Wikipedia talk:Administrators

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Proposed: Minor change to inactivity policy notifications


The proposal was withdrawn by the proposer on the basis that the outcome appears clear. Mz7 (talk) 22:06, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

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

 Request withdrawn The outcome here is clear enough. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:39, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

I would also very much appreciate it if we didn't get off track here, let's please just stick to discussing this one incremental change as opposed to a larger reform or redo of the entire policy. Thanks for your understanding. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:32, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Support as proposer. The inactivity policy itself is unchanged by this, and an admin could still do the exact same thing and retain their admin rights for another two years by making one minor edit to their own talk page, or just removing themselves form the inactive list, we just won't be inviting them to do it as we basically do now. They will have already been informed once and so will already be aware of the inactivity policy and the fact that they have to at least edit once every few years if they want to continue to be administrators. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:32, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
    What about this scenario? They are actually desysopped for inactivity, then are hitting the 11 month mark of inactivity again. Do they get another warning? --Rschen7754 21:47, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
    As written, the policy actually gives them an additional two years of complete inactivity after being desysopped before it is considered permamanent. I don't think we warn them now that they haven't edited in three years, so I would be inclined to say no. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:13, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Beeblebrox: Sorry, I meant that they are desysopped, are resysopped, and then go inactive for 11 months. It seems I left that key part out. --Rschen7754 04:07, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
I would still be inclined to say no notification is needed. They'll still have a full thre years to just ask for their bits back if they wish to return. Beeblebrox (talk) 05:23, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as a minor but reasonable extension of the inactivity policy. ~ Rob13Talk 03:24, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Not sure how useful this change would be to stop those dastardly inactive admins from abusing their access by retaining it, since even if they were desysopped they could still just request the rights back the next day under the policy. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 05:28, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
    • If nothing else, it saves the bureaucrats a small step. ~ Rob13Talk 15:16, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
      • A bot handles the notifications. The bot operator who runs this bot isn't actually very active right now which might be an issue for this proposal. –xenotalk 15:20, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - If I'm understanding this correctly, administrators would still, rightly, be served a notice that their administrator user right has been removed. They could then proceed to the bureaucrats' noticeboard and request their mop be restored. That is much more of a bother. Furthermore, the proposed change might make serving notices more complicated; a record of who has already received one would have to be kept and checked, as opposed to just blanket posting them as is done now.That aside, inactive administrators currently receive two notifications before being desysoped; pending and imminent. I would support lowering that to one.— Godsy (TALKCONT) 16:25, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
You are correct that this would not change how anything works the first time an admin is desysopped or nearly desysopped for inactivity. It would only apply if they made some sort of edit after the initial notification, but then went inactive for an entire year again. It is a tiny incremental change designed only to stop the extremely small minority of inactive admins who seem to be gaming the requirements while having no intention to ever actually do admin work or even particpate at en.wp at all. I would again ask that we stick to discussion of this proposed change and save other proposals for some future discussion. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:23, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox: yellow tickY Partly done - I've made the part of my comment that is off-topic small. Best Regards, — Godsy (TALKCONT) 19:51, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox: Your explanation illustrates the difference in expectations that underpins my oppose (recorded below). It feels like to you adminship is a job, and if someone isn't making use of the mop -- and even worse long term completely inactive -- we should take it away since they aren't "real" admins. If they only show just enough activity to not get the mop removed, they are "gaming the system". I view adminship as an expression of trust, an invitation to help using a more powerful trusted toolbox. If someone has gotten the admin bit once and isn't using it, no harm no foul (except for potential security issues if someone breaks into their account). The approach now is a form of "are you still there?" / "OK, feel free to use the toolbox if you ever want to". To the extent there are a few admins who haven't gotten around to doing anything for a year, even several times in a row, I would continue to say "thank you" that they care enough to show signs of life when poked, and hope that one of these days they'll have the time and inclination to be more involved. It feels needlessly time-consuming and bordering on churlish to lay traps to "catch them out". Martinp (talk) 22:07, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Martinpl@ The scenario you describe is not who this is aimed at. As I said in the proposal, there is an extreme minority that is pretty clearly gaming the the requirements. It is probably less than 15 admins in all. These are people who have clearly long-since lost all interest in contributing in any way, yet for some reason want to retain their admin rights. Adminship is a position of trust, and no, I don't trust someone who does that. Adminship is not a trophy to be kept on a shelf, yet (again just a very few) admins treat it as though it is. This would just obligate them to remember that they have to do something every three years if they wish to continue keeping their trophy for no good reason. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:36, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox:, sounds like those <15 are utterly harmless. Maybe they are trophy-hunters who are gaming the system and somehow get their kicks by keeping the admin bit on a website they otherwise have little time for apparently. But maybe, just like I can't seem to get around to actually cleaning up my basement though I'd like to, they just can't seem to find the time/energy/priorities to engage with WP somehow. Maybe us pinging them once a year will -- maybe some leap year or other, and maybe just one of the 15 -- eventually encourage them to make a meaningful edit, or even pick up a mop again. And that will be a good thing, just like if I ever actually clean my basement. Or maybe they'll never do anything, but it just seems weird to expend effort on sneakily cat'n'mousing them to miss the deadline so we can take the bit away. (I realize "sneakily cat'n'mousing them" is emotionally loaded language -- but so is "gaming the system"). Now I could get behind a deliberate tightening of the overall policy to say, e.g. "to not lose your bit, you can't just do a trivial edit like answering 'ok', you need to make a (beneficial) edit outside user space"....but that's another story, and maybe that would reach consensus or maybe not. Martinp (talk) 01:33, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment Would it also be the case that if an administrator went inactive, received their notification, but then became active again with a simple resysop request, became an active editor and administrator for many years, and then went inactive again, they wouldn't receive a notification that second time? Sam Walton (talk) 19:54, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
I suppose it would. I've never seen a case like that and expect there is a vanishingly small chance of this exact scenario. What I have seen is admins who receive their notification, do something as basic as reply "ok" to the message on their talk page and then go quiet until the next time they get the same message. Seriously, how hard is it to remeber that you need to make at least one edit of some kind at least once a year if you want to be an admin? Beeblebrox (talk) 23:42, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Fine by me. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:31, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Done [1]. @Madman: as well, in case this proposal passes we will either need a modification to their bot or a new one. –xenotalk 20:05, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
As someone who processes these regularly - many of the existing bot tasks are not working. — xaosflux Talk 20:25, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Madman is unfortunately away from the project as far as I can tell. I suppose we will need a new bot for both the admin activity and bureaucrat activity report (User talk:Madman/Archive 9#Bureaucrat activity report for end of 2016). –xenotalk 20:29, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per above. Seems reasonable to me. -FASTILY 04:36, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Once is plenty. Everyking (talk) 14:44, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Support - One time notification is sufficient and reduces unnecessary work. TheGeneralUser (talk) 19:33, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose - After another consideration, it is much better that an administrator is notified every time when they are about to be desysopped and not just the first time since the process is transparent and fair to everyone. TheGeneralUser (talk) 10:33, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting info.svg Note: We might not be able to implement this change unless the current bot is replaced, so the proponents might want to start seeking a replacement. –xenotalk 19:48, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • This proposal seems a bit ambiguous - is it meant to change the current practice of sending 2 notifications in one month for someone who is currently inactive to only needed 1? - Is it also meant to disqualify someone indefinitely from a future notification if they have ever been notified (even if they have ceased being inactive in the interim)? — xaosflux Talk 20:30, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
    • @Xaosflux: It is ambiguous in regard to your first question. Seemingly yes to your second question (see this response). Tracking which administrators returned to activity, however we chose to define that, in the interim would make the system more complicated. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 20:51, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support very sensible proposal. Lepricavark (talk) 01:00, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This *adds* work, since someone (individual, bot--that per the above, would need to be rewritten!) now needs to add the extra step of checking the list of inactive-nearly-1-yr admins against the list of previously-warned admins. All for the rather dubious benefit that a minuscule number of inactive admins who now rely on (repeated) warnings might be "caught out" and therefore have to re-request the bit at WP:BN, where after a waiting period of 24 hours (during which a few people would try to "shame" them) they would get the bit back. So only net benefit is that chunk of people need to do more work, and there is a bit more conflict. Martinp (talk) 16:00, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The rules as they stand are that any admin who still wants the mop, and whose account isn't compromised, is allowed to keep it. And furthermore, if they seek to regain the mop after losing it through inactivity, they are automatically readmitted. If people want to change that rule, and make a more strict activity requirement, then they should go ahead and seek consensus for that to be changed. The proposal here is merely an attempt to desysop someone by stealth, when the fact that they make the "dummy" edits suggests that person doesn't actually want to be desysopped.  — Amakuru (talk) 17:10, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Neutral I really don't like the strategy of using small steps to try to push policy down a slope, where the direction is clearly towards something that has been proposed and failed to achieve consensus with considerable objection. Still, the actual proposal is pretty reasonable, and I can't bring myself to oppose it. If an Admin goes for years without noticing the bit is missing, bot notification or not, they really don't need it anymore. Monty845 02:54, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - What if some of those "almost too inactive" admins knew they were about to be active, but not just yet? What if they were going to be inactive for most of that time then active for 3 weeks, and then inactive again? In both of those circumstances the tools would be immediately returned if they had been removed, per the current/future policies, as they should be. Most admins likely have their preferences set to notify them if/when their user rights change, and if they do they'll likely show up the day of their desysopping to request it back (essentially creating a new inactivity->notification->edit->inactivity cycle). The assertion that the bureaucratic burden is reduced doesn't seem fully sound considering that, especially when a bot does all of the notification work currently. We always need more admins, and if some can only pop in every once in awhile so be it. If there isn't an obvious security risk in them having a sysop flagged account, then I see no reason to take it away. Coffee // have a cup // beans // 06:37, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Neutral since no matter which way this issue is viewed, there seems to still room for abuse. From my understanding, these notifications are provided by actual editors and not bots, so the minimum editing requirement would be up for interpretation. Other than that, makes sense. Steel1943 (talk) 16:29, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Do we have too many administrators? If even one administrator a year returns to proper editing, it's a win for Wikipedia. We should be considering notifying them more frequently, not trying to be even more dastardly than those ever so sly administrators who pop in once a year just to retain their mops. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 17:42, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Martinp. You can check easily to see if someone's recently been notified, of course, but if this proposal would pass, you'd need to go back into other archives to figure out if someone not recently notified had previously been notified, unless I misunderstand something. It looks like the primary purpose is to prevent system-gaming; please figure out some other way to prevent gaming, because this wouldn't be particularly useful. Nyttend (talk) 05:05, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, what problem exactly is this supposed to be solving? Looks to me like a change of process for the sake of being seen to be doing something about the "problem". Lankiveil (speak to me) 01:18, 26 March 2017 (UTC).
  • Comment Not gonna oppose or support, just going to note that the second time I got one of these notifications was, eventually, the catalyst to me coming back after a long wikibreak. I've subsequently used the bit. So I have to ask the question, what problem does this policy change solve? Sabine's Sunbird talk 05:12, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose not enough of a problem to be worth "solving". If the extra automated notifications brings back one or two inactive admins with the cost of some currently inactive one keeping the bits, I'm okay with that. -- KTC (talk) 09:28, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Mostly oppose - I would support decreasing the number of notifications after the first notification to one, but not more than that, as the value of one admin coming back outweighs inactive admins keeping their perms. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 02:54, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Do you intend to prohibit others (not the designated bot) from notifying certain admins that they might be desysopped? Is having been almost-desysopped for inactivity ten years ago really a reason not to every get a notification again after becoming active and then inactive again? Is there a problem that this will solve? —Kusma (t·c) 11:07, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If anything, we should be notifying inactive admins more to encourage them to contribute again. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 15:52, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support because Amakuru is exactly wrong. We expect admins to actively make admin edits. Those that were elected and stopped editing clearly don't need the tools and the community rightly bristles at the obvious HATSHOP behavior of which many admins are guilty. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:24, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
    • What? The community rightfully bristles? Even when they don't know what is going on in the life of that admin? What if the admin really wanted to be here but couldn' family obligations took precedence. Yes, there are times when you really can't break away to come edit for obligatory reasons...months at a time w/o being in full control of your life. Personally, I would have felt guilty if I had tried to fit editing Wikipedia into my schedule. Spend a while...months in a room full of life support equipment. Would you want to tell your loved one that you have limited time with that you really need to go because you need to edit something? The adverb "clearly" doesn't square with not knowing what is going on. Removal of the bit due to inactivity should be done after the proscribed time as a security measure. I do understand where the community may be frustrated but getting angry and bristling at volunteers that weren't getting paid in the first place? Wow...let me go find a coffee, pet the cats and do anything but edit right now. Kind of hard to explain but this is difficult to read after coming back...not my intention to get towards drama, my apologies.
       — Berean Hunter (talk) 20:48, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

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

Adminship following a clean start

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Since this discussion has diminished in activity, I believe it has reached its natural end and can be closed. The result is no consensus, so no changes will be made to policy. I have left the "Alternative?" section open below, since it isn't directly related to this proposal.
Supporters argued that reinstating the proposed passage to Wikipedia:Administrators would be beneficial as a means of combating severe harassment towards administrators. Many supporters stated that a successful RfA is a statement of trust in the person operating an account, not the account itself, and that the proposal still preserves a degree of accountability through the requirement of declaring the past account to either a bureaucrat or to the Arbitration Committee (most participants supported having admins declare this to ArbCom first, rather than a bureaucrat first). Some suggested that while it is certainly possible for someone to connect past and new accounts anyway, this could potentially be avoided and should therefore remain an option for those who seek to attempt it.
Many opponents recognized that administrator harassment was a problem, but argued that this proposal would not be a viable solution. A common theme in the opposition was that a true "clean start" should not allow for any connection to past accounts, and this includes administrator permissions; opponents argue that a "clean start" means that an administrator should start completely anew, attempt to regain the trust of the community for their new account, then file a new RfA if they wish to regain the toolset. Others observed that the proposed practice had been tried before and failed because others were able to connect the old and new accounts anyway. Finally, some opponents were concerned that the proposal would make it more difficult for the community to keep administrators accountable for their actions, as this proposal would prevent the community from scrutinizing an administrator's history of editing if an issue has been identified.
Respectfully, Mz7 (talk) 21:30, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

Harassment is an important issue on Wikipedia that we should be doing more to address. During their efforts working on anti-vandalism administrators are often subject to varying levels of harassment, usually becoming the primary target of blocked editors looking for someone to blame. Sometimes, administrators are harassed to such a degree that they are forced to undergo a clean start. We currently have no policy for how to handle this; these users are already trusted by the community to use the tools, but cannot publicly link themselves to their old account in order to regain them. While they could undergo a fresh request for adminship (privately disclosing their old account at the time of running), this might (currently) require them to wait another 1-2 years before they can get back to work.

To quote Newyorkbrad from a previous discussion: "Several administrators have been victimized by depraved levels of real-world harassment and trolling of themselves and in some cases members of their families, typically in retaliation for administrator actions they have taken as part of their duties for the benefit of Wikipedia. Many times we lose the editing and administrator services of these victimized editors permanently. When an admin who has been through this is willing to continue adminship under a new username, this should be allowed to occur."

Around ten years ago, Wikipedia:Administrators had a passage which stated:

If you have exercised your right to vanish, and return under a new name, your new name can request administrator access by contacting a bureaucrat privately and producing satisfactory evidence of being the same user, provided you did not originally request desysopping under controversial circumstances. This will not guarantee privacy, however, as new accounts which are granted sysop rights without an RfA tend to attract attention and speculation.

A couple of major discussions took place regarding this section; WT:RFA#Reinstatement of Admin Rights After Their Right to Vanish in 2007 and WT:RFA#Admins and the right to vanish at the beginning of 2008. The passage was removed by Naerii in 2008, without any corresponding discussion or consensus to do so as far as I can tell. Now, Wikipedia:Clean start has some advice regarding running at WP:RFA, but I can't see that any information about re-adminship after a clean start is written in any guidelines or policies.


I propose reinstating a passage similar to that which was previously present in Wikipedia:Administrators (see above) regarding the re-sysopping of administrators who have undergone a clean start. I'm proposing a different wording, to make the paragraph more succinct and up to date:

If an administrator has undergone a clean start, and returned under a new username, they can request the administrator user right on their new account by contacting a bureaucrat privately and producing satisfactory evidence of being the same user, provided they did not originally request desysopping under controversial circumstances.

Should this passage be added to Wikipedia:Administrators? Sam Walton (talk) 22:39, 18 March 2017 (UTC)


  1. Support as proposer. Sam Walton (talk) 22:39, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  2. Support on the criteria that a clean start wasn't carried out after stopping editing on the original account to avoid scrutiny of their actions even if the bit wasn't removed. Amortias (T)(C) 22:42, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  3. Support agreeing with Amortias. This shouldn't be a way of getting around any controversy but should be a method of supporting administrators who have faced on or off wiki harassment. I've recently been having some trouble with someone who tracked down my identity and caused some issues - it would have been preferable for me to have started afresh and continue supporting the project in my capacity as an admin. Currently this isn't possible, so I have had to return to this account and just "deal with" the repercussions. Wikipedia has a long way to come in supporting all editors who get targeted, but I believe it would be a fair assumption that admins get the short straw a lot of the time and this could be a good first step towards dealing with that -- There'sNoTime (to explain) 23:06, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  4. Support - Logical, fair and as long, of course, nothing regarding the process/request was done under cloudy skies. - Mlpearc (open channel) 23:13, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  5. Support — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 00:09, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  6. Support, with the caveat that ArbCom should either be the point of contact or a line should be added stating that the admin in question must disclose their former account to ArbCom. Other than that seems completely reasonable. Ks0stm (TCGE) 00:14, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  7. Support The mop is not a big deal and if someone has shown they can use it responsibly I see no reason they should have to choose between privacy/safety and helping the community. It was like this before, it happened more than a couple of times and nothing terrible happened. HighInBC Need help? {{ping|HighInBC}} 00:16, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  8. Support with conditions - I support this, but only if "a bureaucrat" is changed to "a member of the Arbitration Committee". Overall, I think that this is a good way to retain editors and to help admins facing harassment. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 00:17, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  9. Support. RFA has always been a permanent confirmation process, not a term appointment. If an admin must clean start, they should need only demonstrate that they passed RFA (the community trusts them), they aren't under a cloud, and that they are who they say they are. If Arbcom sets someone's bit, that's all the on-wiki connection that's needed. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 00:33, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  10. (edit conflict)Support: Seems a good idea for former admins undergoing a clean start. KGirlTrucker81 huh? what I've been doing 00:47, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  11. Support as a good idea. Maybe they should go to ArbCom or a bureaucrat. —MRD2014 📞 contribs 02:11, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  12. Agree with HighInBC and Ivanvector. RfA appoints people, not accounts. An admin behaving badly should be held accountable regardless of their history or past usernames; returning to service under a new name makes no difference in that respect. – Juliancolton | Talk 02:32, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  13. Support. This leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I'm well acquainted with harassment concerns. There are disturbed individuals out there who find it perfectly acceptable to stalk and harass administrators, including by targeting family, friends, and co-workers. Admins seeking to minimize harassment should have an avenue to do that without quitting the project. ~ Rob13Talk 04:33, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  14. Support – the opposers are fully burying their heads in the sand about how bad an issue harassment has become lately, esp. for Admins. Either we come up with a way to deal with this, or we'll ultimately lose most of our Admins, and the project will go down the tubes. The concern about "secret Admins" is absurd – there's about a 0% chance that entities like ArbCom won't be kept in the loop in these situations (hopefully the Bureaucrats will too). And I see almost no chance that an Admin "under a cloud" will be able to use this to escape scrutiny. I have little doubt that safeguards will be put in place to guard against all of this. This needs to happen. --IJBall (contribstalk) 06:55, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  15. Support Oppose !votes = unconvincing. WP cannot operate within a vacuum for as long as its editors don't; we have long recognised the difference between a person and an account, and this is no different: the person has been entrusted by the community, the account is merely the vehicle by which it occurred. This is, analogously, simply changing the paint job: the engine remains the same. — O Fortuna! Imperatrix mundi. 08:30, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    Except a person who is worried about their privacy returning to an automatic re-sysop will near-automatically be re-outed out of suspicion, thus removing the whole point of starting another account to begin with. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 09:07, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    Except... addressed in the 'Discussion' thread. — O Fortuna! Imperatrix mundi. 09:59, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  16. "Support" we need this. As for the opposition, yes admins need the trust of the community, but this is for people who have that trust. Their actions under their new account will be open to community inspection, it is important that whoever makes the decision to shift the bit, crat, crats or arbcom checks that the former admin account hadn't lost community support. ϢereSpielChequers 10:17, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  17. Support, but go through ArbCom instead. MER-C 12:19, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  18. Seems reasonable. Either bureaucrat action or, which seems more appropriate, ArbCom is fine with me.  Sandstein  12:32, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  19. Support, with the point of contact being ArbCom, per Ks0stm. ​—DoRD (talk)​ 13:40, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  20. Weak Support, w/ the ArbCom change. I came here to oppose but while I fully share the concerns raised below, I do see that there is a net benefit for a solution such as this. That said, there should be some technical implementation to obscure such accounts further, since, as pointed out below, identification will probably pretty easy when a new account suddenly gained adminship. Regards SoWhy 15:57, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  21. Suppport so long as it is ArbCom that deals with it. As WereSpielChequers says, we need this. Sure, it's not a perfect solution, but it's not a perfect world. Doug Weller talk 16:23, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  22. Support The principal objection seems to be that it might not work in all cases. That's not a reason why it shouldn't be available for ones where it might help. Additionally, anyone running for admin under the new account is much mroe likely to leave unavoidable clues to their earlier WP identities. The crats have a record of being quite conservative and can be trusted for this, but the request should probably come through arb com, which will be aware of any problem areas. If both groups accept it, there's not likely to be room for error, and anything that does arise can be traced. DGG ( talk ) 19:56, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  23. Support with the Arbcom caveat previously discussed, at least in principle. I don't think the community's trust in an admin is vested into a screen id but rather into the person holding it, as mentioned by others. Once a person has passed an RfA, that trust is theirs until explicitly revoked either through Arbcom or recall. The trust should be allowed to be restored to their new screen id without hassles. That said, I don't think it will work for most admins. A "new" admin without a recent RfA will automatically raise interest and almost self-out. It should be their choice, however, as to whether they want to try and not ours to block the attempt because we presume the attempt's failure. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 16:11, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  24. Support' Clean start means clean start - yes it can be abused, but then again, so could an IP address on Wikipedia. As long as they're willing to verify their identity and prove good intent / behavior, I see no problem. К Ф Ƽ Ħ 18:42, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  25. Support I hear the objectors, but I also think that protecting admins from harassment is important, and whatever we can do to try to prevent it should be done. This is an imperfect solution, but it would help. I also agree that arbcom should be the starting point, not crats. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:50, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
  26. Support per DGG. If doing so prevents one admin from burning out or flamed off the site, it'll be a net benefit. There may be technical issues to work out, and this may not be effective, but it should be an option. RFA puts trust in the person, and as long as they're cleared their identity with ARBCOM and they're not doing so under a cloud, I don't see why this shouldn't be allowed.---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 03:07, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
  27. Support Although people can take guesses as to who the clean starter is, they won't know for sure. -- Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 03:21, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
  28. Support Sorely needed and should never have been removed in the first place. WaggersTALK 10:39, 31 March 2017 (UTC)


  1. Oppose. An admin's mandate comes from the community, and the link between an admin's account and their RfA shouldn't be obscured. The community's ability to oversee admins would be badly hampered if we couldn't review their history. While I sympathize with anyone who must switch accounts, the need for community oversight and accountability is too great to allow for "secret" admins. Certainly they should be encouraged to continue editing under new accounts, but if they are going to be admins, they should be admins only on the basis of a known history—whether through an RfA with the new account or a public link with the old account. Everyking (talk) 23:52, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  2. Oppose This has happened already in the past by going to ArbCom and requesting it back and most of the time it was done without much announcement. I could be wrong, but the last time it was done was 2009-ish. Simply put, secret admins are a bad thing. I oppose it because it lacks transparency regarding issues like privacy. If you have access to deleted material, then we should know it is in the hands of someone we trust. If the prior account suddenly turns up they were plagiarizing or having massive copyright violations, which has been a case with some past administrators, where does the accountability fall? Do you block the new account too, or do you pretend they are different folks now? It's a lot messier doing this. If you're a trusted user, all you have to do is state it's a clean slate account, work your way back up and try again. If you passed the first time, you will a second time. In addition to that, bureaucrats and ArbCom members are not investigators. How do they know whether there was controversial circumstances or not? Unless one of them is familiar with the situation an administrator is desysopped, then it could raise problems if that administrator actually was desysopped under a "cloud". Usually it requires a few folks in a community discussion to point something out, which is impossible in this scenario. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 00:48, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  3. Oppose- per Everyking and Moe, adminship is not something that is controlled by functionaries, it's a token of the community's trust and respect for an editor (which is why there should be a community-based desysop procedure, but that's another issue entirely). There's also a practical issue - it's not unusual for an editor to come across an administrator they do not recognize, perhaps someone who put down the tools and then picked them up again, or someone who was procedurally desysopped for inaction who regained the tools in the normal course of business, but whatever the case, curiosity provokes the editor to check into the background of the unfamiliar admin... and they find nothing. No record of how they come by the bit. What conclusion can the editor draw from this? Either the unfamiliar admin is illegitimate, or they've been resysopped after vanishing. Since the number of vanished sysops is quite small, it's easy enough to connect the new sysop with the vanished sysop, and the entire point of the vanishing is blown. No, this is not something that functionaries should be doing in loco parentis for the community. Regular-old rank-and-file editors get hounded off Wikipedia as well, and if they vanish and return, they don't get their previous privileges back, they have to re-earn them - I see no reason why sysops should be any different. (And with due respect to HighinBC -- who I do respect, a lot -- being an admin is actually a BFD.) Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:17, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    This isn't quite true, though - if a "regular" user in good standing starts a new account for harassment-avoidance reasons and tells an admin they trust about the issue, they're likely to be able to get most or all of their user rights back. Though some might be a bit conspicuous for a young account, it wouldn't be nearly as much so as getting the admin bit back, because other user rights are already considered to be at individual admins' discretion. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:09, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    And how does one acquire the admin bit illegitimately? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:17, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    Stealing an account would probably be the easiest, but various forms of hacking and/or social engineering. WP:BEANS. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:56, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  4. Opposed - That isn't what a clean start is, at least in my mind. Other things can be done to respond to harassment. I also have some concerns with the accountability issues here. Functionary rights (CU/OS) are held to account by ArbCom and the Foundation, whereas sysop/crat rights should be as open and transparent as possible since they are handled by the community. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 04:20, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  5. Oppose - not only do we need do consider an admins who is desysoped "under a cloud" (the 'crat may not always know), but even one who disappeared "under a cloud". I think that the decision here should be made by ArbCom, not an individual 'crat. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 04:25, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Od Mishehu: Per the discussion just below, it looks likely that the passage will be changed to point admins to arbcom rather than crats. Sam Walton (talk) 08:46, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    Should such a change be made, I will respond to it. As long as it wasn't, I vote based on the current proposal. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 04:22, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  6. Oppose - Given the Ash/Fae episode, where had the admins's previous history been disclosed at the RfA I cant support this. Admin tools are granted based on an evaluation of the past history of the Admin. When that is not visible, it leads to problems. It would be impossible to adaquately judge INVOLVEdness for example, as the admins editing history would have a huge gap. Quite apart from the fact this basically allows the relatively small group of admins to disappear their history and return with zero non-tooluser oversight. Likewise the definition of 'harrassment' varies from person to person. Many people claim harrassment, very few actually are. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:16, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    It is widely believed for some reason that false claims of harassment are frequent. That is not consistent with the evidence that I'm aware of, either specific to Wikipedia or about online harassment in general. It's one of those just-world hypothesis issues, I think - it would be nice to be in a world where few people are genuinely harassed (and where any individual person's risk is therefore low as long as they stay out of trouble), but that's not really the case. Opabinia regalis (talk) 21:10, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Opabinia regalis: No, not really; "many claims of harassment are genuine" doesn't equate to "few claims of harassment are false". Accusing whoever one happens to have been in an argument with of harassment is a very time-honored tactic on Wikipedia—at the time of writing the word "harass" or "harassment" appears eight times on ANI; you may well be an admin who's never been accused of harassment, but if so you're the exception not the rule. (Who was it who last month called someone out for "accusing people who provide critical feedback of hounding and harassment"?) ‑ Iridescent 21:20, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Iridescent: There is literally an admin that participated in this that has been harassed and has had to change usernames. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 21:24, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    What does that have to do with anything? Nobody's claiming harassment doesn't happen—what OR is claiming is that false claims of harassment are rare, which is complete bullshit. (Here's myself and Dhartung being accused of "harassment" within my first couple of hundred edits, for having the temerity to nominate an article for deletion participate in the AFD debate corrected as having looked at the thread it was just because I participated in the AFD, not that I'd nominated that was written by someone with an exaggerated sense of self-importance, if you want a concrete example.) ‑ Iridescent 21:28, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Iridescent: Sure false (or more accurately not serious) claims of harassment happen, but I don't see anyone going to get a clean start after such an accusation. It's a lot of effort to go through a clean start; it's not going to happen because one user doesn't like a few messages they got off another experienced editor. Sam Walton (talk) 21:30, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Iridescent: Ok. Well, I think that ArbCom (or the crats) will be able to make a judgement whether there is harassment happening. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 21:34, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    Has everyone lost the power to read today? At what point have I said anything different, and you'll note that I'm not opposing. All I'm doing is calling out OR for saying something that's patently untrue, which (coming from an arb, who some readers will assume to be privy to secret knowledge) has the potential to be taken as fact by readers. (And I say this as someone who has been the subject of a genuine Wikipedia harassment campaign.) ‑ Iridescent 21:38, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Iridescent: You didn't say anything different, I was just making bad subconscious assumptions, looking back on it. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 21:56, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    Iridescent has a good point. I meant the cases that get raised privately to arbcom/functionaries - and would be likely to prompt consideration of using this process - not general ANI mudslinging. People already have the information they need to judge ANI-type nonsense (or they could, if they were willing to read that much ANI... ;) But that stuff isn't representative of the kind of harassment complaint that would motivate someone to consider clean-starting. Opabinia regalis (talk) 22:02, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  7. Oppose - With utmost concern to those genuinely suffering harassment there has to be a better way. No one is forced to continue in the role granted by community consent and long breaks are tolerated. This suggestion of secret decisions is potentially the thin end of a dubious wedge. Leaky Caldron 12:29, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  8. Oppose. I share Beyond My Ken's practical concerns; if the goal is to evade scrutiny from harassers then this won't work. I say this having seen far too many cases of users, admins and otherwise, who were hounded off the project. Some even faced real-world consequences. This isn't the way to help them. Mackensen (talk) 13:13, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  9. Definately not Its too easy to game by those who left to avoid scrutiny and no protection for those who are genuinely being harrassed. -Spartaz Humbug! 17:42, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  10. Weak Oppose. I am sympathetic to the concerns of harassment, and can see plausible scenarios where this is a good idea. However, this process can effectively be used to avoid community scrutiny on administrative actions. Admins make mistakes on a somewhat regular basis. This is to be expected, and is not a problem in and of itself. However, repeated, similar mistakes by an admin should result in community scrutiny. Masking the record with a change of username obscures these patterns, which may let a problem linger beyond what the community would ordinarily have patience for. For example, if an admin who used this clean start makes a bad block, and a discussion at AN overturns it, the community has no way to know if that was the admins first bad block, and we should all move on, or if there was history on a previous account that merits a more involved discussion or a trip to arbcom.
    Echoing support above that the reviewing body should be arbcom, and not an individual crat. I would also like admin clean starts to be a one time deal unless evidence of harassment is presented privately to arbcom, in order to preserve as much history as possible. Tazerdadog (talk) 17:45, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  11. Oppose There are multiple difficulties with this. If a person has trouble in the admin role before then they should not be encouraged to repeat the experience. And, in past times, admin rights were granted in a perfunctory way. A fresh start should require a fresh approval in line with current standards. Andrew D. (talk) 17:55, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  12. Strong Oppose - This proposal conflicts with the "The old account must be clearly discontinued, and the new account must avoid editing patterns or behaviors that would allow other users to recognize and identify the account. It is expected that the new account will be a true 'fresh start', will edit in new areas and avoid old disputes, and will follow community norms of behavior" provision of Wikipedia:Clean start. Furthermore: it would not be appropriate for the request to be private and un-transparent, and the old account would need to be loudly and clearly relinked publically to show the individual went through the community approval process, which defeats the purpose of this proposal. I strongly disagree with "If Arbcom [or a bureaucrat] sets someone's bit, that's all the on-wiki connection that's needed"; being entrusted with the mop means one bears the burden of greater accountability and shouldn't be able to distance oneself from or hide from past administrative actions.— Godsy (TALKCONT) 20:46, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  13. Oppose I would be fine with it if it were limited to times where admins were attempting to keep their real life identify a secret and someone doxed them (and it was provable they got doxed with their real life identify). Otherwise the risk of admins with questionable patterns of activities trying to reinvent themselves and erase that history is too great. This should be much more rare then just because the admin asked for it and wanted a clean start (if they want to do that they can go through the request for admin process again).Obsidi (talk) 21:57, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  14. Oppose. To contradict others...this has in fact been done in the past, although some years ago. And it was completely and totally ineffective; it never took me more than five minutes to figure out the back story. It is immediately obvious, and it is always problematic. On the other hand, I am aware of at least three editors who clean-started for privacy reasons, having clearly abandoned their previous accounts, who earned their adminships on the merits of their work using the new account. As best I know, all of them notified the community when they ran, and their prior accounts were verified confidentially with trusted arbitrators or functionaries. Simply put, if you're adding on an adminship to a new account name, it's not a clean start, it's just a new account name, and should be handled as such. "I want the privileges of my old account but none of the baggage" doesn't work in any other situation. I cannot think of a situation where doing this helped in the past; in at least two cases that I can think of, the admins still got harassed, despite all the shenanigans. Risker (talk) 05:23, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  15. Oppose per many of the above comments, particularly Risker. Admins deserve to be able to have a clean start. However this should not include retaining the bit. --Tom (LT) (talk) 11:21, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  16. Oppose I want to support this measure as I continue to see our admins harassed daily. But Beyond My Ken makes the point that the measure won't work. If internet sadists have doxxed you and chased you down then becoming a secret admin won't stay secret for long, either, and we know how little we can trust each other with opaque procedures in place. The WMF needs to start paying lawyers to investigate and file against instances of abuse and jurisdictions need to provide online protections. If we put half of the LTA list in jail or under heavy fines the problem would disappear. But the folks in San Francisco are happy to put their feet up on their expensive furniture, paid for by suckers thinking Wikipedia is running out of money to operate, while well-meaning editors here struggle to find stop-gap solutions. Chris Troutman (talk) 14:34, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  17. Oppose, without great enthusiasm. Risker convinced me, and really, I am certain, it will be way too much drama. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:19, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  18. Oppose per BMK and practical reasons. An admin should be able to face scrutiny for their actions (and importantly, this may involve looking at their editing history which would be obscured this way). Secondly the practical concerns means that admins may be easy to identify, certainly I feel they will tend to gravitate back to the same areas which will make identification easy, therefore there is no reason in the first place. jcc (tea and biscuits) 17:37, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  19. Oppose No back-door hidden snakery here, please. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear and fails transparency. Sounds like a solution to a problem that doesn't exist in the first place. Lugnuts Precious bodily fluids 18:17, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
    Harassment of administrators is absolutely a problem that exists. Whether this is a good solution to that problem is a different question, and one that is less clear in my mind. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 18:20, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  20. Oppose. This proposal is very well intentioned. But, as Risker says, this has ended badly in the past. I'm not sure that those advocating the policy appreciate the level of negative attention an admin "reappearing" in such circumstances can generate. I don't think we should be offering what looks like a solution to harassed admins, but which is likely to turn out to be a case of "out of the frying pan and into the fire". Also, unfortunately allowing admins to return in this way can have unintended negative effects that may exacerbate the problems we are trying to resolve: (i) the returning admin picking up trolls of other departed admins who (incorrectly) suspect them of being a different returned admin; and (ii) other departed admins continuing to be harassed IRL because trolls believe (incorrectly) that they have returned. WJBscribe (talk) 19:48, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  21. Oppose This just isn't a clean start at all. I've been harassed a bit myself, and I know it's no fun, but this isn't a good solution and it seems like it would lead to a lot of bad drama. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:24, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  22. Oppose. I wanted to support this--it's obviously a decent proposal with the best intentions; however, as usual Risker is right and I've been convinced otherwise. ^demon[omg plz] 20:36, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  23. Oppose per Risker, who did a good job of conveying my initial impression. I agree that it would be simple to connect the dots when a brand-new admin account popped up. Lepricavark (talk) 22:28, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  24. Oppose I just don't see how this can actually work without being abused or defeating the purpose of a clean start. -- KTC (talk) 23:16, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  25. Oppose per BMK, Risker, WJBscribe and others. Rami R 05:28, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  26. Oppose with all respect to the proposer and supporters, simply because I can't see how this would work due to the Streisand effect. I don't want to violate WP:BEANS, but I know there will inevitably be someone objecting on some noticeboard "Hey! This account was just sysoped with no RFA!" each time this happens which will just make the situation worse. Grondemar 22:45, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  27. Oppose Harassment is a serious issue, and it is deplorable that it has driven valuable editors away from Wikipedia. I do not believe this proposal will help those editors. A harasser or harassment campaign that is intense enough to drive an editor from Wikipedia is most likely also persistent, and very familiar with the editing style and interests of the target of the harassment. It would be easy to match the clean start admin account with the previous admin account, and a harasser who could do this would immediately renew the harassment. Even if the editor behind the clean start account was able to disguise their editing patterns, WJBscribe raises another concern: that every admin who used this process would be targeted for harassment by those assuming that the clean start admin is the person they drove off. Howicus (Did I mess up?) 00:19, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  28. Oppose Not sure how this would solve the issues? Those harassing the admin would fairly easily be able to pick up the new account and simply continue. And then there is the question of how one verifies that the old and new accounts belong to the same person. One could just claim they are the person behind an admin account that is no longer used due to harrassement. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:55, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  29. Oppose I would support this in spirit, but it seems unworkable; a brand new account which magically acquired the bit would attract enough attention to either a) lose community trust or b) more likely be able to be easily connected to the recently vanished admin account, meaning it serves no purpose to protect prior identity. I appreciate that we don't want to punish good admins further who have been harassed off the project, but I don't see how this proposal solves the problem. I am sympathetic to the inherent unfairness here, but I don't see an equitable way out. --Jayron32 04:10, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  30. Oppose per WJB and Jayron; I sympathise with the plight, yet I can't envisage how such a process could be bullet-proof in as much as ensuring it prevents further unintentional negative consequences that the process may inadvertently introduce. The reasons given by those opposing the proposal are in my view justified as being able to out-weight those who support it. Bungle (talkcontribs) 12:57, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  31. Oppose per Risker. ZettaComposer (talk) 15:41, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  32. Oppose All the benefits and none of the obligations or historical scrutiny. Sounds like a proposal designed to favor those holding power. No objection to cleanstart earning their Admin status from a successful RfA on their own merits (and with ArbCom or a trusted functionary certifying that there were no causes for concern in the previous editing account). Hasteur (talk) 12:56, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  33. Oppose since this would not really be a "clean start", regardless if this inquiry gets sent to a bureaucrat or Arbcom. That, and for this very reason, I could also see this proposed privilege getting abused in the event an administrator goes through multiple "clean starts". Steel1943 (talk) 16:11, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  34. Oppose I was formulating a response in my head while reading the section but see that Risker made my point already (and Grondemar). The entire point of a clean start is to create a separation between an old account and a new account. Nothing screams "prior account" louder than an editor with virtually no editing history suddenly becoming an admin without an RFA. If you goal is to separate your new account from your old account, you should be very low-key for a couple years and then apply for adminship through the usual route and even then there's a decent chance someone will figure it out but having it granted this way absolutely guarantees that questions will be asked and investigations done.--S Philbrick(Talk) 16:21, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
  35. Oppose The entire point of adminship is that they have gained the trust of the community, not functionaries. Also, I don't see how it can be a proper clean start with an attachment to the old account. The merits of this proposal are too few compared to its usage. --QEDK () 06:16, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
  36. Oppose because a "clean start" means you lose everything from the history of your previous account. By clean starting you voluntarily give up the trust of the community, and work to rebuild it. feminist 13:48, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
  37. Strongly Opposed. I am not an administrator, so I do not know if there are other situations. However, I have had administrators who use their power with ill will and abuse their privileges. Someone should be able to voice dissent rationally and you should be able to justify yourself. If an administrator cannot justify their actions outside of "I have the power and you don't," then they really should either not have any admin rights or not be mad when an editor is pissed off with you and does not want to see your Username anywhere near the pages they create or anything to do with them. Having someone use "this clean start" is another way of hiding. Back yourself up and you won't be ashamed of yourself. And maybe there are crazies who are so extreme-minded where they want to harass you even after speaking rationally and truthfully. But from my experience (both online and in the "real world"), if you speak truthfully and without ill will, you will not be ashamed of yourself (i.e., other people will know that someone simply doesn't like you). I don't believe in hiding. Let us know who you are instead of now moving to another username and allowing everyone to hate all Wiki admins, or think all Wiki admins are the same way. --TheWikiKing7 (talk) 20:01, 28 March 2017 (UTC)TheWikiKing7
  38. Oppose - Each account should be assessed under its own merits. There are actually a few holdovers from the "Adminship is no big deal" period that shouldn't be administrators and wouldn't be administrators if they had to stand for review today. Carrite (talk) 05:12, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  39. Oppose largely per Risker. If an admin has been forced to clean start to avoid harassment then, as many others have said, nothing would paint a bigger cross hair on them than a sudden change in user rights. If a user had enough trust from the community to gain the bits before clean starting, then assuming they haven't changed they will certainly be able to regain the tools on the strength of their merits under the new account. It goes without saying that the link between old and new needs to be confidentially disclosed. Blackmane (talk) 05:33, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  40. Strong Oppose If an account is qualified to become an admin, they can apply again when the time is right. If they're still qualified, there should be no trouble getting it back, if they are patient and know the community. A fresh start doesn't mean that you can pick and choose what's known about your past. Scientific Alan 2(What have I said?)(What have I done?) 06:58, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  41. Oppose per Risker, BYK, etc. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:51, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
  42. Oppose Either the crats or the arbs would likely be able in most cases to establish that it's the same user. However, it's hard to imagine that determined perpetrators of harassment wouldn't be able to do the same. In the meantime, the community would be stuck with admins whose RfAs were missing and whose earlier user contributions and talk-page histories could be scrutinized only by certain functionaries (who would be obliged not to share anything they found). This former component of the policy was undoubtedly enacted with the best intentions and should not have been removed without consensus, but it's actually a good thing that it was removed. RivertorchFIREWATER 16:15, 7 April 2017 (UTC)


  • Note that I wasn't sure whether the passage should direct the user towards bureaucrats, arbcom, or both, so opinions welcome. Sam Walton (talk) 22:39, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
If were looking at personal information for confirmation of ID Arbcom should probably be the point of contact. Amortias (T)(C) 22:50, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Speaking personally, definitely ArbCom, since we will need to know of the link between the old and new account anyway. Ks0stm (TCGE) 23:04, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Ks0stm here, that arbcom should be the point of contact. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 00:01, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Definitely Arbcom, they're the ones that deal with identity confirmation. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 00:29, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Also, just to comment on the opposes here (and please correct me if I'm wrong), I am assuming that Arbcom will go over their contributions to make sure that they aren't being naughty. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 00:58, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I don't care much if a crat is the original point of contact, but I think they'd need to tell arbcom anyway for recordkeeping/institutional memory reasons. If the change of account ever did become relevant later, it's better to have the records kept by a group of people with existing tools to track this stuff than an individual crat who may then be inactive/forgetful/distracted/etc. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:11, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)In this proposal, what would be considered "satisfactory evidence" to show that two accounts are in fact the same user? --Joshualouie711talk 00:58, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I would assume something like an e-mail sent to the original account by the e-mail user function asking for a confirmation diff of some description posted by the second account. Amortias (T)(C) 01:08, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
And/or WP:CHECKUSER, which Arbs can access. (I don't recall if Crats can). Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:21, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm of two minds. On the one hand I have no objections to the idea, but I do wonder how well it will work. Given the fanatical tenacity of harassment online I can't help but feel that these admins would be identified quickly anyway, and become targets again. But if some time had passed between the admin leaving and then coming back as a fresh start I guess its likely the original trolls might not make that connection. Has anyone discussed this with anyone specialised in dealing with internet harassment? Sabine's Sunbird talk 01:37, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I have no objections to this in principle, but a comment on implementation similar to Sabine's Sunbird's observation. It would unfortunately be pretty easy to figure out which admin doesn't have a corresponding RfA, is a recently registered account, etc. and connect them back to their original account, allowing the harassment to continue or even intensify. To my understanding, this has been tried in the past (either through direct requests to crats or facilitated by arbcom) and fell out of favor in part for that reason. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:11, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
    • Probably the best way to handle it would be to (strongly) advise that the "new/switched" Admin account engage in a "cool-down" period (and I'm thinking it should probably be months) in which they not deliberately not handle Admin tasks – not because the Admin has done anything wrong, but as a tactic to make it harder for the harasser to track them in their new account. Perhaps there might also be a way to keep them out of this "listings" and "logs" of Admins for the same period of time?... --IJBall (contribstalk) 06:59, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
      • This is a good idea. It's a shame that we lose the input of a (presumably!) Good admin, but better lose it for a few months than forever, which would like be the alternative of the harassment immediately started up again. — O Fortuna! Imperatrix mundi. 08:37, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
      • Agreed; I think if this proposal passes that arbcom should agree on some advice to give admins going through this process - namely that it would be best to wait a month or a few before their rights are given back, that they should avoid interacting with the user who was harassing them from their new account, etc. Sam Walton (talk) 08:45, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

!Hmmmm.' How about this. Administrators who clean out (clean start) and come back wanting their bit. Could go through a quick-fire version of RFA, say, a day or two. And if there's little in the way of "this user made a bad admin, don't give them the bit back" from permitted editors (say, ones with Extended Confirmed permission?) they get it back, but if there's too many red flags (so to speak), they have to go the normal way. Thoughts? MM ('"HURRRR?) (Hmmmmm.) 15:17, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

The problem with this is that users (arbcom or crats, certainly not all extended confirmed users) could only give so much detail before they gave away the admin's old account. There's no way enough detail could be given to allow other users to judge the admin's history. Better, I think, that we trust crats/arbcom to judge whether a user appears to be 'under a cloud' or attempting to avoid scrutiny. Sam Walton (talk) 15:25, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Which, after all, is what crats do when a procedurally-desysopped-for inactivity-admin wants their bit back- they're trusted to make that assessment. — O Fortuna! Imperatrix mundi. 15:41, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Heh. You'll have to excuse me, guilty of WP:IDHT , I hadn't had a read of much of the thread before throwing in my idea, so, when I posted it, I hadn't noticed the suggestion of ArbCom reinstating it. Suggestion chopped. MM ('"HURRRR?) (Hmmmmm.) 15:45, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Not quite. There is a 24 hour window during which the community can examine returning Admins. and raise "cloud-related" and other concerns. Disputed decisions, though rare, do occur. Leaky Caldron 15:49, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
@Andrew Davidson: I'm not sure what you mean by " If a person has trouble in the admin role before then they should not be encouraged to repeat the experience". We are not talking about Administrators who changed usernames because of their behavior as Administrators. The sort of example I'm thinking of is where an Admin has been harassed, perhaps by sock puppets they helped uncover, perhaps by they blocked correctly, to the extent where they felt that they had to change usernames. In any case, I believe that any applications to regain their status should come to the Arbitration Committee, where we would be told the old username and could assure ourselves that they hadn't changed usernames "under a cloud". Doug Weller talk 19:14, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Per WP:FRESHSTART, editors who start afresh are encouraged to work in different areas so that the issues do not recur. This explicitly includes cases where editors have been harassed. Andrew D. (talk) 00:21, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Just to note, we literally have an admin who had to change their name to escape harassment (feel free to remove this if you feel that it might incite the harassment again) that is participating in this RfC right now. Now, do you see any admin's here that you think have done a bad job? I think not. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 19:19, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  • As an aside, I am not sure this can even be closed either way fairly without a reasonably high minimum non-admin participation - given the inherant vested interest of admins in reducing scrutiny on themselves. There is a reason members of ARBCOM for example can only propose amendments to WP:ARBITRATION and there is a strict editor requirement to get any changes. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:53, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • If this goes forward (and no comment one way or the other), the Arbitration Committee should definitely be the first link in the chain. –xenotalk 14:41, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Agree with that, I oppose this idea, but if we do it, arbcom is the obvious body to handle the verification, 'crats are just the ones to execute it. We should never be asking 'crats to make controversial/bold decisions as it simply is not consistent with their role, while being very much in line with the role of arbcom. Beeblebrox (talk) 03:06, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


There's a fair bit of opposition to the proposal already, which saddens me, thoughtful though some of it is. We know that admins are sometimes subject to off-wiki harassment, WP:VANISH is one of the tools we use to combat such harassment, and I hope most editors would agree that we should offer the same support to victimized admins without holding their tools ransom. It's salt in the wound, especially because the way RFA is going these days vanished admins would have to wait years to be reconfirmed with a clean start account. Does anyone, opposers in particular, have any better ideas? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 21:52, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Ivanvector: I realize that the proposal comes from the best of motivations, but I really don't see any way to reconcile vanishing (i.e. being transmogrified into a new identity unknown to the editing public) and the trust of the community required to become an admin. Thinking a little more about it, I still don't believe that a single functionary, or even a majority of ArbCom, is sufficient to bypass the process of determining that that trust exists. I suppose the only condition under which I, personally, might find it acceptable, would be if ArbCom was unanimous in determining that the returning vanished editor had been an admin, and that their laying down of the bit was not done under a cloud of any kind. Even then, I think that any curious editor with some basic researching skills would be able to connect the newly minted admin to the previously vanished one, which defeats the entire purpose. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:51, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I share the concern about harassers connecting the dots. I did so myself with the admin we've been talking about above, not realizing the situation, and may have inadvertently outed them (although they hadn't actually vanished, just renamed). I just think there must be a solution somewhere in the middle that balances allowing admins to vanish with a suitably accountable process for vanished admins having their bit restored. There's a lot of talk about determining that there's trust from the community, but I don't understand it to be honest. How often have you seen that someone is an admin and felt the need to look up their RfA to confirm it? They have the bit, and there's only one way to get it. As long as some private process can confirm a vanished admin's identity, that should be all that's required. I also understand the business about not being able to view a vanished user's history, but I think we can assume good faith with respect to administrators who are harassed into retirement otherwise. And besides, if an admin vanishes and then jumps right back into the areas that got them in trouble in the first place, then they haven't genuinely vanished, and that's on them. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 23:15, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the account was (I'm pretty sure) harassed just before this proposal, so yeah... RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 23:41, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Part of the problem is that we keep pretending that WP:VANISH means something other than "I never plan to edit Wikipedia again, ever, at all." People keep failing to look at the "What vanishing is not" section, where it very, very clearly does not permit the creation of a new account. Unfortunately, a very unhealthy practice developed at some point that ignored the core principle of vanishing (i.e., that one disappears completely). A huge number of people who "vanished" but really were simply creating a new account (often to avoid harassment) were quickly identified - because they hadn't left, and they went back to doing almost exactly what they'd been doing before. Incidentally, that happens quite often with clean starts, too. There are many occasions where, as a checkuser, I've had to figure out whether I was seeing a really badly executed clean start or genuine socking. And any account that has admin bits attached to it without community members being able to trace back the RFA...well, no. Just no. I'm sorry that people are harassed - I've been harassed many times myself because of my work here, and I know what it can be like. I know what it's like to spend long sleepless nights trying to decide whether or not it is "worth it". I stuck it out, but I know others (including one who had a "stranger" throw a drink in his face because of a WP decision he'd made) who walked away and never came back. Still others (both admins and experienced users) came back some time later under a new username...and achieved community trust based on the work of their account. This whining about how hard it is to get adminship is valid, but the solution is to fix RFA. Risker (talk) 05:40, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Comment- Administrators who regularly block vandals and paid editors, should not post an image of themselves or mention their real name. They should not meet people in Wikimania where editors will take their pictures and upload here. It's better to be like CambridgeBayWeather who has posted a childhood pic of himself, instead of current pic. Marvellous Spider-Man 14:53, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Regardless of your insinuation that being harassed is the administrators' fault, harassment is not limited to behaviour regarding your personal information. Incessant hounding and threats can occur regardless of whether someone knows who you are. Sam Walton (talk) 15:01, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I have opposed this measure, but I can assure you that your comments are misguided. It's akin to blaming the victim of a rape because of the clothes they wore. Online harassment and bullying isn't the fault of the administrator or any user — it's the harasser's fault. Action should be taken against them. Of course resetting on Wikipedia to protect your privacy is the ideal thing to do if you are targeted by relentless harassment, but it should be a last resort to stop the harassment and not something written into policy that you can just start over fresh with adminship whenever you feel like and destroy accountability. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 15:36, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Aggree about victim blaming, harassment occurs because some people are jerks. Whether they know an admins real name or not won't change that. It certainly hasn't in my case. (and by the way, Wikimania was, in my experience, a very chill environmnent 98% of the time and you can get a sticker for your conference ID (which only has information you chose to disclose on it) specificyng that you don't want your picture taken.) Beeblebrox (talk) 03:11, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  • With respect to alternative, we need better tools that allow us to remove certain individuals abilities to edit Wikipedia/Wikimedia projects. From what I understand this is being worked on. As an admin to maintain one's sanity one must be able to ignore a selection of other websites on the Internet. I know the WMF exceedingly rarely takes legal action against harassers, but that is no easy solution. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:10, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I know there is one technical measure that is rolling out, but it isn't likely to help much when it comes to more serious abuse. Unfortunately, as long as we maintain a commitment to allowing anonymous editing, we will never be able to remove individuals with enough technical competence and commitment to learn how our tools work and exploit their limitations. All we can really do is raise the bar a bit higher, but the changes that are coming don't raise it much. Monty845 00:45, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 26 April 2017

Dinesh Nehra :

DineshNehra (talk) 19:42, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment This does not contain any content or real request and ask that an administrator close this (I would set it to answered, but am not sure if that is allowed) @Mz7: --TheSandDoctor (talk) 19:48, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
  • @TheSandDoctor: You can definitely set any edit request to answered if you can provide a suitable answer. --NeilN talk to me 20:09, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. NeilN talk to me 20:04, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

RfC Community Based De-adminship

I have started a RfC relevent to this page, your comments are welcome, at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#RfC:_Community_Based_De-adminship. -Obsidi (talk) 00:22, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

This was snow closed as without consensus. -Obsidi (talk) 03:13, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
May I direct you to my essay on the subject of how to construct policy RFCs that are likely to be contentious. This is something that may be possible, but your approach to it was a bit too slapdash to have any real chance of success. Beeblebrox (talk) 03:23, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
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