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Anyone who casts even a cursory eye on an RFA knows that the process is highly inefficient. Why? Because users who grossly exaggerate even tiniest deficiency cause incessant drama-mongering can cause a deserving user's RfA to spiral into the depths of failure. It really is too bad that bureaucrats often look over what's actually being said in an RfA and pass or fail it based on margins of support (see User:Tangotango/RfA Analysis/Report to see what I mean). What's really lamentable is that it's widely accepted practice that users can vote neutral for, support, or oppose, a candidate for virtually any reason, hence the embellishments of truth in comments that seriously lack good rationales.

A perennial example of one of these is the ad hominem oppose, "Candidate is only 12-years-old," whose premise is of little pertinence in the face of trustworthiness and positive contribution.

If, then, they are of little importance, why do so many give this line of thought credence? Maturity concerns are legitimate ones, but a certain age does not exude a certain level of maturity; there is a big difference between condescending upon someone because he behaves like a teenager and condescending upon someone because he is a teenager. The criticism one receives at RFA is supposed to help the community and the project collectively, not chastise one for his age. Just as I cannot control my height and don't expect to be demeaned for it, I don't want to see someone be degraded on the basis of the time his parents gave birth to him. If I must be admonished, I expect it to be done based on something I can control.

Just think, Anonymous Dissident actually may not have been granted the tools if he ran for adminship in the current state of things. We're really only cheating ourselves by being this superficial.

Another recurring perspective is that of the ardent exopedians — that only article-writing mavens should be granted the administrator tools. Yes, we are here to build an encyclopedia, but to say there's only one way of contributing to that goal is a load of hot air. Article writing is one way to help the project, but if there were no Recent Changes Patrollers, the quality of the site would be greatly reduced; if there were no New Page Patrollers, something that completely doesn't belong here could remain for too long; if there were no new-user helpers, some of our most productive users might not be here today. So yes, writing articles is one way to help the effort, but we will always need people to maintain what we're here to make. ("Administrators are Wikipedia editors who have access to technical features that help with maintenance."[1])

Additionally, there is the viewpoint of the Jedi masters — the very general, "User isn't ready yet." RFA opposes are supposed to offer constructive criticism; saying rudely and flat-out "you aren't ready" doesn't help a user improve himself/herself and the encyclopedia. I understand that sometimes these are a rephrasing of "per above," but the difference is this: "Per above" seconds the areas of concern mentioned in the prior opposes; "User isn't ready" just tells the user, "Hey, you've done something wrong, but, for whatever reason, I'm not going to tell you what it is." Aren't we all in this effort together? We need to improve each other, and not telling someone who has submitted to, and therefore welcomes, criticism what (s)he needs to do better is unacceptable.

Thankfully, some research has recently been spearheaded[2] by Gazimoff, asking users to answer a questionnaire concerning various aspects of the RFA process, and should release the complete analysis soon. I daresay we shall not have true insight into the community's growing dissatisfaction of the system until he publishes his findings, which I hope to be to the betterment of the project as a whole, but honestly expect them to reflect only the views of one of its factions.

'Till then, think of the world.

Animum (talk)

  1. ^ Abridged first sentence of Wikipedia:Administrators.
  2. ^ Archived thread of WT:RFA.