Wikipedia:Discussions for adminship

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This is a proposal to make some minor reforms to the requests for adminship (RfA) process. This is still in progress; please be bold and edit this page if you have ideas of your own.

RfA is not broken - this is a proposal to improve it.

Background[edit]

Let's have a look at just a few RfAs: Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters',Ec5618's and Joturner's. In all three cases, a number of possible issues concerning oppose votes were brought up. Although a number altered their votes or justified them in response, a few did not. Twice, when the candidate attempted to address the issues at hand through discussion on the talk pages of the voters, he instead garnered more oppose votes, ostensibly for "campaigning".

Often, voting in an RfA is a stab in the dark, with little more to go on than the various edit count statistics, and the nominator's comments. When the oppose votes start pouring in, the new information might have altered the decision of previous voters. Likewise, when the candidate, nominator, et al attempt to address the oppose votes, it is not uncommon for the voter(s) concerned to be unaware of the discussion. Attempting to bring the discussion to the voter's talk, on the other hand, risks accusations of campaigning.

There is a justifiable concern that this process will add more instruction creep just to handle a minority of "wedge cases" when most RfAs don't require such a process. Suggestions on how to remedy this would be naturally welcome — one idea might be to allow candidates to choose between RfA and DfA, although running parallel processes does seem to provide much overhead for little gain.

Proposal[edit]

To foster a situation whereby voters have as much information as reasonably possible available to them before they vote:

  • An RfA is divided into a discussion and voting phase.
  • The discussion phase lasts for a week; the RfA subpage is transcluded as normal, and the nomination process is the same. However, each subpage will note prominently that voting has yet to commence, and those with comments on the user can add them to the talk of the subpage.
  • When the discussion phase conclues, voting opens and continues as it would on a normal RfA. The prominent link to the discussion subpage is retained, advising voters to sift through the information prior to voting.


Counter-arguments[edit]

(incomplete; please expand!)

  • We shouldn't be discouraging people from changing their minds.
    • We aren't. We're just shifting the focus of changing one's mind from during the voting period itself to prior to voting. The idea is to reduce unnecessary vote changes by ensuring everyone has the facts beforehand. In the same way, this new process will probably encourage greater debate of a candidate's merits and encourage greater consideration of your vote on RfA.
  • Once the discussion period concludes, and a new piece of info is brought up, what then?
    • Well, no process is perfect. But there are a number of possible solutions to this — why not think of some? Just through brainstorming, you can come up with workarounds like getting bureaucrats to notify all voters of new developments. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that new information would be brought up after a week of turning over every stone; how often does this happen with RfAs currently?