Wikipedia talk:Arguments to avoid in adminship discussions

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Regarding a low amount of talk edits[edit]

Regarding a low amount of talk edits - the possibilities mentioned are reasonable, although if that is the case I would comment the candidate should mention this. Automatically opposing every candidate with less than 100 edits talk page edits isn't very bright, however, in my opinion, considering less than 100 talk edits to be a 'flag', prompting further inverstigation or questions is a sensible approach. Only my opinion. Addhoc 12:15, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

CAT:AOR[edit]

This is another type of thing (parallel to inclusionism/deletionism) to possibly add as a thing not to argue about. but it may be contentious. (WP:ROUGE is yet another) ... ++Lar: t/c 16:04, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

That's so uncommon that I don't think it's necessary, really. -Amarkov moo! 01:16, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
I've seen it come up (and been a bone of contention) at least a half dozen times, if not more, and I don't always watch that closely. So that may or may not be "uncommon" by your metric. ++Lar: t/c 12:38, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

"I'm not voting for user X even though they are the greatest user ever, because they are self-nominated."[edit]

This is needs to be covered in this essay...Gaff ταλκ 04:05, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Agree. Also, age as a criterion for oppose ("too young to be an admin" kind of arguments).- TwoOars 04:16, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

You have to be careful with that, because sometimes "too young" really means "too immature", which is perfectly valid. -Amarkov moo! 04:20, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
"Too immature" is a perfectly valid criterion. But age? In a recent RfA, I saw arguments like "We'd better not have 14 year old admins". If they mean immaturity, they should say immaturity. Why equate youth with immaturity? A lot of kids are mature and a lot of adults are immature too. - TwoOars 04:26, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Because youth often (not always, but often) goes with immaturity. I know good admins who are in their teens, but they're the exception to the general rule. K. Scott Bailey 02:40, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Getting the most out of a request for adminship[edit]

I recently wrote Wikipedia:Getting the most out of a request for adminship to complement the information on in this essay. There seems to be a growing feeling that it should be merged into this essay. If any users here would like to comment on the new essay or has thought on the possibility of merging, please comment on that essay's talk page. Warofdreams talk 01:45, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

I have now merged the two essays. Various comments on the essay and in support of the merger can be found at Wikipedia talk:Getting the most out of a request for adminship. I'm looking forward to seeing continued work on polishing and developing this. Warofdreams talk 04:07, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Featured articles[edit]

Is it worth having a section to say "you must have X featured articles"? Stifle (talk) 09:48, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

There seems to be a section about this already, could you clarify what you meant? ++Lar: t/c 11:24, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Move to Meta[edit]

I propose moving this to Meta, as we should take these things into account wherever admin nominations are considered. All of the Wikimedia projects have admins, so this is applicable to a broader group than just Wikipedia. Mr. Ambassador (talk) 22:10, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Different Wikimedia project have differing procedures for adminship; this document is only applicable to the English Wikipedia. Warofdreams talk 09:33, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Biased article?[edit]

I think this article is somewhat biased. What it seems to be saying is: "Everyone can support a candidate, but if you oppose, then you must have very good reasons and formulate your criticism constructive and politely not to hurt the feelings of the candidate."

An RfA discussion is about the community deciding whether or not the candidate should be made an admin. An RfA is not about constructive criticism, nor should it aim to protect the feelings of the candidate.

I propose dropping these two paragraphs:

"Criticisms should be constructive and polite. They should give the candidate an idea of what they should change in order that you could trust them. If the change could be made quickly and easily, consider proposing it to the candidate on their talk page and waiting for a response before commenting on the RfA.

If you oppose an RfA, your rationale may well be questioned. If possible, consider the points raised in response to your objection, and reply politely as to whether or not you stand by your initial rationale."

Because they are giving limitations to criticism, but not to support. For example, why do we say "if you oppose an RfA, your rationale may well be questioned", but not "if you support an RfA, your rationale may well be questioned"?

In short, the page should give equal treatment to support and oppose votes. Offliner (talk) 23:56, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

This is an essay which makes the point that criticism in RfAs should be constructive. Far from just being a tool to see whether a candidate should become an administrator, RfAs give the chance for borderline candidates and those who do not have the support of the community to see what behaviour they should change, to gain the trust of other users. Surely this is far better than launching attacks on candidates who want to help build Wikipedia, without offering any suggested improvements?
The line about comments in opposition being questioned reflects reality. Great weight is generally given to oppose comments, given the need to achieve consensus, and it is only natural that they are often questioned more closely than comments in support - not to say comments in support cannot or should not be questioned, but that happens less frequently, and it would be unproductive to try to change that. Warofdreams talk 09:17, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate your opinion, but aren't there better mediums for getting feedback other an an RfA? We should not mix these two roles (feedback and the community determining if the candidate should be an admin or not.) Regardless of whether people call it such, an RfA is an election. And I don't think I've ever seen an election process where these two things (constructive feedback and democracy) are mixed together.
I'm not saying that voters should be allowed to launch personal attacks on the candidates without offering any improvement suggestions. But everyone should be encouraged to express their opinion, even if it's negative and even if they feel they cannot express it in a perfect way without hurting the feelings of the candidate. I'm concerned that this page is scaring people away casting oppose votes and trying to influence their voting behaviour. Offliner (talk) 15:25, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree that we shouldn't promote RfAs as a place to get feedback, but once someone has started one, it is good if they receive it. That should assist the community in reaching a decision - giving such information will assist other editors in deciding whether they agree that points raised are relevant and significant. An RfA isn't an election in the usual sense; it is a discussion and the arguments made are important. While the numbers of editors supporting and opposing is used in deciding whether to promote, that's not the only relevant thing. This essay doesn't say that editors must not be critical, but I would always encourage people to be constructive - in the past, badly worded objections which appear to be about the individual have led to good editors leaving Wikipedia. Warofdreams talk 11:36, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I think there is some merit in turning RFA into an election and giving the same weight to support and oppose !votes. But lowering the threshold from 75% to 50% is unlikely to get community support, and as long as an oppose vote is worth three support votes it can reasonably expect three times the scrutiny. Also there have been plenty of examples where an oppose vote has been made based on a particular diff or rationale and the candidate has given an explanation that has resulted in that vote changing, or alternatively others have !voted in accordance with that oppose rationale. ϢereSpielChequers 13:59, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

User is X[edit]

Its hard for me to understand how it can be ok to to state:

:Example: Oppose – even though they are in their thirties, the contributor keeps playing immature jokes, removing text from articles,[1] [2] and redirecting them inappropriately.[3] StraightFace 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

Pointing out the age of the user is not relevent for the argument, since if the user is the contributor keeps playing immature jokes, removing text from articles,[4] [5] and redirecting them inappropriately. it doesnt matter the age of the user. Dentren | Talk 01:46, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

I think that is a fair point. The intention of the section is to show that it is the merits of the user's contributions to Wikipedia that matter, and that while editors may choose to point out facts about the user, these do not contribute to the case for or against the request. I think that the Wisconsin example below probably makes the point more clearly - can you think of another example which could be used? Warofdreams talk 10:34, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I think that one point of that example is to remind us that maturity and age are only loosely correlated. Don't expect everyone over a certain age to behave maturely any more than you'd expect all younger editors to behave immaturely. ϢereSpielChequers 10:52, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Span & Age[edit]

I would like to propose a change to this essay to include comments referring to an editors age. I have seen a number of editors oppose RfA's because they feel the user is too young and even too old. The base of the comments may have some legitimacy but overall its not a concise reason pertaining to their work. Examples would be helpful in clarifying this.

has some merits but overall not a good reason. Instead editors should comment on immaturity displayed in their work or interactions, lack of ability to be civilized in contentious situations, or inexperience with Wikipedia policy and its fundamental and subjective understand. The merit for too old is completely off base.

Unhelpful comments
Example: Oppose – user is too young to be an admin. DoesntLikeYoungPeople 01:01, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Example: Support – this user is old enough. AdultsAlwaysMature 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
Helpful comments
Example: Oppose – user has shown a lack of maturity when interacting with fellow editors, such as [6], [7], and [8]. WorkReflectsTheAdmin 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
Example: Support – user shown a level of professionalism in contentious situations and has shown a fundamental and subjective understand to Wikipedia policies when implementing them. WorkReflectsTheAdmin 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

User wasn't always perfect[edit]

I have another category in mind, and wanted to know if anyone else has encountered it: an inappropriate expectation of perfection from the very first edit. It's on my mind mostly because of a discouraged newbie. I'm thinking about a section like this:

==User made a mistake==

Every editor was once a new editor who was struggling to figure out Wikipedia, and every editor made mistakes during that process. Many good editors and valuable admins have made significant errors or even been blocked at one time or another. Editors should generally place more emphasis on recent behavior and on the editor's response to his/her errors than on whether any error can possibly be found. Avoid undue emphasis on minor problems or errors made a very long time ago.

Unhelpful comments
Example: Oppose – This user made a mistake six years ago,[9] and only people who have been continuously perfect since their first edit should be admins. Unforgiving 01:01, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Example: Oppose – Someone complained about the editor at ANI, and if she were a good editor, then no one would ever have complained. GuiltyUntilProvenInnocent 01:01, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Example: Support – This user always adds an edit summary and has never misspelled anything. Perfectionist 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
Helpful comments
Example: Oppose – This user's work demonstrates ongoing confusion about fundamental policies, as can be seen here: [10][11] WorkReflectsTheAdmin 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
Example: Support – This user is mature enough to own up to and resolve his mistakes without creating drama. WorkReflectsTheAdmin 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)


I think that the possibility of redemption is motivating to new editors, and that Wikipedia is not best served by even the appearance that permanent grudge-holding is recommended. What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:12, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Upgrade to a guideline[edit]

I think we should work in the direction of this as a guideline or policy, and encourage bureaucrats to consult it when reviewing RFA, as it does seem to have at least some consensus as to which arguments are harmful to the RFA process. It needs some work to get it there, but it's a good baseline to start from. Triona (talk) 20:35, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Why is this a helpful comment?[edit]

How is

Example: Oppose – user has no experience of any deletion-related processes, so I cannot judge whether they can be trusted in this field. JudgeByExperience 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

a helpful comment? The sample voter opposes out of a lack of evidence for experience in a certain small area. If a user has shown himself to be trustworthy and competent, yet has only edited clearly notable areas and thus never come across deletion processes, why should they not be trusted to be careful when entering the new area of deletion? Most admin candidates have little or no experience with all or some of cascading protection, IP rangeblocks, editing the MediaWiki namespace, obscure template syntax, editing the Main Page, the various Featured processes, image copyright laws or the Stubs for deletion process. Of course I can judge whether I can trust giving a candidate with the technical ability to work with these things without them showing prior experience on some particular area. It just depends on the general level of cluefulness and levelheadedness of the editor.

So can we find a better example of a truly helpful comment? —Kusma (t·c) 13:19, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Great article[edit]

I see both positive and negative examples in the RfAs I've looked at. It sounds, from the other comments here that this guide could be updated. But even, as is, it gives me much to keep in mind for future RfAs. Liz Read! Talk! 20:08, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

  • This essay has a low, and relatively constant number of monthly visits which suggests to me that these are mainly from search engine bots.
New and/or young users appearing in the voting sections at RfA would be very much helped if they were pointed to this essay and Wikipedia:Advice for RfA voters. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:16, 11 November 2013 (UTC)