support. A discussion and straw poll ensued on Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship, with opinions ranging from 75% support, to 80-85% support, to 90% support as suggested RfB passing percentages.

Bureaucrat WJBscribe noted his opinion on consensus within RfBs:

I'm not sure that "consensus" is the right word to describe what is being looked for at the moment in promoting bureaucrats - we could add an adjective like "strong" before consensus but I'm not sure that would be pretty meaningful. It has been clear that the English Wikipedia community expects bureaucrat candidates to have significantly more support than candidates for adminship. ...

It is hard to point definitively to when 90% became seen as the marker that had to be reached, but I think one must acknowledge that this happened at some point. Instead of consensus, the language that has been used and I think best reflects the approach today is that RfBs require "no significant opposition". That is a high bar, hard (but not impossible) for candidates to pass. Its result is obvious, few new bureaucrats are created. Wikipedia nevertheless have more active bureaucrats than any other project - 12 bureaucrats have used performed crat actions in the last 2 months. The work is however unevenly divided amongst them. The community may of course discuss promotion thresholds for bureaucrats, reach a consensus that those should be lowered and bureaucrats will of course act accordingly. I agree with those who have pointed out that it would be unwise to alter the approach while requests are live as this would create uncertainty in an area where a reasonable certainty of outcomes is desirable. I do not believe a bureaucrat could function if a sizable proportion felt they had been promoted improperly. No doubt should there be an agreement to lower the bar for successful RfBs, we will be seeing more candidates in the future.

All five remaining RfBs are scheduled to close on Thursday; the Signpost will report on the results of these next week.

Also this week:

Wales' relationship with journalist — Bureaucratship candidacies — Domas Mituzas interview — Hidden Categories — Book review — WikiProject elections — WikiWorld — News and notes — Dispatches — WikiProject report — Tutorial — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

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