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 07:23, 11 October 2014 (UTC).—cyberbot I NotifyOnline

Latest RfXs update
Candidate Type Result Date of close Tally
S O N
GamerPro64 RfA No consensus 11 October 2014 68 38 12
Vladimirrizov2 RfA WP:NOTNOW 4 October 2014 0 2 0
Jacobfeliciano1 RfA WP:NOTNOW 20 September 2014 1 2 0
Dodger67 RfA Withdrawn 24 August 2014 42 28 4
Philg88 RfA Successful 21 August 2014 123 0 0
Mkativerata2 RfA No consensus 10 August 2014 78 34 2
Armbrust3 RfA Unsuccessful 4 August 2014 45 42 11

Current time: 00:10:16, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
Purge this page

How about a learning program for Admins?[edit]

IMHO, far too much attention is paid to whether Wikipedians (whether they know or even bother to research an individual or not) believe admin privileges should be granted to any given nominee.

In real life, you don't get a job just because someone thinks you will probably do a good job. Nor do you get one job (e.g. admin) just because you've done good work at another job (e.g. editor). That would be like making someone a Chief Financial Officer because they know how to balance a checkbook.

No... in real life, you receive training and certification in certain work. We had a similar program here on WP a while back - for anti-vandalism fighters, and I was one of the instructors, until someone decided that it was just better to let people learn it on their own and "self-certify". That's just nonsense.

Instead, if we really want to fix RfA (and I know there are many of you reading this that don't want to fix it), we need to build a set of criteria in which an individual must prove competency (it's called a rubric) and if they illustrate such competency (and pass whatever other criteria the community deems appropriate, such as number of edits, or tenure in the project) then they're given the mop. No more "votes", no more "campaigning", no more of the hurt feelings and vague rejection that goes on in the RfA now.

I can't be the only instructional designer on the project... this is what we do for a living, so it's certainly not impossible to build a training curriculum for admin as well. I won't do it alone, but I'd certainly be willing to help.

What say you all? Vertium When all is said and done 03:37, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

I believe we do have or have had programs such as adminship coaching, mentoring, etc., which would be the place to start, as well as the existing admin policy pages. By the way, our current system does not have campaigning (and campaigning or canvassing often leads to strong opposes), and the yea/nay "votes" (usually called !votes meaning not-votes) are a discussion which develops based on the issues raised by the opposition. Based on whether the individuals have displayed competence in their contributions, they are evaluated; invalid !votes will be rejected. In the case of AlanM1, his nomination failed because he displayed an adversarial and combative position when probed about his views on the article deletion process, so if he wants to do a bit of AFD and run again maybe he'll have a better shot. Anyway, I always thought the problem with rubrics was that they hinge on subjective meanings or judgment calls. This way the community-at-large's wishes are expressed through our mechanism of consensus, rather than an individual or group's opinion. RFA is not broken - we continue to promote admins, and some would say the prevalence of "bad eggs" from past eras in which RFA was less selective has led to the tightening and selectivity we see today. So, I think building an admin training curriculum could be a good use of time, but I don't think that comes along with some kind of new RFA appointment process. Andrevan@ 05:24, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
@Andrevan, Thank you for taking the time to comment, and thank you for your contribution to the project. I am, however, forced to disagree with you on several points. While it would genuinely be fantastic if the "community-at-large" did participate in the process, we all know it doesn't happen. I wonder aloud how many unique names I'd find if I studied the last 100 RfAs (maybe a good research project when I have a week with nothing else to do). And your statement that the current system relies on consensus rather than an individual's or group's opinions. Unfortunately, that's what consensus is... agreement based on the group's opinions, and ultimately, it's really one person's decision based on how he/she "reads" the opinions and the input from the group. I know that's how we make decisions here, but it's still group opinion that's driving it. But in any case, please don't read my suggestion as being borne in AlanM1's nomination alone. That's just the most recent example. While I do think this RfA was handled poorly, I have participated in many RfAs and have expressed this concern for quite some time. Your assessment that the rejection was based on defensiveness is really core to my point. The current systems asks that everyone be nice and polite in order to get adminship, but if snarkiness and defensiveness disqualifies someone from getting the mop, then I have a list of people available who should probably have their adminship revoked. In posts well above mine, people keep referring to how it "used to be" compared to "how it is now". I've been on the project for 8 years now and I don't see any difference, so I'm not sure how long ago "used to be" is. I am well aware of the concept of !votes, so please forgive my lapse in putting in the exclamation point, but you are mistaken in your statement that there is no campaigning. I have received many messages asking for my support for nominees seeking adminship. Perhaps you never have, but I have experienced it personally. BTW, I have never participated in any RfAs where such participation has been sought, because I do agree that it should be competency based - we just disagree on the way competency is evaluated. Lastly, I know you're a software engineer, so I'm surprised to hear you think an objective measurement of output would not be a better approach. Competency models and rubrics are quite appropriate for any skills based learning and just the opposite of your assumption, seek to remove subjectivity. Again I sincerely thank you for taking the time to comment because I do appreciate the insight your response provides. If you and other bureaucrat colleagues truly believe that the process is can't be improved and there's no need for a new approval process, then it seems like even having a conversation about it won't bear much fruit. Best wishes! Vertium When all is said and done 09:02, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
It's tough to "remove subjectivity" - the "very good" and "excellent" categories on my rubrics when I was a kid (I think the last rubrics I had were in elementary school state tests) were always a hair different, and if the teacher liked me I'd get the nudge. Learning a high-level, complex skill is not about checking off a box in a list of arbitrary reductions or attempted distillations of that skill. Anyway, everything and everyone has a POV. The way to balance POVs is to represent them all and give appropriate weight, oh yeah, and post appropriate references. Sound familiar? The zen philosophy of wiki is that it works because of the wisdom of crowds. RFA works the same way, no better or worse than other processes here (such as AFD, which Alan might know if he had spent more time being a deletionist - to understand when that POV comes about). Adminship is about subtlety, judgment, and a little good luck and humor. Each user posts a POV and supporting references. When the support starts becoming a kerfluffle on the candidate's RFA page itself that's probably a bad sign for passing. Similarly, I think long-winded calls for RFA reform (including occasionally from users well-known with many accolades) are generally met with the difficulty of finding a better system that scales, is objective, and maintains the fundamental community commons that has built our project. Andrevan@ 05:08, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Personally, I'd like a training programme for existing admins. I find it very hard to keep up with the changes to guidelines and policies and this leads me to make errors and to stay away from areas I am not familiar with.Deb (talk) 08:16, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
For areas your not familiar with, I bet you could find an admin with experience there who could give you some pointers. But your comment did get me thinking, it would be really nice if there was essentially a policy changelog for admits to reference. Basically a centralized place where policy changes, arbcom precedents, foundation edicts, and even just changes in common practices that admins will want to know about are recorded. To some extent you can get that from browsing AN and ARB/N archives, but one centralized location, not cluttered with other notices/announcements/discussion would be awesome. Monty845 13:25, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
The fact that there isn't one already is ridiculous, but then again there may be some who prefer it that way. Policy is easier to wield as a club when it's obscure and hard to locate, after all. Intothatdarkness 13:43, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
While we COULD make use of the course: setup to create a Wikipedia School; it would need dedicated staff to actually manage it. Also important is that "being trained" doesn't equal "being trusted" which is also an important part of the community approving admins. — xaosflux Talk 14:18, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Exactly so. And for that reason, although a training programme is certainly an interesting idea, I wouldn't like it to supplant RfA. RfA is certainly rough, but that is because of the culture, and many editors understand this and try to influence the culture for the better. It remains the case that we need a voice as to who is entrusted with the tools to block and unblock editors, delete articles, see deleted material that the rest of us can't see, and prevent us from editing articles (while they can do so, leaving us to make requests on which they rule). --Stfg (talk) 14:57, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
I was also thinking why we don't have a school were experienced admins will give lessions to potential editors, so that they can become successful in there future RfA. Just like we get a degree when we complete a university course which helps us to get a job in future. So, I was thinking if admins can teach potential editors, how to become successful admins. I mean train potential editors for adminship?? Jim Carter (from public cyber) 15:27, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
@Jim Carter - Public: You mean like this?—LucasThoms 15:46, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
As you know, everything needed for a willing candidate has become a history, Editors review, Admin coaching etc. Now, I'm feeling that proposing new idea is just a time waste. Every good project end up like that. Jim Carter (from public cyber) 16:16, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

I applaud the positivity underlying this idea, but it's a non-starter. No matter what the classwork entails, it would be too easy for objectionable candidates to jump through the requisite hoops. Technical competence isn't enough; you can't teach a reputation of trustworthiness and fair play. Townlake (talk) 15:37, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Absolutely. Administratorship isn't supposed to be a big deal but it is. That's simply the state of the community. I know this is a tired gripe in a lot of corners but I believe we need to unspool admin tools. Just like rollback or reviewer permissions, we should have "delete" and "protect" permissions. There is no reason why trusted, established editors can't tackle these areas without more substantial, and nearly irrevocable, admin tool sets. RfA should largely be limited to people with special viewer rights, the ability to block, and the ability to view restricted material. GraniteSand (talk) 08:51, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

We did used to have WP:ADMINCOACH, which was a sort of policy training program, but it came to be viewed (rightly, in my opinion) as a "teaching to the test" approach and went inactive. There is also new admin school but it is more of a get-to-know-the-tools thing as opposed to a policy seminar. This isn't really done in pracrtice but any changes to administrative policies and priocedures should be prominently noted at WP:AN. Another idea could be a quarterly newsletter for admins detailing all policy changes that effect admins. Out of touch admins who got in way back before RFA was actually hard are, in my opinion, a problem that needs solving. Many of them do not keep up to date and maintain the cowboy attitiude that belongs in WPs past. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:11, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Everyone here is missing one very important point. There is no reason to educate the admins to prevent mistakes if there are no repercussions of abuse. If even flagrant abuses and violations of policy are ignored in the name of adminship, then what incentive is there for an admin to do this? There is none. Additionally, this idea infers that the admins are fallible and make mistakes when the culture of Wikipedia has been firmly established that the admin is always right. Unless you intend to fix those serious problems, then admin school or coaching is like making chicken salad out of chicken shit. I haven't edited since 2008 but lately all I see is a bunch of arrogant admins talking about how bad editors are. I hope you all know you really come off as a bunch of self centered jerks. It amazes me that you are all paid employees of Wikipedia. 71.163.243.25 (talk) 00:22, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
I suggest a 50% pay cut to all admins as a punishment for their arrogance! Monty845 00:29, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh man, again?? Do we have to eat tree bark too? It made me sick the last time. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 00:31, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Admins get PAID? When did that happen? (And how'd I miss that queue?) Oh wait... half of zero is zero. This is just a sneaky way for the admincabal to avoid accountability isn't it, since you can't count to zero.
As for the treebark, I almost misread your name to be TreeRangeFrog and thought you were merely talking about the food of your youth as a tadpole : ) - [1]
But if you're concerned, try roasting it next time : ) - [2] - of course, if you prefer, there's always french fried frog legs fricasseed. as an alternative. (In otherwords, you'd just be telling them: "Eat me!" : )
(and by the way - you won my laugh out loud moment of the day award : ) - jc37 19:22, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure if there are specific cases of the changing policy, out of touch admin problem, but if there is a problem with distributing notice of significant changes, AN is definitely not the place. I was there and I can tell you that AN was not supposed to be the mess it is today when it was created. Andrevan@ 03:58, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
AN (or more specifically, ANI) is the mess it is because in spite of being an Aminstrators' Noticeboard, any newbie and clueless Tom, Dick, or Harry, especially teenage admin wannabees, can have their say. And that's why many admins, including those who are otherwise known for good social and judgemental skills won't go near the place.
The problem with coaching future admins is that there are already plenty of admin wannabees who have joined Wilipedia with that sole intention in mind - and many of whom certainly do have the wrong reasons for wanting to be. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:47, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
@Kudpung, I don't see having a training program for those who want to be an admin as a bad thing, even if there are those who have the wrong reasons for wanting it. And I'm not sure, but it sounded a little like you were saying that someone who wants to be an admin should somehow color others' perception of them in a negative light. I'm pretty sure that anyone who is currently an admin (yourself included) wanted to be an admin or you wouldn't have undertaken the role. I do recall the positive conversations you and I had while we were working on the revised CVUA program (though not sure how often that ever gets used any more), and that was actually the inspiration for the original suggestion. Thanks for taking the time to make a comment. All the best.... Vertium When all is said and done 01:45, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Hi Vertium, I didn't want to be an admin - most people with my age and background don't, but a significant number of users whom I highly respect persistently suggested by email that I should consider being one. As I was already heavily engaged at that time on an adminship reform project having been subject to some nasty treatment from at least three rogue admins (all since desysoped), I thought I ought to run for office and get my own experience of what it's like being an RfA candidate, and what it's like being an admin afterwards. At least it would prove or disprove some of my theories about the actual RfA process (which it did do so admirably). Being an admin today is a thankless task but among other reasons it keeps me active on Wikipedia - not only from the aspect of protecting the reputation of adminship in general, but also being bold enough to disapprove of admins who do not show the corps in a positive light (indeed, a few more have since been rightly desysoped although it took a long time getting rid of them) , but also to disapprove of those who tar all admins with the same brush:

''What we need to do is to build up an overwhelming body of evidence against the admin corps as a whole, not just waste our time by trying to pick them off one by one – not that I'm against that of course. But the system has to change, and to change it we have to work within the rules, however naive we may think them to be."

Unfortunately, although there are indeed still some rotten apples in the admin barrel, that very statement itself is not 'within the rules' - it smacks of subversion and bloody revolution, things which are not conducive to the retention of new editors who happen on such comments. Knowing how to deal with such belligerence needs certain social skills that simply can't be 'taught', and many admins who attempt to address such issues simply end up making matters worse. One either already has such qualities, or they grow on one - those who do have them in RL simply 'emerge' as voices of reason in troubled times, and often make the best admins. A significantly high number of our active admins for example, go to meet ups and Wikipedia conferences, where it becomes apparent that they are the same nice people they appear to be online. Those admins who are unpleasant online rarely venture into showing their true colours in real life meetups. It's rare to find these talents among the younger users, but it does happen as demonstrated for example by the people who nominated me for adminship.
A bad person who somehow gets through RfA is going to be a bad admin. Anyone who follows this talk page regularly (and there is a lot of it) will realise that there is a general consensus that training people to be admins is probably not such a good idea, especially (and without including those who had an agenda such as Pastor Theo) perhaps those who may possibly still not yet have developed the required diplomatic skills which they would need in a real life environment.
There is still very much an antivandalism academy today (I know, because I wrote the present incarnation of it). I don't know where the idea that 'until someone decided that it was just better to let people learn it on their own and "self-certify" comes from. Admittedly the CVU does not get a lot of movement on its project pages these days although I still closely monitor it. It's better this way - such projects are not supposed to be a social gathering, and anti-vandalism does not seem to have suffered as a result of having cut out the MMORPG and cackle aspect. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:32, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Okay, Kudpung, I take your meaning on whether someone wants to be an admin, but I'm still reluctant to believe that someone wanting to become an admin alone makes them unworthy of it. And I'm genuinely not trying to argue for the sake of argument, but it's a bit contradictory to have everyone claim that adminship isn't supposed to be the "big deal" and then still refer to it as "running for office". This entire thread was begun because there are better ways to learn a skill than on-the-job trial-and-error. Reading educates, but it does not train.
As to the comment of "until someone decided that it was just better to let people learn it on their own and "self-certify" comes from the fact that there is no one actually coordinating CVUA [3] and that anyone can add themselves to the CVUA trainer list as noted when you expand the List of Trainers here [4]. While your claim of CVUA's existence is undeniable, it's utility or effectiveness does not share such certainty. I've no doubt you monitor it, but I found that the tool formerly used to review Instructor Activity is no longer functioning. While I do respect your opinion that there was a "MMORPG and cackle aspect" to CVUA historically (though I don't really know to what that refers), I am bewildered by your statement that it's "better this way". Why? I find no evidence that it's better to have a system no one uses than one that had a lot of activity and engaged editors into becoming vandalism fighters, "MMORPG and cackle" notwithstanding. And who decides what a part of this project is or is not "supposed to be". Isn't it "supposed to be" whatever achieves our overall goal of having an accurate encyclopedia?
And lastly, while you may not remember, I contributed to the revisions of the CVUA. In fact, you called my rubric, the "best thing to ever happen to the project" [5]. I'd hate to think that such tools are only valuable when they're used elsewhere than "behind the big curtain" (sorry, obscure Wizard of Oz reference).
Given the current state of the discussion, I'm going to consider this thread as having run its course and no longer (never really) viable, but I do thank each who took the time to contribute. I found it quite educational, and civil dialogue is always worthwhile, even if one doesn't achieve one's objective. While this conversation might continue here, I'm not going to be following this page any longer, so if you have something to say that is directed towards me, I would appreciate you posting on my talk page. Many thanks to all. Vertium When all is said and done 12:59, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Is two weeks of inactivity here normal?[edit]

There has been no new RfA since mine closed - is this cause for concern or is it normal to have such longish breaks of activity here? Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:38, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict) (Much as I'm tempted to tell you that you're the last candidate we'll ever consider... ;) ) During or shortly after the Northern hemisphere's summer break period, it's normal. We've been having similar discussions in other places. Samsara (FA  FP) 07:57, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
I have noticed it is a bit quiet. Perhaps people are nervous given the 6:1 failure rate over the last month. Chillum 07:45, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
I've broken out my sixth form (high school) statistics, so forgive me if I make a mistake. So far we've had 36 weeks this year with 50 RfAs. That makes 2.78 RfAs per 2 week period on average. Modelling as a Poisson distribution (and so assuming RfAs are random and independent) the probability of any given two week period with no RfAs is approximately 6.5%. So unusual, but by no means out of the ordinary. (Numbers now fixed I think).
Please correct me if I've messed this up. BethNaught (talk) 07:51, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Of course, that's, as you say, assuming that RfAs are random and independent, which they may or may not be. Most university students in the States have had anywhere from one day (lucky bastards! at least they get out later than the rest of us) to three weeks of school, parents with school-age children presumably will have less time for the same reasons, and so on. It'd be interesting to go back through the years and see if there is a drop-off of activity (not just in RfAs) from late August through maybe October; a rough eyeballing of User:WereSpielChequers/RFA by month doesn't suggest a pattern in successful RfAs, though. (Also, slightly off-topic, is there a list of all RfAs ever in chronological order, not split up by year/success/whatever?) Ansh666 08:35, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
6:1 failure rate is not indicative of anything at all other than some (not all) of the failed candidates should have been clueful enough to read all the advice pages first and then realised that they didn't stand the remotest chance. Nothing for any genuine candidates to get nervous about.
Why always assume that the rate of RfA (or any other editing for that matter) depends on the academic cycle? Especially where the number of annual RfAs is now so low that it's impossible to draw any conclusions. Not all editors are schoolies - plenty of us are right at the other end of our careers, even some adminship candidates. KudpungMobile (talk) 09:36, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Are American students in fact overrepresented among RfA candidates, or the total editor population? Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 09:46, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
That would be difficult to analyse given the relative anonymity of editors in general. However, the academic cycle is relevant even if students are not overrepresented because school vacations coincide with the periods that are the most popular times for vacations in general. For example, in the UK pretty much every adult, with or without children, will take one or two weeks of vacation between late June and early September. QuiteUnusual (talk) 10:56, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
@Kudpung: - not just students; parents who may need to tend to children going to school, teachers, etc. The school cycle affects more than just children. Ansh666 19:12, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
I remembered a similar conversation a while back. It was 2 years ago. An RFA was withdrawn on 21 Aug 12, the next RFA closed as successful on 1 Sep 12, then the next one closed as no consensus on 9 Oct 12. It was 31 days between the close on 1 Sep and the open on 2 Oct 12. What is happening now is not usual, but it is not unheard of. GB fan 11:14, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps, after reading some of the recent ones, prospective candidates have asked themselves why they would want to go through such a broken (not just IMO) process. Note that this is the only comment I've made since. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 13:44, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
From your keyboard to God's inbox. -Ad Orientem (talk) 13:53, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

I propose a college class on Wikipedia where students are graded by the level of responsibility they achieve on the site. Those who become an Administrator will get an "A" for "Administrator". Those who becomes Bureaucrats, of course, will get a "B", Checkusers will get a "C", and you know what happens to those who become Developers, or go to work for the Foundation. bd2412 T 15:10, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Thumbs up Support. Ansh666 19:14, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
As a student, I can say that I certainly would not run for RfA at any point during the year, due to the time commitment. Especially now that I'm in college, there's simply no time for me to even edit much, let alone go through an RfA. Since much of WP's editor base is high school and college students, it would be a perfectly plausible explanation for the decrease in RfA candidates. I suspect that once students settle in and get into routines, we'll start seeing more in October. Also, I get an "A", yay! StringTheory11 (t • c) 20:25, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
I wonder what I get...U for user? and what about people who only edit from IPs?! Ansh666 20:38, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Those who only edit from an IP get put down as an "incomplete" until they earn some other grade. bd2412 T 20:40, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Regular editors get an "E" for effort. ;) Kurtis (talk) 23:44, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Why a college class? I still think that there are so many who are ready and would run for RfA if only they could know what their chances are were in advance. I tried this, but was out of town during the discussion. I didn't get a chance to speak further on it as I was out of town. Bottom line: Totally optional, so not another hoop to jump through. Simple feedback, short and sweet. Caveat emptor. Maybe it could just have been in this format:
  • Easy pass - Your AfD work and clean record will do the trick. ~~~~
  • Likely - Sure. ~~~~
  • Almost certain - ~~~~
  • Outcome probably 100 S / 3 O - I can't see others objecting. ~~~~
  • Certain - ~~~~
  • Easy pass - ~~~~
  • Probably 80/0 - Do it! ~~~~
I wish this proposal could be revised in a way that everyone likes. I now regret the Village pump post. I wish I had boldly created the page in Wikipedia space just to see. What's the harm in this page existing? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 00:26, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Anna, doesn't seem like you got the joke. Read BD's suggestion again, carefully!
Also, yeah, that non-proposal...shot down because an inexperienced user doesn't know what "idea lab" means and took to mass-messaging admins about it, right? Maybe if the proposal was refined and formalized it would be more useful to consider. Or, just making it would work too, though I wonder what people would do... Ansh666 00:57, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
An inexperienced user, yes. Considering the opposes, would you think that simply "just making it" would be in terribly bad form? It could go to MfD if it didn't work out. More potential benefits than hazards? What do we have to lose? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:29, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, I think that some of the people who were opposing had the wrong idea about it. And, I suspect that even with a reasonably supported proposal it'd go to MfD anyways. That said, "just making it" does not seem like a particularly good idea. A more complete, formal proposal would be better, IMO. Ansh666 07:34, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I won't pursue this any further. I still think this sort of informal straw poll idea would result in new admins that otherwise wouldn't be and that the downside would be tiny. If others want to make a proposal out of this, fine. Thanks for the feedback. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 08:25, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
I still think it is valid Anna. I would support anytime. Irondome (talk) 23:48, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, don't give up. I think it's a great idea, just needs to be formalized so that people actually see what it really is compared to their preconceived notions. Ansh666 00:03, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, you guys. :) How could it be a bad idea? A little shallow water before a big plunge. Any guidance on how to get a formal proposal to look good? A model formal proposal somewhere? I guess I could ask some of the Idea Lab supports to help with the draft. Maybe I could start something in a sandbox and others might help knock it into shape. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 10:54, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Say, is there any way to actually find out if there are qualified prospectives who are too unsure to go through RfA? Some sort of poll? I mean, why propose something if there is no demand. Should I post at village pump? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 20:28, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

  • If you are concerned about a lack of Admins, or editors willing to take the job, then I have a suggestion. Instead of conducting a poll, why don't you nominate someone? -Ad Orientem (talk) 21:46, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
It would be interesting to see a poll, maybe at the pump, along the lines of "Are there any eds who are considering RfA in the next 2 years?" Just yes or no. At least it gives us an idea from a poll if interest is there, and if it is low, that may be an indicator of a long term systemic problem of a maybe complex interaction between RfA and the community. I think the existing admin "issue" is a straw man. It goes deeper than that. If there is an issue with RfA it least getting community feedback is a promising new road to fix issues down the line. I would support. Irondome (talk) 21:51, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Ad Orientem: Because my nominating someone could result in one new admin while conducting a poll could help to figure out what the problem is and do much, much more.
Irondome: Indeed the very open "yes" or "no" would have great value. But I would still love to know the reasons behind the "no"s. Maybe that reasons is "because as an admin I would feel XXXXX" or it could be "because I'm scared of the RfA process". Maybe "If no, why not?" in the question? Thoughts? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 00:04, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like you already have a good model in mind :). My thoughts would be along those lines. The right questions. A poll approach may be a useful tool if they are asked.Irondome (talk) 00:24, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Maybe you are right about the totally open question. See User:Anna Frodesiak/Yellow sandbox and feel free to tweak it. Do the brackets help diminish the "why not" part? Maybe totally open is best. Should it have a lead sentence like "I am trying to understand why there are so few new RfAs these days"? Maybe that would stop others from asking why I'm asking and then pointing me to some project page. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 00:42, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

I posted here: Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 47#Editors considering RfA. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 23:55, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Anna, just so you know, I had an informal straw pole on my talk page the week before I ran for admin [6] and left it up during RFA for full disclosure. I don't remember others doing much of the same, although it may have some merit as that is a better place to have someone say "you need more AFD experience" than at RFA. No one held the prior poll against me at RFA, and I would hope no one would know, 2.5 years later, if another potential candidate did similar. Dennis 00:03, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Hell week - and women - and some statistics - and a suggestion[edit]

Dariusz Jemielniak devotes over 6% of the content of his book Common Knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia to RfA, mostly turning on its dysfunctional nature, and citing for example Kudpung's analysis of 2010 RfA questions (43% "irrelevant or prying into personal opinion"), and Jimbo's comment "good candidates who don't bother standing because it is a nightmare".

One might have thought this would deter women more than men - and maybe it does. Interestingly though the percentage of women admins compared with the percentage of active women editors seems to be slightly higher, most recently illustrated here.

Nonetheless Cla68's suggestion does have merit, as does TwoKindsofProk's revision. Cla78 seems to be wrong about the 65% threshold, as a recent RfA failed with 69.4% in favour.

Jemielniak opines, not without good cause, that part of the reason for "The Gauntlet" is that the post is virtually "admin for life". Of course a significant number of admins are open to recall, and presumably do not pose this sociological issue, and hierarchical risk.

It would therefore make sense to have a standard recall process, and allow those candidates who agree to be bound by it to have a lower threshold in terms of consensus.

All the best: Rich Farmbrough13:42, 10 September 2014 (UTC).

My suggestion had merit? Sarcasm perhaps? How about AAA for Afirmtive Action Admin?Two kinds of pork (talk) 13:56, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
What is the percentage of total active editors that regularly contribute to RfA? Are there any figures for that? Is there any gender breakdown on active eds contributing? Irondome (talk) 20:31, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
If "thanks" response stats were factored into the RfA process in terms of a required competency, I think we would see a great increase in successful female RfA outcomes. That would develop increased female editor participation, both as nominees and contributors. Is "thanks" being measured? Jemielniak reports a reinforcing of the community by use of the thank feature. I bet female eds thank more than males. A hunch. The thanks feature is a potentially useful tool in guaging the intellectual and behavioural "generousity" of a potential admin, which is a critical asset. Are the "Thanks" stats being looked at or is any group discussing them on WP? Irondome (talk) 21:59, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Measured, I don't know. Logged, yes. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:13, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Cheers for the link HJ. Lots of great eds on there, interestingly. Irondome (talk) 22:59, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Interesting idea, but I'd beware of the stereotype. I was glad to have that feature, but I don't often use it. The person who thanks me far and away the most is male. And there's a phenomenon of minor harassment by excess thanks that's been mentioned in some quarters (I know, it's possible to spoil anything.) Yngvadottir (talk) 22:15, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Good criticism, however I still think "thanks" should be more thoroughly investigated in gender usage, just to be sure there is no statistical diffentials. "Thanks" could still be a useful measuring tool in a behavioural sense, to apply to all RfA's if we could brainstorm its measurable positive attributes to the project. Irondome (talk) 22:38, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Off topic, but when you sign up for an account, is there an option to query gender?Two Kinds of PorkMakin'Bacon 22:32, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
It's in the preferences, the option called "How do you prefer to be described?"; I don't think the account creation process goes into the preferences (I made an alt account a couple months ago, but maybe I just didn't notice). Ansh666 22:49, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

I've been intrigued (and rather skeptical) about the suggestion or implication here that women have a harder time than men passing RFA. So I did an analysis of the 16 most recent successful RfAs and the 16 most recent unsuccessful RfAs. I counted a person as "female" or "male" if they so identify themselves at their userpage, either explicitly or by their first name.

  • SUCCESSFUL
    • Female: 2 (12%)
    • Male: 7 (44%)
    • Unspecified: 7 (44%)
  • UNSUCCESSFUL
    • Female: 2 (12%)
    • Male: 4 (25%)
    • Unspecified: 10 (63%)

Obviously this is a small sample and not statistically significant, but it suggests that self-identified femaleness does not influence success or failure. Also that the ratio of females in both successful and unsuccessful candidacies is similar to the ratio of female editors Wiki-wide. This also tends to confirm my impression that many editors, perhaps a majority, do not identify their gender one way or another. --MelanieN (talk) 23:01, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

The sample size is unfortunately too small to really say anything useful but if we look at the conditional probability. Probability of passing given the candidate is female = 50%; probability of passing given the candidate is male = 63%, (7/(7+4)); probability of passing given the candidate is unspecified = 41%. Compare this to the probability of passing irrespective of gender = 50%, we see slightly more men that average pass, but this does not count as a statistically significant result. --Salix alba (talk): 06:41, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
More useful statistically would probably be to look at the last x male/female/unspecified RfA candidates, and see how many pass. Not that the data would likely yield any shocking conclusions anyways. Ansh666 07:11, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't think there is systemic bias against apparently female candidates at RFA, certainly no stats that I've seen indicating such. Anyone thinking that "thumb on the scales" vote-counting where none is apparently warranted would be anything but inflammatory is not paying attention. Of course, generating bigger flames to better harness popular passions is what it's all about for some people. Those agenda-driven sorts at WP are disruptionists of the worst kind, in my estimation. Carrite (talk) 19:44, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I find the proposal really offensive. The mere suggestion that women need special treatment and that it would come in the form of lower standards is appalling and archaic. Perhaps women are discriminated against. Lowering the community consensus requirement is not even remotely the right way to go about resolving the issue. If, and I mean IF, women are being discriminated against at RFA, the problem is not with the women candidates or the requirements for RFA. The problem lies with the editors who are discriminating against them -- and therein the solution must be found and directed. Victim blaming needs to stop and it starts by not telling them to be different, to take a different and less difficult route, or that they need to be subject to different rules. Mkdwtalk 21:58, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
    • It's not lowering standards when there aren't any standards. The RfA process is, and has been for a long time, nothing more than a shark tank, highly susceptible to bias, canvassing, cherry-picking, and other unfair practices. Cla68 (talk) 00:41, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Bias, canvassing, cherry-picking, and other unfair practices I'll grant you. But are any of those gender-related, and do you have evidence of it? If they aren't, then introducing gender-related procedures to RFA will cause more harm than good. --Carnildo (talk) 01:45, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Cla68@ You have never participated in an RFA and it's showing. Had it not been for the anonymity of the Internet, I doubt very much that you would still be clinging to your proposal. Meanwhile, you continue to argue against those who have said it is a bad idea (nearly everyone), or whom you've managed to offend, only to worsen your position. Participating in the process, following an RFA from start to finish, or undergoing one yourself as a candidate will likely be a very illuminating experience for you. It's easy to judge from afar and at a leisurely commitment. You also have yet to really substantiate any of your personal opinions about RFA. Ignoring the sheer fact that a candidate must receive a certain percentile of community support to "pass" is by academic definition a standard, you also should know (but seemingly don't) that editors who routinely participate, have various metrics for candidates often set as standards. These standards are discussed at WP:RFAADVICE and Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship among many other pages. Editors also routinely publish their RFA standard. I list mine at User:Mkdw/RfA Standards. Lastly, you're missing the entire point. I really wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I'm frankly beginning to think that this proposal is not one being with honest intentions. It's so far from the thinking of most advocates of feminism, women's rights, gender balance and equality. In fact it seemingly falls in line with victim blaming and resentment of the process and of the ability of women. Mkdwtalk 04:22, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
        • Interesting. That explains why he/she* was mistaken about the percentage of votes generally needed to pass RFA. (*I say "he/she" because Cla68 does not identify any gender at his/her user page.) Cla68, you cannot possibly have any idea what it is like to edit Wikipedia as a female, since you do not publicly identify your gender. It was presumptuous (to say the least) for you to attempt to speak for those of us who do identify as female, and I believe that no further attention should be given to anything you say on the subject. --MelanieN (talk) 04:34, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
          • Just a little note: It's every editor's own business whether they self-identify; it's perfectly possible to experience editing as a female without stating the fact on one's user page or elsewhere on-wiki. We have no way to know what experiences Cla68 has had in this regard, so let's not assume we do. Anonymity is still theoretically available here, and that is important. Yngvadottir (talk) 04:54, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
            • Actually we CAN know what experiences they have had in this regard, because it turns out that Cla68 did run for adminship, back in 2007; see ‪Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Cla68‬. And the nominator and discussants in that request referred to Clal68 as "he"! So when Cla68 says, as they did at the Gender Gap Task Force talk page, I have been through the RfA process, and I thus have personal experience with how corrupted and rigged it is.[7] and As I know by personal experience, WP's administrative processes are riddled with behind-the-scenes corruption, canvassing, and inconsistency. [8] - they are talking about their own experience, during which they were referred to as male! So they literally have NO idea what it is like to run for adminship as a female (or any idea at all what RfA is like nowadays, seven years after their unsuccessful run). --MelanieN (talk) 05:04, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
To correct an assumption made, Cla68 did go through the RfA process himself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Requests_for_adminship/Cla68 Bill Huffman (talk) 18:12, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Unclosed[edit]

I am unclosing Rich because that is a very different idea and possibly a viable one. A lower threshold for a standard recall seems a fair trade. Andrevan@ 07:45, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

You are talking about this suggestion above, right? --MelanieN (talk) 16:43, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
Jemielniak opines, not without good cause, that part of the reason for "The Gauntlet" is that the post is virtually "admin for life". Of course a significant number of admins are open to recall, and presumably do not pose this sociological issue, and hierarchical risk.
It would therefore make sense to have a standard recall process, and allow those candidates who agree to be bound by it to have a lower threshold in terms of consensus.

I am puzzled that Jemielniak is being brought up in the context of women and RfA. Someone recently cited Jemielniak as support for the notion that Wikipedia has a glass ceiling. He says no such thing. While he does talk about RfA issues, he spends very little time on gender issues in general and has almost nothing to say about women in the context of RfA.

The proposal by Cla68 is appallingly bad. It is difficult to come up with the right words to describe how condescending patronizing it is. The proposal is not rooted in anything said by Jemielniak, which is worth reading.

The are problems with RfA. Making recall easier is one important step. This is an appropriate place to discuss RfA reform, but let's not conflate the RfA problem, with the Wikipedia gender gap issues, at least not without some evidence. --S Philbrick(Talk) 18:40, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

This is no longer about the proposal by Cla68, it's about the proposal by Rich, which is different. Ansh666 19:34, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
How do you know that? Or how should I know that? Rich has five sentences and a close. One about Jemielniak generally. The next about women, and women admins. The next about CLA68. The next about admin for life. The next about a recall provision with a lower acceptance threshold. Why is is obvious that the discussion of the first four sentences is closed, and only the last is still open?--S Philbrick(Talk) 22:23, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
Because this is the entirety of the proposal: It would therefore make sense to have a standard recall process, and allow those candidates who agree to be bound by it to have a lower threshold in terms of consensus. Nothing about women. In fact, the two paragraphs about Jemielniak also have nothing to do with women. The second paragraph refutes Cla68's point; the third states that the proposal's idea - not reasoning or implementation - is sound. As such, Rich is in fact refuting Cla68's point, and repurposing his proposal for a different cause - that of recall and general RfA reform. Ansh666 00:01, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
When someone says "therefore" it is usually a sign that what they are saying follows from the preceding. It does not make sense to assume that Rich threw out four random unrelated points and then made an unrelated proposal. Furthermore, note that the section heading refers to women. Your conclusion that this has nothing to do with women makes no sense. The proposal itself is flawed but if someone wishes to discuss it, I suggest that someone starts a new section including this proposal alone not the irrelevant material.--S Philbrick(Talk) 00:37, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Facepalm3.svg Facepalm Go back and read everything I wrote, please. (Oh, and, I contend that "therefore" only refers back to the previous paragraph; the top three are separate and unrelated to the bottom two. More clear?) Ansh666 01:18, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Ansh although I see why SPhilbrick did not understand. I think if we made RFA less of an angry and critical place maybe women would apply for it. Thus the lower threshold, standard recall being relevant if somewhat orthogonal to the issue. Andrevan@ 04:00, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
I and several others fought tooth and nail a couple of years ago to find ways of getting RfA cleaned up - either that, or replaced with some other kind of system altogether. The problem with an issue like this is that whatever it might be / have been replaced with will still leave a certain faction of the community dissatisfied. That said, anyone who has been as closely monitoring the (rare) RfAs since that time as I have will not have let it escape their attention that although still not perfect, the process is considerably less vitriolic and visited by trolls and other disruptive elements than it used to be. I don't see gender as part of the equation - or orthogonal at best; AFAICS the ladies who run for adminship seem to pass with exceptionally flying colours. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:33, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Andrevan Sorry. what didn't I understand? I agree that reform of Rfa is needed. Many things need to be done; making it less angry is one of many needs. I don't know that such a reform would make it more appealing to women. Wikipedia as a whole has a gender gap which deserves serious action. I think that reform ought to address all issues, not just gender specific ones.--S Philbrick(Talk) 13:03, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Responding to several recent comments, in particular to those by Rich Farmbrough, Irondome Sphilbrick, and others, I haven't read the book (yet) but if Jemielniak devotes over 6% of the content of his book Common Knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia to RfA, I'm hardly surprised. Until someone can come up with an entirely new concept for managing Wikipedia, the admin structure is the feature that keeps not only the crap out of the encyclopedia but also keeps those away who are determined to abuse it and/or other editors.
Daniel Iosub et al (which I have read) summarise in their paper that …emotional and linguistic homophily is prevalent: editors tend to interact with other editors having similar emotional styles (e.g., editors expressing more anger connect more with one another). This paper is essential reading for anyone who is interested in its analysis pertaining to admins, although I hesitate to assume that anyone who self-identifies with those who complain fervently about admins and their implied power structure will bother to read it; if they were to, they may well change their attitude towards admins or at least express themselves in more serious and more compelling language when discussing it rather than aggressive/emotional statements such as "What we need to do is to build up an overwhelming body of evidence against the admin corps as a whole, not just waste our time by trying to pick them off one by one – not that I'm against that of course."
I would venture to presume that not only a significant number of admins do not pose a sociological issue, or hierarchical risk, but that the vast majority of them do not pose any threat to the workings of Wikipedia; any suggestions that they do is pure sensationalism from those who either perceive to have been unjustly served, have exceptionally long block logs, or who have never even actually been the object of admin action at all.
Unbundling of the admin tools, according to some, would be a great idea, especially if the block button were to be released for use by a wider section of the community - how about very major, prolific content providers, for example, maybe some of them would even block themselves occasionally (or at least each other) for cases of civility and PA transgressions. Just a thought…
Stats can often be cited to the advantage of the one citing them. There is a lot of re-inventinig the wheel going on here; perhaps a reminder of the enormous research that was carried out at WP:RFA2011 showing 100s of voter profiles and just how transient the pool of so-called 'active' RfA voters is. In that respect nothing has changed much at all. Scottywong did the requested data mining for WP:RFA2011 and I'm sure that if, and only if, there were a serious need to update those stats, he would either do it again at least provide the scripts or regular expressions he used.
Gender related issues IMO should ideally be the subject of a separate discussion even if globally addressed by books or independent research. I will not pronounce on gender topics with the exception that there are probably more male editors and more male admins than females. I would not be surprised if the % of female admins is higher than the % of female editors in general. I would also not be surprised if the pass rate for females is higher than that for males, and also by higher turnout and higher 'support' percentages. However, I do not believe that this is a Wikipedia specific topic, whose answer would be found in other areas of research into human gender roles.
Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:55, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree that gender should be addressed separately. The data is clear that there is a Wikipedia wide gender gap. However, addressing gender soley in the context of RfA makes little sense.--S Philbrick(Talk) 13:07, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
It was absolutely my idea to make a gender-neutral proposal. While I am not convinced (partly for the reasons I gave, and also because research shows female editors work on more contentious issues than male editors) that RFA is more traumatic for female editors, I am aware that this position is held by some people. Reducing the trauma of RFA therefore also addresses this hypothetical gender barrier to some extent. I am happy to build this proposal on the wreckage of previous proposals, or even sarcastic comments. I certainly agree that the vast majority of admins do not pose a risk, but the ghost of irremovable "Rouge admins" might well be one reason for RFA problems. Jemielniak does cite the 2011 research, by the way and mentions Kudpung@ at the very least (I don't have the volume to hand). Ansh666@ is correct that the single sentence covers the proposal, the rest is thinking out loud, if you like. I did try to make it clear for the section header that the linkage between the subjects was relatively weak. Sorry for not being clearer! All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:29, 19 September 2014 (UTC).
Rich, I didn't misunderstand you for a moment and I'm with you all the way. The traditional arguments that a predominantly hostile male envoronment at RfA is preventing women from participating in RfA is probably less acurate today than it was in , say, 2011. We have women police officers and even women soldiers and fighter pilots and they all had to go through boot camp - and survived it. Recent female results: 116/0/0, 97/17/2, 217/0/2, 152/0/0, 173/9/4, 120/3/4, 94/1/0, 120/0/4, 87/36/8, and none failed.
What probably puts anyone off wanting to be an admin these days, nearly 4 years down the line from WP:RFA2011, is not so much the election process itself, but the consequences of being a sysop once you get the bit. Comments such as:

"What we need to do is to build up an overwhelming body of evidence against the admin corps as a whole, not just waste our time by trying to pick them off one by one – not that I'm against that of course."

don't exactly make the job sound attractive, whatever gender you are. It's a common fallacy put about by a certain group that all admins are badmins, but like in any army or police force, there are always one or two rotten apples in the barrel, but the group who persistently tar all admins with the same brush at every opportunity with drama mongering out-of-context diatribes, are doing far more damage to the collaborative spirit of Wikipedia than an admin who blocks an editor for being grossly uncivil or making PA, and one who unblocks because that editor is a prolific content contributor.
What we need to do is to build up an overwhelming body of evidence against such groups that are determined to undermine the the already fragile fabric of what holds this project together. And if the community were prepared to look at their strategy and the pattern of tactics rather than just seeing and ignoring isolated issues, picking them off one-by-one wouldn't be all that difficult but it would need the support of the likes of admins such as, for example, Gorilla Warfare, Slim Virgin, and Bishonen. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:39, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
In Kudpung's own words, "criticising the admin system... directly criticises the admins themselves, because they are the system". Kudpung, that most august of Wikipedia's grandee admins, sees all constructive criticism of the admin system as personal attacks on the individual administrators and on himself in particular. He has been campaigning lately for the extermination of these vile pests. He tars all critics, constructive and unconstructive, with the same brush, and quotes from the most unconstructive critics to try and mobilise attacks on the most constructive critics. --Epipelagic (talk) 14:27, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
And that is why OWN of policy is one of the biggest dangers we face. Intothatdarkness 14:48, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Hey, everyone. Just popping in to reiterate that I was serious about introducing affirmative action to the RfA process and continue to support the idea. I'm glad to see that this discussion is ongoing and look forward to us having another vote on it in the future. Cla68 (talk) 19:03, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Please don't use the term "affirmative action" when talking about lowering pass ratios. I support affirmative action in the sense of casting a wider net, searching for people who might be good candidates, encouraging more women to edit, reaching out to organizations that are predominantly women to identify new editors, all of which will eventually result in more female admins, but to simply modify the ratio for acceptance isn't addressing the problems, it is pretending to do something rather than meaningful actions.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:12, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

RFA is dying[edit]

RFA is dying. Only 3 new admins have been promoted in the last 3.5 (three and a half) months.

If this trend continues, the admins will die out and will not be replaced, and the vandals will take over the project.

I propose that the pass rate be lowered immediately to 50%. A simple majority should be enough to demonstrate trust. What's worse - having an admin that 49% of voters dislike or having no admins and the vandals will destroy Wikipedia forever?

All you folks who disagree - what do you propose should be done? Even if WP has enough admins today, it will not have enough in 2 to 3 years unless new admins are promoted to replace those who leave the project.

Folks, this is an emergency. Radical reform is necessary. The 50% pass rate will be a stopgap while other possibilities (e.g. unbundling the tools or allowing bureaucrats or ArbCom to appoint admins without a full RFA) can be considered.

Haha! Can you believe what we just saw (talk) 02:34, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

The answer cannot be to lower the standard. The answer could be to lessen the fear of the unknown with a pre-admin opinion page. If not a page for that purpose, then maybe some mention of the suggestion of creating a userspace subpage for those who wish to probe community views on their chances. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 02:42, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
It's not still April 1st is it? Cannolis (talk) 02:43, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Not sure what that means. My point is that RfA is a plunge. People don't like to plunge into dark waters, even if they are expert swimmers. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 02:45, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, thought it must be a joke, what with the insanity of the proposal and the "Haha!" bit at the end. Cannolis (talk) 02:57, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
"Just" 1393 sysops! Some perspective... José Luiz talk 02:59, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Some further analysis of the WMF figures:  Philg88 talk 13:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Language No of articles No of active users No of admins Admin to article ratio Admin to user ratio
English 4,608,505 130,223 1,393 1:3,308 1:93
Swedish 1,943,346 2,769 69 1:28,164 1:40
Dutch 1,790,356 4,039 53 1:33,780 1:76
German 1,759,441 19,542 254 1:6,926 1:76
French 1,546,599 15,102 179 1:8,640 1:84
Cebuano 1,173,959 79 3 1:319,319 1:26
I sense a need for troll-be-gone (judging from contribs, this is a quacker). ansh666 07:37, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
The solution is pretty clear - do new page patrol, encounter potential new users who haven't figured out the ropes, and show them the ropes in a friendly, respectful way. Explain inclusion criteria, find sources to bring articles up to WP:N (or it's bastard stepchildren). Maybe merge, but don't try to destroy any work they've done that can be salvaged. Those who become regulars will continue to filter down to RfA. It's a lot of work, but it's the only way. There's no easy fix. WilyD 08:43, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
There is nothing in need of fixing. All that's needed is for people to approach Wikipedia in the same way as they approach real life. Want a promotion at work or to be a school prefect? Then behave well, work hard demonstrating dedication, put effort into understanding what it means to be a prefect and demonstrate you understand it. Build up a track record; apply - result: you'll be supported or receive advice on how to be supported next time. There's no magic about this. QuiteUnusual (talk) 08:52, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Agree 100% with QuiteUnusual. There is nothing wrong with the process and anyone can become an admin. All it requires is to learn the ropes of editing and policy, to behave in a sensible manner and to ensure that interactions with other editors are always positive. Quality, not quantity of admins is what we need such that reducing the "bar" is not the answer.  Philg88 talk 09:00, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I don't think becoming an admin is like getting a promotion at work. Putting aside the question of whether it's truly a "promotion", it's still far more public. To be the same thing, you'd have to work somewhere where: (a) everyone you work with knows you've applied for a promotion; (b) everyone you work with gets to comment on whether you should be promoted; (c) you (and all your co-workers) get to hear all of the negative comments that were made about you in the process; and (d) the record of your application(s) (and all those negative comments) is publicly available on the web to everyone. I suspect if anywhere adopted such an application process for internal promotions, they'd have real trouble finding anyone willing to go through it! There is unfortunately a downside to having a public process open to all... WJBscribe (talk) 11:51, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Tangential I know: In which case I conclude that you don't work at the same kind of company I do where all the points you make broadly happen albeit to a [slightly] restricted audience. Fail at a promotion review with my employer and it taints you forever. QuiteUnusual (talk) 13:00, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree it is not like a promotion at work. It is a bit more like getting tapped to be the emergency officer for your section. No money, some responsibility, and no perks, unless you really need a plastic orange helmet.--S Philbrick(Talk) 17:48, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose There is no crisis. There are plenty of Admins. Yes, we are experiencing a bit of a dry spell. It happens. Big deal. I for one am somewhat pleased by the slowdown. We have had way too many obviously NOTNOW nominations. Beyond which I think we need to pause and consider that not everyone can or should be an Admin. Lots of solid editors don't want the job, often for very good reasons. In the past I have suggested adding an essay or a section in the RFA page along the lines of "Reasons why you might not want to be an Admin." If there is anything wrong with the system, it is the perennial problem of unnecessarily acerbic commentary. I suspect that there are at least a few people who are turned off by the inquisitorial tone of the process and just concluded that they have better things to do with their time. But to the extent that this is a problem, it is certainly not one that will be corrected by lowering standards. -Ad Orientem (talk) 12:50, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict)*Some of us, including also WereSpielChequers who maintains the stats, and WJBscribe who closes a large number of the RfAs over the years, have been acutely aware of the problem for years but to lower the bar would not only be ridiculous, but would be to both play into the hands of the socks and trolls who make such suggestions and into the hands of the anti-admin brigade who could then devote themselves full-time to 'picking them off one-by-one'. With only 12 or so new admins likely to be appointed (I hate the word 'promoted') next year, it will still take many years before attrition at a rate of around 10 admins a year has reached the stage when all 614 'active' admins are no longer around. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:44, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose I don't think the pass rate is an issue. We have few candidates because you can't get a day on Wikipedia without someone crying out how corrupt and unfair the admins are. Who wants a thankless job? Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 15:28, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I tend to agree. Admins sacrifice a great deal of their freedom in exchange for which they suffer endless abuse. That, plus the actual process (not the standards) would seem to be among the main reasons why so few solid editors seem interested. I will however concede that there are a few editors that !vote regularly on RfA who seem to have set unrealistically high standards for getting their !vote. -Ad Orientem (talk) 15:55, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I plan to apply in late November. Having been editing for over two years, and having had this account for seven years, it occurred to me a few months ago that it might be a good idea if I apply. I often come across Wikipedia articles (mostly articles about famous personalities) that get quite a bit of vandalism from IP users who think badly of certain famous personalities. Other times, I come across articles about certain events, such as pay-per-views, that have jokesters who like to come along during the event and post silly things that only serve to interrupt editors who are trying to edit that page with updates during the event, making the editors' task too much and stressful. Having a few more administrators around for those types of things I think would be a good thing.
I don't know if I'll receive it or not, but I'll at least apply when the time comes. In the meanwhile, I hope others apply and make it. Johnsmith2116 (talk) 15:39, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I hope you fare better than the last John Smith to apply. G S Palmer (talkcontribs) 16:18, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

You folks have made some pretty good points. I think you are right and things are actually okay. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 04:03, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

  • RFA is not dying, but it is in a parlous state. Yes we are experiencing a dry spell. It started in early 2008 and has tended to get drier since. But the last four months have been exceptional by any standards, by far the driest period since the dawn of Wikipedia (early 2002 looks drier, but RFAs then were done by email and though we don't know which months they were in, there were rather more than we've had so far this year, or in the whole of 2012). There are various issues associated with having fewer admins around, but as long as we don't require existing admins to rerun their RFAs I'm not as worried over that as I used to be. When we find we have too few admins to maintain cover at AIV we will just appoint a large batch of poorly vetted ones, most of whom will do just fine. I would prefer that we appoint well vetted ones when they are ready to become admins, but I know I have lost that argument. My worry is partly that we don't know how much admin resource we actually have available, in theory we know how many "active admins" we have, but that is a laughable statistic which would equate me, and people who edit even less than me, equal with admins who are active as admins here for several hours a week. We don't know how many hours of admin time we need per week, how many are donated by our 600 or so admins, or how many "inactive" ones would resurface if asked. But my bigger worry is over community health. We have a wikigeneration divide between those who started editing more than six years ago and those who have become active during the drought, at some point that divide will widen to the point where we are no longer a self governing community, I suspect tht some people who started editing in the last six years already think that. Appointing lots of admins is good for community health, not only because of editor retention, but because it would enable us to spread the load so that we no longer needed admins who mostly act as admins rather than editors and because in my view we should have more admins amongst those who started editing in 2009-2012. I'm transcluding one of my charts to illustrate the current drought. ϢereSpielChequers 10:25, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
Successful requests for adminship on the English Wikipedia
Month\Year 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Totals
January 2 13 14 44 23 36 6 6 3 1 4 3
February 2 14 9 28 35 27 9 7 9 3 5 1
March 8 31 16 34 31 22 13 2 9 1 5 4
April 6 20 25 36 30 12 14 8 3 3 1 3
May 10 23 17 30 54 16 12 8 6 1 3 2
June [1] 24 13 28 28 35 18 12 6 4 1 3 1
July 3 11 17 31 26 31 16 10 7 4 6 3 1
August 4 9 12 39 26 18 12 11 13 1 4 1 1
September 0 17 29 32 22 34 6 8 6 4 0 3 0
October 0 10 16 67 27 27 16 7 7 3 1 2
November 3 9 27 41 33 56 11 13 4 2 5 1
December 1 15 25 68 19 34 9 6 1 4 2 3
Total promoted (Email and online)
44
123
240
387
353
408
201
121
75
52
28
34
16
2082
Total unsuccessful (online only)
n/a[2]
n/a
63
213
543
512
392
234
155
87
64
39
32
2344
Total RfAs (except unsuccessful ones by email)
44
123
303
600
896
920
593
355
230
139
92
73
48
4426[3]
Key
  0 successful RFAs
  26–30 successful RFAs
  1–5 successful RFAs
  31–35 successful RFAs
  6–10 successful RFAs
  36–40 successful RFAs
  11–15 successful RFAs
  41–50 successful RFAs
  16–20 successful RFAs
  51–60 successful RFAs
  21–25 successful RFAs
  More than 60 successful RFAs
Notes

Originally sourced from User:NoSeptember/Admin stats#Year to year comparison of promotions by months, copied here and colour-coded. Updates from Wikipedia:Unsuccessful adminship candidacies (Chronological)

  1. ^ 33 had been appointed in early 2002
  2. ^ Early RFAs were done by Email and only the successes are known
  3. ^ unsuccessful for 2002 to 2003 are not available
Here's a graph of the data above:
Successful RFAs on en.wikipedia by Month.svg
gdfusion (talk|contrib) 23:45, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

If my memory has not failed me, once upon a time there used to be a list of editors who hoped to one day become Admins. Assuming it still exists, that would seem to be a great starting point for anyone concerned about a potential shortage of sysops. -Ad Orientem (talk) 22:09, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Are you thinking of Category:Wikipedia administrator hopefuls? Rcsprinter123 (jaw) @ 22:23, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Bingo! -Ad Orientem (talk) 22:34, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Why not M/M them, asking if they still wish to go for admin in the next year or so? At least we will have numbers then. We will know the extent of our future admin "gene-pool". They are a great poll base too for RfA related issues. Irondome (talk) 22:41, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
If you sample the calibre of the contributions made by users on that list, you will find it is not a fertile ground for recruiting able admins. It might be more productive to randomly M/M (whatever that means) users who are not on that list. --Epipelagic (talk) 00:44, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I looked at about 40 members of Category:Wikipedia administrator hopefuls at random. About three quarters have been inactive for years, a handful more have only made a couple of dozen edits at most in the past 2 years, one had a recent warning for edit warring, one has a talk page full of copyright violation messages, and the remaining few showed no evidence of really engaging in any discussions. None would have a chance of RFA success. It looks like a category used mainly by wannabes but neverwillbes. Neatsfoot (talk) 15:34, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, Wikipedia:List of administrator hopefuls further categorizes by activity level. To be honest, though, 40 is a meaningless sample size considering that there are almost 1500 users in that category. I'm sure some of the active ones (manual count says about 150) would be decent candidates, myself not included. ansh666 17:42, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
  • M/M. Mass Messaging. Apologise for any confusion there. Irondome (talk) 09:37, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
RfA is withering because it's an adversarial popularity contest based on personalities and back-scratching, instead of an examination of competence. The result is inevitable, because anyone you even slightly irritate will vote against you out of spite, and editing disagreements necessarily lead to interpersonal irritations, with the result that the more experienced and (absent mental disorders) thus more competent an editor is, the more people they have who'll vote against them for personal animosity reasons. This is why most successful RFAs over the last few years have been of relatively new editors, not people with 5+ years experience. It's also why the admin pool is dwindling (retiring admins are not being replaced), and less competent and less trustworthy with the tools today, on average, than in 2010. Exacerbating factors are both the easy gameability of the system (make any histrionic accusation that can seem at first to be plausible, and this will cause a cascade of "no" votes from which the candidate probably cannot recover), and the "good ol' boys club" factor, in which old-school admins will vote against you and canvass their buddies via e-mail to do the same, over disagreements from years and years ago. RfA as we know it is doomed. This was obvious about 5 years ago.

The way to save WP administration and WP itself in the long run, is to unbundle all the admin powers, and instead use a series of competence tests. For some abilities, e.g. that to delete or protect/unprotect a page, this should be coupled with behavioral/judgement restrictions (e.g., to just make something up on the fly: no blocks within the last year; no topic bans or interaction bans within the last 6 months, and no vandalism, COI or other serious transgressions within the last 3 years; whatever). We don't want inveterate POV pushers getting the ability to win content disputes by tool abuse. And there should be a higher experience bar to cross for many tools, e.g. 1 year and 10,000 edits, to keep PoV-pushers from getting admin powers for their various sockpuppet accounts. But basically, anyone who is legit and who qualifies should be approved for most abilities that admins have access to, in a process like that for gaining the template editor bit, the account creator bit, and other abilities already unbundled. (Note how strenuously those unbundlings were resisted, for so long, by so many, yet hardly any problems have resulted from them.) Instead of a nearly impossible to pass, all-in-one approval process, have simpler per-bit processes, and make these abilities removable on a probationary basis, and on a permanent one after multiple transgressions.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:15, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Now now SMcCandlish, why are you talking constructive sense? This page is for facilitating the protection and enhancement of existing admin privileges, and for the eternal preservation of Wikipedia's own special heritage group, the appointed for life legacy admins. --Epipelagic (talk) 01:36, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Heh. Live clean, and outlast them. >;-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:22, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
I disagree. Look at the latest, User:Philg88. He is totally opposite to what you say. He is no social butterfly, and scratches nobody's back. His competence was examined and was shown to be high. He has been in plenty of disagreements. He has been here for ages.
So, why was he overwhelmingly supported? Because of his competence. Because he is concise and doesn't do drama. Because, in disagreements, he doesn't dig his heels in and fight tooth and nail. Because he is reasonable and civil. Because he doesn't fight.
You suggest unbundling and giving tools to someone who was blocked 13 months ago, maybe multiple times, has had topic and interaction bans 7 months ago, and sure, vandalized and had other serious transgressions, but more than 3 years ago?I would never vote for that type of person. I just want someone who is "normal". I stand by the "airline pilot" thing. Maybe we should post at Wikiproject Airplanes or whatever, and ask if any pilot editors want to run.
Anyway, you might be right. But I think this place has tens of thousands of editors who could be good admins and some research instead of speculation is what is needed to find out what is going on. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:49, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Note the "most" in "most successful RFAs over the last few years have been of relatively new editors"; I used that for a reason. A lone counter-example doesn't disprove the applicability of a general observation about what is typical, in this or in any other context. Epipelagic beat me to responding to the rest of this with any demurrers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:22, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Anna, I doubt that SMcCandlish had in mind such extreme examples as the one you made up. As for the rest, you are confusing what individual admins offer with what the system as a whole offers. There are plenty of good individual admins, yourself and Philg88 and many others. But the way the system is structured as a whole is deeply dysfunctional, "toxic" to use the currently fashionable term. If you examine the history of this talk page you will find it has almost wholly been dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of existing admin privileges, and has been almost wholly indifferent or hostile to reforming the system so it operates in a manner that is fair to editors across the boards. You were appointed yourself Anna as an admin who might give a human face to the admin system. But cosmetic adjustments like this ultimately do nothing to address the underlying injustices of this dilapidated system. --Epipelagic (talk) 02:26, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Good point about the extreme example. I was just trying to make a point.
So, as for detoxing the current system, I think we need to listen to non-admins and prospectives and take what they say seriously. Shouldn't some sort of organized research be in order, like opinion polls? I just don't know. I'm terrible at all this. Everybody at Wikipedia is so smart and they all make such good points. I have trouble weighing it all out. I'd better bail out of this one. :) Anna Frodesiak (talk) 02:43, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
This is an area where opinion polls don't work. These polls nearly always just endorse the status quo and nothing changes. Admin wannabes have an obvious COI and tend to be focused on preserving and enhancing the current admin privileges which they want for themselves. The same applies to the incumbent admins, most particularly the huge group of legacy admins appointed before 2009. Another group that turns up in force when such opinion polls are held are the drama board devotees. These users are here to socially network rather than to write serious articles. Some of them want to be important but can't write, and they can be resentful of users that can write. They sometimes have what they see as a moral and politically correct agenda, which like fundamentalists they use as a club for battering content builders. Drama board devotees are committed to drama. They don't want change because the current system is brilliant at maximising drama.
I suspect most dedicated content builders (the ones who are not admins) don't know or maybe don't care that these polls are happening. It takes years to really see just how crazed the admin system is. Their focus is on building the encyclopedia, not what is happening on the drama boards. The ones that do turn up are easily swamped. It is usually simple to show these mechanisms unfolding when one of these polls is held. There is a systematic refusal on the part of the admin corps and their retinues to examine the dysfunctions of the system itself. But until these dysfunctions are properly addressed, good admins will needlessly suffer along with the serious content builders. --Epipelagic (talk) 06:35, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Right, opinion polls don't work because you can't fix a popularity contest by running a popularity contest.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:22, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
To be completely fair, part of the problem with unbundling has to do with the legal ramifications of accessing deleted content. There's nothing we can do about that as editors. Beyond that, I can't say that I'm part of any larger group of administrators; my only interest is in improving Wikipedia, and I've been solely focused on articles for about 2 years now. By and by, the problems with RfA mimic those in the real world, and I don't pretend to have any great answers. The best I can say is that any idea that has at least some chance to lead to some improvement, regardless of size, should be jumped at. That's how significant social change occurs in the real world, and following the real world would likely be the most effective way to create a better environment (whatever that may be) here. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:08, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
@Anna Frodesiak:: Have ou eve seen this one: User:Scottywong/Admin scoring tool results?--Ymblanter (talk) 14:57, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Ymblanter. I remember that. I took that test. That list is one-and-a-half years old, but may still be valuable. I see a number of outstanding editors. It is definitely not an exact science, though. I also see a few names near the top that would not pass an RfA in a zillion years. Anyhow, it would be good to see that tool running again. But, reflinks would be good too. Let's get that running first. Maybe throw a bit of that 20 million WMF has in the bank at the problem. :) Anna Frodesiak (talk) 22:42, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah, I see we now have this. Yay!!! Anna Frodesiak (talk) 23:11, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Oh jeez, even User:Kauffner has a higher score than a lot of people...then again I don't believe they were banned when that list was made. ansh666 16:47, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

RfA isn't the only thing "dying"; Wikipedia is[edit]

The table provided by ϢereSpielChequers is excellent. It is an excellent data visualization tool and certainly does highlight a drought. ϢereSpielChequers notes the possibility that Wikipedia is heading towards "no longer a self governing community". I maintain this is inevitable. Wikipedia growth is slowing. It is inexorable. See Wikipedia:Modelling Wikipedia's growth. The Wikimedia Foundation is well aware of the decline in editorship. Despite their focused effort to change this, they have failed. What the Wikimedia Foundation needs, and to date has failed, to understand is the life cycle of this project. The effects of the decline of Wikipedia will be dramatic and will affect the community of editors in every respect. If the Wikimedia Foundation refuses to consider the evolution of their product, the product will eventually be overwhelmed. The numbers at RfA are simply a symptom of this. Everyone knows that RfA is a broken process. It has been so for a very long time. Nevertheless, it doesn't really matter. No matter what process is used, the decline of administrators is inevitable as a symptom of the decline of Wikipedia. Still, this does not have to be a bad thing...if the Foundation had the capability to understand the lifecycle in which their product exists. Sadly, they do not. We can fret and fret about the state of RfA. No matter how much effort is put into 'fixing' it, or increasing the numbers of administrators confirmed through it, the efforts will be fruitless. The small bump we saw in RfA numbers in 2013 was statistically insignificant, just proof that even a dead cat bounces. Worrying about the decline RfA is akin to wondering why so little water in the Colorado River passes by Yuma, without ever considering what's happening in Utah and Colorado. RfA is part of a far, far larger problem that Wikipedia as a whole is facing. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:08, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

I wonder whether what is going on is that we are getting past the point where starting new pages becomes less important than improving the pages we already have. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:18, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Ok, so if this is so, does WMF have control of Wikipedia? If this is up to the enwp community, can't we fix it? Has this all been discussed at Village pump before? If not, why don't we post with "The Recovery of Wikipedia" "Many say it is dying and will not be a self-governing......what should we do...." etc etc. Good plan? I mean, why discuss it here? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 23:47, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't buy it. What's happening is that the "sexy" phase of WP is over. There are almost no more major, important articles to write, only trivial or obscure ones, and most important ones are already developed and watchlisted enough that there's not a churn of activity around them. WP isn't new and exciting, it's work. We're in the second, more stable and long-haul organizational life cycle phase, and it is characterized by commitment and structure, not excitement and vision. The remaining volunteer "staff" are basically librarians, not investigators. This is natural and 100% predictable. We have a long way to go before we get to the actual decline and reinvent-or-die phases of the project as a whole. We're pretty alread at the terminal phase of RfA, however.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:22, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not dying, it's becoming a staple of Anglophone internet culture. Our Wild Wild West Days are over. Search results for any given subject are in the top half dozen results for any coherent subject; in fact they're often the first. There is absolutely no doubt about the future applicability of Wikipedia, the only question is that of internal governance. It's long ago past time to break down the "Admin" features of Wikipedia into coherent parts that can be exercised by committed and responsible editors. RfA is broken and has been for some time. We have to fix our ability to manage this project internally. We start that process by breaking apart basic maintenance processes from greater admin authority. GraniteSand (talk) 07:03, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Death is part of living, so, if it's not dying, it's not alive. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:41, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
At the risk of appearing obstreperous, off-topic, or both, I have to disagree with some of what SMcCandlish says. The view that the encyclopedia is approaching completion and we should thus shift our focus to improvement of existing articles is one promulgated by the WMF, but in my view it's both short-sighted and harmful. Any comparison of our coverage with those of the larger foreign-language Wikipedias, or examination of any of the many pages - many in user space, some at WikiProjects - comparing our coverage with that of specialized encyclopedias will reveal our huge gaps. It's not just "obscure" topics, and it's not even only non-Anglophone people, literary and artistic works, institutions, and history. We have glaring holes. Unfortunately it's hard to know something is absent if you don't already know about it, or even if you don't think to look it up. (It doesn't help that there seem to be more and more editors removing red links - or replacing them with inline links to foreign-language Wikipedias.) In addition, our position as a non-paper encyclopedia - and a truly global one - means one has to careful about labeling something "trivial". Major companies in countries with which one is not personally familiar may seem trivial when first encountered in a new article; and every year brings not only new sporting figures and sporting records, recordings and other cultural events - many of which meet our notability criteria - but new publications and concepts, some of which will prove notable. As the internet permeates the whole globe, the rate of increase in new things we would probably not otherwise have known about will rise; we'll continue to get further from completion. At the same time, a naive interpretation of our tag-phrase as "the website anyone can contribute anything to" by people who may be unfamiliar with encyclopedias or who confuse us with LinkedIn lays us open to the uploading of résumés, biographies of people and musical groups who haven't yet made it, and any company that has registered its name. From the inside, it feels like a siege. And it creates a lot of tension for admins, who are tasked with protecting the encyclopedia by deleting and blocking as well as with explaining to the new contributors in as nice a way as possible, because we are the encyclopedia anyone can edit, regardless of the WMF's desire to emphasize certain kinds of editors ... and on top of that, it's desirable for admins to demonstrate that this is an encyclopedia-writing project by writing content themselves (ourselves). However, the multiplication of bureaucracy in the last 7 years or so has made it harder to keep that goal in mind, especially for admins, who are increasingly regarded as enforcers and operatives of the bureaucracy, in large part because the place feels like a siege. Admins are being treated like managers in some corporation, which conflicts with our mission focus, but is an entirely understandable error, since the project is becoming more and more corporate: and the WMF, as a corporate entity, sees it that way (in my view another failure of imagination matching the decision we have articles on pretty much everything important and should now become custodians). And ... I'll stop there. Yngvadottir (talk) 12:58, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, at this point, it's pretty safe to say, the relatively easy is done because that is how humans work -- unless there is a fundamental flaw, and if there is nothing will save it (that fundamental flaw would be, people are not interested in voluntarily creating a open source english encyclopedia (about all/many/some topics), and that is likely true for a certain set of the population). Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:24, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
But "relatively easy" will vary by interests - I am terrible at writing about science and technology and have no idea where to find sources on rap singers, but those are both easy peasy for others - and to a certain extent by location/background (what newspapers one's library has in the basement, whether one has access to a university library and which one, familiarity with the politicians and terminology of different countries, what sports and pastimes one is familiar with ...) and there are still gaps in all these areas, not to mention a stream of new topics in all of them. Yes, not everybody wants to participate in the project; including an acquaintance of mine who is now retired from writing encyclopedia articles for money and understandably doesn't feel like doing it for nothing; and time and the right kind of computer access are often underestimated factors. But now I feel we are getting off the topic unless we bear in mind that the bureaucracy of the project deters many who would otherwise enjoy it, perhaps in small doses, and leads to many who have contributed getting dispirited - and that admins are both purveyors of this disenchantment and tend to get burned out by enforcing it. (See Dennis' post below.) In short, I don't feel that rating the importance of topics people might wanbt to write about in advance helps; I see it as counterproductive and making our message needlessly mixed. Think of it as the problem of unconscious bias if you like - no one can know how much they are not aware of. But our mission is to allow in all worthwhile knowledge. Yngvadottir (talk) 15:06, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
It is not hard to figure the why and wherefore of bureaucracy existing on this project: multiple people (strangers) doing something together -- and that is endemic in the model and in humans. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:20, 28 September 2014 (UTC) As for those unknown (by you or others) topics that nobody is working on, that was my previous point. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:44, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

What's wrong with RfA?[edit]

It always amuses me how newbies come onto this talk page with grand ideas about what's wrong with RfA without having possibly done any research into it whatsoever. Well, before anyone jumps down my throat , that's exactly how I made my first edit on this page 6 years or so ago, but at that time, nobody was doing anything about it. So I did (but I wasn't really exactly a newbie to Wikipedia).

Thing is, like the detractors who constantly bleat about admins and how they are all the nastiest people on earth, they never actually come up with an idea, or start a project to get something changed. Hence they are unaware of all the work that has been done in this direction already. That said, even if it has taken 4 years since WP:RFA2011 to get rid of most of the trolls who were determined to undermine the concept of adminship by destroying the RfA process, anyone who would take the trouble to review a few hundred passed and failed RfAs, will easily see how today's RfA are now a walk in the park for most of the serious contenders for the bit, without any major changes needing to be made.

Those who still hate admins today have either been tBanned from RfA, completely banned from Wikipedia, or have entered the Guinness Book of Records for having the longest block log on Wikipedia; other anti-adminship campaigners who still interject with their TL;DR mantras and diatribes are just no longer being listened to - it's just the crackling of thorns under a pot. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:44, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Okay, out of all of this, Kudpung makes the most sense. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 10:18, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Absolutely.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:52, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
This discussion reminds me of point 61 of this essay - Euryalus (talk) 13:14, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Good essay, that. Got a link to it on my user page too but I had fogotten all about it. Been aro0und a lomng time too. Thankl for the reminder. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:54, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm guessing you have seen the same problem I have Kudpung, the real problem isn't finding good candidates, it is getting them to run. The RFA process isn't what stops them, the loss of freedom once getting the bit is. Many are wise enough to see that there is a real burden with being an admin, and they would rather write articles and just do what they want: keep it fun. Sadly, those are the ones that would make the best admins, as they have no desire for "power", they just want to improve the place. Dennis 13:14, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Aye, there's the rub, Dennis. It's down to a few of us who are prepared to stick our necks out and get tarred and feathered by the mob for just doing the job we were elected for. Certainly old blokes like me who have been everywhere, done everything, and got a whole wardrobe full of T-shirts have no lust for power or need for anything to boast about in the schoolyard.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:13, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Agree with Kudpung, with one exception: a lot of the time the so-called "newbies" who post here are sockpuppets of long-banned users, such as the one who started this whole long ridiculous thread. Unlike what Kudpung suggests, being banned doesn't stop them from continuing to try to take down RfA. I guess some people just need to grow a sense motive, and figure out when WP:RBI needs to be applied as opposed to meaningful discussion. ansh666 18:47, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

"Many are wise enough to see that there is a real burden with being an admin, and they would rather write articles and just do what they want: keep it fun." I'm not sure if Dennis meant me, but that's exactly how I see it. Other admins would hopefully benefit me coming on board and taking away some of the stress and hassle, and if I'm editing for the long term, I shouldn't just sit by and let other people have to deal with that. On the other hand, do I want to go through a week's open book exam while people give lengthy critiques of my conduct, some of which I'm probably already aware of and would agree with (we're all human)? Not really. When I mull those over in my head, it seems an easy choice to procrastinate over something else instead. And to be honest, if I had to pick a "reward" to aim towards on WP, it would be a self-nominated FA, which I still haven't done. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:30, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

I was pretty lucky in that everyone was kind to me during my RFA, but even so it was a stressful week, just not knowing what to expect. However, for those thinking of taking on adminship, I'll report my experience since May, when I was given the 'mop'. I have carried out about 600 page deletions, 20 history merges, examined a lot of deleted content to compare it with recreated drafts (very useful), restored a few pages and moved some pages over redirects. A lot of this was in conjunction with my everyday editing, but some were items that came up on my watchlist or were requested by non-admin editors on my talk page. I've also been using AWB, which isn't necessarily an admin thing, but came with the package. I haven't closed any AfDs or MfDs, although I know how, because the ones that I see always seem to need more input, but that's the next thing I'll likely do. No one has pressured me to take on more stressful admin tasks. It felt a little weird at first not having a "guardian angel" on my shoulder taking care of the tricky bits, until I realized that it's nice to be able to fix your own mistakes (such as the time that I accidentally deleted Category:G13 eligible AfC submissions ...twice). Even though so far I am not a highly active admin, I feel that I am doing my part by taking on the tasks that in the past I would have asked an admin to do, and so freeing up the more experienced admins to help others. In summary, I would encourage anyone who feels qualified to accept a nomination for adminship. The actual RfA process may be stressful, but it's short-lived, and the aftermath is only as different from the regular Wikipedia editing experience as you want it to be. —Anne Delong (talk) 12:29, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Well said Anne! If anyone suitably qualified is thinking about an RfA then go for a nomination. You'll likely find it's not as bad as you thought it was going to be and you may even be pleasantly surprised. Don't expect to get much sleep the week that you run. As soon as you hit the sack your brain will demand you get back up and take one more look at the !voting ...  Philg88 talk 14:50, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to but I'd never pass. :/ --AmaryllisGardener talk 14:52, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Same, with this whole "0 articles written/improved to ___ status" thing (I love doing research, but don't have the patience to write it all down and stuff, hence mass participation at AfD)...of course, that's not my only problem, but definitely the only one that makes me not even consider it. I don't think the typical standards themselves are too high, just that the process by which those standards are examined (as Ritchie talks about above) makes it seem too high a bar to go through. ansh666 19:49, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
ansh, have you thought of finding a collaborator who likes to write but doesn't have the patience to dig for sources, and creating articles together? I'd be willing to bet some good articles would come out of that. I don't see that an admin necessarily has to be a prolific writer - just to understand the process of article creation through participating in it. —Anne Delong (talk) 02:54, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Hrm, an interesting concept. Will have to wait, though, university is in the way. ansh666 05:16, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
  • (This is mainly in response to Anna's "we need to listen to non-admins and prospectives" comment above). I've looked through a few RFAs and found many cases of oppose !votes on what I would consider to be not serious problems. For example, an editor who's never done a NAC is opposed as "needs more experience of admin-type work", but an editor who's done NACs is likely to have them all examined and then be opposed as "as a non-admin you shouldn't have closed this particular discussion". The path between not being bold enough to demonstrate skills and being too bold as a non-admin is so narrow (if there is a path at all) that unless someone studies RFAs etc and plans what editing to do on that basis then they are bound to stray off the path and get oppose !votes.
It's easy to !vote oppose at RFA ("candidate doesn't meet item 17b in my list of RFA criteria"), but anyone who !votes support ("can't see any problems with this candidate") either has to spend a long time checking the candidates contributions or risks looking a bit silly when someone spots something dodgy the candidate did thousands of edits earlier. For that reason strength of argument should be more relevant (as it is at XFDs) than the number of votes (as currently at RFA). XFDs can be closed with a statement like "although the majority of !votes are X the strength of policy-based arguments is Y", but afaik that doesn't happen at RFA.
As a wikignome (rather than a content contributor) I'm not going to apply at RFA unless the de facto criteria for adminship changes from whether the candidate has enough DYKs etc to be rewarded by adminship (and has the "correct" balance of different types of edits) to whether the candidate can be trusted to use the bit wisely. DexDor (talk) 06:42, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I am an admin and I haven't created any DYKs or FAs or even GAs. You have created a lot of content! From what I've seen, editors at RfA seem to want evidence of good knowledge of deletion policy, such as AfD and MfD participation or CSD nominations, and evidence of ability to keep your cool in discussions. One thing about going into an RfA: even if you don't pass it, you'll come out knowing just what to do to prepare for a second run in the future. I also learned a lot from the material I had to look up to answer the questions. —Anne Delong (talk) 18:06, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I have some ideas on what's wrong with RfA. (Please don't disregard my comment just because I'm a relative "newbie". I know more about wikis than people may assume I do). I've read over many RfAs, successful and unsuccessful, and I've also read over all the previous discussions concerning RfA. From my research, there are two outstanding problems that I feel are a big part of the RfA problem, and if eliminated, they might solve a good part of the issue.
    • We want all candidates to be the same. For example, people who specialize in anti-vandalism or gnomish jobs are rejected because they haven't created content, which many people claim is "essential" for adminship. Now, I fully appreciate the importance of the content creators, but not everyone has the time or skill to write in the "encyclopedia prose" and instead prefer to do backstage cleanup work. Ironically, despite my username, I don't imagine myself creating a lot of content at all, simply because just about every notable topic I can think of already has an article. (However, I do plan on doing some copyediting here and possibly some article creation over at the Simple English, where there's an abundance of red links. I also plan on contributing cross-wiki sometime, so I may create some things over at Wikibooks and possibly Wiktionary).
      Now, here's how I've always thought of it. If someone doesn't know how to cook, would that mean they're unfit to clean up the kitchen? No. It's unfair to reject someone for a cleanup job just because they don't make the thing they're cleaning up. The same goes for adminship. Adminship is merely supposed to be a mop, and almost no content creation is actually involved with it. Just a provable knowledge of policy is needed.
      Think about what would happen if all our "Hugglers", "STikiers", "Lupiners", and the other vandal fighters left for a day. Soon, we would be overrun with vandalism that would soon spiral out of control and the damage would take weeks to repair. If that ever happened, I feel the community would be much more appreciative of the anti-vandals than they were before. On the same token, our site would soon be overrun with broken links and typos if it weren't for the gnomes. A great example of this are Cobi's RfAs. It took four times for him to pass ([9], [10], [11], [12]). Of course, Cobi is the mastermind behind the great ClueBots, which are the greatest inventions in the history of anti-vandalism. Obviously, Cobi was definitely trying to help Wikipedia and deserved the tools (in my opinion, anyway), but he was continually denied them because people were trying to force him into something that he felt uncomfortable with (namely, article writing). The same thing applies to all other vandal fighters; not just those who have created bots.
    • We have unrealistic expectations of candidates. The tiniest blocks, errors, and disputes are used against the candidate in an RfA. The !voters always seem to forget that humans are not perfect and will make mistakes. I once saw an RfA where a few CSD slip-ups were used to oppose the candidate. Some other RfAs have failed because of a one isolated civility incident. Really, we need to be more understanding and supportive of candidates and not go around purposely searching for every little mistake they ever made.

Is Adminship a Big Deal?[edit]

It's a mantra. "Adminship is not a big deal." But, to do average contributor, does it appear to be a big deal? In my opinion, yes. Here's why. Now, to start, I personally know that no user right is a big deal. Ever since I began to actively edit wikis about five months ago, I quickly learned that user rights don't earn you a wikiShrine and automatic respect. In fact, even though you may covet the buttons when you don't have them, I've found that when you finally get them, they don't feel too special anymore. But, to some others, this is not the case. So, what does make adminship look like a big deal?

  • The incredible difficulty of RfA. Like I mentioned above, you have to be an almost perfect contributor to become a admin nowadays, so that's one reason why adminship appears to be an "elite group of perfect people". If we actually start showing that admins are just regular people and not just saying it, we'll make our mantra look more true.
  • The mystery of the tools. Admins have magic wands they can wave and make pages vanish at a whim. They have the golden key to lock pages from editing. Admins have a mysterious tool that can stop any user from editing at any time. (Of course, that was meant to be written humorously.) However, there was something that helped me to understand that there really is nothing special about the admin tools. What was that? Screenshots. I found some pictures of the admin interfaces on Meta some time ago. I feel that seeing something concretely helps you learn that in the end, adminship is just extra buttons and checkboxes. If we could find a way to de-mystify the tools without unbundling them, I think that would be helpful.

So, when I file my RfA in a few months, I'll only be doing it because I feel I can help the project. Not because I imagine myself getting a crown and purple robes.

--Writing Enthusiast 19:10, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

I agree User:WritingEnthusiast14. I feel that adminship is treated like a big deal, then when someone asks if it is a big deal, everyone says no, then they go back to holding adminship up again. I have the extra tools on two Wikimedia sites, therefore I know it's really just a few extra tools. But to the average editor who hasn't had the toolkit anywhere, it looks like a huge trophy and magic wand, IMO. BTW, I think with a few more months of experience, and a higher edit count, you'd be a good RfA candidate, WritingEnthusiast. --AmaryllisGardener talk 19:39, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
WritingEnthusiast14, having voted on hundreds of RfA over the years and doing a lot of research into it at WP:RFA2011, I believe the only people who really think it's a big deal are those who are possibly rather new to Wikipedia, and maybe perhaps rather young. Certainly the users who join Wikipedia and almost immediately place one of those 'I want to be an admin someday' userboxes on their user pages are the least likely to really be potental candidates any time soon. Those who are a bit longer in the tooth and been around a long time are mostly aware that being an admin is anything but a cool job, nothing whatsoever to be proud of, and judjing from the low activty of a great many of the 1,600 admins, it's possible they wish they had never bothered in the fist place. The real elite on Wikipedia are the prolific content providers who plod along creating sensible new articles, improving others, staying out of trouble and, unfortunately, hardly ever getting noticed. KudpungMobile (talk) 11:50, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
I think Newyorkbrad said it best calling it a "medium sized deal" in a previous discussion, a year ago or so. You can do a lot of damage with the tools, and RFA is a gauntlet, thus getting the bit isn't easy. That said, having the bit shouldn't be a big deal nor make anyone a super user. (To quote Yogi Berra "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.") . With all the discussion, and drama, and effort to reform/fit/etc the admin process, calling it "no big deal" sounds disingenuous in some respects. Dennis 13:13, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

No it is not a big deal. You don't get to declare rules or use your tools to any sort of personal benefit. You simply get the tools needed for basic maintenance of the site. We are janitors, janitors who get accused of conspiracy theories and insulted at random. Chillum 16:58, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

@Chillum: WritingEnthusiast14 knows that it's not a big deal, himself stating "Now, to start, I personally know that no user right is a big deal." I think the point he was trying to make is do others make it appear to be a big deal. Just throwing that out there. --AmaryllisGardener talk 21:12, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Nostalgia[edit]

I actually wandered onto this talk page with the intention of starting a thread about the aforementioned drought here at RfA. When I first began editing several years back, it was a very rare occurrence for there to be no active RfAs - and when it did happpen, it would only last a few hours, tops. This sort of drought was literally unheard of. I think Dennis is probably right when he says that many good candidates are intimidated by the job itself. I also think it's true that a lot of people find the whole process of acquiring the tools to be arduous and even frightening.

Does anyone think it might be a good idea for us to lower our expectations when it comes to administrators? By that, I mean not expecting them to be the most well-rounded contributors with an excess of experience, just enough so that they know their way around the place. There are two skills that I think we ought to be looking for in particular: good judgment (thinking before acting, reading before delving into unfamiliar territory) and a consideration for the feelings of others. RfA questions can be used to gauge these things. There's a reason it's called an "open-book exam", and if they can effectively read up on policies and respond in kind, then they're probably suited to the task regardless of the credentials they bring to the table. Kurtis (talk) 16:53, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

I think candidates are intimidated by a minority who insist admins are a corrupt force and are engaged in conspiracies. As an admin I have so much baseless vitriol spit at me in a day I have had to grow a second skin.
I encounter situations where users are engaged in abuse towards others and when I try to intervene I get comments like "if we just ignore it there will be less drama" or "if you block it will create more drama".
We have a culture where admins are regularly blasted for doing exactly what the community expects from them. I don't think RfA is the problem, I think it is Wikipedia's current culture of tolerance to abusive behavior.
Frankly those capable of doing the job are those who have enough intelligence to see that it is thankless. Chillum 17:06, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
And you and I both know all too well that the civility debate is as old as goddamned dirt. It goes on, and on, and on, and on — and after all these years, all the ANI threads, the user conduct RfCs, the ArbCom cases, the botched attempts at enforcement, everything is the same. The untouchables are still untouchable, the battles between the "administrator corps" and the "people's brigade" persist, the same old song and dance routine is regularly rehashed at ANI. When it comes to civility enforcement, nothing changes. Kurtis (talk) 20:59, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Category for currently open RfAs[edit]

I don't see any category for currently open RfAs. I have a tool that lets me know when a category is populated. For example if a page is added to the attack page category I get a notice.

If we put open RfAs into a category it would be easier to notice new applicants. The template {{RfA tally|user}} is already removed from closed RfAs so we could just add it there.

Can anyone thing of any negative side effects of this? Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 16:38, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

{{RfA tally}} is also used in RfA pages that have been created, but aren't live yet. Are you looking to get a ping when an RfA page is first created, or when it goes live? If it's the former, then I don't see the harm in adding a category to the template. If the latter, I don't think this works. But can your tool just let you know when a page has been edited? Because live RfA's always correspond to an edit to WP:RFA. That's the only reason I even have WT:RfA on my watchlist; if I could watchlist WP:RfA and not WT:RfA, I would. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:28, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
@Floquenbeam:"...if I could watchlist WP:RfA and not WT:RfA, I would..." Wikipedia:Customizing watchlists#Hide pages in your watchlist. Wifione Message 12:16, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
p.s. I can definitely see the value in a calm, wise, helpful person getting pinged when an RfA page is first created, before it goes live. Early intervention and guidance is probably better than a cascade of NOTNOW votes on a newbie's live RfA. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:31, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for candidates ignoring this; it's splashed in their faces several times during the transclusion process. IMO, although we are supposed to be nice to newbs (and probably most admins are, if the rest of the community isn't), if they still go ahead they deserve all they get. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:05, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
Wait, people actually read edit notices? ansh666 05:50, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

I tried to implement this but a stubborn bot would not let me hehe. I will try to contact the bot operator later, I think he/she may be on wikibreak. While I did not anticipate that the template was added prior to being made active I think it is beneficial to have the category populated at the time of creation. If I can get the bot to stop reverting me I will be sure to post the code for RfA notifications. Chillum 15:43, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Potential negative side effect: an increase in the frequency of well-meaning users transcluding unfinished RfAs on behalf of the candidate without their consent. –xenotalk 13:34, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Faulty dates[edit]

The page states "No RfXs since 22:57, 24 September 2014 (UTC).—cyberbot I". The table below indicates that the most recent RfX was closed on 20th September. However the RfA was actually closed on 21st September. Axl ¤ [Talk] 09:23, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Complain to the bot handler, but I think you'll find he's retired leaving this as not the only code he's left unfinished. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 58.10.28.142 (talk) 13:23, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Oh no, Cyber's on "indefinite wikibreak"? That's bad. ansh666 17:32, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I think the bot is actually factoring in a RFA attempt made on September 24 that was quickly reverted as the link was transcluded but the page did not exist. It's likely counting any attempts made, as opposed to ones that were "closed". Mkdwtalk 15:14, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Making the RfA nomination process easier[edit]

A while ago, reading that there was a shortage of admins, I decided to nominate another editor for adminship. If I'd known what I was getting into, I might not have done it at all. The advice at Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship#General advice for nominators and Wikipedia:Advice for RfA candidates have dire warnings about how badly errors in the nomination process will be viewed. In my own RfA the process was done by my nominators, so I had to figure it out from scratch. I started going through the steps to create the nomination page; step three said "When you are taken to the next page edit that page and follow the instructions listed there.". However, there were no instructions. Not wanting to appear ignorant, I tried to do it anyway, and after quite some time I gave up and asked for help here. (The instructions have been fixed now). All went well until it was time to transclude the RfA. The problem here is that there's no preview, and if it's not done right the first time a mess appears on the WP:RFA page, and that's what happened to me. The clock didn't work and instead there was a large red error message. It was actually a typo, but of course it's hard to see your own typos, and I spent a very stressful hour, thinking that I had misunderstood the instructions, and realizing that my ineptitude was making the candidate look bad. At this point I was actually in tears. I finally solved the problem by creating a phony RfA and experimenting with the transclusion process until it worked, and then deleting the evidence.

My points:

  1. It's not fair that the technical difficulties experienced by the nominator should reflect on the candidate, who has enough to worry about already in responding to questions and comments during the RfA itself.
  2. It shouldn't be necessary to be technically adept to nominate someone else for adminship. In spite of the guide for adminship saying that admins should be able to easily transclude things, the articles and talk pages that most editors work on don't give one experience with transcluding timers. I had trouble, and I am an experienced C++ programmer. I haven't needed this skill since I became an admin either.
  3. There's a list of editors willing to nominate a candidate; how about a list of editors willing to help with the technical parts of the nomination? Or how about a test area where the transclusion can be tried out to see if it's being done correctly, so that the actual transclusion will then go smoothly? —Anne Delong (talk) 17:17, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Yeah, that's always been a problem. I tied myself up in knots a while back trying to fix someone else's malformed RfA, and I'm from a programming background as well. I'm sure it shouldn't be difficult for a competent coder to write a script to actually do this (the only problem being that I'm not competent enough to do it). Black Kite (talk) 17:55, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I third this issue. I actually had to help Kobnach, who also has a technical background, figure out the transclusion while simultaneously answering the RfA questions. Yngvadottir (talk) 18:00, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Links still down (again) on Template:RfA toolbox[edit]

AfD votes, NAC of AfD's, Log actions. Anyone know if it's because the URLs are wrong or the tools are just dead? ansh666 20:32, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

You should ask JackPotte. It may just need to be restarted. Mojoworker (talk) 20:55, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 October 2014[edit]

Singh shweta6 (talk) 09:25, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done blank request. BethNaught (talk) 09:33, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Desysopping process[edit]

At this stage, would it be realistic to pursue another initiative to create a process to remove adminship? A process like that would surely transform and loosen up RfA, and it's perhaps the only practical way to revitalize the moribund RfA process, if we could just get some agreement on how to do it. Everyking (talk) 00:55, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

Sometime in the now seemingly distant past, I was involved in WP:CDARFC. I know from past experience that, for every argument that a community desysopping process would make RfA more relaxed, there's an opposing argument that it would make fewer editors want to try for RfA. In the time that has since passed, it seems to me (others of course may disagree) that the community has evolved a lot, in that administrator misconduct that was tolerated several years ago, is not tolerated today. And the Arbitration Committee has evolved along with the community. As a result, in my opinion we now have the process that we need, which is to contact ArbCom, who are quite prepared to deal with clear-cut cases by motion. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:30, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
We already have multiple means to remove sysop privileges, what specifically did you want to add? Chillum 15:35, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
Maybe that's true. But if adminship can now be removed more easily, and abuse is not as tolerated, then why do you suppose people are still so reluctant to vote in new admins? For some reason or another, the process is moribund. Everyking (talk) 00:13, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
I think that a community-led desysopping process is absolutely vital, and it's a shame that nothing exists yet. However, the standards have to be sufficiently high that a small group that an admin has pissed off cannot band together and recall him or her for something trivial. A balance needs to be found, where it is not a trivial manner, but certainly doable. The hardest part, IMO, is finding this balance. StringTheory11 (t • c) 00:21, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
The last efforts including WP:RAS, authored by me with the help of Coren and covered sanction as well as desysopping, and WP:RRA, which was authored by Jc37 and focused only on desysopping. Both fell under the Wikipedia:Requests for Comment/Community de-adminship proof of concept, which was led by Worm That Turned. These followed many other proposals that also failed, and are worth a read. The links to the previous failures are available on the RfC link. I still support the idea, but it is a perennial failure so far. Dennis 14:04, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure that the recently lower level of RfA activity really means that the RfA process is moribund, or at any rate that it is unable to provide what the community wants. Perhaps some RfA candidates fail because editors are uncomfortable about being unable to recall them if confirmed, but perhaps this is just a case of high community standards. Perhaps, because abuse is less tolerated, editors see no point in supporting candidates who are likely to have to be recalled. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:00, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

It's time to close RFA / RFB[edit]

The RFA / RFB process has quite clearly fallen into disuse. Only by permanently closing this failed process will a better process be invented. Townlake (talk) 04:41, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

"Disuse"? I do not think others will take this post seriously. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 04:53, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
RfA is certainly far from dead. However, while we have been expending endless amounts of cyber hot air on the subject of RfA, I think a plausible argument could be made that RfB has in fact become a dead letter. -Ad Orientem (talk) 13:40, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
That's just what the cabal wants! Dekimasuよ! 15:21, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
RfA is not dead nor dying. Standards are higher, yes, but there's no clear need for new admins in the first place. Cloudchased (talk) 19:09, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
  • There's always a need for new admins, just because of regular attrition. For example, when the last successful RfA passed on 21 August 2014, there were 613 active administrators [13]. Now, two months later, there are 593 [14], a drop of 20 admins. Compared to last year this time, we're down 39 admins. That's net, mind. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:10, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
TOWNLAKE!!! You've got to be kidding right?? RfA is not dead - it remains fantastic voyeuristic entertainment for those who take sadistic pleasure in watching character assassination!
Granted, most veteran editors are getting wise to this and refusing to run. But that's a GOOD thing! We can't have the admin corps replenishing its ranks! Wikipedia is loosing about 100 active admins per year. An unchanged RfA could soon result in only a few dozen active admins. Those who stay will be rewarded with a massive concentration of power.
It's a great thing standards have got so high. It's like New York city insisting no one is hired to its police force unless they're good enough to be an inspector Morse or Colombo. Granted, even a Columbo can take weeks to solve a difficult case. Don't worry, a dozen Colombos could still keep order if instead of wasting time investigating, they just lock down whole blocks every time there's a crime. Im so glad the RfA community has had the good sense to unanimously reject your proposal! FeydHuxtable (talk) 21:47, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Joking aside, thanks Townlake for a bold and timely proposal. Perhaps there is no need to MfD this page, but if no serious objections are raised we should mark this process as historical and retire to the village pump to decide on its replacement. FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:00, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Poll on admin. staffing levels[edit]

OK, let's have a referendum:

Considering currently active administrators in relation to those tasks that require administrative tools, based on your experience are there at present:

  1. Too many admins?
  2. The right number of admins?
  3. Not enough admins?

: Noyster (talk), 19:42, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

4. The wrong sort of admins? (cf. wrong sort of snow) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:46, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
5. Who cares? ansh666 20:36, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
6. Admins appointed years ago who show consistently problematic behaviour can't be removed, except by processes that will be shot down by admins appointed nearly as long ago? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:01, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Discussion

This is irrelevant. New admins should always be appointed. First, to replace those who retire and second, to ensure fresh views are present in discussions that require an admin presence. Also, the number of active admins has no bearing on whether or not an editor can pass RFA. --NeilN talk to me 19:51, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Agreed, I'm reminded of a few years earlier of a user who used to oppose every RFA he saw because there were "Too Many Administrators Currently". I don't care if there are 10 active administrators or 10,000. If we (The Community) trust their judgement and experience I don't see the harm in giving them the tools. --Church Talk 20:21, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Perhaps a better question would be, which specific admin areas are consistently backlogged, and are there experienced non-admins who work in those areas whom we could nominate as administrators? Go Phightins! 20:38, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

    • Of the people I've sought out, using this same logic (which I agree with), most simply didn't want to be admin even if the bit was handed to them. These were very experienced editors who said it wasn't about RFA, it was about the hassles admin get after RFA. Being an admin is not nearly as much "fun" as most people think, and 2.5 years into it, trust me, it gets less fun each day. Dennis 20:49, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Dennis- there are some who see it like that, but the reason most refuse to run is because the process is too hostile and random. See this recent request for candidates from TParis, where several veteran editors give this reason. Folk love to be moderators even if its just on small facebook groups - being an admin on one of the worlds foremost web site is even more rewarding, see the prestige thread below. FeydHuxtable (talk) 21:47, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Not for all of us. Some of us are old, have owned businesses, ran departments, have families, and view Wikipedia as rewarding in a different way, but "prestige" isn't really on the list. Most admin don't even use their real names, so if it is prestige, it stops at the gates of the front page. "Making a difference" ranks up there, but bragging rights doesn't. As for why admin tend to leave less often than regular editors, that isn't a shocker: they are already vetted for being regular contributors with a level head, and by virtue of seeking adminship, they are emotionally invested in the idea of a free encyclopedia. Of course they leave less often than a regular editor. And to correct one thing: I've had my ass chewed on by other 100x more since being an admin than before, where I did a fair amount of mediation and AFD work (hense why I ran for admin). I agree some newer people are more submissive to admin, but some older people are flat out more hostile when they see the bit. It is a mixed bag at best. Dennis 22:22, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree Dennis, for some adminship is both a burden and a duty. And like many regular editors Im grateful to the entire admin corps for the work they do, regardless of whether they enjoy the status or are purely selfless servants. But my point stands. Most humans desire status. And while admin status may be a red rag to a bull for some, Kudpung's study shows in the general case admins receive more positive interactions and less negative ones than regular users. Regular users are finding the editing environment is getting more hostile too. Perhaps it's even worse for them, as the study might imply. And perhaps the declining number of admins to moderate trouble is part of the reason for this? FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:44, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I haven't analysed the data or the methods, although I know Kudpung quite well and trust his math. Keeping in mind that you can often draw different conclusions from the same data. It may be due to less mediating from admin and non-admin (and I'm constantly saying we need more non-admin mediating, the bit doesn't make you a better mediator). Honestly, I used to do a lot of it but have lost my taste for it here. While people are freaking out around here because someone says a swear word, the real damage is from POV trolls who will grind and grind and grind until they wear everyone out with wikilawyering and they get their way, with nary an offensive word, but that is called "civil". We used to just duke it out a bit and move on once a consensus was found, but no more as we worry more about being politically correct and less about being factually correct. Perhaps that is part of the change from "creating" to "maintaining", I have no idea. Dennis 22:55, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I guess we have more questions than answers. What's not in doubt is that recently we've been losing active admins at a rate close to 10 per month, and promoting at a rate of 0 per month. FeydHuxtable (talk) 23:14, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
As well as need for the tools, other considerations include: How would it help community health if veteran editors had a feasible progression path? If there were more admins, would this mean more attention could be given to tricky situations and newbies who need help to adapt to our ways? If the admin corps keeps shrinking, would the resulting concentration of power be good or bad? FeydHuxtable (talk) 21:47, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

A draft[edit]

Crazy idea #85,253: A draft. Trusted editors get the tools whether requested or not, but they don't have to use them if they don't want to. Such an editor could put themselves in a category Reluctant administrators. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 21:12, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

I'm not so sure about how this would work if there was not a request of some sort. I kind of understand the "reluctant" part, but it doesn't make sense to somehow start sysoping random look-goods through an undescribed process. Dustin (talk) 21:26, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of the category, I should probably add myself to it :-) But then people who wanted to ask me for help might feel I was saying I didn't want to help. And those who voted me in might be a bit hurt. There's the rub, you see - it's a responsibility. We do need to vet admins carefully - for one thing, the WMF doesn't permit us to peel off many of the admin permissions without requiring a comparable vetting process, and now that I have them, I see why; they are connected, and sometimes I wind up approaching something one way, sometimes another. We can't predict accurately what our needs are in terms of administrative personpower because admins are volunteers like anyone else - I don't pull my weight in helping clear backlogs, but occasionally I do a stint (and often feel miserable afterwards), and I quite often see things that need doing and am glad I have the tools to do them. And I sometimes get a request to help someone. Whereas other admins do a tremendous amount of admin work - but they too have off-wiki commitments, get burnt out, decide to give other kinds of work here a higher priority for a while. As an essay somewhere says, having more admins, even if some (like me) don't often help with the backlogs, frees up other admins to do other things (including article writing). Yngvadottir (talk) 21:32, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
There may be better alternatives to the current process, but this sounds better than the status quo! FeydHuxtable (talk) 21:47, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Administrators open to Recall discussion[edit]

I opened a thread at Administrators open to recall proposing to have it closed and marked as historical. There hasn't been any discussion made yet so I'm asking if anyone is willing to join the discussion and decide whether or not to close it. The discussion can be found here. GamerPro64 21:34, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Admins and prestige[edit]

As we enter what are hopefully the last moments of RfA as we know it, it might be useful to dispel a harmful myth about wikipedia adminship. It's often claimed that admins don't have any special status or prestige. This is not true. To quote from the study Kudpung cites above:

This is typical of how outside observers perceive the status gap between regular editors and admins. Despite claims to the contrary, adminship can be psychologically rewarding, and it's little wonder admins are less likely to leave Wikipedia than regular editors.

There's two takeaways. While this would not apply to all or even most admins, the admins corps would not be human if some of them don't at least subconsciously have a CoI which makes them want to resist reforms that would dilute power by making it easier for new promotions to occur. So it makes sense for RfA reform discussions to be exceptions to the general unwritten rule where an admins voice counts for more in a project space discussion.

Secondly, awarding adminship to constructive long term editors is the most tangible form of recognition we have it in our gift to bestow. With the number of active editors in sharp decline, it makes sense not to cut off what many see as the only meaningful progression path. FeydHuxtable (talk) 21:47, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

My subconscious might be insulted, but I'm not quite sure what it thinks. Dekimasuよ! 22:55, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
If you dream tonight and tell the help desk about it, perhaps they can interpret? FeydHuxtable (talk) 23:14, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Do administrators dream of electric encyclopedias? Dekimasuよ! 23:59, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Im not sure, but last night I had a nightmare about power crazed shepherds and prancing felines. FeydHuxtable (talk) 00:09, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
What the hell are you people talking about? Oiyarbepsy (talk) 00:10, 22 October 2014 (UTC)