Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Academy/Retirement and departure

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As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. That's true on Wikipedia as well. Even the most invested contributors to our site eventually retire to some greater or lesser extent from Wikipedia, even if its only reducing their involvement to focus on other things.

Since retirement involves a departure, this essay will serve as guide to what you should think about for retiring either from the Military history Project or from Wikipedia as a whole, including points that you should address before departure and tips for helping you correctly convey your intentions.

The road to retirement[edit]

People retire from both the Military history Project and from Wikipedia as a whole for a variety of different reasons. For whatever reason(s) you choose to retire the road to retirement usually begins with the realization that you are no longer interested in either the project or Wikipedia. Typically, editors can gauge to a certain extent when a person starts to move toward retirement by looking at things like involvement in projects and overall editorial contributions; as a person moves closer to leaving these numbers tend to dwindle.

Another sign of impending retirement is usually a marked withdrawal in time either with our project or with Wikipedia. Editors, in particular veterans who historically have been on site on a daily or near daily, usually reduce editing to one or two times a week as they move toward retirement. In other cases editors may abruptly stop editing altogether. In the latter case, editors are understood to have retired even though they have not made any formal announcements concerning retirement.

In both cases there tends to be little that other editors can do to change the mind of a contributor who appears to be preparing to leave. Depending on the length, tenure, and respect for the Wikipedian in question who is preparing to depart close friends of the given editor may leave messages of encouragement, support, or sympathy to the editor who appears to be preparing for retirement encouraging him or her to stay, even if it is only at a reduced capacity. In cases where an editor has departed, other friendly editors may attempt to contact the departed person to encourage him or her to reconsider their departure. These correspondences are usually carried out off the editor's talkpages, through services such as email or IRC.

Settling your affairs[edit]

If you are preparing to leave then it's important that you first settle your wiki-affairs on the site. If you have filed for PRs, ACRs, or FACs then you should wait for these to finish before leaving, or locate an editor that will address the concerns raised on the pages on your behalf. Additionally, you may wish make sure that other auto-processes that relate to your account—such as delivery of project newsletters or the Signpost—are made aware of your impending departure. Failure to notify these services can result in you receiving newsletters or other non-essential automated messages long after you leave. Note that while these automatic services can be stopped at your request, automated alerts relating to your content on Wikipedia will still be sent to you as a courtesy (for example, bots will automatically notify you if images you uploaded are being considered for deletion).

From here, if you are leaving the Military history Project, the last step should be to remove your name from the project membership page and any Milhist associated task force or special project pages. This will result in you being officially classified as retired by project standards.

Leaving Wikipedia[edit]

If your goal is to withdraw from Wikipedia altogether then after settling your affairs you have a few remaining decisions to make. These decisions include, but are not limited to:

  • Resigning coordinatorship
  • Resigning Wikipedia-issued rights
  • Deleting your userpage and/or user subpages
  • Announcing your retirement

If you currently hold special rights or privileges on Wikipedia then you may wish to consider resigning these rights or privileges. Resigning helps the community keep track of those who have certain privileges and those who don't, and in the case of certain projects (like ours) resigning coordinatorship before leaving helps us gain a clearer picture of who is still left to carry on the work. In the case of rights issued to members of Wikipedia, such as administrative powers, bureaucratic rights, oversight permission, etc, the community will be interested in hearing about the retirement partly due to the need to fill in vacancies arising from the absence you will create when you leave. Also, users with admin rights lose their rights if they do not use them within a certain time period (although they can be regained by request later), while retirement will also likely result in the administrative removal of higher level oversight powers.

If by chance you happen to operate a bot, your retirement will necessitate that the bot(s) you operate be shut down, so a heads up to groups that rely on the bot(s) that you are retiring would go a long way toward helping these groups organize a relief bot to take over.

Deletion of userspace material is another matter that you may wish to address as well. As a rule, you are typically allowed a reasonable degree of autonomy over how you choose to use you user page and its subpages. Unless you are leaving under dubious circumstances, you have the option of leaving your space as is or tagging it for deletion to prevent the material you have from remaining on Wikipedia after you leave. With the exception of the deletion of your user talk page, which as a rule is considered undeletable, all pages you have in the userspace can be deleted or preserved upon your request. Note that while you may petition for deletion of any page you have worked on in your userspace, any material you have moved into the article space is considered community property and can not be deleted save for an AfD. Deletion of your userspace page(s) will leave them as empty redlinks, but note that user page deletions do not eliminate history nor do they erase your contribution history; these two will stand as a record of your wikiactivity.

If you decide to retain your userspace pages then you may wish to add a retirement template to it to broadcast your retirement to the community at large. You can find the retirement templates near the bottom of the WikiBreak page.