WereSpielChequers is an editor on the English Wikipedia, the Strategy Process, and occasionally various other projects. He has been active at RfA for more than two years, and has researched its history back into the first year of Wikipedia.
The drought in RfA (Requests for Adminship) has now run for 28 months and is worsening. The number of admins promoted in 2009 was very low compared to previous years, and each of the past six months since has seen even fewer successful RfAs than the same month in 2009. The number of active admins has fallen from the peak of 1,021 in February 2009 to 802 on August 1, 2010.
Requirements have been increasing at RfA in various ways, and since the unbundling of rollback in early 2008 (see Signpost coverage) it has been difficult for candidates to succeed simply as "good vandal fighters". One result of this is that there is now a gulf growing between admins and non admins in terms of "Wiki generations". Over 90% of our admins first edited more than three and a half years ago. It is probably no surprise that there are no admins who first edited in 2010, but only nine started editing in 2009 and thirty-eight in 2008. Even the Wikipedians who joined us in 2007 are still under-represented in the admin cadre.
Successful requests for adminship on the English Wikipedia
About one new admin per day was promoted from mid-2005 to mid-March 2008; this pattern oscillated between half and a fifth of that rate until late 2009, and since then the promotion rate has dropped to one every five days.
Nobody really knows how many admin accounts there have been on the English Wikipedia, or how many actual people they represent. Some stats include admin bots, others do not. If an admin has their account renamed they are still one admin, but if they leave and return with a new account and have that sysoped then some stats count them as two admins. Nowadays developers and other staff members have a "staff" flag, but some early staff members were simply made admins, and at least one measure of our number of admins would include them if they made an admin action. If a protected page is moved, the automated moving of the protection settings is counted as a page protection and is listed under the username of the person who moved the page, whether or not they are actually an admin. Also, stewards can act as admins on enwiki. Records for the early days are incomplete. We have had 1,920 admins appointed (not including bots), we currently have 1,741 accounts with an admin flag (including bots), of whom 802 are active as editors, and as of August 2, 2010, 2,019 editors are recorded as carrying out admin actions on the English Wikipedia, but see the note above.