Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship

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RfA candidate S O N S% Ending (UTC) Time left Dups? Report
EuroCarGT 60 15 4 80 01:47, 3 March 2015 3 days, 8 hours no report
RfB candidate S O N S% Ending (UTC) Time left Dups? Report

Last updated by cyberbot ITalk to my owner:Online at 16:56, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Latest RfXs (update)
Candidate Type Result Date of close Tally
Fenix down RfA Successful 23 Feb 2015 91 4 5
SarekOfVulcan4 RfA Successful 20 Feb 2015 130 30 5
Cadillac000 RfA Withdrawn 15 Feb 2015 11 18 6
MelanieN RfA Successful 21 Jan 2015 171 5 1
Titodutta RfA Successful 19 Jan 2015 139 6 4
Heythereboy RfA WP:NOTNOW 17 Jan 2015 0 2 0
Ethically Yours RfA Withdrawn 9 Jan 2015 0 3 2

Current time: 17:15:19, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Purge this page

Opposes based on AfD "inaccuracies"[edit]

I was just wondering what people think about !voters opposing RfA candidates because their AfD votes are supposedly not accurate enough. In my opinion, all this does is create a fear of voicing your true opinion (that's what AfDs are for, right?) and encourages going along with the crowd. Besides, how would having a different opinion interfere with your ability to judge the consensus of others and close debates properly? --Biblioworm 19:43, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree 100% that analyzing RfA candidate's AfD stats (without looking at their !votes) is harmful. Really, as long as someone's reasoning is rooted in policy, and not in "I don't like X", etc., it's fine, IMO. --AmaryllisGardener talk 19:53, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
I think the point is (or ought to be) that AfDs are not about one's opinions per se but about how one understands the policies and applies that to the articles under scrutiny. If the candidate has frequently got it wrong, that shows that either they do not understand the policies or they deliberately ignore them in debates. The former is clearly a disqualification; the latter may show that the user would be tempted to supervote, or to close based on numerical !voting instead of policy arguments when this suited their opinions. You are of course right that this would not be true for some users and therefore going by AfD percentages alone, without examining their actual opinions and actions, is problematic. BethNaught (talk) 19:58, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
A candidate brave enough to have participated in many close, controversial, or complex AfDs will inevitably get it "wrong" quite often, whereas one who mostly piles on in clear-cut AfDs will be "accurate" according to the numbers. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 02:55, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
The point about AfD is that in spite of saying we're not, Wikipedia is in fact a democracy and anyone is allowed to vote at AfD. Quite often AfDS get closed on simple count and even on the weight of the arguments, but not infrequently , some of those convincing argument that lead to a close are founded on opinion rather than fact-based policy or guidelines. I don't think anyone really votes with the apparent majority just to make their AfD performance look good - IMO RfA candidates dob't usually look that far and if they do they are the ones who are going to fail at RfA anyway. It would be nice indeed if the voters at RfA would all take the trouble to do some proper research before putting their oar in or simply piling on. My unbroken research into RfA over the years tends to demonstrate that the 'oppose' voters are the ones who have genuinely examined the candidate before voting. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:29, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
  • While I do consider AfD participation on some level to be pretty close to obligatory if you want my support at RfA, I don't get too worked up over the breakdown in votes. If there is a truly glaring or gross discrepancy then a closer look may be warranted. But otherwise I tend to agree with many of the above comments. Independence of thought and a willingness to take a principaled stand in close cases is more important to me than "getting it right." Point in fact if anyone dug around in my own AfD record they would find a number of cases where I was on the losing end of the debate. Heck, in some of those cases I was even wrong. ;-). -Ad Orientem (talk) 03:43, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Any AfD !vote based on this kind of criterion ought to be discounted as invalid by the crats, as a matter of principle. The whole idea of judging AfD participation in this way is just outrageously wrong. It is based on the assumption that the "winning" side of an AfD must automatically have been "right", and anybody who voted in the opposite way must have been "wrong". This assumption is poisonous, not only for RfA but for the entire environment of consensus-based discussion. People who cast votes like this ought to be ashamed of themselves. Fut.Perf. 09:01, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Symbol thumbs up.svg Thank you, FPaS, for saying what needed to be said. Possessing a minority opinion should not have any bearing on an administrator's ability to judge consensus, which is what AfD is all about. Opposing someone because they voted against the end result on a regular basis is silly. Kurtis (talk) 23:11, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
  • It is a bit more complicated than that, though. If someone has voted keep on many obviously non-notable articles or the other way around, it's obviously not a good sign. If they've been wrong on many close calls, then that's where this issue comes into play. ansh666 23:21, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
  • So then instead of presenting raw statistics, participants should give actual examples of arguments that the candidate has made at AfD and explain how it demonstrates an overall subpar grasp of Wikipedia's notability guidelines. "Just last week, So-and-so argued for deleting an article about a high school by saying that there were no citations provided to back up its assertions of notability, when in fact a simple Google search would have revealed numerous third-party sources which can easily be used to verify that this is a school with several hundred students and a very noteworthy fine arts program" is a much stronger argument against granting sysop tools than saying that "80% of the time that So-and-so argued delete, the article was kept."

    What I am against is the notion that an editor's participation at AfD can be measured solely by how often their votes align with the end result, and that having divergent opinions will inevitably taint anyone's ability to impartially judge consensus. Raw percentages alone are not enough reason to disqualify a person for adminship. Also remember that they are called notability "guidelines" for a reason. If there was a black and white "right" or "wrong" answer, then we wouldn't even need AfD.

    An oppose based on anomalies in AfD participation would have to be very well substantiated for it to give me pause. I'd need to be convinced that the evidence presented gives strong indication of certain character traits that are incompatible with adminship. Take for instance my "high school" example from above. Their vote in that AfD could signify an unwillingness to do some basic research before coming to an informed conclusion (particularly if it can be demonstrated that this is part of a general pattern, rather than a one-off misguided comment), which would indeed be an issue if they were an active administrator, as this could imply a possible tendency to act on instinct rather than doing the necessary grunt work beforehand (e.g. deleting a page tagged for speedy deletion because it looked like it satisfied A3, when in fact the article was just created ten or so minutes ago, thus giving its author no time to expand upon it). If someone's voting "keep" on biographies which cast their virtually unknown subjects in an unduly negative light, and they're not giving a particularly strong reason for doing so, I'd question their understanding of BLP, let alone their commitment to it. Certain AfDs relating to these sorts of biographies should be deleted even if the numbers would normally result in a "no consensus" closure (which defaults to "keep"), as BLPs are held to a higher standard than other articles due to the real-world implications they could have for their subjects. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable trusting an editor with closing deletion discussions if they've shown such an inability to appreciate the sensitive nature of biographical content. Those are just examples, and by no means an exhaustive list — but they are the sorts of things I'd be looking for in an oppose based on an editor's AfD participation, as they demonstrate convictions and attitudes which would be problematic for an administrator to possess. Kurtis (talk) 02:17, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

  • The idea that votes ought to be discounted by the crats is silly. If someone has a quality that one or two people thinks means they wouldn't be a good administrator, this will turn out to be irrelevant, and they'll sail past RFA without difficulty. If there's something that a large minority (or a majority) of the community thinks is a necessary quality to be a good admin, then the crats should not ignore it. Of course, as noted, just using straight percentages from the auto-counter is a bad idea. For example, someone who completes AfD noms for new/inexperienced editors gets counted as a delete !vote, though obviously that's a commendable behaviour, and one I'd take as a sign someone would make a laudable admin. Other situations are possible (though that's the only one can I recall off the top of my head having seen when I've looked through someone's AfD history). WilyD 10:19, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Fut.Perf. says it rather strongly, but I agree. Only in a minority of cases are policies enough to decide whether an article should stay or go. It usually comes down to consensus (the key policy, after all). When an article is kept one month and deleted the next, how can the winning and losing sides be called "right" and "wrong"? Performance at AfD matters, but it's the quality of the arguments and receptiveness to other editors' comments that counts, not being on the winning side, which is easy to accomplish just by confining ourselves to "me too" votes with the obviously emerging consensus. --Stfg (talk) 10:30, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I've found very few cases where someone's AFD record was poor but their arguments and application of policies and guidelines to be adequate. Perhaps I'm wrong but while we're right about a "record" not being an absolute relationship to the quality of someone as an admin, there's a reason why it's been a benchmark for a long time. It's one of the many metrics editors can and should not feel poorly about applying when evaluating someone. There are always exceptions to the case but when these exceptions are far and few between, then editors can simply take that into consideration. The proposal that a person's !vote should be outright discounted as invalid is one of the least thought out arguments I've seen here -- especially when sysops are specifically tasked with closing discussions against CONSENSUS. Mkdwtalk 02:57, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
  • The only grids on the AfD chart I'm interested in are delete votes where the outcome was to speedy keep, as even a single one of these indicates the candidate's utter cluelessness, and delete votes where the outcome was to keep, as too many of these indicates the candidate is likely to misuse the deletion tool. All the rest is irrelevant. Deleted articles the candidate wanted kept, etc.? Who cares; not deleting an article has nothing to do with admin tools. As far as the numbers, 100 AfD votes in total is the bare minimum. If you don't have that, you've no business applying, plain and simple. (talk) 05:49, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
    I got the mop in October 2011. I certainly didn't have 100 AfD votes at the time, and I don't think I've got as far as 100 AfD votes yet: would you like to start the desysop process now, or wait until I delete something that I shouldn't have? --Redrose64 (talk) 09:04, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
    Why must people have 100 AfD !votes to run for RfA? For that matter, what's with all the arbitrary numbers people are starting to set? Suppose the candidate does not wish to work in AfD, and they have a very strong record in other areas. They shouldn't be admins merely because they have not reached some minimum threshold? (By the way, are you a registered user editing behind your IP address? It seems that you know quite a bit about the internal workings here.) Oh, and according to your standards, I've blown it big time, since I made a single errant nomination where the outcome was speedy keep. Guess I'd better pack up and forget any ideas of ever becoming an admin. --Biblioworm 13:28, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
    Oh, I wouldn't say that. It's early days yet - give it a couple of years and I'm sure you'll get the mop. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 17:18, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
    I was actually joking, Kudpung, but in any case, I don't plan to run any time in the immediate future. I might start thinking about it around November or December of this year... --Biblioworm 04:40, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
    I disagree that this record (!voting "delete" on articles which were kept or speedy-kept) is a sign of cluelessness. Much more commonly, the reason an AfD closes as "speedy keep" or "keep" is because the article has been improved during the discussion. If the improvement happened after the person voted "delete", their "delete" may have been perfectly legitimate. --MelanieN (talk) 21:19, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
    People who're !voting to delete articles that should be fixed, rather than deleted, are not good admin candidates. "Hastily argues for deletion without doing appropriate legwork first" is a terrible quality in a potential admin. WilyD 12:22, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
  • In the recent case of Ethically Yours, I pulled up his AfD stats specifically because he said he wanted to work in that area. I've called about 500 AfDs, and my score has gradually dropped to just below 80% correct now. I don't think this is because I'm getting worse; rather, this is because AfD activity is down and more and more debates are getting closed as "No consensus", which accounts for about half of the remaining 20%. I've got a redirect closed as "Speedy keep", but that's because the nominator withdrew. I've also taken an article to DYK that was previously AfDed as "delete". Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:19, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
    This idea of "score" is fundamentally flawed. The bolded part of an AfD comment is the least important part of the comment, as AfD is not a vote (and unlike RfA, it should not be). We need people who are willing to take part in contentious discussions and bring good arguments, not people who try to score points in the AfD game. If somebody has the "correct" result on 100% of their last 100 AfDs that raises a red flag to me more than if somebody has 60% "accuracy". —Kusma (t·c) 14:02, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment - I had been following this discussion without commenting for several weeks because I am an active AfD participant, and I remember how my own perspective and understanding of AfD have evolved over the last 5 years, and I also have observed a lot of XfD behavior patterns of others over the same time. As others have stated above, the "correct" AfD result rate means very little without context. Some quick observations on point:
1. An 85 or 90% correct result rate on AfD nominations submitted by the subject editor is outstanding; it suggests that the editor recognizes weak articles, understands our notability guidelines and other suitability standards, and can articulate those guidelines and standards for the benefit of other discussion participants.
2. While a correct result rate may mean very little without examination, an incorrect rate higher that 25 or 30% may indicate that our subject editor does not yet fully grasp the applicable notability guidelines, etc. A 25 or 30% incorrect rate on AfD nominations is even worse, because the nominator gets to choose the articles he or she nominates for AfD, and should be doing his or her BEFORE homework to better understand the notability and suitability of the article subjects.
3. A high "no consensus" result rate is better than a high "incorrect" rate. It suggests the subject editor is not unwilling to voice his or her opinion when the outcome is actually in doubt, and is not merely trying to compile nice stats for an RfA run.
4. In addition to reading the AfD rationales for those articles the subject editor has nominated for AfD, other good places to look for an understanding of the editor's grasp of guidelines are those AfDs that had an "incorrect" or "no consensus" result. Someone who is willing to articulate a correct/better interpretation of policy, guidelines or standards, even in the face of strong opposition, is a good RfA candidate -- especially if that person can disagree agreeably and articulately.
5. No one should judge an RfA candidate on the basis of a cherry-picked few AfD results. Even the best candidates make occasional mistakes (and sometimes those "mistakes" only exist in the eye of the beholder). Speaking from personal experience, even the most diligent AfD nominators sometimes get surprised by significant off-line sources or those behind an online newspaper pay-wall (man, I hate that!) -- and when confronted with relevant new information, can the subject editor accept the new information and concede the point graciously?
Bottom line: when reviewing the body of AfD work by an editor, we should look not only at the "big picture" correct/incorrect stats, we should also be reviewing those particular areas that are most likely to provide greater insights into the candidate's knowledge of subject matter, online personality, grasp of guidelines, and ability to communicate effectively and courteously with other AfD discussion participants. Having said this, I hope that I come relatively close to living up to my own standards. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:27, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
I have sometimes been surprised at the result of an AfD. For example, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Makkal Mahatmyam, which I initiated, was kept with very little in the way of reliable sources, and yet Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Madison Eagles (5th nomination) was repeatedly deleted and squeaked by the fifth time looking like this. It seems that there is quite a bit of unevenness in the way notability policies are applied, with some subjects being held to higher standards than others. This makes it inevitable that an editor will sometimes be !voting opposite to the close.—Anne Delong (talk) 17:41, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

An experienced editor who would like to help[edit]

I wanted to post this a long time ago, but months and months have passed due to various RL reasons. So finally, here it is. I have been on Wikipedia for almost 7 years now and have just completed my 4th year as an admin on Commons. I have written hundreds of articles, uploaded a number of quality files, helped with numerous templates and policy pages; some of which are of high value. My global edit count, excluding admin actions and deletions, exceeds 20,000. I have never been accused of misusing my admin capabilities at Commons, have always been a friendly fellow contributor. A number of existing admins and users know me personally outside the Wikimedia projects.

I ran three RFAs back in January 2010, July 2010, and then finally in April 2011. All of which basically failed over NOTNOW. Since then, my contribution to the English Wikipedia was largely sporadic, mostly due to unavoidable real-life priorities, but also following the disappointments at the previous RFAs.

In summary: I am trusted, and have enough experience spanning over nearly all areas of the Wikimedia projects. Although my activity is low in the past months, I have always been online; being able to almost-instantaneously responds to any queries directed to me. As visible in my Commons profile, whenever I get short periods of free time, I help with various admin tasks, as I find that to be the easiest way to contribute. For the past many years, I have always wanted to contribute more to the English Wikipedia by way of attending to admin actions, just like at Commons. But the varying requirements of the good folks here at the RFA voting page makes it so so hard for someone like me to successfully get the necessary privileges.

My questions: Why should someone in my situation face so much difficulty in just being able to lend an extra hand, when clearly there are no real issues? If I were to run for another RFA, would you vote in favour of me even though I seem to be only spontaneously active? If not, why? And finally, would you be willing to nominate me?

In a nutshell, I am still very interested in being an admin here, just as I was 5 years ago. But I don't think I can mentally bear another kick, after coming this far. Hoping to hear your opinions on this. Respectfully, Rehman 10:57, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

I read your message with great interest, and have also studied your (stellar) contributions. A lot of boxes are ticked; over 1,000 contributions to Wikipedia project space (including useful areas like the Village Pump, Requests for Page Protection, Files for deletion and Template discussion), plenty of work on articles (lots of contribs to particular articles), well over a 1,000 deleted edits which is always a possible sign of thorough deletion/tagging work and a due understanding of the policies there. You've also definitely been around here long enough, and trust is evident with you being a rollbacker, file mover, reviewer and autopatrolled.
However, as you have pointed out, RfA is a cruel place. Your recent participation and recent amount of contributions do not reflect your overall effort. I have seen various peoples' RfAs go wobbly when their sporadic availability is brought into the question. You raise an interesting and important point. If I were thinking over your RfA, I would obviously take into account your admin experience on different Wikimedia projects and the quality of your existing contributions, but I obviously cannot account for anyone else.
What you must also consider is whether you wish to take on the stress and commitments of being an admin, when real life often gets in the way. That's the one main thing that would come in the way of myself considering it also. Orphan Wiki 11:32, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
The fact that you have come here touting for nominations and complaining about the process is probably enough to consign any fresh RfA to failure. I don't think this is the correct approach and demonstrates that your desire currently outweighs your understanding of how things typically operate here. Leaky Caldron 11:35, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Hi Rehman, Well, while this isn't the page for asking such advice, we can certainly do without unfriendly comments. The best way to get the feedback you need would be to do a self-evaluation based on WP:Advice for RfA candidates and meticulously follow all the links in it and its footnotes. If you are an editor of admin calibre, you'll soon be able to judge your chances for yourself. Your two-year absence will certainly go against you more than anything else. Even a full unbroken 12 months editing may not easily win users over to the 'support' side. If you then nevertheless decide to go ahead with another attempt, you should certainly consider approaching one of the editors on WP:RRN. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:36, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Friendly or not, and the jibe above is aimed at me, it is 100% factually correct. By all means go to Admin. school and come back when you are assessed by existing Admins to be ready. Personally I prefer candidates to have the ability to find out these things for themselves - it's all out there if you do a little bit of research. Leaky Caldron 13:05, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
    • I'll point out Rehman's user page currently features a Wikibreak box that's been up since June. That box's longtime presence, in the context of the sporadic activity, would probably doom an RFA if it opened today. On top of that, Rehman, your post above reflects a belief that your judgment is superior to the community's judgment, which is an enormous red flag. I don't say that to be unfriendly, but to encourage you to approach getting advice about adminship a different way going forward. Townlake (talk) 13:47, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • @Rehman: I appreciate that you asked us, and the "no big deal" spirit in which you see the job. I can't tell you what to do. But if you were to run, I would consider two big things to emphasize would be
    • Your activity on Commons (are pi charts available for that project yet?)
    • Specifics about why you seek adminship here - what admin tasks you see yourself performing. (Here you have something of an advantage, since you're doing the job elsewhere; but people would need to see that you appreciate the differences.) Yngvadottir (talk) 19:37, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • There is a certain vibe here on English Wikipedia along the lines of All decent editors already are admins. That's not a good mentality in my view but if you run for another RfA on your current credentials (the wikibreak being prominent) you'll not be successful. Now, there is two things that you can do: Edit for another year and tick all the right boxes---even though people might oppose you for exactly that---or stay a decent editor for whom the admin bit is not set, that's not the end of the world. What's important is that you become active again on en-wp, because what's important is that we continue writing this great encyclopedia. That said, I'd like to urge you to check your vehicles of self promotion. An article that you seem to be rather proud of is a terrible piece of puffery, and the RfA mockery on your user page is too old and too worn to be funny. All the best, Pgallert (talk) 21:33, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Really? I often get the feeling that people think that "No decent editors are admins" - not that I agree with either of them. Also, I don't see any RfA mockery? ansh666 22:14, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
      • I looked, and I believe that refers to the non-cabal-endorsed pseudo-ad at the bottom. Which is rather cute. Yngvadottir (talk) 22:34, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
        • Oh, that thing. Didn't see it nestled all the way at the bottom...and it's pretty much true anyways right?..... ansh666 01:57, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
      • I guess some admins believe the former, and some non-admins believe the latter. I certainly got the advice to file an RfA to show that I have the trust of the community. --Pgallert (talk) 06:40, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

@Orphan Wiki, @Leaky caldron, @Townlake, @Yngvadottir, @Kudpung, @Pgallert. Thank you for the comments on this. I believe I have mentioned too much junk which obscured the real question. Please let me clarify a few things. Firstly, I did not come here to get any advise, nor did I have any intention of running an RFA when posting the comment above, and nor am I here poke on the RFA process. Me questioning the current process does not necessarily mean that my view is in any way superior.

I was here long enough to see the progresses made, and I somewhat understand why things are the way it is now. The point I am trying to make is quite straightforward, and I am using myself as an example: there are no issues in admin rights being assigned to me, and I already have plentiful experience as an admin and editor. So, why should it be so hard for someone like me to pass an RFA here? Because I can't be online 24x7x365, really? So, what is the real reason people are encouraged to vote against those that can't dedicate 100% of their lives online, when there dozens of more dedicated, trusted people out there who would like to help as well? If there are no such encouragement, then why are people even allowed to vote down based on that? Isn't it only a bad thing for the project? Isn't this fundamentally against the whole idea of the project? To have a larger and more diverse crowd? Suppose I've already have admin access here, and all of my spontaneous admin contributions on Commons were done here, then I would have easily surpass the activity levels of some of the existing dormant admins, wouldn't I? What's the difference?

As nearly everyone here would agree, the site is in need of more trusted admin volunteers. And more and more existing admins are naturally wearing out and going dormant. As I highlighted in my initial post, I am genuinely interested in dedicating more of my time here (like many others, I am sure), but I believe certain avoidable bottlenecks are only making the overall situation here harder. Rehman 14:00, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

To be quie honest Rehman, as one of the longest reguar voters at RfA, having launched the biggest single reform project for it, and written this advice page, I'm only interested in what you have done on en.Wiki. I do not work on any other Wikimedia projects and have no means of judging your performance there. I do know however, having researched it all, that other Wikimedia projects have widely differing systems and criteria for (s)electing their admins. Whatever you say, your messages here come across as a complaint that our community is not likely to promote you to adminship any time soon in spite of what good work you do, but which we most sincerely hope you will continue to do. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:15, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I completely agree with what you say. And I can also assure you that that would be the same comment one would get if this same post was there. But that's not the point I am trying to make. In the simplest of words from my previous reply: Why are people allowed to downvote just based on not being that active? Why is that even allowed? I was very closely following RFA2011 and I have even mailed you several times regarding that, so I am quite interested in reading your views on my previous post. Rehman 14:23, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I dont know what WereSpielChequers would say, but where sucessful RfA have been halving every year for the past few years, it now seems to have bottomed out We might even just be matching attrition and we certainly have no backlogs that are especially worrying at the moment. I think admin candidates have to demonstrate that they have a genuine need for the tools and that they are likely to be online reguarly enough to use them. Otherwise giving them the mop is just decoration for their user pages. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:10, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
@Kudpung. Don't get me wrong, but isn't that almost the same as saying "we have got enough editors to create the encyclopedia, so we don't need more"? Considering that I am the example subject here, don't I look like I could genuinely make use of the tools? If not, why not? Also, CAT:CSD currently shows a backlog as we speak. Rehman 15:27, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I think I can offer an opinion why (relative) inactivity is not good in an admin candidate: There are hundreds of rules, and an admin needs to know many of them. So the !voting community wants to see some minimum sustained activity (for an old account like yours maybe 1000 edits per year) to make sure you have visited most of the lesser known places on WP in your account lifetime. Been around the block a few times, you know. And then, policies change over time, and the interpretation of policies changes as well. What an admin could do in 2003 might get them desysopped in 2015. That's why the community wants to see some minimum recent activity, certainly more than a few edits in the past months, to make sure you.r policy understanding does not represent the 2007 or 2010 state of affairs. Cheers, Pgallert (talk) 14:54, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Pgallert. I'm trying to draw a solid straight line here, so please don't take it personally if I sound harsh. Now, you stated earlier that I would fail an RFA because I don't have that much activity. Thus I would assume, if I'm currently running an RFA, you would vote against me. Why exactly would you vote against me, just because of my relative inactivity on this project (taking well into consideration that I have no other issues)? I understand that prolonged inactivity could be a bad thing (as you explained), but does that apply to my case I described in detail, above? Again, why exactly would you vote against me because of my relative inactivity? Does the net negative outweigh the net positive by that much to warrant a down vote? Rehman 15:18, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
No hard feelings at all, Rehman. I rarely vote these days, and you are not the type of candidate to whose RfA I would come with a pre-manufactured opinion. Let me also point out that a net negative admin can still be (and usually is) a net positive, even all-positive, editor. But let me not chicken out of your question:
  • If your RfA was active right now I would oppose due to your de-facto retirement. That just wouldn't make sense to me. The rationale is that vetting an editor for adminship is a process that takes time, ideally quite a bit of time from ideally all !voters. +sysop just in case you ever came back is a waste of time for the community, and a quick closure of such RfA would free some of that time for writing articles.
  • Assuming you had returned to editing for a little while, I would check if you meet my RfA criterion. If you are running on an 'I'm an admin on Commons' ticket I would probably ask a rather difficult copyright question to figure out how good you are over there. I might alternatively ask a philosophical question to investigate whether you have noticed that Commons admins don't have the highest reputation here on en-wp.
  • Most important for me would be your answers to the questions. Can you figure things out that you didn't know yet? Do you keep your cool in the face of criticism? Have you learned from past experiences? --- Those are the properties of someone I want to be admin here.
TL;DR: If you are not active here, I would oppose straight away for wasting our time. All else would depend on how clever I think you are. Hope that helps... Pgallert (talk) 20:11, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
@Pgallert. Close, but you did not answer my question. To respond to your points: I have never stated anywhere that I had/would/will retire. And as discussed earlier, experience or knowledge is not an issue, nor was behaviour/temper. The question I am raising here is: Knowing that there are no issues whatsoever, knowing that I already have plenty of experience, and knowing that the only highlighted concern is my level of online presence (say at least 5 days a week), why would you oppose? And why do you believe that that oppose is doing more good to this project, than bad? Rehman 15:18, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Not counting this thread you have edited 5 times since June 14. That is close enough to having retired. --Pgallert (talk) 06:32, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
That huge break was unplanned and due to real life issues; I never intended to stay away for so long. But I understand that is irrelevant here, so I accept your point. No hard feelings. Rehman 12:39, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
  • @Rehman: As an administrator, I can tell you that by far the most rewarding part about being here is not the work that comes with being a sysop. Sure, I do enjoy keeping the wiki clean and it's gratifying to be able to clear a backlog and help an editor in need of sysop assistance. However, the most rewarding thing for me is content creation, by a long shot. As autoconfirmed users, we already have the most significant userright there is on this site: the ability to create an article. Wikipedia is rewarding, for me at least, because sysop work is secondary to what I do here; nothing beats reading about something you've never heard of, learning about it, gathering sources, and sharing that knowledge with others. Your willingness to grab a mop and bucket and dig in are appreciated, but I'd humbly suggest you take a step back and enjoy your experience here for what it is: an incredible opportunity to spread knowledge to those who might not otherwise have access to it using this medium. This is why you and I are here, and I hope that remains true for the foreseeable future. Take care, Tyrol5 [Talk] 03:23, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Tyrol5. I completely understand you, but respectfully, I will not comment further as it is entirely irrelevant to the discussion. I have already written hundreds of articles, and I know the priorities here. What I am trying to outline here is: I am unable to be as much active as I used to be. And I find admin contributions the easiest. Taking into consideration that there are no other issues whatsoever, why can't I (or someone like me for that matter) be an admin, just because I can't be online hours and hours at a stretch due to real-life? Rehman 15:18, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
"No other issues whatsoever" eh? You asked a question at the top of this thread, it has been answered repeatedly, and you are still protesting because you don't like the answer. You don't know when to walk away from a completed discussion. That is a major issue. Townlake (talk) 16:18, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Please see my reply below. Rehman 12:39, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
  • @Rehman: You're saying that your previous RfAs failed because of NOTNOW, and you've said several times here that there are no other issues whatsoever. However, looking at your April 2011 RfA, I see a different picture, more to do with missing the point about CSD A7. To support you, I'd need to see better recognition of this, and evidence that you've now addressed it successfully. Also, when you say "I don't think I can mentally bear another kick, after coming this far", I feel that this indicates you're taking RfA as being an evaluation of you as a person, rather than as an assessment of your readiness for the tools. Admins need to be thick-skinned. Finally, I'm getting mixed messages about your intentions. You've asked here whether you'd be supported and whether anyone would nominate, you say you want to help out here, and your userpage says you hope to be an admin one day, but you've also said here: "I did not come here to get any advise, nor did I have any intention of running an RFA when posting the comment above, and nor am I here poke on the RFA process." What is your aim in all this? --Stfg (talk) 16:12, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
That A7 stumble was almost 4 years ago, I have a better understanding now. "Mentally bear another kick" was not meant literally. By "I did not come here to get any advise" I meant that I did not start this post to gain noms nor to prep for an RFA, but rather to discuss a genuine issue which I believe just pushes good candidates away. Please see my further replies below. Respectfully, Rehman 12:39, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
  • @Rehman: I almost said in one of my earlier posts above that I feel we have already sufficiently addressed your enquiry. Now that other editors have said as much, I think that if you continue to labour the topic you risk demonstrating that you may not in fact have the type of approach to discussion that is required for a lot of the work of the admins on a Wikipedia, which after all, is a very different kind of project from a repository of images and their copyright issues. Certainlty I doubt very much that you are going to get the answers here of a kind that you would most like to hear. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 17:41, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
  • @Tyrol5:, @Kudpung:, @Pgallert:, @Stfg:. Please accept my apologies if I sounded rude, it was unintentional. I just don't get why passing an RFA indirectly requires a trusted contributor to be constantly online (even after being so, for many years before). People do occasionally get themselves into more serious real life situations which don't allow them to be always online, anymore. That does not necessarily mean their quality of work will be any less, or that they will be less dependant. This is the only thing that bothers me. Everything else voiced in this discussion, I respectfully agree with. Rehman 12:39, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I personally would not !vote against an RfA candidate who had periods of inactivity, followed by periods of heavy activity, if that was the only issue. For example, an admin candidate who planned to work on the backlogs in spring, summer and fall, and spend all of his/her time running a ski lodge or repairing snowmobiles in the winter, would be fine with me. Continuous or non-continuous very light activity would be a concern, though, for reasons mentioned above, especially keeping up with changes and additions to policies and processes, which are not the same or in some cases not even close to that of other parts of Wikipedia. Also, if editing is sporadic or light, I would be more likely to take into account problem edits from several years ago, since there would have been fewer edits since to demonstrate improved understanding and skill.—Anne Delong (talk) 13:45, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Nobody is saying you need to be "constantly online", Rehman. Your selective misinterpretation and repackaging of other editors' points to advance your own argument is evidence of another very big issue. Townlake (talk) 16:40, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

An experienced IP user who would like to help[edit]

A message to those who want the bar lowered at RfA[edit]

The deep research made by at least one uninvolved admin this case was largely responsible for, and vital to, its conclusion by the arbitrators.

I particularly liked the accused admin in question and had absolutely no previous inkling of what came to be exposed at Arbcom. I somehow missed out on voting on their RfA, where even regular RfA oposers were unable to to sway it to a non-promotion although it was a fairly close call.

This is probably a rare case as far as site bans of sysops are concerned and we’ll probably never see the likes again of such a fiasco as Pastor Theo’s adminship aagain either (for those who have been around long enough to remember it) but who knows whether or not they have reincarnated their ugly head under some other guise? I already made the mistake once of supporting one candidate who later turned into an unpleasant adversary and was finally desysoped for acting in a way totally unbecoming for the role we invest in our admins.

The clear message the recent Arbcom case sends to us all therefore, is that anyone who is thinking of starting yet another perennial motion to lower the bar at RfA or even to unbundle the tools had better think again. We can't be careful enough when (s)electing our admins and we have a duty (including me of all people) to do more research before placing our !votes in the upstairs lobby. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:10, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

My current thoughts on RfA is that they focus on the wrong areas of a users behavior, putting the users knowledge of how Wikipedia works far far more important than the users behavior. I think we should examine a users civility record more than their CSD log. Not that bad CSD logs are invalid reasons for opposing an RfA (I'm mostly talking about ridiculous "No! I saw a blue link at their CSD log!" type opposes), but learning a bit more about deletion is far easier for a user to learn than how to practice civility. Of course, I always have a minority viewpoint, though. --AmaryllisGardener talk 04:26, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
AmaryllisGardener, I support your position, and I agree that RfA focuses on the wrong area, but I think this is done on purpose. Think about how they "filter" out applicants: if you keep your head down, avoid getting into any kind of dispute, and subscribe to the groupthink, you're a potential candidate. And once these kind of editors become admins, guess what? They aren't qualified to mediate or critically assess any kind of dispute because they've avoided gaining the necessary experience. That's exactly the wrong kind of person you want as an admin. In any case, the entire structure reinforces the control-based hierarchy, which goes against the fundamental nature of collaborative, crowd-sourced development. We don't need adminship, we need distributed, specialist toolsets for those who can best make use of it, not generalist, "I've never expressed an opinion about anything nor have I have ever disagreed with anyone or involved myself in a dispute" herdism. I've never believed in adminship, and I have no plans on believing in it in the future. The sooner it's eliminated, the better. Viriditas (talk) 05:08, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Kudpung...there are always going to be a few that end up going rouge or make mistakes or turn out as in this case to be bad apples. I therefore disagree that the level of scrutiny you're suggesting is needed. I agree with what Jimbo Wales once said and that was in essence that adminship is no big deal. Now maybe that sounds a bit carefree to you but this is just a wiki and the vast majority of admins do not misuse the tools or abuse their positions, and I know firsthand what happens if they do.--MONGO 04:35, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
I remember at one point going through the list of desysopped admins and looking at whether or not support percentage during RfA actually had any predictive power to identify candidates who were likely to get themselves into trouble later. Turns out...not so much. I can't remember where I posted my comments, but there's a similar analysis at User:Cool3/Desysop that covers the first 31 desysoppings on Wikipedia (up to around the beginning of 2010). Of 31 desysopped admins, 8 were promoted with unanimously supported RfAs; the mean support level for the desysopped admins was 93%; the median was above 95%; the lowest successful score was 77%; only 6 candidates had support below 85%.
The fact is, RfA score is a terrible predictor of future misconduct. I'm not saying that we should lower the expected support percentages for successful RfA candidacy, nor that there aren't valid arguments to maintain those thresholds at at least the current level. Nevertheless, the suggestion that the current thresholds must be retained to protect us from a glut of rogue admins does not seem well supported by the data. RfA is demonstrably bad at identifying the miniscule fraction of candidates who are going to go off the rails. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 05:58, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Most of the replies in this thread do not address my original post. Perhaps it was simply TL;DR (I'm known for it - even in RL and at Wikimania). I think RfA is the one place where we have to approach some candidacies with caution. It's all very well to AGF and vote 'support' with "Why not?" but if we AGF on all RfA candidates we might as well give the tools to evey single registered Wikipedia user. I can't forget one fairly recent RfA where due diligence exposed a mammoth history of COPYVIO by the candidate.
I have also been through all the desysoped admins - many times - and their RfAs and I agree with TenOfAllTrades that RfA is a terrible predictor of future misconduct, but there is a lot we can do to reassure potential candidates that if they are running for adminship in order to put up a smoke screen of sanctity and draw suspicion away from the real agenda, the chances are high that they will be found out, while also reassuring genuine contenders for the bit that they have nothing to fear. The main thing is that all candidates at RfA are treated with dignity and humilty whatever the opposers turn up, because as often as not there are a lot of false positives among the opposers as there were for example on my RfA, and fortunately one such character was later desysoped. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:08, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Kudpung, did you see any commonalities about desysoped admins? One thing I've been struck by when I look over recent RfAs is how productivity (the number of FAs/GAs/DYKs, for example) seems to be valued more than activity like being a mediator at DR or work at the Teahouse. My impression is that most admins get into trouble not by acting on Wikipedia policies but due to difficulties working with certain editors. I think that experience dealing with conflict and frustrated new editors might be more valuable than generating DYKs.
One element I've noticed is during 2005-2008, editors would be elevated to admin status after just a few months of editing activity. When I've checked out some of these admins, it seemed like they have done a good job despite their relative inexperience at the time of their RfA. Have you found any correlation between length of time one has been active on Wikipedia before a successful RfA and being a successful admin (successful being currently active and not subject to ER or topic bans)? Liz Read! Talk! 11:05, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Liz, I never take a blind bit of notice of DYK, FA, or GA. I check their creations to see if any are still tagged for major issues though. I'm otherwise too concerned with searching their edits for COPYVIO and possible patterns of socking or other behaviour that is not conducive to them having the mop. Then I have a look and see how busy they have been helping other users - but bearing in mind that if they have been too busy at some noticeboards, it's a sign that they are hoping to get noticed for adminship.
Forget 2005 - 2008 (actually 2007 was the watershed year). Those were the days where 20 supports, 2 months, and 2,000 edits would get you the bit. Those are the days from whence come our admins who are still active but who are out of touch with reality. There is one of them stalking my edits recently and jumping at me for my admin acts. To AGF, he thinks he's doing the right thing, but he's pompous and arrogant. Generally if he can't stand today's pace he should go back to quietly deleting CSDs and staying away from the drama areas. He wouldn't last two minutes if he were to run at RfA today.
Nowadays new candidates need upward of 8,000 edits, a year unbroken editing, and not a pimple on your nose. easy enough if you are a normal, well behaved, adult citizen; but if you are a 12 year old schoolyard rowdy and talk as if you are permanently singing (singing?) rap, you won't stand much chance and you might even get a warning for wasting our time.-Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:37, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I was surprised to come across some admins who had been admins for 7-10 years who had 10,000 edits for their entire time on Wikipedia. Now, it's hard to imagine someone with those criteria passing an RfA. But some of these admins who came in when the bar was lower are decent admins, when they choose to be active. Obviously though, during some years becoming an admin was considered "not a big deal" and people would vote support unless there was a strong reason not to. Liz Read! Talk! 11:45, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Liz, Those who have been around since 2002 - 2005 when most of them were appointed if they put their hand up and are still active are actually quite nice people, for one thing they are 12 years older now and that makes them very grown up. Like our 'crats for example, most of whom have been around since the big bang. On the other hand there are a great many who do very little, and as you say, have only four figure edit counts for all the years they've been here. Many of us rack up that many edits in six months without even trying. They creep out of the woodwork however at the oddest moments, such as for example to vote at RfA - some of them vote support unless there was a strong reason not to, but some of them have a knack of putting in the occasional well founded oppose.. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:31, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
I rarely comment on RfA now. No point. I think the community is becoming older and wiser, an all senses. As I have said before, RfA is evolving of it's own accord, with more editors actually reading the voluminous history of RfA, both research work "published" (obviously much work done by Chris here) and reading the guidance. I do not think any more adjustments are necessary. Removal of bad apples seems to have soared, improving community confidence, and RfA seems to have come a kinder, although more content and process-critical area. Hard but not unpleasant. I think many of the old RfA issues are gradually being resolved. New areas now need attention. Irondome (talk) 12:59, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
  • We should not punish all the well-meaning candidates because of the malicious actions of a few. Besides, we have ways of removing admins (ArbCom), or we could just ban them from using the tools at ANI. I'm still convinced that it needs to be easier to become an admin, and I'm not saying that just because I'm not an admin. Using these arguments, a person could argue that we should follow the lead of Citizendium and require approval to have editing rights, since the right to edit is abused by vandals and other bad faith editors. --Biblioworm 17:05, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Biblioworm, Edit Citizendum if you wish: By 27 October 2011, the site had fewer than 100 active members. As of August 2013, it had 16,484 articles, of which 165 had achieved editorial approval, and around 10 contributors making at least 20 edits a month (Wikipedia), so comparing apples with oranges does not help here - I work on Wikipedia and am not an habitual Internet surfer and I don't see how the comparison is relevant. Who is talking about 'punishing' anyone? I'm afraid I fail to see the connection of that too. Yes, we know that the right to edit is sorely abused, but WP:ACTRIAL (before your time) will demonstrate why nothing in that direction will ever change.--Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:18, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I have no desire at all to edit Citizendium; as far as I'm concerned, it has been a rather spectacular failure in comparison to Wikipedia. I made the comparison to show that a person could argue to make anything more difficult to obtain merely because a few abuse the ability. --Biblioworm 03:55, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • There are two separate factors at RfA. One is whether the admin is going to do the job right in general, and the other is whether they are going to do something really foolish or evil. The first of these can be predicted on the basis of the questioning--and, for marginal candidates, on the basis of their response to the questioning. If they do not know the rules, and do not clearly show they are willing to learn them, they will not do the job right regardless of their good intentions and sterling character. Similarly, we can judge by the past if they know how to behave decently. Whether they are fundamentally deceitful, or rerunning of false pretenses, or will turn rogue, is something that is almost impossible to predict at RfA.
Adminship is a big deal; and if Jimbo's statement was ever correct, it is not correct now. The most critical power it has is the ability to delete the articles or block new editors, for the encouragement of new editors is essential for the continuation of WP. I know of no active admin who does not take their responsibilities seriously, though inevitably some will make more mistakes than others.
I was recused on the current case at Wifone's request, because we had had previous disputes on the university articles and because I had asked two questions at the Editor Review that proved to be very much to the point. Had I not been recused, I would have voted with the panel on all the specific points relating to him, though I would have disagreed about whether the committee should deal with undeclared paid editing--a question I would not have evaded--I've commented on that at WT:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Wifione/Proposed decision, section 10 and 10.1 DGG ( talk ) 17:57, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Off-topic, I admit, but DGG, I've been reading into some old ANI and ARBCOM conversations and regarding Wifone, there were serious red flags on him/her from when they first started editing. When I read their Editor Review, I was surprised that action wasn't taken last summer. I even found a conversation on the Bureaucrat's noticeboard where another admin had complained of Wifone's COI and their name had been redacted but I was able to find it in the page history. So, while I do see more desyssopings now than when I first started seriously editing two years ago, it still takes a lot (years?) of suspicion and misconduct before an admin's status is addressed at ARBCOM. This brings me back to Kudpung กุดผึ้ง's point about whether it is possible to tell what kind of admin a candidate will be based on an RfA. Liz Read! Talk! 00:56, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Liz, we'll find that out when you run for adminship. Do I have to drag you kicking and screaming to RfA? --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:24, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Wouldn't be a bad idea, to balance out a bad one leaving with a good one going in. Face-tongue.svg ansh666 05:25, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I share Fluffernutter's amazement that some of the arbs would not regard the TOU a enforceable policy, and that it will apparently need an actual statement to that effect. I was aware that many of the arbs would not be comfortable dealing with paid editing, but I have been startled at the essentially total lack of support I have received from my arb colleagues on this. I greatly appreciate that at least some of my fellow wikipedian colleagues fell essentially the way I do, and I endorse the view above that those who wish to affect the way admins work become administrators, -- and I would extend it to saying that those who wish to affect the way arb com looks at its responsibilities ought to run for arbcom at the next election. DGG ( talk ) 06:07, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Add me to that amazement, DGG, the rest I'll take as a hint.--Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:59, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm not amazed. I had not seen that exchange before and DGG sums up my position on it as well. My take was that too often arbs have taken a reductionistic view of issues - e.g. how to review cases with problems in assimilating content/sourcing and restricting themselves to purely behavioural issues (and thus leaving wikipedia wide open to coordinated POV-pushes). To be fair, many individual arbs have been well-meaning and done loads but there has always been the dilemma over a reductionistic view of arbcom as a dispute resolution body alone vs having some sort of de facto responsibility in governance that has (I feel) been instrumental in this. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:30, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
PS: Must add my support for DGG's comment that if folks are worried at how things are done, then run. It's what I did, twice, and I felt that both times the committee was running better after I left to a point where I felt I could go and do other things. like content and contests. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:33, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Kudpung I appreciate that you wish to set a high bar for Rfa...somebody has to. Looking over your own Rfa standards page I agree with many of your standards but also see many others as pedantic nit picking for a job that has no great rewards. I think such high standards create a chilling effect on many of those that would just like to do a little higher permissions tool work and not get involved in the drama boards or in controlling others behavior.--MONGO 15:51, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I find most of this discussion fairly ridiculous. It is framed as though there are daily occurrences of bad admins having to be desysopped. Meanwhile, there aren't enough admins to do huge chunks of things, we have only a tiny, tiny handful who work on arbcom enforcement (which has now essentially become an echo chamber, as it's the same admins on AE who are also doing the same work on managing the same contentious articles...), it's almost impossible to get anyone to help on sockpuppet investigations, and not even editors are bothering to comment on deletion discussions anymore. If I had started editing Wikipedia a year ago, there is no way I would ever put myself through RFA. Liz is right not to do it, and I will not and do not encourage any editors to do it anymore. There's been lots of self-congratulations on this page about how much "nicer" RFA has become. It's only "nicer" because nobody who has so much as a single black mark runs anymore. Only bulletproof people run. And there aren't many of them. Risker (talk) 17:14, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
    Very well said, Risker. If I ever gather up the courage to run for RfA and manage to succeed, I might try working in some of the less common areas that you mentioned. --Biblioworm 17:16, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
    @Risker: I don't often comment in deletion discussions; this is partly because WP:TFD has become so hostile, as I noted at Wikipedia talk:Templates for discussion/Archive 17#The majority of deletion and merger proposals. People are afraid to comment, or simply get driven away. --Redrose64 (talk) 16:39, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
    It just keeps getting worse and worse across the board, but this community rejects any efforts to change course. I fear that we are not far from the point where there are not enough admins to maintain the website. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 19:16, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Discussion is invited at WP:VPR#Last chance for a while. - Dank (push to talk) 00:02, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to add text to "nomination standards" section[edit]

I have been looking through the RFAs that were closed early per WP:NOTNOW. Of the 9 that I looked at (the most recent ones), the one where the nominee had the highest edit count was Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/A.Minkowiski. In that case A.Minkowiski's edit count was apparently about 2000 edits at the time of his RFA. I propose that we add text about an edit count to the section of WP:RFA entitled "nomination standards" that says "Editors with an edit count below 3,000 edits should not nominate themselves for adminship as their RFAs will almost certainly not be successful" because this appears to be true. This is also in line with what Anthony Bradbury said in Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/harrybrowne1986. I am proposing this because interested in preventing people from going through this process when there is no chance of them succeeding. As it is the phrase "significant positive contributions" seems kind of vague. Everymorning talk 22:17, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Support this makes plenty of sense and therefore I'm fairly certain it won't pass. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 01:47, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, but if you want this to fly, because it is a major en.Wiki issue you would need to start a well composed and compiled central RfA at a location such as: Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/RfC to raise the bar to a recommended 3,000 edits. If the RfC is not properly formated and including links to compelling evidence, it will alsmost certainly fail - Wikipedians are notorious for a) not following the instructions on RfCs, and b) using an RfC to talk about all sorts of other things. That said, I feel we are able to contain the problem without additional bureaucracy and/or instruction creep. There are plenty of people watching the RfA page and ready to delete blatant unsuccessful RfA even before transclusion - and those have not been included in your research, but account for as many more 'NOTNOW'. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:46, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support and agree with Kudpung กุดผึ้ง. Some work along these lines has been done that may help you start, such as: Wikipedia:RfA reform (continued)/Minimum requirement. Shanata (talk) 03:01, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Nope. Not now, not before, not ever. You set a bar like this, and it will forever go up. Forget it. This sort of proposal has been brought up here before, and it's gone down in flames before. See Wikipedia:Perennial_proposals#Prerequisites_for_adminship. It does not matter if it's "true". I can burn through hundreds of edits in half an hour if I'd like to. Would I be contributing to the project? Sure. I could do one edit in half an hour. Would I be contributing to the project? Sure. Can you tell me which would be more productive? No, you can't. Edit counts mean nothing. The proposal is a long ago eaten-as-bacon wingless pig that will never, ever fly. No no no no no no. --Hammersoft (talk) 03:05, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
    • I understand this to be a discussion about recommending 3,000 edits before self-nomination. I guess it depends on how you interpret the phrase: “should not nominate themselves”. I appreciate Everymorning’s point, which seems to be that if someone relatively new to the project reads what is under the current Nomination standards subsection, they may be unable to interpret it…or have a very different idea of what the criteria “have significant positive contributions” means to the editors who !vote at RfA. The interested new editor should go learn more, but if they don’t and self-nominate, then we often end up with WP:NOTNOW and WP:SNOW. Is there something we can do to add clear guidance to the Nomination standards subsection of this page? Shanata (talk) 03:59, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Shanata, all the adminship pages and RfA advice pages are interlinked to each other. There is also a last minute in-your-face banner (I made it) on the transclusion page telling candidates once more to be sure to have read all the advice before they proceed . We can't do more than that, so if they can't follow advice or read instructions they've already failed the first essential test of adminship. The vast majority of failed RfA are of that kind or withdrawn early by the candidate on advice from others. Serious candidacies that last the full 7 days generally pass, and close calls requiring a 'crat chat are very rare. I haven't checked, but I think that most 'crat-chat RfA end in 'o consensus to promote'. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:19, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Kudpung กุดผึ้ง, thanks for the information about the last minute banner, I was not aware of that. Shanata (talk) 11:21, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support, we have to face it, there is absolutely no way that an editor with less than 3,000 edits will pass an RfA. --AmaryllisGardener talk 03:18, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Amaryllis, I think people are missing my guarded 'support' - per Hammersoft this will clearly never be approved - because for the very reason you state: 'there is absolutely no way that an editor with less than 3,000 edits will pass an RfA' , so adding instruction creep will probably simply WP:BEANS some younger candidates. Indeed, some over enthusiast (relative) newbie threatened me with sanctions for warning a young 30-edit user of disruptive editing who in spite of receiving repeated requests and warnings from other experienced users, kept repeatedly attempting a transclusion. Turns out he could probably not even properly understand English either. It also illustrates the point that all maintenance tasks are a magnet for new users - especially the youg ones, and don't some you riun away with the silly idea again that I am a child hater - as a power crazed admin I'll block you for insolence if you do ;)
This brings me (partly) to an answer to Liz's question raised above: if I see an RfA from a newish user who has obviously been trying to be clever and get noticed for a few months by participating at ANI, stalking admins and chiding them, making irrelevant posts everywhere, and starting debates here or on the VP without first looking in the archives, then I get in early on such RfAs and post a very clear but polite 'oppose' and IMO it would be very inappropriate to assert that such a vote would be 'punishing' the candidate.
US DontWalk Traffic Signal.JPG
Anyone who self-noms against all advice is going to have to be thick skinned anyway, to use an analogy for the 'nth time: If you cross the street against the red 'Don't walk' sign and get hit by a truck, you don't yell at the driver - and on top of your injuries you may even be charged with jaywalking. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:25, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Alas, I am no match for your wisdom. I see your point, and adding to your analogy, it probably would not be logical to have a fence along the curb with gates at crosswalks that automatically open when the sign says "walk". And of course you're no "child hater", just a person who appreciates maturity. ;) --AmaryllisGardener talk 04:40, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, Amaryllis, there are some countries (mostly based in Northern Europe) that do actually go totally OTT and install such things. Ironically, such countries have some of the most pragmatic populations in the world and have provided some of our greatest composers, painters, philosophers, and scientists, and manufacture the best motor cars. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:10, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Hammersoft and Kudpung (even though he nominally supported) - I'm fairly certain that even if this were in place as a hard limit (which presumably is not what the proposal meant), most of the current NOTNOW candidates would have gone ahead and nominated themselves. Who reads the instructions, anyways? (general comment, not just about RfA) ansh666 05:20, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: There was an excellent proposal made by one of our most respected admin/'crat/arb at a time when silly self noms were still surging into our editing schedules, but as this coment shows a year later, it was no longer such a concern. Although they appear to have bottomed out from their roller coaster decline, both successful and unsuccesful RfA have followed each other to an all-time low, leaving it quite within our scope to handle NOTNOWs on an as-they-come basis. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:35, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: While I am not averse to adding a factual observation that candidates with under 3000 edits are unlikely to succeed, the phrasing as currently given is bad because "should not" sounds sufficiently like a hard limit, which, as Hammersoft points out, would only be subject to unjustified inflation and in any case would be a poor measure of candidate quality. BethNaught (talk) 08:38, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: As if almost in defiance of this thread, as we were typing someone has started an RfA. Nice guy, good faith, clean edits, almost certainly won't pass. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:12, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I was thinking the same. The candidate, as you say, is a good egg, and I can't bear to be part of what is surely going to turn into a landslide of opposes and criticism, so I've leant him my moral support with some pointers. Some may disagree with me for doing that, but I believe kindness and encouragement will breed more constructive future participation from good quality people, who happen to submit their RfA too soon. (This particular section of this thread shows that it's initiator has a very valid point). Orphan Wiki 12:33, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose if the people this proposal was targeting actually read the warnings and guides as suggested we would not need this sort of thing. Since they don't read the warnings and guides, etc. adding an arbitrary requirement will have no effect, as there is no reason to believe that they would read this addition. Also per Hammersoft. --kelapstick(bainuu) 12:23, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Harmless enough on the face of it but totally unnecessary scope creep. Most NOTNOW RFAs appear to read NOTHING - so adding this is not going to deflect them in their pointless waste of time. It takes no effort to just NOTNOW them when they occur. More words will be wasted discussing this than it would ever save. Leaky Caldron 12:31, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Hammersoft has a very good point. In addition, I'd like to keep the door open to the unforeseen: the candidate with an unusual background who may turn out to be a good candidate. Who knows, let's not bar the door. Yngvadottir (talk) 13:35, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment - How shall we skin this wingless pig (to borrow and make a hash of Hammersoft's metaphor)? Do I think anyone should be "promoted" to administrator with fewer than 3,000 edits? No, I do not. Do I think this "rule" is necessary? No, because no candidate could ever get approved with so few edits in 2015. Frankly, I don't know how any candidate could even begin to acquire the expected experience, understanding and skill set to be a competent administrator in only 3,000 edits (unless, of course, they had a previous Wikipedia life). This is clearly another example of instruction creep, and a solution in search of a virtually non-existent problem. If the idea, however, is that we should provide gentle guidance to inexperienced would-be candidates, here's a suggestion that avoids creating another "rule" prone to incremental escalation:
Create an infobox with statistics from the last 24 (or 36) months of actual RfAs, including --
1. the maximum and minimum number of edits by successful candidates;
2. the maximum and minimum number of edits by unsuccessful candidates;
3. the maximum and minimum number of months as a registered editor for successful candidates; and
4. the maximum and minimum number of months as a registered editor for unsuccessful candidates.
That would inform candidates of the community's range of expectations for RfA candidates, without creating yet another unnecessary rule. "Problem" solved. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 14:39, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
But the wrong problem. We are already able to prevent the election of not-yet adequate candidates. The problem is just the opposite: to persuade the qualified editors to run for admin. When I've suggested it to people and they've said no, the reasons is generally either 1/the reluctance to take on the extra burden, or 2/the hostile nature of questioning. For the first, we need to explain more that though candidates should know how to do the basics, they need actually work only on what they care to or on what they come across, unless they decide they want to do more. For the second, I think the best solution is RfA clerking. Perhaps we don't even need a policy for that: If someone with sufficient respect who was willing to not actually join in the voting were to volunteer, I think the role might be accepted. (I've learned by now that an arb should not do any such thing because it causes complication down the line) Is there someone now who is prepared to volunteer for the next candidate ? DGG ( talk ) 19:58, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
RfA Clerking? yet more wiki-bureaucracy. The last thing the place needs. Leaky Caldron 21:15, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
  • It's already effectively happened, Leaky. There are now enough administrators (and non-administrators) who are willing to intervene when an individual or group try to highjack an RfA for their own purposes. There are already plenty of "rules" for dealing with such nonsense; they just need to be enforced in the context of RfAs. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 13:41, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, I know but not as an official role of RfA clerk as touted by the OP. Leaky Caldron 19:25, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree DGG. I've nominated several candidates, and encouraged on many more. For each, there were a couple more who refused to run, and we are poorer for those loses. Adding minimum standards isn't the answer (and polling on this page is completely insufficient to determine consensus, so it wouldn't stand.) I've always suggested that Crats take the lead on clerking, either by doing it, or setting up the system. That is within their purview. None have seemed interested. We need them to step up and at least be a part of the solution. Dennis Brown - 22:27, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
From what I already know of the Committee, it is not likely that they would take any such initiative. Anyone wishing they were BOLDer should run in the next election. As for individual arbs, the view, with which I agree, is that engaging individually in some sorts of routine activities here that might be seen as regulation is not generally a good idea--people can see it as giving oneself excess importance.
  • The "wrong problem," DGG? Not exactly. A different challenge, and a different solution. More information is generally better, and providing the range of experience of successful and unsuccessful candidates in bullet-point format would be more acutely illustrative of the community's expectations than all of the RfA guidelines, instructions and talk page comments ever could be. As for your major point that we need to find better ways to encourage the most qualified and best suited to stand for RfA, well, yes, of course I agree with that. That's almost a truism with which no sensible person could disagree. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 13:41, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Pleasedon;t misunderstand me--I think your data would be extremely useful in thinking about this. DGG ( talk ) 20:23, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Clerking was the nearest we got to a solution at WP:RFA2011. We didn't offer it for sale because the very mention of it got people more interested in keeping the trolls and riff-raff off RfA without the need to create a whole new load of bureaucracy to cover it. A little bit later some of those trolls got site banned while other users were given a very firm message not to disrupt it. All they can basically do now is disrupt this talk page and WT:WER instead. Yes, clerking is a very good idea, just means you have to stay neutral and can't vote. And yes, I believe the 'crats could be just a tiny bit more active and help out there. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:25, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose enforcement of arbitrary minimum standards that haven't been vetted by the community, Oppose clerking that would enforce the imaginary minimum standards. Find something to do that actually matters, guys. Townlake (talk) 07:13, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Clerking is intended not to enforce minimum standards for arbs, but to enforce civilized standards for discussion, to avoid situations that deter good people from applying. DGG ( talk ) 20:23, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose oppose hard coded arbitrary standards. Support clerking. It would be nice if RfA's could be made friendly to prospective candidates. I've boldly/via IAR moved non-candiated focus discussions to talk pages in the past. And have been sorely tempted to do so again one or two of the recent tangents even though I've already taken sides all be it weakly on the RfA itself. PaleAqua (talk) 22:04, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
The initiative to move toxic or lengthy threads to the talk page is isa good one and is being practiced more often. I don't see any harm in it bein done by someone who is 'involved'. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:42, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Well I was bold with one of them. I'll give a bit to see if any objections and if not move the other lengthly one. PaleAqua (talk) 01:02, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose any particular standard. Edit count requirements usually run high, but this is mostly reflective of those candidates with large heaps of worthless automated and semi-automated edits in their history. An editor with less than three thousand edits, if they were all good, reasoned, productive, could still pass AfD without much difficulty - and is the kind of candidate we should be encouraging. WilyD 12:13, 17 February 2015 (UTC)


Resolved: responded to here --Dweller (talk) 16:10, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

I ask for permission to make page on Wikipedia for Darko Novic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Darko novic (talkcontribs) 15:46, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Add Withdrawal instructions (part deux)[edit]

A month and a half ago I started a thread about adding a short section about withdrawal to the RfA instructions here. After some revision of the text, we almost had consensus to add it, and then opinion began to turn and consensus was not apparent. I was unswayed by the arguments used against the addition but when it become clear that the discussion would become prolonged and unproductive, I decided to let the matter drop.

To my dismay I saw this question asking how to withdrawal a recent first RfA by Cadillac000. Ironically, Cadillac000 asked Kudpung, who argued in the original discussion that new instructions were not needed and convinced enough people that obvious consensus failed to exist. In light of Cadillac000's question, I believe it's clear that the argument that a new section is not needed is simply wrong.

The first discussion was not in vain and improved the wording of the proposed text to the following:

Withdrawing your RfA
The candidate (and only the candidate) may withdraw their RfA at any time and for any reason. Such reasons may include a simple change of heart or loss of desire to complete the process, and the candidate is not required to explain their withdrawal. In some cases, such as with potential WP:NOTNOW closures, candidates should be asked to withdraw as a courtesy.

To withdraw your RfA, follow the instructions given at Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship#Closure.

In hindsight I wish I had just been bold and added the new section as I think nobody would have objected to the new section if it were just inserted. (Nobody objective to the extensive revision I did prior.) Having invoked discussion in the first place it feels like it be wrong to just be bold now. There are a few squabbles about the wording left from the first discussion but I think further changes to the text should proceed as specific discussion on any sentence under question. My original assertion still stands that there is a logical gap in the instructions and Cadillac000's question proves that. I find little merit to the argument that the RfA rate is too low to bother. I am concerned as anybody else with instruction creep but the absence of Withdrawal as an option is a significant logical gap and this hole ought to be filled. Unless there are serious objections, I intend to add this section within a few days. It would be good to hear from the people still supportive of the change to get a balanced view, and if the Cadillac000 examples is enough to change the opinion of previous opposes. Jason Quinn (talk) 19:18, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Further to Isaacl's comment below, and because this parenthetical apparently generates the rather confused belief that this advice would eliminate other valid early closures of RfAs, it should be left out, and I've stricken it. –xenotalk 13:24, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Question if only the candidate may withdraw his or her RfA, how does that affect SNOW and NOTNOW closures? I know that your instructions say the candidate should be asked to withdraw as a courtesy, but what if he or she refuses? Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 19:24, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
    Don't see how it would impact them, notnow and snow closes are not withdrawals. The as a courtesy bit is mostly existing practice and is only suggested as a should instead of a must. PaleAqua (talk) 20:17, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Seems reasonable. Might be nice to add statement something like: "Editors may assistant candidates in withdrawing if the candidate state that they wish to withdraw, but seem unsure of the process." PaleAqua (talk) 20:17, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support per the last discussion. Deadbeef 20:26, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support (I thought it was already added in!) ansh666 21:25, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • A worthwhile addition. –xenotalk 22:24, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose because Kudpung was right. This would be counter-productive instruction creep that would rarely if ever provide any benefit, and there is no community consensus that only a candidate can close an RFA that is obviously going to fail. The current setup allows experienced users to save the community's time by preventing RFAs from becoming timewasting editor reviews or pointless "moral support" parties; I don't think that system should be destroyed without subjecting this idea to the scrutiny of a formal RFC. Townlake (talk) 23:11, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
    Withdrawing an RFA is not the same thing as closing one. Adding guidance for withdrawing an RFA would not preclude NOTNOW closures. –xenotalk 02:00, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
    Functionally equivalent. Townlake (talk) 06:31, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
    How so? ansh666 08:03, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
    Not at all equivalent - Withdrawal allows candidates to end the ordeal with their dignity intact as opposed to the ignominy of a NOTNOW or SNOW close. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 11:42, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
    That sounds very poetic and sweet, but in reality a NOTNOW or SNOW is a forced withdrawal of the request prior to closing time. Townlake (talk) 21:07, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
    That may be true, but withdrawals are not all NOTNOW/SNOWs. ansh666 21:08, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
    So what? Townlake (talk) 07:10, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: I still stand by my all arguments in the previous discussion, the main reasoning being that such candidates do not read the instructions or advice pages anyway. Cadillac000 at least did the right thing by taking the initiative to ask what to, and it would be interesting to get his input here. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:29, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
  • On a semantic note, the parenthetical clause is unnecessary, since by definition, only the candidate can withdraw. isaacl (talk) 02:04, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support presuming that PaleAqua and xeno are correct that this would not impact SNOW and NOTNOW closures. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 04:18, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment and Support: First of all, I apologise for not using the closing advice at Wikipedia:GRFA. For the record, I did read the guide. The reason I did not apply the closing advice is because of a contradiction. In Wikipedia:GRFA, the closing advice section says that we can strike through our acceptance line to indicate withdrawal. Wikipedia:RFA/N, however, says to remove the acceptance line altogether if one self-nominates in the first place. I got in my mind that this advice was for nominations by another user where the acceptance line is still necessary and decided to ask Kudpung to formally close the RFA. As for the withdrawal instruction on the main RFA page, I completely agree. The only page that less experienced users are bound to read is the main project page, and with withdrawals becoming more common these days I believe that this addition would be greatly useful. I also support the current revision of the notice. --The one that forgot (talk) 04:28, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support I thought this was already done after the last round. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 11:33, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Moral support - I doubt that this notice, if added to the instructions, will have much practical effect. Many newbies (some with red-linked user-page and less than 100 edits) have nominated themselves, and had already trouble to transclude the RfA correctly, they won't know what withdrawal, or a courtesy question to withdraw, is about. Experienced users have posted a withdrawal statement right below their nomination which usually triggers a closure by the next user who knows how to do it, crat, admin or NAC. I can't remember having seen anybody closing his own RfA as a withdrawal. On the other side, I can't imagine that this withdrawal instruction notice will cause any damage... Kraxler (talk) 13:41, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Question It's clear to me that for a self-nomination, the term "withdraw" can logically only apply to the candidate, so the above proposal is redundant for self-noms. But we also have RfAs where the candidate was nominated by one or more others - does the present system permit the nominator(s) to withdraw their nomination? --Redrose64 (talk) 20:26, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Nominators could strike out their nomination, or add a text saying that they withdraw, but I think that one the RFA is up, such a withdrawal should not stop it. I don't remember this happening though. Nominators deleting their nomination or closing the RFA would be bad. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:11, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Hi, User:Graeme Bartlett. In regards to "on[c]e the RFA is up, such a withdrawal should not stop [the RfA]", I completely disagree. If the user doesn't want to do it, the process should end as soon as possible. The choice whether to complete the process or end it should be 100% in their hands. Otherwise, it would be like forcing a politician to continue to run for office even if they decided the didn't want to. Jason Quinn (talk) 21:37, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
I believe Graeme was referring to a hypothetical but unlikely event in which a nominator withdraws his or her support, not a scenario in which the candidate has withdrawn. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 21:42, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
[edit conflict]Hi, Redrose. Yes. The option is described in Closure section. I feel like a semantic issue may underlie your question. In the Guide to RfA, the word "nomination" is used without clear distinction between a candidate's nomination (in the sense of the text given by user(s) to suggest them as possible admins) and the RfA application itself (which requires an acceptance of the nomination to initiate). It's best to think withdrawal applies to the application and that the candidate can accept/decline a nomination. Anyway, the main idea of this proposal is to make sure the candidates are aware of their option to withdraw and to give a link for the instructions to do so. This information is missing so I don't think it's "redundant". Cheers, Jason Quinn (talk) 21:32, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the discussion in the "Closure" section on withdrawing is addressed to the nominee (the instructions to withdraw is to cross out "your acceptance" of the nomination. For simplicity, I believe that once candidates have agreed to stand for nomination, it's within their purview to withdraw. A nominator can choose to withdraw their support but not stop the discussion. isaacl (talk) 21:44, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. While I'm sure this is made in the best of faith, the example given is fatally flawed. The user had talked with Kudpung previous, so he knew him. (and I'm the one that gave him the instructions, as Kudpung was away). Kudpung had already pointed him to reading material before running, which he didn't read or follow, evidenced by the RFA. The only people that would read it are those who didn't need to, thus this is pure instruction creep without benefit. These rare withdrawals are already handled by a variety of editors, often in different ways, but all well enough. Additional instructions should only be added when the benefit outweighs the burden of creep, and that is not the case here. Dennis Brown - 01:11, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Dennis Brown. Withdrawal is handled well enough with existing instructions. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 01:57, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

"Recent retirements typify problem of admin attrition"[edit]

In a just-published Wikipedia Signpost editorial, here, the author, an administrator, notes that "The administrative backlog continues to expand", and says that the community should, among other things, "Recruit new administrators with requisite experience … this may also mean fixing a broken RfA process, a likely unpleasant and daunting task, but one that needs to be done." [Ellipsis in original.] -- John Broughton (♫♫) 05:00, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, we've been trying to do both for years... ansh666 05:24, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
So when are you running for adminship, John? You've certainly been around long enough. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 15:58, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
@Mellowed Fillmore: For what I do - and want to do - on Wikipedia, I don't need admin tools. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 19:26, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
"A likely unpleasant and daunting task," eh? Is it possible this admin is unaware of all the efforts to change RFA that have occurred in the last several years? Townlake (talk) 16:38, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Underlying problem is systemic[edit]

A depiction of RfA since ~2008

The underlying problem is systemic and unstoppable. There's a life cycle involved here. Early on, there was tons of enthusiasm and lots of creators. As time wore on, there were fewer and fewer creators and more and more maintainers. But, the drudgery of maintenance is just that. The vigor is slowly eroding. More and more automatic and semi-automatic tools are being made to deal with the erosion of the project, but ultimately they will be unsuccessful without moving towards a more static project. Moving towards a more static project is happening; more and more things are being protected against editing by non-autoconfirmed users, and an ever increasing swath are being protected against anyone editing except the ever decreasing admin pool. The Foundation believes the solution is to attract more editors to the project. Such efforts have been underway for sometime now without success. Hysterically, the Foundation believes that the decline in editorship can be reversed "by making changes to the interface, design, and functionality of the Wikimedia sites.". but I digress...

Attempting to recruit new administrators isn't going to do a damn thing. It might cause a momentary increase in the number of passing candidates, but even a dead cat bounces. You can witness the inexorability of this problem at a very graphical illustration of the decline. Another way to witness it is the daily update numbers in the edit history at Wikipedia:List of administrators. The number of active administrators reached a peak of 1021 on February 19, 2008. It's been in overall decline ever since, and now stands at 590. It can not be stopped. No amount of RfA reform is going to change that. Attempting any sort of RfA reform is (1) doomed to fail (every attempt over more than ten years has failed) and (2) wouldn't help avert the inevitability of the decline of the project. Ultimately, the decline in the administrator pool is a symptom of the decline of the project, nothing more. --Hammersoft (talk) 17:47, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

We can always count on Hammersoft to give us some encouragement. --AmaryllisGardener talk 18:10, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
These discussions are always missing the answer to the question: "how many admins do you need?" (not to be confused with "how many does it take to . . .) And yes, that is partly a life cycle thing. (it's not actually a sign of failure or decline to say yes that article is basically finished and just needs the boring work) Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:14, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
In my real life I have commented more than once that people who constantly stress how painful childbirth is are at least one cause of the pain in childbirth. The expectant mother begins labour expecting pain and the resultant stress inevitably makes it worse. A reverse placebo effect maybe? Perhaps we see the same thing here with the never ending debate about how awful RFA is and how hard it is to be an administrator. No wonder nobody wants to try an RFA and people want to turn in their tools if everybody constantly tells them how bad it is. Can I suggest we try a moratorium on the whole (to be honest now tedious) subject of how broken everything is and see if things just get better if we stop moaning about it? QuiteUnusual (talk) 18:35, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps we just need to run, see how it goes, and if we pass, we pass, and if we don't, things are like they were before. Alanscottwalker, want to give it a try? --AmaryllisGardener talk 18:41, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
No interest in the buttons. What seems to also sometimes get missed in these discussions is the place would only really fall apart if the editors were not doing the administrative work - the place is meant to be run by volunteers, all - only a few tasks need buttons. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:27, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Amaryllis, why don't you run? Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 18:58, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
An editor just today told me I shouldn't, and I have a user I've went to in the last year to guide me on the path to an RfA (I've always wanting to help in admin areas). Do you really think I should go for it? I don't want to upset that user I've went to. --AmaryllisGardener talk 19:06, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
If you've been advised not to run, you probably should follow that advice. I don't really know much about you and I was just throwing the idea out there because, as you said, 'if we pass, we pass, and if we don't, things are like they were before.' I wish more people, especially prospective candidates, saw it that way. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 19:19, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) How tempted I sometimes am to bite the bullet and go for it just to see what would happen, but I'd probably be crushed to powder... --Biblioworm 20:07, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
If I could survive RFAs 2 and 3, you'll manage. :-) --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:09, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
@SarekOfVulcan: Are you talking about me or Amaryllis? --Biblioworm 20:19, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
You. I have no opinion on Amaryllis running, except that if someone she trusted said she shouldn't, then she shouldn't. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:37, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
*checks contributions* That's all? Ok, wait until April, then run. :-) --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:37, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── *cough cough* He *cough cough* --AmaryllisGardener talk 20:39, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

how many admins do you need? Ideally if we want the editing population to increase or even just stay the same, the overall number of admins should be a good 10-20% of the population and increase as the number of editors increases. KonveyorBelt 20:00, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Where does those numbers come from? If there are 300,000 editors - there has to be 30,000 admins? Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:13, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
10-20% is pretty ridiculous and unobtainable. If we look at the numbers now, per WP:USERS, there are approximately 150,000 active to semi-active editors, and between 1300-1400 admins, just under 1%, or one admin per 100 editors (when we consider there are only about 500 active admins, that drops to about 0.3%, or about 1 admin per 300 editors). Now, if we compare that to several governments: sources online consistently state that the US federal government employs between 1-2% of the workforce, which is roughly analogous to Wikipedia. I can't really find sources on other modern countries (stupid Google/internets being US-centric), but if my Chinese history professor is to be believed, the long-standing Han dynasty had roughly one civil servant per 4600 people (about 0.02%), and the Tang dynasty during its most prosperous times, which had the first real system dependent on imperial examinations - which I'll roughly equate to a more civil (pun not intended), though stricter version of WP:RfA - had roughly 1 civil servant per 25,000 citizens. That's 0.004%. I mean, yes, this may all seem largely irrelevant, but I don't think any government or organization can operate efficiently with that many people in a position of authority. ansh666 21:53, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Seems to me that in most any deteriorating situation, it's a fairly safe bet that the things being widely espoused as solutions to the decline are in fact not going to help. For the simple reason that if those things were actually going to help, they would have done so and the situation would not be deteriorating. Thus, by choosing to look at deteriorating situations one has already selected for ones where the widely espoused solutions won't help.
One problem I see has to do with the effect of WMF intervention on the wikis. All volunteer projects are fueled by idealism; for wikimedian projects, part of this idealism is a belief that knowledge should come from the people. The Foundation may think volunteers are doing the work for them, but we're not doing it for them. In fact, as the Foundation tries to drum up volunteer support for the projects, they are making the central Foundation more visible, and that directly undermines the people-driven-knowledge idealism that makes the projects work. So the more the Foundation tries to "help", the more they damage what they're trying to nurture. There are various standard excuses for the decline of Wikipedia, but it's also true that the decline started when the Foundation kicked into a higher gear, with a new board chair and a new position called Executive Director.
Another thing that seems to me greatly underestimated is the role of expertise. Expertise is needed to maintain and improve wikis. It can only come from the community itself, because that's the repository of knowledge, the place where the people are who have expertise. You can't solve the problem by making the projects "easy to use" through a WYSIWYG interface; WYSIWYG is a recipe for mediocrity at best. Of possible approaches to making simple-to-intermediate tasks easier, WYSIWYG is the worst possible choice, because (1) it doesn't help eliminate the need for expertise at more advanced levels, (2) it increases forced dependence of the community on a high priesthood of software maintainers who are divorced from the prime repository of expertise, so that the interface is fundamentally lacking in the wiki essence with which the community must remain saturated if the wiki is to remain healthy, and (3) it prevents newly arrived users from gradually increasing their expertise, and thus it stifles the creation of future experts. (My planned alternative to this pessimal strategy is to make it possible within wiki markup to add interactive elements to wiki pages, so that the wiki communities themselves can build and maintain semi-automated tools in the same way that they build and maintain information content; thus, experts within the community put their expertise into the tools, and then newcomers and experts alike use those tools which make it easier to perform expert tasks and to learn to become more expert. You can tell, perhaps, that I'm an idealist. :-P ) --Pi zero (talk) 19:25, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Doom and gloom predictions in RFA have been the status quo since I became an active editors over 5 years ago, so I know nothing else. Yet the project survives. It will necessarily change over time; whether it remains vibrant or withers is up to too many factors to predict. When they make me an admin you'll know the end times have come. There are tons of competent editors who could be admins who we don't look to because we don't absolutely need to. Things often have to get "dire" in any volunteer organization to force change.--Milowenthasspoken 20:06, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment - Look, there are undoubtedly elements of truth to Hammersoft's commentary, but I also believe that it is far too pessimistic on multiple levels. The element of Hammersoft's thesis which rings most true to me is a variation on the "life cycle" theory. Clearly, we are getting fewer and different types of editors now than we did 6 or 7 years ago, but that may not be entirely a bad thing. Hammer is right that the days of geometric growth in article "creation" are largely over, but that's okay, and there is still plenty of work to be done. There are only so many countries on the planet, so many British prime ministers, so many winners of the Medal of Honor, so many coaches/managers of Manchester United, so many Nobel Prize winners . . . . The days of running through high-profile lists of clearly notable subjects and creating stubs and starts aare largely over, but the truth is a very high percentage of our four million articles are a mess. Many were created as one, two and three-sentence stubs, and have never progressed past that point. Others, like many of our sports and entertainment bio articles, are mostly poorly written collections of fancruft.
Here's where I part company with Hammer: Wikipedia does not need more "users"; what Wikipedia needs are more capable writers who enjoy researching encyclopedic subjects and writing coherent prose in a factual, encyclopedic manner. And capable article writers are very different animals than many of our fabled article "creators" of 6 or 7 years ago. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 20:44, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
And one would imagine that 'yes, I want to spend many hours (or even a good intensive 20 minutes) of my time filling out info on subjects of little or no interest to me (and even most other people)' -- is a hard sell. You don't have to "fall in love" just a little, with every subject you spend that kind of time on but it helps. Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:55, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

I have to say, you guys are talking about editors active ten years ago like evolutionists talk about animals supposedly here 65 mya. --AmaryllisGardener talk 21:04, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Now you're just tempting me to put the {{recentism}} tag on this section...Face-tongue.svg ansh666 21:10, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Hey! *checks account date* *sees it won't be 10 until October* *smiles* Carry on. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 01:31, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Just a comment on "fully protected" articles, these articles should not be protected for "admin only editing" they are protected for NOONE to edit, and the list of articles in this state is a very very small representation of our articles. Am I missing something here? — xaosflux Talk 21:22, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
My thoughts on Wikipedia's growth (I refuse to call it "life cycle", because that would mean that Wikipedia will die.): I agree some with Dirtlawyer, the era of Wikipedia where articles on Emma Watson, Pope John XXIII, bacon, FC Bayern Munich, Palau, Phineas & Ferb, and falafel have yet to be created are well behind us. But guess what, we are in the era of articles like chandelier, cutlery, rotisserie, dessert, collagen, Stefan Edberg, lunch, oven, and wallaby have big ugly tags at the top of them. --AmaryllisGardener talk 00:40, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Also, since someone mentioned recentism, there are a LOT of historic topics - and "regional" (i.e. not NYC or London) ones - that have yet to be created. Pick a time period, a region, and a subject, and you'll almost certainly find a lot to do, though you may have to actually go to a library to find the sources instead of just browsing the internet news sites. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 01:30, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Good point, Amaryllis. I do want to work on improving articles on common topics some day. --Biblioworm 02:36, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

I for one agree with Dirtlawyer1, but also in part with Hammersoft. Because if the quality of the articles doesn't improve long-term, we may become stale and run into "life cycle" problems. So the WP community should really focus on encouraging editors to contribute well-researched and well-written content instead of just looking for more editors who only end up making small layout changes, shuffling categories around, or doing other minor tweaking to articles. If more editors concentrate on content instead of all the peripheral stuff, then as a consequence there will also be less need for deletion discussions and maintenance. -- P 1 9 9   17:11, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

RE P199 - Your statement here shows a deep understanding of what's going on, and IMO qualifies you to request adminship. If you don't have any skeletons in your cupboard, I suggest you give it a try. Kraxler (talk) 13:32, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Deep understanding. LOL. It is an elitist content contributor's are superior attitude. No one here has any more right to tell other contributor's what to concentrate on that anyone else - and be taken notice of. If it wasn't for gnomes your encyclopaedia would turn in to a pile of unreadable, un-navigatible shit in no time. As for suggestions - I think there should be a ban on repeatedly discussing RfA issues and let everyone focus on improving content at any level. Does that make make insightful and qualify as an Admin? LOL, I don't think so. Leaky Caldron 13:47, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm afraid you have deeply misunderstood both P199's comment and my subsequent suggestion. P199 doesn't tell anybody what to do, he analyzes the situation and comes to the conclusion that if editors will write content in a well-written and well-formatted manner, then we need less admin action and will have less discussions like Xfd which shows sound reasoning. My own suggestion was meant to be encouraging, P199 having sufficient tenure, a clean block log and sound judgment, while I hear every day that we are in dire need of more admins. To make disparaging remarks here confirms to a certain extent the overall "RfA-is-broken" feeling of some, Leaky Caldron. I've seen you commenting and voting at RfA as a regular for some time but, under the circumstances, I venture to say that you would be voted down here, certainly. But feel free to continue gnoming, can't do any harm, or can it? Kraxler (talk) 18:10, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
It is not "all" they pontificated tough, is it @Kraxler? You've done that classic sub-editing thing which favourable removes the less than subtle disparaging side swipes, namely "...editors who only end up making small layout changes, shuffling categories, minor tweaking, peripheral stuff." Like I say, elitist attitude. Anyway, fortunately RfA is your idea, not his. Whatever, you've done them no favours with your ill-conceived conclusion here. Leaky Caldron 19:33, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm afraid you got it wrong again, twice, Leaky. "...editors who only end up making small layout changes, shuffling categories, minor tweaking, peripheral stuff." are a real problem. The usual pattern is: Newbie adds/changes categories, links, punctuation, copyvios, questionable BLP content, contrary to guidlines/policies and/or common sense; a discussion starts, going to XfD perhaps; guidelines/policies/consensus are pointed out; the newbie insists that he's right, all others are hounding him/stalking him/have a hidden agenda/are biased; the parties go to the dramaboards. A total waste of time. If new editors just followed the pattern of existing content and format, and accepted the guidelines/instructions when pointed to them, then things would be much easier here around. So, what P199 wanted to say is: The strategy to attract a large number of screwball editors, just for numbers' sake, causes a larger-than-necessary caseload for gnomes and admins, and that's the bare truth. Secondly, RfA was not my idea, P199 exhibits an admin hopeful box on his userpage. Kraxler (talk) 11:01, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
@Kraxler: you're talking at cross purposes. There are "...editors who only end up making small layout changes, shuffling categories, minor tweaking, peripheral stuff" with 6-figure edit counts. Not exactly newbies. And of course, many newbies who do just that kind of gnoming don't create the kinds of problem you list. Rgds, --Stfg (talk) 14:58, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
And then of course those that add "copyvios, questionable BLP content" are the writers, not the gnomes. --Stfg (talk) 15:04, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
RE Stfg - P199 said "...instead of just looking for more editors who only end up (and so on)..." - it was about attracting new editors for numbers' sake, instead of make do with the existing editors, retain them, and focus on quality instead of quantity. Obviously some newbies do good work, both with content or gnoming. But that was not the point of this discussion, it was (being here at RfA) about the necessity or not of more admins, and whether there was a way to decrease the workload for admins. Kraxler (talk) 13:04, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Of course, being an admin takes a lot of skill and competence, but I don't think we should try and make each and every admin 100% perfect. All people make mistakes, and more often than not it comes down to human error rather than willful incompetence. I think when someone looks at the unsuccessful admin applications, they look at the ones that went wrong due to one bad edit, one particular trait or (sometimes) for no particular reason whatsoever, they don't apply because they get discouraged. Then again, reform would be possible if even a small number of editors would simply keep an open mind during discussion, but that's a different matter entirely. Aerospeed (Talk) 16:20, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

I doubt that an RfA would fail "for no particular reason whatsoever". It would require a bunch of nitwits to cast random !votes for that to happen. Can't remember having seen anything of the sort. A very few RfAs failed indeed because a number of !voters found fault with some particular minor mistake/mishap, I remember Theopolisme (2nd), Dodger67, and recently Thomas W. About half of the failed RfAs are NOTNOW/SNOW closes which are undebatable. The other half are mostly requests by unfit candidates, eventually withdrawn or voted down. Wikipedia is a free place, anybody can run for adminship. Most of those who complain that RfA is broken are either the unfit candidates who did not succeed, and are sore losers, or their friends who voted for them and try to push them through nevertheless. They try to get some way around the normal process, so they can get in, and imagine a variety of "reform" proposals, under the pretext that we need more admins. Well, we need more admins, but we need admins who can act and function as admins, not just anybody who wants to get the hat. A vast majority of users knows that and agrees with this evaluation, and that's the reason why the prennial RfA reform proposals are always voted down. Conclusion, although the RfA reform debate is leading nowhere, and seems to be a waste of time, we need to fend off the "reformers", continuously.
It's not required to be perfect. First, there can be up to 25% of opposers, who complain about minor mistakes, or hold grudges, and the request will still pass. Second, I supported many candidates who had made minor mistakes, or suffered some mishap, but showed/convinced me that they learned from their mistakes. Besides, many !voters cite WP:DEAL or WP:NETPOSITIVE. Overall, I think it's unwarranted to create a panic and say that the failure of some unfit candidates discourages able candidates from requesting adminship. Many content creators do not want the bit because it distracts them from their preferred type of contribution here. Some have actually said so. Conclusion: We will to have patient and see tomorrow brings. In the meanwhile, anybody who feels able and is willing to become an admin, please come forward. Kraxler (talk) 19:03, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Stating that Most of those who complain that RfA is broken are either the unfit candidates who did not succeed, and are sore losers, or their friends who voted for them and try to push them through nevertheless. is not only wrong but a pretty abrasive, stupid and a pretty terrible statement. I generally thought pretty highly of you Kraxler but I am sorry to say that statement and the tone that you seem to have towards those who are trying to make RFA better and easier is lousy. Yes some people pass, you passed, but that does not mean the system works and certainly doesn't mean it works well. The RFA process has been broken for a long time, has it gotten a little better? Sure, but mostly because the majority of people don't bother with it. They do not even try and there are a lot of good editors that would make fine admins, some even that didn't pass just as there are a number of admins that shouldn't be admins. (talk) 20:05, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Just a note, Kraxler has never even attempted a RfA. ansh666 20:35, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
My apologies, your quite right. But that brings up a good point, why is it I wonder that they haven't accepted nor applied to be an admin? Is it because the process is the way it is? Why have you not submitted Ansh666, surely you would both use the tools if they had them to revert vandalism and protect pages and the like. Is it because your and Kraxler cannot be trusted? I doubt that very much. So I wonder, if not for the brutality of the process, what makes the 2 of you not want to be an admin. I also cannot help but wonder why Kraxler would then assume, incorrectly and unfairly, that anyone who wants to make the RFA process better, more fair and more fruitful as only being sore about losing RFA. That seems like an incorrect assumption of bad faith to me. (talk) 21:50, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Dunno about Kraxler, but as for me, I wouldn't really actually use the tools that much if I had them (uncontroversial speedy deletes is pretty much it), so even if I were qualified by most people's standards, it probably wouldn't be worth it. ansh666 22:13, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Kumioko, that you felt like being stepped on your toes. It was not my intention to talk here about anyone in particular, but voice my general thoughts about the situation. All discussions about RfA and its "brokenness" that I saw during the last years proposed to "low down the bar" for adminship. That makes me believe that my above statement is true. Nobody proposed just to change the proceedings, they all proposed to make it easier to get in. Fcat is that most successful RfAs have near unanimous support, like Fenix down, MelanieN and Titodutta recently. Only in a very few RfAs there appears some controversy. The overall image, concluded from the statistics, is that RfA is functioning fairly well, and that all the recently proposed changes would have done absolutely nothing to improve anything, if that's possible. Concerning my own not-requesting adminship, I'd like to say that I'm focusing on content. I've written, and still write, lots of articles, and I'm cleaning up badly written articles all the time, Check out my contributions any time. Also I do opine occasionally at Rfcs and drama boards. There wouldn't be much time for additional admin work, and thus I really don't need the tools. Kraxler (talk) 13:04, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

You know what I wonder about? The editors who pass an RfA and then slow down their editing or even quit editing at all (or using admin tools). I think it used to be a bigger problem years ago but I still see some user pages of admins who are considered "active" but who say they no longer do much admin work. And I see admins who, less than a year later, turn in their tools. I can understand if one finds that one doesn't actually like to do admin work but I think rather than coming up with more candidates, we might consider why active admins go inactive, sometimes not too long after an RfA.

My own recommendation is that I wish in RfAs, candidates who are specialists would be looked at without prejudice. It's not that the requirements for RfA candidates are too high, it's that there are so many of them, requiring both depth and breadth in so many different areas (content creation, deletion discussions, anti-vandalism, etc.). I remember there was an admin who had a successful RfA who was very skilled in technical/SPI aspects of Wikipedia and he wanted to work in that area. He passed but I don't recall many successful candidates who could say, "I'm just going to work to settle disputes" or "I'm want to focus on AfDs/CfDs/TfDs" or "My field is preventing vandalism and finding socks and I'll now have the ability to closes investigations and block offenders" and so far. It seems like there are expectations for exceptional well-roundedness that doesn't reflect the fact that most admins focus in on particular areas of work. Liz Read! Talk! 21:29, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

On my RfA, I said I would be focusing on AfDs, at least initially, and I passed without any problems. My impression is that if a candidate has a clue and is explicit on what they want to do, they usually have a straight ride. I say "usually", because editors sometimes have skeletons in the cupboard which may be brought to RfA by their friends years later, but if they are explicit about these skeletons and, again, have a clue, they pass.--Ymblanter (talk) 23:00, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I assume Liz is referring to me when she states that admins turn in their tools early. I would just like to state that the main reason I resigned the tools was because I'm extremely busy in real life at the moment and don't want WP-related stuff getting in the way of my studies or social life. StringTheory11 (t • c) 04:11, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Oh, no, StringTheory11, this is the first time I've encountered you! There were two things on my mind, a) another admin who quit after less than a year and b) a stats page on admins that showed how many admins turned in their tools in 9 months or less after passing an RfA but it was focused on admins from around 2006-2009 and hadn't been updated. I wish I could remember the link, if I do, I'll post it here. But I think it's more common that admins just silently slow down and stop editing without going through the formal desysoping process and usually they don't say why. Liz Read! Talk! 21:09, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

After reading a lot of the debates on here for the past several weeks I see a whole lot of admins being protective of the process and justifying it with "well I got access so it works" type mentality. Its great you got to be an admin and Wikipedia is better for it in most cases, but there are a lot of other editors that would be good too and the process as it is stands in the way of improving the encyclopedia. If that is ok with you, then that is sad because that is what we all should be here to do. If not, then I recommend you find another hobby. The RFA process is and always should be a means to allow improvements to the project. Admins shouldn't be treated better, they shouldn't follow a different set of rules and the process shouldn't be such a burdeon. If becoming an admin is such a big deal and its necessary for candidates to have a background check, good genetics and a the soul an heart of mother Theresa, then they should be paid employees of the WMF. If, however Wikipedia wants its volunteers to continue contributing to the project then they need to give them the tools to help. There is a lot of talk around the project about recruiting and marketing of Wikipedia, but almost nothing meaningful in terms of editor retention. If you focus as much effort on retention and treat each other with dignity and respect you will keep a lot more of the people who want to help and you will stop losing admins and editors like Tparis's, Boing, said Zebedee and others. Of the top 50 editors, a lot have either left or where run out of the project. That's a problem that needs to be addressed and poo pooing any and all suggestions to change the RFA process is a good way to make sure it continues to cripple the project by handicapping its editors with a lack of trust. If they have put in years of dedication to the project than they are probably trustworthy enough for access to the tools, otherwise, just tell them to stop editing because that's what you are telling them by not allowing them to help and keeping them out of "the club". (talk) 20:17, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Hi Kumioko. ansh666 20:35, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Greetings Ansh, but perhaps it would be best to simply participate constructively in the discussion about improvements to the RFA process rather than attempt to discredit an insightful comment with accusations of who may or may not have left a comment. (talk) 21:50, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
*shrugs* it was fairly obvious to me who you are, nor was I trying to "discredit" your comment. What was that about assuming bad faith you said above? Face-tongue.svg ansh666 21:56, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
My apologies Ansh, I hope you can forgive me I have gotten somewhat gunshy over these last few months. Think of it like the Wikipedia version of PTSD (Post Traumatic Editing Disorder). Continued on your talk page. (talk) 22:09, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

I've seen enough of RFA first-hand to know that there are a lot of badly reasoned and/or overly negative opposes, generally along the lines of "you did X way back when", "you do/say X, which may indicate that you also do Y" (and Y is clearly wrong but X isn't), or "you disagree with me about X" (where X isn't clear-cut and is something people hold diverse opinions about). I've heard that such opposes are decreasingly common, but also that this is only because only a small handful of overqualified or particularly "clean" candidates have been running lately. The second statement, at least, may be true because the number of RFAs has gone way down, and I also notice that this went so badly that Thomas.W not only withdrew but retired. Now, how shall we solve this problem? User:Ekips39/RFA reform has some ideas, but it's half-baked (if that) and I don't have high hopes for it even should I finish it.

Another factor in the lack of candidates may be the sheer unpleasantness of admin tasks, which can't easily be solved by changing RFA. You're regularly caught on the horns of dilemmas, where the options are (1) do nothing and watch stuff fall apart (and potentially get criticised for not doing enough), (2) do something mean and nasty that everyone will hate, (3) run away, hide under the bed and pretend Wikipedia doesn't exist (which is what I'd do, but isn't a real option because you have to be accountable). Yes, there are more nuanced options depending on what the situation is, but the point still stands that whoever picks up the tar baby gets stuck to it, and that there are plenty of tar babies to go around. I don't see a solution to this one.

PS -- Kumioko, I find it ironic that the argument you say should not be judged on who you are consists largely of an attempt to discredit existing admins' opinions based on who they are. I've never run for RFA, but I don't think my opinion would be worth any less if I had, regardless of the outcome; and you are ignoring the other groups whose personal experience with RFA could bias them:

  • Non-admins who failed RFA and now consider it broken (which arguably includes you)
  • Non-admins who failed RFA and are jealous of other candidates, so they want the bar to be as high as possible (whose existence I haven't got any evidence of, but it could still happen)
  • Anyone who's never been through RFA and therefore has no clue about it

Should we discount their opinions too? nah -- we'd end up excluding everyone, and that's silly. Besides, I don't think any of these groups are causing the problem. AFAICT the "badly reasoned and/or overly negative opposes" often come from a handful of people who are not admins, have no interest in running for RFA themselves, and think the bar is set too low. I don't think the permissions they happen to have or not have should enter into things at all, though, since it wouldn't solve anything and isn't always consistent. As above, I believe the most obvious solution would be to have actual criteria. Discussing how high the bar should be is meaningless if it isn't defined somewhere. ekips39 (talk) 19:56, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Anonymous voting[edit]

Rather than fill up EuroCarGT's RfA with discussion about this I thought it a good idea to start a discussion here regarding Andrew Davidson's comment that "We have secret ballots for arbcom now to ensure that they are done properly and it's the same for other institutions such as the boards of trustees. Why is RfA different?" What are everyone's thoughts on this? For reference I found one previous discussion but I'm sure there have been others more recently. Sam Walton (talk) 10:13, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

I see a great advantage of the current system that voters not just provide votes, but also important feedback. In principle, voting could be re-organized, for instance, keeping secret ballots and at the same time maintaining the feedback page, but I am afraid this would make things unnecessary complicated.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:23, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I think one issue is the logistics - the anonymous voting system takes a lot of work to set up and doing it every adminship request seems like overkill. WormTT(talk) 10:31, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
While he may not realize it, Andrew Davidson himself highlights why this would be a bad idea. He's developed a reputation for casting opposes with little to no merit. Thankfully, he is reguarly called to task for this, which hopefully helps deter others from doing it. As this community has recently been fairly tough on those who oppose frivolously at RfA and contribute to the bad reputation of the process, the problem of problematic voters has dwindled. Allowing anonymous voting would enable anyone to oppose for any reason without having to explain themselves and I don't think we want that. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 12:17, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I agree with Mellowed Fillmore above. Anonymous voting is basically a cloak for troublemakers, users with grudges against the candidate and frequent opposers to hide behind. It, in my opinion, would lead to more opposes, with no real reasons behind them and more bad feelings about this process. Orphan Wiki 13:50, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • As some background and for full disclosure, note that I used to edit using a pseudonym, Colonel Warden, but now edit mainly under my real name. The voting proportions of that account were similar: 39 supports and 72 opposes, so that my total record is 45/83/3. I was recently thanked for my opposing comments in the older case of Wifione who has since been banned. There were 90 supports in that case so my position was quite a minority one. From such cases, we see that there's a risk in stifling opposing votes in that more bad actors will slip through unopposed and then use admin powers to support their agenda. RfA is not supposed to be a rubber stamp to ensure that Buggins gets his turn; it is supposed to be a safeguard against editors getting their hands on dangerous tools which they might abuse and so it seems appropriate to be prudent and risk-averse. Anonymity helps in this, as with whistleblowers and other cases where people might fear reprisals. Of course, there need to be safeguards for this too. In the case of UK voting, the ballot isn't totally secret because there are counterfoils which the authorities can use to investigate cases of electoral fraud. In our case, the bureaucrats should still have access to an audit trail so they can check for ballot stuffing or other abuse. That's what's done in the arbcom elections, I gather. The system they use for that is still shaking down but when they have a well-established process and robust software, we might consider adopting it for RfA too. It is efficient to use common methods for similar cases as they will get better support and be more familiar to everyone concerned. Andrew D. (talk) 13:45, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
You aren't acknowledging the fact that an anonymous voting system would enable anyone to oppose any candidate for any reason. For example, someone who was once warned by the candidate for vandalism could pop in and leave an anonymous oppose. Do we really want that? The point of RfA is to vet a candidate and determine if he or she qualifies for adminship. That can be better accomplished when the participants state their rationales for the record. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 13:53, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Welcome back, Colonel. I wondered already what had happened to old Warden, well, changed his user name, who would have thought about that? I remember you as regular at RfA, long before Amaryllis and Fillmore even knew RfA exists. I remember dimly that our !votes were mostly at odds, but that's really irrelevant. Each !voter is entitled to make up his own mind, and state their reasons. I know now that you can fend for yourself, and will not succumb to bullying. The notion to mob opposers so that other users would refrain from opposing candidates, or calling other !voters' choice "frivolous" (done by Mellowed Fillmore) here above, might even be actionable. But I'll drop out of this discussion now, and will go back to content. Good bye. Kraxler (talk) 16:28, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I stand by my words, which aren't even remotely actionable, unless Wikipedia has now fully gone off the deep end. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 18:40, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • People seem to be talking as if the current system is working well and so a change would make matters worse. It is good that we have Mellowed Fillmore here as his case demonstrates the actual reality. Firstly, that account name is a pseudonym and that provides some degree of anonymity. Next, consider the timeline of this account:
So, to get privacy and protection at RfA, one can start a fresh anonymous account. Not only do you get to vote but people even listen to you respectfully at policy pages like this. Compare this with the process used for arbcom. That doesn't just provide some privacy for the voters; it also provides a considerable degree of scrutiny to make sure that they are legitimate. Such pains are taken at arbcom because the election process is taken seriously. But at RfA, how many Mellowed Fillmores are there? There doesn't seem to be any way to tell because there are no effective controls. Editors like myself, who like to do due diligence and take some convincing, are scorned for rocking the boat because most everyone just seems to want a feel-good process with no awkward questions; just a rousing chorus of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow". Andrew D. (talk) 18:27, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
WP:SPI is thataway. Not that it would make any sense for me to create a sockpuppet account for the sole purpose of voting on one RfA (you will note that I have made over a thousand edits and am NOT a single-purpose account). Oh, and if you were to look at some of my other contributions, you'd find that I don't at all think that the current system is working well. I'm merely opposing your idea because it wouldn't work. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 18:40, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
@Andrew Davidson:Go to WP:SPI to make your accusations. Around here it's SPI or shut up, I'm surprised you didn't know that. --AmaryllisGardener talk 18:52, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Mellowed Fillmore's own words were "I have previously edited with other accounts (I am not socking) and I do not wish to disclose prior identities (so please don't bother asking)." So, he is claiming to be legitimate and so we should AGF, of course. The point here is that he was declining to reveal prior identities and so this was a fresh new account providing anonymity. Andrew D. (talk) 19:05, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Andrew, I wish you well, and I was actually preparing to post here to defend your right to oppose, and to suggest that people stop attacking you for your pattern of oppose votes. But with regard to these Mellowed Fillmore comments of yours, my only advice is: you have gotten yourself into a hole; stop digging. --MelanieN (talk) 19:11, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Would it be better for all concerned parties if I stated my previous accounts? Otherwise, I fear that this will continue to come up every time I take a strong position that leaves someone looking to discredit me. Mellowed Fillmore (talk) 19:16, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • No need. Andrew D is only insinuating wrongdoing on your part, not alleging it. Reyk YO! 20:19, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • RE: I was actually preparing to post here to defend your right to oppose, and to suggest that people stop attacking you for your pattern of oppose votes. That comment is here. --MelanieN (talk) 02:54, 26 February 2015 (UTC)


  • Oppose Mellowed Fillmore, above, said it best. Replying to Andrew about real names vs. pseudonyms, that isn't the point. Most of us do not edit under our real names. We are talking about commenting under our "real wikiname", to coin a phrase. We should be willing to state our opinion publicly and stand behind what we say, as you do, to your credit. There's a reason why IPs are not allowed to vote at RfAs, and the same reason would apply to anonymous voting there.--MelanieN (talk) 15:08, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. IP editors are more likely to sockpuppet under dynamic IPs. Their comments, judging from the last year's RfAs, are rarely helpful.If they want to vote, they can create an account and edit constructively, since these IP editors who do try to vote are usually experienced IP editors. (Note: This was added. Epic Genius (talk) 21:43, 25 February 2015 (UTC))

    As for registered editors, well, there may be good reasons to oppose an RfA. I think the best opponents at RfA are the people with a lot of interaction with the candidate, who can precisely tell them their weaknesses (i.e. established registered editors) and then be honest to them about it. Epic Genius (talk) 15:37, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

    Unless some editors that actually cared about the candidate stopped by their talk page after the RfA and gave them advice. --AmaryllisGardener talk 15:39, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
    I guess some trustworthy editors who are friendly with the candidate could do that after the RfA. Epic Genius (talk) 15:54, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
    @Epicgenius: This isn't about allowing IPs to vote at RfA. It is about hiding the identity of logged-in users when they vote in RfA. --Redrose64 (talk) 21:41, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
    @Redrose64: So that's why we can't allow IP editors to vote, because it's a lot easier to sockpuppet. Epic Genius (talk) 21:43, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose, just think, problematic users could disrupt the RfA easier, but the ones that have good reasons for explaining their oppose vote could not express their reasoning. --AmaryllisGardener talk 16:06, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict × 3) Oppose. I'm almost never in favor of restrictions on editing, but RfA is the exception. In the time I've been here, anyway, I don't think I've ever seen an IP !vote constructively. It's usually something along the lines of "The candidate is stupid/an asshole/(insert more insults here)". We revert these comments automatically, since IP !voting isn't allowed, but actually allowing these !votes to stay would be very bad for candidates. For example, on a recent RfA (Cadillac000's), I had to deal with an IP who accused me of having a previous account under restrictions. --Biblioworm 16:08, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
    • The proposal is not referring to IP voting but rather registered editors voting anonymously. --NeilN talk to me 16:13, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
      • Ah, I see. Well, I still oppose anyway, because a system like SecurePoll would not allow accountability for !votes. A person could oppose for any silly reason they please and not be questioned. --Biblioworm 17:27, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Oppose In addition to what has been said above, I have often either changed my opinion or !voted oppose out of concerns that have been brought forth and to the attention of the RFA in the oppose section. Mkdwtalk 16:14, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - unlike Arbcom and Stewards and such, this process is a consensus-seeking discussion, not a straight vote. It often functions like a vote, like all of our discussion processes do from time to time, but it is not supposed to be a majority-rules environment. A strong argument (based in policy, or by an influential editor) can completely swing an RFA, and it should be able to. This also opens the door to uncheckable socking and canvassing. Ivanvector (talk) 16:31, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose People need to defend their position in debate if they want their opinion to be given consideration in a close decision. Chillum 16:34, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Ivanvector. Moreover using a secret voting system such as SecurePoll, apart from requiring configuration and management far beyond just creating a page using a template, would require election commissioners to ensure procedures are followed (eg to stop socking). That's beyond the crats, who are supposed to be transparent implementers of consensus at RfA. BethNaught (talk) 16:59, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose: RfA is a discussion not a vote, and the identity of editor username is key information. If a highly respected editor chimes in strongly against an RfA candidate, that one editor can effectively kill the nomination. Or save it.--Milowenthasspoken 17:06, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Would cause more problems than it would fix. (To be clear: it would help fix at least two very big problems with RFA - cheerleaders who support almost anyone, not on the candidate's merits but out of a desire to make their own usernames recognizable to the other cheerleaders for when they run their own RFAs; and opposes worded so harshly and piled so deep that we not only don't promote the candidate but lose him as an editor entirely.) —Cryptic 17:12, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Losing the Y in my name I'm actually using my real name so some of us do real use our real names :), Anyway back on topic - personally I'd rather say my opinion whether It's Sup or Opp as opposed to simply clicking a checkbox and that's it, As noted above there would also be the problem of setting up the Securepoll & all that - In all honestly I think it's more trouble than good, But good suggestion nonetheless, –Davey2010Talk 17:35, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - It is critical to the process that participants have all relevant information. Having anonymous vote would require 100+ editors to do their own research to find the same issues (or lack thereof). --NeilN talk to me 19:24, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)Oppose If people had taken note of the alarm bells rung by Andrew Davidson (Warden) and Atama on the Wifinone RfA there wouldn't have been need for the extensive, recently closed Arbcom case. With the transparency of the current RfA !voting system, at least such issues stand a chance of being brought to light. I did not vote on that RfA, but had I done so and seen those comments, I would have gone off and done some deeper investigation in order to corroborate those statements, which along with other factors would probably have resulted in an 'oppose'. I'm not saying that I would have done the extensive research that HJ Mitchell carried out for the Arbcom case and which took him the best part of a whole day, or that one more oppose would have greatly influenced the outcome, but we'll never know. Intriguingly, would that COI have reached Arbcom or even ANI if Wifione had not been an admin? Possibly not.
I therefore do not get the impression that "...everyone just seems to want a feel-good process with no awkward questions", even if I am one of the loudest proponents for a clean up in the way users express themselves at RfA. Such questions and comments are essential to the scrutiny, but they must be made without being antagonistic - which Warden, compared to some, manages to do, so I'm at a bit of a loss to understand why he may be advocating a secret ballot. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:39, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Causes more problems than it solves. If said anonymous !voting system were to be implemented, people could then create frivolous rationales and even begin attacking editors while getting off scot-free. On an unrelated note, I thought we were originally discussing the conduct of AD. I still find his presence at RFA disruptive, but I guess that's irrelevant for right now. Sportsguy17 (TC) 02:21, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Speaking as a recent RfA survivor, IMO it's not his oppose votes that are disruptive - it's the reaction to them that is disruptive. --MelanieN (talk) 02:56, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose, not that it's necessary at this point. Decennial proposal? Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:00, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose interesting idea, but I'm afraid it would create more bad feelings. The current discussion model is (mostly) valuable. 78.26 (spin me / revolutions) 18:07, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose RFA is finalized using the judgement and tools of someone using the Bureaurcrat tools. Allowing IP's to vote would require someone with the Checkuser tools and skills. Those skills are not at all similar nor complimentary, and in fact, would be handing some of the power of the Crat over to a CU. That is problematic for a number of reasons, which I will refrain from explaining for the sake of brevity. Dennis Brown - 01:55, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • @Dennis Brown: Actually, this is a proposal for making all registered users' votes anonymous, while still restricting IP editors from voting. --AmaryllisGardener talk 02:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I would obviously oppose that for the same reason, and 100 more that I could give as to how that would be so easy to corrupt and guarantee less participation from good people, as it would discourage honest discussion. I see why they do Arb votes privately (fear of retribution), but Admin aren't gods, we are on par with non admin, we just have a few tools. To be judged worthy or not by our peers, we should see and hear their words. Dennis Brown - 02:16, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose, this would lead to more abuse by !voters by being able to submit trivial support/oppose rationales that bear the full weight of an oppose with no repercussions. RFA discussion participants should be able to stand behind their support/oppose rationales. Nakon 02:07, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. RfA should be more of a discussion and less of a vote, not the other way around. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 17:14, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Bot to find candidates[edit]

Please comment at Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)#Bot to find potential RfA candidates Oiyarbepsy (talk) 20:55, 25 February 2015 (UTC)