I don't believe in fixed RfA criteria. Nonetheless some people do want to know how others see RFA. So there are some things I look for, and they go to the heart of what adminship is about. So this is a rough idea where I'm coming from. There's about 14 of them so far. I reserve the right to IAR on these, though.
There are two abiding principles: Give the tools to people who have balance and the right attitudes, and will try to Do The Right Thing..... and look not so much what they do right, but more, what they won't do wrong.
- Why do you want adminship?
It's a tool, an additional access for people who care about the wiki. But in and of itself it means little more than something to be used responsibly by people who want to work more.
- Length and breadth of experience
Adminship requires familiarity with the Wiki. Others will look to you to make good decisions, and act in a way that exemplifies policy and best practice. That takes time to acquire or prove, and a breadth of experience. You can't learn policy and communal norms just in theory, you need to have used and worked with it, made decisions and stances that had to be argued by commonsense, norms, best practice and policy awareness, and so on. I'd look for several months usually, and then within that, a range of activities including significant editorial work, and also significant project space work, all evidencing a committed support of policy with no significant unrectified lapses, over an extended period of several months. Rating: Lack of varied and demonstrated experience would be a serious concern, if not present. Length and breadth may sometimes be demonstrated in a short time -- or indeed not acquired in a long time. Duration is also needed to establish track record.
- Note: Having a focus in a few areas isn't a problem, but I'd look for more involvement to compensate, and evidence that the user won't act up and will know how to handle it and act with care. Once given the tools, they will be able to affect other areas they haven't worked in.
Some have it, others don't (yet), not a lot more to say. Policy compliance whether easy or hard comes under this one, too.
- Attitude, again
Administrators need within limits of sanity, to habitually live and breath neutrality and communal norms/policies, on the Wiki. Those who show signs that they may not put as much intent into doing so, when it's not easy, are not yet demonstrably ready for the mop. Rating: This would be a serious concern, if present.
- Cogency, especially under stress
Capable of putting a good case clearly, even under pressure or in disputes.
- Dispute experience
I want to see how a person conducts themselves when they are accused (right/wrongly) of warring, bias, biting, or whatever, or in heated situations. or in RFC, 3O, arbcom, whatever. As an editor you're expected to seek consensus and work with others, but as an admin, you also get the block button, and you need to be someone who doesn't have an addiction to power...but just wants the best by the Wiki and its contributors (even if it's tough), and can constructively try to seek it even in disputes. The test here is 1/ how you handle the line between seeking good editorship, and considering an editor "a problem", and 2/ what you do, how do you handle it, if you do decide an editor is a problem? Rating: #1 is important but to an extent negotiable in the presence of other major contribution focus. #2 is important full-stop.
- Consistency and no unrectified worrying lapses
- Solver not antagonizer
Someone who tends to leave good feelings and the attempt to collaboratively seek understanding and mutuality, in their wake (even if not taken up by others), rather than the feeling they tried to win by force of will. A track record of frictive debris (no matter how justified) speaks of an problem; this should be only rarely need to be the case. Rating: Editors who disproportionately leave dispute behind them are already possibly ignoring others potential responses in favor of their own actions. Not a reassuring basis for yet more access.
- Approach when thwarted
None of us get our way or feel we're treated fairly 100.000% of the time. How do you act, when you feel that way?
- Visible respect of peers
If you've been round, and yet not got it, why not?
- Community consensus
RfA is to a large extent, a consensus by the community on its "comfort level". If the community consensus after 40 or so opinions is low (<60-65%), then that is evidence of the widespread nature of concerns. Rating: Whilst others' views may be misplaced or disagreed with, the fact that such a significant proportion of contributors have misgivings is an important consideration.
- Not a fanatic nor into politicking
Again, self-obvious. Neutrality is not usually very compatible with fanaticism, or status building.
- Past mistakes
Can be forgiven. But the view that a mistake is a past issue needs to be AGF'ed or tangibly demonstrated. Views on this are almost always case-by-case and will almost always be explained if relevant.
- Goes the extra 10%
It almost doesn't matter how. To be obviously neutral... to bear people's feelings in mind and drop supportive notes to them when making a decision (like AFD) that'll upset them... offering help or support... that sort of thing. Rating: Seems a good test of a prospective admin.
- Why do you want adminship?
Show me something like this, and I'll be interested :)
- Cogency:- Clear thinking, and ability to make a clear meaningful well structured explanation of said clear thinking. Somewhere between "can see the issues well" and "can think clearly around them", so to speak.