Wikipedia talk:Administrators

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WP:INVOLVED[edit]

If an administrator is WP:INVOLVED with an editor in content dispute, then is it okay for them to request another administrator on their talk page to topic ban the editor with whom they have content dispute, instead of visiting WP:ANI and WP:AE? This is like gaming WP:INVOLVED, if they ask their administrator wiki-friend (to topic ban the editor) instead of reporting the user at WP:ANI and WP:AE. --Marvellous Spider-Man 16:25, 23 December 2016 (UTC)

Generally, no administrator can unilaterally topic-ban an editor. Is this a hypothetical, or is it real?--Bbb23 (talk) 16:40, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
It's real. An administrator "A" topic-banned editor "B" for three months, after they received a request from administrator "C" on user talk page. Administrator "C" was involved in content dispute with editor "B". --Marvellous Spider-Man 16:51, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
So who are the administrators?--Bbb23 (talk) 17:56, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
(MS-M e-mailed me) The topic-banned editor hadn't edited for 3 days before the ban was imposed and hasn't edited since. It's their responsibility to appeal the ban if they wish, not yours. Just so you know, administrators often ask other administrators to look at a situation in which they are involved. They expect the other administrator to exercise their independent judgment, i.e., not just act as a proxy for the first administrator. In this particular instance, the administrator who imposed the ban is absolutely independent in their decisions.--Bbb23 (talk) 14:23, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

Workshopping an RfC on the inactivity policy[edit]

The community appears to be unsatisfied with this request for resysop, and it seems like it may be time to strengthen our inactivity policy for administrators. I propose the following changes. I welcome counter-proposals, but let's try not to make things so complicated that we get no consensus for anything. Note that this is a discussion, not a vote, so let's discuss before throwing down votes. Consider this a work-in-progress, and this is not an RfC at the moment.

  1. In WP:INACTIVITY, change "no edits or administrative actions" to "no administrative actions". This has the effect of considering an administrator inactive even if they edit unless they actually use the tools.
  2. In WP:INACTIVITY, add a line stating that an administrator will be considered active for an additional year if they respond to the requisite user talk messages with a note that the admin wishes to continue holding the tools. This is intended to benefit administrators who may use their administrator status to close difficult discussions, participate at WP:AE, or other administrator activities that don't show up in the logs as an administrative action.
  3. In Wikipedia:Administrators#Lengthy_inactivity, remove all references to needing continued inactivity in order to require a new RfA. Essentially, if a former administrator voluntarily gave up the tools, they would need a new RfA if they don't reclaim them in three years. If a former administrator was desysopped for inactivity, they would need a new RfA if they don't reclaim the mop within an additional two years.

Thoughts? ~ Rob13Talk 02:33, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

  • Not a terrible idea, but I think we would need to have a clearer idea of what would constitute "administrator actions". Bu Rob13 has mentioned a few. As an oversighter, I could do a lot of actions that don't result in any logged activities, such as turning down requests, or participating in discussions about a specific oversight request which is then acted upon by another oversighter. Reviewing unblock requests that don't result in unblocks (which is the majority of reviewed requests) doesn't require the use of tools, but does require an administrator bit. Reviewing deleted content requires the bit but most times does not lead to undeletion (e.g., when responding to a request to email the content of a deleted article to the originating editor). Closing complicated or controversial XfD's is in the scope of administrators but unless the page is deleted, there is no logged action.

    I do, however, share BU Rob13's concern that people who appear to maintain just a little more than the bare minimum activity in order to keep the bit are not what we're really looking for in an administrator. I'd support a minimum 150 edits per year or a minimum 150 combined admin actions/edits per year in order to retain tools, with one opportunity to regain tools after inactivity, following the completion of at least 100 edits prior to the request for resysop. Risker (talk) 04:25, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

    • @Risker: I agree with a higher threshold of activity requirements. Not as high as you say, but maybe something like 10 admin actions per six months. That's far more controversial, though, so I think we should be trying for something of an improvement over a massive improvement right now. Administrator actions are defined as showing up on AdminStats on Commons, and I suggest borrowing that definition. Note that my second bullet point above covers those who are making non-logged actions. It's as simple as saying "Yup, still using those" when you get an email about inactivity. That's a lot more simple than requiring that a bureaucrat dig through contributions to determine the last edit made in an administrative role. ~ Rob13Talk 04:37, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
      • The AdminStats tool on Commons, last I checked, ignores both edits to protected pages and "no-action" decisions such as closing an AfD as keep. It is utterly unsuitable as a gauge for admin activity. The last RfC we had on the subject failed in part because of this problem. Also, didn't know I was that high on the activity list... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:55, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
        • Which is why we have the elegant solution that an administrator can just say "Yo, still using the tools" to retain them, as noted above. It's impractical to ask a bureaucrat to review all edits by an inactive administrator to ensure they're not editing in an administrative area, so this is probably the best we can do. Besides, if an admin is closing as "keep", they are likely also closing as "delete". This is an extreme edge case. ~ Rob13Talk 10:11, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
          • Following on to what Risker wrote, please be aware that CheckUser and Oversight actions generate logs that are only visible to users with those permissions. ​—DoRD (talk)​ 15:15, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
I would be open to writing a bot to generate reports tracking administrator edits to fully protected pages. If there's interest, let me know and I'll get started. -FASTILY 00:03, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
    • To be honest, I do not think this is a real problem. Indeed, there are admin actions which are not logged such as editing protected pages. However I can hardly imagine an admin who would perform these actions but no logged actions during a year. Moreover, if such an admin exists and would be about to be desysopped, we can add a clausure that they may present their non-logged actions to be counted against desysop. Usually we deal with people who do not log in the project for years, not with someone who is active on a daily basis and just for whatever reason does not perform logged admin actions.--Ymblanter (talk) 22:55, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • This was the most recent RFC on the matter - Dec. 2012 - Feb. 2013 RFC on Resysopping practices. Leaky Caldron 10:48, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
There were two more recently than that. See here and here. Any new proposal will need to address those concerns. Sam Walton (talk) 11:40, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I don't think we should get too hung up on the fact that certain types of admin actions generate fewer logged actions than others. Admin actions are like edits: while number of edits is not an accurate indication of level of contribution to Wikipedia and certain areas require people to make far more edits than others, it's rather hard to argue that you contribute to Wikipedia if you don't edit it at all. Similarly I don't think someone with zero logged actions can claim to be a vaguely active administrator, whatever areas they work in. Sure, closing an AfD as Keep doesn't count as a logged action, but anyone who spends any time at all closing AfDs will close some as Delete and get at least some logged actions. Other types of admin action will either generate some level of admin actions or won't be the only thing an administrator does. I find it rather hard to believe that the large number of admins who perform few or no admin actions are actually all sitting around reviewing unblock requests or editing protected pages. Hut 8.5 11:52, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
    Commons has had disputes on the inactivity deadminning because it arbitrarily counted some actions and not others. And "no actions" are rather common. It's not a merely philosophical issue. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:54, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
    It is not a philosophical issue, but it is easily fixable. Commons just counts logged in actions, one can debate whether this is reasonable but it is not arbitrary.--Ymblanter (talk) 22:57, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

We should adopt the maxim of qui tacit consentire and dispense with the 1 month advance warning. As our own article puts it, "silence gives consent. ......when he ought to have spoken and was able to". No reminders are needed and would prevent the current overly generous and gameable situation. Leaky Caldron 14:32, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

  • The more I think about it the more this seems like a good idea. Sending an editor a message informing them they're going to be de-sysopped for being inactive just encourages gaming the system. Sam Walton (talk) 15:26, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I have closely monitored the inactivity policy since it was initially created four or so years ago. My concerns then were about administrators gaming the system with 1 edit equaling 1 resysop whenever they please. And just like I suspected, we right now have 1,274 administrator accounts, and 738 of them don't make 30 or more edits every two months. Making it one administrative action, while better than 1 single edit, is not exactly going to prevent any situations that have similarly come up. What is to prevent an administrator logging in to protect their userspace, unprotecting it and logging back out to keep it? And what about performing one trivial CSD and logging out for a year? If we are truly dissatisfied with the current inactivity policy, one administrative action or one anything won't be satisfactory. Being an active member of the community doesn't mean logging in once a year to reclaim your bit, no matter how good that one edit is. If an administrator makes ten edits or deletes ten things for ten years, they are not demonstrating a need for the tools. They also don't have a body of work to base whether they are knowledgeable of policy anymore. There is really only one option here. First, there has to be a set number of logged actions counted every month/6 months/year which count towards activity (preferably 10-12 actions/edits or more). This would give a very small body of work for the community to look at to judge competency when using the tools. The other change that needs to be made is the length of time. It needs to be changed to something such as two years, and after which they can't automatically regain adminship because they have been inactive for too long. One inactivity desysop and then they would need a new RFA. No regaining adminiship, disappearing and reappearing ad nauseam. Also, warning of a pending desysop unless they meet X criteria is counterproductive and encourages the current gaming. Like I said when this discussion happened the first time: years from now, we're going to have a bigger problem than dormant accounts if we don't make it more strict. Right now, we're seeing the consequences of it because it's going to get harder to confirm identities of older administrator accounts when there is no policy to restrict them from getting the tools back. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 14:37, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm just wondering why inactivity needs tinkering with particularly? Is there any particular reason why the current standards are inadequate? All it seems to do in my mind is to add to red tape. RfAs are at an all time low. An every shrinking pool of active admins. And yet all the recent RfCs and so forth seem to focus on ever decreasing the pool of admins. Until someone can come up with a convincing argument otherwise I shall oppose such measures. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 17:14, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Because we're about to give administrator rights to a user who was given the rights to see what they looked like and has hardly edited in 10 years let alone used the tools and that makes some of us uncomfortable. Sam Walton (talk) 17:16, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Any particular reason for that? By the way I'm not overall opposed to WP:INACTIVITY clauses per se, but I can't see why it needs to be tinkered with. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 17:23, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Because I think it's fair to say that the state of the encyclopedia when this user was active is very different to how it is now, and a 10 year editing gap leaves them almost as clueless as a brand new editor. We're simply trusting that they will read through the rules and understand them well enough to use the administrator toolset properly, which is completely at odds with the high bar set by the community at RfA. There are hundreds of editors who wouldn't pass an RfA due to lack of tenure/experience that I would trust more than someone returning from a ~10 year break. Sam Walton (talk) 17:29, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • OK well let's say we have this hypothetical admin "x", who hasn't been particularly active for the last 10 years, but has done enough to keep the bit even so. But they want to return to, let's say, WP:AIV or some other area that requires the admin toolset. Now I'm willing to bet that they would reacquaint themselves with the relevant policy and procedures before doing so. Why? Generally people don't change enormously. If they were trustworthy enough 10 years ago it is very likely they are trustworthy now. And even if they made mistakes they would likely learn quickly, or get dragged before a relevant noticeboard to dealt with. The thing is Wikipedia has mechanisms in place for errant admins, whether or not they have been active recently or just returned after a hiatus. For some reason returning admins seem to arouse suspicion, but in my mind they should be encouraged to contribute. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 17:44, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • This is not a hypothetical situation. People may not change much, but the standards for evaluating trustworthiness have changed drastically since the user in question was promoted via this RfA. At BN, someone stated this user has only made three admin actions ever and none in over a decade. As Sam Walton observed, this user is effectively a brand new editor. No way should we be giving them the mop. Lepricavark (talk) 18:10, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm not saying hypothetical examples don't occur. I'm just using one to clarify discussion. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 18:34, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Fair enough. But I am highly uncomfortable with the notion that we should still trust this user because he was deemed trustworthy at a three-participant RfA from 13 years ago. Standards from 13 years ago are far too light to be a useful reflection on whether Cyp is qualified to be an admin today. Lepricavark (talk) 18:48, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • We are not in a position to accurately say "no logged admin actions ever" as we don't have logs prior to Dec 2004. ϢereSpielChequers 05:56, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
  • This is not about "decreasing the pool of admins." Inactive admins are not doing anything anyway, so desysopping them ultimately has no bearing on actual admin activity. This should not impact our ability to promote new admins. We are not trying to add red tape, but instead we want to refine the present measures relating to how ex-admins are handled. Lepricavark (talk) 18:10, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • This is about the decreasing the pool of available admins, as I was discussing returning admins. And I see further tinkering as red tape, as I see it as solutions in search of problems.--Jules (Mrjulesd) 18:34, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Back in July 2015 I looked at the numbers and 99.9% of administrator actions were carried out by the 45% of administrators who made more than 10 administrator actions in the past year, so tightening the requirements and desysopping a few hundred is unlikely to have a significant immediate impact on admin load. Sam Walton (talk) 18:39, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • But you'd also be shutting out returning admins. That is my point, it seems to me editors are constantly changing their editing commitments. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 18:45, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • That is a fair concern, but something must be done to prevent the gaming of the system that is currently possible. Lepricavark (talk) 18:51, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • This is not a solution in search of a problem. It has been clearly demonstrated above and at BN that the problem is very real. I seriously question whether we want someone who has barely edited at all in the past decade to be in the pool of available admins. The solution to the lack of available admins is to nominate and promote currently active editors. The solution is not to hang on to former admins who longer actively participate on this project. Also, Sam is quite right that desysopping inactive admins will not have an immediate impact. Indeed, I doubt if it would have a future impact either. Inactive admins, by definition, are not actively doing admin tasks. Lepricavark (talk) 18:49, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I think we should move away from arbitrary statistical requirements like x edits in y days. We should expect administrators to be active members of the community. That may be too difficult to define or too easy to game to use for desysopping, but could be used for resysopping. If a former admin returns after a long absence, it's not unreasonable to ask that they spend a little bit of time reacquainting themselves with the place before they're restored to a position of trust. Having said that, though, we perhaps ought to be stricter still with admins who got the bit before there was a formal voting process. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:33, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Two observations. Not sure these translate easily into formulations for an RfC, and even less sure any is politically feasible, but still.
  1. "Edit" vs. "administrative action" requirement: if the spirit is that the candidate must show admin activity, it does not really matter whether it is logged or not. Allow any admin action to qualify, and let candidates for a resysop point to the diffs where they closed a keep AfD, denied an unblock request, or whatever, if the logs fall short.
  2. Edit conflict: basically a reformulation of HJ Mitchell's point above. More importantly, the problem right now is 10-year-old returning admins that may or may not be out of touch with recent changes. I think it could be left to bureaucrat discretion to evaluate ; something along the lines of provided the bureaucrat is satisfied that the returning administrator has enough familiarity with significant changes in guidelines that occured since the procedural desysopping (clarify to mean this is a lower threshold than RfA if needed). If a number is absolutely needed to constraint bureaucrats, add as a general rule, a candidate to resysopping with more than x (edits/admin actions) (per year/since the desysop) will usually have kept up with the changes, while a candidate well below this threshold might not have - what is important is that when the candidate has x+1 edits bureaucrats may still pocket veto the resysop without having to resort to WP:IAR. In the case that made this discussion happen, I feel the bureaucrats most leaning to restore sysop rights do so binded by the guidelines rather than by their judgement.

TigraanClick here to contact me 22:56, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure the problem is really 10-year-old returning admins; I'd say it's admins who are making one or two token edits a year just to keep the bits. If we manage those accounts more closely - and at this point I think there's a reasonable chance that we could put some additional activity levels on the account, even if it's just 50 edits a year - then we won't have the issue of 10-year-old accounts asking for the admin bit back. I'd also shorten the length of time between removal and reinstatement to a maximum of one year if there are fewer than 50 edits in the intervening year, with only those having 50+ edits/year being eligible to reclaim the bit for up to 3 years. We're one of the few larger projects that doesn't have some sort of genuine activity requirement; one edit a year really isn't evidence of activity. Risker (talk) 04:14, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
  • IMO the recurring discussions about how Something Must Be Done about the horrible scourge of people not volunteering enough of their time are far more of a nuisance than anything ever done by the admins in question. I'm still waiting for examples of actual problems caused by this pattern. "It looks like we have more admins than we really do" is nonsense; it's easy to measure who's actually active. "They might screw up" is just handwaving; you need to point to examples of screwups that are at least plausibly related to long inactivity, and demonstrate that these problems are widespread or serious, and demonstrate that your proposed solution is not worse. As someone who did return after long inactivity, I might well have done the "token edit every year" thing if I'd noticed that I should - I'd see the message and, probably, think something like "Oh yeah, I used to do that stuff a lot; maybe I'll get back to it when I have some more time". I always think it's very strange that people skip over that kind of motivation and assume that inactive admins are "gaming the system" or "hanging on to power" - trust me, if you're not really engaged with Wikipedia, then the politics of adminship are Not Interesting. Maybe before we try more invasive solutions to this non-problem, we could invest some of that time in doing something useful like developing an admin-specific (and sanely formatted) version of WP:UPDATE to point returning admins to. Opabinia regalis (talk) 05:54, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
    • There is a possibility that we will end up giving the bits to a user who has done almost nothing in over a decade. Do you see why some of us are concerned? I ask because you didn't really address the specific situation that prompted this discussion. Lepricavark (talk) 06:15, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
      • This thread was seemingly created specifically to separate discussion of the general issue from discussion of a particular case. But no, actually, neither thread makes a good case for what specifically is a concern other than account compromise, which was handled. Conversations about inactive returning admins usually seem mostly like opportunities for people to advocate their views on the politics of adminship. Opabinia regalis (talk) 19:49, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
        • Huh?! Multiple users are concerned because an editor who has not been especially active for over a decade has been granted administrator privileges. This isn't just about account compromise. This is about the blatant lack of evidence that the user is in any way qualified to be an admin. This has nothing to do with politics. Lepricavark (talk) 20:07, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) @Opabinia regalis: Compromised accounts are the biggest problem I have with having many inactive administrator accounts floating around, but I also abide by the philosophy that an administrator serves at the will of the community and should step aside if the community no longer views them as qualified for the role. ~ Rob13Talk 06:17, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
      • Every known case of admin account compromise in the last two years was of a currently-active account. There's no evidence that old accounts are more likely to be compromised. More to the point, is being an admin a "role"? I keep trying to push back on this idea that adminship is or should be a social class rather than a form of technical access. All of this stuff about returning admins always seems to be an argument about "this person isn't of the right social class", not "this person would use their tools incorrectly". Opabinia regalis (talk) 19:49, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
        • Talk about "promotion" needs to be ended then. Not many more socially divisive term than promoting someone. Leaky Caldron 19:55, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
        • I'm starting to think that you've done absolutely no review of the discussion at BN that prompted this discussion, which has nothing to do with social classes and everything to do with concerns that an editor may misuse the tools. The editor in question has not been an active editor in over a decade. There is no evidence that he is qualified to use the tools. I don't know where you are getting this "social class" stuff from, but it is completely irrelevant. Lepricavark (talk) 20:07, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
    • Take the case that spurned this (where a 'crat restored the bit for what I think are valid reasons). The returning admin will probably not go on a vandalizing rampage, that is for sure, but an RfA candidacy with similar stats would have been a snow fail in the 2010-2016 period (at least). I am all for weakening RfA standards, and I'm still waiting for examples of actual problems caused by this pattern is a powerful argument for that. But I do not agree with doing so by the backdoor, clinging to a procedural policy that lets older accounts get away with not less, but much much less qualifications that the recent promotions. If anything, that is not fair.
    • My $0.02: this is only one head of the hydra born from the hysteresis in current adminship requirements, where you need outstanding contributions to pass but outstanding misconduct to be desysopped, so that adminship is effectively a big deal and for life. The only solution remotely feasible I see out of this is to make administrator stand for reconfirmation at regular intervals - with a much simpler process and still a higher threshold to remove an incumbent than to block a candidate, but something that forces them to defend their actions if they want another mandate, and an opportunity to mount a desysop challenge with a lower "personal animosity" malus. TigraanClick here to contact me 17:16, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
      • "Wouldn't pass today's RfA" is true of lots of currently active admins. The huge majority became admins at a time when RfA standards were much more reasonable. The conclusion to be drawn from that is not that we should start retroactively applying modern standards to old admins, but that modern RfA standards are not evidence-based. (And by that I mean "a steaming pile of useless bullshit" ;) Opabinia regalis (talk) 19:49, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

While rooting around, I found an interesting statistical anomaly that I thought I would share. I was going to compare the (in)activity of administrator accounts shortly after creating the inactivity policy to the present day. On July 31, 2011, we had 1,541 administrator accounts broken down as such (according to WP:LA standards): 760 active administrators, 553 semi-active, 228 inactive. During the most recent round, we had 1,274 administrator accounts: 537 active, 551 semi-active and 225 inactive. It's interesting to say the least. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 13:08, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

  • The current thread at WP:BN is the perfect example of the weakness of our surrent policy on inactivity. That user was never an active admin by any reasonable standard. They used their tools to delete three pages in 2005. That's pretty much it. No blocks, no protections, no changing of user rights, etc, one single time. No edits anywhere in project space for a period of over ten years. Didn't know until yesterday that rollback is no longer only for admins. (that happened in 2008) And yet, because they made this edit in 2014 they still qualified for an immediate resysop for another three years. That's just ridiculous. This situation is limited toa small number of admins, but it is a loophole that needs to be closed. We should not have admins who never really were admins coming back after ten years of almost no activity at all and all they have to do get all the tools is ask and then wait 24 hours. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:44, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Let’s take stock of what’s been assumed or said up to now and dispel some conjecture:
  • This is not a hypothetical issue. It really happened, but some commenters have not read this request for resysop, the discussion that led to this. And that’s why it needs to be brought into ‘legislation’.
  • It’s not about decimating the pool of active admins. A non active admin is a non available admin.
  • Let’s be clear about what constitutes an admin action that counts, and make a responsible decision about it. Risker’s suggestions appear to be realistic. Admin stats per X-Tools or {{Adminstats}}, while tasks that can be done as NAC should not count.
  • Sending reminders to admins about to be desysoped encourages gaining the system: probably - run a check against those who have done so and see how many admin actions they have done since.
  • There should be more than 1 logged admin action to prevent desysoping.
  • All cases of compromised accounts in the last 2 years were to active admin accounts.
My opinions (FWIW):
  • I don’t see any evidence at all supprting this comment ’’All of this stuff about returning admins always seems to be an argument about "this person isn't of the right social class", not "this person would use their tools incorrectly” by Opabinia regalis.
  • Term duration would require term limits which again would discourage people from running or re-running - something we cannot afford right now.
  • There is no evidence that the huge majority became admins at a time when RfA standards were much more reasonable - have they ever been reasonable since 2007? Are we not confusing standards with the perennial unpalatable environment at RfA that no one wishes to address when mentioned in the appropriate venues?
  • There is no evidence that ‘modern’ standards are "a steaming pile of useless bullshit”. There are indeed occasions when a voter’s oppose is based on some ludicrous criterion such as not having been registered for at least 3 years, or not having created 25 articles, or not having made 10,000 edits, or having no GA or FA, but these are relatively rare, come mainly from children, raw newbies, or trolls, and such anomalies have been on RfA since its dawning.
  • There is no evidence whatsoever that it is generally harder to pass RfA today, based on user criteria, than it was in the threshold year of 2007. A problem arises however, when a disingenuous vote gives rise to a lot of pile ons.
  • Every Wikimedia project has something different in the way it manages its administrator systems; in this instance, making comparisons/drawing parallels doesn’t help
Back on topic, Beeblebrox sums up perfectly, among all the of-topic stuff, what this discussion is all about, and that's what an RfC should hinge on.
Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:57, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
An example of admin inactivity would be User:Davidcannon. I fail to see what admin tasks this editor has peformed since their RfA in 2004. They are a prime example of the crux of this issue. Looking at their "contributions", a load of gnome-ish edits in Dec 2015, then disappears for most of 2016 to make token edits here and there. When he was active at the end of 2015, his main goal was to update his stats page. I challenge anyone to find a single contribution he's made that's required admin rights to so. Chances of desyopping? Zero. Benefit to the project as an admin? Also zero. Lugnuts Precious bodily fluids 09:14, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Davidcannon, who was sysoped by 23 voters six months after he stated editing only became only truly active years later during a very short burst of activity during 2015 when his edits were nearly all minor AWBs - which puts a rather very different aspect on his rather extraordinary content on his user page (also a staggering almost 900 edits), and another nearly 700 edits this short personal page. His major work was Index of Fiji-related articles with nearly 2,000 edits - a compilation that can be done by mechanical means. I can perhaps understand his pride in the very very early days of WP but for the rest of his tenure his participation on the project since his registration has either been negligible or non existent for blocks of many years. I would see no reason to maintain such a user’s admin status at this time and they would hardly be able to regard its removal as a slight to their early work. I think {{U|Lugnuts observations are perfectly valid. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:57, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Kudpung — if you want to make comments about me, please take care to check your facts first. You obviously don't know, and haven't taken the time to find out, that I was the main author for over half of the articles listed on the Fijian page you mentioned. I don't intend to argue the point with you; I've made similar mistakes about others myself, but if you're going to use the point to support an argument, you'd be better off making sure you've got your facts straight. Otherwise, you undermine the credibility of your argument (on which I have no position, by the way). David Cannon (talk) 08:04, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
Can you show what admin work you've done in the last 2-3 years? Anything at all that a normal user would be unable to do with their editing rights. Or what discussions you've helped out with at WP:ANI. Thanks. Lugnuts Precious bodily fluids 08:50, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
Davidcannon, I spent a considerable amount of time on it and I reported the facts as they are without making any criticisms of your work. Don't discredit yourself with such an inappropriate riposte. For one thing, this is a disscussion about admin activity and not you contributions for content. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:37, 15 January 2017 (UTC).
Kudpung: I stand corrected. I thought your comments were in relation to the Fijian articles' list, as if that reflected something close to the sum total of my contributions. Sorry I misunderstood you. Lugnuts, you're asking a question that would have been irrelevant at the time I became an admin. "Sysophood" back then was not considered an office, a title, or an honour. It was simply a routine lifting of security features; almost all active contributors who made constructive edits and didn't get into too much trouble got that. It took me 6 months; I knew many others who got it in much less time than I did. I was just routine — as Jimbo said, it should be no big deal. Something has changed, and what is supposed to be no big deal has morphed into an "office" that has to be earned — by criteria whose goalposts keep moving and keep getting more and more unattainable. I, for one, am not happy about that change. Wikipedia has become top-heavy with bureaucracy. I know that you (and Kudpung, and MANY others, will disagree with me, as you are entitled to, but I honestly think my views are more in keeping with the spirit of what was originally intended. David Cannon (talk) 05:52, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
@Davidcannon: Your clear inability to answer a straight forward question shows quite clearly that you are not fit to be an admin in any capacity. What was the last admin-related task you did and when did you do it? Lugnuts Precious bodily fluids 14:18, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
@Kudpung: Excuse me for butting in, but considering the 10,000 edits requirements and such, I think a lot of that has to do with people with a clue and with less than 25 articles, 10,000 edits, etc. realising they won't pass and not applying in the first place. Thus, the people who do apply with e.g. 5,000 edits tend to be biased towards clueless, and the public at large gets the impression that all editors with 5,000 edits are still green. That would be a self-reinforcing trend. DaßWölf 17:36, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
No need to apologise, but your comment is a bit off topic here, Daß Wölf. My reference to 25 articles, 10,000 edits, etc. was to rare, but ridiculously high demands that are usually made by newbies, children, and other users who are clueless about admins and the process we use to elect them.
My own criteria for example, which are among the most widely read (and possibly applied), are often considered by some to be rather strict, but they don't anywhere near approach such artificial demands. One thing is sure though: anyone meeting them is almost certain of passing their RfA unless there is something egregious lurking in their history to be discovered.
If you have time, your may wish to make a comparison table of the edit count, creations, and tenure of all successful RfA since the watershed year of 2007, or perhaps at least since 2010 which was the best year for promotions before the preciptous decline began and which was the reason for the first (and still only) truly in-depth study of RfA being undertaken. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:21, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Kudpung, I didn't mean to imply that every standard mentioned is (un)reasonable, I'm just saying that the standards have increased over the years (for better or for worse). The admin responsible for this discussion has 3,000 edits, and it seems to me RfA hasn't seen serious candidates with such a low edit count in quite a while. (I might be wrong, I've only been here for a few years.) I'll try to find time to look at that study, but unfortunately I'm quite busy in real life at the moment. DaßWölf 17:41, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Daß WölfI read somewhere (and it's easily checkable) that the average edit count for successful admins, at least since the threshold year of 2007, has been around 10,000 but that's no reflection on any perceived increase in standards, it's just what the candidates had. Averages however, don't always paint a realistic picture because there have also been plenty of admins in that time who passed with much lower than that. An interesting example is this with a relatively short tenure which I albeit weakly but nevertheless supported with this comment this comment which in a similar set of of such special circumstances today I would probably (but of course with the greatest of respect) oppose. There have been others who had significantly more, in the high tens of thousands, and those are the ones we had to drag kicking and screaming to RfA. Edi count is not always one the bests criteria - it's the quality of the edits that martters, and where they were made. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:37, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

Another alternative[edit]

Just throwing this out there without comment on how I feel about it. On Commons, they have requests for de-adminship, which is wide open for use for any purpose. That will never fly on enwiki, but how about requests for de-adminship which can only be opened on an administrator with no logged administrative actions in the past year or fewer than 10 logged administrative actions in the past two years? Basically, in addition to the "automatic" inactivity desysops, allow the community to examine cases of administrators with extremely low levels of activities if a community member decides to initiate that. This would allow a more tailored look at the editor's contributions, whether they're out-of-touch due to inactivity, and whether they're acting in an administrative capacity. ~ Rob13Talk 06:15, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

I don't think this is the right approach. It would be be better to tighten the inactivity desysop settings so that everyone is playing by the same rules. We probably don't want to create a system where some inactive admins lose the mop and others don't. While I strongly believe we should have requests for de–adminship on this project, using such a system for inactive admins would needlessly personalize the process. Personalities and friendships should not come into play in the case of an individual who is no longer active, but I can envision a scenario in which an inactive admin account retains the bit at such a request for de–adminship because the admin in question had made many friends. In other words, I am concerned that requests for de–adminship would turn something that should be routine into a popularity contest. It would probably be best to begin drafting an RfC for the purpose of tightening inactivity desysop settings. Lepricavark (talk) 16:44, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
Admins are supposed to do something, so it is not strange to ask them to comply to certain activity demands. The nasty part is that the admin-logs do not cover the complete range of admin activities. Creating a whole administrative circus to cover everything, is not the best way forward. Assuming that one logged admin actions in fact represents 1 logged action and 4 or 5 unlogged actions, might be a better foundation to build on. The Banner talk 23:17, 10 January 2017 (UTC)


This issue is bigger than expected[edit]

I have just become aware of User:JamesR/AdminStats. It is a series fo sortable tables chronicling all admin actions by current admins. It has really opened my eyes to the scope of admins who are not, and never were actually active in administrative functions. The last table, listing all actions by all current admins is the most informative. There are over 100 current admins who have only used their bits one time, and hundreds more who have used them ten times or less over their entire tenure.

Adminship is not a trophy to be put on a shelf for bragging rights, any holder of advanced permissions should be expected to actually use them once in a while. It seems clear that over the years we have selected a large number of admins who it turned out didn't really want to be admins, didn't have the stomach for it, would rather do content work, whatever. If they had just left they would have been removed for inactivity, but apparently large numbers have remained at least marginally active but are admins in name only and have not made siginificant contributions in administrative functions.

This is a probelm in that it creates a security risk while providing no benefit, and it artificially inflates the number of admins, creating the appearence that we have several hundred more admins than we actually have. There is no reason for anyone who has been an admin for a year or more and only has one admin action in their logs to retain their advanced permisssions. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:56, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

@Beeblebrox:- coincidentally, something very similar occured recently- almost exactly the same problem- there was talk of an RfC, but I don't think it's started yet. O Fortuna!...Imperatrix mundi. 18:48, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox: You might find the adminstats tool useful - it's a bit more customisable than those tables. I quite like the statistic that 45% of administrators carry out 99.9% of all administrator actions, with the other 55% making less than 10 admin actions per year. Sam Walton (talk) 01:08, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Though I've just noticed that tool isn't correct anymore. It's tracking the 'redirect over move = G6 deletion' thing as an admin action and inflating the number of users listed there... Sam Walton (talk) 01:14, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
...Sort of (T154408). Sam Walton (talk) 01:20, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
Beeblebrox' thoughtful and well-written comment makes me, for what little it's worth, wade in to the fray with a contradictory opinion. I think there's an implicit vision that to "Be an admin" means you're going to spend significant time running around the 'pedia doing adminny type stuff, and that if you're not, you're not really an admin, and it would be better/safer/more accurate/cleaner to take the admin bit away. That model (wielding the mop regularly and with dedication) is one version of what adminship means. But it's not the only one. An admin is someone who has the trust of the community to not screw up with extra tools and to even do some good. If they've done that x times, it's always a shame they haven't done x+1 times, or 10x times. But even if x=1, it's a net positive. And while we might debate whether it was worth the community's time to review someone at RFA if once promoted x is too small, it's even more guaranteed to be a waste of time if we cut them off. I'm happy if we have an admin who once in a blue moon deletes some obvious spam or blocks a disruptive vandal that needs it - that's one less action someone else needs to do.
I'm sensitive to security issues and so administrative, easily-reversible bit removal after inactivity is a sensible thing. However, for the above reasons, I'd advocate the community (and therefore bureaucrats) continue to be very lenient in returning the bit for admins/users "in good standing" (however defined) even after lengthy inactivity. However, since the admin bit is an expression of trust, I would be less lenient about returning the bit in the case of "under a cloud", where plausibly that trust has actively been lost. [Noting I have read the Cyp example.] Martinp (talk) 18:38, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
@Martinp: The problem I see with returning the bit easily after a long inactivity is that Wikipedia changes fast, or at least it has changed fast in 10 years (which is not such a large amount of time at the individual's scale). Is someone really in good standing if they have (almost) not been there for 10 years, and 99.9% of the active community do not know who they are? In my book, by default a former admin has a somewhat-better-than-average standing, by the mere virtue of having passed an RfA some time ago, but they do not have the golden legitimity to wield the mop. (Active admins that alienated the community since they got the mop are also a problem, and probably a bigger one - in both cases, the problem is that community support now is judged by an RfA in a more or less distant past (and the absence of desysopping since then, but again, that is a much lower bar than passing RfA)). TigraanClick here to contact me 18:54, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
From the perspective of someone who actually did leave for eight years and then come back, it really, really does not change that fast. Quite the opposite, everything old is new again. One of the things that has changed - and not for the better - is the expansion of this notion of admin-as-social-role, even while the actual scope of admin discretion has narrowed. Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:08, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
From the perspective of someone who actually did leave for four years and then come back, ditto. The only significant change in the admin role has been that a faction of admins and wannabees have far more of a misplaced sense of self-importance than ever used to be the case. ‑ Iridescent 20:12, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox, can you actually give an example of one of the 100 current admins who have only used their bits one time? While I don't recognise all the names and aren't going to check them all individually, I'm not seeing a single name in the "one action" tail of that list whom I recognise as a current—or even former—admin, let alone 100. Remember that moving a page which is protected against editing but not against moving counts as an admin action (as the moving of the protection is logged as an unprotect-and-reprotect at the new title), so Grawp and Willy on Wheels socks show up as "admins" for the purposes of that list (example). ‑ Iridescent 18:46, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I recognized User:Bedford (many DYK hands will) at # 377, with 73 actions. He was desysopped "for cause" in 2008. Johnbod (talk) 04:11, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
@Iridescent: (edit conflict) Stats like that table, and the admin stats tool linked above, are a bit messy at the moment because they track 'administrator actions', including deletion. Because moves over redirects now perform a deletion action, the tables are being inflated with non-admins. That said, see my stat above which was calculated prior to this issue: approximately 55% of administrators perform less than 10 admin actions per year. Sam Walton (talk) 18:51, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
@Iridescent: I've come up with a list here which is restricted to current admins. It looks like there's 4 current admins with only a single logged action. (If an admin has accented characters in their username then they may not show up properly in that table.) Hut 8.5 19:28, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
One of them is a developer, and two are legacy admins from the very early days of Wikipedia when the bit was given to almost anyone who asked, so in practice the only one who passed a conventional RFA and then never bothered to use the tools is Grandiose, who in his RFA specifically said that he only wanted the tools for a specific purpose. The sky isn't falling. ‑ Iridescent 19:38, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
Please also bear in mind that there are various things that can be considered "administrator actions," in the sense that only admins can (or are supposed to) perform them, but that don't show up in action logs. And also please bear in mind that every administrator is also an editor, and that there is nothing wrong with someone still spending much, most, or even almost all of his or her wiki-time working on content rather than administrating, even after passing RfA. Newyorkbrad (talk) 19:49, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, for instance admins have the ability to modify the content of the main page, and some, sadly, do it without community consensus, many times. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:17, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
I had this page open in an edit tab and then forgot about it, but fortunately I can now just post "yup, what Martinp said". Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:08, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
@Tigraan: and others. I think over the past 10 years (approx the time I have been around, though only marginally active), WP has grown fast, in size and complexity (and also, not surprisingly, bureaucracy!). But I don't think it really has changed fast in a truly meaningful way. One doesn't need to be on top of everything to be a good admin; instead, one needs to be good at something and have the wisdom and good judgment to not mess other things up, including by not meddling where one no longer has (or never had) the competence. An admin who has, in the extreme, exhibited such cautiousness in not abusing his/her powers that they haven't done any admin actions for years hasn't lost my trust. If they want the bit back, I AGF that they think there continue to be areas in which they can help with the mop, and I assume they'll continue to not break the wiki, I think it is a good idea to send them the new admin reading guide (as is done for new admins, and was done for Cyp and others), just in case they haven't quite realized how much they might not know. Beyond that, welcome back and please share your wisdom from less complicated -- but fundamentally not that different -- times. Martinp (talk) 22:21, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

I think it would be instructive to have a list of administrators with less than 50 (edits + logged actions) in the past year. If one argues that continual involvement in the project, whether administratively or by edit content, should be a requisite for retaining +sysop, such a metric might be a better measure of activity. If you look at the contributions pages of administrators with say <100 logged actions lifetime from Hut 8.5, you will find that a lot will also have last 50 edits stretching back anywhere from 2015 (i.e. <50 edits in 2016) to as far back as 2009. As I had mentioned in my comments on WP:BN, Cyp was somewhat of an extreme case but not unique. Maxim(talk) 20:02, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

The histories of the admins with the fewest actions are more worrying than I thought they would be. One person who passed RfA in 2004 performed no logged actions for seven years before deciding to summarily delete an article for no apparent reason in the middle of an AfD which was obviously going to keep it. This person only has one other logged action (which also appears to be a mistake) and does not edit very regularly either. Hut 8.5 20:10, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

The statistics were really interesting, which illustrate so nice why admins should have terms. By any metric four or five years are a >>fucking long time<<, if the administration can't afford losing productive members at the moment it's because of a combination of the majority of admins that don't do nothing at all and the ever expanding functions, backlogs and bureaucracy that the real active admins can't cope with. Just expand the membership wouldn't work if just one of ten will be a productive member; as someone else said, adminship actually is just something for people show up in his/her main page and brag about it. People who are working hard for others should be the first to do something about it. Bertdrunk (talk) 04:22, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Am I an example of someone you want to eliminate? Some of you talk about 10 years of inactivity; others talk about counting logged administrative actions. User Hut's list shows I made 94 actions, but the AdminStats link says I only made one, a deletion. I have thousands of edits per year. I review everything on the Main Page for typos, and fix them regularly, which is what I said I would do when they made me administrator in 2006. But apparently editing protected pages isn't logged. So the Main Page would have significantly more typos, depending on how you define inactivity in my case. Art LaPella (talk) 06:12, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

You don't have one logged action, you have 94. That link is only counting logged actions made since 18 September 2016, you've only made one since then. Hut 8.5 07:35, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Publicising this now the holiday period is over[edit]

I think more voices would be useful. Any appetite for posting this discussion at BN, maybe CENT... anywhere else? --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 10:53, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

AN, and also one of the village pumps.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:36, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
I've been thinking over a proposal to modify the inactivity policy; perhaps something will be ready to post, perhaps at one of the village pumps, within a day or two. Hopefully it would push things along? Maxim(talk) 21:25, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd be interested to see it; does your proposal alleviate concerns raised at the two most recent RfCs on the topic (1, 2)? Sam Walton (talk) 21:26, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd suggest adding a watchlist notice as well -FASTILY 00:07, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
In fact, I'm just going to go ahead and do that; a change to the admin policy will obviously have widespread impact and so a discussion on this topic should absolutely involve the community as a whole. -FASTILY 03:04, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

A few meta-thoughts[edit]

  • The RFC should clearly be worded to apply the same policy to administrators and bureaucrats. This saves us from having to have a separate one for bureaucrats down the road. Of course, the additional requirements of bureaucrat activity should be left in place. The goal is to prevent from having non-admin crats like we briefly did in 2011 because we forgot to write that into the policy.
  • This discussion will likely be divisive. I would aim for slow, gradual progress that moves in the right direction rather than trying to get it completely perfect (my way or the highway), getting no consensus, and then leaving the status quo. Remember, people thought the 2011 proposal (1 edit a year, a bunch of notifications, and almost guaranteed regranting) was draconian. Nowadays, it's become more widely accepted. Ditto with the 3 year lengthy inactivity proposal in 2012. Both of those proposals didn't solve the problem, but moved in the right direction of removing the tools from hundreds of admins who were never going to return, and increased the scrutiny (both introspective and on BN) on those who wanted to resume adminship after a long time away. --Rschen7754 06:19, 4 January 2017 (UTC)


Proposal[edit]

Background: There was considerable concerns raised during a recent request for resysop [1] as to whether the existing activity requirements are sufficient. Namely, after years of minimal activity, can an administrator have sufficient knowledge of the ever-evolving community expectations and standards to effectively carry out their additional responsibilities? A perusal of the contribution histories of administrators with few logged actions over their years with the project will show many cases where the last 50 edits commonly date back several years - as far as 2008.

Proposed change: The existing policy for admin activity is procedural removal after one year with no edits or logged actions. A user whose bit has been removed can ask for the bit to be restored at WP:BN until such point they have been inactive for three years straight.

This policy is modified as follows.

  1. An administrator is desysoped for inactivity if he or she makes less than 50 edits and logged actions combined in the preceding year
  2. To regain the bit, a new RfA will be required.
  3. If an administrator has previously requested a desysop, they must meet the activity threshold to remain exempt from RfA.
  4. Wikibreak clause: at the bureaucrats' discretion, an administrator can be temporarily exempted from this requirement by posting a notice to WP:BN that declares an absence in advance. In that case, the months in question are skipped for the inactivity calculation. As an example, for an activity calculation for two months after the break, the 10 months prior and 2 months after the break are considered for the 50 edits + logged actions.
  5. The activity requirement applies equally to holders of other advanced permissions, e.g. bureaucrats.

Rationale: By adopting a standard where an administrator remains a somewhat active member of the community, regardless of using the admin toolset or not, ensures that there is more confidence from the community that they have an adequate knowledge of the ever-changing standards and best practices. In recognition of the common practice in the past and present to give sysop tools to trusted editors without the expectation that the editor will shift solely to administrative aspects (e.g. just deleting stuff), the proposed inactivity metric does not consider logged administrative actions exclusively. Furthermore, this metric would include non-logged administrative actions such as editing protected pages. This proposed inactivity criterion is in response to recent events and in an attempt to improve on the deficiencies of the two previous RfCs on the topic. A "wikibreak clause" is added to account for administrators on temporary leave who intend to return as an active editor in the future, in contrast to editors who do not foresee being active again.

Maxim(talk) 12:49, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • The crux of this proposal is to use an activity metric based on involvement in the project, so both edits and logged actions are considered. The choice of 50 edits+actions I think is definitely negotiable: I chose because it's easy enough to meet, and because the default contribution page length us 50 edits... Maxim(talk) 12:49, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Seems a bit overkill for the recent issues. While we cant see what may happen in the future, policy and practice has changed very little since say, 2013, but has vastly changed since 2009. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:01, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The rationale should be expanded to explain thoroughly what aspects of the current policy the community has raised concerns about and how this proposal addresses them. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 13:03, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Question about the proposed change: a former sysop may request restoration of the bit "until they have been inactive for three years straight" - how is that period of inactivity defined? No admin actions obviously because they can't without the bit, but are we talking about complete absence from the project, or some threshold like the "50 logged actions" criterion? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:07, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
    And 50 actions during which period? Every 12-month period?--Ymblanter (talk) 13:31, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
    It is 50 edits plus logged actions So 50 edits (not counting page moves and such) are acceptable. Every month, an adminstrator, regardless of holding the +sysop bit, would need to have 50 edits + logged actions in the preceding year. Maxim(talk) 14:03, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
    My question was actually about restoring the flag without RFA. Would a retired admin has to have 50 edits during a year preceding to the first day of every month they are without a flag (with the provision of an advance inactivity note)?--Ymblanter (talk) 14:11, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
    I was thinking a retired admin would have to meet inactivity requirements during every month as if they were an active admin. In other words, if the retired admin (without +sysop) would have /had/ +sysop during the "retired' time, they must not have met the criteria to be desysoped for inactivity at any point during retirement period. Maxim(talk) 14:15, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • With all respect to the proposer...No. Just no. First, this is a solution looking for a problem. The proposer has theorized a problem of an inactive administrator not knowing what they are doing, but has failed to demonstrate when this has ever...if ever...been a problem. 'Second, when we promoted an administrator, we trusted them with tools that could damage the project. Now we would be saying we don't trust them not to bring themselves up to speed before using the tools again? This is the wrong way of looking at it. Three and ever and ever on, we continue to raise the bureaucracy surrounding being an administrator. Why? We don't need this, there's no examples of where this has been a problem, and no claim this will somehow protect the project from would-be dangers of admins who we trusted before but can't trust now. The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:37, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • If you read over the bureaucrats' noticeboard referenced, apparently many community members thought that inactive admins could not adequately bring themselves up to speed. If this proposal goes nowhere at least there would be (less/no?) reason to use WP:IAR to decline to resysop an admin who was largely inactive for 7 years? Speaking with my bureaucrat's hat on, I think I'm better off regardless of how the proposal goes, namely either the existing policy is effectively (re)confirmed or it is changed to something that confirms to existing community expectations. *shrugs* Maxim(talk) 14:03, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Which was rather my point above. You are using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut. The issue with the recent one was a combination of extreme length of inactivity as well as huge policy and practice changes. The above proposal would rule out people who have been inactive for a year. And very little has changed in the last couple of years that would require that level of scrutiny when they return. To be honest all that is needed is an addition that states where an admin has been inactive for more than (for example) 3 years, the beurocrats have freedom to discuss more (such as an RFA which falls in the discretionary range). The recent discussion (in which I participated) it seemed clear had the crats had policy-mandated *discretion* they probably would not have regranted the tools. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:17, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Only in death - with the mild exception of being less certain about his last sentence. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 14:23, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
I have watched you a lot ;) Lets just say I highly doubt that a group of people who have been selected for their in-depth knowledge of consensus, policy, and ability to judge the communities feelings, are going to grant tools to someone who has not made that many edits in the last ten years - if given the leeway to use their own judgement. There is a significant difference between 'Policy does not allow us to do this' and 'Policy allows us to use our judgement here'. In the last case, if the opportunity existed to use your own judgement and knowledge of the communities expectations of an administrator, would you have granted tools? Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:38, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Maxim, the recent case was an extreme one of someone who had only ever made three admin actions, all in 2005—accompanied by very little editing—being resysopped (by you) in 2016. WP:IAR exists for precisely that kind of situation. SarahSV (talk) 18:08, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • This is the wrong solution to a rare problem. I think it would be reasonable to allow 'crats to recommend another RFA in the event of a requested resysop after lengthy inactivity, but any porposal like this risks people taking admin actions just for the sake of keeping the bit, which is just not a good idea. Guy (Help!) 14:51, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I would also feel more positively disposed towards a solution that just widens the discretionary options of bureaucrats here. Looking over the linked resysop case, multiple bureaucrats indicated the same, including, IIRC, the proposer, who felt nonetheless bound by the letter of the law. It might be more useful to give them room to assess each case individually, rather than set up a new catch-all solution supposed to cover everything but tailored to no one. -- Elmidae (talk · contribs) 16:58, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that if an admin hasn't misused the tools in the past (if they did, they presumably wouldn't have remained an admin for long), then they probably aren't likely to in the future if they are resysopped, either. I think the main criterion we should base adminship on is trust not to misuse it (whether intentionally or otherwise). A RfA is for determining whether someone can be trusted with admin tools, but the ultimate test is seeing that they aren't misused once given. Are there any cases of resysopped admins going rogue, or somehow not getting up to speed? Anyway, I have to say that I oppose changing the rules in the proposed direction. Κσυπ Cyp   17:24, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
'Going rogue' isnt really an issue. As admins who down tools in controversial circumstances dont tend to get them back. Its that ENWP is less tolerant of mistakes now due to inexperience. After extended periods of inactivity, the requirements for the admin now may no longer be in line with the admin's previous experience. Its been a long time since just trusting people has been a requirement at RFA. Now you need a)to demonstrate you can create content, b)have experienced in a wide range of administrative areas (AFD, disputes etc depending on what the RFA crowd decide today) c)not have a controversial past etc etc. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:35, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • 1. contains a strict number binding bureaucrats, which I do not think is a good idea (cf. discussion above). I feel rather opposed to 2., but I have no particular arguments for or against - but in any case, this is nowhere near an incremental change and would probably need an unbundle. 4. is ok, but only with the addition of a reference frame, i.e. a (non-binding) number to indicate that "bureaucrat's discretion" can only go so far. I guess the "bureaucrat's discretion" bit is to avoid the declaration of a 1,000 year Wikibreak, but without a number it's still a guessing game to find the longest period of time that bureaucrats will still approve. 3. and even more 5. are details, but IMO necessary ones. TigraanClick here to contact me 18:01, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Good and reasonable proposals. Debresser (talk) 18:01, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • It seems the better solution from what I have read, is not to use a complicated set of (let's admit it, basically arbitrary) criteria, but to simply clarify that Crats can exercise discretion and recommend an RfA, especially if the community expresses concerns.
I would note though that doing so isn't actually granting anyone any extra power, since all it does is clarify that Crats are expected to use WP:COMMONSENSE, which they already are, and which is a fundamental principle and above all policy, including our policy on remopping. But it would perhaps ease the minds of the person who has to pull the trigger, and reassure them that they're not going out on a limb here. After all, part of the reason we have admins and crats is because they have a reputation for a sound and conservative approach to decision making, especially in any way that could be seen as going against the community consensus. TimothyJosephWood 18:14, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • @Maxim: Quick question do you mean 50 Edits and logged actions (50 each?) or 50 edits and or logged actions? ----Cameron11598 (Talk) 19:00, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • With tons of respect for the thought put into this, just No. Yes, concerns were raised during Cyp's resysop request, and his(?) case was one of extreme inactivity for many years. But fundamentally, there is no problem here that needs solving. The current policy seems to adequately address the account security/compromise concerns which were instrumental in its adoption. The push for a tightening of criteria as in this proposal, and as in previous 2 RFCs, comes from those concerned about inactive admins coming back and wreaking havoc by applying old community standards, but there don't seem to have been (m?)any such situations. However, the main reason I oppose is that in this proposal is language that assumes and promotes a view of adminship that I don't agree with. For instance, Maxim writes "carrying out their additional [admin] responsibilities" and "give sysop tools without the expectation that the editor will shift to solely administrative aspects". That implies that there is a "job" called "admin", and holders should be doing it at least some significant fraction their time. This may apply to certain professional, generalist admins. But there should also be space for admins who mop up a mess when they stumble across it and feel confident they can handle it, but who feel no weight of "additional admin responsibilities". They are trusted with a mop since they've persuaded the community they won't abuse it, and we should be comfortable extending that trust until they somehow show it was misplaced. I've picked on Maxim's wording here, but I think this type of thinking is implicit whenever some version of "we need to impose usage requirements to retain/noncontroversially return the bit" come up.
Proponents of this also raise a fairness/inconsistency argument with the inflation of community requirements at RFA. In my opinion, the reasons those standards keep inflating isn't that we truly value impressively deep mopping skills right out of the gate (those skills - and community standards in specific areas - evolve), but that as a community we bear the accumulated scars of trust that was misplaced, of admins who turned out to not have good judgment. There's a fear that it's easy for a user to join the community, stay out of trouble for months or even years and then somehow let the "power" go to their head once they get the bit. So we respond by insisting admin candidates have done their homework, engaged in a range of areas, not shown themselves to be a troll, not responded badly to provocation over a career of y years or z edits, etc. With that in mind, I actually have a great deal of confidence that a (former) admin who has stayed out of trouble for x years will continue to do so, and that if they have administratively lost their bit and feel it might continue to be useful to them, they will not abuse it if given back to them. And that's even if the reason they've stayed out of trouble is caution and low tool use, even low editing. Martinp (talk) 19:04, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • This is a strong argument. Adminship need not be a "job", and [I would add] admins don't become untrustworthy the moment non-Wikipedia responsibilities intrude on their time. So long as they're willing to help out and clean up messes, and able to do it properly, lightly-active admins don't pose any danger to the project. Wikiacc () 19:11, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Has anyone listed an example of an admin who came back without satisfying this criterion, and who subsequently caused problems? Samsara 19:21, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with this. I know of at least one "admin" who makes approximately one edit per year to retain his bit yet does absolutely nothing for Wikipedia. While I accept there's no evidence that any such individual has caused any problems, being accepted by the community to become an admin is a vote of trust that they will do the right thing and be commensurate with the way Wikipedia works. One edit per year, for instance, doesn't demonstrate that. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:52, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • In the past, I have supported easy access to sysop tools and strict inactivity policies to get rid of those who don't use them anymore. I'm not sure about the wisdom of the second part of that. If adminship is no big deal, then there shouldn't be much concern with inactive admins retaining access to the bit. As such, I think the current relaxed policy is probably good enough.
I often hear that "compromised accounts" are the main reason to limit access, but I don't think this is a compelling argument at all. There is nothing that a sysop can do that cannot be undone (not entirely true, but BEANS). While our current methods for dealing with compromised accounts are bad at best, this is not a big issue and shouldn't be used to incite a moral panic over the dastardly inactive admins. Stewards can lock compromised accounts rather quickly, and we've never had any issues returning access to the proper people before. Also, I totally agree with what has been said above that adminship should be a set of technical abilities rather than a social status. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 21:54, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • If the BEANS case ever happens (it seems to be getting mentioned with increasing frequency), we have a backup. And we've not needed it yet, afaik. Samsara 00:40, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes, even in those cases, the damage would not be permanent, just a bit more intensive to undo. And if after 16? years now it hasn't been an issue, I strongly doubt it will become one. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 08:37, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Hard cases make bad law. Cyp's resysop request was an astonishing outlier. It's a bad idea to make a general rule from that extreme example. Jonathunder (talk) 22:02, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • It is arguably not an outlier. Go through [2] and pick a few admins with low overall logged actions. You will find many cases where the last 50 edits go back anywhere from 2014 to 2008. I don't feel really comfortable starting picking out a bunch of admins as examples and putting them on the spot, but Cyp is more I think along a continuum, and not at the most extreme end either. Maxim(talk) 00:56, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • If we must raise the threshold for activity (and I'm not convinced we need to), then it should be a worthwhile change. An admin who makes 4 edits a month is probably not an "active" administrator in any practical sense of the word, and is just as likely to be out-of-touch with the community as one who doesn't edit at all. Basically, 50 edits+actions per year remains potentially within the realm of "token edits" made for the purpose of gaming the system. Otherwise, I agree with others that this is a solution in search of a problem, given how infrequently we deal with contentious resysop requests. The best thing we can do is make it more clear that reinstatement after an inactivity desysop is up to bureaucrat discretion, and not automatic. – Juliancolton | Talk 22:12, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • By way of a totally trivial comment, I do not feel strongly one way or the other on the merits, but "less than 50 edits..." should be "fewer than 50 edits...". --Tryptofish (talk) 23:40, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Once again I don't really have to say anything beyond "what Martinp said", except maybe to add "what Ajraddatz said". But I have an idea about how we can deal with this seemingly endless recurring discussion. I know this is highly unconventional, but bear with me.... Before making a proposal, we should all forget whatever opinions we currently have on the topic and collect some actual data. And then we should look at the data - remember, no proposal-making yet! - and decide whether the data is consistent with the existence of an actual problem. Then, if and only if there is evidence of a problem, we should discuss whether a policy change might be able to prevent said problem. Then - no RfCs yet! - we should also discuss what other problems might be caused by the change and make sure that to the best of our knowledge solving the old problem would be of sufficient value to offset the introduction of new problems. Then you can start an RfC, secure in the knowledge that you are proposing something evidence-based and practical and not just experiencing a contagious outbreak of overactive patellar reflexes. Opabinia regalis (talk) 00:30, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that we should raise it to fewer than 100 edits+admin actions, with a minimum of 10 edits, so it can't all be admin actions, over a period of 1 year and 6 months. The rational for this is the fact that it would be a tiny bit harder to game (although not much harder). I would support this as better than what we have now, although. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 00:05, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Arbitrary break[edit]
  • The argument that we give out mops so they are not used and that we trust they will not be used appropriately is backwards. We give out mops so they will be used and trust they will be used appropriately - it's a mop, not a gold star, your teacher gives you to wear. Stop hanging on to it, as if it were a gold star - it's a mop. You wanted the mop, you imposed on the Community to ask for it - kindly mop. The floors don't get mopped by themselves. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:34, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I would support this proposal, but I would like to see an RfC to hammer out the specifics. With respect to 1, I think this is a reasonable limit, though options for 25 or 12 edits/logged actions may be more appealing as a compromise threshold that would weed out outlier cases but not be too difficult to make. Similarly for 2, I feel this is too harsh compared to the current standard. I suspect more people would support a proposal between instant desysop for < X edits and no recourse to recover and the current situation where anyone who edits within three years can get the bit back. Perhaps the standard should be something like X*n edits are required before the bit is restored, where X is the activity threshold and n = number years inactive rounded up, as long as n < 3; or by combining an edit threshold to regain the bit with a reduction in duration (i.e. Require X edits in the first year, and 2X between the first and second eyars after desysoping to allow a Crat restoration of the bit, after two years, RfA is required). I have no real issues with 3-5 at this point in time. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 04:36, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Absent an evidence that returning admins are causing problems I don't see the need for this. AIRcorn (talk) 06:06, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't see the need for this, and would not expect to support such a proposal. People who are trustworthy (as the community has found through RfA) remain so until proven otherwise, and the mop should remain unless they leave the project or screw up badly. I am struck by the comments of Hammersoft and Martinp.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:15, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I would support this, but I doubt the community would. The community appears wholly unconcerned with the security issues of dormant administrator accounts or the return of administrators who just simply don't understand any of our standards. Cyp has returned and performed actions that demonstrate they do not understand our policies. For instance, Baheith was deleted under WP:G3 as a blatant hoax with a note of "or at least WP:A7", which doesn't apply to articles on terminology. It should have been deleted as an attack page. He's deleted The brazilian conquest of 2017 under WP:A1 (no context) and WP:A7, but neither applies here. We do have an example of an administrator who doesn't know our policies returning to the project; it occurred about a week ago. Let's not sit idly by and do nothing to fix the gaping hole in our policies that allowed this to happen. ~ Rob13Talk 11:41, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
    Well.... So he's correctly deleted two blatantly speedy delete articles, and possibly put the wrong tags on the deletion. Baheith was nominated as a hoax, and clearly is one, so A3 applies... Well maybe an attack in there as well, so should have had that tag too, but at the end of the day a deletion's a deletion. We can see what others say on this issue, but personally a much bigger red flag would be a concrete example of a deletion that should not have been speedy deleted, or a very obvious declining of a speedy against current policy, or an injudicious block. I do agree that there was a lowish bar for entry ten years ago, but that applies just as much to existing admins who've never lost the bit, just as much as to previous admins seeking to regain it. If you feel there's an active need to overhaul this process, and can point to good exmamples of why it's needed, then you'd rather do it fully, perhaps by requiring regular re-admissions for all admins, rather than picking on just those individuals who show a renewed interest after being absent for some time. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 14:09, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
    (edit conflict)I'll try to be more careful with the reasons for deleting. As for Baheith, I agree G10 applies. I didn't delete the default reason it automatically gave (G3). If A7 doesn't apply, does that mean that it was notable, or just that if it hadn't been an attack page, that it should have gone through RFD instead? As for The brazilian conquest of 2017, do you mean it was deleted for the wrong reasons, or that I shouldn't have deleted it at all? Κσυπ Cyp   14:20, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
    @Cyp: For The brazilian conquest of 2017, A1 does not apply because "If any information in the title or on the page, including links, allows an editor, possibly with the aid of a web search, to find further information on the subject in an attempt to expand or edit it, A1 is not appropriate" There was a full paragraph of (granted, nonsense) content on the page, so A1 did not apply. That said, I'd argue A7 probably did apply, it appears to be an about an event with no credible claim of significance. Sam Walton (talk) 15:59, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
    @Cyp:, thank you for picking up your dusted off mop and mopping up messes you've stumbled across needing cleanup, in spite of the unusual attention clearly focused on you. @BU Rob13:, I respect the concern and passion you clearly have for Wikipedia, but I think your objection is itself a great example of bureaucracy run amok. Martinp (talk) 19:08, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
    There's a reason we don't just grant the mop to every Mensa member who shows up to the site. When you don't understand the basic policies you're applying, eventually you screw up in a less-than-trivial manner. Even here, I would hardly say it's trivial to apply the CSD incorrectly, as non-admins observe the work administrators do and use that as the basis for how they tag things. We educate non-admins through how we apply the CSD criteria, whether we intend to or not. As an aside, Samwalton9, A7 doesn't apply to unorganized events. The article in question actually states "The americans were disorganized", and it's described as a sort of spontaneous viral event, so it's really a stretch to call this an organized event. ~ Rob13Talk 23:32, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
    Before anyone starts judging Cyp too harshly, better check how many admins bother changing the deletion reason when they find something obviously deletable but arguably not tagged with the "right" CSD criterion. I bet not many. It's not as if the CSD criteria carve nature at its joints, so getting too fussy about the exact boundaries is a good way to make your brain leak out your ears trying to make it stop ;) Opabinia regalis (talk) 02:54, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
    Opabinia regalis, methinks you would lose that bet. I for one am a stickler for Korrektheit and while I might not quite always remonstrate with a rogue patroller, when I do the actual deletion I change the ES for "criterion X, not criterion B as tagged' check my admin actions if you don't believe. Perhaps you should do some CSD patrolling, or better still, some patrolling of patrollers. Remember, while the community granted us the right to install a new user right for fully qualified reviewers, it refused to disallow patrolling by raw newbies and other greatly inexperienced editors. We need more admins to patrol the work of the patrollers now more than ever because the quality of patrolling has't improved one iota, and the backlog is still growing. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:19, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
    As far as I understand, the article is about an event that happened on the iFunny server, and at most as notable as iFunny. Is it wrong to close articles about iFunny subtopics as non-notable, even if iFunny itself is non-notable (deleted 3 times as A7, plus AfD-deleted as non-notable)? Κσυπ Cyp   09:46, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
    I'd be more concerned had they charged into a block with incorrect policy. We can always fix a deletion. People make mistakes and learn, that does not negate the fact that they have been found to be trustworthy by the community.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:39, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I remain unconvinced that there needs to be any change. —Kusma (t·c) 15:05, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Consider the straw-man counterproposal: any editor who has made 500 edits in the last year automatically gets given a mop. We would laugh it out of the house. It would be a bad idea. The correlation between being trustworthy with a mop and being prolific is too weak to do this. So why, when we think that connecting edits to bits in this way is wrong, would we think that connecting them in the other direction is right? Can anyone actually point to meaningful evidence that once-trusted users who make few edits or take few actions do so badly? What problem are we trying to fix, and why is this the right way to fix it? (Don't tell me that "A certain long-inactive user got the bit back" is a problem. It's not a problem, unless actual problematic behavior followed.) —David Eppstein (talk) 08:27, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd oppose this. We make someone an admin because we trust them, not because they've been through a particular training scheme to come up to speed with every nook and cranny of policy. If we trusted them then, we should trust them now. GoldenRing (talk) 11:51, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I would probably have been desysopped under this proposal - I've definitely had some long gaps of activity. I'm unsure if I would have re-applied for an RfA. The unwritten RfA guidelines, having participated in some recent ones, looks more overwhelming than when I had one in 2007. That being said I've participated in hundreds (thousands?) of administrative actions since my various Wikibreaks that would not have otherwise occurred if I were desysopped. I don't outright oppose the idea but I think 50 actions within one year is too restrictive. I'd make it something like 10 actions in two years with several talk page notifications prior to any action taking place. VegaDark (talk) 23:41, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Without a single case being offered of an admin who has gone off the rails after a period of absence, this really is a non-problem. Any attempt to "solve" this non-problem with more rules is just useless bureaucracy. So unless some evidence is forthcoming, I oppose this proposal and any and all of the alt and counter proposals below. SpinningSpark 02:10, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I really don't see the need for all this. Once someone has gone through the... intensity of RfA, I really don't see a need to make them do it again. Yes, it's disappointing if admins don't help, but I don't see how it hurts the project. Without that, this becomes punitive. Tamwin (talk) 04:43, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with comments from Leaky caldron and Kudpung. We certainly have a large number of inactive admins, many of whom appear to be gaming the system. It is against our ethic for anyone to hold an advanced permission which they don't use. Chris Troutman (talk) 05:25, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Something to consider (I just came across): Special:Contributions/GraemeL. Please note that a) those contributions only consider one user and b) my statement neither endorses nor rejects the user's adminship. --JustBerry (talk) 19:11, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

Counter-proposal[edit]

As a major proponent in changing the way the current system is, I just thought of something that might be worth considering. If other proposals fail to change the way the current system is, I would at least like this one clause added to the inactivity policy. It might not be necessarily be written in this section (from Wikipedia:Administrators#Lengthy_inactivity), but it would be worded something like this:

Administrators who are desysopped after a year of inactivity can request reinstatement at the Bureaucrats' noticeboard. However, former administrators can only request resysop once every three years if the tools were removed for inactivity. If they are desysopped twice for inactivity within a three year period, then a new RFA would be required.

Meaning administrators can come back once, ask for the tools back and continue on. However, if they simply come back, disappear again and go into inactivity again, they can't simply ask for the tools back. This provides some leeway to give them time to return the first time. I would push for more strict standards for activity, such as 25-50 edit/logs per year and such, but it will never pass. If this passes, at least repeat requests for resysop won't be so often. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 23:17, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

  • I'd still have the same question as above. Samsara 00:26, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • This is a nice idea. Sam Walton (talk) 01:06, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Not sure what actual problem, rather than theoretical, this proposes to address.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:21, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • This is not a theoretical if you actively followed the statistics surrounding the amount of desysops for inactivity, resysops and disappearances thereafter. That is the actual problem: ad nauseum re-requests for adminship after inactivity and treating adminship like a trophy. Editors are clinging onto their bit and doing nothing with it, instead of using the mop end to actually do anything. If their inactive, they don't demonstrate a need for the tools and re-requests for adminship after inactivity are getting more controversial (like in the case of Cyp). The proposal puts an end to repeated re-requests within a certain time frame (subject to change if better suggestions are made) to stop this behavior. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 10:59, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • No to all proposals, unless someone can demonstrate anything *ever* that has gone badly as a result of a re-sysopped admin coming back. We acknowledge that we need more admins, and someone who was trusted with the bit 10 years ago, and still would be if they'd maintained some nominal level of activity, should be welcomed back if they decide to step back up to the plate.  — Amakuru (talk) 11:19, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
    • @Amakuru: See my comment above with examples of how Cyp, the resysopped admin who spawned these discussions, is already making deletions that demonstrate he doesn't understand our policies. ~ Rob13Talk 13:49, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
      • Sorry to fork, but what happened to the supposed mentoring @Juliancolton: that helped to get the resysop. approved? Leaky Caldron 14:33, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
        • Maxim said nothing of the offer of mentorship in their statement with respect to re-granting administrative privileges. (Neither was the offer explicitly accepted by Cyp.) –xenotalk 15:47, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
          • (ec) Hi Leaky caldron. Just to be clear, the return of Cyp's admin rights wasn't contingent on my "mentoring" offer; in fact, WJBscribe and I agreed that it really should not have factored in at all, and accordingly Maxim never mentioned it in his closing rationale. My only goal was to help ensure the best outcome for the project in the event that Cyp was reinstated. That said, each day since the resysopping, I've checked on Cyp's contribs and logs to look for signs of trouble and have mostly found him acting sensibly and prudently, with clear receptiveness to guidance from fellow admins. There's been nothing to warrant my stepping in. Personally, I feel that BU Rob13 may be too critical in his assessment of Cyp's speedy deletions... neither of the examples he listed are of articles that shouldn't have been speedily deleted. For instance, deleting a blatant vandalism/attack page as a "hoax" (Baheith) isn't so offensive to me, and certainly doesn't signal "an administrator who doesn't know our policies." All of his other recent deletions, as far as I can tell, have been perfectly accurate. To be sure, you could find a few instances of misapplied CSD criteria from any admin, especially from new (or effectively new) ones. – Juliancolton | Talk 16:02, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Alt proposal[edit]

A number of editors have posited that we have or could have problems with admins returning after such long breaks that they have forgotten the role or their skills have become stale; And that current activity rules are being gamed by editors doing an edit a year. But proposals to tighten current arbitrary thresholds are missing the point - no one is seriously suggesting that this place changes fast enough that an active admin can't take a year long wiki break. What we need are procedures for handling a longer period of inactivity, and for bringing former admins back up to speed without a full blown RFA. The easiest one is that after a very long break we require a bit of normal editing, this would give the returning admin the opportunity to try out newish features such as BLPprod without having the admin tools, and give the crats the opportunity to notice if the returning editor clearly isn't the same person as had originally had the account.

Requests for readminship where the former admin has contributed fewer than 500 edits and or fewer than 50 logged admin actions in the last five years should be subject to the returning admin resuming normal editing activity for a month.
  • Support as drafter ϢereSpielChequers 04:47, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Of course this would beg the question of what exactly is normal editing activity and how much of it would be required, which would then subject bureaucrats discretion to whether it was enough. That might be problematic. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 08:30, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
    Agreed, sometimes that could be arguable. But one of the reasons for this is to reassure us that the returning editor is the same person who previously controlled the account. So without spelling out some of the things one would look at, this really does need to be a judgement call not a formula. ϢereSpielChequers 06:49, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I still don't believe that a change in the rules is necessary, but this is a fairly reasonable proposal if some tightening of the rules is seen as necessary for political reasons. —Kusma (t·c) 15:51, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I like this better, but I would change a lot of things. First, change the contributed edits to 250, keep the admin actions the same, and have it so that the editor has to have normal editing activity for 10 days, and with an added clause that they have to have at least 100 edits combined with the 10 days. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 22:55, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
    Happy to concede that 500 edits in five years was plucked out of thin air. Can you tell me why 250 edits in five years is indicative that someone is sufficiently engaged with the site to have kept abreast of changes in policy? ϢereSpielChequers 06:49, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
    Well, maybe it should actually be something more like 400, but anyways, the reasoning is so that they don't have to edit too often, but it would still keep them aware of major policy changes because they would be on Wikipedia often enough to know about the changes. Also, along with the edit count, maybe we should also write in a clause that says something like the editor has to be making edits for at least, say, 25 days over the 5 years. This would be beneficial because then the editor wouldn't be able to just do one long edit session to keep their privileges. This would mean they would be more up to date on policy. (sorry if that was badly written) RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 20:39, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Some variant on this seems a sane proposal. I'd be inclined to give the bureaucrats some discretion over the threshold; 500 thoughtful edits to mainspace/deletion debates/policy pages are different from 500 edits to one's user page, and "logged admin actions" misses a fair amount of what some admins focus on (eg editing the main page). Espresso Addict (talk) 22:50, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
    I've struck "logged". If someone falls below the fifty and then wants to point out a bunch of correctly closed RFCs then so be it. I agree that 500 AWB edits all in one afternoon are not the same value as 500 carefully thought out manual edits many of which demonstrate extensive use of view deleted to review an RFA candidate. But we need an element of simplicity even at the price of things being a tad arbitrary. ϢereSpielChequers 07:59, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm not convinced there's a need for any formal measure. Simply clarifying that bureaucrats really are allowed to use their judgment would be enough. Nevertheless, if people are more comfortable with a specific rule this seems like a good proposal. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 04:17, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
For the benefit of exercising such Crats discretion, require those (re)applying to Crats, to answer the "standard" Rfa questions in their application, in addition to proving identity. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:31, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Empower the community and crats proposal[edit]

I think the real problem isn't being addressed with these proposals. With all these proposals that etch more restrictions into policy, and the persistence of crats being bound to policy, we should probably etch the following into policy instead:

In the event a request is made requiring the action of a bureaucrat, and if the request is open to discussion, the acting bureaucrat may choose to act with discretion if the discussion yields a potential outcome that is not in line with existing policy, provided the discussion has a consensus.

Thoughts?

Discussion[edit]

General comments on all proposals[edit]

I looked through the latest statistics and checked, on a sample basis, the history of some of the accounts I did not recognized, and noted the position in the list of a number of accounts that I do recognize. I offer these observations:

  1. Many, perhaps most, of the people in the "long tail" are not administrators. They are individuals who have deletions logged as the result of page moves. For this reason alone, I believe that much of the outrage is misplaced.
  2. The statistics are not complete.
    1. Reviewing the history of a deleted article is not logged.
    2. Editing a protected page is not logged.
    3. Actions taken prior to December 2004 are not part of the current logs and are not included in the statistics.
  3. Of the actual administrators in the "long tail," stories are widely varied.
    1. Some are WMF accounts. While these may be inactive and should probably have the bit removed, the handling of them is probably best considered separately.
    2. A few I recognize as having been active primarily before December 2004.
    3. Some are people who were, and perhaps still are, primarily active in sister projects or other languages.
    4. A few are people who have deep connections to the project -- former Arbcom members, former WMF board members -- who refrained from using the tools extensively due to conflict of interest concerns at various points in their involvement.
  4. There is little evidence of any real problems in the form of administrators emerging from a period of inactivity and then making mistakes out of ignorance or acting in bad faith.

I personally would be delighted to see some of the previously active admins return to the project. Many of these people became involved while they were in college or graduate school and have now moved on to professional careers.

The Uninvited Co., Inc. 19:35, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

  • We have at least one admin who is nearly inactive (less than 5 edits in the last year) but whose name, user name, and picture are being used on a site promoting paid editing. This one be one reason to remove the admin bit from those who are inactive as it will decrease doxxing / people pretending to be admins. The admin could get the site in question for example to take down the profile. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:51, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

There is much validity in the points The Uninvited makes. I suppose I generally support the issue that has been introduced by BU Rob13 and appreciate his initiative especially as it has also been endorsed by experienced users such as, but not only, Risker, Beeblebrox whose Adminship is not a trophy to be put on a shelf for bragging rights, any holder of advanced permissions should be expected to actually use them once in a while highlights the very real possibility that users might appear to have thought 'Goody, when I get that hat too, and the kudos the goes with it; I can drop it in the gutter but tell everyone in the pub or schoolyard what an important individual I am on the world’s 6th biggest website' . Let’s also not forget WereSpielChequers who has not only maintained a greater overview than most for many years, provided a detailed overview of it, and regularly expressed his concerns about the state of it as shown in this other very interesting, brand new set of stats where of the highest and longest scoring editors only 2 are still active.

I don’t believe we need the 'examples of actual problems caused by this pattern' demanded by Opabinia regalis but whose one comment we ca’ trust is ’’ 'trust me, if you're not really engaged with Wikipedia, then the politics of adminship are Not Interesting, and precisely those are the editors who probably should not be contributing to RfA and/or this discussion, and Opabinia herself whose: 'Conversations about inactive returning admins usually seem mostly like opportunities for people to advocate their views on the politics of adminship' without actively appearing doing much beyond commenting and rapidly collecting further positions of privilege and where, as underlined again by Lepricavark, stating that her comment on this "social class" stuff[…] is completely irrelevant.
I bow to these two very reasonable and well expressed contra argument and the longer further explanation here put forward very clearly by Martinp who has indeed given me cause to rethink my stance on the subject.

While I will concede on Opabinia’s suggestion and give her credit for recognising that: ’’then’’ you can start an RfC, secure in the knowledge that you are proposing something evidence-based and practical and not just experiencing a contagious outbreak of overactive patellar reflexes., because this RfC is also not fully fledged, and I suggest that Rob should not give up, but take this important issue back to the drawing board and come up with a proposal that will not degenerate into an endless discussion that will dwindle into no consensus to do anything either way. However, to make sweeping statements in her flippant and less professional comment based on her ‘bets’ contradicts her own need that ’’…we should look at the data.’’
The Gold Star comment by Alanscottwalker is worth it’ weight in , well, gold.
What we need, while accepting that a time may come when even highly active users with genuine commitment, but who like me are well into their real life third-age, may one day switch off their watch lists in the realisation that the battle for quality content, well behaved editors and admins, decent management of them, and objective debate has been lost. And if this matter of admin inactivity can be clearly and unambiguously proposed at RfC I still don’t know now which way I’ll actually vote! Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:40, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Kudpung, I've read this through twice and I can't get the gist of what you're saying. How about you just say your own opinion without the quotes and allusions to others' opinions? I am interested in what you have to say but I can't tell what it is. Risker (talk) 15:45, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
If you have read the last line Risker you'll know what my opinion is. My post is long because the comments of many in all Wukipedia discussions are often off topic, or people even end up contradicting themselves, or, for disingenuous effect, take other's comments out of context. My aim is an attempt, however inept, to clarify that. Finally, as you not too delicately remarked to me personally a few years ago, my voice carries (one way or the other, for better or for worse). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:58, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
As an aside, this was not started as an RfC, nor did I intend it to become one. I'm still reading through the comments, but I was hoping to workshop some ideas, not rush into a formal yes/no discussion. ~ Rob13Talk 12:08, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
That, Rob, is something that I, at least, fully understood - and, which may also surprise you: fully appreciate. Hence my ramblings (meticulously supported with links, verbatim quotes, and nothing taken out of context) which Risker, looking for an opinion rather than the reason behind it, found rather challenging. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:58, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Elaborating on my "Gold Star" comment, as Doc James notes above, a very few well may be using the "status" as not just a useless Gold Star, to them and to us, but as a representation for some kind of advantage, possibly in the Wiki movement or beyond - it would be quite like pretending, when the truth is no one has even thought about trusting them with anything in years (let alone, the community of active editors) - and as a community, we are responsible for letting them do that kind of misrepresentation. The actuality is almost all have certainly moved on, and don't really edit the project, for whatever reason, so removing it is the reality thing to do there, too, but letting a few use the (false) status for advantage is still on me and on us. And really, if they want to come back - after years, come back, and ask for them again, and let the active community say, yes (sure, you may not like all that is the community - but who does really - you still have to deal with it, especially if you will admin). -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:22, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Thank you Alan, at least you know what I have been rabbiting on about. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:58, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Until someone can demonstrate some actual harm as opposed to the current theoretical fears of Armageddon from allowing mostly inactive admins to reclaim the bit this does rather feel like retrofitting a complicated and difficult solution into a non-problem. Spartaz Humbug! 08:07, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
    ...current theoretical fears of Armageddon... is a strawman (or diff, please). Moreover (I seem to be in the minority on that point but it still is worth repeating) the problem is not only to have reasonably competent admins, but to have reasonably competent and community-trusted admins. TigraanClick here to contact me 12:16, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
    No its not. The objective here is not to try and sneak in community deadminship through the back door. If that's your plan i most definately object. Spartaz Humbug! 19:41, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

Bold edit[edit]

I added "When an administrator has had an emotional reaction to something they've dealt with in a purely administrative role then this caveat does not apply". Maybe someone who is a native speaker can phrase this more eloquently. (((The Quixotic Potato))) (talk) 06:18, 29 December 2016 (UTC)

WP:BOLD is a great policy for article editing. As is reflected in the bold editing guideline, it's not such a great idea in an important policy like this. Your addition seemed badly worded and not necessary, so I have reverted it. It ddin't seem to add anything crucial to the policy and was not discussed. Beeblebrox (talk) 13:14, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
Agreed with reverting this. I can see the ANI posts now conjecturing about how an administrator was definitely involved in a situation because they probably maybe might have had some feelings about it. Sam Walton (talk) 13:29, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
I hadn't seen that thread, but now that I'v had a look at it I would add that it is always a bad idea to edit policy due to one specific incident that you were involved in and can be considered WP:POINT editing. Beeblebrox (talk) 02:59, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

Administrators' newsletter[edit]

Whilst discussing on IRC the need for administrators to keep up to date with guideline, policy, and technology changes, Nick suggested an administrators' newsletter, sent monthly, that would update administrators on relevant changes to the encyclopedia. Tonight I threw together the basics for such a newsletter at Wikipedia:Administrators' newsletter, with an example for this month. The current plan would be to run this for a few months with users opting in to subscribe, after which we can have a discussion about whether administrators should always receive this, should be able to opt-out, or if it should remain opt-in. Please go and subscribe, and leave any feedback you have on the talk page; I've put a few suggested topics for discussion there. Feel free to go ahead and make changes to any part of the setup, it's quite bare bones right now. Alternatively, if you hate the whole idea, that's fine too.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Samwalton9 (talkcontribs) 21:02, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

  • (Non-administrator comment) Interesting idea. As long as everyone can read it, of course, in the interests of transparency. Not sure about the 'Featured administrator' though- smacks of Page 3 or something! O Fortuna!...Imperatrix mundi. 21:14, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Indeed, there's a reason it's an on-wiki newsletter, and I also don't see any reasons to stop non-admins from signing up. Sam Walton (talk) 21:31, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
  • 👍 Like. I'll sign up for the trial, I had missed Samtar and Ad orientem's RFAs, excellent promotions. Guy (Help!) 00:15, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • There is almost certainly no need for monthly updates. You couldn't even finish an RfC between successive posts. Quarterly at most. Or as-needed announcements on key changes that are archived and searchable would be good - tagged by topic, even? If you really want to distribute them in the form of a newsletter, feel free, but definitely make it opt-in. Opabinia regalis (talk) 00:37, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
I would not mind weekly, just as a reminder to check RFA and so on. Sure, some stuff is slow, but soem is not and some need speriodic checks even if it's just to see nothing has changed. Guy (Help!) 01:18, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • There's no real need for a lot of discussion about this kind of newsletter. It's an initiative that any responsible editor can take at any time. I sent the last one myself without cluttering the issue up with a lot of unnecessary talk for the sake of discussion.
IMO There is no need for regularly timed newsletters - there's no need for us to duplicate the work of Signpost - which is now also reduced to bi-monthly parution and is ofttimes sadly lacking on compelling reading. They should be sent on an 'as needed' basis particularly to notify of new policies, guidelines, usergroups, and important Arbcom outcomes, and perhaps to encourage lobby by influential admins for more correct handling of the encyclopedia projects by their statutory 'owner', but not with gossip as column fillers. For the rest, I disagree entirely with Opabinia regalis: I would definitely make it opt-out and not opt-in - there are literally dozens of users from w a y back who occasionally recall that they have the admin bit, creep out of the woodwork, and come out with the most amazing displays of ignorance of the current state of the Wiki. I was away once for only three months and I had a lot of catching up to do. Even Opabinia herself was away for so long she had to be resysoped...
I would be inclined to give it a bit of format (bkgnd, border, etc). I end my newsletterswith this clause:
Details

BTW: There is an admin mass message list here and the opt out clause I use is:

<hr><small>Sent to all administrators. Discuss this newsletter [[Wikipedia talk:Administrators|here]. If you no longer wish to receive these newsletters, you can remove yourself from the list [[Wikipedia:Administrators/Message list|here]]. </small>

Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:12, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Yes, as a person who actually has the experience of returning after long-term inactivity, I think I'm in a pretty good position to identify what's useful in a project like this :) Good: an archive of informational updates on significant changes to policy and practice. Bad: Fluff posts and editorializing. I think using mass messaging to "lobby influential admins" is definitely out. Opabinia regalis (talk) 00:26, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
If you are going to make it a frequent newsletter, I'd prefer if you fork WP:ADMINMMS then use directly (especially if you want any editor to be able to subscribe) - it is useful to have that list for infrequent but urgent admin announcements. — xaosflux Talk 04:28, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • An occasional newsletter with updates on admin issues would be useful. I agree with Kudpung that it needn't be regular. A dated archived of the issues would be beneficial to admins returning after a break. And yes, non-admins might find it useful too, especially those planning to apply for adminship later.—Anne Delong (talk) 04:39, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree that making it monthly is probably not realistic. Quarterly perhaps? Beeblebrox (talk) 04:58, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • If it's going to be a compendium of occurrences relevant for editors with administrative privileges, then perhaps just get a crew of volunteers to update each section, and release it whenever there is a significant number of accumulated events. If there will be some feature writing, then a regular schedule will help motivate contributors. It may be better, though, to redirect feature writing to the Signpost and keep this as an update of matters interesting to administrators. isaacl (talk) 05:07, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I could see this newsletter as a vehicle for policy as well, given our community's preference not to take action until the target of that action has been informed a few times; failure to follow advice that was transmitted in the admin newsletter should be relevant in a desysop proceeding. Similarly, it could be used as a vehicle for "CAE" (continuing admin education), so we can ensure our admins remain informed as to changing processes, more niche procedures, and changing community standards. However, I don't think a newsletter, or even mandatory CAE should be the sole outcome of this discussion. Honestly, I see the above movement towards desysopping low-activity admins as a move towards more "no-fault" desysops, so a desysop can be achieved without having to drag a formerly-clueful admin through an adversarial ArbCom proceeding (and probably causing that admin to permanently leave the project). This should be seen as a move towards ultimately retaining and reconditioning editors who left the project and might try to come back. As Kudpung notes, we do see inactive folks come back and undertake actions that are utterly unacceptable in the modern admin climate. Out-of-process deletions, for example, are a common, low-visibility problem. The most humane means of addressing this is through expansion of the inactivity doctrine. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 19:06, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Stepping back, if we were to start from a blank slate, it would make sense to have an Administrators Notice Board, where we would post notices to admins. The newsletter would then be a filtered listing of the notices. It would excluded discussion announcements, and part of closing a major discussion that effects admins would become posting a notice of the result to the board. These notices, as well as the equivalents originating from Arbcom, or any other source that can bind admins, would BE the newsletter. It would be possible to filter WP:AN to mostly achieve this, as long as discussion closers posted results that widely effect admins. We could then add templates to tag those announcements to be automatically included in the newsletter. This would also allow an admin who has been inactive to pull up all the announcements covering any period of inactivity directly, without having to sift through all the one-off discussions that also occur there, and with confidence that they didn't miss any important RFC outcomes. Monty845 21:58, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
    We have admins noticeboards. They serve a useful function to inform admins of things currently going on that they need to know about. Someone returning after 5 years does not need to wade through five years of lists of new admins, alerts about sockpuppetry incidents and pleas for help at particular noticeboards. ϢereSpielChequers 06:42, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
I certainly agree with your concerns about newsletters being padded with unimportant details, WSC. The problem of noticeboards however is like horses, you can give people the links to them, but you can't make them read them. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:52, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
I prefer to think of the divide as ephemeral versus lasting. A note about a backlog at AIV is important at the time. Introducing wp:CorpProd or a new speedy deletion criteria is the sort of once or twice a year change that a returning admin could do with reading about. ϢereSpielChequers 23:32, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
You can absolutely make them read if you couple it with a continuing education requirement. Honestly, I think we could ditch the inactivity provisions entirely if we had such a system. And it would certainly be far more fair for sorting out the truly inactive from those lurking in the background. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 09:10, 11 January 2017 (UTC)