Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship

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RfA candidate S O N S% Ending (UTC) Time left Dups? Report
Liz 135 24 4 85 10:38, 4 August 2015 3 days, 14 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 19:39, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Latest RfXs (update)
Candidate Type Result Date of close Tally
Primefac RfA Withdrawn 30 Jul 2015 12 17 7
Hexatekin RfA Withdrawn 30 Jul 2015 3 9 3
Cyphoidbomb2 RfA Successful 26 Jul 2015 118 30 6
Dovikap RfA WP:NOTNOW 21 Jul 2015 0 0 0
GamerPro642 RfA Withdrawn 16 Jul 2015 14 15 4
Ceradon RfA Successful 12 Jul 2015 72 14 3
Cyberpower678 RfA No consensus 10 Jul 2015 110 39 4

Current time: 19:41:40, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
Purge this page

Clarifying adminship[edit]

Following Softlavender's vote on Cyberpower's RfA, I really think it's time to clarify if adminship really is Wikipedia:NOBIGDEAL. Some people claim that this notion is outdated due to Wikipedia's increasing popularity, while still others state that it is certainly not a big deal. (I personally am very much in the latter group.) However, we run into a slight problem if it really is a big deal, because we then imply that it truly is a promotion, and we should stop pretending that adminship is only "a mop", but rather a special position of power. --Biblioworm 15:31, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

While the mop gives one a certain degree of "Higher authority", I don't feel that the effect is all that large on a wide scale. So I'd say it still is. Also, serious abuse/misuse is comparatively uncommon. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 15:44, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
As someone who has been an admin for 8+ years I can tell you that the only special treatment you get is that people are more likely to criticize you. Not that big of a deal. Chillum 15:52, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
Why is it a problem if adminship is a big deal? We certainly treat it as if it is. But to give my 2 cents, I think that while the mop should only be given to those who can be trusted and it certainly is a big deal in most ways (their technical powers are essential to the encyclopedia and it is necessary to have people doing these jobs), I think the sentiment of WP:NOBIGDEAL is that admins have no power greater than any other person outside of administrator-only areas. For instance, in an argument on a talk page, I think it's realistic to expect that an admin is much more likely to be 'right' than an IP, because the admin has proven they understand policy, but their argument should be given no inherent weight because they happen to be able to perform some advanced technical functions. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 15:53, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
Really the defining factor of of being an administrator is a big deal or not, is how the community perceives it. While I am inclined to agree with Chillum, I have also found that lately, more and more of the community believes it is. --kelapstick(bainuu) 15:55, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
One reason it's a problem if adminship is a big deal is that we still have significant backlogs requiring administrative attention that won't be resolved if people keep saying that we can't appoint people willing to handle them because they don't have the right percentage of edits in the correct namespace. When it comes to potentially controversial actions like enforcing discretionary sanctions or closing controversial RFDs, this also creates a self-reinforcing loop where having few admins willing to do those things means that those few who do seem to have disproportionate impact, which discourages people from appointing more admins who might do them (because look at how much impact one admin can have there!), which increases the perception that one admin can have a massive impact still further. If we had more admins working in those areas, adding individual admins wouldn't seem like such a big deal. --Aquillion (talk) 11:16, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
@Biblioworm, it might help to distinguish between different ways people interpret NOBIGDEAL. One dimension is about "having status because you're an admin" vs. "being worthy to become an admin". If you're talking about "being worthy" it's important to remember that in February 2003 – when Jimmy Wales first expressed NOBIGDEAL – we didn't have high expectations of contributors. Here are some article versions from that day: New York state, New York city, Watergate scandal, DNA, Money supply, Graph theory, Plainsong. How many citations are there in these seven articles? I found two. How much discussion on talk pages? Nothing significant. Being a good contributor in 2003 was all about creating initial content for a minority website, so the step across to adminship was no big deal. Five pillars, BLP, Notability and Verifiability had yet to be written. Nowadays to add value as a contributor you have to wrestle with all these and more, which is why we expect today's RfA candidates to show at least basic competence in collaborative article improvement. In absolute terms the RfA benchmark has become orders of magnitude higher since 2003, but it's still no big deal, relatively. - Pointillist (talk) 00:29, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
(ec*2) I think it's no big deal whether adminship is a big deal or a little deal. Or even a middle-sized deal, as the great man said. We aren't going to make a rule saying that supports with that rationale are to be discounted, are we? (Personally, I think the status of being an admin is no big deal, but the damage that can be done by putting the tools in the wrong hands is a rather big deal. Supports "per WP:NOBIGDEAL" seem rather unthinking, to me. But ymmv of course.) --Stfg (talk) 00:31, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

Adminship may be no big deal to those who are made admins, but it is certainly a gigantic deal to those who are at its effect. Giving someone lifetime access to tools that can alter the course of other editors, of articles, and of countless other things on Wikipedia, is a gigantic deal, and to pretend it isn't is naive in my view, especially given the admin abuse and the trigger-happy admin behavior and conflict we have seen in the last 5 to 8 years. 14 years ago the encyclopedia was still so new adminship didn't matter; 12-1/2 years ago this was still the case and adminship was called "no big deal". Now that Wikipedia is the very large, complex, combative, high-profile site that it is, giving someone that kind of lifetime (and virtually un-recallable) power without careful forethought and scrutiny is ludicrous in my view. If people disagree with me, then they disagree; I'm not going to discuss the point further. Softlavender (talk) 04:31, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

It's also naïve to pretend that adminship is a lifetime appointment and a power which cannot be removed. We've got an RfA underway right now where the candidate is a former admin who had the sysop right taken away from them. In the last six months, 41 people have lost the admin bit, and they fall into three groups: some were voluntary (shown in the list as "Resigned"); many had it taken away due to inactivity; and there were three (representing just over 7%) who had it stripped due to misdemeanour, shown as "For cause". --Redrose64 (talk) 11:02, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Mantras such as 'No big deal' and 'The encyclopedia anyone can edit' are clichés that were coined back in the days before anyone ever dreamed the Wikipedia movement itself would one day become one huge deal. Many of those expressions are now unmodern and neither reflect the truth nor the facts surrounding the Wiki-sensation today. 2007 was more or less the watershed year where we stopped giving mops to people who had created a stub or two, made 2,000 edits, and been around for 3 months. Necessity forced us to become a lot more critical in the way we elect our admins, and it's probably true to say that most of the rogue admins were 'promoted' pre 2007 (WereSpielChequers is the guy who has the handle on those kind of stats).
For a while, notably in the years from 2007 to around 2012, the voters at RfA went a bit berserk and turned the place into a venue where they could be as humiliating and hurtful as possible not only to the candidates, but also to each other with impunity, so the interest in becoming an admin (at least from mature, serious contenders) literally nosedived (see: User:WereSpielChequers/RFA by month along with the editing stats for this discussion page (if ever the tool is put up and running again) at the same cadence. Some of them were doing it deliberately in the hope that it would bring down adminship completly, and be replaced with a system where everyone over a certain edit count would be given a pick and shovel mop and bucket. They got tBanned or Completely banned while some continue to edit content while maintining catalogues of anti-admin slogans on their user pages or driving by on other debates (or occasionally on this page) with totally immature interjections. So the question is: Is the adminship Big Deal something positive or something negative?
Admins and non-admins will answer differently. It's obviously a big deal for the youngsters who register an account and their first 500 edits are to their user page including one of those 'I wanna be an admin someday' uboxen - adminship on one of the world's most famous websites is something they think they will be able to puff their chests out about in the schoolyard. On the other hand, most of the successful 'promotions' go to the candidates who didn't think it is a big deal and who hadn't given adminship much of a thought until people started telling them they ought to.
Editors like me and Dennis Brown got the mop when RfA was at its apogee of cruelty and it was getting through that snake pit and coming out alive that made it a big deal. With the exception of some admins who are still lurking, like Pastor Theo and Wifione were, with an agenda, I don't believe any admin will concur that actually having the bit is a big deal. In fact, like RfA, it's more of an ordeal. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:46, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Forgive me for not having a diff, but it was Newyorkbrad who summed it up well when he said that adminship is a "medium sized deal". The bit has the potential to do good or bad, but it isn't a badge of honor, nor a blessing. More than anything, it is a burden, accepted freely, in order to serve. It is hard to get, although not quite as brutal as a few years ago. It really is "no big deal" to BE an admin, however, admin make mistakes regularly, and how we deal with our mistakes determine how big a deal it is for others. Dennis Brown - 11:39, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Regarding the "when were desysopped admins promoted" question, going through Wikipedia:Former administrators/reason/for cause I've found the following sysoping dates and (approximate) desysoped/total sysoped ratios: 4 (1,7%) 2004 (Guanaco, Geogre, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason and Nichalp), 18 (4,7%) 2005 (Karmafist, Henrygb, Freestylefrappe, Craigy144, 172, Shreshth, Sade, NSLE, FeloniousMonk, Alkivar, A Man In Black, Seabhcan, Rich Farmbrough, MONGO, Marudubshinki, Kwamikagami, Ed Poor and Carnildo who also had another resysoping in 2006), 9 (2,5%) 2006 (Runcorn, Robdurbar, Betacommand, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, Yanksox, William M. Connolley, Husnock and Tango and Rama's Arrow which also had another sysoping in 2007), 9 (2,2%) 2007 (Ryulong, Eyrian, Dreadstar, Trusilver, SchuminWeb, Nightscream, EncycloPetey, Kafziel and Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry), 5 (2,5%) 2008 (Rodhullandemu, Archtransit, Tanthalas39, ABedford and Cirt), 3 (2,5%) 2009 (PastorTheo, Hawkeye7 and Cool3), 2 (2,6%) 2010 (Wifione and DangerousPanda), 1 (1.9%) 2011 (Ironholds), 1 (2,9%) 2013 (Secret), plus ten unclear (Phil Sandifer, Isis, Stevertigo, Hemanshu, Altenmann, Kils, Malcolm, Will Beback, 168... and Antonio Martin); these might be 2002-2003 age adminships (in this case, 6% over two years). A few caveats: a) This only covers desysops, not cloudy resignations, b) the numbers from 2008 or so onward become so small that the significance is not large and c) no gradation for the severity is done here. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 12:51, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Nice work, but you are also comparing very different time periods. The 2005 rate is for desysoppings within ten years of becoming an admin, the 2010 rate is for desysopping within five years. Some work I did a few years ago showed that the most high risk admins were those who had been admins for at least three years, I should probably repeat the exercise, but it does indicate to me that overconfidence and drifting away from community norms were more likely risks than RFA letting through a dud. I think that some sort of admin notification system for actual changes to policy would be justified. ϢereSpielChequers 08:50, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Can we stop lengthy haranguing of oppose votes?[edit]

I noticed that there's a situation developing on the Cyberpower nomination where opposers are being drawn into lengthy discussions, while supporters are mostly being left in peace. If long discussions are needed, my feeling is they should be taken to a dedicated discussion section. The situation right now is affecting the readability of the page, and is getting rather heated in places. Perhaps it's time for a new "responses to User:X" format. If there's interest, I hereby volunteer to create a mock-up of what that could look like. Samsara 10:32, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

This has been around for quite a while - where some folks seem to think that attacking those with positions which they actually substantiate with examples will change minds. In cases where it clearly becomes a personal attack of any sort about the !voter, it decidedly should be moved to the talk page. Where it simply presents the specifics backing the !voter's position, it would be proper to retain proximate to the !vote. Collect (talk) 10:51, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Which is why I would propose to have a direct link to the section where it's being discussed. Samsara 10:53, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's a question of changing the !voter's mind. I think that negative comments call out for "correction" or "balance" in the way that positive ones don't. Especially in this context where "supports" usually don't refer to specific events, but to the overall demeanour and general way of working, but "opposes" often refer to something more directly addressable. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 12:24, 6 July 2015 (UTC).
In the interest of avoiding repetition, I suggest that a general discussion section can hold all replies. This section can be broken down into subsections for each issue/characteristic being discussed, rather than by commenter, so the related discussion can be kept to one thread, rather than spread out. isaacl (talk) 12:34, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that is my proposal, in essence. Samsara 13:18, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
I've proposed as much before, and many other have as well, to essentially disallow threaded discussion in the voting section. There were good arguments on both sides of the issue, and clearly no consensus each time it was discussed. Dennis Brown - 15:30, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
What I'm suggesting is to "link out" the threaded discussion to a separate section, so that the replies are associated with the original statements, but sent via link to a separate section so there's less clutter. I suspect this won't make much sense without a mock-up, but I wanted to first see if there was any interest in the issue, which it now seems there is. May I then pick an archived nom to base this on? Any objections? Unless someone wants to suggest another venue, I'll "host" it in my userspace. Samsara 16:03, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Our proposals sound somewhat different: you seem to be suggesting that there be threaded discussion for each commenter in a separate section, whereas I am suggesting that threaded discussion should be on a per-topic basis, so when the same subject is raised by multiple commenters (perhaps both in support and against), it can be discussed in one place rather than in multiple places. By keeping conversation streamlined with fewer branches to follow, it is easier to keep participants engaged, thereby encouraging broader participation.
My proposal and similar ones have been discussed before, for use with requests for adminship and other discussions. It has been used in some of the request for comments discussions on pending changes to good effect. For better or worse, though, most people don't get too excited about procedural improvements (with the possible exception of their own ideas), and so they haven't been sufficiently motivated to comment much on this proposal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Isaacl (talkcontribs) 17:56, 6 July 2015 (UTC)‎
Because RFA is a discussion and not a vote, any proposal to break out discussion (in any way) is likely to be a non-starter with the wider community. You can start an RFC for it, but each time has been tried, it was defeated handily. Dennis Brown - 15:14, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
As I mentioned, there are lots of formats for holding a discussion, and allowing everyone to make a statement with responses coming in a later section has been used in some RfCs, so it's not a complete non-starter. Also as I mentioned, I agree there is no consensus to use it with RfA at the moment. isaacl (talk) 19:07, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't seem too bad there. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 15:15, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

If people want to dispute your !vote then that is fine. Lengthy discussion is a good thing. People are more than welcome to challenge reasons for supports as well. I personally prefer the inline style of discussion we have, it gives the discussion context. Chillum 15:43, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

No objections to a mockup, though I agree with Chillum that my first instinct is to prefer the current system. It's hard to respond to this thread because the title doesn't match its apparent contents. If this is just a matter of formatting and readability, why the loaded description lengthy haranguing? IMO anyone who isn't prepared to discuss the reasoning that informed their opinion should keep it to themselves. Opabinia regalis (talk) 21:46, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
  • RfA's are discussions - not votes. There is no need for a "discussion" section. The whole thing is a discussion section. If you want to cast a comment and be immune from criticism yourself, then cast it on your own user talk page inside of an archive template. If you want to go criticize some supporters - then do so. Either way, no, you may not have immunity from criticism during an RfA.--v/r - TP 00:11, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
    There are lots of possible formats for discussions; many of them don't have separate sections for support and oppose, for example, whereas RfA discussions do. (Maybe removing the running total and letting the support and oppose opinions be mixed together would discourage pile-on opinions and encourage more opinions in the latter stages of the discussion.) In some discussions, everyone has their say in one section, and discussion of everyone's views occurs in another. This does not shield anyone from criticism; it's just a different way of organizing discussion that can avoid some repetition. isaacl (talk) 00:40, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Firstly, nothing prevents the "haranguing" of supporters either. Secondly, there are editors who are determined to oppose every candidate and really scrape the barrel for the tiniest misstep, real or imagined, as their oppose rationale. I don't blame anyone for disliking that attitude. I don't like it myself. Reyk YO! 07:33, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
I do seem to see the same editors oppose virtually every candidate, no matter what their background is. Liz Read! Talk! 19:11, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I wonder if it would undo years of progress at RfA to suggest that any "oppose" reason other than "WP:IDONTLIKEIT" should be a simple link to a Question (and Answer)? Just thinking out loud... All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 18:52, 7 July 2015 (UTC).
    Any more than Support is ILIKEIT? I suggested awhile back we should drop the support section, and turn this into an actual discussion. Anyone could write up rationales for opposition for entrusting the candidate with the tools and responsibilities for adminship. And then we'd all discuss that. And the bureaucrats can assess similar to a closer assessing any other rfc/xfd/etc. discussion. Y'know, that weird consensus concept. But I know, I know, that'd never fly, we must kowtow to the drive-by "voters"... - jc37 05:29, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
    "I agree with the nomination" and "I agree with the above Opposes" type !votes don't get challenged. The sort of Opposes that get challenged are ones where the evidence is flawed, the criticism of the candidacy serves into incivility or and this is possibly the most commonly challenged Oppose, the Opposer has a different standard for assessing RFAs than the majority. Part of the problem at RFA is that much of the debate in individual RFAs is over the criteria for adminship, and the way to alter that criteria is to start opposing people who don't meet some additional hurdle. If we had a defined criteria for what we look for in a new admin and a separate process to review that criteria then much of the heat would come out of RFA. More importantly the process of standards inflation would be transformed as to change the criteria would require consensus instead of the current reverse situation; once we have a third of the community opposing candidates for reason x then reason x is de facto an additional requirement for new admins. ϢereSpielChequers 05:04, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Reasons for running[edit]

GottaGoFast's RFA isn't the first example where an individual has run for RFA who already assumed it wouldn't end successfully and primarily ran for another reason; to receive feedback about their current status in lieu of the now defunct editor review. A number of editors frequently offer these (often) newer editors an assessment or coaching. I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to add some language in WP:RFAGUIDE or WP:RFAADVICE that specifically addresses this. Right now WP:RFAADVICE is proposed as a self-assessment guide. Also, while most of them don't read these guides anyway, there might be some who do but don't realize that it may (or may not) be viewed negatively. Just wanted to throw that idea there. RFA is a fairly established process but always has room for tweaks and improvements. Cheers, Mkdwtalk 00:43, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

There's this big warning on the nomination instructions page which I think ought to be sufficient to convey the seriousness of requesting administrative privileges.. Perhaps a sentence of advice on how to solicit feedback on one's editing could be added. (Currently in Wikipedia:Advice for RfA candidates there is a reference to "time wasters who are just seeking feedback on their editing" in the "Preparing yourself for adminship" section.) isaacl (talk) 01:39, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
No adding any more 'just one sentence of advice' about anything! WP:RFAADVICE currently clocks in at ~3900 words total, and WP:RFAGUIDE at over 5200. The "mini" guide is 400, and the reading list has 45 links. No wonder nobody reads any of that stuff. Opabinia regalis (talk) 02:48, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Even the big bold warning shown in front of self-nominators won't work 100% of the time (before, it was just a step) - it certainly helped, but just because there is a 2 pixel red CSS dashed border around the warning doesn't mean we won't have candidates nominating themselves. The problem is that editors think they are the exception; that they can overcome the brick wall despite the bold warnings, and high requirements. Esquivalience t 03:40, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
That warning says "self-nominated candidates with fewer than 2,000 edits and three months of active editing will essentially always see their RfAs closed early". I don't know if that was ever true, or just a big underestimation, but increasing those numbers a bit (5000 and a year?) might prevent a few competent-but-not-experienced-enough editors from applying. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 09:17, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Progress on Wikipedia is slow. What a lot of relative newcomers to this talk page might not realise is the effect that that big warning banner that I designed a few years has dropped the silly transclusions right down to a manageable trickle. In fact right down to the level where most of those who ignore it are just trolling. I wrote WP:RFAADVICE nearly 5 years ago. Its main message is that if you're not prepared to invest a few hours analysing and/or preparing yourself for adminship, you've no business wanting the bit. My general reaction to the trolls who blunder through the big banner and ignore it is "If you can't read simple advice and instructions, you're hardly in a position to read, understand, and implement our policies." If they are not exactly trolls, they are very young users, or non native speakers. Actually the banner I designed is this one: Template:Editnotices/Page/Wikipedia:Requests for adminship which tey see again a second time as they progress throughte steps of transclusion. Someeon else made that other text version one based on it.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:10, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
I concur with Bilorv that anyone with less than a year of service and 5,000 (IMO closer to 10,000) edits is not going to succeed at RfA. It would be nice of us to tell them that before they launch a good-faith-but-doomed application. --MelanieN (talk) 15:47, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
It has been a while since we appointed an admin with less than a years tenure, but as for edit count we still have active admins with far less than ten thousand edits. Also "manual edits" is less irrelevant than raw edit count. Perhaps we could change 2,000 edits and three months to 3,000 manual edits and 6 months. ϢereSpielChequers 19:05, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we do, but in most cases they got their mop years ago; I'm told 3 months and 1000 edits was enough back then. There has always been strong resistance to setting up any required minimum service time or edit count, and I'm not proposing that, but some more realistic guidance to applicants could be helpful. And you're right, raw edit count can be kind of meaningless if most of the counts are automated. So your suggestion makes sense. --MelanieN (talk) 19:31, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
With the discussions about inactivity levels among admins and bureaucrats, I was looking at different user pages and found a bureaucrat with about 1600 total. I think it's safe to say that expectations have increased since he/she was promoted. Liz Read! Talk! 20:01, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The current (erm, now former, I guess) numbers are partly my fault - Esquivalience tried an update to those numbers not too long ago and I reverted on the grounds that official pages like this should not be used to exacerbate standards-ratcheting. Of course, it could say 5,000 portal talk edits for all anyone actually reads it. FWIW, NOTNOW/SNOW closures of RfAs peaked at around a third of all nominations in 2011 and are now around a quarter, which is about the historical average.

The original numbers were certainly true at one point, and most of those 2,000 edit/3 month admins were just fine. Here's a fun editcountitis thread from January 2006. Here's another one from July, from which you could pick comments, replace the numbers related to edit count, length of service, and number of promotions, and post them otherwise unedited on this talk page without anyone suspecting a thing. Opabinia regalis (talk) 22:04, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

The extent of WP:NOTNOW[edit]

I've been noticing lately that the WP:NOTNOW is being used on the RfAs of users who have been around for a good deal of time. For instance, a certain user opposed Ceradon's ongoing RfA, citing the essay. However, Ceradon has worked on several GAs and DYKs, has edited for four years, and has 7.1k edits. I for one feel that editcount is a poor measure of experience, since it's more important to see what they have done with those edits. For example, a person with 7,000 edits who has accomplished quite a bit with them is worth more to the project than a person with 30-40,000 edits who simply wanders around haunting the drama boards, causing trouble, and getting blocked. Perhaps we should add a sentence or two to NOTNOW which clarify the true intent of the essay? --Biblioworm 15:52, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

I think that people are taking the title of the essay literally or have extremely high RfA standards. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:58, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
There's already a section on this matter and a separate essay. isaacl (talk) 16:58, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
My apologies; I had not read your contributions to the aforementioned discussion on a pending request for administrative privileges, or I would have worded my initial statement somewhat differently. I'm not quite clear what true intent you feel needs clarification; is it trying to refine the definition of "relatively inexperienced" and "more experienced"? Nonetheless, giving feedback is always a tricky matter, particularly without having the benefit of face-to-face communications to assess how someone might react. Ideally the commenter would first make a determination of how helpful the essay's advice may be for the particular applicant in question before linking to it. If in doubt, pointing to the advice or guide page is a safer bet, since in this scenario, the applicant has either skipped reading them or chosen to ignore them. isaacl (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 18:32, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • NOTNOW was always intended as a gentle alternative to WP:SNOW. It was simply meant to be less BITEy by saying "You're not ready yet, here's some handy links" rather than saying "You don't have a snowballs chance in hell" - which is what we effectively used to do. I'm pleased the essay is often cited and hope it serves a good use; but it absolutely was never aimed at seasoned users. Hope that helps. Pedro :  Chat  18:57, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Give me a little bit of time! Face-wink.svg But I've been intending to write up an essay that I'd like to call WP:NOTQUITEYET which will address this issue – WP:NOTNOW is for No0bs; WP:NOTQUITEYET will be for editors who have moderate-to-substantial experience, but just aren't there quite yet in terms of the experience that many editors want to see in an Admin. I've been meaning to write it up for a month, but I've been working two jobs this summer!! One of them just finished up, so I'm hoping to tackle writing this up in the next couple of weeks... --IJBall (contribstalk) 19:14, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Well... you can do that of course; but I think anyone who is in a "Not Quite Yet" position at RFA probably doesn't need an essay with a bunch of links to be honest - they just need to fix whatever the concern is. A generic essay isn't really appropriate for tenured Wikipedians in my opinion; I could be wrong. Pedro :  Chat  19:30, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
I intend to address that – even when citing WP:NOTQUITEYET, the essay will make clear that !voters should still clearly delineate their specific issues with the RfA candidate in question. But this is coming up so often that something like this is needed, so people stop (incorrectly) citing "WP:NOTYET" (which is a shortcut that I think should be eliminated, and only "WP:NOTNOW" allowed for use...) and start citing something that is actually a more correct representation of their thoughts on the matter. --IJBall (contribstalk) 19:35, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • To be quite honest, I'm not sure that a NOTQUITEYET essay would help. I feel that linking somewhat experienced users to yet another essay, although intended in good faith, might be perceived as patronizing. On a separate note, we're getting into another dry cycle of successful candidacies at RfA. I'll be quite disappointed if Ceradon's fails at the last moment due to a barrage of opposes. --Biblioworm 20:02, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Yep – after these last two, we're going to be back to "Why bother to even try an RfA?! If these most recent candidates fail, I have no hope of passing!..." (As to the first point, I still intend to write the essay, but no one is obliged to link to it if they don't like it. Face-wink.svg ) --IJBall (contribstalk) 20:28, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
RfAs are unpredictable. Some candidates who seem like they would face a lot of opposition end up easily sailing through while other candidates seem to hit a nerve and the opposers show up in force. Lately, we've had RfAs that looked like they would pass or fail halfway through and then the latter part of the 7 day period finds a whole new voting pattern in editors weighing in. It really depends a lot on who shows up and decides weigh in with their vote and remarks because editors' opinion influences other editors' votes, maybe even more than the candidate's own contribution record. Liz Read! Talk! 21:59, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • RfAs are only unpredictable to those who took a gamble on the outcome. Whatever patterns the voting takes over the 7 days, with very few exceptions RfA does what it says on the tin. Much to the chagrin of course to those who found themselevs on the wrong side of the result. I think IJBall's "Why bother to even try an RfA?! If these most recent candidates fail, I have no hope of passing!..." is unrealistic and defeatist, or at best, a self-fulfilling prophecy. If candidates were to read all the advice, review plenty of previous RfAs, and look themselves in the mirror, they would be able to anticipate the level of opposition and would know what chances they have. Anyone whose RfA snows in the first 24 hours either needs trouting good and proper or they were a troll in the first place. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:18, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm coming at this from the other end: Rich F. had David Cannon nominating; Cyberpower had TParis and Catfish Jim. It's not like those RfA's walked in from off the street and self-nom'ed – they actually had some real "heft" behind them from the Admin corps. These were people who had been recruited. And, still, they ended with the whimper of the dreaded scarlet "No consensus"... I think many of editors figure they won't bother with an RfA until they are asked and get an Admin nominator to back them. These last two RfA's show that even getting that is not much of a guarantee. Cyberpower's (effective) rejection, especially, strikes me as shocking; with Rich, at least their were extenuating issues, but even he was a former Admin. --IJBall (contribstalk) 16:43, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • The words, NOT NOW, it should be evident, is naturally used in at least two ways: 1) I can't judge this, you have no (too little) record; 2) I might support in the future, but not now, for these reasons. It's rather hopeless to be prescriptivist and restrict 'not now' to just one of these.
    • Using the words is fine, but commenters should take care to not link to the shortcut WP:NOTNOW if the advice in the essay is inappropriate for the situation. isaacl (talk) 15:48, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
      • That, or the shortcut is naturally poor, especially since 1 and 2 above have some conceptual similarity - not now. (As an aside, the !vote that prompted this section to be opened did not have a link.) Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:52, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
        • To clarify, using the words "not now" is fine. Using "NOTNOW" is jargon and even without a link, the natural assumption is that the corresponding shortcut in the Wikipedia namespace is being referenced. isaacl (talk) 16:15, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
          • Well, it is better to listen to what people actually say, not their capitalization. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:18, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
            • In the interest of clarity, it is best for commenters to avoid jargon. Sure, in theory I should be able to type portions of my response in capital letters and have it considered in the same way as if I used appropriate capitalization, but the convention in online conversation is that this corresponds to shouting, and so it's best not done. (I was not specifically discussing this case, where what was said was that the editor lacked experience, so the reference (from the commenter's point of view) to WP:NOTNOW was appropriate.) isaacl (talk) 16:28, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
              • I might agree with you but the jargon is shown to be endemic and we already know it's not always going to be used exactly how we want it to be, best to ignore the quibble. The worst that can happen is the !vote makes no sense, and it is ignored, and that's not anyone's problem but the speaker. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:33, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
                • As it's really no easier to type "Not now" versus "NOTNOW", I don't think commenters should be given a free pass to arbitrarily change the meaning of a jargon term. The only value jargon has is that it's a concise expression of a specific meaning, to shorten conversation. Lose that, and there's no point to it. I don't particularly think the adoption of NOTNOW in its current form is the best definition, but unfortunately changing it will cause greater problems with many archived conversations already using it. (On a clarification note: in the previous parenthetical, I should have said "was intended" rather than "was appropriate".) isaacl (talk) 16:40, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
                  • Well, as I said at the beginning - being prescriptivist on this issue is a more like a waste of time and good will (focus on the substance) but YMMV or ymmv :). Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:48, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

"Latest RfXs" box[edit]

In the box listing recent RfAs, Cyberpower's is listed as "No Consensus". Shouldn't that be "Withdrawn"? --MelanieN (talk) 22:35, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

It was "withdrawn" at first but was changed to "no consensus" because of WJBscribe's edit to the RfA page. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 22:43, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I looked around after that first went up as "Withdrawn", but couldn't find any evidence that Cyberpower had actually withdrawn it (so, at the time, I had just assumed that he'd sent an E-mail to the Bureaucrats or something...). A "No consensus" close seems to make more sense if there wasn't an E-mail either. --IJBall (contribstalk) 22:49, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
cyberpower said so on the talk page of the bureaucrat discussion. Here it was. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 22:54, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Evidence?? You mean like the fact that he said, on the Crat Chat talk page, that he was withdrawing? [1] Or maybe the fact that Cyberpower actually closed the RfA himself as "withdrawn"? [2] What does he have to do, hire a town crier? --MelanieN (talk) 22:58, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Hmmmm... I seemed to have missed that. Odd thing is, I think I saw that last night, but I think I only noticed the first part (about the "closing as No Consensus")... --IJBall (contribstalk) 23:07, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
On the second part, I think the issue is that Cyberpower didn't have the "authority" to "withdraw" at that point – only the Bureaucrats could do that. --IJBall (contribstalk) 23:09, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Pinging User:WJBscribe like I should have done in the first place. Was this a "no consensus to promote" result or a "withdrawn" result? The decision to close the discussion [3] seems to have been prompted by his withdrawal. --MelanieN (talk) 23:21, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
@MelanieN: I think this discussion might answer your question. --IJBall (contribstalk) 23:31, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it does. Thanks. And sorry to bother you, WJBscribe. It was your call to make, I was just seeking clarification. --MelanieN (talk) 23:44, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

7 years ago, this was a very different place[edit]

7 years ago at this venue, the community saw fit to grant the administrative toolset to a bumbling video game addict who had been editing for a mere 5 months with about 7000 edits. He had no GAs, no FAs, no DYKs, no solid history of content creation. Even though there were some concerns about interpretation of CSD criteria, the community (after asking but 3 additional questions) saw that the guy genuinely wanted to help and probably wouldn't accidentally delete the entire project.

Even still, he made some stupid mistakes as an administrator; but he was always willing to accept community input and learn from those mistakes. No lasting damage to the project was caused while he found his footing.

Now this is a much different place. Users who have been here toiling away for years have trouble getting some extra buttons to help.

We really need to go back to giving folks the benefit of the doubt, otherwise we will find ourselves (even more) hopelessly backlogged and the quality of the product will continue to suffer.

So we should take more chances. An administrator who makes mistakes in good faith will cause little damage, any missteps can be easily remedied. Learning on the job is a big part of adminship. An administrator behaving badly can be addressed by existing mechanisms; the committee of today is far quicker to respond to legitimate concerns about administrative conduct.

We need to stop demanding perfection in every aspect of a candidates' background. Are they trustworthy? Do they learn from mistakes? Are they willing to accept constructive criticism about their editing and actions? Will they proceed cautiously into the role of administrator? If the answers to these questions are yes, please consider supporting the candidate even if they don't necessarily fulfill every prerequisite you're looking for in the perfect candidate. –xenotalk 02:17, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

I can agree with much of what you have said. Where at one time an editor's RfA would have just been a case of "It's not a big deal" with some imperfections allowable has now changed. RfA candidates are often overanalyzed and all sorts of editors will nitpick at every last one of this candidate's flaws for oppose votes. This puts off competent users from even trying for adminship at all. Dustin (talk) 02:23, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Precisely. In January 2008 we promoted three dozen admins! We haven't even promoted that many in each of the last three years. What has changed except our expectations? –xenotalk 02:28, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I think that one contributing factor to this decline is also the overall decline in activity on the English Wikipedia. It's been discussed here and other places, but I recall seeing a chart that indicated we're heading towards a plateau. 2007-2011 were Wikipedia's most prolific years and therefore it's understandable that there were more editors applying for the tools to deal with the rapid growth. Mkdwtalk 03:40, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Well said xeno. Mkdwtalk 03:37, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Raw edit count has declined significantly, but I'm not sure whether it has declined by as much as you would expect we lost when the edit filters took out most of the vandalism, and also lost us the goodfaith edits that were reverting that vandalism, warning the vandals etc. If we could adjust for that we might well find editor numbers were still above 2007 levels, though now on a downward trend due mainly to the rise of difficult to edit on devices such as smartphones and tablets. Raw edit count is an over simplistic measure that made people more worried about community health the more efficient the edit filters became at keeping out vandalism. However if our RFA problems were simply a symptom of a maturing community we would now be a community where most regulars were admins and we were lamenting how few newbies started in 2013/early 2014 and were now becoming admins. Our problem is more complex than that, yes we are recruiting fewer active editors in recent years, but adminship is actually becoming rarer in the community of highly active editors - those who are currently contributing over a thousand edits a year. ϢereSpielChequers 09:13, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I wonder if it could be as simple as encouraging long established users (especially other administrators) to participate more regularly in the process. Their participation in RfA may have declined due to the routine becoming mundane or the environment becoming more toxic. What's more, I would think administrator participants are generally more willing to "take a chance" on a candidate, giving the benefit of the doubt (because they are in a better position to moderate any new administrator's actions). –xenotalk 03:11, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

I can say that back in 2006 RfA was no picnic. But not the gauntlet it has become today. Perhaps we should require that people run for RfA before they are allowed to participate in one, that way they will know what it feels like. (kidding) Chillum 03:39, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

  • Yes, 7 years ago it was a very different place. 5 years ago it was different again.
2007 was more or less the watershed year where we stopped giving mops to people who had created a stub or two, made 2,000 edits, and been around for 3 months. Necessity forced us to become a lot more critical in the way we elect our admins, and it's probably true to say that most of the rogue admins were 'promoted' pre 2007.
For a while, notably in the years from 2007 to around 2012, the voters at RfA went a bit berserk and turned the place into a venue where they could be as humiliating and hurtful as possible not only to the candidates, but also to each other with impunity, so the interest in becoming an admin (at least from mature, serious contenders) literally nosedived along with the participation on this discussion page at the same cadence. Some of them were doing it deliberately in the hope that it would bring down adminship completly, and be replaced with a system where everyone over a certain edit count would be given a pick and shovel mop and bucket. They got T-banned or completely banned while some continue to edit content while maintining catalogues of anti-admin slogans on their user pages or driving by on other debates (or occasionally on this page) with totally immature interjections.
If we're going to stop demanding perfection in every aspect of a candidate's background, making it easier for them to get the bit, then we need to start making it easier to desysop them when they misbeave.
Editors like me and Dennis Brown got the mop when RfA was at its apogee of cruelty, lies, and deceit, and it was getting through that snake pit and coming out alive that made it a big deal and kept us working in the trenches right up to the present day. That's one of the reasons I started WP:RFA2011. The other reason was that I wanted to find out how it was possible that so many totally unsuitable individuals ended up being given the mop. They don't now. And also RfA is a much saner environment than it was then. Without a doubt. Just check it out. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:53, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Kudpung, I think that we can all agree that you had a really unpleasant RFA; I hope you will concede that none of them are fun. Please, please listen to this feedback: from the perspective of a lot of other people, including people who actually went through RFA during the timeframe you mention above, it is worse today than it has ever been. And more importantly, there is no indication in any way that it is actually all that difficult to get bad admins desysopped via Arbcom. That has been a fallacy since at least 2009, and you should stop saying that unless you can name me 5 bad admins who've been taken to Arbcom with a view to having them desysopped and haven't been sanctioned. (You can send it by email if you prefer.) If there is evidence of inappropriate admin behaviour, Arbcom will sanction, and half the time it doesn't even need a full case. I say this based on my experience as both an arbitrator and as someone who has initiated a case with the purpose of having an administrator/CU/OS desysopped and other tools removed - and succeeded because the evidence was there. Risker (talk) 08:28, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Actually, counting only flat out desysops (is there a list of "cloudy" resignations), the 2005 generation appears to be the most prone to being desysoped, both in absolute and relative numbers. I did write up a breakdown here. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:34, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Some of the change makes sense, some doesn't. In early 2008 Rollback was unbundled and subsequently "good vandalfighter" ceased to be enough to pass RFA, candidates since then have to show they have helped build the pedia as well as defend it, and now at the least you now need to be able to cite content to a reliable source. However our vandalfighters need to be able to block vandals and we haven't yet unbundled blocking of IPs and new accounts. There has been arbitrary inflation re the standards, it used to be that if you did something that earned you a block in the last 12 months you needed to wait, now we'll get opposes for blocks that are two and a half years old and goodfaith mistakes from more than 6 months ago. ϢereSpielChequers 08:36, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Risker, I get the feedback - I get it in my email almost every day, from the team I'm working with to find candidates, from raw newbies wanting me to nominate them, and from older, mature, truly potential candidates whom I have solicited, politely declining because they believe the myth some people are propogating that RfA is still a terrible ordeal. If people would just stop telling the community it is, we might get those editors to run. My latest nominations passed with totally flying colours (138/3/3, 171/5/1), but both of them did have to be dragged kicking and screaming to their transclusions. There's a big difference between objectively voting 'oppose' (which is always risky however nicely worded and I note you've never once ventured an oppose vote) and being downright nasty and disengenuous, and anyone reviewing the last 300 RfA that went their full 7 days will clearly appreciate the positive evolution. And BTW, thank you Jo-Jo for your very keen observation. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:51, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
On thinking about it, I think my view is similar to Kudpung's. we used to see some real cage-matches develop here. OTOH there were never so many running for arbcom now....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:38, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
When I think of the nastiest most incivil opposes I find myself thinking back at least a couple of years. But the tendency to judge simplistically by tenure, editcountitis and at best the Q&A section is still with us and getting worse as the arbitrary but easy to measure standards get inflated. My fear is that the risk of a bad candidate getting through increases as the scrutiny of their actual editing declines. ϢereSpielChequers 10:59, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Judging by superficial criteria is common in business (cf. Dilbert), notorious in bureaucracy, exploited in politics/advertising. Academics tend to get judged by paper count. Your fear seems warranted. How does one combat the trend? --Pi zero (talk) 11:15, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
WereSpielChequers, yes, those are the elements we need to watch over these days. The downright nastiness is practically a thing of the past. Most other Wikipedias already insist on minumum edit count and tenure to be able to vote at their RfAs, we don't, so a couple of years ago I wrote WP:RFAV. It's aimed really at the younger newbies who just think it's cool to vote on RfA without really understanding what it's all about, but it can be used effectively on editors who have been around a bit longer. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:40, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Uhm, I am reluctant to comment, because I have no interest in being an Admin. I do note, however, that as it's in part a "trust" issue there will be subjectivity no matter what (for example, on just one issue, I want a candidate who wants to do adminning, but I don't want a candidate into the power or status of adminning - thread that needle Ms. Candidate!).

Has anyone, however, tried to get a community guideline (not an essay) on voting criteria - I note that many people often refer to their own personal criteria - so why not communal? As I see it, it would have sections on 1) These are what Admins do; 2)These are statistical measurements relevant to any editor related to what admins do, explained. 3) These are considerations that we have guiding agreement on (although exceptions always apply - and yes some are subjective). That way, we at least have a start to a communal way of discussing the voting issues - which would be helpful to candidates and helpful to !voters - let me finally say, if there is already anything like the guideline I am outlining then it has failed, because no one refers to it while i-voting and perhaps we can figure out what to do about that. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:06, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

The big problem nowadays is that you're require to be an article writer, first and foremost, to be an administrator. Writing a few articles and knowing the process hasn't been enough for a long time. In reality, it's backward from what it should be. I've nominated slews of maintenance users, article writers, and those in between, and the maintenance ones are the ones that actually use the admin tools; the article writers just stick with article writing and don't do much admin work when promoting. This means that the ones that are being promoted aren't doing much in the way of admin work, which makes the gap of potentially needing more admins even wider than it appears. That combined with Xeno's point above has been a gradual process that has taken over RfA. No quick fix for that, unfortunately, outside of people being more sensible with how they vote. It should be about whether you trust the candidate with the tools, not whether they've written a bunch of featured articles. Besides, they say to come back in a few months, which has never worked; we all know those that fail and try again in a few months would just fail again for being "too eager". Wizardman 14:55, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

I wouldn't say that too loudly Wizardman, WereSpielChequers might hear you. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:53, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
@Wizardman We've just had one candidate get as far as a crat chat despite never having done an inline citation, and another recently who had well over 90% despite not having a single GA and a nomination that included the phrase "relative lack of content contributions". There are a handful of individuals who will oppose candidates who are not primarily content contributors, even if you have GAs you can get some opposes for relative lack of content contributions, but the current de facto RFA standards definitely do not require candidates to be "first and foremost an article writer". ϢereSpielChequers 21:37, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

(E/c but this comment dovetails with Wizardman) On the issue of 'we need more admins', I would suggest by the standard of consensus-is-in-the-doing, we don't need more admins - admins are apparently of the collective view that any actions for large swaths of them are not in the least needed to improve the project, as shown by their lack of doing. We are already redundant in admins, no need to add to redundancy. Go to the bother, the sturm-und-drang to pick an admin, why? Chances are good, they will do nothing. [I think again, contra to Wizardman, you are more likely to get an educated votership by having a communal guideline] Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:01, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

  • I couldn't agree more, xeno. To be quite honest, although incivility might very well be less rampant than it was a few years ago, there are still serious problems with the process. Really, the primary issue with it is !voters' desire for complete balance and perfection. Although, as of now, I'll cautiously say that Ceradon's RfA will probably pass, it was "interesting" to see the editcount-based opposes. They spoke as if a little over 7,000 edits was nothing and required no effort. Finally, I have a serious challenge for anyone interested: Is there solid evidence which shows that candidates elected before 2007 (e.g., Kudpung's "watershed year") performed worse and caused more lasting, serious damage to the project than admins elected through our current system? After all, now that I think about it, we need to ask ourselves: what is the worst thing that can happen? Electing a wild, incompetent or abusive admin, of course. But then, we could always ask the stewards to quickly desysop a wild admin, and incompetent or abusive admins can be dealt with via ArbCom. Sure, it might take some time, but I have also arrived at the conclusion that ArbCom is a sufficient procedure for dealing with problematic admins. If you bring a case and present evidence which shows a long-term pattern of tool misuse, then they'll most likely try to take appropriate action. Ultimately, the main question we need to be asking ourselves is: Do we feel that the benefits of electing this candidate will be an overall positive to Wikipedia? We really need to be more tolerant of the fact that newer admins will make mistakes; the way we're going, we'll simply get ourselves deeper into an admin crisis. The simple statistical number of admins means nothing, since in reality very few of them are active in administrative duties. (For instance, I only see a small group of admins around CSD.) As I mentioned above, if no one can seriously show that admins elected in the lenient days are somehow substantially worse than today's admins, then we must conclude that it would probably do us no harm to simply go back to our old ways. --Biblioworm 15:13, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
    • As the community (and pool of potential admins) has changed significantly in the last eight years, however, I don't think it can be concluded that the standards from then are best followed now. isaacl (talk) 15:40, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • New admins are desirable in order to free up the current active admins to pursue other tasks, alleviating a natural tendency to start treating any long-repeated activity with less sensitivity to those affected. isaacl (talk) 15:44, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • That is the conclusion I coming to as well – for all the hand-wringing about "[mumble] backlogs! [mumble] we need more Admins!" from the way the community and the Admin corps is acting in these most recent RfA's, the only conclusion I can come to is that neither population currently views the "Admin shortage" issue as particularly "dire". If there truly were a shortage, RfA standards would naturally evolve to a more lenient standard in order to promote more Admins to alleviate the "crisis". But we aren't seeing that – ergo, currently, there isn't a "Admin shortage crisis". --IJBall (contribstalk) 16:49, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Where did the cue for this statement come from?: Is there solid evidence which shows that candidates elected before 2007 (e.g., Kudpung's "watershed year") performed worse and caused more lasting, serious damage to the project than admins elected through our current system? - not from me, surely. The only suggestion I made was that a rather striking number of defrocked admins came from the pre 2007 era, which Jo-Jo kindly supported with some stats. Damage, if any, was what they did to the reputation of the corps of admins in general, lapped up gleefully of course by the anti-admin brigade. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:09, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

  • I was not referring to any particular comment you had made, Kudpung. I asked a question for anyone who wished to answer it, and since you seem to have determined that 2007 was the year when the process really changed, I simply decided to use it as a reference point. Addressing the desysopped admins, though, even if the standards of the "pre-2007 era" were too lenient, surely we don't need the unreasonable perfectionist attitude of today. --Biblioworm 16:52, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Today's standards are purely hypothetical because they are set anew for each RfA depending on who turns out to vote, and the turnouts today are very much higher than they used to be. Very few of the voters are actually RfA 'regulars' and that's possibly the problem; we know for a fact that a lot of them haven't a clue what RfA and adminship are all about and what they are voting for - we concluded that part of te research too, way back at WP:RFA2011 already. AFAICS, admins and the few regular voters have reasonable criteria and are ones they have been using for years. If kept within reasonable parameters, it's probably most desirable that candidates are held to a slightly higher standard tha those of pre 2007.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:21, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Jo-Jo's numbers, though interesting, aren't comparing apples to apples. The 2005 admins have had ten years in which to misbehave, while the 2013 cohort - the latest in his list - obviously has had only two. This also does not account for changes in decision-making about desysopping. Many of the old instances were carried out by Jimbo and only later reviewed by Arbcom; there is at least a general perception that Arbcom is currently more willing to desysop than it was in the past; and the type of behavior that triggers desysop attempts may have changed.
On the question of infrequent RfA participants "resetting the bar" every time, that may well have been true in 2011 - I didn't look - but I posted some numbers for the 2015 RfAs last month that suggest this problem seems to have abated. Opabinia regalis (talk) 23:04, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Opabinia regalis: ...a new collection of participants reset the standards every time, seems to have abated in recent experience.
Recent experience is drawn from so few recent RfA that it is impossible to draw an objective conclusion. The stats you should be looking at, and which you may wish to update by extending them to include all RfA since the table was made here (section: How they voted). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:30, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, the question we're interested in is how consistent the standards are from one RfA to the next. A reasonable proxy measure (with some caveats) is how consistent the participants are from one RfA to the next - which can be reasonably represented by how many of the available RfAs each individual participates in - but that makes the assumption that individual preferences are fairly consistent over time. Given that this is taking place against a background of known long-term decline in a way that's not all that amenable to detrending, the assumption of consistent preferences degrades when applied over longer time periods. One can argue that the 2015 "electorate" has poorly thought-out, unreasonable, or capricious preferences, but I think it's fairly clear that a serious 2015 candidate can expect participation by engaged and experienced users, not an unpredictable assortment of drive-by complainers.
That old table is certainly interesting - imagine voting on 140 RfAs in one year! - but doesn't answer quite the same question. It appears to account for all nominations within a one-year period (205!), but about 30% of those are NOTNOW/SNOW cases closed very soon after transclusion. That means that people in all time zones didn't get a chance to comment, and the population commenting on obvious fails is likely different than the overall participant pool anyway. Another 30%ish are withdrawals after more than a day but less than a week, and the old data gives no obvious way to normalize for this. (I punted on this for the 2015 list and looked only at completed RfAs, but one could just weight by total open time.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 22:01, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
Agree with Xeno on this. Years ago it was a mostly completely different set of faces here on WT:RFA. And RFA expectations were vastly different than they are now. For example, see my own RFA standards page, from 2008, which just so happens to be the seven years ago Xeno mentioned. Not everybody was the same back then, of course, but I suggested about 2000 edits. Nowadays, people with 2000 edits get NOTNOW'd. Yes, for a period of time, RFA was exceptionally rough. That in no way means that it has to continue to be that rough, or that those who passed/failed the gauntlet during that time need to continue to keep it as such a gauntlet. It has been said that RFA became tougher out of necessity. With the number of active administrators ever dwindling, perhaps RFA will become easier out of necessity. Useight's Public Sock (talk) 15:06, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

No big deal[edit]

  • Note: My thoughts stem from several lengthy discussions and proposals, including: this, this, this, and this; and many past discussions, including those found here.

"No big deal" worked back then because "Jimbo giveth and Jimbo taketh away" back then. Now, the community giveth, but the community cannot taketh away.

If we want adminship to return to "no big deal" or to "take more risks" (as noted), the community needs a better, more active, direct way to voice its concerns and to have at least a hand in "taketh away".

I've always found it odd that the community can "ban" (take away all user-rights but reading) through an RfC-like discussion, but cannot similarly merely remove the user-rights and responsibilities of adminship.

Maybe I should go "live" with an RfC on WP:RRA. I dunno.

But without a way for the community to be able to act, they will never trust the RfA process as we once did in the past. - jc37 17:41, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree, and this all deals with issues that Kudpung and Xeno are trying to tackle on their ends. But Adminship will continue to be substantially problematic as long as it continues to be, 1) a "lifetime" appointment, and 2) removable only through "ArbCom action" and removable almost exclusively for "abuse of the tools" reasons and without consideration of ADMINCOND issues. --IJBall (contribstalk) 17:49, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Back then, the community would discuss, petition User:Jimbo Wales, and he would decide. At some point he started ceding (sharing) much of his on-wiki dispute process authority to arbcom. And then there were a few contentious situations where he ended up just giving up most tools. I don't think it's coincidental that the time frames noted in the thread above somewhat coincide with that.
So my RRA proposal essentially is a return to that idea, substituting arbcom for him, while addressing a LOT of stated concerns from many discussions with admins, arbcom members and the community-at-large. (see also WT:RRA - jc37 17:59, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I find the argument that it's too hard to desysop pretty specious. Arbcom - elected by the community - has pretty consistently shown that it is quite willing to desysop problem admins that are brought to its attention; in fact, one of the few situations where they have applied sanctions without a direct community-based request for a case is with socking administrators and severely disruptive ones (mass deletions, unblocking oneself, insecure passwords/hijacking etc.) Arbcom is responsible to the community and selected by the community, and their responsibilities explicitly include review of administrator actions. It is, in fact, the only advanced-permission group whose members are subject to 2-year terms and who need to be re-evaluated and re-elected by the community if they wish to continue in the role. Community members can bring cases with evidence at any time, can participate in development of evidence, proposing terms of the decision, and discussion of the evidence, terms, and the proposed decision itself. "It's too hard to use Arbcom" doesn't cut it: I just took an admin to arbcom, presenting solid evidence in my initial statement and some off-wiki stuff (it was a privacy-related case) and the result was removal of all advanced privileges, and I invested probably no more than 3 hours. If the evidence is there (and it would need to be collected and presented regardless of how the desysop process is done), there's not a problem getting problem admins desysopped. I challenge you to show otherwise, Jc37, just as I have challenged Kudpung: show me five bad administrators who have been taken to Arbcom for administrator/behaviour problems in the last five years but did not receive a sanction. I get that you'd prefer it, but if you're withholding support for otherwise credible admin candidates essentially because there's no community desysop process in which you personally get a vote, you are being brutally unfair to those candidates. Risker (talk) 20:00, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
    I've supported candidates, I've even nominated candidates.
    My goal is to address a community-wide issue.
    I think you misunderstand my comments above. It's no reflection on arbcom, it's a reflection on the community. once upon a time in Rome, any citizen could have their direct audience with the emperor, who, incidentally called himself "first citizen". If there was an issue it was discussed and resolved then and there, arbcom's reputation is becoming that of a legal court, word counting, officious and to some, off-putting and even scary. And the issue isn't who makes it there, it's that most never do, and those who do, long after they've had large disruptive presence. Does anyone get to undo those deletions, moves, etc? no. it's rarely cleaned up after. You can not like it, but that's how it is. The main argument I kept getting about RRA was essentially: "Why do we need arbcom involved when we should be able to do this without them."
    It's the age-old argument of why does US need an electoral college? supposedly to save the populace from themselves. So there is, in my estimation, a need to a near-top-level authority figure, but there also needs to be a way that the village can feel comfortable to act at the village pump level as well.
    I oppose a simple "reverse RFA" for lots of reasons, many of which, as you've been in those discussions, probably know. But the idea of a reverse RfA needs to be implemented to the community-at-large. If you don't think so, let me ask: would you be comfortable with just doing away with RfA and merely having arbcom select all admins? - jc37 21:36, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
    Mmm. Such proposals here have never achieved consensus. There are a lot of practical concerns about any community driven deadminship process that have sunk them each time. I think such proposals need to focus on practical benefits and drawbacks and less on, may this be the appropriate word, principles. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 21:46, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
    Nah. Having started several discussions myself, it's mostly one of three things. 1.) fear - admins fear that the pitchforks and lynch mobs will be set free on those who make what may appear to be unpopular decisions. 2.) "I have something I'd like to see implemented - nevermind that it isn't currently and in the years since, never has been, if I support this proposal I don't think I'll get my version implemented." Or the variant: "I like that the system is broken, so I can abuse it" 3.) a myriad of voices means a myriad of opinions, and so those opposing a many-faceted process which came out of a series of compromises due to wanting something pulled a little more one way or other.
    It's part of why it's very difficult to get new processes started anymore. - jc37 22:22, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
    Or maybe, just maybe, people *don't* think the system is broken. Your thoughts about Roman citizenship are rather un-wiki, I think: only about 10% of the population of Rome actually were considered full citizens, and the majority were slaves, considered property. They had a class system that makes the Victorian English look like punters. And the US electoral colllege is not "to save voters from themselves", it is to give states pre-eminence over the federation. Risker (talk) 22:32, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
    the point about rome was that any citizen could (and we're ALL editors here). And while that was one stated goal of the electoral college, in general the compromise came out of the sense that the founders did not want the populi having direct vote. and I could further go off on this tangent about landowners, suffrage and the lik, but that's all beyond what point I was trying to make.
    The point is that wikipedia is a project of editors, all of who feel they want a say at eveyr step of the processes, and, I think it's fair to say most of whom feel they don't or can't. Not every editor is as versed in policy or process like you or I Risker. I'm merely suggesting that we try to take a look from their shoes. And what was your answer to my question above? would you be comfortable with just doing away with RfA and merely having arbcom select all admins? - jc37 22:59, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Nah, Arbcom's got too much to do now. Risker (talk) 05:07, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Risker, not rising to your challenge "show me five bad administrators who have been taken to Arbcom for administrator/behaviour problems in the last five years but did not receive a sanction", bcause you are of course quite right, but that detracts from what I have actually been inferring: I can easily show you five admins who have no business being vested with their powers but whom the community is reluctant to bring to Arbcom because the committee does not like entertaining complaints of long-term inappropriate behaviour that just manages to stay under the radar. IMO, that kind of admin behaviour is far worse than any one-off event. There is one former admin who voted on my RfA who would have been immediately blocked for his PA if it had taken place outside the immunity of the RfA playground and by a non admin. As it was, it took two more long years to wrest his mop from him. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:50, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
You know, Kudpung, after being reminded of how badly you felt your RFA went, I went back and read it. Honestly, it took me three readings of the oppose section to work out which admin you were referring to. While I think the absence of diffs should have resulted in a discounting of the oppose (and probably a serious challenge from someone else, too), I didn't perceive it as being any worse than many of the votes I see today; in fact, I see quite a few today that are just plain mean. Not personal attacks, just mean. I do get how it stings, though. The first oppose on my RFA was from someone who was at the time amongst the more "respected" admins and was very strong, although the fact that he referred to me using the wrong gender diluted its effect. For the record, we wound up with about the same amount of support. This does not in any way discount your experience; there are very few administrators who thought their RFA was a pleasant experience, and they were the ones with support levels well up in the 90s, or were successful back in the day when 20 voters was a big turnout. Risker (talk) 05:07, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
You know, Risker. your RfA was slightly before the time I started looking at what's wrong with RfA and adminship time, but reading it now it's clear that yours wasn't exactly a bed of roses either. What you are missing is that I don't care two hoots about my RfA - I never asked to be an admin or make a career in Wikipedia in the first place. I cite my RfA because it's a classic example of what I was already campaigning to get changed after hving been badly mishandled by a couple or rogue teenage admins (since desysoped) and bullied for good by another (since desysoped) off a topic area where I had a great deal to odffer. I therefore made it my business first and foremost to get RfA cleaned up to an extent that we would get beter candidates than what was allowed to be promoted in pre 2007 years.
I think I'll add your RfA to the list of examples how oppose sections used to be mega dramafests. We don't get that kind of thing now, or at least it's no longer the norm, and I believe you are not doing Wikipedia the best service by continually insisting that RfA is 7 days on the rack, it's most certainly not, most qualified candidates pass without much drama, and such claims are exactly the reason why we're not getting many new candidates. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:48, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, here's the problem, Kudpung. When I passed RFA, and when you passed RFA, nobody was being so insulting as to suggest that 7000 edits over three years was insufficient editing experience to qualify. NOTNOW is unacceptable for candidates like this. Frankly, my observation is that those kinds of opposes far more insulting and damaging to editor retention than the three-ring circus that my RFA was (complete with one respected user first opposing, then being neutral, then supporting). And that is exactly what I keep hearing from potential candidates ("I don't want to be insulted" or "I felt like my years of work were thought to be worthless" or "two years ago I made some incorrect CSD tags and I'm still paying for it even though I haven't tagged anything for 18 months"). I have even heard successful candidates say that they found the opposes insulting - not nasty, but insulting. They're not worried about stupid questions (although there are still plenty of them - why did we ever move the questions to the top of the page from the bottom?), they're just not willing to spend months ticking all the arbitrary boxes on the "must have" lists of a bunch of RFA regulars, and they don't have the on-wiki social network to get through the process without ticking those boxes. Just because I don't always get around to voting before candidates walk away from the process doesn't mean that I don't read them. Most current, active admins can't even meet some of the expectations that are being put forward. If you want to make RFA sound friendly, and I say this with genuine understanding of your feelings about it, please stop using your own RFA as an example of "the bad times". Start showing examples of successful RFAs from the last two years with candidates who had similar qualifications to the ones you are seeking to recruit. Risker (talk) 03:19, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
That's easy enough, Risker, two of the most successful cndidates we've had this year (indeed at all) were in fact nominated by me. As for my RfA, well, I only use it as an example in discussions on this page, and after all, this is the RfA talk page; most candidates don't even know of the existence of this page, let alone reviewed any other RfAs or advice before they ran. That's perhaps why they ended up folding their tents. Everywhere else I discuss RfA, as you are well aware, including at our international conferences, I'm preaching the fact that RfA is so much improved, and those whom I say it to are then ready to say "in that case I'll probably give it a go", when someone else comes bumbling along and says "Are you crazy?" More of my efforts thwarted... --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:20, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
If RFA's are gentler now, I'd say the current one (bomby) is a step back. Soap 18:23, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Soap, this is because one user, ostensibly in support of the candidate, is determined to turn the RfA into a drama fest. He just doesn't realise how much actual damage he's doing and if he were wise, he would step back very quickly. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:18, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Like Kudpung, I can think of five admins who I would personally describe using a word that got Eric Corbett in lots of bother last Autumn, but our no personal attacks policy (not to mention common sense, common courtesy and good manners) prevents me from naming them. I am not tempted to drag them to ANI and Arbcom because they would cause so much grief, and yell at how I was far more to blame than them, that it's not worth the bother. I believe Beyond My Ken mentioned this a while back, it's impossible to get a quick dispute with an admin settled as nobody can take charge; there's no equivalent of the "stop this or you run the risk of being blocked". This edit, for example, is not an abuse of admin tools, nor is it anything that could get relief at Arbcom, but I do not expect admins to talk like this. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:22, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
Erm. No. Admins who go over the top get blocked too. More importantly, your argument is self-defeating. If people are afraid of retribution for taking an admin to arbcom, then why would they not be afraid to take an admin to any other desysopping forum? Risker (talk) 05:07, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
It's realistic. I think most admins are de-facto unblockable, certainly I don't think that "over the top" block of The Rambling Man has been particularly successful. Remember this is a voluntary community and I'm happy to believe most casual users think it's too much like hard work to challenge an administrator anywhere, just like it's too much like hard work and hassle for me to challenge a £30 parking ticket, even though the legal system theoretically exists for me to do so. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 08:29, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

More admins, more accountability, same system[edit]

I would like to remind everyone who is afraid to support a candidate because they have no control over them once they get the mop that the community does indeed have a process in which they can respond to admins actions.

The community can and always has been able to come to a consensus at ANI or another appropriate venue that any user be blocked, topic/interaction banned, or outright banned from Wikipedia. Admins are not immune to this. If a real consensus for something like this exists some admin will enforce it, if nobody else then I will.

This is an option those who clamour for community desysop procedures do not seem to bother to use or acknowledge. If the rigor of evidence and reason required for an arbcom case is not an acceptable path then you can always just seek consensus to take direct action against the user.

Frankly I think this does not happen be because the vast majority of accusations of admin abuse would not hold up to the scrutiny of the community, much less arbcom. The few cases where admins have been really out of line it has been dealt with, mostly by arbcom. I still have never heard a good answer to the question "Who are these admins that need desysoping but are not being desysoped?". People need to stop pretending like they have no means to hold admins accountable.

So support all reasonable candidates knowing that you can indeed do something if you need to. Chillum 20:19, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

There is a vast difference between the five admins I mentioned in my reply to Risker above and the anti-admin brigade's claims that all admins abuse their powers, and admins who turn out to be just not very good at teir job.. One of the very reasons why the community does not take the initiative to bring cases to Arbcon is because they are mostly not aware that the isolated incidents they witness or are subjected to are part of an admin's pattern. On several occasions where I have offered to take up the case on behalf of such victims, they have responded with "Nah, don't bother, after this I've lost interest in Wikipedia." Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:07, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
The problem with ANI is one man's grievance against an admin is another man's pointless drama-festival. To give a specific example, consider DangerousPanda's desysop by Arbcom late last year, in about two minutes I can search for multiple ANI threads attempting to get relief (eg: [4], [5], [6],[7],[8]) without much really changing. Perhaps all the threads should have been closed as "no action" but I'm perfectly prepared to believe the filer of each one did so in good faith. Indeed, I might speculate the issue went to Arbcom because ANI was completely ineffectual in dealing with the issue one way or another. (And for the record, I don't think I've ever interacted with DangerousPanda so this definitely isn't personal). Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 11:14, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
  • It would seem then you have two options, convince people through consensus which is the option we have for everything else, and the second option where you can present evidence at arbcom. So you have a consensus based path and an evidence based path. Seems like in your example the second worked when the first did not. Still don't see the need for a 3rd path. Chillum 14:55, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Ritchie333, Risker, et al: I've now looked at those links. It's blatantly obvious that things were again ruled by a coalition of the peanut gallery and the anti-admin brigade. Kettles and pots yelling at each other like the dead common characters across the cobbled streets of Corrie.
Whether or not the admin should have been desysoped I'll reserve my opinion (as usual, I stayed away from Arbcom as I usually do, becuse the cases there are soooo long and soooo bureaucratic) and Boing said Zebedee confirming way back then my contention that Arbcom doesn't address the multiple infringements that stay under the radar.
Kettles and pots yelling at each other like the dead common characters across the cobbled streets of Corrie — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kudpung (talkcontribs) 06:59, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Admin activity[edit]

In one of the earlier threads the point was made that we don't need more admins because most of us haven't used the tools much. This is a common misconception, partly I suspect based on User:JamesR/AdminStats which seem to show that while the majority of admins have been active, and a small minority very active, a significant minority of admins have had few logged admin actions. Several things contribute to that:

  1. The stats only include logged actions since December 2004, so some of the first generation of admins will appear to be much less active than they really were.
  2. The stats don't include use of rollback, and up until early 2008 you needed to be an admin to get rollback and you needed Rollback to be a huggler (we now have more rollbackers than we have admins, and you no longer need rollback for some anti vandalism tools)
  3. Some of the admin accounts with the fewest admin actions are (WMF) accounts, many of us think it a good thing that staff accounts have few logged admin actions, and it isn't relevant to RFA as those accounts were dished out without an RFA.
  4. Many of the people with fewest logged admin actions are not actually EN wiki admins, but have one or more "admin" actions due to various anomalies such as moving a page that is protected from editing. having logged actions imported into this wiki. For example a history merge between two articles can make it appear that a non admin has edited a fully protected page.

In recent years we have not appointed sufficient admins to maintain admin numbers, unless our admins last an improbably long average of twenty years. Appointing more admins has several advantages, it dilutes the scarcity value of adminship, it shares the load so that admins can remain editors who have some extra buttons and spend a proportion of their time here doing a share of the chores. If we appointed lots of admins we might make a dent in some of the longstanding backlogs such as migrating files to commons and history merges, but more importantly we would be steering ourselves away from the currently likely scenario of having to suddenly appoint a large batch of poorly vetted candidates. ϢereSpielChequers 17:27, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

  • Also, there are other actions that are not logged that administrators conduct. Discussion closures, particularly in AFD (that don't end in delete; e.g. redirects, merges, keeps), where admins take on the controversial closes. I often respond to requests sent through {{admin-help}} which often does not result in admin tools being used. Anyone who monitors WP:AIV will know that a many of the vandalism reports do not end in a block result. There isn't really a large non-admin presence filtering the reports there either. Mkdwtalk 17:45, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Looking at your (incredibly useful) chart at User:WereSpielChequers/RFA by month, it's blatantly apparent that Wikipedia is in decline. It would be nice to change RfA to do as you suggest, but it sadly is not going to happen. The decline will continue, and processes will not be adjusted to meet the challenges of the decline until the entire bus is already over the cliff and falling. We can document the decline, we can comment on the decline, we can analyze the decline, we can be vexed by the decline. What we can not do is stop the decline. The WMF seems to think they've can, but all of their best efforts since 2012 have failed to arrest the decline. They still think they can stop the decline. They're wrong of course. --Hammersoft (talk) 17:59, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
    • Hi Hammersoft thanks for that. RFA has definitely declined, though part of that has been due to successive unbundlings, especially that of Rollback. If someone charted admins and Rollbackers combined it would be a very different picture.But Wikipedia in general is far more robust than some would think. Yes the WMF has done a lot of damage with poor choices on several IT investments and some eye watering mistakes in community engagement, but a big part of the "Wikipedia is in decline" meme is down to people looking at raw edit count over the years and thereby misunderstanding the edit filtering of vandalism as a negative rather than the positive it actually is. I've written up a few of the relevant arguments/theories at User:WereSpielChequers/Going off the boil?, I'd welcome your views on the talkpage there. ϢereSpielChequers 21:00, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I would also venture to say that more admin means fewer actions per admin, less burn out, less opportunity for abuse due to burnout, and less "prestige" from the bit as it would be less exclusive. Those are all minor, but the sum total of them all is worthwhile. We want admin doing quality work, not quantity work. Dennis Brown - 20:20, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
  • It seems there's only one answer then: recruit! recruit! recruit! It sounds like you all need a headhunter. --IJBall (contribstalk) 00:47, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
  • And willing candidates. RfA has still that rep for being a "den of horrors" and in past discussions I've seen that users approached by "headhunters" frequently decline the offer. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 12:39, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers: Minor nitpick, re: point #4, here's the actual explanation for this discrepancy, as I noted some time back. Only edit histories, not logs, can be imported into Wikipedia. Graham87 15:40, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks Graham, I've made that change, but I'm sure I've also seen some logged actions that don't fit your explanation. ϢereSpielChequers 20:08, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
Jo-Jo, RfA has still that rep for being a "den of horrors" - only because some users who do not keep up with the discussions or who have not systematically followed every RfA since 2011 keep telling us it is. In actual fact RfA has made a vast improvement since 2011, and as soon as we can get that message across, we'll get more candidates. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:11, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
I won't deny that it has improved relatively (such as in terms of civility issues), but as I have mentioned before I still observe some serious problems with the process, frivolous and arbitrary opposes being the main issue. (For example, RfAs of familiar and otherwise non-problematic users being arbitrarily opposed due to edit-count or experience expectations.) --Biblioworm 01:18, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Anyone who has not thoroughly read (and better still, participated on) the last 300 or so RfAs and been following this talk page every day for the last 6 years like I and users such as WereSpielChequers have, for example, cannot possible know. Wikipedia has an addiction to stats but stats cannot parse this kind of improvement over a priod of a few years, and that's also what Risker is forgetting. As for the trolls, frivolous, and arbitrary votes and comments, well, yes, we still get just a few of them but that's something that could be immediately nipped in the bud by anywhoe who cares and it doesn't need special tools to do. Something like indenting their posts and referring them to WP:Advice for RfA voters would do the trick. Of course there is always the problem of IPs commenting at the top of the page - we had a discussion here about that further up but such IPs are almost entirely blocked or banned users - and I even recogbise the style. At the fist hint of something like that happening on an RfA all we need to do is semi protect the page. Research on the last 1,000 RfA will show that IPs and users with less than 200 400 edits generally do not understand what RfA and adminship is all about. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:45, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I think there is at least as much value in people who *don't* watch every single RFA and *don't* read this page with their daily morning coffee pointing out that, no, things really haven't changed; call it the view from 10,000 feet. I think it is quite possible that there is an unconscious bias here. If things had really improved, then we'd have more candidates and more successful candidates, and I'd actually get to support decent candidates before they folded their tents after two days of being told they were unworthy. The fact that both continue in their decline points to there not being a change. There's still lots of negativity at RFA; it's just the type of negativity that's changed. Risker (talk) 03:53, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
That comment confirms what I have been saying all along: that people don't pay enough attention to what is disscused on this talk page. It's not a view from 10,000', it's a view down the wrong end of the telescope. Those who folded their tents probably actually did exactly the right thing, and if you would email me the list of them you feel should have passed, I'll gladly examine them and let you have my opinion. Things really have improved, so has the quality of the candidates (bar a couple of fairly recent promotions who were desysoped again shortly afterwards) and if people would just stop telling everyone that RfA is still an ordeal by fire, we'll get more candidtes. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:08, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
One thing, a very important thing, has improved, there is less trolling and nastiness. Even the stuff that looks nasty, longstanding editors with thousands of edits having opposes per NOTNOW as if they were total newbies, is probably unintentional nastiness from people who genuinely don't think they are making a personal attack. I haven't sen an oppose per people's views for a while. Other things have got worse, the focus on easily measured stats and the inflation of standards on them has put RFA out of reach of editors for whom this is a hobby they pick up for a couple of evenings a month. Such people are the backbone of most healthy volunteer organisations, we need more in the admin corps, but nowadays they first have to go through a phase of hyper activity. Someone with a couple of thousand thoughtful edits that on average represent half an hours work should be more than qualified to run an RFA; but we all know that they will be snowed, whilst a candidate who uses automation for some of their edits and more frequent saving of their manual edits to make 10,000 edits will be taken seriously and may pass, though in reality they have put in less time to the project and may not be as well qualified for adminship. I'm pretty sure there are dozens of editors out there who could easily pass RFA if they ran, in many cases that group are deterred by RFA's reputation. There are hundreds more who would IMHO make good admins, but who would hit significant numbers of opposes, and in many cases it isn't easy to predict whether they would narrowly pass or narrowly fail (many would pass on their second attempt but first need an unsuccessful run to let the community discharge old issues). ϢereSpielChequers 08:57, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Having gone through 10 1/2 years of Signpost articles, I can better understand why some voters have such stringent criteria for RfA candidates. Back around 2007, there were multiple admins desysoped because they were sock accounts and even an editor that passed an RfA and became an admin, got desysoped and blocked, came back as a sock and somehow passed an RfA again! And there were incidents of admins going off the deep end and committing death by ArbCom by going on vandalism sprees or exhibiting extremely erratic behavior. In fact, some of these troubled administrators who had the tools taken away and were blocked had received unanimous votes of Support at their RfAs. And there was a period of time where activity on IRC channels greatly influenced the outcome of RfAs and I don't think that happens today.
So, I can understand why longtime voters at RfAs now are overly cautious and why such scrutiny of editors occurs because some admins got the bit who proved to not be up to the job or were deceitful. I still think that some editors have impossibly high standards for candidates but I understand what brought on this demand for more intense examination of candidates. Liz Read! Talk! 20:53, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
I think it might be worth making an effort to renominate some of the candidates who failed previous RfAs lacking experience more than six months. I've compiled a list below about some possible candidates still active from their last RfA who didn't pass somewhat for experience reasons. Winner 42 Talk to me! 22:06, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
In my case it's probably because I have too much experience of the "wrong" type. I've been an active editor since June 2007, but I've been an AFC regular for much of that time, thus the AFC-haters (there are many) will automatically oppose even though IMHO AFC reviewing and helping newbies there is possibly one of the best ways to acquire "clue" about what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable content. I am planning to run another RFA soon. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 11:39, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Liz, although there have been extreme incidents such as the ones you mentioned, I still don't feel that it justifies perfectionism. We shouldn't punish all good-faith candidates due to the actions of a few "bad apples". If a candidate has generally shown (keeping in mind the limitations of an exclusively text-based medium like Wikipedia) that he is here to improve the project and has demonstrated that he has reasonable knowledge of our policies, we should give him the tools. Besides, if an admin were to suddenly launch a vandalism spree, it would likely be dealt with very quickly by a steward, and very clever sockpuppetry could probably not be detected in an RfA anyway. (Unless we start checkusering every candidate; that was actually proposed recently, and I seem to recall that it failed overwhelmingly.) Although I do of course likely have a bias which I can't notice (who can?), I think the perfectionism at RfA would be well illustrated if I were to transclude my RfA in the very near future. (Just a thought experiment.) I feel that I'm overall a well-balanced editor, since I find most areas interesting. However, although I probably would have passed easily had I an account around 2004-5, I would likely fail now due to various opposes stating that I had only about a year of experience and 8k edits, or that I had recently made a mistake or two at CSD, or that I had not !voted in enough AfDs. Some might even dredge up my overturned NAC closures from months ago (when I was still practically a newbie). --Biblioworm 23:27, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
The problem isn't really that the standards are higher, it is that the arbitrary easily measured part is harder. I can understand that after various poor choices the minimum tenure has increased. But I am not convinced that RFA has become more effective overall at keeping out bad apples. Doing that requires lengthy checking of a candidates edits, not just measuring their total but actually reading how they have interacted with others. We have several RFA voters who will trawl through and look at AFD votes and speedy deletion tags, obviously that is important, an admin who makes mistakes on deletion can do a lot of damage. But I'm not seeing signs of much checking of the other edits that the candidate has made. Perhaps some of the per noms have done this,but if so may I suggest a few more diffs would be reassuring. Remember diffs can be things you spotted that the candidate did well, not just examples of mistakes. My fear is that the focus on the raw edit count and the question section is distracting attention from the parts of the RFA that are more likely to screen out bad candidates, as well as deterring lots of good candidates. ϢereSpielChequers 12:23, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If you don't mind me making a comment, since I was pinged to this discussion, I have been recently thinking of trying another RfA here. So I'm game for a renomination. GamerPro64 22:22, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Cyphoidbomb and Thomas.W seem like good suggestions to me, based on what I've seen from them. --IJBall (contribstalk) 22:35, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

  • WSC made the important observation:

...there is less trolling and nastiness. Even the stuff that looks nasty, longstanding editors with thousands of edits having opposes per NOTNOW as if they were total newbies, is probably unintentional nastiness from people who genuinely don't think they are making a personal attack.

That should help bring users who share Risker's opinion back up to date and start getting the message around te site that RfA is a much safer place. To understand more about why voters vote the way they do, I've asked for an update of a table I asked to be created in 2011.
People are complaining about the bar being too high and/or too much emphasis being placed on some aspects of adminship tasks or previous experience in article creation or meta areas. As some of the more experienced users occasionally point out however, trust is an important part of the equation, but it can't be measured by stats. Younger and/or new editors who try to edit at RfA are apparently unable to make these distictions, hence their one-off appearances and votes that are often pile-ons, or I like him/I don't like him votes. We would need to do some significant research before a realistic guideline could be drawn up for criteria for candidates. It would be a lot of work and while RfA continues to do what it says on the tin, I feel there are other priorities - such as for example, closer monitoring in real-time of possible invalid votes and their users. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:07, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Ah, but you see, I believe that RFA *is* a dangerous place. I repeatedly hear it from people who are potential candidates, and I can't say they're wrong. When we regularly see people opposing candidates from enormous grocery lists of "reasons to oppose" that practically guarantee that any candidate will fail to meet all of their "qualificiations" (except, of course, when they choose not to use any of those reasons and support a favoured candidate) then the problem is RFA itself permitting such excesses. And now we have this new desysop proposal that even further reduces the impetus for anyone to go through RFA. I've been around here long enough to know how that's going, and who's going to be targeted by that. It won't be the admins at the bottom of the activity table, it will be the highly active admins who put their heads above the parapet. Any particular reason why you only notified a few people of that RFC? Risker (talk) 21:39, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

YOU can help[edit]

Yes - you. 3,086 editors have contributed to this talk page. Most of them make valid comments, but very, very, few of them have actually spent more than a few minutes contemplating adminship or RfA issues before they comment. Most of the discussion is about how RfA could be improved. Very, very few of the newer contributors to this talk oage are even aware of the huge resource of data that was mined during WP:RFA2011. Can somebody please bring THIS TABLE right up to date? I believe all that is needed is a knowledge of regex. It just also needs one additional column: Last RfA vote (date). This new dataset will either confirm or disprove some of the conjecture (an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information}. Many thanks. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:11, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

For current lack of time to read it myself, can you quickly explain what it is and what needs to be done, aka what needs to be updated.—cyberpowerChat:Online 14:56, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
The table does have a list of users and statistics on how they vote in RfAs, whether they do and their status. It is not regularly updated for more recent votes/right changes. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:07, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
I could probably fashion up a bot to do that, but it would take some work to do it.—cyberpowerChat:Online 15:12, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
This is a mix of probabilities, regex, and data mining here. I believe I can do all of it, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the graphs.—cyberpowerChat:Online 15:20, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
You'd have to work with SVG files instead of JPG. The former can be edited for updating purposes. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:43, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
I know nothing about SVGs.—cyberpowerChat:Online 20:17, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
I know there is a tool where you can see how an editor has voted in RfAs (it's similar to the one that shows AfD votes). I should have a page with links because I can never find tools when I need them. Any way, once I locate it, perhaps you can use that tool to pull data that is put in the table. I don't know the technical language of what needs to be done though! Liz Read! Talk! 20:42, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Here. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:46, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
That's another of Scottywong's tools and it looks like it needs work: it says I voted "oppose" on Rich Farmborough's RfA, and I didn't – I voted "No opinion" (i.e. "Neutral"). --IJBall (contribstalk) 21:14, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Or this one, which I'm sure cyberpower has access to :)
Surely just about any modern library anyone would use for graphs and charts can write scalable vector graphics or PDF, but I doubt that's a sticking point - it'd be much easier for the next person to have the original data than to have the graph in vector format. And every time you save a graph as a JPEG God kills a kitten. Please think of the kittens and use PNG if vector isn't an option! :)
I'd encourage those looking at this to consider my earlier post on making sure you're measuring the things you're interested in. Opabinia regalis (talk) 21:24, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Maybe one should make a table of all votes and their content, not just a mere statistic of which way where - it carries a lot more useful information. Would be large, though.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 21:48, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Note: THIS TABLE is what is being asked for - that'a all. Graphic formats such as JPG., and SVG. are not required. Nor, AFAICS, is a bot. Scottywong, now most regrettably retired, was a datamining mainstay of the research project and also created an excellent set of tools that has been mentioned mant times and which is still very much in use today. All the tools and scripts he producd were done on the express requests of th task force in order to have data to illustrate, confirm, or disprove some of the impressions we had about RfA. Scottywong was a whizzkid with regex (or whatever he used), he was able to provide THIS TABLE over nighht. He wrote his scripts in record time but sometimes processors (at that time) needed several hours to do the work.

THIS TABLE is designed to show (and does it quite well):

  • Who votes most regulary
  • How long they remained as 'regular' voters
  • How many are admins
  • Their length of tenure
  • Their Wikipedia experience
  • How popular RfA is as a meta venue

a new table would enable a side-by-side comparison which might demonstrate some evolution in voter trendssince 2011, but I doubt hat very much has changed. A further colum could show the users who have nee indeff blocked - tis might possibly shed some light on the amount of trolling. PLease, guys, don't make this task too complex. We only need what is being asked for - there is absolutely no need to produce data tha no one needs or knows how realy usefull it might be. I would do it myself if only I knew how and had Scottywong's talents. Thanks in advance. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:30, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

  • Everybody can help RfA. Just go to WP:RFA, look at the candidates, and if there is nothing actually bad about them (abuse, newbie biting, obvious stupidity), click "edit" and support them. Probably more useful than posting to this talk page, which has been shown to be completely ineffective at getting more people promoted. —Kusma (t·c) 12:00, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Community desysoping RfC[edit]

Hi. You are invited to comment at RfC for BARC - a community desysoping process. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:36, 24 July 2015 (UTC)


I'm probably missing something, but on the RfA page (in 'About RfB'), it appears to say that bureaucrats can change usernames for most users. Is this still correct? meta:Global renamers seems to say otherwise, "as a part of the SUL finalization, renaming rights were removed from bureaucrats.". Peridon (talk) 12:50, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out, Peridon There are probably still a few places on the project that need to be updated for the global renaming regime. Yes check.svg Donexenotalk 12:58, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

Temporary Adminship before RFA[edit]

How about making the candidate an admin for one day before RFA? Voters can analyze the actions of the candidate before voting. There will be a discussion for two or three days before the candidate gets the temporary bit. After one day the real RFA starts. If the candidate fails the pre-RFA discussion, then there will be no temporary bit given and no RFA. The temporary bit is given when there is at least 60% support for temporary bit in the pre-RFA discussion. The candidate can request temporary bit anytime after they pass the pre-RFA. But after one day, RFA must be started. The normal RFA will decide whether to give full Adminship to the candidate. Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 15:51, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

What useful information would you expect to gain from a single day's actions? AndyTheGrump (talk) 15:54, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Candidate can show the skills in one day. Candidate will try to do the best to make good judgements because it's the best chance to show what they are. So, we can know the full potential of the candidate. Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 16:02, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Extend the trial period to three months, and I'd support the idea. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:22, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
That is very long time. In my opinion, one or two weeks is enough. The time can be decided later by getting more opinions but the idea of giving the bit before RFA is more important. Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 16:48, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
It would be trivially easy to just be on your best behavior for a couple of weeks and not do all that much. Way harder to game for months on end. I think 3 months would be a minimum. I think this gets back to the perennial idea of an admin probationary period being a good idea, and one that would decrease the drama at RfA, and give us more admins. Make it a year. It's a perennial idea that I used to oppose, but I'd support it now, because the communities needs and the nature of adminship have markedly shifted over the last half-decade.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:32, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Heh – great minds think alike! (See below... Face-wink.svg ) --IJBall (contribstalk) 01:35, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I can't see this working for a span of time this short. It would be so easy to carry out the most mundane and straightforward administration actions that it's impossible to gain anything useful from such a trial period. Sam Walton (talk) 16:54, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
In your opinion, how much time will be enough to get useful information? and would you support the idea if the trial period is extended? Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 17:31, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
You won't get a good idea of how people will act as an unrestricted administrator by granting them temporary adminship for the community to supervise. How does the saying go, Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching? --kelapstick(bainuu) 18:06, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Perennial_proposals#Hierarchical_structures --Hammersoft (talk) 16:58, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

This idea is not in the list. You must have misunderstood the proposal. Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 22:08, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't think this is a good idea at all - as Samwalton9 says, someone could just do a few page moves or block an obvious IP vandal, and that wouldn't demonstrate the skills required for a good admin. GiantSnowman 17:31, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Why? Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 17:54, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I think any editor would edit differently than their normal routine if they knew those particular actions were being audited by the community. I doubt they would take any risks and perform not controversial or contentious actions that they might otherwise do if they had the tools permanently. RFA is also about judging an editor's overall knowledge, trustworthiness, and character. Anyone can dress up for a day and spend hours reading the policies before taking a single action. I think the idea of a probationary period isn't a bad idea, but I would very much doubt anything worthwhile would be accomplished in a review period over such a short period of time. Mkdwtalk 18:44, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
  • A day is meaningless. The 1-month temp adminship before RfA, combined with x-month probationary adminship after, are better solutions (both proposed separately below).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:43, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Temporary Adminship for one month[edit]

There will be a discussion for three or more days before the candidate gets the temporary bit. After one month the real RFA starts. If the candidate fails the pre-RFA discussion, then there will be no temporary bit given and no RFA is conducted. The temporary bit is given when there is at least 60% support for temporary bit in the pre-RFA discussion. The candidate can request temporary bit anytime after they pass the pre-RFA. But after one month, RFA must be started. The normal RFA will decide whether to give full Adminship to the candidate. Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 19:37, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

So, candidates would be subject to both a pre-RfA discussion and then a later RfA? This sounds twice as complicated and as others say, you would not get a fair indication of an editor's future behavior from how they behave on a limited probation. Sometimes, with administrators, misconduct only becomes apparent after a year or two of active admining. Liz Read! Talk! 20:47, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
I can see a point for the really borderline candidacies, but otherwise I would say such a limited period is too unreliable a predictor for anything. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:52, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
How about giving temporary adminship only if candidate gets 60 to 80 percent support in pre-RFA? Those who get more than 80 percent, directly start RFA. Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 21:07, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
But still, "temporary anything" only grows more cherries for voters to pick. Sure, RfA is a process of fire and brimstone, but extending RfA just prolongs the agony and the deterioration of a candidate's dignity. Esquivalience t 02:31, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
The main purpose of this temporary adminship is to look at the performance, skills and judgement of the candidate as an admin. If the candidate is bitey and attacks other editors, there will be evidence for that in their contributions, way before the temporary adminship. This is not useful for assessing behavior, but it is useful to get an idea of the skills (required for the admin) of the candidate before the candidate becomes admin. This change will also give the chance to the borderline candidates to prove the opposers wrong and increase the number of promoting admins. This may also attract more candidates for the adminship. Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 22:08, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
One thing I actually do agree with is that it would be really useful if there was some kind of "pre-Admin training/demonstrating" available. Some of us don't like to take on things "sight unseen", and I'd personally like to take a look at "what the tools actually look like (and how they work)" before even thinking about whether it's worth it to sign on for an RfA. --IJBall (contribstalk) 01:28, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Support, but the probationary adminship idea below would also be a massive improvement; the ideas are not mutually exclusive.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:37, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
  • #DaftIdea2 Leaky Caldron 17:17, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Temporary adminship during all RfAs with support from n current admins[edit]

An alternative version of this is that all RfA candidates should be given temporary adminship as long as they get endorsement from n current admins or crats (say, n=3). Those n admins can be seen as additional "sponsors" for their RfA. The candidate will then have the admin bit throughout the RfA so others can judge them by their performance. Deryck C. 21:44, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

You can already have the endorsement of two or three admins (they're called nominators, right?), so I don't see how this changes anything. Being nominated by an admin or a 'crat doesn't guarantee anything. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 22:00, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
We've had quite a few RFAs with three or more admins in the oppose camp and even more among the supports, so it would be a safe bet that some candidates who don't currently pass would make this threshold. But not that they would pass RFA as few give much weight to actions done during the RFA other than answering questions, and for the candidate just answering questions can take their whole wiki time in that week. Plus there's the issue of accessing deleted contributions, this isn't logged so you can't judge the candidate but you have just made it much easier to get at least for a week. ϢereSpielChequers 20:37, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. The candidate will be too busy during the RfA week to do a meaningful amount of temp-admin work to evaluate.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:41, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Wrong approach: Probationary period is preferable[edit]

Fiddling with giving candidates Admin powers during an RfA is a bad idea. But I've often wondered why candidates who pass the RfA aren't put on "probationary status" for somewhere between the first 3–12 months. After the period is over, either a committee of Admins or Bureaucrats could quickly make sure there aren't any 'red flags', and make the Admin status "permanent", or if the probie isn't considered "up to snuff" that can be swiftly desysopped during or at the end of the probationary period (no ArbCom needed)... This is what happens "in the real world" with "real jobs", and such. So why isn't it good enough for Wikipedia?... --IJBall (contribstalk) 22:43, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

That would be a good idea if our problem was new admins going bad, but that isn't the case. Yes we will get some new admins making minor mistakes as they get used to the tools, for example just look at the number of admins who have managed to accidentally block themselves. But they very rarely need to be desysoped, if we judge things by desysop for cause and resigning under a cloud the most risky time is for the third year an admin is active. ϢereSpielChequers 19:52, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Third year since RfA or third year since registration?
I count 61 involuntary desysoppings and a lower bound of ~50 cloudy resignations from these tables, which may be incomplete but probably not egregiously so. Total number of admins, ever, is probably 2000ish? And almost all of those people did hundreds of perfectly good admin actions in addition to whatever got them in trouble.
So if only 5% are ever going to do something desysoppable, who's going to spend their time doing all the reviewing of the ones on probation? Who's going to want to argue about that one borderline deletion from six months ago? One thing these proposals never seem to take into account is opportunity cost. What else are people not doing while they're busy solving these non-problems? Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:52, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Good point, Opabinia regalis. While admin mentors and RfA coaches used to be common 6 or 7 years ago, I don't believe current admins want to spend their time supervising newbie admins. This is probably already occurring on an informal basis. I just worry that if RfA is too daunting for most potential candidates, how will they feel about being on a subsequent year long probation and being further scrutinized?
And from what I've seen looking over desysoping, WereSpielChequers is correct, it's not new admins who are getting brought for possible desysoping, it's veteran admins who have become cowboys. This was not always the case, looking into the historical record, in 2006-2009, I see admins being desysoped after just being an admin for a few months but that is not the current situation. Liz Read! Talk! 22:11, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
this is all a bit complicated as the number of new admins and the ratio of old v new has changed radically over time. It is some years ago that I reviewed a bunch of desysopings, and they weren't all three years after their RFA, but there did seem to be a tendency and by contrast new admins who quickly turn sour are rare (nowadays new admins are very rare so even if one a year turned sour it wouldn't be statistically meaningful). Whether it was admins who had drifted away from the standards of the pedia, or overconfidence and arrogance I'm not sure, but I was looking for a pattern that I could spot and avoid as a nominator, and instead I found that new and newish admins rarely get to Arbcom. There was a slight rise at the three year mark, and when you allow for the fact that many admins cease to be active before that it starts to look meaningful. ϢereSpielChequers 22:35, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
The idea of adding a "probationary" phase for new Admins is to reduce the reticence that some RfA voters have for voting for candidates – generally, the idea is that it would be designed to somewhat neutralize the "trust" issue, because even if someone passes an RfA there would be one more opportunity to "catch mistakes" before they become a permanent part of the Admin corps, which would hopefully lower the bar for some RfA voters to vote yes. And I don't agree with the idea that this is going to be some "time sink" for the current Admin or Bureaucrat corps – the current rate of new Admin promotion is about two per month: that's hardly a "massive workload" there to check on them after 3 months or so... Having said all that, I myself don't think this is the real solution – as I've said elsewhere, the real solution is to "unbundle" the current Admin toolset, mostly eliminate the current Admin position and its associated RfA circus, and start doling out smaller toolsets to editors who specialize in certain areas (Vandal fighter, article mover, AfD expert, etc.) at something that's more akin to WP:PERM. --IJBall (contribstalk) 01:21, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
@Opabinia Regalis. it was admins who had been admins for at least three years who I found the risk group. Total admins is at least 2,100, not counting assorted bots and staffers. There were some admins appointed via jimbo in the early days and if they left pre 2005 we may not have them included in the stats. ϢereSpielChequers 22:46, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers and Liz: I agree that old admins are the risk group. Cowboy admin may be a way of summarising it, but I think the real reason is that Wikipedia practices change as quickly as the crop of admin changes. I had a few years of low activity (<100 edits a year) after gaining adminship, and when I returned to pick up some admin actions, I found myself being trout-slapped at every corner because I was applying (what I perceived as) the same standards I used a few years ago. All in all, I don't think the data about past desysoppings hint at any particular way of improving RfA participation. Deryck C. 09:49, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Hi Deryck, you may be right that in some cases Wikipedia has changed rather than the old admins. However we don't desysop admins for one off errors where they agree to change once the revised rules or practices are pointed out to them. My memory of the large sample I looked at or am aware of is that most of the people we've correctly desysoped for cause have done things that would not have been OK over most if not all the life of the pedia, there are a couple where I don't agree with Arbcom's decision, at least one who I assume was an admin who baulked at the ban on paid editing when it came in and I think there is at least one who didn't agree with some aspect or implication of BLP when that came in, but in the most part it isn't that people were out of date on a policy, more that they made errors of judgement or ethics that cost them the community's trust. I won't claim my survey of desysoppings as recent, complete or fresh enough in my mind not to be worth someone revisiting, but if someone did a crosscheck I'd be surprised if they disagreed with me and said that a probation period for new admins would realistically work as a screen to prevent such people being appointed in the first place. ϢereSpielChequers 13:02, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I strongly agree that we need probationary adminship, but it is not at all incompatible with a month of preliminary, pre-RfA adminship. Do both. We should have done this years ago. RFA would not be such canonization process that rejects most actually qualified applicants, and more importantly discourages most qualified applicants from ever applying, if the first year of adminship was probationary (or first 6 months, but it wouldn't be practical shorter than that probably; even three months or so is a short enough span to just lay low and not do much). There's only an opportunity cost if you want to invent some new bureaucratic process at the end of it. We don't need one. Just a post, "My probation is up, am I to be ratified as a permanent admin?" at WP:AN is sufficient. If people have evidence of Bad Deeds, they'll post it, and the community can review it. If they don't, the probationer is passed by default. Easy-peasy.

    Catching "admins who go bad quickly" isn't what we'd get out of this, it's mostly reducing the reality-tv-style drama festival that surrounds RFA and adminship by making adminship no big deal again, and secondarily weeding out incompetent admins, which are going to be much more numerous than bad faith ones. If you can't figure out the CSD criteria, or how to recuse yourself from WP:INVOLVED situations after a whole year, then you have no business with these tools. Because we'd be able to do that winnowing, instead of being stuck with every admin for life, we'd all be way more willing to let anyone who seems competent try to help out as an admin and prove they can do it, instead of looking for perfect sainthood at every RfA.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:54, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

  • I would strongly oppose any form of temporary adminship for editors who have not yet passed an RfA (or some similar process). A probationary period after passing an RfA would be a different matter, I can see no obvious harm and possibly some good in that idea, provided we have willing and competent people to do the significant work of reviewing the admin's actions in detail, which would take significant time and effort. If we aren't going to do this, then there is little point in a probationary period, in my view. Probably at last some of the reviewers need to be admins, in order to see deleted pages and evaluate the quality of deletions performed, speedy deletions in particular. (AfD results can be evaluated largely by reviewing the archived debate.) DES (talk) 16:55, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree, but temporary adminship is only given after a discussion for more than three days, which is like a small RFA. If there is no consensus for temporary adminship, bureaucrat will not give the temporary adminship. Supdiop (Talk🔹Contribs) 17:28, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Thank you for participating. Unfortunately, you did not win today's raffle! Maybe next time!... --IJBall (contribstalk) 17:52, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

International comparisons?[edit]

On the tired subject of "RFA is broken", do we have any comparison to the brokenness of other languages' RFAs at the moment? An extremely cursory look seemed to indicate to me that the German and French Wikipedias haven't been promoting very many administrators recently either. This may be related to generally dropping participation in all Wikipedias. Has any other Wikipedia managed to overcome a problem of this type and can we learn anything from them? Or are all of them "broken"? Do other languages have other priorities when complaining about RFA (promoting the wrong people, promoting too many people, denying promotion to a certain subset of active users)? Does the presence or absence of a community-driven process to remove the admin bit make a difference or not? Finally, do we have any reliable data about any of these things? Just curious whether we can learn something from others, —Kusma (t·c) 14:29, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Germany had 22 RFA candidates and 13 were promoted to sysop in 2015. That against our 34 candidates of which 12 were promoted. According to this post in April 2015, they had 15 RFAs open. I did notice their participation at RFA is very high. In the hundreds whereas we celebrate WP:100. Mkdwtalk 15:58, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
German WP has a "recall" process to force a re-election. Also, German RfA is an (almost) plain vote unlike our !vote. It has a lower numerical bar though (more than 2/3, while here that is usually "fail"). Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:04, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I count only 10 new promotions and 3 voluntary reconfirmations in 2015, see de:Wikipedia:Adminkandidaturen/Statistik. No RFA seems to be currently open on de: although they stay open longer than here. —Kusma (t·c) 16:10, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
10 + 3 = 13. I didn't differentiate those seeking re-election/re-confirmation though I suppose they are "different" in type but we're looking at the number of RFAs, not the types of new admins aren't we? Loop back to RFA is broken question, not RFA doesn't promote enough new admins. Mkdwtalk 16:13, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Proposal: Hat the Edit Stats on RfA talk pages[edit]

Could we henceforth hat the interminable page of Edit Stats on the talk page of any given RfA? That way, anyone who wants to view them merely needs to make one click (the thread header clearly states what it is, as will as the title of the hat), and anyone who wants to participate in discussions does not have to scroll endlessly past it just to get to the first thread. Alternatively, force a TOC that allows instant access to a discussion thread. Or both, but I think the first is most imperative. Thanks. Softlavender (talk) 03:06, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Agreed. Could not this section, collapsed, be moved to "General comments" on the project page? Already there is a link there under "Links for ... /count", but that doesn't always work: Noyster (talk), 09:18, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
^This. Collapse it and stick it on the project page. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 17:25, 31 July 2015 (UTC)