User:J947/Essays/RfA criteria

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I do not believe in using arbitrary criteria such as 'must have made 15,000 edits' or 'the majority of their edits must be in mainspace' to form my opinion in requests for adminship. I have what first seems a very low bar for adminship, but for many prospective candidates that bar can be hard to attain. Most hat-collectors will not pass these criteria, because they can be clueless and they do not have the attitude required to be a good sysop. Here are my most important criteria:

  1. Experience. This is a general bar of has content contributions, is a solid contributor in the areas they want to work at, and general understanding of how Wikipedia works. It is key to break this down:
    • Has content contributions does not mean much. Being the primary contributor of a solid B-class article with no real faults would allow a candidate to pass this requirement. This can often be circumvented when the candidate has high levels of experience and is participating in an area which is set far apart from content, such as AIV.
    • Is a solid contributor in the areas they want to work at is the most important part of experience. Solid is the key word here. That means a very good understanding of policies and guidelines in that area, including where the rules do not say the full story and the existence of widely followed yet unwritten rules. It also means large amounts of participation in those areas.
    • General understanding of how Wikipedia works is extremely vague but it basically means that a clear understanding of the five pillars, the deletion process, what will get you and other editors blocked, and discussion principles such as NPA, BRD, and RfCs. The vast majority of this should be demonstrated, unless it is far-fetched from the editor's sysopping areas.
  2. Civility. My feelings are that this is more important than most people think. I feel like every admin should be able to keep a cool head in high-pressure situations. If they cannot then in certain areas I will not trust their ability with the tools. This is especially important in dealing with things like content disputes and ANI discussions. It is also not a good look for us if the media catch an admin being uncivil towards a relative newbie. Then if the WMF overreact to that then it may be another controversy and we don't want that. This is all very unlikely but it is best to steer clear of situations like this.
  3. Clue. This for me is very hard to define. For me if someone has 'clue' is a combination of two attributes that blend together. The first attribute is knowing the basics of Wikipedia. The second attribute is that lack of common sense needs to not be demonstrated. More about them can be found below:
    • The first attribute overlaps to a major extent with the third part of experience (General understanding of how Wikipedia works) but they do cover slightly different areas. The first attribute is knowing the basics of Wikipedia is mainly about the candidate knowing their way around the many administrative areas and when they uncover new areas knowing what to do; reading and understanding the rules and/or process guidelines, and more whatnot.[a] Knowing the intricacies of every area is far from what I expect but most candidates should know the basics of the majority of areas. Obscure areas like sockpuppet investigations I do not expect an administrative candidate to know anything about unless they actually want to work in that area.
    • The second attribute is best explained by following on from the 'uncovering new areas' hypothetical scenario mentioned in the first attribute, which will be used to explain this below. The second attribute is that lack of common sense needs to not be demonstrated is the best wording I can muster but still very cryptic. The basic premise behind this is that common sense is very hard to be demonstrated for a candidate, but the opposite is generally a no-no if it is recent.[b] Following on with the aforementioned hypothetical situation, through a skimthrough of recent discussions in a newly visited area a prospective candidate should be able to infer or find out how those rules are implemented.[c]

Almost all significant, recent incidents should fall under these criteria.

These are additional criteria; I like to see these, but they do not matter too much and will rarely affect my !vote:

  • AfD participation. I like to see some minor AfD participation that shows a basic understanding of notability. This becomes most important when prospective sysops have not indicated their intention in closing AfD discussions but have intentions in other facets of article deletion that relate somewhat to notability.[d]
  • Spearheading of changes. Going off on a limb with this one but I think admins who can turn a discussion on its head[e] or create a successful new discussion are most important for the future of this project. The easiest way this can be expressed is in XfDs, where I'd like to see multiple instances of this due to its relative easiness.


  1. ^ Herein referred to all together as 'rules'.
  2. ^ More will be added on recency of incidents below
  3. ^ For example, in AfDs the applicable rules include the deletion process and the notability guideline. What they shouldn't do is immediately interpret significant coverage as 1000 words given that they can't change that meaning on their own. The absolute most they can do is just prolong discussions when the result should be obvious, which is not helpful in any world.
  4. ^ Proposed deletions and A7s being the main examples.
  5. ^ One in which there was a plurality of preferably three or more editors making policy-based arguments and a 30/70 divide or further apart before the adminship candidate came to change the result completely.