Wikipedia:RfA Review

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A Review of the

Requests for Adminship Process

Overview

Question

Reflect - (Stats)

Recommend

Collate

Present

The Review Process
Methodology - Discussion

Requests for Adminship

The Request for Adminship or RfA process is the mechanism whereby the Wikipedia Community develops consensus on nominated candidates becoming administrators. Wikipedia administrators have access to a number of tools that can aid in maintenance. Potential candidates pass through a series of mandatory and optional stages before becoming an administrator.

Over time, the RfA process has been criticised in a number of different ways. The criticism has become a perennial topic of discussion for many years but has not resulted in any significant changes to the process. As such, a process review has been arranged so that the current process can either be validated or so that clear recommendations for improvement can be made.

The review will consist of multiple phases and is currently at Collate: Recommendations from editors are now being reviewed and analyzed, with the goal of generating specific policy proposals.

Introduction[edit]

Requests for adminship or RfA is the process by which the Wikipedia community decides who will become administrators, who are users with access to additional technical features that aid in maintenance. The process has been in use for several years and has come under frequent criticism. WP:PEREN states that although years of discussion have taken place on the process, no consensus has been reached on exactly what elements are problematic or how they should be remedied.

This review is intended to be a complete examination of the full end to end process, including supporting and ancillary parts. Using this method, a full appreciation of the process can be gained and each milestone or gate's impact on other sections can be understood. Through this, it is hoped that a unified set of recommendations can be reached.

In a rare departure for Wikipedia, certain phases of this review will not contain an element of debate. These are the Question and Collate phases. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, to allow each contributor to present their opinions without fear of criticism or for the weight of their comments to be increased or decreased based on their skills at debating. Instead, common themes and ideas will be pulled out and brought forward for the report. Secondly, to allow contributors to remain anonymous if desired.

As a protection against providing undue weight to a concept, contributors will be encouraged to provide references and examples when providing their feedback. In addition, all feedback will be collated, meaning that similar thoughts and suggestions will be grouped together.

Review method[edit]

The review will analyse the entire RfA process end to end, including all milestones, points of concurrency and points of termination. The review will involve multiple phases conducted over a number of weeks. At the conclusion of the review, a report will be presented on this page detailing recommendations for the RfA process.

Contributors to the review will have the option to be recognised under the GFDL. Should a contributor wish, they will be able to submit their feedback anonymously.

Baseline

Agree the starting point for the review, ensuring that the current understanding is detailed correctly and all information contained inside is accurate. Also ensure that the information contained in this document is not likely to prejudice any possible outcome from the review process.

Question

Gather opinions, thoughts and suggestions from the community on the current process. Request feedback on each section of the process, commenting on what is seen as working well and what is thought to be problematic. Ask contributors to bear in mind the entire process when making their comments. Strive for as much independent thought as possible, with contributors being able to provide feedback in a number of ways. Seek references and examples from contributors in order to illustrate their thoughts.

Reflect

Gather together all information presented by contributors and use it to build a common perception of the current stage of the process. Pull out common opinions, thoughts and themes from the responses and present them using examples and references provided by contributors. Responses will be analyzed on both a qualitative and quantitative (or statistical) basis.

Recommend

Gather opinions, thoughts and suggestions from the community on the process. Request feedback on each section of the process, focusing on areas and experiences that have been summarised in the Reflect phase and suggestions or recommendations on what could be changed to improve the experiences of each section. Ask contributors to bear in mind the entire process when making their comments. Strive for as much independent thought as possible, with contributors being able to provide feedback in a number of ways. Seek references and examples from contributors in order to illustrate their thoughts.

Collate

Gather together all information presented by contributors and use it to build a series of recommendations, using common themes and strong suggestions. Perform a risk analysis on each recommendation, ensuring that before it is put forward that it represents a net benefit to the process. Ensure that the reconsiderations are valid as an end to end overhaul, but can also be implemented in isolation.

Present

Report back all findings to the community, inviting further discussion where appropriate. Ensure that the report is clearly laid out, unambiguous, neutral and referenced where possible using examples.

Scope[edit]

The following sections are deemed in scope of this review

  • Candidate selection and invitation
  • Admin coaching
  • Nomination and co-nomination
  • Advertising and Canvassing
  • Debates, elections and voting
  • Bureaucrat declaration and promotion
  • Training and probation
  • Recall

The following sections are deemed out of scope of this review. These may be reviewed separately if required.

  • Admin removal.

Recap of the current process[edit]

Candidate selection

This optional part of the process is where a candidate is invited to take part in a request for adminship. This invitation is likely to come from a potential nominator or co-nominator. Alternatively, it can come from an administrator offering to coach or mentor the candidate.

Administrator coaching

This optional part of the process is where a candidate is provided with one-on-one coaching with a more experienced user. The coach assesses the candidate's strengths and weaknesses and recommends further ways in which the candidate can develop themselves. Coaches use individual methods and coaching styles rather than any uniform process, although many share similar themes and structures. As well as providing training, some coaches provide mentoring and advice to candidates.

Nomination and co-nomination

Mandatory part of the process. The nominator provides a rationale, reasoning why the candidate would make a suitable administrator. Co-nominators may add their own viewpoints separately if desired. A candidate can nominate themselves (also known as self-nomination) if they wish.

Advertising and canvassing

Restricted part of the process that runs concurrently with the Debate and Election. Nominations are advertised on Wikipedia:Requests for Adminship as well as through regularly updated transcludable content such as User:Tangotango/RfA Analysis/Report. Candidates are also welcome to use templates such as {{RfX-notice|a}} on their user page if they wish. Further canvassing is regulated through the guideline Wikipedia:Canvassing.

Debate

Optional part of the process that runs concurrently with Advertising and Election, although it is encouraged. The candidate is presented with three standard questions in order to describe what administrative areas the candidate has worked in, what work they are particularly proud of and what (if any) conflicts they have been involved in. The candidate may be set further optional questions by other editors as the debate progresses.

Election

Mandatory part of the process that runs concurrently with Advertising and the Debate. Interested editors can pass either a Support, Oppose or Neutral vote on a candidate. An editor can, if desired, include a rationale, argument or reason for their vote. This reason can then be challenged by other editors if appropriate.

Withdrawal

Optional part of the process. At any time following nomination and before declaration, the candidate may withdraw from the process. In this instance, the process is archived at the point of withdrawal and terminates.

Declaration

Mandatory part of the process, taking place seven days after nomination. In exceptional circumstances a bureaucrat may hold the declaration early, or extend the duration in order to make consensus clearer. Experienced editors may declare early if there is no chance of the candidate succeeding, as per Wikipedia:Not Now. The closing bureaucrat then analyses the debates and votes in order to determine if there is consensus from the community to grant administrator status to the candidate.

Training

Optional part of the process. Successful candidates are encouraged to use Wikipedia:New admin school in order to learn how to use the new options made available to them.

Recall

Optional part of the process. Administrators can choose to make themselves available for recall or re-confirmation of adminship if requested to do so by a large enough group of editors. Administrators can set their own criteria for recall although default recommendations are provided as per WP:AOR.

How to participate[edit]

Any editor can participate in contributing to this review, both administrators and non-administrators. Exposure to the RfA process in any form is preferred in order to gain insight and feedback based on first-hand experience.

Although the Question Phase is now closed, editors will be invited to read and comment on the report prepared during the Reflect phase, as well as generating suggestions based on the report's findings in the Recommend phase.

Further reading[edit]