Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship

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Requests for adminship and bureaucratship update
No current discussions. Recent RfAs, recent RfBs: (successful, unsuccessful)
Current time is 21:44, 28 September 2023 (UTC). — Purge this page
Recently closed RfAs and RfBs (update)
Candidate Type Result Date of close Tally
S O N %
Hey man im josh RfA Successful 26 Sep 2023 315 3 0 99
theleekycauldron2 RfA Successful 17 Aug 2023 313 1 2 100
Pppery RfA Successful 7 Aug 2023 195 71 9 73
Firefangledfeathers RfA Successful 13 Jul 2023 197 31 6 86

Encourage RFA-worthy editors now[edit]

Hi y'all, just wanted to let y'all know that seeing the very successful string of RFAs we've had recently it might be a good time to encourage editors that you would like to nominate or would like to see run now. It might get them over the fence and see it worth doing compared to other times where very contentious or negative RFAs are fresher in their minds. Let's try to keep the good vibes going and get some more admins :D. I myself am not in a position to nominate anyone but know a number of y'all are. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 16:48, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you are interested in running, reach out to experienced nominators and get their advice. Most editors are willing to discuss concerns and questions in order to increase the number of nominations. Even if you think you will only use the tools occasionally, in my opinion it is better to have a bigger group of competent editors who might occasionally help with admin tasks. Z1720 (talk) 17:01, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh no I'm not planning on running myself anytime soon if you're asking me, Z1720. But if the message is meant for whoever happens to read this thread I agree completely! — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 17:17, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was a general message for anyone reading it (although, it begs the question: why aren't you running?) Z1720 (talk) 17:18, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe I have the track record for it, and the little time I have for wiki activities (about an edit or two a day) I enjoy spending them in helpful areas where a mop is neither needed nor beneficial (e.g. content creation, DRN, or ANRFC). — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 17:36, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Run anyway. Why not? ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 21:05, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Because it can be an very brutal experience. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 21:21, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If someone's not interested in spending their limited availability doing administrative tasks, I don't think it's an effective use of the community's time to spend effort on evaluating their suitability to hold administrative privileges. isaacl (talk) 21:51, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Isaacl. Also it has got nothing to do with "good vibes" or "lucky streak". It's all about half glass perspective. I believe the continuous successful RfAs are because of the worthy candidate. If an un-experienced candidate comes forward, then it will be unsuccessful. In my opinion, Shushgah's second RfA should have passed, but it didn't. A couple of weeks ago this RfA was deleted. It's all about the candidate, not the season. —usernamekiran (talk) 22:52, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I notice that Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/AirshipJungleman29 is a redlink... so, @AirshipJungleman29, if you're asking other editors "Why not?", I find it appropriate to ask you "Why not?" casualdejekyll 16:30, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
casualdejekyll I took into account the advice I received at ORCP. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 16:35, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Eh, my personal opinion is that "need for the tools" isn't really that valid of a reason. This is more of my subjective opinion on what RfA "should" be rather than what it is, but I think really anyone who could conceivably have a future need for the tools should satisfy any "need for the tools" requirements. We can find work for new admins. casualdejekyll 17:11, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AirshipJungleman29, adminship for adminship's sake is as useful as a suitcase without a handle. However, there are plenty of people who I think would make for good admins if they ran even if they don't know what areas they'd involve themselves in. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 17:06, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • why do you think you are not in a position to nominate someone? —usernamekiran (talk) 22:39, 11 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    usernamekiran, don't have the time or experience to do the due diligence of going over editors' contributions. I would only nominate editors I am certain have a good chance of passing and I'm not confident enough to give that assessment as of now. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 08:12, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Out of curiosity, do you recall the last time a non-admin nominator (excluding self-noms) was involved in a successful RfA? Trainsandotherthings (talk) 13:20, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Ajpolino in September 2020, pretty sure. (I might have missed a more recent one if the nominator is an admin now, wasn't at the time of the nomination, and had been one before it. But I don't think so.) —Cryptic 21:52, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I started here in July 2021 and don't recall ever seeing a non-admin nomination. Trainsandotherthings (talk) 21:57, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Cryptic Trainsandotherthings, the last successful RfA with a non-admin nominator seems to have been WP:Requests for adminship/Ajpolino in September 2020. There was a non-admin nomination in an unsuccessful RfA earlier this year (WP:Requests for adminship/MB), but that nominator was a former admin. Curbon7 (talk) 22:21, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And in the Ajpolino RFA, the non-admin was a co-nom alongside a functionary co-nom. Courcelles (talk) 22:38, 12 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The small pool of nominators is a weird one. If I had to guess why, it would be that candidates prefer noms who have an experience of helping (successful!) candidates through the process and can boost an RfA with their endorsement. If a nominator has a record of very strong nominees, the reputation of those previous nominees can help a current one; in other words the nominator develops something of a "brand". That said, the impact of nom choice on an RfA seems to be debated, which might explain why some candidates go for the noms of previous successful candidates and others choose theirs afresh. This isn't even considering the stress or responsibility that being a nom might ascribe... Giraffer (talk·contribs) 17:19, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I know a few editors I'd be interested in seeing get the mop, but I'm just not a nominator type myself. casualdejekyll 16:25, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Me personally, I'm not running because my low edit account and common periods of inactivity would draw many opposes. And when I am here, my actions often do get criticized. I just don't think the appetite is there to give the mop to someone who would barely ever use it - and I definitely don't meet any RfA criterias I've seen in userspace. casualdejekyll 16:28, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Since I was stealth-pinged, I will comment that two of the successful RFAs have been User:ScottishFinnishRadish and User:Firefangledfeathers, but that both of them went to crat chat, because both of them were said to have had too little content creation, as in no Good Articles or Featured Articles. There are a subpopulation of editors who belong to what I call the "cult of the content creator". In a recent WP:ANI, some editors wondered why a particular editor had gotten away with so much incivility. Some editors think that only excellent content creators should be admins, and that excellent content creators should get a free pass on personal attacks. I don't plan to spend a few months as a content creator in order to build up my stats, because other editors can create content at least as well as I can. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:41, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm tempted to request a crat chat just to correct your error, RMC! I'd enthusiastically support you as a candidate for adminship, but I think you're right that it would be an uphill battle. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 01:47, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't think this idea that content creators get a free pass on personal attacks is particularly true anymore. The poster boy for that, Eric Corbett is indef Arbcom blocked. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 21:35, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Bloody hell, that was 2019. From the way people talk about him, I'd assumed his departure was 2014 or earlier. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 21:41, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Hey, as one of the loudest supporters of your ARBCOM campaign, I would of course support you for adminship. The problem is that the fact that it would be your third RfA would bring it down quite a bit. casualdejekyll 22:20, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This is definitely quite childish, but I think ScottishFinnishRadish's article Shit flow diagram is absolutely priceless and worth more than some GAs casualdejekyll 22:24, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Just you wait, during my upcoming content season when I'm not farming or building stone walls I have designs on trying to get it up to FA. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 16:09, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Adding it to my watchlist now casualdejekyll 17:44, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I am almost exclusively a content creating editor. And a narrow one at that, "I provide the people of this community with plant articles and plant article accessories."
    While I joke that the RfA candidates I vote for are insufficiently versed in the arts of plant article editing, I do actually appreciate the need for a diversity of skills and interests. If the back end is not working correctly it does not matter how eloquently I write about Delphinium geyeri or whatever. And even though I'm not temperamentally suited to dealing with the rough and tumble of something like WWII history or American election results, I'm glad other editors are hashing it out.
    So... Thanks to all of you. 🌿MtBotany (talk) 04:08, 21 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Casualdejekyll: Heya! I'd be happy to have someone nominate me for adminship once I become a bit more active here. Granted, me having work most days makes that a bit hard, but regardless I"d love to. ― Blaze WolfTalkblaze__wolf 19:07, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I would recommend an editor review before RFA, but that's just me. :-)   ArcAngel   (talk) 21:06, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Blaze Wolf Full disclosure: I attempted to find you a nominator back in January and was not successful - for that I apologize. It's been a whole half year since then, though. casualdejekyll 22:13, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If you do find a nominator though, Blaze Wolf, do let me know about it so I can co-nom - I feel like you're one of very few editors I know well enough about to write a (short) nomination statement, but I'm simply not an admin or someone who most people know of, and the inherent politicality of the whole thing means I don't think it's appropriate for me to be the primary nominator. casualdejekyll 22:27, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    all-in on blaze wolf SWinxy (talk) 03:07, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You know, last August there were four successful RfAs. In the spirit of this thread, if anybody here knows or is anybody who could use a mop, perhaps we could get it to five or higher this August? ;) casualdejekyll 20:53, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    ...which means four more nominations in a span of 17 days! Tails Wx (they/them) ⚧ 21:07, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    We're gonna party like it's 2007, I guess. Still, I think we've got a redlink lying around with your name on it... should you dare. casualdejekyll 21:30, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I will. Hehe.
    Actually, I’ve still got a long way to go before nominating. Tails Wx (they/them) ⚧ 22:18, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've heard that there's a lot you can get from a few well-written emails and a trip to WP:ORCP... casualdejekyll 22:25, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well, my last trip ended in October on a sad note...though it's worth another try! And heck yeah, you can get a lot from emails. :) Tails Wx (they/them) ⚧ 02:31, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    With the amount of editors who have expressed here that they're kind of sort of maybe thinking about running, I'm sure we could get to four more noms in the next few weeks ;). casualdejekyll 22:22, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Editors with ORFAs in the past few years that had positive feedback/ratings and are not currently administrators include @FOARP, Devonian Wombat, Kj cheetham, Kavyansh.Singh, Vami IV, Drm310, and Finngall:. I am aware of Vami's RFA, but since it was two years ago I am not aware of his current stance on running again/the community's stance on him since then. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 22:57, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I believe that Vami's political past will likely always attract some degree of opposition, which might be enough to render a second RfA unpleasant but not to sink it altogether. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 23:06, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I suggest it might be better not to discuss the pros and cons of specific editors on this talk page. Perhaps reviving discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Admin Nominators might be a better fit? isaacl (talk) 23:17, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree that we shouldn't be discussing the pros and cons of specific editors. However, generalized discussions about the lack of admins do tend to get more engagement here, so I'm not sure a change of venue would nessecarily do much. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 03:22, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sure, I wasn't talking about generalized discussions, but specific discussions about specific editors. isaacl (talk) 04:50, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Hmmm. I'm not sure how I feel about that. If conversations like that do happen on-wiki, I think it'd be a good idea to be certain that the editors being evaluated are okay with that. It doesn't seem quite right to list people's strengths and weaknesses without their input. I think that's why potential RfA nominators usually leave a generalized talk page message about RfA and/or emails potential candidates. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 09:27, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, my point was not to have specific conversations about specific editors on this talk page. Your response about a change in venue puzzled me, because it sounded like you thought moving specific conversations about specific editors to another place wouldn't do much, whereas your latest comment seems to indicate that you agree that how these conversations are held may make a difference. isaacl (talk) 16:40, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I wasn't considering the two ideas connected to each other in my original comment, if that helps your confusion? I thought you were going for a friendly reminder that maybe we shouldn't talk about people like this on a highly visible page and maybe a change of venue for encouraging people to run for RfA would be useful since that's what the whole thread is about. Like reviving the wikiproject that's actually about that. I didn't take the latter to mean that the same thing would happen, just at a less visible place. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 18:12, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If I had a nickel for every time Donald Trump was indirectly responsible for an extremely controversial RfA, I'd have two nickels. Which Isn't a lot, but it's weird that it happened twice. casualdejekyll 22:32, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In addition to Ixtal's point above regarding editors with positive feedback/review at ORCP, we've also got Category:Administrators without tools, and there are at least 30 editors that are admin hopefuls. I don't want to speculate on who's going to be nominated next, but they seem capable of being a great admin in the future. :) Tails Wx (they/them) ⚧ 12:09, 20 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    No. –♠Vamí_IV†♠ 04:18, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I've thought about running off and on, but I have a hunch that I'd get opposed out of the water for "no content creation" even though I'm one of those who firmly believe that you don't need content work to prove competence/suitability for maintenance tasks (I'd be working AIV, UAA, CSD, and RPP 95% of the time). Heck, I was the one who got autopatrolled removed from sysop group during the last RFA reform, since content creation and administrative work really are two distinct things that only overlap when dealing with the drama boards and XFD, both areas I have no interest in getting heavily involved in. Taking Out The Trash (talk) 15:53, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's not just the content creation, but also your track record at AfD (eg: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Regency Cruises). With some content creation experience, you could have cleaned the article up instead of being criticised for not doing so. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 21:09, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I have no interest in getting heavily involved in [XfD]. - User:Taking Out The Trash, 15 August 2023 (diff) casualdejekyll 21:45, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I also have thought about running off and on, but the potential stress of RFA puts me off a bit. Whilst I don't feel I need the extra tools, I probably could do bits and pieces to help out with them. In response in the discussion above, I've probably changed a bit even since my own ORCP last year. If nothing else it inspired me to go out and actually buy some books on Scottish castles. :-) In my mind if I ever did go for RFA, would be more likely in winter than summer, as more likely to be online more I think. -Kj cheetham (talk) 18:50, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I wonder if the cumulative impact of experienced editors whose main obstacle is "not enough need for the tools" would be enough to make a difference when everyone's bits and pieces are added together. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 19:57, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "Need for the tools" was officially discontinued as part of WP:RFA2021. In any event, it's more of an anti-hat collecting question than anything, and I'm sure most people don't really balk on it so long as you have some content and some backstage work (you can get away with just one of those two, but it won't be pleasant). – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 21:30, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I find it interesting that you're quick to dismiss "need for the tools" when brought up in general, but only a few months ago you cited it to give AirshipJungleman29 a middling rating at ORCP... casualdejekyll 22:46, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I stand by what I've said: even then, I did say that "need for the tools" is obsolete. The main concern is to prevent people from hat collecting and ensure that they have a cogent story or purpose for getting the mop. People – such as myself – will give candidates the benefit of the doubt on that as long as they have content creation and backstage work, so don't sweat the "need for the tools" aspect if you have something to give in your statement and answers. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 22:59, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (edit conflict) That's a unfair quote-mine, Casualdejekyll; JMW said basically the same thing just now and back then. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 23:00, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't think so, but, I'll back off. casualdejekyll 23:03, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I spend half my time on content creation, but not having the admin tools is a handicap. I can work around not having them, but it is frustrating and discouraging. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:05, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Hawkeye7, I had always assumed you already were an admin. I really urge you to talk with an experienced nominator that knows you well and try running. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 20:33, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Ixtal Uh, Hawkeye was an admin for a long time. But I don't recommend him running because this will inevitably come up. The Night Watch (talk) 20:45, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    #2 wasn't pretty either. Without exception, every editor I've ever offered to nominate has either already had a similar streak of trainwrecks to point at, or has mentioned such in their refusal. —Cryptic 20:50, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think the usual consensus is that 3rd tries or greater are inherently likely to fail. Which sucks, because I definitely know editors who could get the mop if only WP:Requests for adminship/[their username] was a redlink.. casualdejekyll 21:47, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I note that 39 people have watchlisted Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Fram 3. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 22:21, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Make it 40. casualdejekyll 22:55, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    But have they watchlisted to support or oppose? It would certainly be interesting. - Bilby (talk) 00:48, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It certainly would Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 09:47, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I had not seen that before. That is really disappointing. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 06:32, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    53, by now. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 20:57, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The highest RfA to ever pass was #7, but it didn't end especially prettily. I'm inclined to think "high-number RfAs fail" is one of those received wisdoms that isn't actually accurate -- the body of editors with that many failed RfAs is tiny and there's too much individual variance in why they failed. I...think Hawkeye 4 could pass, honestly (and would support quickly). But I have somewhat different priorities to the editor base as a whole, going by the pattern of RfAs I've supported and abstained from. Vaticidalprophet 00:56, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I was curious, so I took a look at it. Seems that they're more likely to fail then not, but the problem is really that all the data is far too old to draw a meaningful conclusion from - and of course, the higher number one's successful RfA was, the more times they show up as unsuccessful in the list. 4th candidacies, weirdly enough, seem to be much more successful on average than 3rds. 5th and above only have 3 successes. casualdejekyll 03:58, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I also noticed that back when having multiple RfAs a day was a thing, quite a few well-meaning editors managed to completely miss the point of WP:NOTNOW and run multiple doomed candidacies in quick succession. That's not a thing that happens anymore, or at least we don't keep records of it, so that skews the data a bit. casualdejekyll 04:04, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I mean, right off the bat people are going to reflexively judge a really high RfA count and make the "conventional wisdom" true, so the fact that there are even successful candidacies at that level is amazing – I'd ask how many unsuccessful candidacies at 5 or above there are, but you're right that any data before 2010 or even really 2015 is useless; I don't even know any currently active editors who could go above 3 at the moment except maybe Hawkeye. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 04:07, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think Robert McClenon could do 3 - he just barely missed out on an ARBCOM seat a bit ago, and that's generally considered a higher bar. casualdejekyll 15:07, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    3 is, IMO, really hard. I do think #2, depending on concerns expressed by opposes being addressed, can happen after 12 months, and clearly as we're seeing right now it can sail through after 20. But a third...honestly have we had a successful #3 after less than several years? One of the things RfA !voters seem to hate is that the person really, really wants to be an admin, and #3 is pretty much solid evidence of that. Valereee (talk) 16:03, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    McClenon is a special case. He gets a higher absolute support percentage in ACE than RfA, by a substantial margin (WP:ACE2022 was 63.17% and WP:ACE2018 was 59.93%, while Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Robert McClenon 2 was 46.4%). RfA is a supermajority where 90% is considered an unusually low pass and 70% cause for a whole conference, and non-NOTNOW/SNOW editors who've seen an RfA close below 50% in the modern RfA era can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Arb candidacies ceiling at about 80% support, because securepoll enables opposition that'd sit out of a public vote (this is why the securepoll perpetual proposal for RfA could only be countenanced if it came with major changes to support thresholds, unless you want one new admin every other year). There is no other editor who does so much better in absolute terms, let alone relative terms, at ACE than RfA. Vaticidalprophet 07:23, 19 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I tried to make some edits to that, but the way the table is set up doesn't permit it. Counting by "username+number" isn't an accurate way to get an impression -- until recently (sic) RfA numbering was always reset following username changes, and it's still not clear what we're supposed to do now (there are so few re-RfAs after username changes that we keep unintentionally reinventing the wheel each time). That latest successful #5 should be a #7, for instance. Vaticidalprophet 05:19, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I wonder if some sort of hatnote on the old RfA pages going something like "This is the candidate's seventh RfA. They changed their username." or something would be a good idea or just frowned upon, since those are supposed to be untouchable archives (except for the lint errors, I guess) casualdejekyll 15:04, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • A good deal of modern nominators, including myself, think ORCP is best avoided. I think there’s some narrow exceptions, but I know other may not agree with that even. If you’re interested in running but not completely sure or want a low risk assessment, emailing an experienced nominator is also a good idea. I’m not so confident in starting runs off of “good vibes”— enthusiasm is great, but RfA can be nasty, fickle, and unpredictable. The worst thing is seeing that hope and enthusiasm getting crushed in a bad run. Moneytrees🏝️(Talk) 06:12, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I, too, strongly discourage ORCP. Reach out to a potential nominator directly for a deep vet. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 06:31, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Oh, this is interesting - Why is ORCP discouraged? AviationFreak💬 14:29, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    For broadly the reasons I mention here, and which are described in Barkeep's RfA essay. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 15:10, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think that's the most interesting essay I've ever read about RfA. Thank you for linking it. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 19:08, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think it depends. Not every person is the same. For some, that re-assurance, or guide to things to address, might be helpful. That said, instead of it being a "voting" process, I think restructuring to be more like an editor review of sorts, might be more helpful. We one had such a process Wikipedia:Editor review, but it wasn't very active for its time. As Wikipedia has grown, and we now have things like the Teahouse, perhaps something like that might be more helpful/useful, now. As much as we talk about collegiality, Wikipedia can seem an adversarial place to those feeling all alone in a big encyclopedia. - jc37 03:43, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Not sure what exactly you mean by a voting process. The current instructions for the optional RfA candidate poll is for responders to give their feedback on the candidate's potential for passing an RfA at the current time, and it's not unusual for discussion to ensue. If there are enough people interested in supporting a review process over the long haul this time around, personally I think it would be better to revive the editor review process, rather than try to convert the RfA candidate poll to something else. isaacl (talk) 04:31, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Whatever works best for everyone : ) - jc37 05:11, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Ditto. If someone were asking me about ORCP, I'd tell them instead to privately contact an experienced vetter, such as Ritchie or BK49, and ask if they'd be willing to take a look. Vetting candidates is not in my wheelhouse, but if either of those two contacted me, I'd co-nom knowing that my own weak skills there would be supplemented. (What I'm actually best at is troubleshooting answers to questions and especially talking candidates down off ledges, so FWIW: if you have gotten a couple of good noms together, email me. No one's jumping off a ledge on my watch.) Valereee (talk) 16:09, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Moneytrees, I was not suggesting people run just off of "good vibes" but rather that it is easier to convince editors who'd do well to run after a streak of successful RfXs compared to periods when there's contentious RfA after contentious RfA. For example, if I had been planning on running I'd be more likely to do so now than after Tamzin's RfA. I did not wish to say, if it is implied, that the streak of successful runs would increase success of a future run. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 20:59, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Ixtal I didn't really have your comments in mind when I wrote the above, it was more of a general observation (and a semi-parrot of a comment Beeblebrox made off wiki that I thought was a good point). Moneytrees🏝️(Talk) 23:11, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Moneytrees, I recall you had offered to do a vet. Would you be willing to do so? SWinxy (talk) 03:12, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @SWinxy Yes, and anyone else is free to do so via Special:EmailUser/Moneytrees :) Moneytrees🏝️(Talk) 03:51, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Maybe this is one for a different section heading but should we consider changing or deprecating ORCP then if we're discouraging it as a place to go if you might be interested? SportingFlyer T·C 18:10, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That was discussed at least once before, and at that point many experienced community members expressed support for keeping it going. I'm personally more equivocal than my colleagues above; I feel we ought to have a venue for good-faith editors to ask about their RFA prospects, and WT:RFA isn't it. I agree it can sometimes give misleading advice, and be too critical; but I'm not certain it's actually dissuaded a candidate who would have been successful at RFA, and has given many people genuinely useful feedback, including yours truly. Vanamonde (Talk) 18:34, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Although personally I'm not a fan of the RfA candidate poll, and I agree that feedback can be readily received via email rather than on-wiki, I'll also note that the comments at the poll these days are generally encouraging. Based on my memory, the current set of frequent commenters look for positive signs and provide constructive comments for improvement to promising candidates. There are pros and cons to every approach and I appreciate wanting to protect editors from approaches with less-evident drawbacks. However I also think different editors are comfortable with different modes of operation, and we should avoid overestimating the effect of the poll. isaacl (talk) 19:03, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Actually one of my reasons for advising not to ORCP is that it signals to the community that the editor wants to be an administrator, which IMO can be viewed as "too interested in the tools". People are supposed to pretend they don't have any particular interest in the tools until someone else suggests it. Which then leads to people who want to be administrators hanging around at places like ANI trying to get discovered. Which is also counterproductive. What's a wannabe admin to do? Valereee (talk) 12:45, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I feel like there's probably an element to which the "wanna be an admin" penalty is exaggerated. It's certainly there, but I think it's only really significant when paired with some other indication that the candidate lacks maturity. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 14:40, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't disagree that it's exaggerated. If you're an otherwise perfect candidate, "wanna be an admin" isn't going to get you dinged, and likely not directly due to that. But from my experience, pretty much anything that even subconsciously rubs people the wrong way increases the scrutiny a candidate gets and increases the likelihood !voters will find something to oppose on. Valereee (talk) 15:57, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think what does happen is when a candidate actually addresses the feedback given in ORCP some members see that as disingenuous. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 16:41, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sure, that would be one of the potential less-evident drawbacks. (Personally I think it would depend on how the candidate words their poll request, and I also think it's not a big differentiating factor, because editor motivations come across during requests for administrative privileges, too.) But if people are still interested in proceeding nonetheless based on their evaluation of the pros and cons of all approaches, and the process is producing valuable feedback, I feel uneasy about closing that option to them. isaacl (talk) 16:42, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    To be clear, I don't have really any opinion on whether ORCP exists. I just recommend other avenues. :D Valereee (talk) 16:54, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    ORCP seems fine to me and I've recommended it to folks recently. It is good to crowdsource the background check instead of relying on one or two people. If weak spots are discovered in the orcp, you now know what to work on. If you get a high score in the orcp, multiple orcp admins will offer to nominate you, so you have now found your nom. –Novem Linguae (talk) 10:05, 19 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I do agree that there is a danger in sending all inquiries to a handful of currently active potential nominators: I have no quarrel whatsoever with any recent noms, but diversity of perspective is a good thing. That said, the folks on the list below include ones from very different administrator types, and I would encourage anyone using it to reach out to more than just one. Vanamonde (Talk) 22:07, 19 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't think it's been mentioned here so far, so I thought I'd mention Wikipedia:Request an RfA nomination, particularly as an alternative to WP:ORCP for receiving careful review of admin suitability. A number of community stalwarts who would be willing to undertake a detailed review are listed there (along with a few spring chickens of ten years tenure, like yours truly[FBDB]). Vanamonde (Talk) 17:23, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    ORCP's pretty shitty I know, but RRN has around 3 page views a day, so doesn't seem particularly productive... SN54129 17:29, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well, it's not a page meant to see any activity, is it? If people are using it at all I assume the activity is all by email. That said, I'm not personally discouraging ORCP; I think it can have value; but someone reading this discussion may easily decide they're less likely to go there than RFA. Vanamonde (Talk) 17:34, 18 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I’ve been here almost two years. I have 5 GAs, 9 DYK hooks, and have done a decent amount of patrolling and used to do AIV reports but found my internet was just too slow to load Redwarn fast enough, and Huggle is clunky. By far my favourite backend activity is AFD, and I have a really good record over there. I’ve considered doing an optional candidate poll to test the waters but thought better of it for the following reasons:
  • I’m worried that despite knowing I am very responsible and would make use of the toolset people will go through my history and question every minor mistake I’ve ever made
  • I’m worried that I’ll be asked many trick questions and stuff up the response, looking a fool in front of everyone
  • I’m worried about getting SNOWED and being too scared to ever run again
  • I’m worried about popping my head up and having it shot off by someone who thinks I’m a hat collector or a wannabe reddit moderator or something
  • I hate the intense scrutiny nominating would come with although I think (for the foreseeable future) I would only be working in helpful but I controversial areas such as closing AFDs with a clear consensus, same with Speedy noms and responding to AIV reports.
So for now, I just feel happier doing article work. One day I might pluck up the courage. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with getting more and more experienced. It just seems a shame that RFA is so intimidating. It should be much easier to get but also much easier to take away a rogue admins powers. If Crats could suspend admins pending arbitration or a reconfirmation RFA maybe that would ease people’s concerns. I also think there should be the ability to perhaps pass some sort of voluntary administrators examination. It could lend support to unknown candidates and reassure the community the candidate knows what they are doing. — MaxnaCarta  ( 💬 • 📝 ) 11:30, 13 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MaxnaCarta, have you ever discussed this with an experienced nominator? If they believe that your first, third, and fourth concerns are unlikely and prepare you for the second and fifth you'd be fine. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Non nobis solum. 12:02, 13 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I haven't, for all of the above. However, discomfort is something I will just have to put up with if I ever decide to pull the trigger. It would be part of the duties. I actually have never made any serious error (being rude, blatant copyright violation, edit wars, being involved in drama, TOC violation), etc. It's just the idea of sticking my head up in front of the entire community and having every decision potentially analysed and questioned. Sort of like when a cop is driving behind you and you know you're doing the limit and insured, yet you're nervous all the same. I will ask a nominator one day to take a look, but I am in no rush. I am also not complaining. I'm just pointing out that I reckon I could be of at least a little use with the mop right now, but due to the way admins are currently selected, I cannot assist. Frankly, I think the page patroller button has much greater potential for damage because it could be misused clandestinely and go a long time without being detected. Start blocking people or deleting pages improperly, and you'll be at ArbCom or recalled within an hour, plus other users will very quickly reverse the damage. — MaxnaCarta  ( 💬 • 📝 ) 00:59, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At WP:ORCP now, although (non-admin closure) SN54129 14:25, 20 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • I was just wondering, if this is the right time to apply for adminship! I have been fighting against POV pushing, disruptive editing and vandalism in contentious caste articles for 10+ years now. Would like to ping @Bishonen, RegentsPark, Doug Weller, and Abecedare: please let me know your advice/suggestion, if any! Thanks. Ekdalian (talk) 07:55, 20 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Hey there. Thanks for your interest. I'd recommend reposting this at WP:ORCP. Short answer is no, your edit count is a bit low. I haven't seen an RFA of an editor that isn't close to 10,000 edits pass in a long time. There may also be other things, I have not done a thorough check. Hope this helps. Happy editing. –Novem Linguae (talk) 12:33, 20 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To me, it's pretty weird, and bad, that you have to be laid bare to such public scrutiny to get the admin tools. It certainly selects against anyone who doesn't think they can win 123-1, or sensitive self-doubting people (who would probably be better admins that the usual run, maybe). The voting results are weird too -- lot of 123-1 and such. Something's off about that.

If we operated like most functional organizaton, all this'd be private. Yeah I know, we're a commune or whatever, but this is dysfunctional. Everyone knows this.

My suggestion is that the admin corps select new admins. Sure, it sounds far-fetched. But if the admin corps went for it -- which I could see how they might -- well, they have a lot of ability to get things done if they put their minds to it. It'd work fine. I mean, would you rather the project fail? The alternatives I've seen above seem to me like lipstick on a pig, as long as we keep the public flogging / adoration lemon squeezing thing. Herostratus (talk) 04:46, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Honestly, the biggest thing stopping me from doing this is no-one (or at least no-one credible) ever said they would nominate me or wanted to see me as an admin. FOARP (talk) 11:33, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, I would like to see you as admin (not sure about nomination, this would take a lot of time which I am currently lacking). I am credible. Ymblanter (talk) 02:35, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • WP:RFA2021 found that both "temporary adminship" and "adminship elections" were both ideas worth devoting more time to discussing. I haven't heard anything about either since. casualdejekyll 01:28, 26 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Admin elections was supported 72 to 39 but still somehow failed. If someone wanted to take the time to RFC that again and address the various technical and other objections, that has the potential to move forward.
    In regards to temporary adminship, I'm not sure I like that solution because then you'd have to RFA twice, and RFA is already known for being somewhat unpleasant. –Novem Linguae (talk) 05:07, 26 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Or some combination of the two: regular election (public or private) for fixed-term temp adminship. – SJ + 20:49, 27 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I like this because it gives a reason to have both admin elections and RfA's - the community doesn't seem to want to nix RfA entirely, but if the admin elections are the same thing as RfA then it somewhat defeats the purpose of both. casualdejekyll 00:44, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    They are definitely worth resurrecting. As for temporary adminship, there is no reason to expect temporary adminship to raise the level of stressy "behavior" from the community that full-on RfA does, because the stakes are much lower; e.g., no one pays much attention to requests for permissions for tools that were unbundled from the admin toolkit, like page-mover, file-mover, and template-editor. And there are any number of reason someone might seek temporary adminship. I can think of various large cleanup "jobs" I needed to get done that would have been more expedient with one or another of the admin tools, and which had nothing to do with the more "dangerous" admin tools like blocking or admin roles like issuing topic-bans; temporary adminship could even exclude them. Another example was that both times I ran for ArbCom as a non-admin, a common objection was that something or other I might need to do as an ArbCom member might require admin tools; being able to get adminship (perhaps, again, limited in some way like no-blocks-or-bans) just for the duration of my ArbCom tenure would have obviated that (and satisfied me, someone who doesn't have a desire to be an admin generally and permanently because I've seen what it tends to do to a user's encyclopedia-building productivity).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:26, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The admin elections proposal failed largely due to some technical issues with the software. These may have since been resolved (although I suspect they have not). Hawkeye7 (discuss) 04:10, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The work to enable SecurePoll to be run on local wikis is tracked under Phabricator ticket phab:T301180. An April 2023 comment indicated that it should be possible to run polls on local wikis, though it's not clear to me how encrypting the votes for each poll would be managed (on, WMF staffers handle that aspect; the desire to avoid this dependency and the workload it creates for the WMF is the motivation for running SecurePoll locally). However a later comment in May linked to Phabricator ticket phab:T209892, which indicates that the older version of GPG used by SecurePoll is not installed on the local wiki deployments. Thus the WMF plans to resolve Phabricator ticket phab:T209892 first, which is to update SecurePoll to no longer rely on the older version of GPG. isaacl (talk) 04:52, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I hope there were more issues than just SecurePoll not being available to local wikis. If that was the only issue, then the RFC really should have closed as "consensus to allow enwiki RFAs to try a private voting system", with the technical details to be worked out later. To use an analogy, you don't have to have a bot coded up before the community discusses and decides there is consensus for a bot task, for example. That consensus, which can be formed before the bot is coded, can later be linked to in a WP:BRFA to show community support for the task. –Novem Linguae (talk) 10:40, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Aye, there were many other objections to using a private vote besides the technical issues, in fact my impression is that technical feasibility was one objection among many. Caveat: I am one of the opposers there. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 11:09, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Personally, I think that was the consensus, but those evaluating the consensus did not agree. Either way, it's helpful to have the ticket in place so we can see the plan to make locally-managed polls work, and it can be factored into future discussions for using them once they are available. isaacl (talk) 16:40, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There was obviously a consensus, but people skilled at wikipolitics didn't like it, which counts for a hell of a lot more than we're usually prepared to admit. – Joe (talk) 08:45, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And the wikipolitics were such that once it was closed as unsuccessful the most that could be hoped for was an overturn to no consensus (what happened) rather than an overturn to consensus (my read of what was actually present and I say that as someone who is/was neutral to mildly opposed to that specific election implementation). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:18, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I am not sure why people are suddenly casting aspersions here, but we did not have any wikipolitics arguments in the discussion. None at all. To be honest, I am seriously disappointed with what is going on here. Ymblanter (talk) 20:20, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You're right. It's unfair to you, Lee, and Primefac to say you played politics. If I believed that I would have never encouraged (and nominated) Lee for RfB. But I do think you read the consensus wrong and I do think it was politics that made it impossible to overturn to consensus for - which is what I see as the outcome of that discussion (despite my own reservations about the usefulness of the idea). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:51, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Nobody prevents you or anyone else from opening a new RfC on this specific topic. I promise you I am not going to approach it closer than a hundred meters. Ymblanter (talk) 20:55, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another way to reduce stress at RFA - move RFA to an "internal" space[edit]

Currently we have no intermediate between open for everyone to see and drafting things offline on our own PCs. I ran my RFB and RFAs on wiki where the whole world could see, but, and this might surprise some people, WereSpielChequers is not my real name and many who know me well are oblivious to it. Others, and especially those who edit here under their real names, have more at stake in an RFA. The internet does not have to work this way. We could run RFAs and RFBs in such a way that only logged in wikipedians with the extended confirmed userright could see. I'm not sure whether this would require creating a new "internal" space on wiki that only extended confirmed editors had access to, or whether a mix of open and internal things could take place in Wikipedia space. But it definitely could be done. Question is, would hesitant RFA candidates find this reassuring, and would the benefit of that outweigh the loss of participation from IPs and the very newest community members. I'm inclined to think it would be helpful and that the involvement of IPs and editors who are not yet extended confirmed is currently minor. But if we made this change we would clearly need to change the watchlist notice so it only promoted RFA participation to extended confirmed editors. ϢereSpielChequers 13:46, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While this may help a little bit, the biggest complaint I personally see about RfA is about the actual process, questions from users, having your contribs grilled by people, and pretty much just being on the stage for all wiki users to see. This won't really solve the main "issue" (if you consider it one). I don't think having people you know who are unrelated to WP seeing the RfA is as big a stressor as people you know who are related to WP seeing the RfA for most, but I could be wrong. ULPS (talkcontribs) 14:11, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes this would be a partial solution rather than a complete solution. But given the history and the complexity I think we need to look for partial solutions - reform is usually better than revolution on and off wiki. Also the grilling concern is exaggerated, few editors check far back into an editors history and old edits from two or more years ago only come up if the opposer sees a pattern that continues, or the candidate still lists those old edits as among their best work. ϢereSpielChequers 14:53, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I personally have not gone to RfA , I don't personally have any concerns, I was just echoing what I have heard from others. If this idea were to become a serious proposal I think it should be autoconfirmed rather than extended confirmed, this would solve the issue you are trying to tackle without being too anti newbie IMO. Either way, I don't think this really does anything too important for the effort it would take to implement. ULPS (talkcontribs) 16:51, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not entirely sure why failing in an RfA with your real name is worse than simply editing WP with that name; it's not like the RfA'll come up in a job interview. Obviously, my username isn't my real name, so I might be missing something. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 14:20, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can imagine all kinds of ways it could be embarrassing IRL. Valereee (talk) 13:02, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Creating a hidden namespace just for RFAs seems like a big technical ask for use in just one process, unless it's already programmed into the MediaWiki software or an extension and I'm not aware of it? –Novem Linguae (talk) 14:42, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we create it I expect other uses will also be found for an "internal" space. Arbcom cases being the most obvious ones. ϢereSpielChequers 14:53, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think if you've edited under your real name long enough to consider RfA (and speaking as someone who has), you'll already have made your peace with the fact that people can google your name and find a page full of strangers being mean to you. In theory, anyway – most people I know have no idea you can even see who wrote a Wikipedia page, never mind that backspaces like this are here for everyone to see. I know there are others who edit under their real name who have more regrets about it than I do, but for me this seems like a major loss of transparency for marginal, if any, benefit. – Joe (talk) 14:44, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It has been a very long time since my RfA, but I did not feel then that using my real name as my user name had any effect, detrimental or otherwise, on the process. As Joe says, even my family and friends are barely aware that I edit Wikipedia, and, as far as I can tell, couldn't care less. Donald Albury 23:19, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • IPs are already barred from !voting, and their contributions are few and far between; even for non-extended confirmed editors, those savvy enough to know of the RfA process are generally either socks or trolls. All told, new editors' contributions are not given very much weight anyway and this seems like a solution in search of a problem. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 15:41, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • The more I think of this idea, the more I feel it is intrinsically inimical to wiki ideas – a couple of Wikipedias tried to limit reading content to logged-in editors, which was slapped down by the WMF – and if you can't handle certain randos reading your RfA you quite frankly don't deserve the mop to begin with. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 20:46, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We already courtesy blank RfAs if that is necessary. I don't think the suggestion is very helpful, and if we make the technical changes to create such "internal spaces", I am 100% sure we will soon use them for all kinds of things, generally reducing transparency for a false sense of security. —Kusma (talk) 15:46, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @WereSpielChequers making sure I've got your idea straight, you want to have us create somewhere (likely would need to be a namespace) that requires extendedconfirm access to read, initially this would be for hosting RfA's. This would have the side effect of creating a new rfa participant suffrage requirement of being an extended confirmed. Note: I would expect that such a namespace would end up getting 'leaked' offwiki as there are 67,375 ec users, not counting admins and bots. — xaosflux Talk 18:01, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    From a technical perspective, this is not currently possible and the development team is not interested in working on it (c.f. phab:T3924 from forever ago). — xaosflux Talk 18:00, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That decline was quite a while ago, I expect that priorities would change if there was a request from Wikipedia for this. Especially if this was seen as a way to make RFA less "harsh". And yes I appreciate this would be leaky and not appropriate for stuff like arb discussions that currently are off wiki. ϢereSpielChequers 18:21, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @WereSpielChequers phab:T249380 is the currently open technical RfC on that sort of build out. We certainly could protect RFA at ECP, requiring that access level to participate in them if there is community consensus to adjust the admin policy. — xaosflux Talk 20:40, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So the idea as I understand it would be to put RfA behind closed doors, and reduce transparency, with the idea that is would foster a better experience? That seems unlikely. To be clear, I'm trying to understand. Is there something I'm missing in this proposal? - jc37 00:37, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, but the whole community would be inside those doors or able to be inside very quickly. So transparency among the community but not beyond. As for whether it would be likely or unlikely to address concerns from those who haven't run, obviously it wasn't needed for me, but I'm curious if there are members of the community who would find this would make RFA a more attractive option for them. ϢereSpielChequers 10:31, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The impact of fewer RfAs[edit]

I know I'm preaching to the choir at this venue, but having only 1 person who has made it to the community consultation for Checkuser/Oversight appointments really underscores the impact of having had so few RfAs. And that even reflects the fact that the one candidate might not have made the community consultation phase 5 years ago when there was a presumption someone needed to be an admin longer - in other words the committee has (correctly in my view) already reduced the tenure expectations. And still we have so few people. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:43, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why is this a problem? Do we have significant attrition of CU/OSs so that people need to go through this unpleasant process? Ymblanter (talk) 12:13, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A calcified ruling elite, even one that I'm a part of, isn't something I want for Wikipedia. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 12:56, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By the time someone gets to considering applying for CU/OS they've already had to pass RfA, so we've filtered out all those folks who might be good at CU/OS but aren't good at research/writing. Wasn't a problem when we had low standards for content creation for admins and hundreds of RfAs a year, but now it's not ideal. Valereee (talk) 13:22, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Historical note: Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/CheckUser and Oversight/2023 CUOS appointments#Candidates. Folly Mox (talk) 09:12, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remove block[edit]

We have talked around and around "RFA is broken" pretty much as long as there has been an RfA process.

At the end of the day, it isn't about what an admin can do with content. And non-admins are closing more and more discussions every day.

It's the fear of "you might block me".

An admin can try to delete the main page, misuse protect, and any number of other things. The vast majority of admin actions that most editors see every day, are easily reversible.

But, the idea that an admin can prevent you from your wiki-editing-fix. That brings out the fear in people. It can be emotional - it can be visceral.

Yes, blocking's reversble. And yes we say it's preventative and not punitive. And yes we say it's not personal.

But the person on the other side of the block who has to now rely on the goodwill of others, may not be comfortable about all of that.

And RfA is, and will remain what it is because of block.

And let's go a step further - someone more in touch with such things than I, can look up the stats - but I believe the majority of desysop situations by arbcom of late involved blocking (or unblocking) in some way.

It's just contentious.

So if we want to solve something, let's solve this.

I've tried many iterations of this after listening to lots of discussions on this very page.

Do we create a non-blocking user group? Do we remove block from admin? Do we make admin a two part package? etc. Oppose because I want it grouped with this or with that, or I'm afraid of a two-tier admin system, or but it's always been like this, or I don't see a reason to change, or or or.

So if anyone has ideas to cut the gordian knot, that would be great.

Otherwise, in my not so humble opinion: we-are-all-just-spinning-our-wheels-on-this-page.

Feel free to tell me how mistaken I am. That's fine. I'm merely just one of many who've been reading and participating in discussions on this page for years.

But I am hoping that maybe, just maybe, we can come up with something. Because continually fine-tuning RFA into more and more of a controlled bureacracy isn't working. People avoid it like the plague.

Anyway, obviously thoughts would be most welcome. - jc37 01:06, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You raise some interesting points here, jc37. I don't know how practical much of it could be in the long run though. How many users would be willing to become part of this "blocking" group? What processes can be implemented to check for the involved politics of these users when dealing with contentious topics? What checks and balances would there be to avoid abuse? If this would end up being some RfC/ANI-type pile-on system, forget about it. But if it incorporated experienced, uninvolved users – emphasis on uninvolved – carefully examining evidence without bias and off-site links to other users, then yes, this separated, "two-tiered" system may indeed work. Leave "admins" to do that work; create a new group of "blockers" to do that work. Homeostasis07 (talk/contributions) 01:30, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The easiest implementation, as far as I can tell, would be to put block (and a few other related tools) in a separate user-right and then assign that to all current admins. Then at least we have options for where we as a community want to go from there. - jc37 01:34, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Every time we have unbundled a tool from the admin toolset it has resulted in RfA becoming harder to pass, not easier. Apart from other philosophical or practical issues people may have with this proposal, it will not accomplish what you suggest. – bradv 01:35, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So maybe a completely separate system similar to ArbCom? BlockCom, maybe? Dedicated users volunteering their time specifically for this purpose, voted on by the community in advance with a similar voting system, fully vetted and approved by the community? Homeostasis07 (talk/contributions) 01:39, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Bradv - Are we sure about that? I think RFA continues to get worse simply because it continues to get worse - a bad rep becomes a worse rep... I don't think that splitting out rollback or IP-exempt has had anything at all to do with RFA. What tools are you thinking of? - jc37 01:43, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Absolutely. We have always expected nominees to be able to provide a reason why they need the tools. We used to have people pass RfA just so they could revert vandalism; subsequently we had people pass RfA so they could help out with moving pages, responding to edit requests, or edit templates. But that trend has rightly stopped short of breaking up the trifecta of block, protect, and delete. Also, what do you mean by "worse"? I would say the admin corps is as strong as it's ever been, it might be the smallest (at least relatively) it's ever been, but does that necessarily mean "worse"? – bradv 01:50, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My "bad and worse" rep comments were towards the RfA process, not admins. I don't know if it still is, but for quite awhile there, the known bad rep of RfA was setting an expectation among people that it was ok to act like it (I think empowering the bureaucrats to help moderate has helped some with that nonsense)
As for split-outs. So it sounds like you think that if rollback was still part of the admin tools RFA would be easier to pass? I'm sorry, I just do not see that.
As Wikipedia has aged, more events amongst editors have happened, and over time people have learned how admins can affect them. I highly doubt that Rollback is a concern. If anything, it's gone from merely being just another way to convenuently undo one or more consecutive edits, to completely falling under the WP:UNINVOLVED admin policy. In other words, rigidly controlled.
So I don't think that someone could merely say they want to be a patroller to get them adminship, even if rollback and all the rest were still part of the admin tool kit.
And I have concrete proof of that assertion. We had a recent RfA where someone was going for adminship. Had a clear need for certain tools, but not all - and said so - but still was fiercely opposed.
So I don't think the wannabe "only a patroller" of the past, would fly in the current climate, even if all the tools were back solely in the admin package. - jc37 02:08, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I absolutely agree with Bradv. If the only way to get rollback was to pass RfA we'd have far more people running for RfA and would be a lot less picky about it. We need rollbackers. We so needed rollbackers we decided you didn't need ot pass RfA to get it. And from there each unbundling made it easier for people to do just the work they want (no need to go through the pain of RfA) and made it easier for the electorate to get pickier and pickier. I don't think we can "go back" but I do think we can stop the problem from getting worse by unbundling any further. Barkeep49 (talk) 02:21, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Rollback is merely a convenient undo. There's no "need" for it at all. And I suppose it's worth noting that Rollback wasn't always part of the admin package. We had admins before Rollback existed. - jc37 02:35, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've only used rollback once - to remove deletion stuff as part of moving something across wikis - and have the button hidden via css. So like I personally do fine without it. But I think it's a serious misreading of the history to suggest its use is mere convienance or its unbundling had no impact at RfA. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 12:55, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It did have an impact, but the general decline (and lack of resurgence) of the "vandal fighter" admin candidate profile probably also has to do with our other changes to anti-vandalism: widespread permanent semiprotection, anti-vandal bots and edit filters. —Kusma (talk) 14:03, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it's kind of chicken-or-the-egg. When only admins had rollback, we needed more admins because we needed more people who could (and wanted to) more efficiently undo. With rollback given out freely (and removed easily) we don't need as many admins whose primary need for the mop is that one tool.
That overlooks the fact that many admins move into areas that weren't even on their radar screens when they RfAd, so a good portion of people with rollback might have, if rollback weren't unbundled, requested the mop and then discovered they actually enjoyed answering requests for protection or whatever. Valereee (talk) 13:40, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) I consider the block button to be one of the tools at the core of the administrative toolset—see my essay at WP:COREADMIN—and I am always highly skeptical of any proposal that tries to separate it out. RFA has certain procedural issues that make it unpleasant, especially when it allows editors to make accusations about candidates without evidence. Separating out the block button is not a well-thought-out solution to these problems—whatever new user group we create will simply inherit the problems. Mz7 (talk) 02:25, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's a feature not a bug. The goal is to get more people helping out with the things that admins do. And the compaints in the threads above is that we have fewer and fewer admins. So, remove block. And if, per you, we may have fewer and fewer blockers, we would still gain more and more non-blocking admins. - jc37 02:35, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am strongly against separating "block", "protect", and "delete" because of how closely related they are. Any other aspect of the administrative toolset, I think I could be convinced that we could give them to other editors. It is just these three things that should stick together. If you are blocking a disruptive editor, you often have to look at their deleted revisions, as well as delete any inappropriate pages they may have created. If you have access to protect but not block, you'll be biased to protect an article where a simple block would have sufficed. If you are deleting a page, you often need to consider whether to salt the title or block the creator, depending on the severity of the deleted content. Mz7 (talk) 02:47, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I have been swayed in the past by the arguments about the interdependence of the utility of Block and Protect. I just don't buy including Delete in that. Even just the example you give. It's a poster child of why we have certain CSD templates. Yes, I know we're all used to them all being grouped together, but they really don't need to be. And if you were deleting a page and thought it needed to be salted, we already have a process for that at requests for page protection.
We've repeatedly seen that it is uncommon to find editors who are both good with behaviour assessment and good with content assessment. So why are we not addressing that in our processes?
We're a volunteer site. We should look to expanding our options. Not closing them off due to unrealistic exspectations.
And by the way, the ones who still can do both, could gain all of the above. So it's not like that option would be gone. It's just about providing for more options. - jc37 02:57, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Block and delete are the two really contentious rights. One group of editors worries that RFA might grant adminship to "civility police" who would boss around our fragile content creators without understanding the effort and strain of creating content, once a contributor has started getting blocks it is hard to keep them in the community. Another group worries that we might get another admin who is too heavy handed with the delete button, remembering that content thus lost means contributors and content that we are unlikely to recover. I think there is a sweet spot, a vandalfighter role where experienced vandalfighters can block IPs and newbies. But their block button doesn't work on the extended confirmed. However past suggestions along those lines have tended to fail on grounds that you can't stop such "vandalfighters" from getting involved in resolving disputes among editors but with a block button that works on one side but not the other. I think we could usefully create such a userright for people whose only remit is to use that tool to block vandals and spammers, but we then hit the arguments that "we need to be nicer to newbies" and more convincingly to a man with a hammer every problem looks like a nail. ϢereSpielChequers 10:53, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A group of editors were considering opening a trial on a new role allowing for a 1 hour block on IPs and new accounts. The implementation was here and it has responses to some possible objections. The Night Watch (talk) 13:40, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This has been floating around since 2020 and hasn't (wisely in my view) moved forward yet though it has had regular bursts of activity so it's certainly continuing to be developed. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:16, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If our voters are really as bad as you say, perhaps we need to go for adminship granted by a committee. —Kusma (talk) 12:37, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which has been proposed and rejected on the basis that RfA is a discussion and not a vote, and in theory it's a consensus-based process which a committee would contravene. Every time we come up with some idea to change RfA for the better, we end up back at square one again each time. Duly signed, WaltClipper -(talk) 14:32, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think there is any process on Wikipedia where the "consensus" model developed for article space disputes is less helpful than at RfA. —Kusma (talk) 14:41, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The WMF has made it clear that admins have to gain "the trust of the community" for legal reasons in order to view deleted content. This can be done one of three ways: an RfA-style process, secret elections, or a committee entrusted by the community (well, unless we want the WMF to step in personally, which I don't think anyone remotely wants). I think the first option is the only one acceptable for transparency and wiki-ethics, so I have to agree whole-heartedly with Walt's point. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 14:56, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would prefer a fully accountable and transparent process, but I do think we need more administrators, and our current process isn't delivering. The "RfA-style process" bit is something that I don't quite understand: are old RfAs like this one acceptable? If yes, then "RfA-style" can mean a wide range of things, including "without unnecessary scrutiny". —Kusma (talk) 15:47, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know it's a common trope that "we need more admins", and we indeed could do with more, but we have plenty enough as it is, we have a steady influx of new admins, and if we were truly dire and on the edge the WMF would probably step in. All that said, I would find any ArbCom-style cabaling in the RfA process greatly distasteful. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 18:13, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The WMF is going to be incredibly reluctant to step in. Incredibly reluctant. So we're going to start feeling the impact of too few admins with no one to bail ourselves out for some long period of time. I agree we're not yet at the crisis point but I also think by the time we get there it will be hard to correct. So I'd rather find ways to increase the number of admins now when we can do a small correction rather than waiting for circumstnaces that would require large corrections. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:24, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I never said it would be pleasant, but the WMF is not so stupid as to let its !cash cow die out, especially when it has stepped in for much worse reasons. All told, I think RfA reform is the ultimate perennial proposal, but I still do not oppose anything reasonable to correct our course unlike this and the above. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 21:07, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think the basic premise of this discussion ("It's the fear of 'you might block me'."), rather the reality (often denied) that admin opinions carry more weight in discussions (eg ANI), and there can be 'abuse of power' in that way, even when there aren't blocks. Not to lessen the scars that one carries 'for life' when the block tool is misused (ahem), but there are still bigger concerns about admins who don't fully engage content, but can influence those who do via discussions eg at ANI. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:21, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Sandy has a point about the soft power that comes with being an admin. I think this shows in other ways, too. We can probably all name an admin who plays fast and loose with policies and criteria but we have almost no redress unless it crosses the line from misuse into outright abuse short of the huge amount of time and effort (not to mention emotion) that goes into an arbitration case like RHaworth. I can understand why that makes people nervous. I don't know what the solution is. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 19:25, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with this; separating autopatrolled didn't absolve candidates of responsibility for content, and I don't think separating unblock will absolve candidates of responsibility for being trusted with the block tool. Indeed, I myself have had to castigate potential adminabili who have been too block-happy; at the end of the day, Wikipedia is about building an encyclopedia, not preventing others from building an encyclopedia. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 21:14, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you perhaps underestimate how many blocks are necessary and are made on a daily basis because most are so routine that they go unnoticed. WP:AIV is the most-edited page on the wiki and WP:ADMINSTATS might give you an idea of how many routine admin actions are made in the background. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 21:25, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If separation of block was desired, it should be the ability to block extended confirmed editors that is stripped out. IPs, VOAs, disruptive newbies, socks are all blocked many times an hour, every hour. Blocks of extended confirmed editors are fairly rare and even more rarely urgent. Courcelles (talk) 22:02, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mario has entered the chat... — xaosflux Talk 23:23, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Xaosflux, I coined that term way back when. Yeah, it’s definitely a Mario issue, but we simply block a LOT of vandals, not many EC accounts. Courcelles (talk) 13:18, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
SandyGeorgia - I think much of what you are describing also applies to any experienced editors (including the so-called "unblockables"). And I think that that falls more under the: "I don't want to trust them unles they've had the experiences I've had". Which is a different topic, and honestly will not go away as long as RFA is a voting process.
That said, I think those concerns are exacerbated because an admin has the tools to affect outcomes. Deletion isn't irrelevant, but it kinda is, if only because DRV is a well-accepted process. Compare that to blocking: you either are someone who knows Wikipedia norms on civility and what needs to be said to even get an unblock template request considered, or - usually after a block expires, you have to go to AN or AN/I. Which doesn't remove the block from the log. A page doesn't have to worry about its editing reputation. But editors sometimes do. And from then on, whenever they want to request anything, they will be questioned about that block log, as a sort of scarlet letter.
So while I accept that your concerns may be concerns, blocking the account of another human being rates higher, I think. Because even if you feel "outvoted" in a discussion, due to the perceived influence of an admin or experienced editor. You still are able to contribute. A blocked editor cannot.
So yes, when comparing some or none, I think "none" is likely the bigger concern. - jc37 01:31, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For a variety of reasons noted above, RfA and RfA reform will never work. I've commented before that adminship is dying. There won't be a cliff we drive off that shows us we have too few admins. But, the time will come when we do. Some have argued that it's already happened. It's certainly already happened at Commons. Commons has several thousand deletion requests that are more than two months past due. Some since April. Commons is dying because of it. The WMF doesn't care. We're quite clearly on our own to solve the problem, and we can't. So, Wikipedia dies a slow death. --Hammersoft (talk) 00:00, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And maybe Wikipedia, like many societies, will fall like Rome.
But I'd like to think that we, as a community, can look beyond our localised concerns in the Wiki, and find a broader path forward.
I'll agree that the current form of adminship doesn't appear sustainable - it seems to be an ever-closing circle. So let'stry to end that cycle and broaden the circle.
I said above, I'm hoping that we can find a way forward to cut the Gordian knot.
And I think we're progressing. So far in this discussion we are hearing the concerns and fears people have - that's a positive thing. So looking for how we can address those and move forward may be a challenge, but I think it's an attainable one. - jc37 01:38, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is it just me or are there a few steps missing between "backlog of deletion requests" and "dead project". – Joe (talk) 03:04, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It definitely is that case that Commons is flowers growing in the sewers at best, with copyvios/uncategorized/useless/out-of-scope uploads piling up faster than they can be handled. And that's not just due to the deletion request backlog. Whether that makes the project "dead" of course, is up to interpretation. And I closed a deletion discussion that had been open since April a few weeks ago, so it's not as if things are 100% better here. * Pppery * it has begun... 03:11, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well that link was a (mostly) enjoyable ramble down memory lane, but I didn't see anything about Commons. Johnbod (talk) 03:55, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While that discussion is talking about Wikipedia not Commons, my point is that in truth Commons is closer to the same fate. * Pppery * it has begun... 04:25, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just to address 2 additional things - First, among other reasons, Rollback was able to be split, because, as I recall (the diffs are out there), Twinkle existed, so the argument went, so there was no reason to not split out Rollback. So the idea of "vandal fighter" being split from admins pre-dated the rollback split, if only due to twinkle and other tools. So I don't think suggesting that rights splits is what's causing RFA issues.

Second, we can talk about further splitting Block in various ways, but before we can get there, just making the first step of having it in a separate user-right group (which is still assigned to admins) is a technical first step that we need to get to before we can get to anything else.

The user-group would likely include: block, blockemail, ipblock-exempt, and protect.

And for now - unless/until the community decides further - it would simply be assigned to all existing and new admins.

Once that's in place, it allows for discussion of other things, other ideas for moving forward. - jc37 01:52, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unbundling makes more sense if the concern is that people can be trusted to do X and not the rest of the toolset, not use the rest of the toolset but not X. I guess we could reverse unbundle A-La interface admin, but that feels wrong, especially since people can just do what I did and disclaim use of the block button in their answer to standard question 1. * Pppery * it has begun... 03:05, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it's more comparable to (part of) why checkuser is not in the admin package. We can assign people with some things, but not necessarily others. - jc37 04:28, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would be quite good to have a junior-block right that admins can hand out through req.for permission to trusted users purely for blocking IP vandals and non-ec confirmed users and purely for vandalism post 4 warnings (and not for edit-warring or disruption), apart from their being able to block straightforward promotional/spammy usernames that are spamming weblinks and/or material containing their company/promotional name. These are very simplistic issues and I feel the project would have more hands on deck for these straightforward cases. Lourdes 07:22, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unfortunately that user right would also allow people to block IP addresses that simply disagree with them and could be easily abused to get the upper hand in content disputes. Many IP edits are also questionable but not vandalism. Just look at WP:AIV for a week to see how many times "trusted, experienced" users report non-vandals. —Kusma (talk) 08:34, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While it's an interesting idea that's been proposed before, I think having block being admin assignable probably would make it a hundred times harder to gain community trust to be an admin. Because we'd be asking the community to not just trust you in blocking, but to also trust you in your discernment to give out the block tool to others as well. And I don't know that the community would be willing to cede that decision-making authority (control) at this time. - jc37 10:52, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I've literally seen someone edit warring and claiming 'vandalism' in the past day. But I feel like in order to grant the perm we could make sure people understand they're clear on it, and people who had it would be motivated to be pretty careful about blocking if it were an easier perm to lose than to get. Valereee (talk) 17:38, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Responder role. * Pppery * it has begun... 14:47, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just would like to see the block package split out. First, and really foremost, it would allow an admin to make the choice to not carry those tools.

I've watched admins for years drop the entire tool kit at BN, because they "want to feel what it's like to be a 'regular' editor again". That has to do withh having expectations foist upon you for having the block tool. No, we're not "required" to use it. But the moment that someone you interact with finds out that you're an admin, the tone often suddenly changes.

And as we have found out in past discussions, there are editors who simply will not ask to become admins because of block, for ethical or philosophical reasons. The Amish have been brought up several times as an example.

As a volunteer site, we shouldn't be putting limitations upon our options for creating admins in this way.

Imagine if someone could choose to go for adminship, and could ask for the block tool removed.

Now, we didn't have this ability in the past. Which is part of why the admin package was a "catch-all". But I've talked with various people on the technical side. Now it can be done easily - creating a sub-package of user-rights is now a very simple matter.

I've been working on this for over a decade. Trying to allow for block to not be forced upon prospective admins.

I really would like to hear ideas on how we can move forward, beyond the fears of the past, and try to make things better.

As I said above, this would be simple. The user-group would likely include: block, blockemail, ipblock-exempt, and protect. It would be assigned to all current admins. And then any admins could then have the option to ask to have just those tools removed if they so choose.

We give them the tools because we trust them. Do we not trust them to say "I'd like to drop just these please" ? - jc37 11:06, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I started writing a lengthy response amounting to "we also trust admins not to use the tools when they aren't confident enough to use them", but then I realized I actually see your point But the moment that someone you interact with finds out that you're an admin, the tone often suddenly changes. - I occasionally issue user warnings that threaten a block, and while I personally know that I will just report the person to AIV instead of using my own admin tools the person I'm talking to probably doesn't and that implied threat is admittedly unideal. * Pppery * it has begun... 14:47, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interesting idea, but I'd suggest starting with a survey. Both of admins, and of non admin regulars. No point spending IT time on writing this unless there is actual rather than theoretical demand. ϢereSpielChequers 16:54, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No "IT time" needs to be spent on this. It already exists.
As I mentioned above I've been in several discussions about this. And I have been told by WMF people - including in the most recent discussion - that the tools to implement this already exist. It would merely take a few seconds.
I presume they were talking about mw:Manual:User_rights#Creating a new group and assigning permissions to it
So this isn't theory. It already exists and is, so I'm told, easy to do.
And I'm happy to start an RFC on this. But we're here at the moment, talking about whatever concerns people have ahead of time. - jc37 17:30, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
if an admin doesn't want a block button, they can disable it via user script. —Kusma (talk) 17:29, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or we can allow for it using Wiki-code. If one is allowed, why not the other? - jc37 17:31, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe this is possible in wikicode. If you want a software change, I oppose making a change to the software without first finding consensus that your new user group would find nontrivial use. I don't want there to be people who can block without protect or delete without block, and your proposal could make it easier to introduce something I am opposed to. —Kusma (talk) 17:54, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It already is possible in Wiki-code, as I mentioned above. As for the rest, that's part of what we're talking out right now. - jc37 18:00, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikicode is the markup language we use while using the source editor. I do not believe it supports configuration changes of the type you are proposing. —Kusma (talk) 18:19, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's the link again, in case you missed it: mw:Manual:User_rights#Creating a new group and assigning permissions to it.
And I've been informed by WMF staff that this is trivial to do. - jc37 18:33, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, it is an easy software configuration change that should not be made. —Kusma (talk) 18:41, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you feel that it's ok to use scripting to do it, why do you feel this should not be done? - jc37 18:43, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Because your suggested change makes it technically possible to assign block without protect and delete. I don't want such a user group to exist. Sysops who want this for themselves can use scripting, just like they can choose not to use the tools. But there should be no limit to how other people use sysop tools, and no possibility of a forced separation of block/protect/delete. —Kusma (talk) 18:50, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, it would include protect as well.
But that aside, you opposition is because "there should be no limit..." - I'm not proposing there be a limit. I'm proposing to allow an admin to decide for themselves whether to carry those tools or not.
We have this with other tools. For example, non-admins can ask to have specific tools removed. So they could still have patroller but not rollback, for example. Why should we prevent an admin from the same options? - jc37 19:03, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Because the technical implementation of such separate user rights would lead to people promising/demanding limited adminship in RfAs. I see zero benefit in your proposal but significant risks for RfA to become even worse in the future. —Kusma (talk) 19:18, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I understand your concern. But they already do that now. We recently had a contentious RfA, where the candidate pledged to not use certain user-rights, in response to demands at RfA. - jc37 19:31, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That user is free to change their mind at any time. I do not adhere to all promises I made in my RfA 17 years ago either (I made these promises in good faith, but my views on various things have changed, as has Wikipedia). —Kusma (talk) 19:42, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think I'll sidestep commenting on that.
But I will say that in what I am proposing, the admin could at any time go to the BN and ask for the tools to be re-added. So your concern that "think may change", is already built in to this due to current policy/practice. - jc37 20:11, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If any admin can ask to have the permissions added/taken away at any time, why bother the bureaucrats with it? In that case, you could just let admins self-assign these permissions like with the edit filter manager flag. What is the advantage of your proposal over a user script hiding the relevant buttons? —Kusma (talk) 20:44, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're balacing your ethics vs those of the admin in question. As I've noted on this page, there are ethical and philosophical concerns about carrying the tools. Hiding links isn't the same. Why should your ethics of whether an admin should be fine with this, outweigh an admin's feeling that they are not. Why should we force someone to take these tools "all or nothing"? As a volunteer site, that seems self-defeating. - jc37 21:11, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jc37: I think I'm just not on board with your fundamental premise, which is that the block tool is the main thing that makes sysops intimidating and which makes it feel like a big deal to make someone a sysop. I think the real answer is the social capital that sysop confers (see this thread at Pppery's RfA). I don't think that social capital comes from the block tool, really. It's more of a statement about the social structures that have built up around what being a sysop means on Wikipedia. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 17:54, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your comment in that discussion: "you wield the tools wherever you go, even when you're not using the toolset." - is one of the things I've been talking about here.
And so, let's talk about those "social structures that have built up around what being a sysop means on Wikipedia".
I think we may find that a large part of that is the ability of an admin to block anyone in a discussion.
And this isn't theory. I've been present where admins - jedi-like - were acting as ad-hoc mentors, arbitrators, facilitaors, etc. Because everyone involved knew they needed to stay on their best behaviour because "an admin is present". - jc37 18:03, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The community needs to resolve the cultural issue, say by developing better content dispute resolution processes, or else having an elite set of admins with block privileges won't change this problem. It will just create a smaller set of admins that the community will impose more heavily upon to intervene. isaacl (talk) 18:52, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not proposing creating a new blocking user-group to be handed out. I am proposing splitting some of the admin tools into a separate package to allow an admin to request to remove those specific tools. In no way am I suggesting that this admin sub-group which has block in it, be handed out to non-admins. - jc37 18:58, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes; that would create a subset of admins who have retained block privileges. It wouldn't change the dynamic of dispute resolution when that subset participates in a discussion. isaacl (talk) 19:02, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That will always exist as long as the block tool (or anything like it) exists.
What I am suggesting is to allow an admin to not be part of that, but yet to have other admin tools with which to help out.
Let's accept people where they are and in the ways they would like to volunteer to help contribute, and not force them to carry that "social weight", if they do not wish to. - jc37 19:05, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, I was just responding to your statement on how admins participating in a discussion can affect others. I think we should strive to separate social capital in content disputes (which I agree will always exist) from administrative privileges. The community can choose to give greater weight to other groups of experienced editors, rather than those who can carry out certain admin tasks. Plus if content dispute resolution worked more effectively, there would be less need for blocking, since poor behaviour wouldn't be to anyone's advantage, and there'd be less concern about who has block privileges. isaacl (talk) 21:15, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As long as we're the encyclopedia that anyone can freely edit, we're going to have disruptive editing. It's a simple freedom vs security dichotomy there. Even if we had the most perfect DR processes, people will vandalise and be disruptive, if merely because they can. - jc37 21:26, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, there will always be disruptive edits by editors who are just doing it on a lark. Blocking those editors is not an issue, though, and no one worries about who is making the determination for those cases. Where this is a concern is for situations where editors who are genuinely trying to contribute to Wikipedia are behaving poorly, and admins have to weigh the different considerations to judge if a block is warranted. Editors have incentive to behave poorly to drive away other contributors, because it's one way to build consensus for one side. A more effective decision-making process would diminish this incentive. isaacl (talk) 21:37, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we're headed off into a separate topic (which I'm happy to discuss with you), in that, well-meaning editors behaving badly isn't so much about dispute resolution, as needing to have the community united in that. And all one needs do is, for example, go participate in discussions about "Civility and blocking" and how contentious that can be, to see that the community isn't entirely united there. - jc37 21:45, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree there's a wide diversity of views regarding the limits of poor behaviour. Eliminating incentive for poor behaviour, though, will make that aspect considerably less important. isaacl (talk) 21:50, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you can find a way to de-incentivise the Veruca Salt-like "I want it", and "I want to do it" by disruptive editors, I would be very impressed. I see no end in sight to that nonsense. - jc37 22:03, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As we've discussed elsewhere, it can be done, but would mean moving away from some of English Wikipedia's current consensus-based and mostly unmoderated decision-making traditions. Sticking with these traditions has a price. isaacl (talk) 22:11, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, ok, you were talking about more than just updating DR processes, but in changing the consensus model.
Which brings us back to what I was saying about this being the encyclopedia that anyone can freely edit.
Anyway, we've gone a bit afield of this discussion : ) - jc37 22:17, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Freely edit isn't synonymous with English Wikipedia's current decision-making traditions. Anyone is eligible to edit Wikipedia, but when there's a disagreement, the community dispute resolution processes have to be followed.
Regarding whether or not splitting off blocking would garner more admin candidates who were willing to take on tasks where blocks don't play a role, as WereSpielChequers alluded to, nominators can ask them beforehand. Let them step forward making that pledge, and then we'll be able to better determine if a MediaWiki configuration change is warranted. isaacl (talk) 23:37, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In what is already a contentious process, you want a candidate to take what may be their one chance (that year at least) to be a guinea pig for some proposed process? That's rather not fair to the candidate. - jc37 07:29, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not proposing a process change. If there are potential candidates out there who would be interested in only performing tasks where blocks aren't a consideration, let's find them to gain more info on whether or not this configuration change would be helpful. isaacl (talk) 16:08, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My suggestion was a survey of potential candidates. I've nominated quite a few candidates in my time, and I certainly wouldn't suggest any candidate guinea pig the idea instead of doing a survey. This isn't just that making yourself such a guinea pig can result in people opposing your RFA because they disagree with that change, there's also the issue that if only one potential RFA candidate were interested in this there wouldn't be much point in making the change. As for commitments that candidates won't use certain parts of the toolset, the track record at RFA is not great. Voters can baulk at that. ϢereSpielChequers 14:58, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I agreed with this suggestion, so we can have some data on whether or not this proposal would have an effect. isaacl (talk) 18:01, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. I remember making a fairly poor keep argument in a random AfD, and the next thing was that the nominator withdrew because an admin had voted keep. I was rather annoyed by that. I really hate that becoming an admin is no longer something that happens to most serious Wikipedians: when most people could become admins, it carried less undeserved prestige. —Kusma (talk) 18:16, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Honestly, I don't think that blocks are the most "tricky" admin tool, nor do I think it's a matter of social capital (that's mostly a matter of being familiar with policy and how Wikipedia works.) The most dangerous thing isn't directly a tool at all - it's WP:AE. AE judgments often involve a lot of subjectivity (eg. in terms of when WP:ROPE is called for vs. when to bring the hammer down; what activity crosses the line into WP:NOTHERE, etc.) If you look at AE discussions for controversial topic areas and picture a different set of non-admin comments moved to the admin comment section, the outcome would often shift drastically. It's not uncommon to see one admin who goes "nah I don't think we should go as far as a block here" or "no, a warning isn't enough" totally changing an outcome; and AE is by design easy to invoke yet hard to reverse. Hopefully at least some of the people most active in the relevant controversial topic areas would recluse in those topic areas as admins, but you can't be sure, can you? And there isn't an easy solution because WP:AE is also the area that most urgently needs more admins working on it; in fact, the real solution to the problem is to have more admins there (watering down the impact of any one voice). --Aquillion (talk) 21:01, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Perhaps, but if you don't have the block tools, you won't be acting there, per the "if you don't have the tools to enact the change"... - jc37 21:06, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Concerning optional questions[edit]

Optional question from WaltCip

This is yet another meta-question which perhaps might not have a clear answer:

At what point does the number of optional questions asked (whether it's 30, 40, 50, etc.) get to where people feel that it's no longer reasonable to expect the candidate to answer every single question in exhaustive detail?

Let's assume for the sake of argument that some major revelation has not occurred during the RfA where people would actually like to know the answer. Other than that, is there any sort of virtual cut-off, or is the prospective admin just expected to eat their oatmeal and be happy? After all, RfA is a stressful process as it is, and as we have seen, some people do tend to get very offended to the point of opposing if their optional question isn't answered, so I was curious to know how people's thoughts skew on this. WP:RFQA talks about not asking irrelevant or inappropriate questions, though it doesn't (and as expected, it wouldn't) really talk about any frustrations posed by an excessive number of questions being asked overall. Duly signed, WaltClipper -(talk) 13:11, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Addendum: I just realized after making my post that I clumsily left out the word "not" (bolded above) which of course significantly changes the context of my question. Apologies for any confusion this has caused. Duly signed, WaltClipper -(talk) 14:35, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Data points; average number of questions in the last two years of RFAs that went full term; 18.6. Two met or exceeded 30 out of 22 RFAs. 8 out of the 22 had 20 or more questions. I think possible more importantly is when the questions arrive. Questions in the first couple of days likely have more gravity than questions asked later. I've seen questions come in close to the end that have no bearing on the outcome. I think questions in general are important, but there's a subjective limit. I'd be interested to know if the sheer number of questions a candidate can expect to get is an active deterrent to running, or something that at least caused reluctance to run. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:24, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It could be an example of admin work, where there is too much to do, and the admin has to select the most important jobs or the jobs they want to do. However an admin should answer questions that others ask them in response to their actions. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:25, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two consecutive 200+ RfAs[edit]

So, it seems that we will finally have two consecutive RfAs listed at WP:RFX300 for having 300+ support votes (namely, theleekycauldron (2nd) and Hey man im josh). Of course, there were also many pairs of two consecutive RfAs with 200+ support votes, with the most recent pair (Ingenuity and Novem Linguae) actually having the same number of support votes (232). But when was the first time that two consecutive successful RfAs each had more than 200 support votes, and how often did this happen? GeoffreyT2000 (talk) 04:10, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Say "thank you" to watchlist notices... - jc37 07:25, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@GeoffreyT2000, the first time that two consecutive successful RfAs that had more than 200 support votes was in July 2017, according to Wikipedia:Successful requests for adminship, with GeneralizationsAreBad 2's second nomination receiving 205 support votes and Cullen328's having 316 support votes. This then also happened again in October 2017, then in 2018, five consecutive RfAs had more than 200+ support votes. 2019 had two consecutive RfAs with 200+ support votes, and so did 2020. 2022 had a bunch as well. Four consecutive RfAs had more than 200+ support votes this year, and the two that you mentioned as well. Tails Wx 16:45, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It means more users are participating in voting. Perhaps also because of low numbers of candidates. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:05, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might also mean more users are on Discord, or whatever it's called now  :) SN54129 22:14, 26 September 2023 (UTC) Reply[reply]
My thought too. Johnbod (talk) 22:32, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is it being implied that users are canvassing off-wiki? Please do correct me if I've misunderstood. Hey man im josh (talk) 22:26, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also probably says a little about candidate quality. ULPS (talkcontribs) 22:17, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
May be only the best quality candidates are willing to stand. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:28, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's pretty unfair. Giraffer (talk·contribs) 17:32, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How so? I meant more that the candidates that got these huge numbers were extraordinarily uncontroversial and "good", not that other candidates with less support were bad quality candidates. (I have supported many of those candidates with less support) ULPS (talkcontribs) 17:34, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My bad, I must've misunderstood your comment. From your indent I thought you were replying to Serial's comment, which suggested to me that you thought candidates who used Discord were lower quality. I agree with you that the high standard of candidates probably correlates to the increased support they get :) Giraffer (talk·contribs) 17:42, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I use Discord myself (and Josh and Leeky do as well) so that would be silly of me to say, but I get where you were coming from, I probably should've replied to the earlier comment :) ULPS (talkcontribs) 20:35, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The watchlist notice (from 2015) is definitely one cause, but it does seem that participation has picked up even just in the last couple of years: if my math is correct, this year's full-length RfAs have had an average of 263 !voters, whereas that number was 187 as recently as 2020. Some of that is probably random noise, but not all of it, I don't think. There are certainly many ways in which increased participation is a good thing (reduced cliquism, !voters more representative of the broader community, etc.), but there's also a downside: RfA already has a "level of scrutiny" problem, and ramping up the number of scrutinizers only makes it worse. I don't know what (if anything) is the solution to that problem, but it's certainly worth thinking about. Extraordinary Writ (talk) 06:21, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Chart showing RfA participation

There was a bit of a jump in 2015, but it looks like participation in RfA has been steadily increasing from at least 2009. – Joe (talk) 08:33, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More !voters probably means more questions for the candidate too. Something to watch if the number of !voters keeps trending up. Personally I think questions are the hardest part of an otherwise smooth RFA. –Novem Linguae (talk) 17:14, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I completely agree with Novem that the questions are a huge time investment from the candidate even in smooth RfAs. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 22:00, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My RfA was pretty smooth, but I would absolutely agree with this. I spent most of the first few days of mine writing answers, agonizing, rewriting, proof reading, and rewriting again. You have so many people reading your answers, looking for a reason to support or oppose you, that it's tough not to question every single word you write. It was absolutely exhausting. Hey man im josh (talk) 22:23, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One idea that came to me during josh's RfA was the idea of allowing/encouraging "co-signers" for a question. This would indicate to the candidate and other voters which questions are on people's minds. So if it's some question only 1 person cares about perhaps the candidate feels safe skipping that in favor of giving a lot of thought to some question that has 10 people co-signing. Similarly as somoene looks through and considers which questions to read to decide how to cast their own !vote perhaps they read the questions that have significant amount of cosigners. Barkeep49 (talk) 23:04, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This seems like a good idea to me. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 23:19, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This might have a practical effect if more than a bare minimum of candidates were willing to risk skipping any question, and if those that skipped any were willing to risk skipping more than a bare minimum of questions. Also: do cosigns count against your two-question limit? If not, expect long lists of sigs after each question from the same "hey, look at me too!" effect that's ultimately behind a lot of the questions in the first place. —Cryptic 00:43, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think most of the stupid questions will get a lot of co-signers. Perhaps the option to cosign a question is only open until the candidate answers it. KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 04:26, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah I was thinking it would only happen ahead of asking but we also get people who ask duplicate questions now and the candidate just says "see answer X". And yes I would see the co-sign counting against a person's 2 question limit. The potential virtue of this system, for me as someone who talks with candidates behind the scenes during RfAs, is that I think it would actually let candidates feel better about skipping questions. More than once I've encouraged a candidate to skip a question and, except when a question comes at the tail end of an easily passing RfA, they tend to answer the question anyway (with one candidate having admitted in retrospect that I was right and they could have skipped it) out of fear of what happens if they don't. Barkeep49 (talk) 17:17, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It isn't that we are getting more !voters or questions, the problem is that we are getting fewer candidates. Hence the situation where on average !votes and questions per candidate are going up, even while !votes per and questions per annum are going down. If you want a relatively quiet RFA start it during or just after another RFA. If you want to set a new record, wait for a gap of a few weeks. The last time we had four successful RFAs in one month was August 2022. The first was quite high, but only one of the next three had 200 supports - one only had 158. If we can get a few more candidates to run, the intensity will drop. Of course we could also make the watchlist notice optional for the candidate if there hasn't been a successful RFA for a few weeks. ϢereSpielChequers 09:04, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • My anecdotal feeling is that RfAs that get more opposition, especially opposition for trivial reasons, garner more supports. Perhaps people aren't inclined to vote when the result seems a foregone conclusion, but they will if they think an injustice is being done? HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 17:28, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think this is perhaps true on the margin, but isn't accounting for the overall trend. leek had 294 supports before the first (trivial) oppose, and that oppose was followed by only 19 supports before the RfA closed. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 17:34, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]