- The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
- There is consensus for adding the text. There is also consensus for the wording to reflect 3 years instead of 5. Even some of the oppose comments did so on the basis of 5 years and thought 3 would be better. The minority discussion centred around WP:CREEP and suggested that there was no problem to fix. But the consensus opinion cited the fact that there is a need to remain up to date with policy and security concerns considering the power these editors have. AlbinoFerret 18:55, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
Since a similar proposal is running regarding administrators, I think now is a good time to solicit wider opinion on whether the following text should be added to the Wikipedia:Bureaucrats document:
Bureaucrats are expected to exercise the duties granted by their role while remaining cognizant of relevant community standards concerning their tasks. In addition to the "Inactive bureaucrat accounts" requirements, if a bureaucrat does not participate in bureaucrat activity for over five years, their bureaucrat permissions may be removed. The user must be notified on their talk page and by email one month before the removal, and again and a few days prior to the removal. If the user does not return to bureaucrat activity, another bureaucrat may request the removal of permissions at meta:Steward requests/Permissions. Permissions removed for not meeting bureaucrat activity requirements may be re-obtained through a new request for bureaucratship.
- ^ Bureaucrat activity is widely construed and includes acting or commenting as a bureaucrat at any venue including WP:BN/RFA/RFB/RFBAG/BRFA and responding to requests in their capacity as a global renamer or subscriber to the bureaucrats' mailing list or signalling that they remain actively engaged and available for bureacrat tasks.
–xenotalk 21:10, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Good idea. Bits are not a trophy. I'd even support something less than five years. --B (talk) 21:59, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support While this is more controversial for Admin, being a Bureaucrat has the highest standard for approval at Wikipedia, higher than Arb, higher than Admin. This just ties into the accountability expected of Crats. Also support 3 year limit. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 22:16, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support. I'm very glad this came from a respected current 'crat. (Three years would be fine, too.) BMK (talk) 22:36, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support This seems sensible to me. Chillum 01:49, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support Sounds eminently reasonable. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:02, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support and would be happy with 1 year. However, I'd suggest 3 years to match adminship. WormTT(talk) 11:03, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support, and also support one and three years. (In order of preference, I prefer one year, three years, and then this proposal for five years, based on the wide definition of bureaucratic actions.) L235 (t / c / ping in reply) 17:38, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support, and also 1 and three years (in order of preference, 1 year, three years, five years). Thryduulf (talk) 20:55, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Not perfect, but it at least does something to solve the problem. --Rschen7754 01:23, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support and thanks to Xeno for taking the initiative to put this together. 28bytes (talk) 11:56, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support Three years would be even better, just like WTT noted above. Widr (talk) 14:37, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support. I frankly don't think the issue being addressed here is a high-priority problem: I don't recall many, if any, incidents of a long-dormant bureaucrat returning and taking a controversial action, and unlike the case with checkusers or oversighters, having extra, inactive people on the bureaucrat roster doesn't create security or privacy issues that I can think of. However, since the issue has been raised, it is hard to argue that people ought to retain userrights they haven't used for five years, and therefore I will support the change. Newyorkbrad (talk) 14:45, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
- Well, one could argue that the contents to the bureaucrat mailing list are private as they have all the old right to vanish requests, and occasional ones that are sent there out of habit. --Rschen7754 02:43, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support although I'd prefer a term system similar to that which exists for administrators. Also, as I asked below, since the numbers of past and present bureaucrats is more limited than admins, have there been instances of bureaucrats who were inactive for two or more years who came back and returned to a reasonable level of activity? It would be useful to have some data here to see the extent of this problem and frequency of this issue coming up. Liz Read! Talk! 17:14, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support, weakly. 5 years is a good common-sense line to draw, but I do wonder how often this would be invoked and whether it really solves a specific problem. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 21:38, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
- Andrevan@ 01:34, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support A three year limit would be better, given the gravity and power a bureaucrat has. Leoesb1032 (talk) 16:39, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support, seems quite sensible and reasonable. — Cirt (talk) 02:45, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support, but would prefer 3 years (if there was a reasonable warning e.g. 3 months). As an aside, I think this bit of the proposal could perhaps be phrased better: "The user must be notified on their talk page and by email one month and a few days prior to the removal." I originally read this as "they will be warned [a month + a few days] before removal", rather than "they will be warned a month before removal, and then a few days before removal". — Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 13:38, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- On the aside: thanks, clarified. –xenotalk 13:41, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support... but I would also support and prefer much less time. Kharkiv07 (T) 14:39, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support per NewYorkBrad above. DocTree (ʞlɐʇ·ʇuoɔ) WER 17:00, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support I've been around RFA for quite some time (and while crats do other tasks) RFA seems like the big one. There are quite a few that haven't been around for awhile and I think they should stay engaged with the community or they lose touch in the areas where they have those additional buttons. I wouldn't want to see this reduced significantly, but 3 years from 5 doesn't seem like a big jump but an important one. Mkdwtalk 05:27, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support - Seems a sensible idea although I'd prefer 3 year limit instead. –Davey2010Talk 05:47, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support, but prefer 3 years. (Do we have enough support for 3 years to make 3 years the result?) --Guy Macon (talk) 13:28, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support Per Newyorkbrad, and I'd also back a shorter period. Philg88 ♦talk 14:40, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Conditional support Only with 3 years. Doug Weller (talk) 11:14, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support Five years? Totally. Absolutely. Three years? Sure. --BDD (talk) 13:31, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support, better than current position. But I remain of the view that this doesn't go nearly far enough. I would prefer 3 years to 5 years, and would prefer if we narrowed this to require actions as a bureaucrat, not just a statement of availability to perform such actions. If you aren't using rights, you don't need them. WJBscribe (talk) 11:33, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
PS. I agree with Avi that "I do not see the benefit of creating a new policy solely to ensure that every five years, the
cicadas bureaucrats arise from their slumber to note "still here to do bureaucratic actions" and then resume their slumber." I trust my fellow bureaucrats appreciate how damaging it would be if they adopted such an approach to meeting this activity requirement if it passes. WJBscribe (talk) 11:46, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
- This is definitely a point that's been running through my head too. Isn't this proposal essentially creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? (Or in other words, shooting one's self in the foot?) - If the goal is to keep those who we think may not be "up" on "current" wiki policy from acting in a bureaucratic fashion, aren't we, by this, forcing those same bureaucrats to do just that? - jc37 15:52, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
- The point that I understood Xeno to be making to me below is that we shouldn't presume that anyone will say they plan to participate bureaucrat tasks when they actually don't. In the past, some inactive crats have been fairly open about their lack of willingness/ability to use the tools (e.g. this question & its response, noting that it took another nearly 4 years after that exchange for the crat in question to lose the rights under the current system). WJBscribe (talk) 16:08, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
- Those rights were not abused until their removal. As there are less than 40 bureaucrats, I think the project members do not have any issues keeping track of use/abuse of these tools. I don't see the need for new bureaucracy to keep track on the less than a dozen people the proposed policy will affect. -- Avi (talk) 16:46, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support 3 years or even shorter (but 5 too, if that's the best we can do at this time). You are entrusted with a role to do the work, if you are not doing it, there is no good reason to be entrusted for it - not holding on, as if it's a status that you need, when you have demonstrated you don't need it (and are not fulfilling it) is sensible. The idea that it would force the Bureaucrat do do what's bad, can only mean they are unworthy of the trust. It's not in any way a punishment. Just let it go, if you cannot or will not do the work, and thank you for what work you did. Come back, and ask for it, when you are willing to do it again. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 09:33, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support, but only for 3 years (or less). Not 5. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:35, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
- Conditional Support Two or three years only. Oppose five years. -Ad Orientem (talk) 00:14, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
- Conditional Support For 3 Years and per WJBscribe 's view below that is should require at least one use of bureaucrat permissions (or participating - not including recusal - in a WP:CRATCHAT).Pharaoh of the Wizards (talk) 16:35, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
- And let us say that three years go by without a chat, or, for that matter, a chat is opened and closed within a dozen hours not allowing those sleeping or traveling to take place? We 'crats already hover like vultures at RfX. Should we start closing early for fear that we will otherwise be evicted due to circumstances mainly out of our control? -- Avi (talk) 17:33, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support This sounds like a good proposal. According to WP:CRATS, bureaucrats are trusted humans tasked with the responsibility to judge approvals for adminship, bureaucrat user right, and bot group approvals to accounts. These humans are in positions of trust. As some other comments in this discussion say, if your not going to do the tasks ever, then why should you have this user right. This should be unless you have other tasks to do, then you can balance them and come back to this task as soon as you can. I think increasing the activity requirement would reflect that. 5 years sounds good; 3 would be better, but we should still give bureaucrats enough time to accomplish their tasks. Sam.gov (talk) 23:09, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support. If you've got the tools, and are active infrequently, you are wasting the community's trust. North of Eden (talk) 01:02, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
- Support Three years would be even better. Having too much inactive admins or bureaucrats reduce the visibily and the legitimity of the others admins or bureaucrats. --Nouill (talk) 18:09, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
- Oppose I think the idea behind this is to encourage bureaucrat activity, but I think it could also encourage "why bother with maintaining this permission?". I also feel it is solution in search of a problem and an example of instruction creep. So I oppose, but if carried (very likely) I think five years is a reasonable minimum. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 18:52, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
- Oppose futile pro forma opposition to WP:CREEP. If you can't identify the problem your new rule is intended to address, then there probably isn't a problem at all and you should probably find something else to worry about. Opabinia regalis (talk) 09:39, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- The problem being addressed is the community currently has no mechanism to ensure bureacrats remain actively engaged in their role and cognizant of community standards. A bureaucrat could make a single edit per year and retain their permissions forever. If the community feels that a non-zero percentage of bureaucrats are out of touch with the community, they may be reluctant to assign new tasks to the team or concerned when a long-inactive bureaucrat pops in out of the blue. Specific examples can be identified, but I would prefer not to single anyone out. Perhaps you don't think this is a problem (that someone can hold onto advanced permissions forever without using them), but the motivation for this process is written directly into the text of the proposal. –xenotalk 09:56, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- Yes, the motivation is clear - what's not clear is the evidence that the problem you're motivated to solve actually exists. I understand not wanting to single people out, but I don't think it makes sense to ask people to judge a possible solution to a problem you've presented no evidence of. Apparently that's a minority opinion. Opabinia regalis (talk) 22:15, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- There are bureaucrats who have either never used their permissions (literally never acted as a bureaucrat, or only performed a single or limited number of renames) or not used them in nearly 10 years. It would very much cause problems if one of these users were to come out of the woodwork and take a poorly considered action because they were not up-to-date with community standards. It's even possible that this action could not be reviewable, given the policies concerning the removal of administrative privileges. If that prospect doesn't unsettle you, and you think that the proposed text is too demanding upon these users who aren't using their tools, then I suppose you can say this is a solution in search of a problem.
- It's not that I don't trust these users, it's that I simply don't know them. They don't use their tools, they don't turn up on the bureaucrats' noticeboard or for bureaucrat chats, they don't respond to a request to workshop activity requirements or a gentle suggestion that if they don't plan to use their bureaucrat privileges anymore that they might relinquish them. Even if they said "Oy, sod off Xeno, I'm watching the project and I'll spring to action when the moment requires" (they'd probably say it more politely, like UninvitedCo did above), I'd at least know they were tuned in. But radio silence? I don't know why they need to retain privileges in such cases. –xenotalk 03:45, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Too long. One or three. I am surprised there are so many crats whose names I've never heard because they're never here, in article space or elsewhere. In addition, crats, like admins, need to be editors. Lots of things have changed in the last couple of years, including at RfA, and crats need to be aware of this. If they pop in for their seventh edit of the year and decide if Cyberpower or whoever should be an admin or not, then I can't trust their judgment. Drmies (talk) 23:03, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- Surely you're aware your opposition could lead to users instead hanging onto their permissions indefinitely instead of being reviewable at 5 years of dormancy? –xenotalk 03:45, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- This is really a "support but only if the consensus is three years", is it not, Drmies? Dennis Brown - 2¢ 14:10, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Sure. This glass is totally half-empty for me. I do not support inactive crats hanging to bits, of course--it's just that I want a more clear and meaningful idea of what "inactive" means. Five years, on the internet, is more than a lifetime. Drmies (talk) 19:44, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Strong Oppose - As a community we have a long tradition (going back nearly to the start) that - as we are a volunteer community - we don't assess an editor based upon the types of edits and ways they contribute to the project. Further, we also have a long standing practice that once the community decides that they trust an editor, that editor is treated as if the community has continued that trust up until the community decides they no longer trust that editor (AN/I, arbcom, etc.) - Due to privacy and other issues, I can understand why CU and OS may have particular "use of the tools" activity requirements, but bureaucrats? If they have never used the tools and responsibilities, then let's discuss that. But absolutely no to editcountitis of any type or form! We already have an inactivity policy - one that is neutral to the type of contributions. This is clearly not neutral. That aside, it seems rather clear from reading the discussion that the actual concern here is that several on this page have decided they do not trust certain bureaucrats to close an RfA. If that is the case, this is the wrong way to go about it. If the community doesn't feel that they can trust all bureaucrats to singly close RfA, then let's address that. But to suddenly say we no longer trust you to close a discussion based upon some arbitrary value just violates several rules - AGF in particular. This is just wrong. And the thing that is so sad and disappointing about this, is I think you all know it is wrong too. - jc37 15:35, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Oppose I'm with Drmies here. Five years is so long that this will most likely never be applied. BTW, I don't really understand why crats who log something like two dozen edits/year (or even less) actually want to hang on to that bit. Status? --Randykitty (talk) 04:23, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
- Oppose - I mentioned this in another thread recently, bureaucrats are all wise enough after an absence to review policies and procedures. Also, there is already a procedure to remove a bureaucrat for tool misuse. And all those misuses are easily reversible. I know of no evidence that unlimited terms for bureaucrats has created problems. Kingturtle = (talk) 13:34, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
- Oppose I've gone back and forth about this a number of times. What it seems to me to boil down to is that this is a solution in search of a problem. Yes, if it is implemented, it places almost no additional burden on the bureaucrats, so why not? And that is what I thought originally. But now, I feel that I'd rather make a stand against bureaucratic creep (no pun intended). What is the problem to be solved? I can think of only one significant situation, and that is a poor close of an RfX. Well, that can happen now, even for someone who has performed many recent bureaucratic actions. Bureaucrats can misread consensus because bureaucrats are human. I think the bureaucrats would like to think that they are experienced in these matters, and the community has trusted us them in this, but I do not see how the performance of one action in five years is any significant indication as to their overall competence. Remember, that according to this suggestion, even saying "I'm here and available" once every five years is sufficient. Do we need a new policy to enforce a semi-decadal check-in? If a bureaucrat makes an egregious enough mistake that the community has reason to seriously consider their extension of the trust, then the RfCU-->RfAR option exists. If the tool isn't being misused, no harm; if it is, we already have a process to address it. If a bureaucrat does not adhere to the minimum activity standards that already exist, their access to the toolset may be removed. While it is not an enormous burden, I do not see the benefit of creating a new policy solely to ensure that every five years, the
cicadas bureaucrats arise from their slumber to note "still here to do bureaucratic actions" and then resume their slumber. -- Avi (talk) 00:37, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
- Oppose Avi's comments are spot on. I actually did an analysis of this. At the five year bureaucrat inactivity level, I found 6 bureaucrats: User:Bcorr, User:Brion VIBBER, User:Cimon Avaro, User:Cprompt, User:Infrogmation and User:Stan Shebs. At the three year level I found 4 more: User:Ilyanep, User:Raul654, User:Secretlondon and User:UninvitedCompany. So, on the surface it seems like we'd reduce our bureaucrat corps by 6 - 10 (of 33). But, are they really inactive? Of those 10, 6 of them have performed an admin action in the last three years. Of those 10, ALL of them have edited this year. I also fail to see what harm this new policy would be trying to avoid. Can anyone cite any example of a bureaucrat who failed in the proper administration of their tasks after coming back from a period of inactivity? As an aside, the case of User:Cprompt is curious; I can find no records of any bureaucrat or admin actions by this editor at all. Though, he has indicated an intention to return to activity in the bureaucrat role in the "near future". --Hammersoft (talk) 21:03, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Is the correct adjective "bureaucratic"? --B (talk) 21:35, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- What is the alternative? (See first sentence of Bureaucratic drift#Structural for example of this usage) –xenotalk 21:38, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- No idea. --B (talk) 21:40, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Yes. isaacl (talk) 22:34, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- I would prefer "bureaucrat actions" in this context. The term "bureaucratic" ties to the everyday meaning of "bureaucratic" (i.e., relating to a bureaucracy), whereas "bureaucrat" as an adjective ties at least in my mind to the specialized Wikipedia meaning. (In wiki contexts I prefer to use "administrator action" rather than "administrative action" for the same reason, though I'm not sure the distinction is widely observed.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 14:47, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
- Would "bureaucrat activity" work? "Actions" could give the implication that a log action is required. –xenotalk 13:44, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- It sounds all right to me. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 13:52, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- ← I have made this word choice change ("bureaucratic" -> "bureaucrat"), there is no net effect on handling. –xenotalk 14:57, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Second question: for the sake of eliminating a future argument, can the proposal clarify that this is on top of any requirement to maintain adminship? In other words, bureaucrats will still be de-adminned (and thus de-cratted) after one year of doing nothing whatsoever - being a bureaucrat doesn't let you go away for four years and 364 days before losing the bit. --B (talk) 21:40, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Yes, added. –xenotalk 21:47, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Looks good, though it may be worth linking it to Inactive bureaucrat accounts (the section header). It took me a minute to figure out that that's what it was supposed to be in reference to. --B (talk) 21:59, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Sure, we can link it. –xenotalk 22:06, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
- Question: so if a bureaucrat does not edit for 370 days and asks for the rights back afterwards, would they be given the rights back? --Rschen7754 01:09, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Yes, the proposal is not intended to change the current "pure inactivity" process. –xenotalk 01:17, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Perhaps that should be made more clear, as the current phrasing is "Permissions removed for activity requirements" which could include both. Also, how would this be implemented? I recall that when the 3 year requirement for admins was put in a while back, there was a grace period which caused a lot of controversy. --Rschen7754 01:52, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Yes, makes sense. I hadn't thought about implementation yet. What was the cause of the controversy? –xenotalk 02:20, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- This can be found in the BN archives, but essentially a notice was sent out to all the admins that this would apply to that they had until January 1 to regain their admin rights, or they would need to run at RFA again. However, a lot of inactive admins came out of the woodwork, which upset people since it looked like they were going to just ask for the rights and then go inactive again, they might not be up to date on current practices, etc. One bureaucrat questioned a few of the returning admins to cause them to reflect and think about their request, but this also caused controversy as it looked more like the crat would be making the decision to resysop based on the answers to the questions. --Rschen7754 02:44, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- I'll look it over
in the morning. Obviously the number of users this would affect is much smaller, and they were all invited to workshop the proposal so it won't be coming out of the the blue if it does move forward. –xenotalk 02:56, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
I was minded to oppose, but I guess it's better than nothing and I appreciate that Xeno has worked hard to frame this in a way that will be acceptable. This just feels too watered-down for me. Hunting through five years of contribs (both on wiki and on a mailing list) is a waste of time and the signalling of availability for tasks is not in my view activity. I also don't think we should count activity as a global renamer - that is now a separate user right, and global renames have their own activity requirements. Would support if amended to require at least one use of bureaucrat permissions (or participating - not including recusal - in a WP:CRATCHAT) within the preceding 5 years. WJBscribe (talk) 11:06, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Let not perfect be the enemy of good; indeed if enough users support with a comment they feel the restrictions should be tighter, then we can tighten them. Or do so later after getting a minimum bulwark established.
- Yes, as framed, it's gameable, but my hope is that it will not be gamed. –xenotalk 11:14, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- The idea that someone doesn't give up user rights they've found no use for in half a decade + is pretty unfathomable to me. I've always been amazed that the community tolerates it. WJBscribe (talk) 11:20, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- I think normalizing them with admin inactivity at three years is a good balance. I know they aren't the same kinds of inactivity, but still, three years is enough. Use it or lose it. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 12:34, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Concerning implementation: if an editor's last bureaucratic action is so well-buried that it can't be found by machine or cursory glance, they should point it out upon receipt of a notification.
- Regarding renames: enwiki bureaucrats (along with the rest of the global renamers) still have a role to play in coordinating the global renaming and ensuring that local policies and guidelines are still observed. –xenotalk 14:12, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Comment As usual, WJB's input brings helpful clarity. I'd be minded to support something that described activity in those kinds of terms. --Dweller (talk) 14:25, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Keep in mind that one could support the proposal as currently framed, and then initiate a subsequent discussion (either consecutively or concurrently) for adjusting the footnote (which is what the whole "bureaucratic activity" line turns on anyway) or timing.
The footnote was composed after soliciting bureaucrat opinions in the workshop above, so it shouldn't necessarily be seen as my recommendation of the optimal definition of bureaucratic activity.
- 5 years was chosen as the RFA process (and other bureaucratic processes) do not change so rapidly that someone who has been away for 36 months would be bewildered upon return. –xenotalk 15:49, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Comment: The one concern I have about what WJB suggests (which, as usual, is thought-provoking and well-reasoned) is that promotions and cratchats are relatively infrequent. I know that I have, at times, lurked for months at RfX wanting to promote, but have been scooped time and again. This doesn't mean I am not following or not engaged; it means we have a relatively active 'crat corpus (and that times seem to end when I'm sleeping 8-) ). We can go a year or two without a cratchat. So, it is feasible, especially if the time-frame is condensed, that someone can be alert to all the bureaucratic on-goings and yet not have the opportunity to promote/participate. At least with renames, checking the CHU/S, CHU/U, and the global queue daily will almost certainly afford someone the ability to rename at least once in 3–5 years. If there is a consensus not to consider renaming as part of this activity, then I think we need to provide some alternative method of showing activity that is not an actual promotion/chat participation that allows a greater opportunity for us to show EnWiki that we are still active and engaged as bureaucrats. Thoughts? -- Avi (talk) 15:46, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Indeed there are many bureaucratic acts (even observing or tending to ongoing RFAs) that do not result in logged actions (perhaps not even edits); and as you noted, successful RFAs are often closed rather quickly at the exact time of their conclusion (e.g. all Wikipedia:Bureaucrat removal#Qualifying actions, currently summarized in the existing footnote). –xenotalk 15:55, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
One consideration: what are we trying to achieve? With the administrator requirements, I believe that we have two purposes in de-adminning inactive users: (1) there is a concern if someone disappears and then comes back that the account may have been compromised (an active user's account can be compromised too, but presumably an active user is more likely to notice it and say something) and (2) someone who goes away for a long time is less likely to keep up-to-date with our policies and practices. Neither of those concerns are the reason that we as a community are considering adding the additional requirement for bureaucrats to maintain their active status. Rather, I can think of two reasons for this change: (1) to discourage badge-collecting - if you're not going to do the job, you don't need the position and (2) so that we can more accurately know how many bureaucrats we really have (unlike with administrators where we could always use more and are never in any danger of having too many, we only really need a certain number of bureaucrats - if we have 20 nominally, but only 2 are really doing stuff, then we need more and this will help us get a better accounting of how many we really have). Personally, my preference would be to drop the number down to 1 year (but perhaps exempt someone who is currently serving as an arbiter, steward, or maybe some other similar positions where they may wish to avoid bureaucrat duties during the time they are in their other role). This would better serve both purposes. --B (talk) 16:05, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Why do you feel that "someone who goes away for a long time is less likely to keep up-to-date with our policies and practices" is a not a potential motivation to implement such a requirement? –xenotalk 16:08, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- They're already covered by the fact that they will be de-adminned. (The policy doesn't catch the people who check in once per year to maintain their bit, but the new bureaucrat policy will still allow them to do the same thing. It doesn't help with that situation.) --B (talk) 16:13, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Someone could still edit once in a while (and avoid WP:INACTIVITY permissions withdrawal) but still be away from bureaucratic (or even administrative) activity for five years.
- In this case, and with the proposal as framed, only if they make a fresh affirmative edit somewhere indicating they still consider themselves to be up-to-date and capable of bureaucratic activity would they retain the privileges.
- And if someone were to merely do this 'check-in' edit but never return to bureaucratic activity, questions could be raised at that point. We don't know yet if this process will result in individuals doing just the bare minimum check-in, allowing the privileges to lapse, requesting their removal, or returning to active bureaucrat duties.
- Once the process is in place, modifications can be implemented as usual, by community consensus. There is no requirement at all right now except continuing to make at least some edits, of any nature, once in a while. –xenotalk 16:20, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
According to Wikimedia's policy, The maximum time period of inactivity without community review for holders of advanced administrative rights should be two years and inactivity for this case is defined as zero edits and zero administrative actions on the wiki where the rights are maintained. This policy applies to administrators, bureaucrats, oversight, checkusers and stewards and according to the policy the stewards will contact inactive bureaucrats.
Is this notification not occurring? Is there a good reason to lengthen the inactive term from 2 to 5 years? Has any bureaucrat been inactive for 2-5 years and then returned to a normal level of activity? Liz Read! Talk! 16:50, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- I don't think this applies to our project (or any "wikis with an active Arbitration Committee, e.g. English Wikipedia, as such projects can decide about their inactivity removals"); even if it did, it only applies to pure inactivity, which we already cut off after 1 year already. –xenotalk 17:10, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Thank you for the reply, xeno, I appreciate the explanation. Five years still seems like an awful long time to wait to remove the user rights. That means that if a bureaucrat didn't take any more crat actions after today (and none after), they would keep the right until 2020. I think it might be fairer to current bureaucrats if there were new, active bureaucrats appointed to share the responsibilities rather than having bureaucrats go years without taking any bureaucratic actions. If the bureaucrat qualifying actions include participating in a bureaucrat discussion, renaming an account or declining a request to rename an account, it seems hard to imagine not being able to do one of these activities over two years.
- It was interesting to compare policies across projects and see, for example, the Commons standard which is An "inactive admin" is one who has made fewer than 5 admin actions on Commons in the past 6 months. I know this involves bureaucrats, not administrators, but there is such a variety of policies about what constitutes "inactivity". Thanks again. Liz Read! Talk! 17:26, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- I think two years is a bit on the low side, especially if the user is otherwise actively editing/administrating; I wrote about why I selected five years above. The timeframe is not set in stone; it can be modified by consensus. –xenotalk 17:40, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Xeno, the scathing response referred to the reaction I received to the table when I made it over a year ago. The caustic comments did not come from you. The table wasn't delivered to the bureaucrats with any specific purpose in mind other than purely informational. It was a spin-off from something else I was working on, namely a possible solution to dysysoping involving a new task for them coupled with an incentive for users to run for Bureaucratship. One needs to read the pramble to the table. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:23, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
The one month warning
It is my understanding that a global renamer has to handle renames (simple and usurpations) and that a bureaucrat who is not one cannot rename accounts. If those are off the table, and there is a crat chat every six months or so, that leaves the twenty or so annual successful RFAs and the every-so-often "No consensus" RFAs, along the occasional requests for re-sysop/de-sysop on WP:BN, which has a twenty-four hour waiting period. There is also bot-related work.
If a bureaucrat were to receive the one month warning message via talk page and e-mail, is there enough workload in a given month that the bureaucrat wouldn't have to really focus on beating another bureaucrat to the punch, so to speak, in order to meet the activity requirement within the one month?
If there is so little bureaucrat work required, then perhaps the one month warning should be extended to a five month warning (being that administrators have an activity requirement of one year and a warning of one month, a five month warning would be the same ratio).
On the flip side of the argument, someone could feasibly say, "Well, if the bureaucrat didn't do anything for four years and eleven months and then couldn't find something in the 11th hour, then (s)he should've done something bureaucratic before waiting four years and eleven months." But that could be said for any inactivity duration (e.g., "if the length were X years, then the bureaucrat should have done something before waiting X * 12 - 1 months.")
Long story short, I saw there was discussion regarding the length of the inactivity, and I thought it might be good to also discuss whether the warning period was also of an ideal duration. Useight's Public Sock (talk) 18:45, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- Sure; we could always give more advance warnings. 6, 1mo, 3days, for instance. –xenotalk 18:51, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- If written into the requirement, this would allow a significant grace period following approval. There is always the 'safe harbour' statement, at least if it remains in the text. –xenotalk 19:26, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- I forget the exact timing for admin desysop for inactivity warnings, but I would suggest simply using the same. No need to reinvent the wheel here. Warning does allow gaming the system, but if someone games, they shouldn't be Crat, which is a different problem with a different solution. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 12:55, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
There are apparently 33 editors with this user-right. The 5 years timeframe didn't just fall out of the sky. So who is this intended to affect?
Or to make this a more neutral question: If this were in place now, who would be immediately affected by this? - jc37 06:57, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Not sure naming names, if any, being obligated to ping them, etc. is all that good of an idea. Either the proposal has merit, or it doesn't. And if they don't see it anyway, they aren't paying attention to the very board they were given bits for. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 07:31, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- This isn't done in a vacuum. These kinds of changes should only be done in response to a problem. When we discussed inactivity before, it was in response to particular situations. And again, 5 years was apparently picked for a reason.
- That aside, transparency should very much be the watchword here. Why is asking who this would affect, not "...all that good of an idea". Good faith is good faith. And if it spurs editors back to helping in the project, so much the better. - jc37 07:47, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- It's being done at the main Bureaucrats page and it was advertised all over the entire Wiki. Any claim that this process lacks transparency is simply unfounded and irresponsible. As for the term 5 years, all you have to do is simply READ the above. If you disagree, by all means, oppose it. Demanding a list when you have the tools to easily do that yourself seems gratuitous. As you pointed out, there are only 33 possible names. This debate is about policy and limits, not individuals, anyway. We have activity limits for admin and crats as it is, this is not much different. Crats already lose their bits if they don't edit for 3 years, same as admin, this is about Crats that don't USE the bit. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 08:35, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- transparent as in free-flow flow of information. And I did read the above. The subttext too. I'm not sure why it's necessary though. It's not like we only have 33 sets of these tools. Nice thing about virtual sets of tools, we can hand out more. There's more that bureaucrats do than mere tool usage (the link above wasn't a bad list, but still not all encompassing.) And they are respected members of the community. Still not seeing the problem which needs fixing. Are we worried that someone will suddenly do a batch of renames? What exactly are they supposed to be out-of-date with? - jc37 04:46, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- Probably not, they would need separate userright for that now. But what if an editor who had never closed an RFA (or not since the old laissez-faire days) popped in to close one of the recent RFAs (that went to bureaucrat discussion) as successful without a closing rationale? I'm sure drama would ensue. These requirements as written are incredibly easy to fulfill, all you have to do is one single bureaucrat action in 5 years. It's not a big ask. Or one can even say "Oh yes, I'm still here and available for bureaucrat tasks, and I'm up to date". That's it! Invoke safe harbour and hang onto the tools for another 5 years . –xenotalk 10:35, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- The change is proposed to ensure the community can be confident that individuals who hold the bureaucrat flag remain cognizant of relevant community standards concerning their tasks and available for bureaucrat activity. –xenotalk 13:27, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- As I said above, what things have so changed that these respected editors can't be trusted to not blindly wade in? - jc37 04:46, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- We no longer appoint administrators and bureaucrats based on less than 10 users' say-so, for one. One does not have to look far for comments critical of the actions or comments of lightly active bureaucrats. –xenotalk 10:35, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- So this comes down to "We don't trust them." - ?
- Sounds an awful lot like setting up a sort of "reconfirmation RfA" for bureaucrats. - jc37 11:08, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- I don't see how that follows. Basically this is setting up a poke check. Poke the bureaucrat see if they are alive. If they respond by returning to bureaucrat activity, they keep the tools. If they do not respond, they are withdrawn. Nothing so sinister as reconfirmatons. –xenotalk 11:41, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- If you don't perform some (un?) specified action, within some specified timeframe, you will be forced to go through another RfB. Sounds exactly like a reconfirmation RfA.
- I don't doubt the sincerity of this Xeno, but "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley" after all. - jc37 11:49, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- No one is forced to run for another RfB - only if they want the tools back - and I'm not sure why someone who didn't use the tools in 5 years will suddenly find a need for them if they get withdrawn while they're not paying attention (even after two notes and emails warning them of the impending withdrawal). –xenotalk 11:54, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- 5 years is a straw horse. Even now they're talking of changing it to 3 years, and who knows later? And no one is "forced" to do a reconfirmation RfA either... - jc37 11:58, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- Re: "These kinds of changes should only be done in response to a problem." that's exactly why I cancelled my life insurance, cut the seatbelts out of my car, and refuse to get vaccinated against diphtheria. I will wait until I get sick, get into an auto accident or die, and then I will take those so-called "precautions"... --Guy Macon (talk) 22:47, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Chuckle : ) -- note that all those are issues which one might consider a problem : ) - jc37 04:46, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- Actually, not a one is a response to a problem, like this RfC, they all anticipate possible future problems. I have never had any problem that my life insurance policy was the solution to. Unless you consider possible future problems, all the money I have spent on it was a total waste. Likewise with most computer security issues (and allowing users to have rights on a server that they don't use is a classic computer security blunder); you try to fix the vulnerability before someone exploits it, not "in response to a problem". --Guy Macon (talk) 18:12, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
- I didn't create a table but you could look at Wikipedia:Bureaucrat removal#Current activity and see if any of the bureaucrats who were not active in 2010 have had bureaucrat activity since then to see if this applies to anyone. –xenotalk 13:25, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Just over a year ago (Nov 2013) as part of a research for something completely different I was working on at the time, I created this rather rough and ready table. Thinking erroniously that it might be of interest I dropped a link to it on this page. It was taken totally out of context, received in very bad faith, and even resulted in a PA - uncharacteristic for a bureaucrat. It might be of some interest now, but please take it on face value and spare me the vilification this time round - we're all volunteers and some of us are doing our best for Wikipedia. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:34, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Thank you for your efforts. By looking at edit count alone, though, this table doesn't highlight bureaucrat activity: many of those edits could be bureaucrat activity or none of them. A user could have high edits with no bureaucrat activity or low edits but much bureaucrat activity. –xenotalk 14:52, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- Indeed - just as in the same way that far from all admin tasks are actually logged as such.The closest one gets to the table being representative is the 'Edits in the last 30 days' column. Also important to understand is the number of edits a single renaming action can generate. The table wasn't created for the purpose currently under discussion, but when taken together with each bureaucrat's monthly edits displayed at X-tools, a rather accurate picture of overall current engagement in Wikipedia emerges. Despite the scathing response I received for making that table, based on the length of tenure of some bureaucrats since their registration, it's perfectly natural that the circumstances of each individual may well have changed by 10, 12, or even 13 years later. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- But tracking bureaucrat activity should be much easier given the limited number of venues, and a table that showed last rename, last bn comment, last (+/-) bot flag, last (+/-) admin, edit to WP:RFBAG, (e.g. representative of Wikipedia:Bureaucrat removal#Qualifying actions) these data would be more useful than just edit count and number of renames, which I do not think are representative of a bureaucrats' engagement with their role. So perhaps the response was not intended to be 'scathing' ,but as to point out the table wasn't really serving the purpose for which it was intended. –xenotalk 20:05, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- It is startling to see one bureaucrat who seemingly never used the tools and has only about 1600 edits in total. I guess the bar for qualifying has risen substantially. Liz Read! Talk! 20:35, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
- A number of the early bureaucrats were appointed by some combination of mailing list, arbcom or Jimbo, but I don't remember the details. Andrevan@ 00:00, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- See Wikipedia:Successful bureaucratship candidacies#2004: only 2 of the original 17 February 2014 appointees still have the tools, and I don't think Liz is referring to one of those. WJBscribe (talk) 00:05, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Do we trust them or not?
With the moving of the renaming, the bureaucrat user-right is essentially adding or removing admin or bot-related user-rights (and adding bureaucrat user-right)
And so now bureacrats are being treated with a similar distrust that some apply to the RfA process.
admin-for-life, and done by the decision of one individual (setting aside "crat chats").
So the fear is that some older bureaucrat will stumble in blindly and give the tools and responsibilities of admiship (or bots) to someone not deserving? or are we just saying that they won't know how to read consensus?
Heck, if we don't trust them, and this is all that's left, maybe we should just deprecate the bureacrat user-right. Ask stewards to "flip the switch" after an RfA/B is closed or Bag approves a bot.
Of course, good luck with the followup RfC on the who and how of closing RfAs : )
This whole thing feels like an end run around dealing directly with what most people on this page appear to see as a problem - the difficulty - once given - of removing adminship, and the potential havok of the "wrong person" (wrong version?) being granted the tools.
So instead we're going after the fear of not trusting those that the community trusted in the past? Sounds rather wrong to me.
If this is what you really want, how about just follow the practice that's already in place - for contentious RfCs, we often discuss in advance who the closer(s) may be. Would anyone disagree that RfA tends to be contentious?
And during the 7 days of the RfA, people volunteer to close in advance. Maybe ending the "Surprise, so-n-so closed the RfA" will help.
It certainly would be much easier to implement than the above, and definitely less 1984-ish. - jc37 11:40, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- What is Orwellian about implementing some minimum activity standard? –xenotalk 11:45, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- We already have a minimum activity standard. This is different. And (in my estimation) much more subjective. What is a "crat action"? who decides? And for that matter, Quo vadis?
- And will we suddenly have bureaucrats fighting over who gets to close an Rfa so that they can keep the user-right? ("Sorry we're taking your tools because Xeno closed every RfA at one second after 7 days, never letting anyone else, and so forcing everyone to lose bureaucratship.") - jc37 11:55, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- Bureaucrat action is described in the footnote. There is enough non-time sensitive work for bureaucrats that someone can easily find something to do at least once every 5 years, or they can invoke safe harbour. I don't want to overwhelm this discussion with my responses. You are free to oppose this proposal if you don't think it's wise or necessary. –xenotalk 12:02, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
- Though I understand you tried to broaden it to more than tool use, this comment by Dennis Brown still pretty much applies to this proposal as well. - jc37 17:27, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- The answer is no. I do not trust a bureaucrat with five or even three years of inactivity. I don't think we can assume he/she has kept up with evolving standards, and we know that the bureaucrat doesn't care about Wikipedia needing bureaucrat help. If there is a rare exception, let her/him reapply and make a case for having kept up. And unused user rights are always a security issue. Just because we cannot see any harm in retaining them doesn't meant that an attacker won't figure something out. Being active means you are much more likely to notice if something is being done using your (compromised) account. This is a basic principle of computer security security that pretty much everyone agrees on. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:40, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- We already have an inactivity policy for bureacrats. Wikipedia:Bureaucrats#Inactive_bureaucrat_accounts. It is neutral in assessing the editor and their edits. This proposal is neither. - jc37 15:50, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- There is a strong consensus that making one edit a year with no requirement for any bureaucrat activity isn't enough. As I said, this is a security issue. Let's fix it now instead of waiting until a compromised inactive account causes widespread disruption. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:00, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- In the over a decade-and-a-half that Wikipedia's been around, has that ever happened? - jc37 17:12, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- In the 40 plus years I have been living in Los Angeles, I have never had an earthquake knock down my house. Should I stop paying for earthquake insurance? Vesuvius hasn't erupted since 1944. Want to move to Pompeii? Computer security isn't about reacting after an attack. it's about plugging holes before attackers find them. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:40, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
- Not to mention that anything a 'crat can do can be undone fairly easily. Only one thing they can do requires a steward to undo, and there are plenty of them around to fix things, including several regulars here on enwiki. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 05:25, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
- I can think of at least one action that cannot be easily undone: closing a borderline RFA as successful. –xenotalk 10:16, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
- Well, the action can be easily undone. Whether it would involve a really long discussion and all kinds of drama...that's another question. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 23:18, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
- I know we have large backlogs of admin tasks requiring attention, but is there a backlog of bureaucratic tasks? Do we need to encourage some editors to run for bureaucrat? Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:21, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- We could probably use more hands. Especially folks who want to actively work to improve RfA from the ground up, maybe try to streamline the process. –xenotalk 21:41, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Never used the tools
Is there anyone currently entrusted with the tools who has never used the tools? - jc37 15:59, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Cprompt from what I know. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:01, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Xeno, the current language creates some questions that need to be cleared up before this is added to the Wikipedia:Bureaucrats document. In particular, I am referring to the word may: "their bureaucrat permissions may be removed" and "another bureaucrat may request the removal of permissions". Do you mean shall or will? If you mean may, then what process will be used to decide/determine if the permissions are or are not removed? Seems like some important gray area to clear up. Thoughts? Kingturtle = (talk) 13:58, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
- Since no one on this project can remove bureaucrat rights, the language is reflective of that. Also no one can force a volunteer as regards 'shall' or 'must'. Regarding implementation, I envisioned something similar to WP:INACTIVE that tabled activity and could be double-checked before any actions were taken or requests to Stewards made. –xenotalk 16:09, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
I wonder if there is anyone who believes this has consensus.
"What?!" say the vote counters.
Well, read the "votes". Foe example, WTT states "However, I'd suggest 3 years to match adminship". And they're not the only one. Funny thing, this proposal doesn't exist for adminship.
Wait, maybe you think this refers to the "other nom" that the nominator linked to in the nomination above: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#RfC:_Increasing_the_activity_requirement_for_retaining_administrator_rights?
Guess what? It doesn't propose this at all. it suggests raising the number of edits from zero to 10.
No, what WTT and others are rather obviously referring to is that they think this is due to Wikipedia:Administrators#Procedural_removal_for_inactive_administrators. It's why so many want it to be 3 years to match admins.
Problem with that is: a.) this actualproposal isn't just like admins. and that's because b.) the "just like admins" policy already exists for bureaucrats! - Wikipedia:Bureaucrats#Inactive_bureaucrat_accounts.
I think people are misled by the frequent use of the word "inactivity" and are presuming it means something that isn't being nominated. I can understand that. As someone who has put forth many community-wide discussions, I've had experience with those who want to comment but for whatever reason haven't taken the time to actually read the nom, much less the discussion.
As far as I can tell, there's consensus to implement the inactivity policy already in place, but there's no consensus to approve this new proposal to start count specific "types" of edits.
I also think it's interesting that very few of those at the Village pump discussion have commented here. making me also wonder at whether this discussion does truly represent the community's wishes. I personally dislike the "walled garden" arguement, but comparing the list of editors from both discussions, there seems to be very little overlap, which I think would make any neutral observer wonder at the very least.
Now I won't be surprised to have IWANTIT to attack me, J'accuse of bad faith and so on. But at the end of the day the text of the page is the text of the page. - jc37 21:44, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
I have opposed this suggestion as a solution in search of a problem which creates more problems of its own. If, however, it passes, I would strongly urge us bureaucrats either set up a rotation and not have "first-come-first-close," or at least, for those of us who have not "acted" in a while, be allowed to schedule a close, so as to "comply." Personally, I maintain that either we retain the trust of the community or we don't, but if we have to demonstrate it actively, somehow, we should do so in a way that allows all of us to remain in "compliance" will relative ease. Sigh. -- Avi (talk) 17:37, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
- I don't know if we need something formal, but perhaps we should come to an understanding that after closing an RfA as successful, we should allow at least a few more successful RfAs to pass by before stepping in to close again so that we can spread the workload more (with a nod to our most enthusiastic colleague who has closed 77% of the 31 successful RfAs since their appointment ;>). –xenotalk 18:02, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
- The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
The closing statement is four paragraphs long. Here are the two key points: