Wikipedia:RfA is dead

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RfA is dead. RfA remains dead. And we have killed it.

Without channeling Friedrich Nietzsche any further, this is the general impression that I get when I - a mostly-retired administrator who shows up every now and again to see how things are going - take a visit to RfA.

My memories of going there and seeing lively discussion and debate over ten or twelve people who had decided to put themselves through the experience of "running for adminship" are dead and buried, replaced by a barren page that is often without as much as a single nomination.

Surely, this should be a cause for concern, especially with the recent revelation by Wifione over at RfA's talk page that December 2010 could go by without seeing a single person get "promoted". In a day and age where Wikipedia becomes less of a nerd's playground and more a part of the cultural mainstream with each passing day we - "we", in this sense, referring to the site's active community - seem to be moving in the opposite direction, fashioning our collective self into an ever-elite clique that scrutinizes RfA nominees with a comb so fine-toothed that it would make a candidate for President of the United States cringe.

This is not the RfA that I remember when I passed five years ago with nearly 83% of those issuing an opinion supporting me, despite the fact that I'd only contributed 1,400 edits in a year and eleven months' worth of active editing. It's been five years since then, and look what's happened since: I've never been disciplined, and to the best of my knowledge, haven't incited any mass suicides amongst the editing populace as a result of any administrative actions from back when I was an active administrator.

I could go on, and I could keep rehashing the same point that seventy-seven-plus others have made before me, but I've made my point abundantly clear: We, as a community, need to look inside ourselves and remember that adminship continues to be "no big deal". It's not a prize, not a token, not a religious title, but a nice-sounding word and some added site functionality. If some guy in middle America who spends his late nights writing essays like this instead of sleeping can be a competent administrator, who's to say that someone else can't be?