Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship

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RfA candidate S O N S% Ending (UTC) Time left Dups? Report
Thine Antique Pen 81 10 4 89 15:49, 14 October 2015 4 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 06:49, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

Latest RfXs (update)
Candidate Type Result Date of close Tally
nms642 RfA WP:NOTNOW 9 Oct 2015 1 6 1
Ian.thomson RfA Successful 9 Oct 2015 139 9 3
Paine Ellsworth RfA Withdrawn 8 Oct 2015 20 20 15
Supdiop RfA WP:SNOW 4 Oct 2015 1 13 4
Montanabw RfA Unsuccessful 24 Sep 2015 128 86 13
APerson RfA Unsuccessful 18 Sep 2015 61 33 8
Oshwah RfA Withdrawn 16 Sep 2015 28 19 5

Current time: 07:41:23, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
Purge this page

Another new RFA[edit]

See Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Mendezes Cousins. This RFA is almost completely blank, and the editor seems to have only a few hundred edits. Should it be transcluded? Everymorning (talk) 20:28, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

No, that editor should be informed that they are too recent to have a chance and the RfA deleted.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:53, 19 September 2015 (UTC)
And multiple recent warning messages on their Talk page, to boot. They should definitely be warned about WP:NOTNOW, and their RfA should be deleted. --IJBall (contribstalk) 21:19, 19 September 2015 (UTC)
CSD tagged under WP:CSD#G6.Esquivalience t 22:33, 19 September 2015 (UTC)
I've placed a gentle personalized note on the user's talk page with a link to WP:NOTNOW. Etamni | ✉   23:17, 19 September 2015 (UTC)
So have I (and deleted the RfA). Didn't see your message, Etamni, because it had already been pushed up the page by a new bunch of CSD notices. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:40, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
I think it better to delete such RFAs than allow them to run, but and this is just an observation to those who make stats about RFA; it does make RFA stats on failed RFAs very skewed that in recent years we have deleted RFAs that once would have been NotNows. Also it would be less bitey if we had a clear criteria for running for RFA rather than the current unwritten rules. ϢereSpielChequers 09:08, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
What's your proposal? NE Ent 10:17, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
The "clear criteria" stuff sounds like what I proposed here about adding a numerical minimum recommended edit count to the main RFA page. Everymorning (talk) 12:01, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
The whole stinking procedure needs an overhaul, not just with new nominations. CassiantoTalk 12:11, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
The problem with revolutionary as opposed to evolutionary change is that it is more difficult to get a consensus and discussion usually will get sidetracked or at the least broadened to everyone's favourite hobbyhorses. We have come close to consensus on several occasions for something along the lines of "editors with fewer than 1500 edits or less than 6 months activity can only run if nominated by an admin" (I doubt the safeguard of admins being able to nominate a brilliant newbie would ever be used, but past discussions have shown that we wont get consensus without that clause). I think we could eventually get consensus for that, and it would reduce the number of times that newbies get bitten. Fixing one smallish thing might at least break the logjam and challenge the meme that RFA is impossible to reform, there are several other reforms that I would give greater priority if I was simply granted three wishes to implement reforms of my choice. But this reform is probably my second or third priority if we were simply looking for improvements that might get consensus. ϢereSpielChequers 13:01, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
FTR, I support adding minimum qualifications to running for RfA, but would oppose your specific proposal as long as it's worded "...if nominated by an admin" rather than "...if nominated by another long-term editor". Admins should not given any "extra power" over RfA's, even if marginally so as would be the case with your proposal. --IJBall (contribstalk) 13:22, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
And here we hit one of the problems of RFA reform. Of course you are right that we shouldn't give admins any meaningful extra powers at RFA, but the alternatives would be to come up with an elaborate definition of editors in good standing, and generally over complicate a clause that I only put in because some people insist on a way to enable a truly excellent candidate to run before they had the requisite edits and tenure. Defining long-term editor for the purposes of that clause would not be easy, and would lead to some saying that such people should run for admin themselves.... ϢereSpielChequers 19:29, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Ok, we're not going to approve having minimum standards for RfAs. If an RfA like the one that started this thread never gets transcluded, then deleting it as was done is perfectly fine. If it does get transcluded, then it should not be deleted but allow to run until a NOTNOW close is put on it. This has the side benefit of not causing statistics to be skewed. Rank newbies posting their RfAs, even if they are able to completely follow instructions, has never brought RfA to its knees. It just isn't a problem. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:03, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
  • RfAs have become such a rarity that not deleting attempts by trolls and letting them run until closed per SNOW or NOTNOW would skew the stats worse than simply deleting them. I think we are still the only Wikipedia that doesn't have minimum requirements for candidates, but at the moment our neon caveats seem to work for those who are old enough to read and who are native speakers and we appear to be able to contain the rest. I think we should be more concerned about more urgent reforms - such as trying to quash this ridiculous brand new trend over the last few RfA (certainly since Liz's) to turn the talk page into another Weatherfield, replete with hobnail boots, dust-ups in the back alleys, and a din worse than fifty Mancunian dustbin lids skidding around the cobbled street outside the pub. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:30, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Changed my mind. This is likely a bad idea, because drawing a line at x edits and n months will result in a spate of folks filing as soon as they meet those marks, and being looked at suspiciously by the Rfa voting community as hat gatherers. NE Ent 11:21, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
That's true enough per WP:BEANS as any admin knows who has worked extensively at PERM - many editors hover with their mice over their edit count waiting to meet the magical minium of required edits and then make a bee-line for the millinery. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:07, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

It would be trivial to just disallow self-nominations, since realistically if you can't find someone willing to nominate you, you have no chance of passing RfA. Making that official seems to me just an acknowledgement of reality. As previously discussed, it's long been standard practice for admins to nuke RfAs if a candidate obviously has no chance of passing, and no one seems to bat an eye. Might as well just require all prospective candidates to pass a sanity check by getting a nomination. To me, the self-nomination option functions mainly as a trap for misguided newbies. -- (talk) 08:12, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

There have been a few pure gold self-nomination RFA's, but they're rare. I still think it should be OK for a gnome type candidate to come in with a self-nomination, since they could be doing very good work behind the scenes but yet hardly know anyone. THeyd get opposes for low content creation probably, but some candidates seem to be immune to that while others get whole armies of opposes. soap 15:25, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Rare? 2 out of the last 3 successful RfAs were self noms. 1/3 of the successful RfAs this year were self noms. The last thing we want to do is shut down self nominations, that will just mean less RfAs, and we hardly have any at the minute. WormTT(talk) 08:01, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
We need to differentiate between the self noms by experienced editors with thousands of edits and long experience and the self noms by new editors who haven't spotted that they don't yet come close to meeting the unwritten criteria for adminship. An easy solution to that would be a rule such as if you don't have 2,000 edit and six months tenure then you can't run an RFA without a nomination from someone who meets that criteria. That would protect the newbies and not lose us any of the successful RFAs. The tricky thing is agreeing the threshold, and that some editors either don't care about biting newbies or consider that a mantrap in the nursery is a character forming experience or even evolution in action. ϢereSpielChequers 22:14, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

RfAs by size in kB?[edit]

Looking at Montanabw's RfA, I could not help but wonder whether the 310kB of discussion (plus 140kB on the talk page) are some kind of record. I could not find anything in the last two years that exceeded 200k. There has to be a better way of doing this... —Kusma (t·c) 10:05, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

It is certainly an outlier. Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Dihydrogen Monoxide 3 was 396kb before blanking and the talkpage peaked at 146kb, that was I think the only RFA to have over 400 participants, there may have been others with fewer votes and more discussion. Now that Montanabw is over I think we need to learn a few lessons, in particular there were editors removing rather than striking !votes and arguments despite them being responded to, and that left some hanging responses that now look like they are responses to the preceding !vote. Clerks/neutral volunteers could resolve this sort of thing. I'd also like to see dates on diffs as I think that would make it more obvious when people have to go back many years to get their ammunition. ϢereSpielChequers 10:45, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
^Fully agree with that: Dates on diffs would be a brilliant requirement, make it a whole lot easier to see what's going on; can we add that to the guidelines/requirements, or is that too bold? And removing !votes (instead of striking) is surely a complete no-no which shouldn't be tolerated at all. Cheers, LindsayHello 12:33, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
Trouble is, few people would read those guidelines, so it would need a guideline allowing/encouraging other editors to refactor these things. Dates of diffs are visible if you use pop-ups, so that ought to be less of a problem. If a !vote is removed, would it be acceptable for another editor to restore, indent and strike it, and place a note at the end of it stating that they have done so? Refactoring other people's posts can be troublesome, especially somewhere as tense as RfA, so I'd want to be able to put "per <name of guideline>" both in the endnote and in the edit summary before doing that. --Stfg (talk) 14:35, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
Responding to the original question, if you include the 'crat chat and its talk as part of Liz's RFA, the total is (280 + 109 + 49 + 286) about 720 kB. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 17:30, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Do female candidates have their personalities more heavily scrutinised?[edit]

User:Liz raised this on Wikipediocracy. Does anyone know the answer? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 12:39, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

I think I have raised the issue on Wikipedia as well but it is just an observation as there are too few RfA candidates, much less female RfA candidates, to determine whether this impression is accurate. And knowing how charged the subject of gender is on Wikipedia matters, it's a question likely to bring out those with strong opinions on the matter. If there were a larger number of RfAs being held these days or a study was done that went back, say five years, the evidence would be less anecdotal. Liz Read! Talk! 13:02, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
I was hoping there might have been some research. I think it's something worth knowing. Oliver, do you know if this question has been addressed in any research? If not, is there a mechanism for the community to ask the WMF to find out? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 15:26, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

If so (and I am making no specific assertions), might it be related to the perception (right or wrong) that female editors tend to be more personal in comments in general, while some editors (male and female) appear to be in almost "robot mode" avoiding any hints of having "emotions" in their lives? Certainly a great many of the !votes did seem to invoke "personal emotions" at first glance. I had a run-in with Montanabw in the past, if I recall correctly, but manage to totally avoid having it impact my opinion of her fitness for being an admin to the best of my ability, though some (male and female) seem unwilling or unable to divorce incidents stored in their memories in order to view the RfA in a totally dispassionate manner. Collect (talk) 15:37, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

You know, there could be a correlation (though I'm not sure how it could be studied) that editors who adopt a more "conversational" tone in their contributions (both in their talk page edits and edit summaries), one which reveals their point of view, opinions, perspectives, are likely to be judged based on what these comments reveal about them as much as the content of their edits. Since granting adminship is an act of community trust, this basis for judgement could work for or against a RfA candidate.
Editors who have a more detached, businesslike approach do not reveal much about their personality or personal outlook which can influence a RfA voter so the focus might be more on their editing work than their character. The downside is that I've seen candidates who are more or less unknown and anonymous be told that the community doesn't know enough about them to trust them with the tools. I have rarely (maybe once?) seen that criticism of a female RfA candidate and that was not a typical RfA. Liz Read! Talk! 17:22, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

I don't think there's really an answer, as someone would have to do sufficient research on the topic. Also, because "more heavily scrutinized" is a bit of a qualitative assessment, I don't know how someone could use some mathematical (or, at least, logical) method for determining this. But it would be interesting to know. Johanna (formerly BenLinus1214)talk to me!see my work 18:02, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Typically for social issues you wouldn't find quantitative units of measurement for comparison. Anyone conducting any sort of research on the matter would essentially need to do a public opinion poll on the matter. Mkdwtalk 18:10, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
I wonder if one could quantify the relative usage of "code words" such as "temperamental" or "emotional" in RfAs? Although, just guessing, I suspect that it would not turn out to be as blatant as that. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:17, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
I think doing studies or releasing "findings" of that nature would affect public opinion but to use that to prove any sort of definitive theory, especially from an academic perspective, would be difficult because of barriers and variables involved. The largest problem we have is that the sample size is way too small. Unless there were hundred's of RFAs by female editors to parse, I would attribute the majority of RFA outcomes to the uniqueness of the candidates running (male or female). Mkdwtalk 18:37, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
I have noticed this, Tryptofish, in discussions on article talk pages and noticeboards. Take note of who uses terms like "illogical", "unreasonable", "emotional" to describe another editor they believe reacts rather than thinks through their edits carefully. An interesting observation I've made is that sometimes editors who call others unreasonable and emotional are acting out of anger and are hostile even if their language is superficially polite. Retaliation, especially on a volunteer, collaborative project is far from reasonable behavior. Liz Read! Talk! 14:37, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I think that all of those points, from both of you, make good sense. I rather doubt that one could find unambiguous evidence of gender problems in RfA, although one could very possibly find ambiguous evidence. I agree with Liz that the problems are more noticeable elsewhere on-Wiki, and that it's desirable that the community increase the inclusiveness in the editing culture. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:38, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

There are simply too many variables to perform any valid research on this topic. Like Johanna said, "more heavily scrutinized" is too broad a term. Are we counting scrutinization by byte count? Do we just count oppose !votes? Do we count 'crat chats? Do we count the talk pages? How exact do we weigh scrutiny? If you are asking for a flat mathematical comparison that is not hard to do. I could throw together a simple script that goes through past RfAs and pulls byte data. If you are asking for more of a psychological examination that would be far more difficult to put together. There is the potential to perform a study but there has to be a much more concrete question being asked. --Stabila711 (talk) 18:19, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

I agree. Per Tryptofish, although code words are a good idea, it still doesn't give any sense about the context of the word's usage. It might have nothing to do with the participant's personality but rather some something else. A study done by any one person would most likely represent some sort of bias, especially given the lack of ability to provide some sort of logical proof. Johanna (formerly BenLinus1214)talk to me!see my work 18:43, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

I think the level of scrutiny people get over their personalities has far more to do with what type of personality they have than what type of gender. HighInBC (was Chillum) 15:33, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

I agree with HighInBC (to a point). Montana had extra scrutiny because her personality has rubbed people the wrong way over a long period. The majority of Liz's scrutiny was due to her lack of content work. Neither are related to gender unless you start from a position women are more likely to be abrasive and do less content work. Which would be ridiculous. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:36, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/MelanieN was pretty low on drama, from what I recall. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:54, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Well exactly, and that was because Melanie had little/no contentious issues to warrent scrutiny. Those small bits of drama were due to highly specific complaints by single editors, as opposed to the more significant complaints that affected lots of editors that Liz and Montana had to deal with. I had a brief look at other (obviously) female candidates in the archives and any wider/deeper/more discussion was usually due to a significant issue rather than anything remotely gender related. However this was also the case for the male editors, those that had significant opposing arguments tended to attract a deeper look at the candidate - mostly because people feel the need at RFA to defend their candidate and argue oppose votes. If anything, there is a greater argument that scrutiny is related to the strident-ness of 'support' voters in their badgering of opposes than gender. Those candidates with strong support get stronger counter-opposes. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:22, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
That's a good point. It seems to have more to do with editors who have had major contentions in the past rather than gender. I've certainly thought more about and seen discussion about the personalities of male RfA candidates if they've had an ArbCom case, a shaky block record, etc. Johanna (formerly BenLinus1214)talk to me!see my work 17:28, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
This is entirely my personal opinion, but I would probably disqualify MelanieN as a comparison case (if left to me). MelanieN has a very good reputation on this project and has a well above average resume of accomplishments and involvement in several key areas of the project. If someone asked me to provide a list of editors who represent "typical" editors, it would be people like MelanieN, Yunshui, and Doc James that I would intentionally exclude and for very good reason. This is not to say they're without fault, but they're clearly not typical editors. Therefore, I would only include MelanieN in a comparison of other female RFA candidates who share the same level of reputation and involvement in the project rather than with every female RFA candidate. Again, it's the problem with there being so many variables and too few case studies to see a trend that can handle a number of outlying cases without greatly affecting the final result. Mkdwtalk 18:50, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
That approach is basically how gender-warriors get results that support their (foregone) conclusions. By eliminating statistics that provide alternative possible causes, the gender-warrior ends up with 'well it must be because of their sex', as opposed to in (this case) a collaborative environment 'its because they have conflict with people'. Melanie had a low-contentious RFA like every other low-contentious RFA because she is a low-impact editor who collaborates well with others. Taking Opabinia's points below. 1)correct, low controversy cases are the same regardless of gender because the editors are *low controversy*. 2)Not well expressed - as a base number male contentious RFA candidates will outnumber the female. As a % of the RFA gender candidates, due to the significant gender imbalance its likely the % is higher for female RFA candidates, however that is because RFA has become (in the last few years) more combative, and female editors have only significantly increased in the same period. So any % is going to be wildly off just because of the basic imbalance of male-female editors over time. 3)Na. Analysing the text in high-controversy cases will only net you the reasons people object over time and plenty of people have already done that. Its not gender-related, its due to the actions of admins (and arbcom) and what the editing community expect from their admins. Finally the 'people cant help treating men and women differently' is a typical gender-warriors argument - 'It doesnt matter what you think you will treat people differently anyway so there'. On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog. Only in death does duty end (talk) 07:52, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Someone who knows what they're doing with sentiment analysis should take a look at this. I'd predict that:

  • Low-participation/low-controversy cases look pretty much the same for male, female, and unspecified-gender candidates.
  • High-controversy cases are more likely to involve candidates of specified gender.
  • Analyzing the text posted in high-controversy cases is highly predictive of whether the candidate is male or female.

Even people who think they're being "totally dispassionate" usually can't help it; people do use different descriptors for men and women, and evaluate them based on different criteria, without any intention to do so or awareness that they're doing it. Opabinia regalis (talk) 19:02, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

I'd support this. Any editor doing a master's thesis in conversation analysis? Networking theory might also play a role, what sociologists call "social ties" but the factor that causes some people to say that the RfA is a popularity contest. I bet there is an WMF grant that would support that research (like an IEG grant). Liz Read! Talk! 20:05, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
There is already several analyses of RFA from a network social analysis perspective; see Google. I'm not sure how much of that is fluff but a few at least probably are not. --Izno (talk) 03:51, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

A quick overview since Jan 2014[edit]

Since Jan 2014 (obvious or self-identified) female RFAs and any discussion points.
Liz - Lack of content editing
Opabinia - non-contentious
Melanie - non-contentious
Sarahj - non-contentious
Anne Delong - non-contentious
Cindamuse - non-contentious for the most part - interestingly only gender based objection was from another female.
Montana - Interpersonal skills
Solarra - Questions about judgement on CSD/Delation, with opposers stating needs more experience and would support next time.
So from this we have: of the 8 clearly female RFA's in the last couple of years 75% have passed. 37.5% faced increased scrutiny/discussion, and only 12.5% (one incident!) had any reference to gender which was by another female editor and which was successful anyway! Solarra would be highly likely to pass her next RFA given the comments.
32 Successful male (or not-obvious which gender) RFA's Of which those with increased scrutiny:
Cyphoidbomb - concerns with content
Sarekofvulcan - Interpersonal skills
Northamerica1000 - content
Jackmcbarn - questions about IP editing
String theory - AFD judgement
Deor - no one specific sticking point
Hahc21 - Judgement/interpersonal skills
Roughly 70 unsuccessful male (or not-obvious which gender) RFA's, too many different reasons to list individually, none gender-related that I can see and a significant number of them withdrawn. Of the unsuccessfuls roughly 25 had deeper discussion.
So roughly 30% pass rate for male/not-obvious gender candidates, of all the RFA's roughly 31% had increased scrutiny. No gender concerns.
So from a quick 30 min overview of the RFA's since Jan 2014, there are a couple of easy conclusions.
Firstly, you are more likely to pass RFA if you openly identify as female.
Secondly, there is no real difference in the amount of scrutiny male/female editors receive. If anything it is biased in favour of female editors as male editors have a much higher chance of being opposed, which leads to greater discussion/scrutiny.
Thirdly, the only overtly gender-related argument was to a female candidate from another female editor, confirming what modern men know all along, the only enemy of women is other women.
Its pretty clear that gender has almost zero impact on the reasons why editors face increased scrutiny, but that being female would probably help your chances of a successful RFA overall. There could be any number of reasons for this, pro-female bias from other editors, female interpersonal skills being generally better than mens in a collaborative environment (where men prefer a more aggressive leadership role) etc etc
Interestingly the reasons for objections are fairly static and consistent across both genders. Judgement at noticeboards (policy knowledge), Interpersonal skills (conflicts with other editors), Content work (not enough, or the 'wrong sort').
(The reason I have lumped 'non obvious' genders in with males is because if its not obvious or even hinted at, it has no impact on the discussion, and the gendergap findings would indicate that they are highly likely to be male anyway)
Thank you and goodnight! Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:29, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
I think the picture is more complex than that, especially when you look at how qualified people were when they first ran - men are much more likely than women to apply for adminship without having checked the process thoroughly and realised they don't come close to having a chance of passing. In other words being female may or may not increase your chances of passing, but it certainly protects you from the overconfidence of starting an RFA that won't get 50%.
Being female, and especially editing under a female name probably does brings extra voters. Of the dozen RFAs with 200 or more supports, only a third were women, but that's a lot more than the proportion of women in the community. More importantly five of the eight men in the WP:200 did so on their second or third RFA (often a sign of a controversial candidacy), of the seven RFAs with more 200 or more supports on people's first run, four were women. ϢereSpielChequers 10:04, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
Well I was only taking a brief look. It is Saturday morning after all ;). Still, if I wanted to pass RFA the things I would do in order would be 1. Declare femininity, 2. Make sure editing history includes a mixture of work at various noticeboards (AFD being a popular one) and content work in 'good' (non trivial) areas, 3. Dont get into disputes with people - to the extent of backing off even if in the wrong if they other person wont back down. 4.Collect hat. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:14, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The questions asked to Liz by Hawkeye7 about Jimmy Wales cannedd..... was not a proper question to ask. I was surprised why most Administrators digested the question as okay. It was purely harassment by gaming the system. By the way montanabw was not highly scrutinized. (talk) 10:12, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Whether or not you personally scrutinised her highly, lightly, or not at all, is something only you can know, just as none of really know how much scrutiny others have done of a candidate. There are indicators, including number of participants, number of diffs and kbs of discussion and most of them indicate that it was a heavily scrutinised RFA. OK there were some editors who admitted only looking at stats and not actually checking the candidate's edits, and back in the days when we used to have multiple concurrent RFAs you did sometimes spot people voting in RFAs only a few minutes apart. But in my experience most voters take RFA seriously. Though I do wonder how much scrutiny anyone has done who votes in the first minutes of an RFA. I can think of an RFA a few years ago where nobody had pointed out during the RFA that the candidate was contributing lots of work with overly close paraphrasing, other than that I struggle to think of admins where we looked back later and said if only someone had posted that diff in the RFA. ϢereSpielChequers 09:41, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
For simplicity sake I generally went with a definition of scrutiny as 'have significant oppose votes with well-articulated reasons' which were almost all (Liz being the exception amongst the women) unsuccessful. While some non-contentious successful RFA's clearly had extra attention (scrutiny) paid to them, they didnt have to. They would have passed if people had just voted 'Support' with no comment. Personally I find the contentious successful male RFA's (listed above) to be the more interesting, if only because thats where you see the sides being picked, the lines drawn etc. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:37, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Only in death does duty end, you are not taking one factor into consideration. Although I had often thought about trying an RfA, I only seriously considered it and prepared for it when I had three strong nominators who contacted me about launching an RfA. I never would have self-nominated.
I think there is good data about this in the workplace but men are much more likely to seek promotions and advancement than women. It's about risk-taking and being willing to open yourself to scrutiny and judgment. What really helps women advance are having mentors, in the case of Wikipedia, having current admins who encourage an editor that they have the necessary skills and temperament to try being an admin. It makes an enormous difference.
So, while it might seem that women are more likely to pass an RfA than men, it's a self-selected group, I think most women wouldn't try an RfA unless they were reasonably sure they were going to pass. I think if you look at most WP:SNOW or WP:NOTNOW closures for the past few years, you'll see almost all, if not all, of the candidates were male. Fewer women try to become an admin, so fewer of them have unsuccessful RfAs.
But since you are reviewing RfAs for the recent past, I'd be interested if you saw other RfAs as contentious as mine and Montanabw's. And I would measure contentious by going into Page Information and looking at the Page length (in bytes) for the main RfA page AND the RfA talk page combined. Liz Read! Talk! 17:02, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

Administrators are volunteers[edit]

There are lots of active administrators who doesn't do any administrative work.

If we put too much pressure on content creation, FA/GA during RFAs; then we won't get administrators as NeilN. Every article related to History, Science, Astronomy, Classic movies, Classic Literature and Geography are already created. We have to look at the mainspace edits which are not semi-automated using any Twinkle, Huggle type tools. If mainspace edits are above 10,000 minus twinkle, huggle, Stiki... edits, then no question should be raised about article creation. Article development is more important than stub article creation. Clean block is very necessary.

Those who are successful volunteers in WP:DRN, has a clean block log; those who correctly tag new pages for speedy deletion, catch sockpuppets and report them at WP:SPI, those who vote properly during WP:AFDs and WP:RFDs, has good knowledge of English language, follows WP:NPOV, reports vandals and trolls to WP:AIV/WP:ANI, follows WP:CIVIL, makes correct report at WP:RPP, doesn't do any canvassing, has 10,000+ non-automated main space edits and the account is minimum 3 years old: they should not face oppose votes for lack of FA/GA and article creation. (talk) 10:46, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with the view that all notable articles have been created. I'm also unsure why article creation should be the metric of choice - we have many articles that are in very poor state, some even degrading over time as a result of well-intentioned but poorly informed edits. Also, tagging is one of the worst crimes currently sanctioned by the community in my opinion. Other than {{cn}}, I can't think of any tags that should ever take precedence over actually fixing the problem, and the only reason I'm allowing that exception is because I realise that people don't always have access to the required sources to substantiate a claim. If you have access to sources, you should use them.
The reason, if it needs re-iterating again, why content experience is important in an admin, is that they have to be able to empathise with the passion that editors feel about their subject and how this can boil over into conflict. If we block misbehaving people willy-nilly, we'll soon be out of anybody that knows anything. Obviously, if you think that we're just tending the ashes, then that doesn't matter, but if that's our view, we should fully page-protect every article, and we won't need any new admins. Regards, Samsara 12:30, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
The IP OP mentions a lot of things, but is right in saying people should look beyond the easily-found created articles, GAs and FAs. While it is absolutely critical for an admin to have the relevant empathy with other editors, GAs and FAs (etc) are not the only indicators. General experience in the relevant admin areas, including interaction with other editors, is probably more important than writing engaging or brilliant (or lots of) prose. -- zzuuzz (talk) 13:01, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
Article creation is of course important, but so are all the other steps in making an article good. I often suspect that article creation is the metric of choice because it is easy to measure. When contributions require a bit of work to dig up they are less likely to be considered by those who want to make a quick decision. HighInBC (was Chillum) 16:26, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
I know there is an opposition group to this view, but I would like the edits of a candidate to be looked at as a whole and not a percentage. Providing rationales like user talk is their second most edited space, or only 30% of their edits are article related, really only tells us what they do with their time when not writing articles. If someone has 10,000 article space edits, it's a body of work, and we should look at the quality of their edits. It seems irrational, to me, that some would pass someone with 10,000 article space edits if that represents 50% of their overall edits, yet would want to oppose someone if the same 10,000 article space edits present 30% of their overall edits -- even if they had identical contributions in quality and numbers. Candidates should only be opposed if their work in non-article space areas raise concerns, not whether how much of their personal time is spent there opposed to "writing". Content creation is certainly a good thing to have, but it's not being proven or disproven by looking at the ratios of their edits. Mkdwtalk 20:10, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
I find these number/percentage based arguments deeply worrisome. It's easy to miss problematic patterns in editor behaviour if you look only at numbers, or vice versa read implications into a given percentage/number that are wholly imaginary.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:28, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
Just want to point out here that Samsara's post above is by far the smartest thing said on this page, and is probably really the only thing here worth reading. Opabinia regalis (talk) 02:26, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Opabinia regalis No disrespect, but have you seen Samsara blocking confirmed socks in SPI, Protecting pages in WP:RPP, Blocking users in WP:AIV, reviewing unblock request, taking part in ANI_______ WehWalt, Samsara,Shyamal and 200+ administrators have zero interest in vandals and trolls. If Materialscientist,Kuru, NeilN, MusicAnimal, Cambridgebayweather, Anna Frodesiak, SmallJim, Mike V becomes administrator as Samsara then there will be open season for vandalism. Of course content creators and FA/GA creators should be administrators, but lack of FA/GAs should not be a reason for oppose in RFAs if the user has 10,000+ non-automated mainspace edits. Few months ago i reported a vandal to a content creating administrator; he ignored my post and went on making other edits. I reported the same user to Materialscientist-who blocked the user. Content creation don't need administrator's tools. We need knowledge for content creation. A three day old Wikipedia editor, who is a teacher or a scientist in real life can be a good content creator. (talk) 03:40, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Well put, Samsara. Thanks for highlighting it Opabinia regalis. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 10:22, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Berean Hunter had a block, I was one of the noms for his RfA. He passed 160-0 if memory serves me right. I think the community is pretty forgiving when it comes to singular mistakes. It is patterns that turn into drama. As for content, I just want to see enough experience to build empathy. I never had a GA until after I got the bit, but I had done a tonne of sourcing, copy editing and cleanup. Dennis Brown - 02:47, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Bearian's 2 minute block four years before his RfA doesn't count at all. Much to the probable dismay of some of our more recent voters who have taken to systematically harassing 'short-vote' supporters and killing all the progress we made for intelligent participation, , I made one of my briefest supports there. His RfA is a classic example of just how little genuine candidates and their nominators who have both done their homework have to fear, and demonstrates quite clearly that if the the trolls would give it a rest, RfA does exactly what it says on the tin.
BTW: I just want to point out that,, all edit from static IPs at the same street address and if the comment they left on my talk is anything to go by, they may mean well, but I don't think they are telling us anything new that we didn't already know and/or have already discounted. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:14, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

Block logs[edit]

Re the "Clean block is necessary" comment above, can I ask where people generally are on that? Obviously I prefer and respect a clean block log, and I'd want a very good explanation of any block in the last twelve months, and for anything in the previous year at least an acknowledgment of why it happened and what the candidate has learned from it, but where do others stand? Would people oblige me by signing whichever of the options below is closest to their views? Appreciate that some people might not like the current cleanstart policy that it is only "strongly recommended that you inform the Arbitration Committee" before running at RFA with an undisclosed former account, but I'd like people's opinions within the policies we now have. ϢereSpielChequers 10:46, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

(1) If the blocking admin apologised for accidentally blocking you that's OK. But otherwise you need a clean block log to become an admin.
(2) Any valid block however old is at least somewhat negative, but there are many other things one should take into account at RFA and I'd support a very well qualified candidate even if they'd recently been blocked for something that wouldn't merit a desysop, such as editwarring.
  1. Close enough. Any block is somewhat negative but the older it is, the less of a big deal it is. (Age of the user could also be relevant here: I would be much less likely to care about someone doing something stupid 7 years ago if they were aged 12 at the time than if they were in their 50s.) I wouldn't like supporting someone who's been blocked for 3RR or whatever recently, but it wouldn't ipso facto make me oppose. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 21:08, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
  2. I probably fall in between this option and option 3. It's often a relatively minor aspect of the overall evaluation. Applying an arbitrary time frame to improvement is a bit much, but one would assume that a person seeking the mop would know better than to do so soon after a block. Cyclonebiskit (talk) 10:06, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

(3) I expect at least 12 months editing since your last block expired, and longer for badfaith stuff such as outing, vandalism or personal attacks. But if the block is so old that you could have sat it out, cleanstarted after it ended and come to RFA with a clean account then kudos for reforming.
  1. ϢereSpielChequers 10:46, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
  2. User:Kudpung/RfA criteria#My criteria (No.18.): A clean block log of at least 12 months, but this could be longer depending on the severity of the issue and the length of the block(s.) Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:13, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  3. Sort of. I would usually expect at least a 12-month clean block log, unless the block appears trivial or invalid. (If it was overturned at ANI, or the blocking admin unblocked and apologized, I would quite probably consider it invalid.) The more serious the block was, the longer I woulds tend to hold it against the candidate. If it is at all serious, I might well expect some explanation of what happened and how the candidate has learned/matured. If the block involved things like multiple apparently intentional copyvios, outing, persistent harassment, or other de-sysop-worthy issues, I would need a good deal of convincing not to oppose, no mater how old it was. DES (talk) 22:49, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
  4. I don't really have a "12 month minimum" requirement, but this option is the closest to my approach. Axl ¤ [Talk] 09:55, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
  5. Ditto that this is closest to my opinion/standard. I generally review contribs and talk page from a year before the RfA forward, discounting almost everything over a year old. DocTree (ʞlɐʇ·ʇuoɔ) WER 22:47, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
(4) I expect at least 24 months editing since your last block expired, and longer for badfaith stuff such as outing, vandalism or personal attacks. But if the block is so old that you could have sat it out, cleanstarted after it ended and come to RFA with a clean account then kudos for reforming.
  1. soap. Note that the comment below is not a reply directly to me or to any other votes that might apppear here. soap 15:31, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Blocked for what? Three year old block for edit warring or violating 3 revert rule is not that serious according to me. We all know that Administrators don't support the correct version during edit war. (talk) 10:57, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
IPs can't vote, so is this post just another trolling criticism of administrators from,,, a blocked user or what? Or is life in Kolkata just too boring?Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:13, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
These IP geolocation services don't give any specific location. All IPs from West Bengal are pointed at Kolkata as the main broadband/3G connection comes from there. There are English medium schools in small towns other than Kolkata. Ips from Asansol, Siliguri, Durgapur, Jalpaiguri, Kharagpur, Haldia, Bardhaman will show as Kolkata IP. The Kolkata people get all the credit/blamed for edits from all over Cities and towns in West Bengal. -- (talk) 05:21, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Except,,,,, in this case these are all the same person ;) If they were vandals we would make a rage block - end of story. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:16, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
"rage block" -- was that a Freudian slip? <g> --Stfg (talk) 08:31, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
LOL! Freudian typo! Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:34, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Personally, I do usually check the user talk page and its history instead. Blocks are typically announced there, and one can pick up warnings as well.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:15, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
None of the above. I personally don't give blocks too much negative weight, as they exist to prevent damage to the encyclopedia, not to retaliate for damage to the encyclopedia; and assess candidates with block logs by this one simple question: are they likely to repeat the disruptive behavior that caused the block? This can be proven by a successful unblock with terms and complete fulfillment of those terms for a while or simply sitting the block out and making a few thousand constructive edits. Esquivalience t 13:14, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
None for me, too, but somewhere around 3 and 4. I go along with IP112 in that it matters a) what the block was for, b) how long it was and c) how long ago it was. A 24 hour block for edit warring that occurred two years ago? It wouldn't faze me. A block five years ago for outing or continued harassment that lasted a year? That would cause me to oppose. Liz Read! Talk! 01:12, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
I personally would like to think a block log shows character, and how a person learns from those blocks. Just because someone has been blocked, doesn't mean a red flag should be waved saying, "oh we have a disruptive person here, oppose". While a clean block log is good, having at least one block allows me to judge character much better. Mine in particular, containing 2 indefinites and both successfully appealed, though the second one wasn't really a notable block, and that happening several years ago shows that I am capable of acknowledging my mistakes, owning up to it, and taking measures to avoid them in the future. My 2011 block for "oversight issues", ie me cluelessly outing people, was appealed at BASC when I learned about outing and oversighting. I have haven't outed or caused problems since.—cyberpowerChat:Limited Access 03:05, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Blocks are often a very good indication of age/maturity. Children can grow up; like leopards however, older editors, particularly those who believe that they are exempt from sanctions because of their prolific editing, don't change their spots (some of those might even be in my age group, or not far off it). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:18, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
@Liz, I'm interested in the idea of opposing for something five years ago. What do you think of the argument that the same person could have cleanstarted and come to RFA with a clean block log? ϢereSpielChequers 15:38, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
WereSpielChequers, that's a tough one. I've read a lot of archived RfA and discussions about them and I'm aware of editors who came off a clean start and became admins without disclosing their previous account. I think they should disclose prior accounts but that goes against the RTV philosophy, as I understand it. I know that editors can grow from their bans and that is why I'm resisting having a hard and fast rule.
I'm beginning to think what makes RfA toxic is the informal requirement that Opposers need to justify their stance. This requirement causes them to go into detail about why they believe a candidate is unfit and then those who support the candidate argue against them and bickering ensues. I also think that a few editors simply don't believe a candidate should pass and then they look for reasons to validate their Oppose. They should be able to just vote No. I think there should be a question page, a discussion page where conversation can happen and then editors just cast a vote, like in other kinds Wikipedia elections/promotions, without threaded comments. Liz Read! Talk! 00:55, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't know. This looks somewhat similar to the German Wikipedia system and that one does seem to have the same battleground issues if what I read there is anything to go by. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:23, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

Hi Liz, re RTV Cleanstart, there are some leopards out there who I don't believe can change their spots, and I would be pleasantly surprised if not stunned if they turned over a new leaf and edited less contentiously for a couple of years. Given the circumstances "strongly encouraged to inform arbcom" is the least worst scenario available to us, and if we ever had an RFA where the majority of Arbs opposed "per off wiki correspondence with the candidate" I rather feel that the community would take the hint. As to opposers having to supply or endorse a rationale; I can see where you are coming from but I disagree on a couple of fronts. Firstly to me RFA is more an exam than an election, and candidates need feedback so they have a better chance to pass next time. Secondly we have very few RFA !voters who actually take the time to assess candidates properly by looking at the edits they've contributed; but RFA has a role in stopping the wrong candidates getting through, and a well researched and diff supported oppose demonstrating that the candidate has a pattern of recent mistakes that indicate they should not be an admin is still the most important way to avoid appointing the wrong people. I don't want such opposes buried on a discussion page. Thirdly requiring a rationale and having plenty of examples of people saying "I've checked x and Y", or "despite z I think the candidate is not yet experienced at W" is a way of leading by example, and should encourage !voters to take some time to properly assess a candidate. Fourthly and the flip side of people not properly researching candidates, we do get some truly rubbish opposes. We need the rationales so others can say "yes they created that article and it was nominated for deletion in the last two months, but they created it eight years ago and haven't edited it for six years, what is the possible relevance to this RFA?". Fifthly, to me much of the argument about oppose rationales is not about whether the candidate meets the RFA criteria, instead its about what that criteria should be. I see the lack of an agreed RFA criteria as the root of the RFA problem, and turning the whole thing into an explicit vote as a way of concealing the problem rather than trying to fix it. ϢereSpielChequers 09:19, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
I think it's absolutely essential that oppose votes should be backed by objective rationale, and as politely expressed as possible. It is possible to do. To avoid the bickering and objections raised by supporters, a clerk of some kind should certainly disallow any vote that is of a blatantly impolite or humiliating nature or is found to be based on long expired stuff, lies, innuendo, vengeance, or material delberately taken out of context (we had examples of all of those here). A lot of these trollish votes come from a number of editors who do little else on Wikipedi but turn up to oppose on all RfA. If what they are trying to do is express their disenchantment for our system of management by administrators, then they are doing themselves the greatest disfavour and simply admitting to their gross lack of intelligence. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:52, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
Clerking in RFAs is essential, though only needed in a small minority of RFAs. In a recent RFA we had people saying they'd strike stuff and instead removing it completely, thereby leaving other people's comments disconnected from the issues they'd rebutted and looking like bizarre off topic responses to the previous !vote. More importantly we also had editors post unevidenced personal attacks that anywhere else on wiki could have earned them a well justified indef block. At the very least we need a clerk who can go to someone's talkpage and say "I've redacted this vote, feel free to reinstate it with diffs to support your allegation". ϢereSpielChequers 10:07, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
From what I've observed, it is really easy for editors who are pointing out negative aspects of a candidate's editing history to cross over into personal attack territory, especially when what is being discussed are not judgment calls (incorrect editing decisions) but the character issues (whether a candidate is trustworthy). Liz Read! Talk! 18:18, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure where this notion that WP:RTV has something to do with clean start -- (I've seen in a few places recently) -- RTV is explicitly not clean start. If an editor wishes to RTV they should be expected to vanish NE Ent 10:22, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
This is because in practice, people who RTV often come back and post-invoke clean start. (It doesnt work, their vanished user gets reverted.) The expectation is that RTV editors disappear and do not return. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:42, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
I think from the context Liz probably meant Cleanstart and I've struck and clarified that part of my comment. Yes the two get confused and should not be. The real difference is not that great, but they are different. ϢereSpielChequers 16:30, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
Clerking, if done at all, WSC, needs to be done systematically untill the voters get the message, potty train themselves, or find a new hobby. Xeno and Worm have stepped in occasionally but recent discussions in various places have revealed that the 'crats have generally rejected any notion that RfA should encompass any tasks for them beyond closures and the occasional 'crat chat. A new intake of 'crats may accept a widening of the 'crat mandate but with so little for 'crats to do, the interest in running at RfB appears to be at its lowest ebb ever - Catch 22...
We made an effort at WP:RFA2011 to interest the community in the idea of clerking, but as Swarm recently reminded us, the RfA trolls and anti-admin brigade put paid to that project. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:56, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
Kudpung, could you check your last couple of posts and see if the way you are describing the electorate is really advancing the discussion? Remember, the key words in Dick Tuck's "The people have spoken, the bastards" is "the people".--Wehwalt (talk) 15:05, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
I've checked the grammar and I can't find any glaring errors. I checked back again over a few RfAs and I found a lot of voters who express themselves nicely even if they are opposin; I found a few trolls, some editors who obviously have an axe to grind at admins in general and don't miss an opportunity to take a swipe at them, and add to that some socks and some unfortunate individuals who just don't appear to know what RfA is all about. I also found a lawyer or two but I didn't find any bastards. Thank you so much for your continued concern over the quality of voting at RfA. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 17:49, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
You are correct, NE Ent, a RTV editor states they are not returning to edit Wikipedia while a clean start is an editor wishing to start over again with a new account. I do think that a few editors invoking RTV do end up returning eventually but that's just an impression from reading noticeboard's impossible to know how exceptional these cases were. Liz Read! Talk! 18:18, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
I pay very little attention to the block log alone, without actually looking at the situation, because there are plenty of blocks where no one apologized while the block was counterproductive (from the point of view of an encyclopedia). There are also a number of detrimental blocks where not only did no one apologize, but no admin unblocked, because they missed the kerfuffle, because they didn't think it was worth it, because they were wary of being accused of wheel warring, ...
It's just another one of those many binary knock-out criteria (compare with number of edits, self-nomination, multi-editor nomination, presence at a certain WP board, hit/miss ratio in AFDs etc.) which make it easier for a participant to process an RFA and come up with a !vote (particularly an opposing one), but it says nothing about the quality of the decision. Some editors who have done or are doing outstanding work qua adminship have been blocked, and some editors with little to show (myself included) have clean block logs. Everyone gets to conduct their evaluation according to their own standards. I just hope none of these individual knock-out criteria ever become general. That would be a shame. (I even once voted for sysoping someone with less than 100 edits on en.wikipedia (and he passed)). ---Sluzzelin talk 18:58, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

"a clerk of some kind should certainly disallow any vote that is of a blatantly impolite or humiliating nature or is found to be based on long expired stuff, lies, innuendo, vengeance, or material delberately taken out of context." – Kudpung. We already have such clerks: they are called bureaucrats. Axl ¤ [Talk] 10:40, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, Axl, but they are not, and they don't. Please follow the discussions. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:43, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Sorry I sounded a bit blunt above. It's actually been hotly debated for several months in a multitude of venues. Worm That Turned and Xeno have made some very rare bits of clerking recently but it's nothing systematic. Here's one of the many on the topic:...many bureaucrats are steadfastly opposed to any additional tasks to their now very comfortable mandate; in fact many of them hardy ever log in, let alone edit anything. Understandable really, because the vast majority of them have been around for well over 10 years and it's quite natural that some users will have lost interest in working on Wikipedia over such a long time. What we need is a new influx of keen, enthusiastic nerw 'crats, but how do we encoiurage people to step forward? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:54, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
[Ack, edit conflict] "they are not." Well, they are not called clerks. A rose by any other name.... "they don't." Indeed they don't. However they have the endorsement of the community to do so if they wished. If you want to see them use that power, you should approach them. Axl ¤ [Talk] 12:01, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Following on from your clarification, I suppose that a cleaner solution for you would be to have bureaucrats who are prepared to undertake these activities. If the current cohort are reluctant to do this, perhaps there should be appointments of new 'crats who would. As bureaucrats already have this power, I see no need to create a new class for this purpose. Axl ¤ [Talk] 12:05, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Hold on a moment. You're looking for a group of people to "disallow" votes? As a crat, I already weigh votes at the end of an RfA, but you believe that someone should come in and decide during the RfA, what is or isn't a "good" vote? Fundamentally, I'm against that, without a strong consensus that it's the right way to go. I'm not happy with someone vetoing votes during the RfA, and I'd really like to hear some examples of votes that should be vetoed.
    The only example I can think of is "votes that are unrelated to the candidate" (eg "we have too many admins"). But rude, or impolite votes should not be disallowed, nor should votes on expired stuff, unless we fundamentally redesign RfA. Where do you draw the line between lies and opinion? Vengeance and opposition?
    What I'd like to see is a system to deal with such votes. Perhaps that they get flagged as "contested" and are temporarily blanked (but remain in place) until either the voter addresses the issue, or a crat rules on it? Would need to make up a template. WormTT(talk) 12:37, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
  • And even if it was a good idea, I don't think the community has actually handed bureaucrats a mandate to be moderators of ongoing RFAs. See comments here. Unless there is a clear consensus that bureaucrats have this mandate, any 'crat who steps in to delete or comment on votes is at risk of being seen as Involved. –xenotalk 13:16, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
  • As I've advocated, I think there is a consensus for having one uninvolved, non-voting Crat who isn't closing that particular RfA to clerk the RfA, which would rotate through the Crats like closing. Moving threads, hatting at needed. Not removing votes (unless NPA/sock/obvious troll/indent IP), just clerking without regard to each opinion, based on policy for any public discussion. Then let the closing Crat do the weighing. I've tried to do this a couple years ago as admin, and it backfired. Only the Crats can do this and since RFA is their domain, simple clerking seems to be well within the scope of responsibility. Really, if a Crat would do it, and we didn't let anyone else do it, things would run more smoothly. Dennis Brown - 13:28, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Yes, lies, blatant vengeance, diffs taken deliberately out of context to discredit the candidate. Lies are easily exposed, for example, but it just needs someone to do it. What we need to take into account Worm, is that such votes cause pile-ons. Even if the original voter can be persuaded to retract, the piler-ons never come back and retract theirs and their votes are counted as legitimate parts of the tally.
Unless we introduce some rules for voters such as they have on all the other Wikipedias, the only solution is systematic checking (even CU if need be) for veracity on all oppose votes by users that arouse doubts about their integrity - taking RfA as a whole, that's actually quite a few. Nearly every RfA has at least one sock in the drawer, for example. Let's not take my comments out of context with someone should come in and decide during the RfA, what is or isn't a "good" vote - what we're talking about is 'reasonable' vs downright obnoxious and disingenuous. Start a systematic clean up of RfA like that for long enough and we'll soon have the place squeaky clean. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:37, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Dennis, with the exception of some very rare and recent efforts by Worm and Xeno, the 'crats have pretty clearly given us to understand that they are not prepared to extend their mandate beyond closing RfA and the occasional 'crat chat. The consensus you mention was weak and it came from the non-'crat community, but they can't force the crats to do anything they don't want to. One crat said he'd retire before he were pressured into more activity. What we need is a new influx of dynamic 'crats who are not afraid of a tiny bit of extra work and a challenge to do something for RfA that has been all but wrecked over the years by the permissive attitude that it's one place where editors - even admins - can be as downright nasty and silly as they like with total impunity. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:48, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I'd say that's generally unfair Kudpung. The 'crats appear to have been rather engaged on the subject of RfA reform over the past few months, and given a clear community consensus, I am sure they'd step up. WormTT(talk) 14:09, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps we've not been looking at all the same discussions. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:17, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
No admin or crat can be compelled to do anything at all. If they don't want to, fine. If we don't have enough Crats to do the job, more can run. We are talking pretty basic clerking here, one person, some RfAs wouldn't need anything, so I think that most would be fine with that. To me, that is within the boundaries of the job and it doesn't require policy change. They decide RfA, to say they can't clerk it would be crazy. If they can't clerk it now, then the inmates are truly in control of the asylum. Dennis Brown - 16:49, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Back to what constitutes good vs bad votes, I'd like to get some opinions on this:
(Candidate is Australian and lives and works as an expat in Nepal. Based on a true vote)
Oppose - His situation in Nepal but writing about Australia indicates to me that he'll have a tendency to uphold systemic bias
Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:24, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
It's one of these "house of cards" arguments that are based on unreliable inference and are non-germane to the RfA process anyway since fixing systemic bias is not a sysop's job. I suspect it would be contested in a RfA anyway.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:29, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
In this thread that started as a question of whether year-old blocks should matter, let's discuss a (variation on a) neutral vote from 2011? Opabinia regalis (talk) 02:31, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Contested votes[edit]

Based on the conversations above, could I get some opinions a process like the below

Example RfA[edit]

  1. Oppose non-contentious reason User:Example
  2. Oppose contentious reason User:Example2
  3. Oppose non-contentious reason User:Example3

Example RfA with contested vote[edit]

  1. Oppose non-contentious reason User:Example
  2. Oppose User:Example2
  3. Oppose non-contentious reason User:Example3

The template needs a bit of work, but what I'm getting at above is the idea that if a vote should be reviewed, it can be temporarily hidden. This would be especially good for insulting votes, if they exist. The vote is still valid, but should reduce pile on. Just putting it out there to get some thoughts WormTT(talk) 14:40, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

First problem - define contentious. Some people think 'not enough content work' is a contentious reason for opposing (it isnt). Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:45, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Discussion going on in section above on that matter, it would certainly have to be defined criteria for where it could be used. WormTT(talk) 14:50, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
If there were defined criteria, would we not simply trust the crats to judge comments against them without the need for other users to point it out? Sam Walton (talk) 14:54, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
To be honest, I assumed that we trusted crats to judge comments against undefined criteria too. But it seems that the issue raised above is that it can cause "pile-on" opposes. Now, there's an argument that perhaps "pile-on" opposes shouldn't be dismissed, but since we have a limited number of 'crats and only so many look at RfAs before the end, I thought this might be a halfway house. WormTT(talk) 14:59, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I look forward to the discussion that defines that. If you can manage that, I have a bunch of cats that need herding ;) More seriously, crats currently are trusted to flip the switch and exercise their judgement on consensus when it is contentious (in the wider 'this is an argument' sense. If we start defining what is contentious, it actually limits the crats because at some point someone will say 'thats not WP:contentious so you cant give it less weight'. Even if its obviously a rubbish rationale for a vote. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:06, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I somewhat doubt that system which encourages people to contest votes would have any positive impact on RfA process and climate. People contesting GregjackP's very strict RfA criteria only resulted long and angry arguments, which as far as I know didn't result anything productive.--Staberinde (talk) 15:10, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Well at the moment the system does encourage people to contest votes. I suspect given the suggestion above by Worm - it will encourage people to contest if the vote is contestable - given the way the average wikipedia thinks. The simplest solution would be to limit people to voting Support/Oppose but only if they provide a rationale for their vote and with a ban on badering voters. Crats are perfectly capable of disregarding 'Support - why not' 'Oppose - too many admins' votes when judging consensus. Remember they are considered to be amongst the most able to make that sort of decision. Perhaps we should give them some of the trust they have already earned. Personally I dont see why we cant do a test run for 3-6 months with a 'no response to votes' rule in place to see if it makes the process easier. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:52, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I think it will envelop RfA in side disputes that will only make matters worse, since there are likely to be concerted campaigns to get comments "hidden". Nor do I see any possibility of consensus on the overall concept.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:13, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Wehwalt. This adds a layer of complexity that would only exacerbate the problem. If you want a solution, ban all comments threaded under any votes, and require those who dispute a vote to open a talk page thread to discuss. The badgering of votes is a big part of what makes this process so unseemly. RO(talk) 17:17, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Challenges to !votes can be effective and useful. RFA suffers from some very low quality research by voters and if someone doesn't realise that changing magpies from black and white to blue is vandalism then the RFA benefits if that is pointed out. Of course we've recently had some disruptive challengers who tried to change longstanding consensus that a simple support is an agreement with the nominator but an unexplained oppose is an unexplained disagreement with the nomination. But apart from that a high proportion of comments on votes are useful, though I'd agree with moving them to talk when the veer off the topic of the RFA ϢereSpielChequers 21:49, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
My suggestion might be to use something like ArbCom rules, where there is an absolute character limit on comments that go with !votes, (a smaller limit than arbcom, maybe 1000 characters or ±100 words) and then additional discussion can be placed at talk. Without something to put the focus on the reasons rather than the length, someone who posts a wall of text (pro or con) gets undue weight. This also avoids the problems with conversations erupting at the !vote page and puts too much discretion on the 'crats to move or not move. Montanabw(talk) 21:55, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

It comes back to how consensus isn't being evaluated appropriately: the focus should be on contesting the relative weights placed on different characteristics of the candidate, not on contesting votes. A consensus view should be determined on the tradeoffs between the positives and negatives of the candidate. To assist this, the Request for Adminship process should be structured to solicit opinions on the relative importance of the candidate's pros and cons. With this approach, there is no need to respond to each individual's opinion; instead, a consolidated discussion can be held to discuss a specific characteristic and how strongly it should be weighed. isaacl (talk) 23:45, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

But when an editor posts an opinion or an allegation which potentially has large weight, especially large negative weight, and a different editor believes that the post was inaccurate, or misleading because it lacks proper context, or that it attempts to give greater weight to a circumstance than is deserved, then the second editor will often wish to post a rebuttal or response. Whether this is done in a "votes" section or a "discussion" section, or even on the talk page of the RfA may not matter much, a back-and-forth debate may develop, and often has done so. Such debates are potentially useful, as they may expose facts that will be important to others who wish to opine at the RfA. But they can develop into nasty drama-fests. But when something seems over the line may depend on what side of an argument one favors. Such is human nature, and I don't see a good way to avoid it, although actually enforcing WP:CIVIL during RfAs might help a bit. DES (talk) 00:27, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Having discussions organized by issue/characteristic/topic is beneficial for a number of reasons. It depersonalizes the discussion, which reduces acrimony. It eliminates redundancy, which has multiple benefits: it makes it easier for people to follow the discussion and for new people to join in, since only one thread needs to be read to become up-to-date. It also reduces the confrontational nature of the process, since the candidate doesn't have to read the same arguments over and over in multiple threads. In short, if we really want the process to be a discussion to reach consensus, let's structure it that way, and follow the same weighing process that all organizations follow when trying to reach a true consensus, rather than structuring it like a vote. isaacl (talk) 00:37, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Questions for candidate getting excessive?[edit]

Last RfA had total 30 questions for candidate, am I only one thinking that this is getting excessive? I think that limit of 3 questions per user would be reasonable, although admittedly I am extremely pessimistic about likelihood of any such proposal actually gaining community consensus.--Staberinde (talk) 15:21, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

I agree, and think three is too many. I'd limit myself to one per RfA apart from in exceptional circumstances. But I would definitely support a proposal to limit people to three questions each. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 16:46, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Lawyers sometimes have question limits, and can be inventive. My concern would be the likelihood of lengthy and acrimonious disputes over side issues, with no final authority readily available to rule. And, after all, not getting a question answered can be a ground to oppose.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:18, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Take for example an oppose that goes something like "Oppose. I didn't want to be here. I appreciate the candidate's fine contributions. But their activity in the area of XyZ is very concerning. I sought the information in my question 2A because I needed that information to consider supporting the candidate, and without it must oppose." then when the info is provided say it's not enough to be convincing and the candidate and his supporters stalling on the information goes to character ... you get the idea. It really changes nothing.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:26, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
30 questions is definitely excessive, and I would support any proposal to bring this trend under control. Arthur goes shopping (talk) 17:19, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't think 30 questions over 7 days is excessive. In fact, the last candidate complained that oppose voters hadn't asked enough questions, which would have given them more opportunities to explain themselves. As long as admin is ostensibly a "for life" position, we shouldn't limit the amount of information that can be gleaned from RfAs. I can understand a 3 or 4 question per editor limit, but not a total limit. That makes no sense. Imagine editors coming in late to the discussion who have valid questions they'd like to ask, only to be prevented from doing so because the pre-set limit had already been reached. This is also very gamable, because supporters could add easy questions until the limit is reached, preventing opposers from participating. RO(talk) 17:27, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I think it really depends on how repetitive the questions are. If they're thirty different valid questions, I think it's okay. But oftentimes, certain questions are repetitive of other ones. Three questions per user is a bit excessive though, so perhaps two might be better. Johanna (formerly BenLinus1214)talk to me!see my work 17:35, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
There's a partial solution to the dozens of questions and chasing: if the question is personal and/or is not sufficiently relevant to the RfA or general voting, move the question to the candidate or candidacies' talk page. Some RfA questions are just not relevant enough to be worth putting on the main page. Esquivalience t 17:36, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
But relevancy is subjective, so it cannot be used as an objective guide to exclude questions. Candidates always have the option to not answer, and that's all we need. RO(talk) 18:01, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I think 3 questions per editor is reasonable. Of course, editors can find a way to work around a limit by getting another user to pose an additional question but at least a stated limit would send a message. I think if a limit is set, it has to include follow-up questions. Sometimes, an editor poses a question, the candidate answers and then the editor just indents and poses follow-up questions. They should be counted as well. Although I do know a user who traditionally poses four questions of every candidate, they are standard questions and they are not intended to badger a candidate.
I'll add that it is very interesting to look at old RfAs and see some of the crazy questions that have been asked of candidates (and answered, usually). One I won't forget is the RfA where the candidate was asked, "Do you think it's possible for two editors on Wikipedia to fall in love?" Liz Read! Talk! 18:26, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Limiting questions is difficult, though I could go for one question per !voter unless they contain a diff of the candidate's edits from the last three months. I'm not bothered by the occasional surreal question. Admins often have to deal with the unexpected and at least with the If blue was no longer available, what colour would you like the sky to be? sort of question no one is likely to care if the candidate ignores it or answers flippantly, but at least they aren't giving some preprepared answer because they've studied RFA long enough to know the right sort of answer to some of the common questions. ϢereSpielChequers 22:01, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Having been the recipient of said 30 questions, my own perspective was that it wasn't the 23 or so questions and followups from different users (and yes, I invited questions, as I felt I should not respond to discussion in the !vote section and minimally at talk), it was the seven questions from a single user, with followups to each, plus discussion at the RFA talk page and further not dropping the stick at their own talk page. Montanabw(talk) 22:05, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have to think this is all an artifact of how few RfAs happen these days. In the "old days" when 10-15 candidates were running at once, nobody had time for 30 questions per candidate or 300k of squabbling (or at least all the squabbling would be more equitably distributed). Only rare and highly controversial cases would attract the kind of dynamic that now seems to be happening frequently. You'd certainly get people pursuing personal disputes in the questions section, but with a more fragmented audience it didn't seem to turn into quite so much of a spectacle. Opabinia regalis (talk) 02:27, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

True, but it's a bit of a catch-22. Maybe there would be more RFAs if the potential applicants didn't expect the Inquisition. Andrevan@ 04:23, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
If the candidates (and perhaps their nominators) did more homework before running, and listened to the advice of their peers, they would be more aware of their chances of passing or failing. We would then probably see a higher pass rate, less trolling and disingenuous opposing, and in the long run, more canditates. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:07, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
True, but I think the larger problem is qualified candidates who don't want to go through a rigorous and unforgiving critique simply to gain a few extra buttons. Andrevan@ 06:16, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree. I noted that SilkTork has been reaching out and contacting editors who expressed interest in becoming an admin and most of them are replying, Thanks, but not now or Not interested right now. So, even most of the editors who self-identify as having an interest in being an admin are reluctant to go through the RfA process. For some, maybe they aren't ready yet and need more experience. Or maybe they are waiting until they see that RfAs aren't so adversarial before they decide to become a candidate. SilkTork probably has a better idea on that. Liz Read! Talk! 22:51, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
For several years I have been actively attempting to recruit candidates. I am careful to recruit those who like for example, MelanieN and Ritchie333, are practically certain to pass and not attract the wrong kind of votes. Wven so, they still have to be dragged kickig and screaming to RfA. Of the dozens of others I have contacted over the years, some are just not interested in admin work, while the vast majority of them are not prepared to risk being humiliated for 7 days in order to obtain the tools. It's a shame, because as I stated above, their histories are so clean that even the most unpleasant of editors woud have no rason to come along and oppose.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:21, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
When I became an admin, there were 3 standard questions that everyone was asked, and candidates were supported or opposed with a comment and some discussion. Maybe the time has come for us to return to having a small set of standard, meaningful questions and prevent random hypothetical scenarios from being asked with the weight of the process. Today, candidates can be asked a long series of complicated and inane scenarios, and they will be opposed for ignoring, deigning not to answer, or even not answering quickly enough. Andrevan@ 00:39, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── 30 questions over the course of an RfA is ridiculous. Even 15-20 questions is ridiculous. Also 7 questions from the same editor in an RfA (which, IIRC, I've seen more than once this year) is also ridiculous. Forcing editors to jump through 30 flaming hoops in order to get a bunch of extra (non-article editing) work, with a large side of extra grief, is a recipe for no applicants. You want editors to run in an RfA – what's in it for them?! I predict that there will be no RfA's in October, after the 4 flaming car wrecks we had in September. There are multiple solutions to this conundrum, but I still see no evidence that there's any momentum to tackle any of them. It looks like the Admin backlogs are going to have to get a lot worse before there's any movement on solutions here. --IJBall (contribstalk) 02:51, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

And it only took me a few hours to be wrong! Ah, well... --IJBall (contribstalk) 04:41, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

I have a question: Can this question be added to the perennial/cyclical list of topics that WT:RFA likes to spout on? When I started editing 7-some-odd-years ago on WP, this was being asked on WT:RFA... Editors as above, if they feel the number of questions is inappropriate, should either propose something concrete to reduce them (WP:SNOW), or they should grassroots-it-up and request editors to delete certain questions. And as always, the candidate may elect not to answer them as they are not-so-entirely-optional. --Izno (talk) 03:45, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Comment The current RfA candidacy is at 31 questions, but does anyone really think they've been asked too many, or that we should stop editors from asking more questions with more than three days left in the nom? RO(talk) 19:59, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

New clerking templates[edit]

To make clerking of RfAs easier, I have created a series of templates to mark struck and noted votes:

Documentation is too hard to create on mobile devices, but anyone who should be touching these templates would understand their syntax. Esquivalience t 18:57, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Is it wise to label an editor a sock before an SPI? RO(talk) 21:52, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that being a single purpose account invalidates a vote or comment. I've seen my share of newly created accounts participate in RfAs and it is up to the Bureaucrats as to how much weight to give their votes. Liz Read! Talk! 22:45, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
It is IMO not only unwise but a violation of WP:NPA to label a person as a sock puppet without providing evidence, usually at an SPI. I would not hesitate to remove on sight any use of {{RfA sockpuppet}} that omitted a link to an SPI with decent evidence or a checkuser confirmation, and trout whoever placed it. DES (talk) 23:29, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
The template does say "blocked or banned", so a positive check or SPI is needed. Esquivalience t 00:10, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough, although I have seen "sock" blocks imposed on basically no evidence, and in some cases later overturned. But such a template should not be used unless a block or ban has actually been imposed, and the template should probably include a link to the block log, or the SPI or both. DES (talk) 00:19, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for doing this, but in most cases I think I prefer this sort of thing to be done manually. Maybe if we had neutral RFA clerks some of these templates could be used, but in their absence, and with few or no crats doing any intervention during the RFA, the risk is that they would add a spurious appearance of legitimacy to sometimes partisan discussion. They also blinker the direction of discussion, for example the canvassing template presumes that canvassing is something done by the candidate. But the biggest recent canvassing issues have involved person or persons unknown canvasing against the candidate by posting links on off wiki sites likely to of interest to people who would oppose the candidate. ϢereSpielChequers 23:30, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I would perhaps recommend that the canvass template not specify who performed the canvassing. Mkdwtalk 01:03, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Where did this notion that we strike, template, hat or fold / spindle / mutilate comments from blocked socks come about? You simply remove them per WP:BANREVERT. NE Ent 02:09, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Sometimes, striking the sock is the better option (WP:SOCKSTRIKE), and it still is helpful to mark canceled sockpuppet votes for verification and logging. Esquivalience t 02:20, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

(edit conflict)(edit conflict)

The question of clerking needs to be clarified before the actual methodologies for them are suggested. Keep the templates warm for possible future use but wait for a formal community consensus for clerking. A draft for a clerking proposal was launched on January 18, 2013‎ by Scottywong to invite comment on the clerking system we elaborated together. Consensus was not reached but the RfC was poorly published and IMO the low participation does not represent sufficient quorum for a firm, representative community consensus.
I still read recent discussions about Bureaucrat activity as leaning towards general opinion that most 'crats do not wish to entertain additional tasks, the stock phrase used many times was 'That's not what they ran at RfB for.' However, that does not preclude the possibility of a proper consensus being formed from a formal RfC. Like admins however, we cannot force volunteers to do anything they don't want to do, but we do need to ensure that we have enough active 'crata and admins available to carry out essential tasks.
And instead of reinventing the wheel each time, our collective memory should want us to examine what has previously been discussed at Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship/2013 RfC/1 and the valuable but more general discussion at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/2013 RfC/2 which were, I believe, initiatives launched by Dank.
RfA Questions and voting were discussed at Wikipedia:RfA reform (continued)/Question profiles which can be food for thought again without reinventing wheels. There is also a catalogue here, that dates from January 2011 of some 100 or so questions which are examples of being arguably inappropriate. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:58, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Oh, and this needs a good read too - the same issues that have been perennial discussion and recycled here at least every time the page gets archived. It dates from 2006 and absolutely nothing has changed. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:31, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Edit stats for Ian[edit]

I tried to add the edit stats for Ian on his RfA talk page but it hasn't happened yet. Did I do something wrong or is this normal?
 — Berean Hunter (talk) 15:30, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

I think that xtools is having an outage right now.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:04, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
It works, but since someone decided it needed an unnecessary rewrite it no longer displays in the familiar way we have been quite happy with for years, and it needs a moth of Sundays to load. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:08, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

RfC: English Wikipedia needs to produce more admins [edit]

Just recently, I wrote an op-ed for the Signpost about how Wikipedia needs more admins. I now want to see if the community generally agrees with me. There is rational backup for this position, but the details are a bit too long for this page. I strongly recommend that you read this (and the "Stats" subsection) before voting here. I have intentionally removed any personal opinions about causes and solutions from there; it is pure statistics. A large portion of my op-ed is simply my opinion as to why the problem exists and how it can be fixed, but if you haven't already you may wish to read it anyway. Therefore, you may want to read the "Why?" and "Stats" sections of my op-ed. However, realize that the purpose of this RfC is not voice opinions about how to fix the problem, but rather to determine the level of support for the position. Therefore, please do not interpret this RfC as aiming to determine support for my opinions concerning the reasons for, and solutions to, the problem, but rather to simply determine if the problem exists. It is essential to determine if the community agrees with the basic idea before making further proposals which assume that the problem exists. --Biblioworm 16:50, 4 October 2015 (UTC) Edited @ 01:14, 7 October 2015 (UTC) --Biblioworm 01:14, 7 October 2015 (UTC)


  1. Support, per this. --Biblioworm 16:50, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. Obviously. Sam Walton (talk) 16:53, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  3. Yes because my RFA failed but I am capable of doing the admin work. There are are many users who are capable of doing the job but failed in RFA. This is very sad. I am not saying this because my rfa was failed. I saying this in general. Supdiop (T🔹C) 16:57, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. Less admins are doing the same job as before. This manifests itself as less diversity in the judgement used by admins. More admins means more oversight, and a greater likelihood of an uninvolved admin being available. I can think of at least 3 issues on Wikipedia where we are rapidly running out of uninvolved admins. HighInBC 17:05, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    @HighInBC: Could you give those three examples? They might be useful for the future. --Biblioworm 18:10, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    I said "issues" but I was thinking of people. I would rather not name them, these people respond negatively to criticism. Suffice it to say that they are people who have been here long enough to encounter pretty much every admin, yet the community has failed to deal with them. HighInBC 18:13, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  5. Agreed, in general. DES (talk) 17:07, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  6. Yes--Fauzan✆ talk✉ mail 17:40, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  7. Yes. This thing is usually too big and if you pick an admin area at random (e.g. RFPP), most of the requests/issues/whatever will be dealt with by just a few specific admins. Fortunately, these admins usually happen to be very competent and skilled, but as many different admins as possible should be dealing with an admin area to avoid any chance of bias, so issues can be dealt with efficiently at all times of day etc. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 18:35, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  8. Support the wider notion that there aren't enough editors, admins/functionaries/bureaucrats included, to maintain content and to organize Wikipedia. Although many still oppose unbundling the admin toolkit, the community has set a pretty high standard for adminship so why not unbundle the toolkit for editors specializing in other areas? That way, the lack of candidacies at RfA would become less of a problem and editors specializing in specific areas actually will be able to maintain their areas without as much admin intervention. Esquivalience t 19:07, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  9. If we want admins to be members of the community who spend a minority of their wiki time doing admin chores then we can't afford to see their numbers keep falling. I think it would be unhealthy for the community if admins became a separate caste who had to spend all their wiki time doing admin stuff. ϢereSpielChequers 21:47, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  10. Support. Everyking (talk) 22:19, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  11. Support Something's wrong, and this (again) acknowledges that fact. I hope this time we can press on to a solution. Miniapolis 22:46, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  12. Support: Absent enough admins, the ones that remain are overburdened, leading to poor decision-making and burnout, even among the best-intentioned. Montanabw(talk) 01:18, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  13. Support. It's obvious that 250 active admins are not enough to handle the workload. It's more than that, though, because even if we get the number of admins up to the number needed to handle the workload, we'll still need more admins. Admins should not have to spend a huge amount of time using the tools. They should have enough time to work on other personal projects of their choosing without feeling as if they might be letting the rest of us down. So when this process here, now, today leads to a discussion to try to determine how many admins are actually needed, the admins' abilities to spend time writing articles or whatever else they like to do that doesn't require the mop must also be an important factor. Paine  (talk contribs)  01:40, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  14. Support. The number of active admins is not enough considering the backlogs. utcursch | talk 02:13, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  15. Support. In the past I was always in denial that RfA was "broken". I've always thought, the process works very well.. it's the people that need to change. But it seems people are changing for the worse! The bar keeps getting raised higher and higher, and people are forgetting that trust should trump all else. I must admit defeat. Something really needs to be done. Or else the backlogs will grow to such a size that the hopelessness of ever getting ahead of the curve will deter even more people from wanting to do admin/maintenance work. That is, if we're not already past that tipping point.. we very well may be. -- œ 04:29, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  16. I'm Mailer Diablo and I approve this message! - 05:49, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  17. Support It needs to be the right kind of admin, obviously. Ideally people who'll be prepared to do the grunt work of clearing the backlogs at WP:CFD and WP:ANRFC to name just two. These don't need to be "content creators", just good people who've got the time to get stuck in. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 07:12, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  18. Support We need more admins as stated above, particularly per Paine & Utcursch. --Tom (LT) (talk) 08:37, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  19. More admins please. Less backlogs = less burnout = longer activity of those admins we have. Also, more admins can mean more expertise and diversity. —Kusma (t·c) 13:33, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    That would only be true if we could find perfect recruits. Samsara 19:36, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  20. Duh. -- zzuuzz (talk) 18:23, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  21. Strong Support --AmaryllisGardener talk 19:15, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  22. Support per User:Lugnuts; we're particularly short of people who feel comfortable assessing consensus, and people who are interested in working with files. -- Diannaa (talk) 19:35, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  23. Support I'm dumbfounded at the Panglossian reactionaries below, who say we have just the right number of administrators. I'm sure they'd say the same if we had half as many or twice as many. I am also sick of the cabal of long-time admins-for-life who've been here a decade or more, and are encountered with fear by everybody else, since not only do they know the arcane rules and the levers to pull and friends to round up in a pissing contest, but they've written a lot of what is now WP policy, and point to it as though handed down by god. Anybody who thinks RfA is a great system should be willing to go through it freshly every two years, so we don't have the same kind of low turnover and lockup on WP that we do in the US congress. Which, indeed, we do. SBHarris 21:20, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  24. Support There are people very experienced and knowledgeable at Wikipedia whose RfAs get close as WP:NOTNOW or who are opposed because of some (relatively) minor incident that happened a while back, and that they have learned from. I, for example, am a very experienced new-page patroller despite my only having 500+ mainspace edits. In general, those Wikipedians who do mostly patrolling work, and not really article-editing work, are underappreciated despite their vital role in keeping the site clean and running. Gparyani (talk) 23:06, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  25. Support. Per everything stated by Biblioworm, above. Good luck, — Cirt (talk) 06:14, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  26. Yes. Cla68 (talk) 06:40, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  27. Yes - the correct statistics here are the response time for real-time issues (vandalism, AN3, UAA, RFPP) and the admin backlogs; the latter clearly shows ever-increasing level of backlogging. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:51, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  28. Yes - as evidenced by backlogs. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:47, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  29. Of course we do. This has been evident for a few years now. The requirements are far too strict as it is now. Rcsprinter123 (shout) 10:01, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  30. Support - I've been watching WP editing trends for a long time. I've long argued that the evidence is that total editing numbers have more or less plateaued and do not represent a frightfully plummeting population — as naysayers would have it. At the same time, the crop of administrators has been steadily and inexorably falling. If 60 are lost and 30 replaced (and many of those nominally remaining burning out and stopping with the administrative tasks) year after year after year, pretty soon the surplus of admins are gone and a real shortage presents itself. That's where we are now. The difficulty will be figuring out what to do about it. Carrite (talk) 10:30, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  31. Support largely per Montanabw and Kusma. In the early days of 2005, getting adminship was a lot easier, and yet very few incompetent admins were let in. There's no reason for the extreme paranoia that has set in over the last five years. And I actually disagree with people who want to reform adminship by instituting term limits or making it easier to depose sitting admins: this will just encourage admins to be lazy and afraid to take on challenging situations, which would be as bad as them not being admins in the first place. I think it will also perversely decrease RFA applications even further as people see that adminship is even more stressful with term limits than without it. Also, I think comparing today to 10 years ago is more fruitful than comparing today to 5 years ago, because 5 years ago we also had very few successful RFA's; its just that more admins from the old days were still around then. Soap 12:39, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  32. Obviously. This is something we've known for many years. If you think 250 active admins are enough to police five million articles, you are living in a fantasy world. It shortchanges the encyclopedia, it shortchanges the living individuals we write about, and it shortchanges our readers. Gamaliel (talk) 14:16, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  33. Yes we've tried before, but if at first you don't succeed .... Johnbod (talk) 16:50, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  34. The promotion rate isn't the only statistic we need to consider (the number of articles deleted also started to decline after 2007, for instance). However I don't think a promotion rate of about 20 admins a year is going to be sustainable, even assuming we can stabilise at that rate. We are still making heavy use of the admins promoted in the period when RFA was more productive, and those people aren't going to stay around forever. A well populated admin corps takes some time to establish and the last thing we want to do is suddenly adopt drastic measures to quickly create a load of new admins. Hut 8.5 22:00, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  35. Support. The need for more admins is independent of the process used to promote them, and independent of a need to make it easier to remove adminship in a few cases - those are possible reasons why the problem exists, not indicators that there is no problem. Thryduulf (talk) 12:10, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
  36. Support Assuming we could find enough qualified admins, we could certainly use more. I find it also particularly interesting that of the opposes, only one is an admin (with 50 admin actions in 3 months), and would have direct insight to how much work admins do and where there are shortfalls. Mkdwtalk 13:14, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
  37. Yes, definitely. As well as making it easier to keep the backlogs down, having more admins will mean that individual admins can take more time over each action, thereby improving communication and making mistakes less likely. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 05:59, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  38. Support. Although I don't often need to call upon admins in the course of my editing here, it's clear to me that the same old faces are doing the same old admin work year after year - and with every year that goes by, less and less admin work seems to get done in a timely fashion, as our sysops are faced with ever-growing backlogs. As Lugnuts observes above, second-tier, non-urgent admin backlogs are in a terrible state (just open WP:ANRFC to see what I mean). Many processes are "staffed" by just one or two admins, and they grind to a halt when those admins take a well-deserved break. My hope is that those users who feel inclined to oppose RFAs at the drop of a hat will take a moment to stop and think about each candidate and what good they could bring to this great project. — This, that and the other (talk) 12:57, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  39. Support. More admins mean that administrative actions can be peer-reviewed to determine if they are appropriate. sst 14:16, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  40. Support. Those stats look pretty convincing. This has worried me a bit for a while. I don't see how this is sustainable in the long run. Jimbo said that in the beginning he envisioned that everyone who'd been here long enough and wanted it would get the admin bit providing they weren't a total asshole or moron (in which I case I suppose they aren't a net asset anyway... so "up or out", maybe). In any case I don't get how having more admins could be a negative thing... right? How to forward om this I don[t know... I doubt the community will want to make RfA any easier unless there's a recall provision, which the community has shown time and again it doesn't want and won't accept... so dunno. Herostratus (talk) 15:30, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  41. it's really surprising to come back after more or less years of absence and see the same few people handling the same massive backlogs (e.g. the xfd's). Despite the surprising lack of attrition, there's going to be some, and if we're not replacing those people, the backlogs are just going to grow. delldot ∇. 17:55, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  42. Yes. Make RFA much easier, (I'd personally drop the bar to 50%, which works fine for Arbcom), and either the sky won't fall in, or undesirables will get through and it will force Wikipedia to finally create the recall process it's been procrastinating over for the past decade. ‑ iridescent 22:29, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  43. Support a lower threshold, maybe around 60% - but still a "majority". As to whether 50% "works fine" for Arbom, I'm not sure I completely agree - but the point is valid. And YES - a better recall process is sorely needed. — Ched :  ?  22:43, 9 October 2015 (UTC)


  1. RfA produces the right number of admins and I maintain the process is not broken. See my comment below. Chris Troutman (talk) 19:21, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. What is needed is an overhaul of wikipedia's basic editing practices (pending changes implemented as standard for all BLP's, required registering a user to edit etc) which would negate the need for many more admins. There are/would be enough admins to handle the workload if the workload was sensibly reduced. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:06, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    Implementing PC for 730,538 pages would require more user hours, not fewer. And requiring people to register accounts before editing would make sockpuppetry a bigger problem, also requiring more user hours to deal with problems. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:41, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Na, a BOT could do it in a jiffy. Unless you are talking about reviewing the pending changes, in which case that does not have to require an admin. Remember the goal is to reduce admin workload, see unbundling. As for registering accounts, almost all online communities/websites that require registering (with greater or lesser amounts of verification) report drops in vandals/trolls/bad hat individuals. Its already a solved problem. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:04, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    I strongly suspect that many of the PC reviews are done by admins; of the 15 most recent non-automatic reviews (as many as there were on the first page, since I can't filter out the automatic ones), 4 were done by admins. Even if admins only do about 20% of the reviewing (my statistics here are 27%, although clearly not based on enough data to be meaningful), that's still a lot of admin time. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 16:23, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    4 out of 15, but they didnt *have* to be done by admins, so its not an admin task. You could argue applying PC to all BLP's might increase the workload by editors, but the point is to reduce admin-related tasks like applying protection, blocking vandals etc which would disappear once the vandal knows they cant vandalise a BLP. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:36, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  3. Oppose because the wrong question is being asked. See below for further explanation. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:09, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. Oppose Admin bots and unbundling have reduced the amount of work that needs admins. Backlog size seems to be stable. No need to lower our standards. Samsara 17:50, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    As I mentioned in my reply to Hammersoft a couple of section below, humans are still required and will always be required for many tasks. To address your mention of unbundling, I cannot think of any significant unbundling of actual core admin tools. Sure, we have unbundled rollback, template editor, etc., but we haven't unbundled, and are very unlikely to ever unbundle, the core components of the administrator package. (Deletion, protection, blocking, etc.) And we are unlikely to ever do this (especially deletion), because of the sharp rift that exists amongst the community and intervention by the WMF. Concerning the backlogs, we want to reduce or even eliminate the backlogs by getting more admins and therefore prevent backlogs while at the same time keeping the work load down for any one administrator. As for your last sentence, we are not voting on lowering our standards. That will come later. Right now, we are voting on admin production in general. --Biblioworm 18:43, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    we are not voting on lowering our standards. That will come later. So there is the agenda everyone was asking about. Which would be why it's important to stop this nonsense in its tracks. Samsara 19:08, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    Well, reading further above would have made it clear that we are having this RfC for this very reason. (Namely, to establish that the issue exists before starting new RfCs which assume that it does.) I said it from the very beginning in my opening statement, and I also told Liz that very clearly. This is not some "aha!" moment that has revealed some secret. And I suppose you are entitled to think of having open, healthy discussion about an issue to be "nonsense". --Biblioworm 20:17, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  5. Oppose I've not noticed any significant problems arising from a lack of admins. Compare this with AFD, say, where there's a lack of editors commenting on the topics and so discussions are rolled forward repeatedly. It's ordinary editors that we seem most short of and it might be that all the attention given to admins is counter-productive, making the ordinary content creators and maintainers feel unloved and unwanted. Consider RAN, for example. The poor guy just wants to crank out bios of obscure individuals but there seems to be no shortage of admin types determined to stop him. Andrew D. (talk) 18:14, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    Of course, a non-admin might not notice any problems for a very obvious reason: they're not admins and don't have to deal with all the things that admins must take care of. The statistics are very clear in showing that our admin production is insufficient. Our backlogs never go away, even though we have dedicated admins working around the clock to keep them down. See this category if you don't believe that we have backlogs. Researching the topic will reveal things that casual observation will not. --Biblioworm 18:43, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    I am aware that there are backlogs but they mostly seem to be busywork rather than anything that matters much. For example, the biggest backlog seems to be for usernames but that seems mostly a waste of time. For example, see the complaint at User talk:Jeff.jeff.jeff.jeff.jeff.jeff.21. This says "Usernames must not exceed 40 characters" which seems to be an invention not found in the policy. And, in any case, the name is shorter than 40 characters. We shouldn't be wasting time on such stuff when the real work which needs doing is in article space. Andrew D. (talk) 19:00, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    Backlogs are not meant to go away. They're just supposed to remain stable, which they have been for a long time. There are many reasons for backlogs that have nothing to do with availability of hands. Samsara 19:22, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    The statistics are very clear in showing that our admin production is insufficient. Except Hammersoft has shown that that is not the case, and you seem to feel you have a license to just ignore his relevant evidence and pretend it doesn't exist. Samsara 19:26, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    They are not meant to go away? We are to be satisfied with simply keeping them stable, no matter how much work there is? The definition of backlog is "an accumulation of something, especially uncompleted work or matters that need to be dealt with."[1] The template for marking backlogged categories says that backlogs need attention from admins. If what you say is the case, then why do we have backlog drives in all aspects of Wikipedia? Why be satisfied with an inferior solution ("just keep them stable"), when getting more admins would result in more even distribution of work and perhaps even elimination of the backlogs? And finally, I addressed Hammersoft's evidence in exhausting detail and explained the discrepancies between his data points, and the inconsistencies between the short-term data and the more important long-term data, so to the contrary no one can in any way pretend that I'm ignoring what he said and pretending that the data is not there. --Biblioworm 20:17, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    In reply to your comment, Andrew, it is true that many of the backlogs are busywork, but there was also a previous discussion about this in this very RfC. It was pointed out the even simple tasks can become extremely tedious and boring when there is a lot of it to do. For instance, when I edited another wiki, I was one of the very few people who dealt with the reference error backlog. Usually, it was just a matter of adding the same chunk of text on articles. But there were dozens of these articles and the work felt very difficult after a while. As for the username example you gave, that probably was a silly invention, but otherwise there are some seriously disruptive usernames to deal with. And the maintenance work is extremely important as well, so it's hardly a waste of time; otherwise, the site would descend into chaos. --Biblioworm 16:48, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. The community is understandably reluctant to elevate editors to lifetime positions unless it is positive that they will behave properly. Accordingly, RfAs make it as hard to become an admin as it is to remove one. Improve the process for dealing with abusive and inept admins and this problem will self-correct. Coretheapple (talk) 13:12, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  7. Oppose Hammersoft, Samsara and Andrew D. have the better arguments here. Backlogs are part of life, any problem can be solved only after it has appeared, was acknowledged, was debated/considered, had solutions proposed and the latter eventually implemented. The backlog is the amount of problems that are within this time window (from appearance to solution), so, by definition, there can not be any time without a backlog, except in Utopia. Kraxler (talk) 15:30, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Excuse me, Kraxler, but I put much time and effort into refuting Hammersoft's and Samsara's arguments. They are invalid and not supported by the facts and data. Please read this diff for a short summary of why this is the case. --Biblioworm 15:35, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    You have certainly put much time and effort into trying to refute them, but you failed. And thanks for pointing to useful links, but I'll use my own brain here. Kraxler (talk) 15:39, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    The problem is, you look at statistics that show increases in base numbers and conclude that this means more admins are needed. For a start that is one possible solution to lowering the individual burden, however it makes no reference as to what the burden actually is. Is it onerous? Were the actions taken in (for example) 2007 more time consuming compared to today's suite of tools? Were the admins previously working at 30% of their available capacity and are now working at 50%? Have the tasks changed significantly? Do we now have more invested admins at the top end? Essentially looking at your posts and rebuttals it comes across more as a 'this is the conclusion, here are the statistics to prove it', rather than 'these are the statistics, what is causing this?'. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:48, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Kraxler: How did I fail? I showed rather clearly that they reached completely illogical and unsupported conclusions with their "data" and "evidence". I hope you at least read the link. @Only in death: Yes, I am trying to prove a point. A person trying to prove a point should show statistics to prove it. In regard to your assertion that I should have a "these are the statistics, what is causing this" outlook, I did that already. I looked at the statistics, and I reached the conclusion that the evidence is quite unambiguous. In fact, even Hammersoft's data, intended to prove the opposite conclusion, could in fact be construed as evidence for my position. For instance, since we seem to be very interested in correlations, does anyone find it interesting that the average burden per admin in the top 30 has increased by 29% since 2005, and by 10% for every admin since 2010? It's an interesting correlation that the individual burden has been increasing as promotions are decreasing. In regard to "burden", I'm afraid that's something that cannot be accurately quantified in numerals, but the stats I just showed to demonstrate that it has been increasing. We know, however, that there is a burden if the backlogs still exists even though admins are performing hundreds and thousands of actions while not having any noticeable difference on the amount of work. --Biblioworm 16:48, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Taking the 29% figure in isolation is misleading. The fact, in isolation, that average admin burden over the last ten years has remained static is misleading. The fact, in isolation, that average admin burden over the last five years has increased 10% is misleading. None of these figures mean anything in isolation. Using any of them to prop up any conclusion is a false conclusion. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. We don't have it. In fact, rather the opposite. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:59, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    ...which is why I said "since we seem to be very interested in correlations". I was saying it in response to the contrary attempts to prove a point using this data. So, I gave an "according to that logic" example. You're right: alone, they mean nothing. But overall, it is very interesting that was have these interesting correlations (burden increases as promotions decrease) and the presence of data to show that the average admin is doing more work than they were doing a few years ago. Curiously, they seem to support the idea that we should get more admins to reduce the average workload. --Biblioworm 19:31, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    That is your interpretation, yes. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:21, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @OID; I removed myself from the conversation below because it was apparent that we were talking past each other with statistics. There's the old adage about "There's lies, damned lies, and statistics" and it's true. The statistics can be used to support lots of views, even ones that directly contradict one another. The idea that statistics from a very small data set absolutely, irrefutably conclude anything is one I find objectionable. It's kinda like saying the flow rate in the Colorado River below Lake Havasu is too low, and therefore concluding there isn't enough rain in the state of Colorado. There's a blizzard of factors that play into that rate. Data taken in isolation is insufficient to conclude anything, much less in a system as complex as Wikipedia. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:59, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    FWIW, there's more on the distribution of admin actions in 2014-5 vs 2006-7 in these graphs based on data collected in May. My interpretation of that data was that admin actions are being concentrated in fewer hands: compared to the old data, we now have many more admins who take only a few actions, and many fewer at the top of the activity distribution. There is wiggle room there for redistribution of some actions into flagged adminbots, but the basic conclusion is pretty clear. Of course that makes no normative claim about how many admins there "should" be.
    From what I can tell the Foundation's data science people produce self-contained research projects rather than data in a form that is useful feedback for the community, but they really ought to pay a couple of Berkeley kids to be the on-call data gofers (er, ahem, "Applied Data Science Interns") for this kind of relatively small-scale question so people don't waste their time gathering redundant datasets too small or arbitrary to draw conclusions from. Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:49, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Opabinia regalis: Your beliefs seem to be based on unstated and untested assumptions. Not long ago, I was briefly interested in page protections, and ended up concluding that it was futile trying to get a significant share of that cake because the admins who've been doing that work for longer are just that much better at it. Which is consistent with what Hammersoft found. Every backlog I've ever looked into has been dealt with and, on long-term observation, been stable. In fact, there is a problem in that some "backlogs" do not really exist, such as Category:AfD debates relisted 3 or more times, which is mostly populated with items that have been dealt with (I looked at ten items, and nine had been closed). Nonetheless, it is officially designated a backlog. Which goes back to what I've said before: we love tagging things, and we forget to untag them. Samsara 22:22, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Samsara: I don't follow. I described the difference in distributions. That's not a belief. I also didn't say anything about backlogs. It could be true that having fewer admins taking a greater share of the admin actions is a good thing: maybe higher consistency and specialized skill development is worth the tradeoff against greater diversity and less vulnerability to changes in individual admins' activity level.
    As for that AfD category, it's always cited as the Dumbest Backlog. Why does it still exist? Opabinia regalis (talk) 23:33, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Opabinia regalis: I alluded to the admins who've gotten extremely good at certain tasks. This is why they claim an increasing share of admin actions. I don't see any demonstration that it's anything other than a simple training effect. Samsara 23:43, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  8. Oppose in a perfect world, no admins would be needed, and actually most things adminy should be able, and many are, done by non-admins (we should devolve more), yet, recognizing this is not a perfect world - we do have some admins - the present admin corp appears reluctant to do the tool needed work, so it is doubtful "new admins" will solve anything - address the type of work (automate?) or the admin corps' reluctance to do it (incentives and accountability -- eg. one idea, out of many -- in some areas make identified admins responsible for this or that board, backlog, or say, the main page - so everyone knows who to talk to about it - and we know there are enough interested in doing it - or some other assignment mechanism - with perhaps rotation; thank the non-doers for their service and give them a t-shirt, and tell them it's time to move on to bigger and better things on this project than holding a mop). Then too, this idea that we need "more admins", without answering the 'how many' and 'for what' is backwards. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:53, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Alanscottwalker: The hard facts and data show that most new admins really do contribute to administrative work (see my reply to Axl above), so to the contrary there is no proof for the idea that the present admin corps are reluctant to the needed work. The AdminStats tool shows that hundreds of admins are performing hundreds or thousands of action within a couple of months. Finally, I can answer the two questions you presented at the end. Although it is difficult to say how many admins we need (that's really something unrealistic to expect), this was already discussed. The answer is that we know that we are somewhere around the desirable number when we can eliminate most of the backlogs and the burden on individual admins is reduced (and before I hear the tired answer that backlogs are not meant to be eliminated, I would advise any would-be repliers to read my second reply to Samsara here). To answer the "for what" question, we are doing this so that we can significantly reduce or even eliminate some backlogs. (I repeat: wouldn't you feel like your hard, dedicated work was going to waste if you were performing hundreds to thousands of actions to handle the backlogs and yet they never went away? To anyone thinking of objecting, think about yourself in the position of the admins.) Just as importantly, we are also doing this to reduce the burden on individual admins. As I mentioned above, the statistics show a general increase in the burden of each individual admin since 2005 and 2010; the statistics show this for both the top 30 group and the admins as a whole. Admins are WP:VOLUNTEERs like the rest of us. They shouldn't feel like they have to do so much work just to keep this site running. Perhaps some want to work on other things on-wiki, or maybe they want to do more things in real life. Obtaining more admins will contribute to distributing the workload more evenly; as I mentioned above, the statistics also show that most admins elected via RfA go on to become active. --Biblioworm 16:48, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    No. They don't want to do it, that's why it is not getting done. More admins, as experience demonstrates, will be more admins that do not do it. Sure, they are volunteers -- they volunteered for the tool, and by their (in)actions, they are volunteering not to do what it is needed for. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:39, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    With all due respect, you continue to assert that admins aren't doing any work even though the data is plainly against the notion? And furthermore, my detailed response to the questions you presented is just dismissed with a "no"? Of course, many of our admins from past years have moved on naturally, and there's not much we can do about that. But we still have a very considerable number of dedicated admins who work hard. I'll give a hard statistic: over the past month, there have been almost 180 admins who have performed at least 30 actions, 115 admins who performed at least 100 actions, 35 who performed over 500, and 20 who have performed over 1,000. This is just over the past month. And yet people are saying that most admins don't work hard? And even if what you say is true, how do you suppose that we'll get more admins to jobs they don't want to do? What if they don't want to? They're not getting a paycheck for it, so they can refuse to do anything they don't want to do. The best solution, more realistic than forcing admins into jobs they dislike, is to get more enthusiastic new blood that will reduce the workload across the board so that each individual admin will have do less work individually. As I said earlier, the data presented by Hammersoft shows that there has been a general increase in burden for each individual admin over the past 5–10 years. --Biblioworm 19:31, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    No. I do not say that individual admins are not doing work. On the whole the corp of admins is large, but it's apparently not getting done (or, perhaps these backlog tasks do not need to get done, and if that is the case - who cares). I also did propose ways to address it -- deal with attractiveness of it and their accountability for the work flow. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:38, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  9. Oppose - I believe 250 is fine, I do wonder at times if RFA is too strict but then again if it wasn't strict it'd be hell here!, Anyway I don't think there's anything to worry about & don't really think there ever will be. –Davey2010Talk 15:56, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Of course you don't worry about it, since you're not an admin and don't have to do the work. Certainly, I have written tens of thousands of words within a few days that expressly discuss why 250 active admins is not enough for a website that has endless work to do and for a website that is two places more popular than Twitter. Don't be deceived by plain numbers. Finally, I don't believe there is any hard proof for the assertion that "it'd be hell here!" if we let some more people become admins and loosened our requirements a bit. We have methods for holding the occasional consistently abusive admin accountable, if people would get over their idea that we don't have any such thing and actually try it for themselves. Opposers have three times more power than supporters. Why should we have such a negative outlook? WP:AGF is an offical guideline. Paying three times more attention to the negative is not really assuming good faith. Like I said in my op-ed, we have a more unrealistic bars for "consensus" at RfA than virtually any other real-life group outside the wiki-world of Wikipedia. Many of these groups perform much more important tasks than electing admins for a wiki. In fact, even on-wiki, RfA is the only process with such a strict requirement. The range for so-called "discretion" is in fact very narrow. In other areas of the project (even proposals with wide-reaching effects, for instance), the closers have much more discretion that a bureaucrat does when closing the discussion. --Biblioworm 16:48, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Admins don't "have" to do the work either. I've seen a number of ANI threads in which admin action was urgently needed, and no admin will step up to the plate. That's not because there aren't enough admins but because admins don't want to intervene. Ditto for SPIs. Some sit there for days. They can be long and convoluted. You could double the number of admins and I doubt it would change the reluctance of admins to step into messy disputes. Coretheapple (talk) 17:13, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Of course they don't have to do the work, so maybe that wasn't the best wording. A better way of saying it would be, "You don't worry about it since you don't do the work that some admins do to keep this website running properly." And as for matter of admins not intervening, I replied to Alan about that just now. --Biblioworm 19:31, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Something that Coretheapple just said strikes me as an excellent insight. Come to think of it, I see lots of cases where there appears to be a backlog, but it isn't because there are no admins around, but rather, it's because the issue needing admin action is a messy one, and many admins would rather just leave it to "someone else". The problem is not having enough "someone elses", as opposed to not having enough admins. In other words, we need more admins who are comfortable dealing with the ugliest situations, including the situations where they will come under fire for taking action. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:26, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    And it is one that merits further praise from me as well. I remember once talking to, I think, The Blade of the Northern Lights regarding AE. He at the time said in many of the matters brought to that page, it took him several hours to read through everything before he felt comfortable making a statement in the Admins only section. The number of individuals of any sort, admins or not, who are willing to spend several hours of their time on a single act here is probably very, very small. Particularly when in the same time that same individual could probably do several page locks, page moves, XfDs, and so on. And, honestly, I am not sure that simply increasing the number of admins will in any way address the question of having enough admins to do some of the time-intensive, or in the cases Coretheapple spoke of controversial, messy, or difficult cases, which need to be addressed. How could we, basically, make it possible to find, well, more admins with guts? (acknowledging, much to my regrets, the temporarily loss of User:Floquenbeam, who struck me as one of the best of that sort.) John Carter (talk) 22:02, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    I had in mind a specific ANI thread from a few months ago concerning a problematic user. The thread went on and on and on. In such situations, one frequently gets "tl;dr" comments from admins. Ditto very long SPIs. Can't say I blame them. It's a bit like when I use my STiKi vandal-fighting tool. Some really convoluted edits are hard to decypher, so I "pass." We're all volunteers and our time and energy are limited. As for getting admins who are willing to weigh into messy disputes - just because an editor is willing doesn't mean he is necessarily the best person to do so. Editors with the "guts" to do such things may also be objectionable on other grounds. That brings me back to the need to make adminship less of a "roach motel" lifetime position, so that admins can be removed with less drama than the process currently requires. Coretheapple (talk) 13:25, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
    I think that you both made very apt points, and for me, this part of the discussion is becoming very interesting. It's like there are two sides to the coin: On one side, we need more admins who have both the willingness and the competence to spend significant amounts of time going carefully through difficult cases, without crying TL:DR (which is essentially the same thing as kicking it upstairs to ArbCom, where they have to spend the time), and who can do so in a way that results in a good outcome, that upholds community norms. That's a tall order, in part because it also requires that the community support such admins, instead of beating up on them, especially since we have a bottomless supply of users who will falsely claim abuse. The other side of the coin is that we actually need fewer admins who will step in, but do it the wrong way. In that regard, I do not think that editors opposing here are necessarily paranoid, because there really are cases of abuse. Here's a question about data: I bet someone has compiled data about those admins who have been desysopped by ArbCom for misuse of tools: are there any trends of those ex-admins having passed RfA a long time ago, versus recently? --Tryptofish (talk) 14:39, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
    Hi Tryptofish. In regard to your inquiry about data concerning desysoppings in relation to the year they passed, there is a fundamental flaw with that system. The flaw is that admins elected a long time ago have had a much longer time to be desysopped, whereas more recent admins have not had as much time. Therefore, there will almost certainly be more admins desysopped from longer ago than more recent admins, because the probability of being desysopped would increase as time goes on. I will try to put together some data on this, though. --Biblioworm 15:17, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
    Thanks for that! I guess it's inevitably messy: on the one hand, the greater amount of time for something to go wrong, but on the other hand, the arguably rising community standards at RfA and the increasing effectiveness of ArbCom over time. Personally, I don't put much weight on the argument that long-serving admins are by definition at greater risk, because if someone is trustworthy, they will tend to continue to be trustworthy, but that's my opinion and I probably cannot prove it. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:24, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
    Would there be any sort of way to maybe, somehow, create a system which can generate, for lack of a better comparison, a system in which we can get some sort of "drafting admin" similar to the drafting arb who can maybe go through some of the complicated and lengthy discussions and summarize the data for one or more other admins or others to review and decide upon? Maybe something like a tribunal, or, God help us, "ArbCom-lite"? Not all those others involved would necessarily be admins, of course, and, I guess, maybe, making it up as I go along here, maybe individuals chosen for the MedCom or DRN or other pages, along with maybe some others, might be able to do some sort of possibly "rotating service" on the tribunals. They wouldn't necessarily have more of a !vote than anyone else who might take part in the discussion, but they might at least point out what they see as the relevant policies and guidelines, how they might be involved, and what if any form of solution seems reasonable to them. John Carter (talk) 20:05, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
    Well that might be worth exploring. And it doesn't have to be a lengthy or complicated discussion either. Some perfectly reasonable things come before ANI and are just ignored and archived after only cursory attention. Well-intentioned busybodies might be chosen at random to weigh in on such things, just as RfC commenters are summoned by the RfC bot. Coretheapple (talk) 20:22, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
    I don't think the problem is really that admins need someone, like a "drafter", to decrease the time it would take for them to deal with problems. I think the problem is the ability and willingness to deal with difficult cases. I can picture a "drafted" dispute that admins would still be reluctant to touch, and it's really better for the person making the decision to base it on an unfiltered examination of the facts. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:10, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  10. Oppose question as phrased, although I acknowledge there might be another, more useful, way of phrasing it. The number of admins is not the single best indicator of admin work output. Therefore, on that basis, I think the question being asked is wrong. If there were another question asked, perhaps along the lines of "can we find some way to reform RfA?" or "can we find a way to reduce the workload on admins?" or "can we find a way to encourage more people to seek adminship?" all those questions may conceivably be able to generate some useful results. But there seems to me to be an inherently flawed presupposition in the phrasing of this question, if it is in some way intended as a prologue to further discussion on how to maybe maximize the results and "success," however that is defined, of RfA and of the admin corp in general. John Carter (talk) 20:22, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  11. Oppose. When I first joined Wikipedia I remember a fair amount of sqwaking that the project is in imminent danger of catastrophe due to something or other. It's now over 10 years later and some folks still think that way. If the sky is falling, it certainly is taking its time about it. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 18:26, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
  12. Oppose Adminship is supposed to not be a big deal. I think endorsing that we need more admins is the wrong viewpoint. We need the current admins to step up and deal with the issues that the community has reported and come to a rough consensus about. We need our current admin corps to stop taking unilaterial decisions that they know are going to be contentious and cause them to end up at any of the drama magnets (WP:BN,WP:AN,WP:RfArb,WP:ANI, etc). We need to see what admin-lite actions are the most time consuming that don't require as high of level of consensus on (such as page protection) and give those as things a qualified and trusted user could do (while still leaving it in the Admin toolkit). "Given enough volunteers, all backlogs are only a day old". Furthermore I do also agree that the standards for candidates at RfA are ludacriously high and duplicious. You can't be an Admin if you don't do content creation (meaning you need to be in article space), but you also can't be an admin if you can't demonstrate that your judgement calls in relation to admin tasks align with consensus (meaning you need to be in WP project space). Hasteur (talk) 18:51, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  13. Oppose I'm not convinced that we need to lower the bar to let more people pass RfA, in fact I think that's a disastrous idea. The minimum qualifications should be more stringent if anything. I also think we have lots of admins that aren't actively helping with the backlogs, and those admins should be desysoped or asked to help out more. To simply add more admins will not solve anything, because there is nothing that requires them to be active in backlogged areas. I think admin is a just badge for many, and they use it primarily to help their friends. Make admin backlogs a required duty to retain the bit, then you'll see the backlogs disappear. RO(talk) 19:07, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  14. Oppose Adminship is a vanity project. I'll only see it getting worse the more lenient it becomes. JAGUAR  20:25, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Jaguar: ...the more lenient it becomes? What? Adminship has not become more lenient; that should be obvious to anyone who has studied RfA. Please show the real evidence for this position. --Biblioworm 20:31, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    I think I could have phrased that better. I don't fully understand what is being proposed here in principal; the majority of people agree that more people have recently failed RfAs and less people have been successful. That's fair enough, but I was under the impression that we have enough admins here as it is? Less people have been successful at RfAs, but that doesn't mean we're running out of admins! There are plenty of admins here to keep Wikipedia here running and to perform administrative tasks such as protecting pages, deleting articles and closing threads per its consensus reached. I really don't see the need to "lower the bar" as people here have mentioned. I know RfAs are meant to test every aspect of an editor, and wasn't suggesting that they're in any way lenient (would that be bad for business), but I don't know why we need to let more people pass RfAs just for the sake of more people being unsuccessful. I don't understand how we would enforce the idea to bring more admins in the community? Do we need more? What other way is there to help people be successful without altering the criteria of adminship? I'm not sure if this is a good idea as such a change might only disrupt the balance of things. JAGUAR  20:43, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    Jaguar, I have dealt with all these objections very extensively before. I have written thousands of words in the past few days which detail why we don't have enough admins. Many admins are in the support section, and relatively few in oppose section, so it seems like the ones who actually do the work generally feel that they could use more help. I've made charts showing how we're losing active admins; see this one, for instance. It shows that we have less than half the number of active admins we had at the beginning of 2008, and yet we have over two times more articles today. I've pointed out that our backlogs continue to exist, with as much work to do as ever, even though we have dedicated admins working all day every day. Hammersoft, although interestingly trying to prove the opposite point, presented data which showed that the burden per admin has increased over the years. Desysoppings have outpaced RfA promotions by over 400% this year (see this chart. What more evidence can you want? --Biblioworm 21:08, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    But you haven't addressed the issue that many admins are active, but not helping with the backlog. Create annual duty rosters that must be completed to retain the bit, and the work will get done, but as it is now we could have 3,500 admins, but if they aren't working on backlogs the backlogs will never end. RO(talk) 21:18, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    Apologies for not addressing the issue sooner. I'm still trying to get up to speed with all the discussion here. But here is my answer: The plan being proposed will likely not fix any problems. Many inactive admins left for reasons beyond the control of Wikipedia. They might not even watch their talk page any more, so they might not even notice if we request that they help with the backlogs. Even if they did watch their talk page, they might decide they don't care and not respond. For instance, we currently warn admins before we desysop them (more than once, in fact), but the majority do not respond. The ones who do usually only make an edit or two just so they can keep their bit. The ones who request the bit back after desysopping usually don't become active. As I've mentioned before, admins don't get paychecks, so they can do as much as little as they please. It's a WP:VOLUNTEER service. The only on-wiki consequences we can impose are desysopping, blocking, and banning. Of course, no one but a purely ridiculous person would ever suggest that we block or ban inactive admins, so that leaves us with desysopping. Making the requirements for retaining the bit more stringent and carrying out a mass desysopping of those who currently aren't meeting an activity threshold for admin actions will in fact show us how few admins are actually active relative to our deceiving statistical number. The "annual duty roster" you suggested would probably be full of problems. How do we decide how much admins should do? How do we decide what they should do? What if we require them to do things they don't want to do? (Remember, WP:VOLUNTEER.) What if admins become frustrated and resign in protest? What if the strict requirements for maintaining the bit discourage people from trying to become an admin? All these potential problems, coupled with tightening the RfA standards as you suggested in your oppose vote (I don't see the logic behind that at all, by the way), will simply speed up Wikipedia's plunge in active admins and will in fact prove my point even more. (But some people would still be in denial even if we had only fifty active admins.) The fact is, even if we did get some currently inactive admins to become active, we are still relying immensely on the old generation of admins promoted during the old days of RfA. We would not be anywhere near where we are not if RfA had been the same back then as it is now. The tenure of these old-timers cannot last for ever. In time, they will start retiring and get desysopped because of inactivity. It's already happening now, but this will likely become very apparent over the next few years. The number of admins we're now producing via RfA will be nowhere near enough to replenish the number we're losing, as I showed in a chart I linked to above. --Biblioworm 22:14, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    Yes. It's volunteer, I know that quite well as a content creator. You are so certain that the problem is we don't have enough admins, but maybe we have too many that use it primarily as a badge, and don't keep up their end of the bargain. I'm not talking about admins that are so inactive you can't contact them at their talk page, but lots of admins do little more than play schoolmaster at An/I, which I know is needed, but working on backlogs is also important. I don't know what the answer is, but the idea that we need to lower the bar when we had a candidate pass RfA yesterday at 94% seems misguided. The bar isn't too high, but many of the candidates are unsuitable. RO(talk) 22:25, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    Yep, I knew it. I was waiting for it, just as I predicted in my Signpost op-ed. The reform efforts are going to inspire more RfAs (this always happens), people are going to say "it works after all, no reform needed!", and therefore reject the reform proposals. Then, the hype dies down, everything returns to normal, and the cycle starts all over again. I will emphasize this very boldly, so that more people don't fall into the vicious cycle: Brief surges in RfA promotions are not representative of the process's long-term performance. Do not be deceived when this happens, as it always does. I also fail to see how a candidate passing at 94% percent is related to the arguments at hand here. It's an illogical connection to say that since a candidate passed at 94%, we don't need to fix RfA. Much more accurately, Ian was one of the few users (yes, I say few; look at our promotion numbers) who managed to pass RfA because he had edited for a few years, had tens of thousands of edits, and played out the whole thing rather nicely. He also got the right crowd to vote at his RfA. (Realize that RfA is an incredibly inconsistent process; it all really depends on who decides to vote.) An editor just like him might run a few months from now and fail, because a different group voted there, or because there was some particularly avid dirt-digger who found a problem deep inside the candidate's history, inflated its importance, and dragged several more users to the oppose section with him, causing a characteristic pile-on and a failed RfA. --Biblioworm 22:46, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
    "An editor just like him might run a few months from now and fail, because a different group voted there, or because there was some particularly avid dirt-digger who found a problem deep inside the candidate's history, inflated its importance, and dragged several more users to the oppose section with him, causing a characteristic pile-on and a failed RfA.". Incredibly insightful and observant. I'm impressed. — Ched :  ?  04:55, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

In between[edit]

  1. I agree with the statement that administrative backlogs are longer than optimum, and that's a good reason to support. And I found the Signpost piece to be very good reading. But I see a problem with some of the evidence presented in the background reading, in that the fact that many more candidates used to pass RfA in the past than do today is not really evidence that the RfA standards have become too high. It may very well be the case that our problem is that there simply are not enough non-admin editors who could really be trusted with the tools (and who are interested in using those tools) to fill the need that is seen in the backlog. I'd hate to see a significant lowering of the passing percentage, but I welcome a discussion amongst editors, in which some editors may perhaps be persuaded to change their RfA expectations. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:46, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    Hi Tryptofish. First of all, I plan to study RfAs from previous years and see if there were considerable differences in their level of experience was lower. Then, I will analyze whether or not there is genuinely evidence to suggest that admins elected back then (2007 and before) were considerably more troublesome than admins elected when the standards may have started rising (2008 to present). Secondly, I never voiced any opinions of my own in the user page you linked to. I intentionally removed all opinion from it. I simply presented hard, statistical evidence to show that our number of admins is insufficient. Perhaps you are confusing it with the Signpost article, which does contain my personal beliefs? --Biblioworm 22:45, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    Not that it really matters, but I was considering, for example, the graph that appears in both the Signpost and the userspace page, showing the numbers of successful RfAs per year. I meant it when I said that I was very interested to read the Signpost piece, so thank you again for it. As for where I'm confused, it's not really about that, but I do agree with what Liz said just below. --Tryptofish (talk) 14:09, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    Just FYI: you are going to have to do some pretty careful normalization in order to be sure your observed "differences in experience" aren't artifacts of unrelated trends. I looked into doing this awhile back but didn't have the time to do it right. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:00, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. I'm not sure what we are voting on here. Could you make a statement in one or two sentences that summarizes what you are proposing? Because right now, it seems like a validation of your Signpost op-ed and that's not really an effective focus for making future plans. Liz Read! Talk! 01:58, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Liz: We are voting on whether or not RfA needs to produce more admins. We must know whether or not there is general consensus on this issue, because there may be discussions and/or RfCs in the future that assume this fact. I do not consider it a validation of my op-ed, because I am asking for confirmation of the issue itself, not my opinions about the causes and solutions. --Biblioworm 15:18, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Biblioworm: okay, just so there is no confusion on what people are supporting or opposing, at the end of your paragraph, can you add: RfC:English Wikipedia needs to produce more administrators. Support or Oppose? Liz Read! Talk! 16:53, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Liz: Yes check.svg Done --Biblioworm 14:00, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Biblioworm: I must be having bad vision because I don't see that you added the statement to the paragraph. Liz Read! Talk! 16:43, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Liz: I decided to change the title instead. The change should be more obvious in the title than in the paragraph. Besides, I wrote the paragraph over two days ago and it would look somewhat awkward to simply add a phrase at the end asking if the editor supports or opposes. --Biblioworm 16:52, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    You're right, I just assumed the title was unchanged and read over the paragraph. It seems clear to me now. Thanks! Liz Read! Talk! 17:03, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  3. Neutral. I've said it before, and I'll say again: Looking at this as an "Admin" vs. "No Admin" problem is missing a good part of the issue. The answer is to revamp the project so that it can get by with fewer (active) Admins. Unbundling more of the tools, so that more routine actions like page protections and page moves are done by trusted veteran editors instead of Admins, so that Admins aren't wasting their time on stuff like this, is the solution. --IJBall (contribstalk) 03:49, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    @IJBall: I think we should address the heart of the problem rather than simply attempting to "get by" with a few admins. Long-term, centralized fixes are always preferable over short-term patches. I would be better to focus on improving one process rather than trying to overhaul the entire project, which will consume much more time and energy, and furthermore is much more likely to ultimately fail. --Biblioworm 15:18, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    FTR, I'm not opposed to what you're trying to do here. I just think we're coming at this from opposite viewpoints: you seem to think that there will never be tool unbundling, so we need to get more Admins in order to keep this place running; I think there is no hope in getting more Admins at this point (meaningful RfA reform will never happen – there will just never be real consensus for it; and, additionally, Adminship becomes less and less attractive to most veteran editors with each passing second!), and unbundling of the tools will ultimately be an inevitable necessity in order to just keep this place running. I wish you luck. But I'm skeptical there's any appetite to fix what's broken here. --IJBall (contribstalk) 03:10, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Thank you for the best wishes. You are indeed correct that we are coming from opposite viewpoints. I personally find it very unlikely that we will ever succeed in getting the major admin tools unbundled, mainly because that would require many discussions/RfCs in different areas (blocking, protection, deletion, etc.) and therefore has a much lower chance of succeeding than a more focused and centralized fix. There also seems to be more general objection to tool unbundling than reforming the RfA process itself. --Biblioworm 14:00, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. Neutral. Biblioworm states that only 20% of admins are "active". I am interested to know if newly-promoted admins are active, or if 80% are just here to collect the hat. If most candidates just want a hat, the best solution may not be to distribute more hats, but rather to investigate the differences between active and semi-/in-active newly-promoted admins. Axl ¤ [Talk] 10:40, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Axl: I have determined that most candidates who passed RfA this year (newly-promoted) would be considered active. The resysopped users are the ones who mostly remain inactive. I can give some numerical details, if you want them. --Biblioworm 15:18, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    Thank you, I am indeed interested to see the numbers. Axl ¤ [Talk] 18:21, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Axl: I will give the details shortly. --Biblioworm 14:00, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Axl: I just finished calculating the details of the statistics. So, I found that of 15 users promoted via RfA this year, 13 of them (or about 87%) would be considered active admins. In contrast, of 22 resysopped users, only about 7 (or about 32%) would be considered active. So, it appears that users promoted via the process of RfA are more motivated to use the tools than users resysopped quickly as a matter of routine. Therefore, I think we can rather safely conclude that most people who bother to go through RfA are not there to just get the "hat". --Biblioworm 14:22, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Well, it means that those who passed RfA weren't there to get the hat. I suspect it may also really mean that RfA is doing a reasonable job of weeding out the hat seekers. --Stfg (talk) 15:02, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    Thank you, Biblioworm. It is good to know that most newly-promoted admins actually use the tools. On the other hand, I am concerned that a recruitment drive or lowered standards may attract more hat collectors. Axl ¤ [Talk] 09:03, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  5. Need to offload work from admins either by unbundling, admin-bots that anyone can use (possible example: to delete a redirect with only 1 entry in its edit history to make way for a move), or admin-bot-implemented-de-facto-unbundling (if only select users can "trigger" the admin-bot, you've got de facto unbundling). This will free up the human admins to do things that require the community's review of their good judgement (which RfA is a form of) and those things that the WMF would require an RfA-like process to unbundle such as seeing or un-deleting deleted edits (I think we could get the WMF to go along with allowing selected editors to use an admin-bot that delete things and undo the deletion if they made a mistake and caught it within a short time, but that's likely going to be their limit on "non-admins seeing deleted edits"). davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 02:54, 8 October 2015 (UTC)


But to say we are passing fewer admins per day than before is not the same thing as saying we don't have enough, so what metric indicates that we currently do not have enough active admins to take care of the workload? RO(talk) 16:58, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

A quick look at how many inactive admins are being desysoped every month shows our ranks are dropping. I think if you look at who is making all the difficult decisions these days you will see the group is less diverse than it used to be. As the number of active admins drop we will see that the work still gets done, but by less people. Less people doing the same amount of work means less people using their judgement. The community will always benefit from more admins than less because a larger group is more capable of recognizing the mistakes of others. HighInBC 17:02, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Read the links I recommended above. There, I discuss exactly what you're asking: I talk about why our number of active admins (not our pure statistical number) is insufficient relative to the size of this website. --Biblioworm 17:03, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Okay. I'm trying to get up to speed on this, but how can we say we don't have enough admins without providing an estimate of how many admins we need? How many do we need? RO(talk) 18:15, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
It's quite difficult to give an estimate of how many admins we would need, but we could always use more no matter how many we have. Right now, though, the situation is especially obvious because of the pitifully low amount of promotions via RfA. However, we could get an idea of when we have "enough" when the number of active admins reaches a point where individual users do not have to be online for hours at a time and perform hundreds or thousands of actions within a relatively short period. --Biblioworm 19:00, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  • A good standard is: aside from the occasional outlier, we have enough admins when the administrative backlog category remains consistently empty. We currently have nine backlogs at the moment. Esquivalience t 19:12, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Unsure Moved to oppose On one side, there are indeeed less admins around, art an average promotion of 1 and desysopping for inactivity of 5 to 10, per month. But, since decisions are supposed to be made evaluating the merits of a case, I doubt that there is much discretion/variance in admin actions. I suppose more than 90% of all admin actions would be the same if done by a different admin. We really do have a lack of admins who can combine good judgment with technical expertise, as seen in the terrible backlog at TfD where most of the work is now done by non-admins. RfCs are nowadays very rarely closed by admins. At AfD there are not many admins voting, they appear mostly just to push the delete button after all the votes are in. CSD doesn't seem to be backlogged too much, anything I tag is deleted within a day. Non-admins are carrying most of the workload now in many places, vandal-fighters, and page patrollers make the reports, and admins just spend time pushing the buttons after making a quick check, maintaining an encyclopedia is not really rocket-science. Still pondering... Kraxler (talk) 18:04, 4 October 2015 (UTC) I'm certain now. Kraxler (talk) 15:26, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
    • Sure, 90% of admin actions are simple tedious bullshit, 9% are difficult tedious bullshit, and 1% are genuinely challenging situations. The rarity of the last case is in my view an argument in favor of having more admins, so that a broad range of views will be available when the need arises. Opabinia regalis (talk) 18:45, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    • It might sound simple (just press a button, right?), but even simple tasks can become tiring and difficult if there are many of them to do. For instance, when I edited another wiki, I seemed to be virtually the only person who bothered to deal with the long backlog of reference errors. Oftentimes, it was just as simple as adding "==Sources and Citations==<br/>{{reflist}}". It sounds easy. However, there was a few dozen articles on which to do this, and after a while the work became very tedious. Therefore, even for simple button-pressing tasks, we should have more admins so that the work will not be so long and tedious for any one person. --Biblioworm 19:00, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  • RfA produces the right number of admins and I maintain the process is not broken. The real problem is that too many editors can't win over enough support from !voters and too many of those promoted to admin return to content creation rather than work a backlog. Un-bundling the "block" button from the "delete" button is probably the way to solve the backlog issue although even that won't pass muster. It's a political problem. I as an editor have to be able to trust anyone I empower to potentially block me or delete content I create. That's going to be a high bar and I'm happy with the vetting that occurs at RfA. It's silly to suggest that we all need to collectively lower our expectations when we all have (in Biblioworm's words) an "irrational fear" of being railroaded by today's well-meaning candidate. Why aren't we actively harassing our current admins to pick up the mop they were handed? I will, however, agree that the 75% number for RfA is far higher than the standard for ARBCOM election and perhaps ought to be lowered to something between 60-66% to recognize we can't all be comfortable with every admin that gets promoted. Chris Troutman (talk) 19:27, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    "too many of those promoted to admin return to content creation"? Can you blame them when most unsuccessful RfAs include a comment that the candidate is not active enough in content creation? The successful candidates want to avoid such criticism being piled on them as well after they become admins. As I noted in a recent successful RfA, the admin bit does not grant anybody more hours in the day. To do meta work - even if only a small amount - means that time has to be found for that by not doing something else. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:37, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    As I have emphasized here, the tiny number of admins we're promoting now relative to past years (see the line graph), coupled with the continual existence of the backlogs despite the constant efforts of dedicated admins, should cast serious doubt on the idea that RfA is promoting a sufficient number of admins. And, actually, many of the admins promoted this year would be considered active, so we really don't need to "harass" them "to pick up the mop". Of course, I do agree with you that we need to trust the admins we elect. But the issue is that we have a very high bar for "trust". As I mentioned in the op-ed, almost no legislative processes or other real-life procedures (and even other bars for consensus on-wiki) have a bar so high as RfA's. I see that you agree with me on that issue, though. --Biblioworm 20:44, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    We both agree the number of active admins is insufficient to our backlog issue. While you want to change the process in order to have more active admins, I say the process is how it is out of necessity. Why not address the issue of inactive admins? I supported three different proposals (here, here, and here) to strengthen the community's ability to hold admins accountable. Why not question why many Wikipedians that could be trusted choose not to become admins? What's the problem with swinging the mop at our dirty areas? If manning the noticeboards is such a chore then what you'd really want to change with RfA is selecting people who will work those backlogs without raising the ire of content creators. I think lowering the passing percentage and un-bundling with a sunset clause is the way to go. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:48, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    (ec)RFA does not produce the right number of admins if it can't produce as many admins as leave. It doesn't produce the right number of admins if we only have 24 admins who started editing since January 2010. As for the comparison with Arbcom elections, its a different electoral system and the two are not comparable. ϢereSpielChequers 22:09, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
    Now that blows my mind. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:05, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) It may be worth considering/reframing the problem in a way that pares it back a step: instead of "not enough admins", it's "not enough people performing the duties currently assigned only to the admin usergroup" or somesuch. I.e. we need admins to do admin stuff, not to be admins. Indeed, Biblioworm gets at the issue of admins who don't use the tools in the op-ed. If the point is RfA, reframing this way could be distracting, but if the point is to be as inclusive as possible at this stage (inclusive of approaches to the problem), it may be helpful. As Un-bundling the "block" button from the "delete" button would be one of the possible ways to address the problem, would it then ring truer, Chris troutman? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:56, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  • @Rhododendrites: Yes, the "we need admins to do admin stuff" statement is definitely the issue. I'd be happy to discuss how that might be accomplished. I just don't think changing RfA is the method. Chris Troutman (talk) 22:42, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
  • This is what I've found to be the issue. I've looked at some of the same data Biblioworm has, and it's the RESYSOPS part of the equation that's the problem. From what I've looked at, I considered RESYSOPS to be a somewhat of a joke. Now, it's not true of all of them, but a substantial portion of the former Admins RESYSOPS'ing (and I'm talking 50% or more) seem to be doing pure "hat collecting" from what I've seen, and never use the tools when they get the bit back. Yes, some do; but many don't. That implies to me that the RESYSOPS procedure is actually what I consider to be broken. We shouldn't reflexively be giving the bit back to former Admins who then don't use the tools they are given – there needs to at least be a question included in this process: "Do you actually intend to use the tools we're giving you back much?!" If the answer is "No", then the response should be, "Well how about Rollback instead?!", not "Oh well – here you go!!" --IJBall (contribstalk) 04:02, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Who cares? It's no skin off your nose if someone has admin tools they're not actively using at the moment. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:05, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that's pretty much the perennial response to the POV I expressed above (note: I'm not the only one who shares it). To say that I find it uncompelling probably understates my reaction. Admin rights are a "big deal" in so many ways (there's just too much opportunity for malarkey...), and they shouldn't be handed out to anyone who isn't going to actively use them to improve the project. (The same could probably be said about Rollback and Pending Changes Reviewing as well, now that I think about it...) In any case, I know many Admins, especially, share your view on this. On my end, I couldn't disagree more. --IJBall (contribstalk) 04:23, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Unless you intend to show that resysopping is doing some damage, I don't know why you'd bring it up. Samsara 04:29, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Because my standard for a "good idea" isn't "net neutral" – it's "net positive" for the project. (And, no – I'm not going to waste my time on a RfC for this – I already know the current Admin corps would shoot it down cold...) --IJBall (contribstalk) 04:33, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
The case in point has already replied to you, though you apparently didn't notice. Samsara 04:38, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
@IJBall, Have you collected any statistics of admin activity by returning former admins? From what you are saying this is a glass half full/half empty situation where some would look at it and see an important part of the what has enabled our remaining admins to continue to offer a good service, and others look at it and wonder why certain people bothered when they don't seem to be using the tools much. We've had related discussions here in the past, one conclusion being that if you ignore people who aren't admins but made the admin stats due to certain anomalies, and the people whose active admin period was before December 2004, very very few admins get the tools and then don't use them. The other discussion was about the risk of long absent admins returning and making mistakes because they'd forgotten things or things had changed; The conclusion there if I remember right is that such scenarios rarely reach a level that requires a trout let alone a desysop. ϢereSpielChequers 12:02, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Of course I can't remember where I saw it now, but I semi-recently stumbled upon a page that had the stats for recent RESYSOPS'ings, and about half had zero Admin actions since getting the bit back... It might be buried in a thread in the WT:RfA archives for all I know... --IJBall (contribstalk) 14:04, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Biblioworm just looked into this and found that 32% of resysopped editors became "active" admins. Axl ¤ [Talk] 13:56, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  • The possibility of unbundling the "mop" stuff from the "cop" stuff might allow more folks to do some of the tasks where there is a big backlog (page protection, moving articles, DYK queues, TFA, ITN, etc...) Montanabw(talk) 01:23, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • That said, I also agree with WereSpielChequers that we also don't want a situation where admins are so swamped that they only can do admin work, thus creating a separate cadre; one needs to keep their toe in the water to recognize the issues that content editors deal with on a daily basis. Montanabw(talk) 01:23, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Regarding unbundling the tools, I'm going to say the same thing I said the last time this came up. I'd be wary of splitting up the core functions. In a few cases I've had to delete, protect, block, and look at deleted edits all for one incident (typically a page protect request that leads to a SPI). Each action has to be thought through. Having the tools to do only half the job means another admin will have to familiarize themselves with the situation. If we do unbundle these rights, we're going to have a "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" environment. Every day, there are reports to AIV that are better served by page protection or page deletion than a block. Likewise, every day there are reports to RFPP that are better resolved by blocks or deletions. If the editors patrolling these boards only have access to one tool, we run the risk of implementing sub-optimal resolutions. --NeilN talk to me 04:00, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I've seen you make this argument before, Neil, and I have to say I consider it a weak rebuttal to the idea of unbundling (at least some of) the tools. Will unbundling, say, Page Protections solve every issue at WP:RfPP? No. Will it eliminate the need for Admins to do anything at RfPP? Obviously, no (for one thing, I'm pretty sure "unsalting" is likely to continue to be an Admin-only purview, though maybe I'm wrong...). And, yes, sure – some situation will require an Admin to come in a look at the more complex situations. But if 70%, 80%, 90% of the tasks at RfPP could handled by veteran editors after unbundling (and, in many cases, they'll likely be declining requests, as Admins have to do now), rather than Admins doing it, that would move the ball forward. (Then, if you unbundle more of the bit, then it's possible veteran editors with both Page Protector rights, and say Vandal Fighter rights, could handle some of the more complicated situations you mention...) Unbundling isn't about solving all issues at once – it's about incrementally moving some tasks to be primarily Admin-only actions to being primarily handled by trusted veteran editors, freeing up Admins to do other tasks (like deletions, or more complicated blockings) more... --IJBall (contribstalk) 04:12, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I've seen repeated mentions of a "backlog at RFPP". Is this still a problem or is everyone repeating what everyone else says? I'd have less of an issue if these semi-admins were given good guidelines on what they could and could not do. They would also have to run through a mini-RFA. Too many veteran editors post inappropriate requests for protection or blocking to consider bestowing these tools upon request. --NeilN talk to me 04:22, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Proper guidelines (i.e. esp. qualifications for such a right) would absolutely be key if this is going to work. However, a mini-RfA seems like overkill to me for either Page Protector or Page Mover rights, though I suppose it could work if the focus of the "mini-RfA" was narrower. Personally, though, I think it could be granted like a "user right" – it's just that whoever would be granting a "Page Protector" user right would better come from an Admin like yourself that operates at WP:RfPP a lot. But, getting back to the original point – the key issue would be figuring out what would be needed for "qualifications" for the right. --IJBall (contribstalk) 04:30, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Figuring out what is needed: a mini-RFA focused on examining the editor's history in the area. If they want the page protector right, examine their past protection requests. --NeilN talk to me 04:35, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment regarding unbundling: Personally I am a little wary of granting additional admin permissions to non-admins except when it comes to moves. I never really understood why we couldn't add a page mover permission. We already have a file mover permission. Why not have a page mover permission? Admins are required to move a page when there is existing revisions on the target. Essentially they are deleting the target and moving in one step. Why can't a trusted user be granted that permission? The requested move board always seems to have a backlog and having additional people with the ability to work on those requests can only be helpful. For every other admin function I feel the same way as NeilN. There is just too high a chance that multiple semi-admins would have to be involved in one situation to make it worthwhile. --Stabila711 (talk) 04:06, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Purely from a political standpoint, I see the chances of "rights unbunlding" going like so (in decreasing order of likely successful proposal): 1) Page Protections, 2) Page moves (but the pesky issue of Redirect deletions is a stumbling block), 3) Vandal fighter (there is still substantial resistance to granting even limited "blocking" rights to non-RfA-approved Admins), 4) Page (and Template) Deletions (basically, forget about it: from everything I've seen, the consensus is that significant Article Deletion rights require either a full RfA, or something like "RfA Lite", and most seem to be against the idea). So, the place to start with unbundling is probably on the Page Protection proposal... --IJBall (contribstalk) 04:16, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I actually have more of an issue with page protection than page moving. Page moves are simple. There are only two answers, move or no move. Page protection has more outcomes that have to be taken into account. Length of time and type of protection being the two categories. Do we protect for a day, a week, a month, indef? Do we do semi, full, pending changes, or move? All of these have to be answered every time a page gets protected. Allowing non-admins to page protect things freely makes me really uneasy. There would have to be a few very important restrictions to make me comfortable with that. Disabling the ability to protect indefinitely being one of them. In fact, I would say any protect that last more than a week should be left to someone who has gone through RfA and has shown that they have the community's trust. These issues is why I put page moves first in my "probability" rankings. There is just less fuss to deal with when it comes to page moves. As to blocking and deletion I highly doubt those will ever be unbundled. There is just far too high a chance for abuse, even in a limited capacity, that granting them to even experienced users who have not gone through RfA would be a bad idea. --Stabila711 (talk) 05:33, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • The problem with "Page Mover" rights gets back to the issue that it would require the ability to delete Redirects (and possibly Disambiguation pages – not sure about this second one...), and we're back to either, 1) any page deletion "right" requires "some kind of RfA", or 2) there needs to be a technical solution to this that would create a user right that could only delete Redirects (and Disambig. pages?) but not any other pages and apparently that could only be implemented on the WMF side of things (as I understand it). On the latter, I think people in the "know" seem to think the second point isn't as much of a technical stumbling block now as it was a few years ago. But until this issue can be resolved, I'm guessing a "Page Mover" rights proposal isn't going anywhere... --IJBall (contribstalk) 14:00, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • This is a problem with user attrition, not with any aspect of adminship or RfA. Wikipedia is not recruiting enough editors.

Samsara 04:19, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

    • If it was an attrition problem there would be some link between the number of active editors and the number of admins. I'd like us to be growing faster, and until the beginning of this year the number of editors saving over 100 edits in mainspace per month seemed to be in gentle decline. But by that measure we are now stable or even growing again. Of course there could be a time lag between that growth and an increase in RFAs, especially if the growth is from new editors as opposed to returning ones or long term ones becoming more active. But if RFA wasn't broken I would expect an increasing proportion of our active editors to be admins, instead we have the opposite, and that's despite some evidence that simply making someone an admin is good for editor retention as admins tend to stay longer than other editors. ϢereSpielChequers 10:06, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Support unbundling... seems to me a straight-forward way to deal with the problem often encountered in RfA ("candidate does not have enough experience in X"). We even ask numerous candidates what area they will use their admin tools in, which is almost doing this by proxy. I think this is a sensible way to start, decentralising some of the tools. --Tom (LT) (talk) 08:35, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    Unbundling is difficult, as many situations require several of the tools. For example, the correct answer to vandalism on an article is sometimes block and sometimes protection. An editor who has access to only the block or only the protection button is likely to use their suboptimal tool instead of the correct one they don't have access to. Similarly, in order to decide whether an account needs to be indefinitely blocked, the viewdeleted user right is often needed. Deletion is the function that needs the others least, although having access to deletion and not blocking or protection is going to be a terrible waste of several people's time. (Often when you delete something, you either notice it has been repeatedly recreated and need the protection button to WP:SALT the page. And of course, when you decide to delete all of an editor's attack pages / ban evading contributions, you also decide that editor has to be blocked). I don't understand where the popularity of unbundling comes from -- I strongly oppose any unbundling that separates block/protect/delete. —Kusma (t·c) 13:30, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Looking at those figures again, I'm slightly puzzled at the interpretation. It seems that unbundling coincides with fewer admin promotions. Did anybody not foresee this, and is it really a problem? Samsara 13:31, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I think it's a case of unintended consequences. Even in simple systems, unintended consequences are common. Wikipedia is far from being a simple system. That's one of the problems I've had with every RfA reform process that's been put forward; no anticipation of potential unintended consequences and how to mitigate them if they are damaging. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:40, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Wrong question being asked[edit]

With every ounce of respect to Biblioworm; This RfC asks the wrong question(s).

  • Anchoring bias:The statistics we are asked to review state opinions have been removed. This is false. The very section linked to starts off with "We need more admins". That's an opinion. Further, the second paragraph concludes that "we don't have enough admins" in bold. We're then asked to voice our opinion on whether we have enough admins. This is anchoring bias. Sorry.
  • Wrong analysis: Just looking at declining admin counts doesn't tell the whole story. We have to look deeper than that. For just one example; I took a look at admin actions for the time period of August 5 to October 4, a time period of two months. I compared admin actions for that period to the same period from five years ago, 2010. There's a few things that leapt out at me; (1) the total number of admin actions went down slightly by 1.7%. (2) Bot admin actions went up a whopping 169%. (3) The average number of admin actions per all admins with at least 1 admin action in the time period went up a modest 10%. (4) The average number of admin actions per top 30 most active admins went down 19%. This data points to one possible refutation; we do not need more admins, as our burden, per admin, has remained more or less the same for the last five years and we've reduced the burden on our most active admins. I say possible because considerable more research needs to be done. We can not conclude anything based off of just WereSpielChequers's excellent chart. The data from that is insufficient to support any conclusion. The data I've provided above isn't sufficient either, but it shows at least that we can not conclude, based on statistics provided so far, that we need any more admins than we did five years ago.
  • Other interesting bits: Bots perform 76% of restores, and 60% of blocks. In total, these categories of admin actions comprise 40% of all admin actions (including bots). There's another big, big hitter in the room though; deletions. Deletions comprise 55% of all admin actions, yet bots conduct only 6% of all deletions. A possible conclusion from this is that rather than looking at a process which seems (one possible conclusion) to be producing enough admins to maintain the status quo for the last five years, let's look at ways in which bots can be utilized to perform deletions. Do that, and we reduce the burden on administrators. Sidebar: I took a look at the top 30 admins for the last two months. A curious data point evolved; the average date these admins began editing was just over nine years ago. It doesn't mean anything in isolation, but I thought it interesting.

Conclusion: I'm chipping at the iceberg with a toothpick here. However, just a quick analysis of some figures compared to five years ago shows the anchoring bias statement "we need more admins" to be provably false. The issues are considerably more complex than just a chart, which is but one data point to pull from. We can look for other ways in which to reduce admin burden (which has remained close to static for the last five years). Note that I have not spoken at all regarding the declining participation issues we face. A longer term plan for solving our administrative issues has to address this, and produce plans for maintaining the project after we're all gone. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:07, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

@Hammersoft: The evidence is very clear that we need more admins. I have every statistic backing me up. Since your comment is very long, I will take some time to read through it carefully and give a point-by-point response to it. --Biblioworm 15:21, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Some other interesting data points. I took at look at the same two month period in 2005. The number of actions per admin has remained effectively static for 10 years; it dropped 1% from 2005 to 2015. The number of actions per top 30 most active admins went up 29% from 2005 to 2015. Whatever our means of handling admin actions, the burden on administrators has remained static for 10 years. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:37, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Here is my reply to Hammersoft's data:
1. I will first answer your accusation of "anchoring bias". First of all, when I said that I had "removed all opinion", I believe I clarified even before this that I had removed all opinion about the causes of, and solutions to, the asserted problem. I presented the statistical evidence, and made a logical conclusion, which is namely: we need more admins. Secondly, I asked voters to read the section on the user page (and, if they wanted, the op-ed) so that they could be informed about my side of the story, and to head off any automatic oppose votes by anyone who might not be aware of the evidence. I did not say, "You must read my composition, and you must support!"
2. The data presented above is full of problems. Indeed, we do need to go deeper than simple data which shows that admin promotion numbers are declining. And I did. Secondly, you contradict yourself and reach illogical conclusions.
Now, I will address your numbered points: (1) and (4) – This relatively short-term decrease (2010–2015) proves absolutely nothing. First of all, I note that for a bot admin action increase of 169% noted in (2), the decrease in the number of admin actions is not comparatively significant. And most importantly, there are contradictions in your data. The general decrease in admin actions (1.7%) mentioned in point one is contradicted by (3), which shows a 10% increase per admin. There is a difference of 9% here. Next, the shorter-term data in (4) is contradicted by the longer-term data that you presented . The long-term data is more important by the short-term data. So, the shorter-term decrease of 19% for the top 30 active admins is contradicted and completely canceled out by the longer-term data you presented here. Over the longer term (2005–2015), there has been a 29% increase in admin actions for the top 30 active admins. The shorter-term data is completely canceled out with 10% to spare by the more important longer-term data. Ultimately, this data does not at all lead to one possible refutation (namely, that we do not need more admins). Your conclusion is logically unsound and is not even supported by this data. It does not destroy the fact that despite the efforts of dedicated admins, our backlogs continue to exist. It does not destroy the fact that we are losing admins faster than we are gaining them. It does not destroy the data that WereSpielChequers presented here.
3. Bots cannot do everything. We are concerning ourselves with the actions that humans must do. We cannot rely on AI for everything. First of all, when you say that bots perform 60% of blocks, you are almost certainly talking about open proxies. I imagine that would be possible to set up via coding. But humans will always have to use intelligence when closing AfDs; humans will always have to use intelligence when deleting most CSDs; humans will always have to use intelligence when deciding to (un)protect a page; humans will always have to use intelligence when deciding to (un)block a user; humans will always have to use intelligence when closing noticeboard discussions; and the list goes on and on. You get the point. Bots cannot do everything. If we try it, our quality is certain to decline, because by their very nature bots are fundamentally less intelligent than humans. They get their limited intelligence from us; we can be pragmatic, while they rely on a set of rules.
Conclusion: To the contrary, I believe the assertion that we do not need more admins is demonstrably false. It is supported by data. If this is too long for some people to read completely, read point two of this reply; it is the most important, as it shows why the data presented is in fact meaningless, does nothing to refute my position, and should not be used as a rationale for opposing this RfC. --Biblioworm 16:57, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Biblioworm; Please have a read through Anchoring. If it's too long to read, just read the first sentence. Now, in presenting this RfC the very first sentence in your proposal links to your op-ed "We need more admins". You then said "I strongly recommend that you read this (and the "Stats" subsection) before voting here.". You then asked us to answer the question of whether "RfA is not producing enough admins". The very first pieces of information you give us are that we need more admins. Then, you 'strongly' recommend we read your assertion that we need more admins. You then ask us if we need more admins? This is a classic case of anchoring bias.
  • As to contradictions, please read the two statements and understand there is no contradiction: I said the total number of admin actions went down, but the total burden per admin went up 10%. There is a serious difference in the meanings; they are most emphatically not the same and there is no contradiction.
  • As to backlogs existing; they will always exist. To conclude that we need more admins because backlogs exist is a non-starter. To begin to verify the need, we'd need to know what backlogs existed over time. Do you have data for that?
  • As to bots doing everything; I never suggested that. I suggested we look at ways that bots can be used to perform deletions. Given that only 6% of deletions are done by bots, and deletions are the majority of what admins do, there is potentially fertile ground for reducing admin burden there. I think it's worth looking into.
  • In abstract; I think the question being asked is the wrong question because it looks at one reliable data set in isolation. The data I presented shows the average burden per admin that does anything (which actually favors your interpretation by the way) was effectively unchanged from five years ago and unchanged from 10 years ago. Also, the question of whether we have enough admins has been a perennial discussion; 2005, 2007, 2010, 2014. I'm sure it's been discussed several other times. --Hammersoft (talk) 17:31, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • As for anchoring, that's the voter's problem, not mine. They are not obligated to support, although I will defend my position. The job of any person making a case for something is to present evidence and reach conclusions using the evidence. Nothing would ever get done if everyone trying to prove something was careful to avoid this thing called "anchoring bias". Secondly, my point was that your data is filled with different sorts of conflicted data over different time periods. There are some increases, some decreases. It becomes a confusing incoherent jumble of factoids. Ultimately, the minor details matter very little. The big picture is that over ten years, there has been only a 1% decline in admin actions. This is not anything significant and cannot be used as evidence of any sort; it does nothing to prove that we have enough admins. It could mean anything. As for the bots, I don't think we can do much at all in the way of deletions. Deletions require discretion. Even seemingly simple CSDs, such as G7, require an admin to look at the tag. After all, imagine the damage vandals could do if they could get article deleted by some unintelligent bot by simply adding the G7 tag to articles. And finally, in conclusion, I would also note that we are trying to reduce the backlogs by obtaining more active admins. Simply showing that the number of actions/backlogs/other things have been stable for x years really means nothing. --Biblioworm 18:57, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Re: Anchoring being the voter's problem. If you wanted an unbiased appraisal from the community about whether RfA is producing enough admins, then the means by which you started this RfC to assess that have failed you. That's why I was pointing out the anchoring bias. If this is (as I think it is) part of a building effort towards RfA reform, then you're starting out on shaky ground. This can't be used as a basis for anything. You are welcome to disagree. Our discussion is devolving, so I've nothing to say on the other points. I wanted to post further about the anchoring only to highlight that using it to support anything is problematic. Anyway, all the best. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:56, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I should also note that data framing is very important, so you must be cautious whenever anyone says that there was some massive decrease (or increase) in admin actions. For instance, using this image, I could truthfully say, "Between June 2012 and February 2015, the number of admin action rose by almost 700%." (While ignoring that it was a very brief spike that was responsible for it. I also forgot to mention above that admin actions alone is not an important statistic. There could be many reasons for a decrease in admin actions other than a sufficiency of admins. The important part is the backlogs: are the backlogs improving in any significant way as a result of these admin actions? --Biblioworm 19:08, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    • Except that Hammersoft made an appropriate year-on-year comparison, not June to February like you're implying. Samsara 20:13, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
      • My point was that the time span used is very important. For instance, the long-term data is more important than the short-term data for anything. Scientists look at long-term trends rather than short-term fluctuations when writing research papers. So, the long-term 10-year data since 2005 actually shows an increase in admin actions as opposed to the shorter-term data, which shows a decrease that is completely canceled out with 10 percent to spare by the more important long-term data. So, by your logic (e.g., number of admin actions correlates with our need of them), the long-term data supports my position. --Biblioworm 20:25, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • To clarify, I forgot to mention in my previous comment (20:25, 5 October 2015) that I was referencing the long-term data for the top 30 active admins. I will write a final, organized summary of my objections to the evidence for those who do not want to read through the lengthy and rather messy discussion above. Two data points show an increase in workload per admin. These two data points are the long-term data for the top 30 active admins since 2005 (to hence be referenced as the "top 30" data) and the short-term data since 2010, which shows the average workload per admin. The long-term top 30 data shows an average 29% increase in admin actions per each admin in the top 30 activity group. The short-term data for shows an average of a 10% increase in admin actions per individual admin. Therefore, these two data points actually show an increase in burden for each individual administrator. This actually proves my point. This data is conflicted by the short-term data since 2010 for the top 30 group, which shows a 19% decrease in admin actions per individual admin in this group. However, this data point is shorter-term (and as I mentioned above, long-term data is almost always preferred over short-term data in studies) and fails by a healthy 10% to cancel out the longer-term data for the top 30 group. And even if it did, the other short-term data point showed that every average admin (not just those in the top 30 group) performs 10% more admin actions than they did in 2010. This point covers a wider spectrum of users and is therefore more relevant. Finally, even though there has been a 1% decrease simply in the amount of admin actions performed, this does not prove anything. First of all, it is an extremely negligible change, and finally, we should not be as concerned about the actual amount of admin actions performed as we should be concerned about the individual burden per admin and how the backlogs are affected as a result of these actions. So, overall, the facts are still in favor of Wikipedia lacking sufficient admins, and this data does nothing to prove otherwise. (Some points are actually in favor of the position opposite of that it trying to prove.) --Biblioworm 13:49, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Actually the proper conclusion is that the burden on individual administrators has increased, and effort should be placed in the most efficient place to reduce the burden. Given the amount of automated admin actions in that time that has otherwise reduced the growth of human-admin actions, the logical thing to do would be to explore how more automation can reduce the need for the human component. 'Throwing more people at it' is rarely a good solution to any problem. Work smarter not harder. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:07, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes. Really, we already know "more admins" is not the answer. If it were, the present admins would be actually doing the work. It is a rather useless idea to make, say, 100 more admins today in the hopes that a handful of them might do the work. Address the work, or address the lack of interest by admins to do the work, first. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:24, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Alan, as I mentioned above, the facts (see my reply to Axl) show that over 80% of users who pass RfA this year would be considered active. I seem to recall doing this for last year at one point, as well, and the results were similar. The data certainly seems to support the idea that RfA motivates most users who pass to use the tools. AdminStats shows that we have over a hundred admins that perform many hundreds or thousands of actions within a month or two. Is this dedicated work, or isn't it? And I addressed the possibility of bringing back inactive admins in my op-ed. I pointed out that many became inactive for reasons beyond our control, and might not care or even notice if we beg them to come back. In response to your comment on automation, Only in death, I discussed just recently how humans will always have to perform many tasks here. Almost all deletions, protections, and blocks (other than open proxies) require discretion. It's a plain fantasy to ever think that the idea of a bot that handles most deletes/protects/blocks would ever be accepted by the community. And Hammersoft's data is rather curious in that the individual burden per admin has generally increased despite a 169% increase in bot admin actions. What would we do if simply making more bots gave the same result? It apparently hasn't made any considerable impact in the past... --Biblioworm 17:05, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
So your reading of statistics is that we will appoint 4 in 5, who do the work, and over time that will become 1000 to 1 who do not do the work. And you get the temporary 4 out of 5 who do the work in the present system, but there is certainly no reason to think we will get that good a temporary yield, under another system. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:51, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

Proposals for Modifying the Promotion Threshold[edit]

Undisclosed alternate accounts cannot be used for internal discussions in project space, especially proposals. Please use your regular account or you may be blocked for violating our sock puppetry policy. HighInBC 02:34, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Assuming, as I do, that Biblioworm is correct that Wikipedia is not promoting enough new admins to replace those who become inactive over time, the community must consider several proposals for how to promote more admins. These are:

  1. Do nothing and let Wikipedia die. I have no objection to letting Wikipedia die, but assuming that other people do not want this outcome, please consider the following alternative proposals.
  2. Reduce the promotion threshold for all RFAs. I know, WP:PEREN. But see WP:CCC and consider the change in circumstances from 400+ promotions in 2017 to only about 20 for 2015.
  3. Reduce the promotion threshold for some RFAs. One way to accomplish this is to say as follows: If a candidate's RFA would pass by the existing rules, then it passes under the new rules with no delay. However, if a candidate gets between 50 and 75 percent support, then the RFA result is placed "on hold." The RFA will then pass if fewer than three (3) new admins (who had not previously been admins) are appointed by RFA in the next 30 days. Exception: an RFA will be moved from "on hold" to "failed" if the candidate is subjected to a legitimate block of their user account while the RFA is on hold (even if the block is only for a few hours).
  4. Same as the preceding option, except that a runoff voting method can be used. Thus, if in a defined period (say, a calendar month), an RFA is placed "on hold" and fewer than three candidates passed by the normal 75 percent heuristic, the next best candidates will be promoted from the "on hold" group, from the highest percentage down to the next highest percentage pass rate, until at least three admins are selected for the month. This prevents the absurdity of Option 3 above whereby one candidate with 51 percent support gets the sysoop flag while another candidate who ran a month later with a 70 percent support rate won't get the flag. Or to be more precise, it allows the absurdity to happen but only under different circumstances.

The point of Options 3 and 4 is to challenge the community to ask, if candidate X with 68 percent support is not good enough for you, do you have somebody better to put forward? And if you don't, would you prefer to let the project die as per Option 1 above? Agent 73124 (talk) 02:31, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

While using an undisclosed alternate account is not allowed in internal discussion, I suppose there is nothing to stop people from responding to this post if they want. The poster can participate if they log into their regular account. HighInBC 02:38, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Revisiting Editor Review[edit]

I am thinking of exploring possibilities to solve some of the current RfA problems at hand:

  • Editors are too afraid to run for RfA.
  • Lack of a viable mechanism for editors to assess their RfA prospects without actually running for RfA.
  • Editor Review died of inactivity, an avenue where editors could have received valuable feedback.
  • Too many questions are asked during RfA (probably as much as during ArbCom elections). Some editors feel intimidated by this.
  • RfA are an permanent record that can impact future RfAs. Therefore editors tend be very hesitant, adopting a "all-or-nothing" stance when deciding to run or not.
  • But editors want to have some indication of their prospects without leaving a permanent record.

I would like to propose the following:

  • Re-open Editor Review as an optional avenue for editors to seek feedback before running for RfA.
  • Editor Review to run for 14 days. There will be three sections: (1) RfA Questions (2) Comments/Suitability for adminship (3) Suggestions for improvement
  • Anyone can ask questions at the first section as if the candidate is running for a RfA.
  • At end of 14 days, the editor review will close unless he/she indicates otherwise. The editor can then decide if he wants to self-nominate, be nominated for RfA or simply walk away without obligation (i.e. no record of RfA).
  • If editor has gone through Editor Review for more than 14 days but less than 21 days at start of RfA, editor shall be exempt from any additional RfA questions (other than the standard 3 questions) and the rule is to be enforced. A link to the latest editor review to be put in place instead, where RfA participants can refer to.
  • If editor chooses not to go through Editor Review, he will run for RfA as per the usual processes.

I think this allows:

  • Editors who are too afraid to run to receive some preliminary, and hopefully constructive feedback.
  • A tangible incentive for editors who do not wish to go through the Q&A gauntlet during RfA by going through an alternative process.
  • Provide prospective admins a no-strings-attached opportunity to self-assess their prospects without leaving a permanent RfA record.
  • Force RfA regulars who normally ask questions to take Editor Review more seriously through the exemption from RfA questions rule, as they are given ample opportunity beforehand to ask questions on Editor Review.

Comments or thoughts on this? - Mailer Diablo 07:31, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

I'd support this and would commit to doing reviews regularly. I only stopped due to being on Arbcom WormTT(talk) 07:33, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Not in favour of this and strongly not. I do not want admin candidates to be subjected to yet another set of reviews. The reasons for closing this were its inactivity, that it adds another layer of bureauracy to the site, and that reviews could get quite nasty. I also don't think this will solve the problem (if we agree there is one) that we don't have enough administrators.--Tom (LT) (talk) 08:32, 5 October 2015 (UTC) other words, it suffered from the exact same problems as RfA. Reyk YO! 09:02, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Not even it being optional? - Mailer Diablo 10:59, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
While I'm intrigued by the idea generally, I'm not a fan of the point that "If editor has gone through Editor Review for more than 14 days but less than 21 days at start of RfA, editor shall be exempt from any additional RfA questions". I'm sympathetic to the intention, but can see many issues. First and foremost, we can't expect all editors who are interested in RfA to also be interested in editor review; they may have good questions for an RfA but can't ask them because they happened to miss that editor's review. Second, what happens if a review runs for 14 days but only a couple of editors are active/interested in asking questions? Then we have a situation where an admin candidate may not be asked enough questions for users to make informed decisions. Sam Walton (talk) 11:16, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Is any !vote that so relies on the Q&A section an informed !vote? !Voters should be assessing the candidate's edits not paying much heed to the Q&A section, except of course those rare occasions where someone asks a diff supported question about recent edits by the candidate. ϢereSpielChequers 12:08, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree that the questions shouldn't hold too much weight, but it's quite obvious from the number of "[Vote] per answer to question X" votes that I see at RfAs that this would be important to a number of editors who do assign the questions some weight. Sam Walton (talk) 12:32, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • The scenario you have imagined is indeed the intention. The exemption is designed in the sense that RfA regulars are supposed to take every Editor Review seriously to ask questions in determining the suitability of the candidate as if it were a RfA. It is a necessary mechanism to drive enough traffic to Editor Review. Furthermore, RfA regulars are offered an opportunity to ask questions without any limitation at Editor Review (just as they do in RfA), and arguably for a longer period. If anyone misses it, then it's pretty much the same thing as missing the 7 day period of an RfA. - Mailer Diablo 17:55, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Do you have any solution to the problem that caused Editor Review to be closed?
"This process was never very active—while requests for review always poured in, high-quality responses were uncommon. [In 2014] there were "active" review requests from as far back as late 2012 with no responses."
--Guy Macon (talk) 16:04, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm also curious, if we count the ER submissions as unsuccessful RfAs, what happens to RfA success rate over time? Samsara 16:10, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Per the above reply. The former and proposed format is designed to make ER submissions not RfAs. - Mailer Diablo 18:09, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
It seems you did not understand my point. When ER was discontinued, any traffic previously going to ER would have shifted to RfA and increased the number of unsuccessful nominations (given that one of the main points of ER apparently was to increase one's chances at a subsequent RfA). Samsara 18:21, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't get what you mean by "count the ER submissions as unsuccessful RfAs". ER has never counted as an RfA. But without any indication of a candidate's prospect, he/she is hesitant to run because he/she is going into RfA practically blind (at one point of time, many candidates felt an environment of massive support during nomination but then experienced rude shocks of reality when the RfA got rolling). - Mailer Diablo 18:34, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
While I wish everyone participating in an Editor Review could be as neutral as Worm That Turned, I'd be worried that anyone opening themselves for critique in a "Hey, how am I doing as an editor?" kind of way would either get supporters saying superficial comments like, "You're great and easy to work with" along with editors one has had a conflict with saying, "You never apologized for reverting my edit last year, you are not an example of a good editor". I haven't reviewed past Editor Reviews but was there ever a good-sized group of unbiased editors and admins willing to spend time to review the conduct of other editors?
Your model of having editors who have gone through a review forgo the gauntlet of RfA questions is a novel element that does make this proposal more interesting than simply reviving the review. Liz Read! Talk! 17:00, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Well, there is nothing to stop these comments from going into an actual RfA either. Why would be candidates be so afraid to run today? An editor who opposes the candidate in ER for some lame reason is likely to have opposed him/her in RfA anyway, except they are worded in something more palatable. This proposed format is designed for the editor to have an decent gauge of his/her prospects and what might possibly play out if he/she were to run for that RfA. The problem is that many editors do not know, and would not even dare to try. The lack of such a reliable process is akin to trying to predict an election without any use of straw polling or exit polls. We need something where editors feel comfortable of getting feedback from the RfA regulars, hopefully something constructive and a reliable indication on their prospects for RfA. - Mailer Diablo 18:09, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
  • This kind of reminds me of the idea of separating RfA into a questions/discussion phase I followed by a voting phase II (that is an idea that I like very much). I am not certain that using Editor Review for this is the right thing, though. —Kusma (t·c) 18:43, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
    • I must have missed that proposal. Sounds interesting in that it could reduce heckling in the !voting sections. Samsara 20:07, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
      • What were the downsides raised about this idea? I assume there were some but I've forgotten and it sounds like a good idea otherwise. Sam Walton (talk) 08:09, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
        • I love the idea myself. I think the downside might lie in the problem that some candidates might, maybe, make less than accurate statements, and/or that it kind of limits sometimes valuable follow-up questions, particularly for people who may not have seen the separate question page. I might best like a format like AE, allowing responses from the candidate in the separate sections of others, with the questions locked after the appropriate time and the AE "admin only" section more or less functioning as the voting section. Just an idea, of course. John Carter (talk) 22:56, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This is an interesting idea, but I would object to making Editor Review into RfA Part 1, and particularly to the idea of barring questions in an RfA if ER has been used. I think the ONLY way ER could work is if a group of experienced editors committed to participate if giving responses. Then it might work sort of like AfC is for AfD, a more friendly preparation stage. DES (talk) 00:07, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

  • The idea was tried here, but not in pure form -- people did still comment (or campaign) while voting. I think it will be difficult to get people to Just Vote without technical tools (or savage clerking) that makes it impossible to just do what they always did. The main problem with the idea seems to be that the one thing RfA does not need is more questions, so we'd need a different way to structure the discussion phase. —Kusma (t·c) 13:33, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

No Plan?[edit]

So nobody has a plan for addressing the fact that Editor Review got plenty of requests for review but many of them received zero responses? It will never get re-opened without a viable plan to address his issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:47, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

  • The plan is, if a candidate subsequently elects to go through RfA, to shift the Q&A phase of RfA to Editor Review (i.e. a compulsory exemption from additional RfA questions during the actual RfA). The logic is to make the RfA crowd take Editor Reviews more seriously: if the RfA crowd has to ask questions at Editor Review then it is likely that they will also include some form of comments or/and feedback on these reviews at the same time or/and after these questions are answered. For those who do not want to go through ER, they still can choose to go through the usual processes (i.e. RfA questions are asked during RfA).
From another angle, you can view ER as a form of several admin prospectus that has gone unanswered, and therefore has discouraged several editors from running for adminship; if we really feel that there is an adminship shortage and we do want more editors to run for adminship, then we have to make some serious effort in supporting processes that help these editors to take their first steps towards adminship. - Mailer Diablo 20:49, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Ah. That would work. It would be interesting to see how many candidates choose each path. I like the idea of a first step that isn't quite the hell that RfA is. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:13, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
Looks to me more like TWO versions of Hell Week instead of one. And I definitely oppose the notion of disallowing questions by RfA commenters if they didn't participate in the ER. Yes, even though I think the question-asking privilege is greatly abused right now. --MelanieN (talk) 02:30, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
  • ER was so little used it never had any impact on RfA whatsoever. If candidates would simply read all the advice pages first, especially WP:RFAADVICE, an intelligent user who can read English properly would soon know if they are ready for the bit or about to waste their and everyone else's time. Problem is they refuse even to take notice of the in-your-face warning banners we put up at several sages of the tansclusion process. If they refuse to read them, them they will refuse to read and learn our policies to be able to implement them. We hae exactly the same problem with NPPers where we even have a super video to tell them how to do i. 02:26, 8 October 2015 (UTC)Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk)
  • So if an editor of 3 years experience and has 50,000 edits wants to know his prospects of success, what other options has he/she got other than RfA? It is no wonder why everyone wonders no one has the confidence to go for a RfA. (This also applies to MelaineN's comment.) - Mailer Diablo 07:24, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

Previous failed RfA[edit]

To what extent does a previous failed RfA impact a new one - is it "used in evidence against you"? I'm considering facing the inquisition again but if the same stuff is just going to be rehashed I'm not that keen. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 18:39, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with what you fear might be rehashed, but in addition to the usual stuff, everyone will be looking for whether "previous concerns have been addressed" in the intervening period. Simple as that. -- zzuuzz (talk) 18:51, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
Also, people prefer some wait between a failed RfA and the next one.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:57, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
I was found lacking in deletion related matters. My first RfA was in August 2014, if I do go for it again it would probably be in November or December, I have a bit too much going on irl until then. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 19:11, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
A year is certainly enough time. When people talk about too soon they mean like 3 months, assuming you addressed what they felt you were lacking last time, there shouldn't be a problem. Only in death does duty end (talk) 19:44, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Generally: RfAs that fail on grounds of inexperience are easy to address. RfAs that fail on grounds of conduct are much harder to address. - Mailer Diablo 22:02, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
The same stuff should not necessarily be rehashed, but you may be sure to get a question what you have learned from the failed RfA and what changed between that one and the new one. It is even better to be proactive and address the issue in the candidate statement.--Ymblanter (talk) 04:33, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

My first RfA was closed as a WP:NOTNOW: Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/HighInBC. It was not held against me, when I ran later I passed with ease: Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/HighInBC 2. HighInBC 04:40, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Your first RFA doesn't impact your second one if you address the issues raised in first one. You will pass your second RFA with flying colors if you address the issues. Supdiop (T🔹C) 05:25, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
    • There is no guarantee that you will "pass with flying colors" at all. If only it were that easy.--Atlan (talk) 09:04, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
  • It took one user 7 attempts to get the bit. Mind you, they didn't keep it for long before it was taken away again. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:47, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
@Kudpung: Who? I remember only one person attempting admin seven times, and that one failed. -- Tavix (talk) 18:04, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's a good idea to publicly name that person here (I don't know who it is) per WP:BEANS. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 18:10, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I follow your reasoning, but it was just a genuine curiosity. My apologies. (By the way, I figured out who it was on my own.) -- Tavix (talk) 18:33, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't see how WP:BEANS applies—it's a straightforward part of Wikipedia's history, not a state secret, and it's not as if it's going to cause anything untoward to happen. (Surely "previous failures won't be held against you if the community feels you've genuinely improved" is a good message to be sending out?) The editor in question was User:Ironholds; one of those 7 RFAs was this disastrous experiment at a reformed RFA process, which certainly shouldn't be held against him; if anything, he should be applauded for voluntarily putting himself through what must have been a stressful experience in an attempt to improve the process. ‑ iridescent 18:44, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Oh wow, that's not the answer I came up with. I had concluded it was Aranda56/Jaranda/Secret. Wikipedia:Unsuccessful adminship candidacies/J shows 7 under "Jaranda" but Wikipedia:Unsuccessful adminship candidacies/I shows only 5 under "Ironholds." -- Tavix (talk) 21:29, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
The fact that it was an experiment was nevertheless not the reason it failed. Based on this suggestion it should be cited more often to those newer contributors to this talk page who regularly re-suggest it as if it were a brand new idea. More to the point (on reform) is this comment in the thread that immediately preceded it:
'As for removing tool access, Wikipedia is an ecosystem. Empower more users to use tools and you will automatically empower SOME to abuse tools. More tool abuse will lead to a better ability to revoke tool access. Pushing through molasses, to be sure, but the project will get there, just wait and see.'
7 years later we're still waiting. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:49, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I agree it would have failed regardless, but equally I don't hold it against him that after it failed, he chose to run a "normal" RFA shortly afterwards. The experiment produced such a garbled mess that he can hardly be blamed for assuming the problems were down to the format rather than the candidate. (That isn't meant as a dig at the experiment either; it was a fiasco, but at least it was a genuine attempt to see if things could be done better. Quite why RFA still exists in its current form is one of Wikipedia's great mysteries. Straightforward reform suggestion that could be implemented tomorrow with no complication; drop the promotion point to 60% and limit every statement by anyone other than the candidate to 10 words. The opposers can always explain themselves on the talkpage if they feel it necessary, and it would kill off most of the adversarial crap instantly.) ‑ iridescent 20:56, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I would object so strongly to "limit every statement by anyone other than the candidate to 10 words" that I would probably auto-oppose on every RfA run under such a system. DES (talk) 22:23, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
The promotion threshold should be 67%, with anything less an automatic failure. RO(talk) 22:35, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Rationalobserver, did you ever consider that if we were to do that, RfA would be an even bigger bloodbath than it is now? You would need nearly twice as many oppose votes to sink an RfA, and believe me, they would come - with all the spite and nastiness you can imagine. Perhaps you should throw your hat in the ring now and see how you fare. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:34, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
As long as adminship is a "for life" position, RfAs will be difficult. When it becomes as easy to desysop an admin as it is to pass RfA, we will achieve some equilibrium. As far as throw your hat in the ring now and see how you fare, well that's just plain silly. I am nowhere near qualified in terms of technical skills, and I have zero experience in admin tasks. So even if I was strong enough in reputation, which I'm not, I'd still be a terrible candidate. RO(talk) 16:08, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
This whole "admin for life" mantra is just false. Numerous admins have lost their bit. It is far easier to lose your bit than to get a bit. I could have my bit taken away under a cloud in the next 6 hours if I wanted too. It was much harder to become an admin. To remain an "admin for life" you need to show exemplary judgement, and while the occasional lapse is acceptable any pattern of poor judgement means game over. I would agree with you about RfA if admins really could not be de-sysoped but this claim is demonstrably false. HighInBC 16:13, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Desysopping has become significantly easier over the last ten years (you no longer need a mob with pitchforks and torches), becoming an admin has become significantly harder (and the popular falsehood "adminship is for life" is part of the problem). —Kusma (t·c) 16:19, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm sure that's all true, but I also think that it would be very easy for admins to retain the bit for life by being careful. If lots of admins are being desysoped, that might indicate that the RfA process is letting too many through that really weren't good candidates anyway. RO(talk) 16:23, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
If an admin is careful to follow the expectations of an admin for life then that seems like an admin you want for life. I have been an admin for a bit more than 8 years and I can tell you it is not easy as in automatic, it takes regular attention to the changing policies and expectations of the community and constant checking of ones own actions.
If there are a lot of people getting desysoped then that demonstrates that we can remove problematic admins, thus we should be more permissive at RfA so that we get more good admins. We keep the good for as long as they can stand the job, and we desysop the bad. We need to let people through to do that, even if we have to remove the bit from a few. There is nothing an admin can do that cannot be reversed. HighInBC 17:19, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
What concerns me is that there are (a relatively small number of) admins who passed RfA a long time ago, and who don't quite do anything bad enough to get consensus to desysop, but who nonetheless do things in a sub-par way. It can be things like doing something marginally suboptimal, and then remaining silent when questioned about it, or giving "advice" in an admin-like voice, that is really borderline bullying on a content dispute. I do see stuff like that happening. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:35, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
There is nothing an admin can do that cannot be reversed That might be technically true, but an admin made a mistake and blocked me as sock, and 10 months later that block still haunts me: ([2]); ([3]). So while I was unblocked, the damage to my reputation was done, and it's not likely to recover. RO(talk) 21:40, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  • One never knows what will happen in a new RfA. The last user I nominated (way too long ago) did not pass the first time, but self-nominated four and a half months later and passed with unanimous WP:100 support, while deliberately not changing his stance on one of the oppose reasons. But that was in a different age (the second RfA had only six questions including the three mandatory ones...) —Kusma (t·c) 12:44, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Dropping the bar - again[edit]

I still think this is one of the worst suggestions that keeps getting dished up. It's never been proven that the numerical bar has prevented a fully qualified, nicely spoken candidate from passing. . If a candidate has a regular poor record of CSD, AfD, and other judgement mishaps, and/or is constantly bitey ad uncivil, they shouldn't get the mop. The other reason is that if it were made easier to get he bit, it must' be made easier to lose it, but while the community keeps screaming for one, they still keep voting against proposals for better systems of making admins accountable. We can't have one without the other. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:18, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

It has also never been proven that a higher numeric score results in a better administrator or that a lower numeric score is in any way correlated with later administrator abuse or desysopping. You simply decided, without evidence, that 75% was the right number, just as I decided, without evidence, that 66.66% is the right number. The United States Congress passes laws by at 50% and only requires 66.66% to overturn a presidential veto. The supreme Court of the US sets the bar at 50%. Our arbcom elections set the bar at 50% and very few arbs get 75% of the votes.[4]
Also see Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2015-09-30/Op-ed. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:02, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
?Isn't 70% the current standard (70-74.99 generally needing a crat chat), and somewhat slightly below 70% the crats can still pass. To pass RfA you just need to get 30% of users not to bother to, in good faith, oppose, but if 30%+, in good faith, can be bothered to oppose, you have a WP:Consensus issue, which is not like voting because Consensus is suppose to take in the concerns of the good faith objectors. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:09, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
In theory, yes. In practice, no. There seem to be very few RfAs that passed below 70%, so it can certainly not be called a common occurrence. It's almost always an exception to the rule. And it's a huge deal whenever a bureaucrat dares to pass a RfA below 70%; even then, it's almost always only for reconfirmation RfAs. So the fact stands that the bar, in practice, is about 75%. We're still giving opposers three times more weight than supporters. In response to Kudpung's objection, I think the answer is very simple. Saying that "[i]t's never been proven that the numerical bar has prevented a fully qualified, nicely spoken candidate from passing" is making several assumptions. First of all, we're assumi that our current bar is the right standard for failing a candidate. But the very point of discussion is that our bar is not the right standard for failing a candidate. We must realize that we just don't know which candidates might have been good admins, despite failing the RfA. And the statement is also prone to circular reasoning if I were to provide an example of candidates that failed who perhaps shouldn't have failed. If I gave such an example, wouldn't it be possible to say: "Well, that's just in your opinion. He must have not been qualified, because he failed." I still don't see what is so difficult to see about this. But in any case, I will take up Kudpung's challenge and find some RfAs that were failed because of some relatively minor issue. Pile-on fails aren't that few and far between. But back to the point, we must face the fact: our bar is unrealistic, and to a certain extent is even a breach of WP:AGF. --Biblioworm 15:04, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
What do you mean "in practice" it's about 75%, when everything else you said is, in practice, it's about 70%? And then as you admit, Crats can dip below 70%, with good reason. What your comment does not apparently want to grapple with is what WP:Consensus is: "A consensus decision takes into account all of the proper concerns raised. Ideally, it arrives with an absence of objections, but often we must settle for as wide an agreement as can be reached. When there is no wide agreement, consensus-building involves adapting the proposal to bring in dissenters without losing those who accepted the initial proposal." The ideal is 100% but hey, if you can get 30% not to oppose (which does not demand much, in terms of consensus, and in fact demands quite little), you are doing good. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:23, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Alan, I believe that on the other hand, you're clinging to the exceptions to the rule in an effort to refute my position. But that's why it is an exception to the rule. I say that the bar, in practice, is about 75% because most RfAs above that point succeed and most below that point fail. I'm talking most, not all. There are always exceptions to the general rule. And I note that there is usually a great deal of controversy whenever a 'crat tries to pass an RfA at too low a percentage. For instance, a 'crat once passed an RfA at a little less than 66%, and that has gone done in the wiki-history books as one of the boldest closes in history. (Even then, it was a reconfirmation RfA; the logic was that the bar should perhaps be slightly lower since a former admin was bound to be at least somewhat controversial.) Therefore, a 'crat rarely seems to take unilateral action in these cases but rather initiates a 'crat chat, which in the majority of cases results in no consensus. The point is, the odds are very much against you once you drop into the low 70s, so it certainly cannot be said that most RfAs above 70% pass. I could probably count on my hands the number of times this happened in the last two or three years. --Biblioworm 15:39, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Most below 75% fail? You mean most the ones between 0% and 75% fail? That's not at all hard to believe, but that's a huge spread that does not, at all say anything about in practice it's 75%, or even 70%. 70% is what in practice it is (unless the objections are so strong in substance (not in numbers), they cause the crats to say 'oh, no!'). Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:43, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
I'll do a count and show you why the bar in practice is absolutely not 70%. I'll count the number of RfAs that got between 70–74% support over the past two years, and show you just how few actually passed. It may take an hour or two, so please be patient. Also, regarding your quote from WP:CONSENSUS, I really don't see your point. The page says nothing about the bar; it just gives a general guideline. In my interpretation, we could start closing RfAs as successful at 60% and it still wouldn't "violate" the consensus policy. Let's get to the heart of the issue here: why should supporters have approximately 1/3 the voice of opposers in an RfA on a website on which WP:AGF is a community-approved guideline? --Biblioworm 15:56, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
With something is like 60-40 you have a badly fractured disagreement among the good faith users. Consensus, again in ideal is 100% - so the drop of 40% is huge. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:04, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Biblioworm, I'll leave you to do the counting, but I want to interject and point out that RFA is a discussion about not the good faith but the competence of the candidate. If 30% of !voters have legitimate concerts about the candidate's ability that deserves to be taken into account. BethNaught (talk) 16:04, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes. Suitability and ability, I'd say but, yes. It is a judgement, and the idea, if you will, is that there can be (and is) a collective mind on the judgement, instead of being of two minds (or 3 if you include neutral). Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:11, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
So, I have the stats. Of 78 RfAs, only 4 (5%) passed between 70–75%. Pretty rare, isn't it? Furthermore, of these RfAs only one was in the really low 70s (71%, to be exact). Almost all the others usually hovered somewhere around 73–74% percent, and went to a bureaucrat chat. Furthermore, almost all RfAs in the 75–80% range passed. Therefore, it can very certainly be said that 70% is the bar in practice; the data confirms that 75% is the approximate bar above which all RfAs pass. --Biblioworm 16:39, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Are you saying that 100% of those that fell between 70 and 75 percent passed and 95% of those who passed had greater than 75%? Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:48, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Alan, I think Biblio may be approaching the stats thing from the wrong angle. He is providing valuable food for thought but possibly a solution looking for the wrong problem and I still do not see any compelling reasons for dropping the bar or that it would alone encourage more candidates of the right calibre to come forward. Increasing the pass rate by lowering the bar would open us up to all the reasons the anti-admin brigade keep chanting. Making these stats fit the theories doesn't tell us why the bar should be dropped - it's served us well enough in times of more interest in adminship: after all, some 2,000 of them walked the bed of hot cinders and survived. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:59, 9 October 2015 (UTC).
An alternative to dropping the bar is finding a way to lower the standards for passing. Some voters of today oppose for very minor and/or arbitrary reasons, inflate the issues, and get many other editors to come with them, therefore creating a pile-on and a failed RfA, all because of an isolated incident likely taken out of context. As you mentioned below, I think Thomas.W's RfA is a great example of this. A few quotes were taken out of context, he was portrayed as a bitey user (how is it possible to bite a vandal/spammer who's out to cause harm in the first place?), and therefore users piled on and the RfA failed. That's just one example of many. --Biblioworm 20:28, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
I would like to see a list of all those RfA that would have passed if the bar had been somewhat lower. And then look very closely not at how they failed, but why they failed. I say this because it's a question of eliminating the blatantly wrong opposes and all the pile-ons they incur, the subtly disingenuous ones (gosh, how I would love to mention some names here!), and the socks and trolls, who all enter into that numerical equation and whom the bureaucrats don't discount except perhaps in the case of the very rare close run RfA, and even then I think there have been some cases that were so close, that the 'crat verdict could possibly have been a subjective supervote (not that there was much else they could have done under the circumstances apart from extending the time). Whether the bar is too high or too low is a question to be debated around some hard facts rather than just 'I like it/I don't like it'
I'm still saying therefore, that our failure to produce new admins has nothing to do with all this - if it takes too long to drive from London to Manchester because the car keeps breaking down, you look at the engine and not at the map, and you repair the engine and not tell he government to build a new road. We should be looking at the individual voters who who can't behave in a civil manner or who treat RfA like some platform to express a personal loathing for all things adminship. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:13, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
But we would be deciding who was fit to be an admin and who isn't. We judge who becomes an admin based upon the community's comment using a framework to decide what is the "right" range. As it has bee repeatedly pointed out, there have been users who barely passed and became good admins. It might have seemed like the opposers had "good" objections. There have also been users who passed RfA with no problems at all and yet became abusive and were desysopped. The level of support proves nothing. I would certainly be willing to study this, though. --Biblioworm 16:39, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
@Kudpung: I think Cyberpower678 and Rich Farmbrough 2 would have passed if we had dropped the bar, and Liz wouldn't have needed a 'crat chat. I believe I voted "support" on all 3. Also EuroCarGT (just over 65% support) might have been a 'crat chat. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:42, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Well, it looks as if it's analysis time. I have the advantage of knowing Farmbrough personally and have no hesitation in saying that that was one RfA that the community should certainly have passed. IMO, Cyberpower678 who I actually quite like, is still hampered from a total overload due to his enthusiasm while he was in school, and becoming an admin on top of all that would have been too much. I'll heartily support another run when he finally gets himself, his bots, and his tools sorted out. Liz nearly failed due to one main theme in the opposition section where I also resided for the same reason. Nobody was suggesting however that she would be likely to abuse the tools, delete the main page, or block Jimbo Wales. Perhaps a more objective weeding out of some of the votes would have made a consensus (either way) more clear.
Mkativerata who moved from support to oppose on EuroCar's RfA made some very interesting comments, it's a shame he doesn't vote more often on RfA nowadays. It was a rare occasion where I found myself on the losing side, although my support was a cautious one anyway. A lot of veteran RfA admin-voters turned out for this one, and they seem to be roughly evenly split - even those who are good friends with each other were on opposite sides of the fence. All in all, it was a refreshingly 'clean' RfA and I think Euro will pass easily enough at his next attempt.
This is one failed RfA that makes me sometimes really doubt the sincerity of the voting system. Thomas.W should of course have easily passed and I think HJ Mitchell, one of our best admins (also BTW, quite young at the time of his promotion), would probably like to chime in here. Finally, we do have a tool that tells us how often and with what accuracy an editor voted on RfA, so, !voters, if the cap fits, wear it!
Sadly, since the Liz RfA, we have some new 'features' that have developed that have set the clock of progress right back again: Ridiculous numbers of questions to answer and not all of them particularly intelligent; and the talk page being used for mammoth, and heated discussions about people's votes. We never used to have this and I'm at a loss to understand why it has to start now. I have some theories, but I'm not going to risk being accused of PA for simply mentioning them.
Unless something happens to buck the trend, it is indeed looking as if the fall in RfAs has in fact finally bottomed out, but with aggression and insensitivity returning to RfA, we'll be lucky to see many more promotions before the year's out. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:34, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
I do wonder about the consistency of RfA, sometimes. For example, I wonder why Thomas.W failed where Ian.thomson succeeded. I'm very glad the latter succeeded, I think he'll be a fantastic admin when he's got his feet under the table, but the two editors are very similar in their interests and areas of activity, and in their supposed faults and yet one breezed through while the other didn't. There have been other examples, often vandal fighters with large numbers of Huggle edits, where it's not immediately obvious why one succeeded and one failed. Oh, and I'm not sure what the relevance is, but I'm in my mid-twenties now and got the bit almost six years ago; you can do the math. In hindsight, I wonder if it was such a good idea; some of the things I've dealt with have made me rather cynical and hardened, but perhaps that's more because of the nature of my admin work and if I'd stuck to working on the main page I'd have no idea of the deeply unpleasant side of admin work. Who knows? HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 20:41, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
I am glad you feel that way about me Kudpung. I am working on managing the overload, and I hope to have it managed by my next planned. Consider this a goal of mine.—cyberpowerChat:Online 21:07, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Possible outing on Thine Antique Pen's RfA[edit]

Unsure if this or WP:ANI was the right place for this comment, but I believe it needs immediate attention nonetheless. Information about the Thine Antique Pen's age was disclosed on their RfA by Banks Irk. This information was suppressed in March 2012 and per WP:PRIVACY, should not have been brought up again. A reference to the user's age remains in a talk page archive, by a different user, just prior to the suppression and was used as the basis for mentioning it. This skirts around the policy's statement of "... references to still-existing, self-disclosed information is not considered outing". Considering the age of the user, I believe both the comment on the RfA and the comment buried in the archived talk page warrant immediate deletion. ~ Cyclonebiskit (chat) 01:27, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

I have to say, I find the age of the candidate in this case relevant to the RfA. It probably would have been better if it had been self-disclosed, though, rather than coming out the way it did. --IJBall (contribstalk) 01:57, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
@Thine Antique Pen: What do you think? HighInBC 01:59, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
High, I hope you won't be offended if Thine Antique Pen decides not to comment at this thread. In his place, with an active RFA underway, I certainly wouldn't comment here. --MelanieN (talk) 02:47, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
@IJBall: Age is almost entirely irrelevant here. This is a matter of releasing someone's personal information without their express consent. It's a blatant breach of policy with a weak workaround of it via the archived talk page comment. Age is not an inherent indicator of maturity. I've met many young people who express a far more mature demeanor than "adults". ~ Cyclonebiskit (chat) 02:33, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Some voters will not find age relevant. But some voters will. I'm taking a break from RfA voting right now, but knowing that a candidate was 16 (or less) years old would certainly cause me to think twice before supporting for Admin. (I'd have no problem give the same candidate one of the user rights – but Adminship is whole other level of ballgame...) Anyway, as a potential RfA voter, I'd like to know if a candidate is less that 18 years old. --IJBall (contribstalk) 02:42, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
This seems quite suspect. Unless the editor(s) who cited it ha(s|ve) a grudge with the candidate, there is little chance that s/he/they would be able to even recall the existence of that archive, yet alone know the candidate's age based on it. Esquivalience t 02:38, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
It is odd that they knew where to find an archive from March 2012, but signed up June 2013. It can be assumed that they are just good researchers? HighInBC 02:47, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I found the same message in the same archive as part of normal research of the candidate. I vaguely alluded to it in my support, but probably would not have commented on their age at all if it hadn't already been mentioned in oppose #1. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 15:45, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Cyclonebiskit is absolutely correct; this was a violation of policy. And IJBall, I totally disagree that he should have "self-disclosed" his age. We have a right to privacy here, and we choose what we want people to know about us. Most of us don't even disclose whether we are male or female, much less how old we are. I certainly didn't disclose my age at my RfA (and won't now). Maybe my age would have been relevant to some RfA voters; maybe it wouldn't; either way it is none of their damn business. Judge us by how we edit and how we interact, not by information we didn't choose to disclose - and which should NOT have been blurted out by third parties. On the other hand, it's too late now for deletion or oversighting IMO. The cat is out of the bag. I hope the cat likes TROUT. --MelanieN (talk) 02:45, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I think age is only relevant if the candidate is a minor. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I doubt I could support a candidate for Admin that I knew was only 12 or 13 years old. All that said, there's no way to "force" such a disclosure from a candidate in the current environment, so I suspect some minor-aged candidates have sailed through RfA's in the past. --IJBall (contribstalk) 02:54, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I'd guess that quite a few of our more disgruntled users would have quit editing long ago if they had any idea just how many "minors" have passed RfA. – Juliancolton | Talk 03:06, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Heh. --IJBall (contribstalk) 03:26, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm also in agreement that revealing this information breach of Privacy. The information was suppressed and only later seemingly brought up by another editor some time ago. The fact that it's coming up again here so many years later, speaks against the very intent of what happened and why we have WP:OUTING. Unfortunately the damage is done and this isn't like a legal proceeding whereby it would be deemed inadmissible evidence and any decision around this information be allowed. Mkdwtalk 05:06, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I suppose that this is similar to some of the IP/alternate account editing questions that have been asked recently: there's a conflict between disclosing information to the community and allowing everyone to maintain privacy. While I would personally mention my age on an RfA page if I were to request adminship, I appreciate that people—even those trusted with such important powers—should be allowed to maintain privacy. There are some rights on Wikipedia where being 18 is required, but even then this information is only required to be disclosed to the WMF and is then destroyed. Some people don't want to give children the mop, full stop, and that is a perfectly valid rationale, but privacy is important. I think it would help if Thine Antique Pen commented on this, although they are not obliged to. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 15:45, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure of what a difference this might make to this discussion. But the "reveal" was a statement made by another editor, not a self-disclosure. And it was a statement buried in the talk page archives of a previous account.
  • When I was looking at the deletion log this morning, searching for some information, I discovered that all of these talk page archives from the earlier account had been deleted at some point in the past but were all restored a few days ago, I imagine in light of this RfA. This could only have been at Thine Antique Pen's request so there is a willingness to have these archives available for review. Personally, because the age was mentioned in a random talk page remark, I don't know how much weight to give it or whether age matters if a person is a competent editor. Liz Read! Talk! 16:05, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Good job looking that up. If it was inadvertent self-disclosure or third party, I think it should be left up to TAP to quietly approach an oversighter and get the job done - irrespective of whether "the cat's out of the bag" or not. There doesn't seem to be too much damage, so perhaps nobody needs to actually be tarred and feathered, but people should probably not bring it up again unless TAP says it's okay (and of course he/she is entitled to make no comment at all!) Samsara 19:41, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

How to find the number of admin actions in a given time frame[edit]

I'm currently doing some research and compiling data on admin-related things, so I was wondering if there is a somewhat easy way to find the total number of admin actions performed in a given time. AdminStats works for most things, but finding the total number of admin actions in a given time frame would be an extremely cumbersome process if you used that. --Biblioworm 02:23, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Define "admin actions." Do you mean "count of uses of admin-only tools?" Do you mean all of those plus things that don't require tools, such as formal discussion-closures and formal warnings that would be out-of-bounds for a non-admin (e.g. a close-call XfD closed as "keep" or "no consensus")? Do you mean all of the above plus formal discussion-closures and formal warning which would clearly be not be out-of-bounds for a non-admin (e.g. most WP:Non-admin closures) but which, when an admin gives them, may be perceived (or sim-perceived as the case may be) by other editors as carrying more weight? davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 02:59, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
To clarify, I meant logged admin actions (e.g., the type counted by AdminStats). --Biblioworm 04:23, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps diff various versions of User:JamesR/AdminStats? -- Rick Block (talk) 04:34, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Biblioworm, I could give you the Java script that I used the last time I complied that information for the discussion on your talk page. --Stabila711 (talk) 04:36, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Reading some more about this, I gather the overall intent is to figure out which admins are actually doing admin actions. This is almost a perennial request for Rick Bot (talk · contribs). I haven't changed the bot to count actual admin actions (mostly due to real world interference), but would be willing to do this if there's a significant consensus that this would be worthwhile. The current "activity" measure only counts edits - not admin actions. -- Rick Block (talk) 04:52, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Well, I'd support that functionality, FWIW. --IJBall (contribstalk) 14:22, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
It would be interesting if there were separate stats for the past 12 months. Then, it might be debated whether admins who had been inactive in admin actions (not just general editing) should be desysoped. Of course, they could regain the bit on request but it might give a more representative portrait of how many admins are actively doing admin actions. But, as davidwr points out, sometimes admin activities are actually discussions with editors to try to discourage misbehavior or closing XfDs which are not included in AdminStats as far as I know. Liz Read! Talk! 16:17, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Actually, AdminStats stopped listing the Admins with zero logged actions a few months back, and as a result I find its usefulness has been reduced, as it's no longer giving a true picture of the number of "inactive" Admins. --IJBall (contribstalk) 14:22, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

I used to keep a database of the timestamp of every admin action and who did it. It was part of a sock puppet investigation looking for admins with the same on/off time as each other. The search did not find anything obvious. I had to abandon the tool because the amount of information was getting beyond what my home computer could handle reasonably. It certainly can be done though, if I did it today I would use a cloud database. HighInBC 14:44, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Probably the best way of getting this information at the moment is to use Quarry. I'd ask at WP:VPT to find folks who are good at SQL who can make the queries for you. We don't need a cloud database, as all of our admin actions are in a database already. :) — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 17:14, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
(ec) It strikes me that you'd be unlikely to find anything, on the basis that even if an admin is using sockpuppets, it's unlikely that they'd try to get two different administrator accounts. (People are complaining about RfA being hostile; who'd subject themself to it twice?) --ais523 17:17, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
That was exactly what I was looking for. Didn't find it. HighInBC 17:27, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Candidate polling page[edit]

  • Q: What is scarier than an RfA?
  • A: Thinking about it before doing it.
  • Q: Why don't more people run?
  • A: Mixed views. Some say few want to be admins. Some say fear of the gauntlet.

A while back, I suggested a pre-RfA opinion page. I was out of town for a short while right after. I didn't expect one of our editors to mass-message the link to 1000+ users. As a result, it opened and closed before I had a chance to comment.

My comments would have been that it would have been optional, and not an impediment or hoop to jump through. It was intended to remove the impediment, i.e. the fear of trying.

Well, I'd like to suggest a simplified and modified version:

Idea: What about a page called "RfA candidate poll" or something like that? The page could look like this:

RfA candidate poll

Thinking of running for adminship but not sure if you'd pass? See what the community thinks. Add you name and wait for feedback.

(Responders, please state only the likely outcome in your view.)

Mary Jane
John Doe

Pros: It could encourage people who are too worried to try. It could prevent people who would would certainly fail to avoid humiliation and possible departure.

Cons: You tell me.

If I started the page, would it survive MfD?

I know this has only a small chance of being supported, but I think there is nothing to lose and lots to gain, especially if we linked to it on the main RfA page. It may also spark a related idea. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 06:22, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

The advantage of this is that it might eliminate the need to go "begging" your favorite or most trusted Admin (or veteran editor) for an "RfA review" and thus wouldn't rely on just one person's opinion either. The disadvantage is that, in at least some cases, it could devolve into the kind of overly-critical and negative "hazing" that might not just drive people away from an RfA but from the entire project itself... (OK, I see it's not asking for comments, just for a vote on the "likelihood of success"...) On my end, I don't oppose the idea (but I'd probably want to see a wider range of opinions before supporting it). --IJBall (contribstalk) 07:26, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
Also, I think I'd do it a little differently, and just have people rate what they think the odds of a candidate's success in passing an RfA are:

RfA candidate poll

Thinking of running for adminship but not sure if you'd pass? See what the community thinks. Add you name and wait for feedback.

(Responders, please state only the odds of the candidate successfully passing an RfA in your view.)

Mary Jane
But I do wonder who useful this would be without some kind of feedback on why responders think a candidate will, or won't, pass... --IJBall (contribstalk) 07:35, 10 October 2015 (UTC)