Wikipedia:RfA reform (continued)/Clerks

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This project is divided into sub pages in order to keep discussions focused and on track.
Read the main page first, then join a discussion on the respective page.
Please do not start a new thread or a new sub page on something that is already under discussion - see the TOC on each talk page.

Clerk activities[edit]

Clerks do not have any special powers or rights. Rather, they are simply normal volunteers who refrain from "taking sides" and instead focus on a designated set of tasks that may or may not get done otherwise. RfA can be stressful for all participants and the clerks' main aim is to reduce that stress where possible. Clerks would be responsible for promoting a basic standard of constructiveness and civility at RFA. They would also mentor and advise candidates on procedure as needed throughout the process.


Many clerk tasks are already performed occasionally by regular RfA participants. This will not change. Non-clerks will be completely free to perform any "clerk task" whatsoever. The purpose of designated clerks is simply to focus on these tasks from an unbiased perspective for the improvement of the RfA process.

Designated clerks[edit]

Clerks have the option of 'assigning' themselves to an RfA and maintain a 24/7 watch. The purpose of this would simply be to designate that they are actively monitoring and focused on the RfA, that the candidate can go to them requesting advice or assistance on procedure, and that they're the "go-to" person if someone wants to talk to a clerk, for any reason, regarding that RfA. Clerk tasks may still be performed by clerks who are not assigned to a particular RfA. In order to maintain a 24/7 watch, up to three clerks may assign themselves to any individual RfA simply by adding their names to the talk page. Clerks are encouraged to assign themselves to an unattended RfA before signing onto one that already has a designated clerk. If no clerk has volunteered, an assignment can be requested via the noticeboard. Any clerk must remove their name from the RfA at the candidate's request. The designated clerk(s) should be listed before transclusion takes place.

Prior to/soon after transclusion[edit]

  • Ensure that candidates understands the minimum RfA requirements as evidenced by research.
  • Ensure the process is clear to candidates.
  • Advise the candidate that the first three (still optional) questions if not adequately answered.
  • Advise the candidate to opt in for X!'s edit stats.
  • Post editing stats to the candidate's RfA talk page.

During the RfA[edit]

During an RfA the assigned clerk(s) will have a number of duties. They will:

  • Monitor the optional questions:
    • Notify 'crats or uninvolved admins of blatantly uncivil/disruptive questions that need to be removed
    • Discuss off-topic or potentially uncivil/disruptive questions and suggest rephrasing/removal to the author
  • Monitor comments and !votes:
    • Notify 'crats or uninvolved admins of blatantly uncivil/disruptive comments that need to be removed (and warn the author, if applicable)
    • Discuss off-topic or possibly uncivil/disruptive comments and suggest rephrasing/removal to the author
    • Collapse obviously disruptive or uncivil comment threads and work to de-escalate disputes
    • Move long discussions to the talk page
    • Ensure that cited diffs are correct, directly related to the RfA, and not taken out of context.
  • Monitor for:
  • Mentor the candidate during their RfA.
    • Advise them on the correct protocols and nuances of the process
    • Provide moral support for stressed candidates
    • Recommend withdrawal if and when advisable

Note: Clerks will not normally remove or modify comments in any way. In extreme cases (e.g. blatant hate speech), they may act to redact or remove comments just like any other editor.


As closure approaches the clerks may:

  • Highlight any votes made beyond expiry time.
  • Remind the 'crats if the RfA closure is excessively overdue.
  • Once the RfA is closed, clerks may also offer help to newly appointed admins (i.e. helpful links, etc.) and support for failed candidates.


Some candidates may have obvious issues that will lead to mass opposition. This can be disheartening to the candidate and, in extreme cases, has led to their retirement from the project.

Any editor in good standing can perform a non-bureaucrat closure in cases where an RfA will obviously not succeed. Clerks would be responsible for keeping an eye out for these major issues, both before transclusion and during the RfA process. If identified, they will discuss the with the candidate the likely outcome, and their options (including withdrawal). Pile-ons may take a large emotional toll on a candidate. In these instances, clerks will try to counsel them through the disappointment and try to help them maintain motivation.

(See: Example template)

Clerks will monitor for NOTNOW RfAs; clear cases will be closed and removed (transclusion should be prevented entirely, if possible). The clerks are also tasked with providing support for NOTNOW candidates, for example:

  • Explaining why their candidacy was withdrawn.
  • Showing them other areas of involvement to consider (i.e. vandal fighting, content creation, New Page Patrol, etc.)
  • Advising them on what they should do before requesting adminship again.


Clerks will recuse their involvement in an RFA:

  • If they have commented, or plan to comment at all, in the RFA.
  • If they have had significant prior interaction with the candidate (i.e. are involved).
  • At the request of the candidate.


Becoming a Designated Clerk[edit]

Any editor in good standing who meets the basic experience requirement of 500 edits, has not been blocked for civility issues during the 6 proceeding months and who is demonstrably familiar and experienced with RfA procedure may become a clerk by nominating themselves on the clerks' noticeboard.

Clerk Trial[edit]

We are proposing a trial of the process, which will be initiated after consensus discussion with the community. The aims of the trial will be to:

  • Identify the viability of clerking to improve the RFA process
  • Evolve the roles relevant to clerks
  • Establish an initial round of clerks

Trial structure[edit]

A limited group of volunteers will sign up to be clerks during the trial (aiming for around 10 individuals). If no one legitimately disputes an editor's participation they will be accepted as a trainee clerk.

For each new RFA the candidate will be offered the option of using clerks. Once accepted, a message explaining the trial/process will be posted on the RFA talk page. Clerks will be encouraged to discuss the process and their actions in detail on the Clerk noticeboard.

The trial will last for 10 RFAs with the aim of covering both successful and unsuccessful candidacies. Once completed the clerking process would be paused and a community discussion will take place to decide whether to continue or not.

The task force

This is a list of those who feel they can collaborate with each other to move this RfA reform project along. Just sign your name the normal way. No comments other than your signature are needed. Outside views are more than welcome on the various talk pages.

Kudpung (talk) • Pyfan (talk) • Swarm (talk) • Worm That Turned (talk)


  1. Swarm X 20:01, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
  2. ϢereSpielChequers 21:36, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
  3. My76Strat (talk) 04:23, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
  4. Beeblebrox (talk) 05:02, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
  5. But I'm not sure if the above criteria are wrong to begin with... I think the whole notion has to be reworked. No more !voting.---Balloonman NO! I'm Spartacus! 05:15, 27 March 2011 (UTC) (retired from Wikipedia)
  6. 'User:M.O.X (talk) • 9:05pm •'Formerly Ancient Apparition, formerly Fridae'sDoom. 10:05, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
  7. bobrayner (talk) 11:21, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
  8. Tyrol5 [Talk] 16:06, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
  9. MacMedtalkstalk 16:24, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
  10. Montanabw(talk) 23:52, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
  11. Pesky (talk) 03:40, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
  12. --SPhilbrickT 04:28, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
  13. --Errant (chat!) 08:24, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
  14. Oli OR Pyfan! 08:33, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
  15. Corruptcopper (talk) 12:04, 7 April 2011 (UTC) (No edits to Wikipedia since 8 May 2012)
  16. Jusdafax 09:15, 12 April 2011 (UTC) I'll be part-time but will attempt to give quality input. This topic is vital.
  17. Baseball Watcher 03:42, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
  18. Wikipedian2 (talk) 19:57, 15 April 2011 (UTC) (No edits to Wikipedia since 20 June 2011)
  19. Keepscases (talk) 20:03, 15 April 2011 (UTC) (currently blocked unblocked for disruption at RfA)
  20. This seems to be a perennial discussion/project/proposal item, but I am always in favor of any improvements if possible. — Ched :  ?  07:57, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
  21. Fly by Night (talk) 17:53, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
  22. SilkTork *YES! 09:42, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
  23. Catfish Jim & the soapdish 10:20, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
  24. Richwales (talk · contribs) 18:50, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
  25.   Will Beback  talk  02:47, 13 May 2011 (UTC) (Indef banned from Wikipedia)
  26. --White Shadows Stuck in square one 00:14, 22 May 2011 (UTC) (retired from Wikipedia)
  27. WFC— 03:27, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
  28. Alzarian16 (talk) 11:22, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
  29. --ceradon 08:29, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
  30. mc10 (t/c) 23:35, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
  31. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 16:14, 9 August 2011 (UTC) More so once the autoconfirmed trial gets underway; hopefully that won't be too long.
  32. ~~Ebe123~~ talkContribs 21:41, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
  33. Ryan Vesey Review me! 22:43, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
  34. --Cerejota (talk) 10:01, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
  35. Divide et Impera (talk) 15:15, 9 September 2011 (UTC) (No edits to Wikipedia since 17 December 2011)
  36. Trusilver 17:05, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
  37. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 17:04, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  38. Moogwrench (talk) 15:37, 1 October 2011 (UTC) (No edits to Wikipedia since 17 December 2011)
  39. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 15:19, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
  40. --Amadscientist (talk) 22:51, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
  41. Irondome (talk) 22:36, 7 November 2013 (UTC)