Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship

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Adminship with time limits

The subject of temporary adminship came up at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Pbsouthwood. Posting here because it is a broiader issue and discussuon is likely to wander off-topic to that nomination. A couple of editors opined that this would be a worthwhile thing to do. I know it was discussed in the past with reference to non-admins being elected to ArbCom. Aparently, it has been done for WMF staff? I don't see any real obstacles to it. WP:Administrators says Administrators may request that their access to administrative tools be removed at Wikipedia:Bureaucrats' noticeboard. There is nothing that says that removal it cannot be requesated in advance. Anyone have any thoughts? Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:58, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

  • This is something that other projects allow. I would likely oppose it on because I think we need more regular admins that aren't temp or limited, and think that in the culture of this project, it would likely just make most people less likely to try for regular adminship. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:04, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
On the other hand, many of our admins go inactive after a year, so if it's easier to become an admin with a term limit then the net result is that we will end up with more admins, not less. Bradv 22:08, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I highly doubt that, and part of the advantage of the all-or-nothing approach we have is that it allows people to branch out into new areas and help where they can.
Also, adminship hit it's low point in October 2016 with 516 active admins (see Wikipedia:List of administrators/stat table). Our median number of active admins per month has been 550 since 2015. Our median from January 2018 to April 2018 was 542 active admins, lower than the three year median, but not by much. 2017 was also the first year in a decade where we had more active administrators than the previous year. Active admins is staying relatively stable in the 500-600/mo range, and I don't think we're in danger of losing that.
We don't have an adminship crisis (the graph that everyone likes showing puts it in context of the early days of the project, when a lot more was done by hand and the project was a much different place). I do think we need more people to pass RfA, but I also don't think our standards are too high currently, and while I think the current RfA should pass, if it doesn't, a lot of it will likely have to do with how the candidate presented himself more than anything else. I don't think the solution to getting more RfAs is to dole out the bit on a limited basis. As I mentioned above, I think it is to engage more potential candidates in the process (and a high rate of "not interested" doesn't make it less of a solution.) TonyBallioni (talk) 22:38, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
It isn't true that many admins go inactive after a year, rather that hundreds have continued to volunteer their time for a decade or more. There have only been 393 Admins appointed since the start of 2009, and we have over 500 active admins. When we do appoint an admin they usually stay around a long long time. ϢereSpielChequers 17:18, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
That doesn't totally follow, but I think is broadly true. Rapidly disappearing admins were I think much more a feature of the 2000s, when it was much easier. Johnbod (talk) 17:40, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  • On first blush I like the idea. Having a set limit might let people feel comfortable to support a wide range of candidates. Someone who does a good job for a limited time would have an easy time showing they would use the tools responsibly in a permanent manner. I do worry about second order effects. Like would there be less disincentive for someone to "go rouge" knowing they are already going to be de-sysopped? Would it become impossible for a first time RfA to pass and would voters then not really relax their standards for the temporary bit so now we would ask people to go through still a contentious process for a temporary position thus meaning even fewer people would want to do it? Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 22:20, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Barkeep49 I would likely oppose it for that reason, I'd be worried that someone would "go rouge" for that reason. If that happens then it's more damaging than doing good.--5 albert square (talk) 22:31, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
As long as they aren't going rogue, a bit of rouge might be a good thing for our admins. --RL0919 (talk) 22:39, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
On first blush I like the idea. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 00:26, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
I can see both arguments, but it remains true that there are a lot of beansy things a sysop can do. Nothing too permanent, but with some malicious planning, there could be a lot of disruption. We do need to always be aware of that. More likely, there is nothing currently stopping anyone from just saying "nah" short of ArbCom. ~ Amory (utc) 01:09, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I'm mostly opposed to a strict time-limited admin "option", if you are able to be a "full admin" for a time - then you don't really need a forced expiration. I would be generally supportive of a "Limited Administrator" type option for special-use cases, etc. (ala the meta method). Technically, there is no access limit (so would still need a community review as it allows unlogged viewing of things only admins can view) but socially the limited admins would be limited to using the tools for specific purposes for a requested time frame (up to say 1 year). Coupled with "community recall" and/or "bureaucrat discretion" to remove access if the limits are breached - I think it would allow the bar to be lowered for editors that want to temporarily help with a special task. — xaosflux Talk 23:00, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I was typing out a response agreeing with Xaosflux, particularly regarding limited adminship, but it would be interesting to try an RfA replacement that followed a review - trial - review model. An initial community review at the start of the trial period (and maybe some specific measures of evaluation rather than a free-for-all), followed by a three or six month trial period, followed by another community review at the end to determine if the candidate should keep the bit. Such a model would be successful to the extent that it a) lowered the initial review bar to become a trial admin and b) showed the community that trial admins can be successful with the tools while having significantly less experience than currently demanded of RfA candidates. Normally I wouldn't be a fan of temporary adminship for the reasons stated by Xaosflux above. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 00:05, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
  • There is little need for temporary adminship, because it stems from a misguided belief that some candidates will turn rogue or incompetent after X months and screw up the wiki. Esquivalience (talk) 00:37, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I was thinking about it in respect to special events like the Paralympic Games, for which they would be required for about three months. I believe that WMF would still require a community process akin to an RfA. However, I don't know if this would make them more likely to be granted. I was thinking of it from the other end, of people being more likely to request access for a special purpose. We would have felt more secure in Rio having an admin on hand, but I couldn't guarantee that the toolset would actually be required. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 00:40, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Not the same idea, but administrator trials, e.g. gaining consensus to grant someone the tools for six or so months then having a community evaluation of their use of the tools (i.e. whether or not they should retain them) at the end, might be something to consider. Godsy (TALKCONT) 01:39, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
    Frankly, it borders on some kind of mass insanity that we haven't been doing it that way all along.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:01, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I wrote up an idea for an op-in recall procedure with teeth Jbhunley/Essays/Binding community recall. The main issue is that the 'teeth' are based on the voluntary acceptance of an enforceable CBAN. There has been some question about whether a voluntary editing restriction is enforceable, if not the idea will not work. I brought the question up at WP:AN#Question on enforceability of voluntary editing restrictions but have not gotten any feedback.
    This type of opt-in recall / enforceable conditions may be a useful way to address some of these issues within the framework of existing rules. Jbh Talk 01:49, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
    • That's a poison pill though. Any admin candidates who don't agree with this recall procedure isn't likely to garner enough support % to become an admin. In essence, this "voluntary editing restriction" isn't so "voluntary" after all. RfA is already hard enough to pass, and adding additional restrictions will deter even more who want to take a run at RfA. OhanaUnitedTalk page 14:51, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I am concerned that temporary adminship would compel users who are not so overwhelmingly popular as to have a sizable cushion in RfA to run on the pretext of their bit being temporary, even if they have an interest in serving indefinitely. Compassionate727 (T·C) 16:49, 2 June 2018 (UTC) Modified at 17:08, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I would support a sort of "test" for RfA candidates that have < 75% and > 65% Support !votes that would be one month long and then they could re-run for Adminship. L293D ( • ) 17:21, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I'm sorry I brought this up at the RfA; I definitely wasn't proposing we do this. It's a terrible idea likely to result in no "direct to full adminship" situations, as the community will require the intermediate step. Further, any admin who works in controversial areas wouldn't be elected to a full term, so we'd find our admins staying far away from the areas that need the most attention. ~ Rob13Talk 17:26, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I oppose the idea of time-limited adminship or temporary adminship. The bottom line for supporting at RfA is “do I trust this person with the tools?” That question is not going to have a different answer if the granting of tools is temporary or permanent. I really can’t imagine a !voter saying “I don’t really think this person should be an admin, but what the heck, it’s only for a year.” Someone who wants the tools for a limited purpose can say so at their RfA; they can go to BN at the end of that time and request removal, but I don’t think it would or should be an enforceable contract, or worse yet a bot-enforced pulling of the plug. And we should evaluate the person as we always have: whether we think they will be a good administrator. --MelanieN (talk) 18:18, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Agreed with MelanieN in the entirety. Can't support this at all. — Javert2113 (talk; please ping me in your reply on this page) 21:20, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
  • No. Per TonyBallioni and MelanieN.  — Amakuru (talk) 21:30, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
    • I think you had meant to use Template:U there and forgotten the "u", so I added it for you. Compassionate727 (T·C) 22:23, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
      Oh, thanks, good catch! Although I reckon Tony and Melanie are eminent enough Wikipedians that they should have the honour of their own templates named after them...  — Amakuru (talk) 22:28, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
      • Compassionate727, If I recall right, adding "u" after forgetting it the first time does not succeed in pinging the editors, unless you sign again. Lourdes 00:45, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
        • Well, whatever the history, I did get the ping. Thanks for the kind words, Amakuru. --MelanieN (talk) 03:29, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
True, with respect to pings not working if you don't re-sign. But Compassionate727 signed their edit where they corrected the template, so the pings would work but they would read as coming from Compassionate727 instead of Amakuru. </technicalpedantry> Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:39, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I think time limited adminship would discourage candidates for regular adminshship from applying. I don't believe that further unbundling of the tools or single purpose adminships would be a benefit to the admin workload. The actual number of truly active admins appears to cope with any minor backlogs that occasionally occur. The number of admins who are desyoped 'for cause' is actually infrequent and any concerns of abuse of tools is, IMO, basically scaremongering. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:52, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  • A very poor idea. If an editor only wants to become an admin for a short while, then they can simply hand back the mop. GiantSnowman 12:50, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Disagree - I would also imagine that disruption from an admin is more likely to appear earlier on rather than later. An increased ability to remove admins for cause would make more sense Nosebagbear (talk) 13:49, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I don't think the concept of requesting administrative privileges for a specific task, bounded either by time or a fixed list of work times, will discourage regular requests, because I don't believe there are many applicable situations (perhaps I'm overlooking some scenarios?). On the other hand, though, since there aren't many relevant cases, I don't see a pressing need to introduce any specific changes to the RfA process for this. Applicants can of course make whatever pledges they wish in their statement, including criteria for their relinquishing administrative privileges. isaacl (talk) 15:57, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  • No proposed changes to the RfA process, whether good or bad, are likely to pass. That's just the way it is. Lepricavark (talk) 19:21, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

Trial run adminship?

  • I understand the opposition to adminship for a specific purpose over a limited duration, but what about a user applying for an admin 'trial run' via RfA? (e.g. RfA candidates choosing this option would still need to demonstrate trustworthiness and competence, but would only be applying for a few months trial run with the admin tools, after which they would undertake a second reconfirmation RfA for permanent adminship based on how they did in the trial). One of the issues with Adminship is that it isn't particularly easy to demonstrate competence with the tools unless you have the tools. This might be an option that reduces the risk of rogue admins, and at the same time let the community be a bit less conservative and appoint more admins (given that the candidate isn't asking for a lifetime appointment in the first RfA), and at the same time this will give more options to candidates wishing to apply. This wouldn't require any changes to the current system, the user would just specify that this is what they were applying for when they ran their RfA, and users could also simply run for Permanent Adminship as normal. If it turns out to be a useful system, !votes in the future might 'Oppose' but support a trial run instead, leading to editors that otherwise would have failed being given a trial run instead. I'm happy to be a guinea pig if you guys want to try it out as I intend to apply soon anyway. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 00:17, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
I actually like this idea. Lourdes 00:56, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
I dislike the idea but I'm willing to support it for the reasons I gave above. If it is done, it should be a separate process from RfA IMO. Set some low formal requirements for the trial adminship request (5,000 edits, 6 months experience) and allow for a brief period of community comment to identify any huge issues that would prevent the person from being an admin for even three months. Then they can run through the RfA process at the end of the trial period. Add some sort of rule where a trial admin can be removed at any time by consensus at AN or ANI and this might turn into a credible proposal. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 01:16, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
I was a knee-jerk no, but with the safeguards mentioned by Ajraddatz, or some version to be discussed, I'm more willing to support this idea. — Javert2113 (talk; please ping me in your reply on this page) 01:30, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
@Ajraddatz@Javert2113I think that what I was proposing is to change no rules at RFA, and to run it through the current RfA process, but simply have the rights set to expire after 3 months. Any formal proposal for an additional process is, I fear, doomed to failure. I would say that the candidate would be subject to additional scrutiny during the trial period (it is a trial after all) and would subject themselves to mandatory WP:RECALL and removal of the tools should they go rogue during the trial period. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 04:54, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
Insertcleverphrasehere, what Ajraddatz writes is absolutely sensible. I have this inkling that this may well be the best proposal at RfA in a long time, that is, the combination of your idea with Ajraddatz's delimiters. I might be jumping the gun, but I personal feel that the community might be very comfortable with having trial admins and then checking their performance out at the end of their trial tenure. This would also immediately encourage more editors to apply; especially editors like say Giants2008 who like PBS may have a narrow use, but are absolutely trustworthy and experienced, but who might never wish to apply for the RfA due to the drama it entails. I think this may become a meeting point that resolves issues from various ends. Lourdes 07:19, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
I think trial adminship would discourage candidates for regular adminshship from applying. Firstly, there is the issue of double the bureaucracy - and there will always be drama, plus, how many admin actions (tools and judgements) would they have to make of each kind to qualify for full adminship? Adminship is accorded not only on presumption of correct use of the tools as demonstrated through knowledge of policies and guidelines, commenting at ANI and other forums, NAC, and deletion tagging, but also on the estimated ability to conduct their admin business in a mature and professional manner; this includes probably, even more importantly, the areas that require skills of judgement that do not necessarily involve the actual use of tools. Out of around 2,000 successful bids for adminship, according to Wikipedia:Former administrators/reason/for cause (if I have read the page correctly), the number of admins who are desyoped for abuse of their privileges is infrequent and not necessarily due to incompetent use of tools either. Any concerns of abuse of tools is, IMO, therefore basically scaremongering.
That said, all it needs is for someone to draft up and lauch an RfC to propose the idea. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:43, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
I think the greater issue is that we move into a phase where every candidate is expected to run through both stages to become a "permanent" admin. This runs two main risks with trying to increase numbers: some will be put off from the increased bureaucracy/pain - RfA is horrible, and going through it twice might put some off. Additionally temporary admins who focus in certain areas could cause hostility towards them by doing their jobs and thus make it harder to pass permanent RfA (I suggest we refer to these as TRfA and PRfA) Nosebagbear (talk) 08:56, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I disagree that you can't demonstrate competence, as for the most part the tools are fairly straightforward and operate like everything else around here. What you need to demonstrate is judgment, and there are dozens of places where participating does just that. More importantly, I'm not sold that such a process would be sufficient to satisfy the WMF as regards viewing deleted content. Although admittedly it does seem more involved than many of our sister projects' systems. ~ Amory (utc) 10:32, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

@NosebagbearI mean, the main issue now is that there are very few people applying for Adminship at all. I understand what Kudpung means about abuse desysoping being infrequent though, and I wish the community understood that. I wonder why he says we would need an RfC though, surely I could just run for RfA myself and say that I was only applying for a temporary trial run in my application? If people supported me, at the end of the three months I couldn't very well turn around to the 'crats and say, "Hey, I passed RfA and I changed my mind about reconfirming my adminship after three months, I'd rather stay an admin." They would quite rightly say that I had to run for reconfirmation or they would strip it off because the consensus at my RfA would only have been for granting the 3 month trial run I asked for. Its not like WP:RECALL where you can change your mind afterwards. @Amorymeltzer I don't see how it would be any different than a normal RfA with regards to viewing deleted content. The main reservation I have about this is not the practicalities, but the added load on the community to evaluate and comment twice. As well as the fear that it might raise the bar for regular RfA, or that some single silly mistake during the trial could get blown out of proportion and tank the reconfirmation. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 12:07, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
Insertcleverphrasehere - I don't support your plan, but to answer your questions on "why even have the RFC" a couple of points come to mind:
  • No Compliance - It would be as with recall elections, admins can say they will follow certain criteria but have no obligations to do so. People elected under RfA could change their minds and there isn't anything that would authorise the 'Crats to remove them - it isn't set-up to allow individual amendment of the policy governing admin status. People wouldn't !vote someone in under this set-up
  • Community Agreement - this would be a substantial change to the nature of admins, and just changing it yourself risks (inaccurately, I believe) coming across as arrogant. This type of set-up would need significant support to think it's worth doing for it to function properly and this is better done in an RFC. Particularly because if you did it in an RfA it would be a horrible mix between people debating you and people debating the idea. Nosebagbear (talk) 12:33, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
@Nosebagbear: Eh... you are right of course. I keep forgetting that RfA is the 10th Circle of Hell, where Murphy goes to hang out when he isn't hanging out at your house. Expecting the community to be sensible is clearly asking too much of them. There is no point it attempting an RfC, 'RfC' and 'RfA' are a bit like oil and water. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here)
  • @Amorymeltzer: my read is that the RFA or an RFA-identical process is required for viewdeleted, the "process" part is that there is an open community consensus building exercise to vet the editor and ensure they have the support of the community. The "result" of the process does not need to be the same (that is, it could result in an admin that is time or function limited, or subject to community managed removal processes). — xaosflux Talk 14:17, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
    • You're right, I was inelegant in my language. I said process but what I really meant to get across was that the process relies on some reasonable understanding of standards. An RfA-identical process with a commonly-understood standard of 30 days, 500 edits would clearly be unacceptable, for example. What's proposed above is slightly more-involved than WP:PERM/PM; we'd have to ask, of course, and as we've just seen, the definition of "RFA-identical process" is fairly lax on some sister projects, but I think at the very least it's a potential pitfall. ~ Amory (utc) 14:50, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
      • The WMF probably has stricter requirements for enwiki admins than small wiki admins, but I don't think the community review process requirement is going to be a stumbling block - simply because we can design any new system around their minimum requirements. It just requires a conversation with them, and that will happen before/during any serious proposal. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 15:59, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong opposition because the community would then never grant non-trial adminship, claiming it’s too risky. It would make permanent RfAs even more toxic. It would guarantee no new admins work in areas with a lot of disruption, where we most need them. ~ Rob13Talk 14:22, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
  • As with many proposed processes, this sounds great on the surface but will invariably invoke a number of problems. The issue with viewing deleted content is serious, and can not be overlooked. I also disagree that one needs to have administrator tools in order to demonstrate competence. This creates a chicken-egg paradox; you can't be an admin unless you're an admin. As Amory noted, what needs to be demonstrated is good judgment. There are innumerable ways to do this. We have also devolved a number of privileges from the administrator toolbox, which people can make use of in order to demonstrate their ability to use extended privileges appropriately (see WP:PERM). In my opinion, a request for time limited administrator status would become just as intense as a regular RFA. Thus it follows, if it's as intense of a scrutiny as a regular RFA, why not grant full administrator status? I can also imagine that temporary administrators would have the status of an ugly step child. Imagine the AN/I reports; "I'm looking for help from a real administrator because temporary administrator did <x,y,z>". I've no objection if Insertcleverphrasehere wants to be a guinea pig. It's certainly possible the idea will catch on and we'll figure out how to iron out the problems. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:36, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
Indeed, it seems to dodge relatively few of the problems that plague normal RfAs and brings a significant new host. Nosebagbear (talk)

Personally I advocate for the RfA shift that would invalidate arguments purely based on certain grounds if a sufficient (consensus-agreed) quality level was made (number of edits, article edits, AfD !votes etc) so that those oppose arguments that were given would pick up on the most serious grounds so long as an experienced applicant was involved. That apparently, though, was rejected, though I don't know how much by. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:50, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Kudpung is correct when he says that abuse of sysop tools is not a big issue. Others are correct when they say that adminship requires good judgement, and that there are other ways to demonstrate good judgement than a trial adminship period. But both perspectives ignore the reality of what a significant minority wants to see in admin candidates (read: enough to cause RfAs to fail, and enough to cause an entire population of people to avoid the process altogether). We've known for years that RfA is a broken process, but nobody wants to touch it. So let's not: make a new process instead. If RfA is truly superior, then any trial adminship system will fail horribly because nobody will want to use it. People are concerned about making two tiers of admins, but this has already happened with unbundling. So long as the new system has a "path to adminship" (either utilizing the existing process or not) then we can ensure that we are still getting new admins.
When the proposal to restrict page creation to autoconfirmed users was presented, there was a trial period of a few months to ensure that the community had the chance to go back on it after. Why not do the same here? Create a separate trial adminship system that grants one 3-month temporary adminship period to users who meet a minimum standard after a 5-day comment period that focuses on actual metrics of trust and judgement. Allow temporary admins to be removed by consensus at AN or ANI. And then remove the system after six months or a year for re-evaluation, just like what was done with the ACPERM trial. We can then evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the system, and since any admins made by the system would be temporary, there would be no lasting "damage" so to speak. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 16:19, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
  • @Ajraddatz: - unbundling could not be said to have formed two tiers of admins, each right only adds a small facet of abilities judged on that specific person's experience in that field. Admin adds the whole caboodle, even though they won't have experience in each. You would need a wide range of the unbundled rights to even be considered a "mini-admin".
  • ACTRIAL had a relatively low level capability to cause high-level issues: importantly both on a global sense and to individual users. ADMTRIAL would have significantly higher risks, both (to a small degree) to the wiki, but also to users - it is quite possible a few would get caught up in more dramatic methods. You would need to almost eliminate ban capability to even mitigate this (in the sense that most don't return post ban, even/especially if incorrectly placed). Nosebagbear (talk) 17:05, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
Unbundling has absolutely caused a two-tier admin system. To over-simplify things, users who joined before 2008 got to be admins, and users who joined after got to be sub-admins with access to a large portion of the toolset through the unbundled permissions. Fair point regarding the lasting effects that would come from a temp admin trial period, though temp admins would still be vetted and there would not be a significantly greater risk of abuse. The standards expected of temp admins would still be significantly higher than those expected of early admins here, and those early admins (largely) turned out OK. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 17:11, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but what Nosebagear is referring to (ban capability to be eliminated from trial admins) is doable. Admins unilaterally cannot ban editors any way. The only place they get such unilateral power is in the area of discretionary sanctions. Perhaps we could build in some limitation about trial admins' scope of power in discretionary sanctions. User:Lourdes 00:38, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
My guess is that 'ban' was meant to be 'block'. SQLQuery me! 09:07, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
Indeed, it was supposed to be block, thank you. Though the issues apply both to their blocking and to their actions in the discretionary field. These aren't my only objections, but they are significant pertinent ones. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:32, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
I agree that to get any major changes done, a trial is more likely to get a consensus than anything permanent. Galobtter (pingó mió) 17:10, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
  • As much as I like it I don't the community (of which I am a part) would approve of it. It is double the work, more room for argument and strife over what consitutes ability etc tec. What wee need is more people to run koff koff. cinco de L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 23:51, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I agree with BU Rob13: RfA would become non-existent without TRfA. This is the quickest way to actually break RfA, which as has been pointed out by several recently, is actually about where we want it in terms of standards now and in the overwhelming majority of cases is actually a walk in the park for qualified candidates. Even the most recent RfA with 77% pass was not a nasty one. We very rarely have nasty RfAs anymore. I maintain that the "problem" we have, if there is one, is in convincing qualified people to run. TBallioni (talk) 17:58, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
  • The problem is simple: adminship should be no big deal. It became a big deal as Wikipedia became more of a big deal, and then as Wikipedia's peak activity declined, it stayed too big a deal. High activity requirements aren't the primary characteristic of adminship that we should emphasize. It's near full employment in the US and other English speaking nations, most competent people have day jobs. They don't have time to edit Wikipedia all the time. We should look for qualified people even if they only have 2,000 total edits. If those 2,000 edits show thoughtful analysis, good use of language, knowledge of core policies, good sense of humor, friendly and collegial demeanor, that's better than 100,000 huggle twinkle tool-assisted vandalism reversion speed runs. Andrevan@ 00:54, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
It was certainly no big deal at 20/0/0 in 2004, was it, Andrevan? A bigger deal is what users do with the bit when they get it. Yes, standards and expectancies are higher nowadays. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:19, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
I'm not saying things will go back to the way they were in 2004, or that my own RFA is a good model of anything. I'm saying a lot of qualified candidates are discouraged because they feel they don't have enough activity. Not everyone needs to have the same standards for adminship, but I know for a fact there are many qualified editors who make great edits, just not at a high enough rate to greatly distinguish themselves. Or they haven't done enough AFDs, or written any GAs, or whatever. We should definitely have confidence and trust in potential admins. I'm simply saying the importance of having a huge amount of well rounded activity is overstated. Andrevan@ 03:11, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
I don't think it's overstated and I would like to see some evidence that it is. There are the occasional oppose votes such as 'Hasn't made any FA'. But IMO, that's just trolling. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:37, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Sure, I'd agree with that to some extent, but I think our standards starting in late 2016 and with the January 2017 batch have gotten to where we don't really have nasty RfAs all that often. The standards are higher than they were in 2005, and to some extent 2008-2011, but I think they are probably the lowest and most reasonable they have been in 5 or so years. The community as a whole has taken the critique that RfA is nasty on board and the atmosphere is much better now. No one is guaranteed a pass, but typically the opposes will be reasonable as a whole and won't be overly personal. I support the no big deal ideal, but I also recognize that having a clue today means something different than it did in 2003. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:02, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
I completely agree, Tony. They are very reasonable right now compared to what they used to be. We don't need any major reforms or change to the system. I also don't have any evidence of anything other than the occasional troll as Kudpung mentions. I just think there is a perception among potential admins that "I can't run, I don't have enough edits [or FAs, etc.]" -- it's anecdotal, I don't have any charts or scientific surveys. Andrevan@ 21:40, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Well, I ran in 2016, and it was highly personal and extremely nasty. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:53, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
That’s not really a fair example either, sinceyou had been desysopped by arbcom in 2012. That doesn’t excuse nastiness, but still, not the same thing as someone who hasn’t done it before. Beeblebrox (talk) 03:13, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Why? What difference does that make? Why does that justify remarks about your private life? What reason would someone who hasn't done it before have to expect that they would be treated any differently? Hawkeye7 (discuss) 05:27, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I have long thought that a temporary period immediately after passing RFA in which your adminship status can be revoked immediately would be a good idea. This would be thought of as a "trial" period to both let you familiarize yourself with the experience and get practice in performing admin-specific tasks. If you do something obviously inappropriate, your "admin" userright would be immediately revoked and you would keep practicing performing admin duties (at least the ones you want to perform) until you can do so adequately to become an admin. In other words, like learning to drive by practicing with an instructor until you can pass the test to get a license and do it by yourself. But the most important thing here I think is to unbundle the tools somehow, be it by a provisional "practice" adminship or just by letting people apply only to delete pages/block users/etc. Every morning (there's a halo...) 02:50, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
    • A few years back I went through the admins desysopped for cause or resigned under a cloud to see if I could spot patterns that would predict which candidates would ultimately need to be desysopped. The only pattern I spotted was that admins were a little more likely to be desyopped after about three years as admins. There could be patterns that I didn't spot or that have developed since then, but I'm not about to repeat the experiment though I'd be delighted if someone else did. Adminship is not like driving (notoriously new drivers are among the riskiest). Trial periods would make sense if the pattern was for new admins to make unacceptable mistakes, but since that isn't the pattern, trial periods are not a useful change to adminship. ϢereSpielChequers 09:48, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I think there should be one year terms, and follow up RfA's.As it is, admins have too much power and yes, status, on this site and in the course of TDS's Rfa, I even saw one (who I won't name because I believe this person only said so out of the best of intentions) proposing that all prospective admins undergo checkuser inquiries, which is a disturbing thought given that that is not what CU's purpose is and the fact that people get hurt by CU's sometimes. That's exactly the problem, because it adds to the uncertainty of a "civilian editor" on this site without political power on WP. Editors who aren't admins or who don't have special permissions don't realise how easily they could be shoved right off the scene because some zealous admin decided he didn't like their work, or because some checkuser found something they attributed to that editor because someone else vandalized some page on God knows what for God knows what reason and that vandal just happened to use the same network the serious editor used. I've seen it happen. Seems nobody remembers a certain admin, who I regret I feel I shouldn't name, and of which I was collateral damage, who was desysopped and exposed for having abused his authority so many times. Terms, maybe of one to two years, would certainly reduce this kind of conduct. Why not have it be this way? Admins here are not supreme court justices, there shouldn't be life terms. EnglishEfternamn*t/c* 00:05, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I thought WMF changed the policy so that trial admins without going through community consensus cannot view deleted contents. So either tool needs to be unbundled such that trial admins can't view deleted contents or else it may run afoul of WMF's policy. And you also need a steward to remove any unsuccessful trial admins. OhanaUnitedTalk page 18:59, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
    Concerning your last point, technically crats should be able to only assign admin right for a finite period - at least as a Wikidata crat I have this option in the interface (though I may not use it as it is not in the policy).--Ymblanter (talk) 19:05, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Trial adminship doubles the amount of time spent on RfA, and if RfA is a 'bad' process, why would candidates want more RfA? Esquivalience (talk) 00:30, 15 July 2018 (UTC)

A recent thread on "no big deal"

Extended content
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This is a thread copied from the talk page of a recent successful RfA; also ties into an article and discussion about it at The Signpost the same week.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:43, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

SQL, your support seems predicated on dismissing the issues raised by opposers without actually addressing them, then declaring "Adminship should be no big deal." We should also have world peace, an end to hunger, and a cure for cancer. Adminship not being a big deal is the same kind of idealized wish-making (even if perhaps a goal to inch toward). Adminship has very definitely been a big deal for about the last decade, maybe more like 12 years. Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but it is, and the community made it that way.

I think this is an organizational lifecycle matter. WP transitioned from a wild-and-wooly, early-adopters, visionary experiment phase into a global institution rather quickly, and that necessarily meant internal governance shifts which can't really be undone without starting from scratch (the way various failing companies sometimes do successfully). WP isn't failing, so there's not much incentive to go there. Despite various Chicken Little cries, the admin pool is actually stable and getting the important behind-the-scenes work done, so we are not in a position of having to approve iffy candidates (iffy because of temperament/competence or, as in this case, because of focus/rationale misalignment).

There might be a way to make adminship less of a big deal, but it's going to take a lot of work and lot of community buy-in, which so far has not happened, despite some clear ways of getting there, like unbundling more of the less dangerous tools to increase the pool of competent "quasi-admins"; have adminship term limits and reconfirmation, instead of for-life, all-or-nothing appointments; and various other approaches we all know are likely to be effective but which too few people will outright support due to sheer terror that any change to the adminship system will cause a trainwreck.

Maybe that is a discussion to have at WT:ADMIN, but I felt compelled to comment here because "opposers are wrong because I disagree" posturing isn't a real rationale, and "adminship should be no big deal" isn't a valid one today, either.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:06, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

PS: In fairness, Laser_brain also trotted out the "no big deal" canard. I agree with L_b's other sentiment, about broadening the admin pool to all competent editors, but this is another of the adminship reform ideas that's been proposed again and again only to be shot down by the community (and to an extent by WMF itself; they claim there's a legal reason that everyone can't just be made an admin automatically after some tenure as a constructive and non-disruptive editor).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:10, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

I mean there is literially this link WP:NOBIGDEAL that says it isn't a big deal. {{u|zchrykng}} {T|C} 20:22, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes indeed, Zchrykng; in 2003 :D You remember, when we used to be the encyclopaedia anyone can edit, prior to becoming—err—the fifth, etc., most-visited website in the world. —SerialNumber54129 paranoia /cheap sh*t room 20:29, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Yeah. At this point, I'm seriously considering a proposal to remove that WP:Argumentum ad Jimbonem material from WP:ADMIN, because it doesn't reflect current reality, and people take it out of its context which is entirely historical, not instructive.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:35, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
I agree that the "no big deal" phrase can come across as dismissive of opposition. I do indeed dismiss most of the opposition's concerns as no big deal. Whenever these run, I can't help but to imagine what my own RFA would look like if it was held today. I don't go anywhere near AfD or any number of other areas where admins work, because I either don't care about them or I don't like them, and I'm bemused to imagine that people would find that reason to oppose my hypothetical modern RfA. Because I contribute well, and exercise good judgement and a thoughtful approach to situations. Those are the only criteria that should matter. That's what I (and maybe others) mean when we say it's no big deal. Someone buzzing around my contributions to point out that I don't have enough Portal Talk edits etc doesn't land on any useful conclusion. --Laser brain (talk) 20:35, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
<gasp> You'd better get right on those Portal_talk stats! "I don't go anywhere near AfD" – Yeah, I actually tried to address the "XfD stats fetishism" issue in a thread below this one (and not for the first time). I regret that in my own !vote I didn't focus more on RfC closures and stuff where actual admin-style judgement is far more apparent and ungameable. May even revise it. On the "RfA has changed so much" sense that so many people have: I ran twice when I wasn't really ready (and before I observed what usually happened to the editorial productivity of people who become admins). It was toward the end of that era when everyone now says RfA was super-easy back then, yet I got crucified twice in a row (partially for legit reasons, but partly for bogus claims of having savaged a noob who was actually a troll/vandal and got blocked right afterward, and partly grudge-bearing by certain parties, back when ripping someone a new hole at RfA was just dandy). So, I don't really see it. There may be one of those "the grass is always greener on the other side" effects at work. (Of course, there really was a qualitative difference in the selection process back in the very early days when you just asked, and Jimbo said "sure" as long as you weren't a nutter or a flaming asshat.) Still, the semi-recent reforms have actually made RfA a much less hostile place than it was even a few years ago. It's been enough to shift me from "hell no" to "thanks for the vote of confidence, but probably no".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:35, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
I think this issue is often presented as a false dichotomy. The fact that we don't give adminship to everyone who's proved themselves to be competent at general editing doesn't mean that it's "a really special thing" (to quote Jimbo). It just means that, like a lot of things, you have to show you know how to use it properly before you can get it. I think a good real world analogy is drivers' licences. Nobody who isn't a teenager thinks that having one of those is really special, but you also aren't able to get one without demonstrating that you can be trusted to drive a car safely. Hut 8.5 21:08, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. I could make a similar connection with WP:NETPOSITIVE. Many supporters have trotted this out, as I myself have frequently done, but it hinges upon there being something to actually sum up. With basically no activity in any single relevant arena, we're left with a pile of zeros that, no matter how I try, I can't sum up to a positive number. ~ Amory (utc) 22:19, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
The problem with that line of reasoning is that it assumes that some activities are "admin-related" and others are not. I beg to disagree. An obvious example is that having experience in content creation - and Peter just gained his first FA - helps admins to better understand how their admin actions impact the content creators. Having experience in politely and constructively dealing with disagreements helps admins to make better judgement calls when they are asked to referee when content disputes flare up. Peter's been active for over nine years here with 20,000 edits to article space and has extensive experience on other projects. That helps a potential admin have a sense of perspective and gives a depth of knowledge that no amount of button-mashing on NPP can create. Make no mistake, as soon as you start elevating AIV reporting, CSD tagging and suchlike to become the gateway to adminship, those button-mashers will be the only candidates you'll get. And if anybody comes back with the tired "the admin toolkit comes as a complete set" argument, I'll reply that it includes the ability to edit protected templates and Lua modules, but you don't see candidates' experience in that area being questioned, do you? If every sysop had to demonstrate their mastery of those, we'd soon be changing our tune.
Yes, adminship is a big deal. But do we really want it to be? If we'e ever going to get rid of that albatross, we ought to be challenging those who argue against "Adminship ought to be no big deal". You know who you are. --RexxS (talk) 23:13, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I don't feel particularly challenged, though. I've laid out (here and at link in a forthcoming sentence, and prior discussions from which The Signpost has been pull-quoting me) reasons why it is a big deal, but also some actually practicable ways to move it toward no longer being one. These are not the pretense that adminship presently isn't a big deal (or !voting that it's not a big deal, without having a real support reason beyond that, but using the wording "shouldn't be", which is just a verbal misdirection). On the "do we really want it to be?" matter, see the discussion thread over at Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2018-05-24/Op-ed. On "assumes that some activities are 'admin-related'", I don't think that's really the conceptualization (whatever clumsy wording might end up getting used). Rather, some activities like NAC, CSD tagging, XfD nominations, sock and vandal reporting, etc., give us a much clearer indication of someone's potential administrative mettle (because they're the same sort of judgement matters) than whether they have FAs and how many, how often their late !votes at XfDs go with the already-known consensus flow, how many edits they've made, how long ago they registered their account, etc. That said, some of us do care about involvement level, on this project. Edit counts are a weak metric, but 20K edits in 9 years is much lower that I would have expected (about 1/5 my own editing rate, minus automated tools like AWB), and suggests a scattershot approach. One challenge for admins is that WP:POLICY pages change and interpretations (which often become precendential) change, and it takes frequent in-depth involvement to keep on top of it, to avoid making decisions the community will reverse or censure. Being competent and enthused isn't enough if the regular time-commitment isn't happening (something I learned the hard way in wrangling meatspace volunteers at a nonprofit). People who work in collaborative software development projects also deeply understand this issue.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:35, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
The other meaning of "no big deal" is that being an administrator is no big deal. It mostly allows you to do a bunch of unpaid and thankless maintenance work. In particular, it doesn't gain you any advantage in content disputes. power~enwiki (π, ν) 21:10, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
But a) no one really cites that Jiboism with that meaning in mind, and b) it doesn't officially gain you an advantage, but we all know it actually does provide a slight one in discourage backtalk, and it does gain you an official advantage in many non-content disputes, which can sometimes be more important (depends on the nature of the dispute).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:35, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) x2 Plus one on pretty much everything by McAndlish (yes, really) SN and LB. It is a big deal nowadays, as I think many Admins would probably agree, if they thought about it fully. – SchroCat (talk) 21:12, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
We can easily nitpick what we believe to be the most important aspects of adminship...but I'm also of the mind that an editor who is a content creator, and knows what goes into getting an article promoted from creation to GA and then FA, and who has the patience and good temperament to collaborate well with others, gracefully accept criticism of their work, and is willing to discuss issues without losing patience, are typically the ones who have the best shot at morphing into an excellent admin. After all, disruption typically begins with a content dispute, and while behavior is the primary focus of admins, it doesn't hurt to have an in-depth understanding of what it takes to create content and get it promoted to the highest level of acceptance. After all, we're here to build an encyclopedia whereas dealing with behavioral issues is the side-effect. No candidate is "experienced" at being an admin before they become an admin - this particular candidate already has some limited admin experience. There are many different aspects of the job, and we need admins in all of them. We already have our share of admins who contribute on a spotty basis and they were probably approved because of a particular strong point in one area, or perhaps many - and...???? I think this particular candidate can morph into being a good admin over a broad range of areas because he comes to us with the desire to work, he has a clean record, he already has some admin experience at another project, and it seems to me those are the things that far outweigh any of the potential concerns I've seen expressed by oppose comments. Atsme📞📧 23:20, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree that being a solid content creator is a must. Some of what you've said inspires some responses that could easily be entire threads.
  • On this candidate: "I think this particular candidate can morph into being a good admin over a broad range of areas" is almost certainly true, but it's also true of most candidates. The questions before us are whether the candidate would make a good admin now, and whether their expressed motivation makes sense within the project's/community's expectations of admins. My rede is "no" because he explicitly wants the tools just for a portal subpage deletion run. It's like "Please make me a Navy SEAL so I can go shoot at a particular enemy target. After that, I want to go try being a pro surfer, or may be an accountant." When asked what other admin stuff he'd do, he deflected and just indicated a vague openness to suggestions. We expect admin-hopefuls to have a clear idea on this and to have already been working in the chosen areas in a non-admin capacity. (Maybe not everyone expects that, but it's a common expectation; I'm talking about RfA reality here, not "what if" scenarios).
  • On FA subculture: What you say might be true sometimes, but it's not the only way to judge collaboration capability, nor is it a sure one, nor even the One True Metric of "great content editor". See for example the "FAC Anti-MoS Shitstorm of Doom" as I like to call it, back in late 2016, wherein at least two FAC regulars decided that rather than tolerate "those MoS nutters" giving their FAC clubmates any gaff (despite MoS compliance being part of the FAC checklist), they'd instead propose that FAC should invent its own "anti-MoS" and declare itself immune to system-wide guidelines. (And of course that idea went nowhere, being deeply silly, territorial, divisive nonsense.) So, no, being FA-focused is not a guarantee of "patience and good temperament to collaborate ..., gracefully accept criticism ..., willing to discuss issues". It may (depending on the party) be indicative of insular, shortsighted, wikipolitical, cliquish nonsense that really is anti-collaborative beyond the clique.
  • On FA and broader content work: Further, many FAs are rather lonely, mostly-one-author affairs, of researching and polishing something to the point of excess, then tolerating a few tweaks from the GAN then FAC review crowds, with little meaningful real collaboration (or maybe only with a particular party). I've said it before and will do so again: It's of far more value to the encyclopedia and its readers to spend one's limited WP time making 5 miserable micro-stubs into B-class real articles, or creating 10 solid, properly sourced stubs on actually notable subjects, or fixing 50 mangled-English "sentences" in 50 articles, than to spit-shine one GA into a marginally better FA. It's a matter of more utility to more readers. FAs seems mostly about editorial pride and backpatting. I'd bet serious money on the FA rate falling through the floor if the FA userspace badge templates were deleted. [Honestly, I think we should just do away with the FA thing, merge it into GA, and slightly increase the GA standards, to be a procedure for reaching A-class articles. I.e., make all three of our "way better than average" ratings be one rating with a unified process for getting a badge on the page. But anyway ...]
  • On FA and broader content mindsets: FA badge collecting isn't really much different in motivation from permissions "hat collecting"; if I see a strong steak of it, especially given any evidence of WP:OWN / WP:VESTED antics, it's a strong red-flag to me. Meanwhile, a bunch of GAs, a whole lot of properly sourced and notable stub creation, a metric ton of constructive gnoming, or any combination thereof – what I consider meaningful content work – will be a green flag, verging on a requirement. The fact that I decline to participate in chrome polishing beyond the GA/A stage doesn't make me a bad admin candidate (being a curmudgeon might, though) or not a "real" content editor. It just means my sense of a what WP is all about differs from that of the FAC crowd, and perhaps that my patience/attention mode differs from theirs. I can do WP all day, but I get worn out doing it at the same page. I doubt I'm alone in this. (That doesn't make FA-focused editors bad or wrong or lesser, just different.)
  • On disruption, causes, and handling: Disruption is often over a content dispute, but that's just because this is a content-first site. It's important not to mistake statistical correlation for causation. Depending on what you do and concern yourself with here, you may find that your experience of wiki conflict is more often about policy interpretation (and modification), or CoI and trolls, or socio-political bias in the administration of the system, or article and category naming conventions, or something even narrower like source reliability standards in a particular field. The topical nexus of the dispute isn't indicative of administrative mettle; the handling of the dispute is – both in the sense of not losing one's shit at people or thwarting resolution out of spite, and in the sense of presenting policy- and sourced-based reasoning instead of fallacious, subjective nonsense. This is one reason that WP:NAC history is one of the best actual indicators of whether someone will make a good admin. Do you detect supervoting? They're failing the emotionality prong of the test. Do you detect pure vote-counting in favor of a popular but wrong argument? They're failing the rationale analysis prong.
  • On admin-like experience models:: People who do NACs, who CSD tag, who nominate for deletion, and get these right (and perhaps more importantly rapidly learn from getting it wrong and then more consistently get it right) do in fact have admin experience, on this project before becoming admins, since the judgement processes are identical; you don't close differently after getting the bit, you just have the power to close discussions that NACs can't close. Resolving disputes is a more important admin activity that banhammering people or temporarily locking pages. Being an admin at some other wiki really doesn't tell us much of anything, since the policies and procedures at other projects are wildly different, what admins do there may be mostly dissimilar, the editorial cultures are very different, and the process of becoming an admin at one of them may be more like the rubber-stamping en.WP had back in 2003 or so.
  • On clean records: Having a clean record doesn't necessarily mean much. I would rather have an admin who got blocked back in the day and strongly learned from and changed as a result of that experience, than someone with a "not gonna shift gears in response to criticism, since my way works for me" attitude, who's never been blocked because they've not crossed a line (yet). A real-world principle we need to look at is that credit and even some misdemeanor criminal records (in some systems) eventually get expunged (at least to casual examination). A problem at WP is that people will dredge up crap from years ago, and we probably just need a hard-and-fast rule that sets a cut-off (or a different cut-offs for different kinds of issues), such that an oppose can be administratively removed or redacted if it relies entirely or partially on evidence that's too old. WP:AE and WP:ARBCOM and WP:ANI already have a similar principle (you can even get boomerang-sanctioned for relying on too-old evidence).
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:35, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
Adminship is not a big deal. At all. It's seen as a big deal because a minority of people treat it as such; that does not make it so. And it is a minority; that's why so many RFAs fail at 60-70% support; it's that 30-40% minority of editors, many of whom are admins and got their admin bits when it was a hell of a lot easier to get them, who believe RFA candidates should be adhering to ridiculously high standards, should have clear needs for the tools, should answer every question perfectly first time, and so on, and so on. A truth: being an admin is, for the most part, really easy. If there is something you are not comfortable doing, you ask for a second opinion, or leave it for someone more knowledgeable in that area to do it and go and do something else, there are always backlogs. It is really not complicated. If you fuck something up technically, you must be prepared to personally undo your fuckup and apologise. That's it. Nothing gets permanently broken, it can always be undone. This false assumption that it's a tough "job" and you must be hardened, massively experienced in every area of the Wiki, is incredibly damaging. Fish+Karate 14:53, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
I gotta agree here. The tools are dead simple to use - so much so that they are given to users with under 100 edits on small Wikimedia wikis, and were given at one point to users who had only been on enwiki for a few months and had a few thousand edits. The only difference between and here are the policies, and those are also not particularly hard to understand. Anyone who has been around for a while and has a willingness to learn and an ability to admit they are wrong would do absolutely fine as an admin. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 16:32, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
So how to we convince the rest of the community this is true? They collectively balk at virtually every RfA/adminship reform (or even minor tweak) idea, ever proposed by anyone. My suspicion is that it will simply have to limp along until it hits a crisis point where there is literally no choice left but to overhaul it in more sensible directions, to make the "should be no big deal" back into an actual "is no big deal" again. But we're nowhere near that point. The "actually is a big deal" shift continues, in that direction.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:42, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
I'll draw a distinction here - the actual sysop tools and role is not a big deal. The status that we have given adminship is. It's exclusive (significantly higher standards expected of new admins than most admins when they passed their RfA), a life-time appointment (weak activity standards and a perceived difficulty in removing "bad" admins), and the monopoly of the block button causes a massive divide between the Content Creators™ and the admin corps. I doubt a crisis point will ever actually arrive, because most admin work is done by a core group of people who make thousands of actions per month. Not that I need to tell you this; you've articulated it quite nicely on the signpost talk page. As for solutions, I'm more and more interested in the idea of "extreme unbundling" rather than trying to work against the bulwark of changes that would be needed to reform adminship and RfA itself. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 22:19, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Adminship was no big deal before admins started wanton blocking /16 ranges with no real pattern of abuse other than kids being kids (or childish adults being childish adults), as if blocking certain ranges is going to stop that from happening on Wikipedia in an age when someone dying to see what happens when they write "poop" on an article can go down the street to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts to evade the {{anonblock}}, or pull their iPhone out of their book bag to evade the {{schoolblock}}. Since that started happening, less and less people have been becoming editors, and articles are starting to go to crap because they aren't updated or they get vandalized and no one notices. I agree wholeheartedly with the person who suggested that we have a community-based recall process; it might deter heavy-handedness if administrators knew there is a chance they could be made to go through the "week of hell" again. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 21:57, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
    There is a problem with over-blocking, both here and at the global level. But that isn't going to be solved by yelling at admins from the sidelines, but rather by developing more intuitive blocking tools that show potential collateral damage and better tools for checking the collateral damage of existing blocks. It's an infrastructure problem, not just a people problem. The average internet user no longer uses one static IP at home, but our core blocking toolset hasn't changed significantly since 2004. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 22:26, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
    But that isn't going to be solved by yelling at admins from the sidelines. Which is why I'm not calling anyone in particular out on it (though they'd know who they are if they read this). The average internet user no longer uses one static IP at home, but our core blocking toolset hasn't changed significantly since 2004. That's just it; in 2004 when it was ironically less common for sysops to put absurdly long blocks on shared IPs, there weren't as many ways to evade a block. We can block people's schools or workplaces and keep them from writing "poop" from there, but that won't necessarily stop them from writing it, whereas it will stop someone at a school or somewhere else where a lot of people connect from the same IP from casually fixing someone else's garbage, updating outdated information, etc., and in light of that, I'd rather deal with 100 nonsense edits to get that one good edit than to still deal with the 100 nonsense edits and not get the good edit. Not to mention, it's easy enough to watch a problematic IP or range belonging to a school and snipe the garbage edits that aren't caught by the WP:RC patrols, and to call and complain if a pattern of specific behavior develops (the same words being used, the same names being posted, etc) but if they hide in a sea of wireless traffic, good luck with that. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 23:23, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
    But I agree, a technology solution that stops the action rather than the IP is likely the better answer. We have the edit filter, maybe we need to work on improving it rather than blocking the planet, which didn't work very well for Conservapedia. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 23:25, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
    I like this idea! When blocking an IP - or an IP range, the software should say something like "This block will affect x editors (logged in within the last y days) - Are you sure?" if the block affects > z editors. SQLQuery me! 03:24, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
    I don't know that I like that; right now admins mostly softblock IPs unless they are also CheckUsers, but if an admin sees that no one edits from an account on an IP, they may issue an extended block as a hardblock. Fast forward a few weeks and I get someone else's dynamic IP that was used for vandalism (which has actually happened to me before). A softblock wouldn't affect me at all, whereas I would have to request unblocking if it were a hardblock, which means I would be forced to reveal my IP address. Besides, what if the 100 accounts affected are all sockpuppets? No thanks, I don't see much benefit in this at all. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 20:27, 2 June 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Followup discussion

I think the bulk of this thread is more relevant for WT:RFA than the original page it was posted on.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:43, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

  • FWIW it is my opinion, and has been for some time, that WP:NOBIGDEAL is de-facto WP:HISTORICAL. It hasn't been repealed de-jure. But as a matter of practical reality it's a dead letter. Before everyone jumps on me, I would suggest perusing the last eight years or so of RfAs. -Ad Orientem (talk) 00:21, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
    Part of the point of what some of us were discussing in this thread and in The Signpost responses is that there's clearly a way to get back to adminship not being a big deal.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:56, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
    You should copy the signpost discussion here too. SQLQuery me! 04:05, 24 June 2018 (UTC)
    Nah; it's appropriate to continue discussing an old Signpost article in its own discussion section. The only reason I relocated the material here from an RfA's talk page is the weirdness, maybe even impropriety, of continuing to use an individual's RfA talk page to discuss what is/isn't wrong with RfA and how to fix it. :-) It seemed especially iffy given that the RfA was a narrow one; i.e., it might seem like questioning of the result and the 'crat process that lead to it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:15, 24 June 2018 (UTC)
    Well, there's been barely any discussion, and no real comments in a while (and it's extremely odd to copy discussions in this fashion). So it feels a lot like being harassed for supporting on my end. SQLQuery me! 00:46, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
    @SQL: Argh, that wasn't the intent at all. Just to inject the bullet points and some discussion about them into this page so they archive here and can be found with searches. I didn't think about the fact that it leads by mentioning you, and that it might seem as if it's about you rather than about the general "no big deal" topic and community perception of it; sorry about that. I'll put a hatnote on it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:50, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't a link to the talkpage in question be better than dumping multiple pages of discussion here? SQLQuery me! 00:59, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
    I thought not, because little of the material is specific to that RfA, and there's no community point in discussing "future of RfA" matters at the talk page of a closed individual nomination. Also, WP isn't short on disk space.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:55, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
  • My take is that the idea that the granting of adminship is no big deal is something no longer accepted by the community – but the idea that having admin privileges does not make the editor a "big deal", as in someone whose opinions about content should count more than the opinions of "regular" editors, is something that continues to have wide acceptance, and is probably the reason why there hasn't been more in the way of efforts to have it marked as historical. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:27, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
    Yeah, the two-way nature of the phrase probably does have a lot to do with it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:36, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
  • As a matter of practical reality, most of us know not to argue with admins about content. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 12:12, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
    Depends what you mean by argue. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 12:46, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
It also depends on the admin. You can argue about content with me until the cows come home, as long as I can argue back. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:00, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
No I can't. --Laser brain (talk) 17:30, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
I could be arguing in my spare time.... Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:41, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
You got my point. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:32, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
  • The bigness of the deal is in the eye of the beholder. If people insist on considering it a big deal, then to them it is. Logic does not necessarily come into it. "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up!!!" Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:43, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Of course adminship is a big deal - for those who want it for something to brag about in the schoolyard... Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:10, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
    Do you think anyone going through RfA for that reason is ever successful? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:53, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
    Sure. It wouldn't take much of an act. And it would account for the "admins who disappear shortly after getting adminship" effect. Once you've beat the boss monster, the game loses its appeal.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:34, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
    Simulating a good editor for a fairly protracted period seems a lot of work for a rather dubious distinction, but I concede it is plausible and should not be too difficult. At least Wikipedia gets a couple of years of good work out of it, so a net gain. Now if there was some way to get the trolls and vandals onto that bandwagon we would really be getting somewhere.... · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 12:52, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
    To quote Ernest Shackleton "Life to me is the greatest of all games..." As long as they play the game well, and by its rules, we will be none the wiser that they view it that way. Monty845 03:08, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
    The long-term danger is people being on good behavior until a pack of them of like mind get admin status and act as a coordinated WP:POVRAILROAD tagteam. Can and probably will happen. E.g., we know that the government of Pakistan is or at least was trying to manipulate our content about the Indian subcontinent, and that various commercial interests have long had shill editors. We also know that Facebook was severely manipulated during the Trump campaign by organized teams. Given WP's importance as an information source, we should expect this sort of WP:FACTION behavior and be prepared to counter it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:10, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
    I assume this is one of the reasons why the de facto tenure requirements have increased, and how some of the least contentious candidates are very very longterm editors. ϢereSpielChequers 12:34, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I cot'd the above quoted section. cinco de L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 01:18, 24 June 2018 (UTC)
  • For something that's not a big deal, adminship here is certainly treated like a very big deal. Lots of questions need to be answered, (inconsistent) criteria need to be met, a lot of competence and trustworthiness has to be demonstrated before someone can be given the bit/mop/whatever. If it really were "no big deal", everyone (or at least every user with at least a small amount of experience) would be an admin. Adminship seems like being a politician in that people always disparage and harass you because of how you use your power. But a) admins don't have real power (i.e. in the real world) and b) they don't get paid. It makes you wonder why anyone would volunteer for adminship. IntoThinAir (formerly Everymorning) talk 01:15, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
    One might say that Category:Not an admin user templates exists for a reason. >;-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:41, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Of course it's a big deal. When I was a kid in the days of steam, all the boys wanted to be train drivers. Now they either want to be astronauts or Wikipedia admins. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:09, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
    I would definitely want to be the latter if I was stuck in space for a long stint. Would keep my mind off the vast radiation-spewing vacuum trying to kill me.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:06, 16 July 2018 (UTC)

question from bot

That was a stooopid suggestion, I apologise. At least, as long as i am active, I can ask the question. After that, maybe it would carry on like the crappy t-shirt. —usernamekiran(talk) 19:44, 30 June 2018 (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.

If the RfA is not the first one of the candidate, I think a bot should ask a question. Something like "4. Your first RFA, back in YYYY, was unsuccessful. What have you learned since then to demonstrate that you are qualified for adminship now?" Or "How have you changed since then?" Or something similar to that. —usernamekiran(talk) 18:17, 20 June 2018 (UTC)

If it is relevant, someone is sure to ask. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:34, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
Yeah — if for some earthly reason the nomination or acceptance statement don't mention it, it will quickly be asked by an editor, quite possibly with more insight ("Your first RfA failed largely because you said policy states that not all dogs are good dogs, can you show diffs where you have observed the correct policy that all dogs are good dogs?"). Besides, given how infrequently we have RfAs these days, I don't think we need a bot task just for this, just ask it yourself. Be the bot you wish to see in the world! ~ Amory (utc) 18:55, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
Proof that all dogs are good dogs: Bad dog is a redlink because the existence of bad dogs is a fringe theory receiving no significant coverage in reliable sources. Dekimasuよ! 21:24, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
If you run for RFA again and do not address your last RFA directly or indirectly (through noms), you most likely should fail anyway. Regards SoWhy 13:46, 24 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Why should a bot ask the question? Are RfA so frequent that it needs a bot to complete the transclusion and its pieces? If it's relevant, someone will ask the question, and IIRR, someone usually does. Now on the other hand, if the the voting could be done by bots, it would cut out the serial opposes and all the snark and drama and we'd have more candidates coming forward. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:06, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Absolutely not. Bot edits are an extension of their operator, not something magical from "the system". — xaosflux Talk 00:24, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Well, Xao, you would say that as a competent script writer. I don't have a clue about programming stuff ;) Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:44, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
  • The bot should also check whether the candidate has already mentioned their previous RfA in the nomination statement. I agree that it is probably not a bot task. If you want bots asking questions, do you also want bot votes? —Kusma (t·c) 16:36, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
    Support bot suffrage. Beep Boop. 🤖 19:23, 30 June 2018 (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.

Oppose votes without rationale

Conversation appears to be trending toward "no" ~ Amory (utc) 14:52, 9 July 2018 (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.

Do we need an RFC on whether RFA oppose votes without any rationale are permitted? This apparently is a very heated issue that may need a cold and boring RFC to resolve. As several people have noted, in cases where there is non-trivial opposition, it's trivial to say "per XYZ" in an oppose vote. If a rule only matters for non-controversial cases, it may not be worth having a rule.

Also, if we do establish a rule that a reason is strictly required for oppose votes, we may also need some rules on what reasons are not allowed. An oppose vote explicitly based on race or gender would probably get someone sanctioned now, but should "protest votes" be allowed? Would "Bot operators shouldn't be admins" be allowed? Historically, opposes based on "too inclusionist"/"too deletionist" have been accepted, though perhaps discounted by bureaucrats in the discretionary zone. power~enwiki (π, ν) 00:58, 9 July 2018 (UTC)

  • No.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:30, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes. L293D ( • ) 02:32, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No. We don't need more rules. If there are enough unexplained "Oppose" votes to bring it under the percentage at which it is at bureaucrat discretion, then I could see this being a problem. As it is, there aren't usually many and I think the crats can read the rationales and decided whether to ignore the oppose votes in most situations. Natureium (talk) 02:35, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No. (rationale deliberately omitted). —Kusma (t·c) 02:44, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment as people are (deliberately) withholding rationales, I note that a Yes vote here means that you want an RFC, and a No vote means you feel the existing guidelines are sufficient and an RFC to change them is unnecessary. power~enwiki (π, ν) 02:49, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No: the existing guidelines are sufficient. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 03:07, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No: such silliness will be ignored anyway.Moriori (talk) 03:16, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No. (reason intentionally omitted). But worth noting here is how people are deliberately omitting reason in their votes but the message is still clear. –Ammarpad (talk) 05:35, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
    Right. That's why I started it off that way. I'm not exactly known for my brevity. >;-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:05, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
    Of course. I see that. –Ammarpad (talk) 06:37, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No. Innisfree987 (talk) 05:55, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No. as per the majority of the above. Nigej (talk) 06:03, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes because of the division it makes. There are basically two camps of people - those who ignore and those who feed. An RfC would determine whether opposes with no comment are acceptable or not, and either they'll be disallowed or if not, it would stop people timewasting every time they appear. Aiken D 06:11, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
    If there's a WP:SNOWBALL against even bothering to pose this as an RfC, we already know what the outcome of the RfC would be. Cf. WP:NOT#BUREAUCRACY.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:13, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No Support votes are routinely accepted without any rationale and so treating oppose votes differently would be biased. Also, in most cases, such as the current one, the overall % is decisive and so detailed reasons are unnecessary. Andrew D. (talk) 06:42, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose PeterTheFourth (talk) 06:49, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No, but note that one oppose !vote is worth 3 support !votes, due to the pass rate cutoff, which generally means that opposers will generally be under more scrutiny to explain themselves, and this is reasonable. Despite this, I don't support striking of non-rationale oppose !votes. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 07:11, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No because it is a discussion and if one does not contribute anything, we can trust crats enough to discount those !votes. While I also think badgering is more disrupting, Aiken drum's optimism that such comments would disappear if a RFC found no-rationale-opposes acceptable is imho misplaced. As such, I would support a ban on badgering those opposes instead. Regards SoWhy 07:38, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No - we don't need more Vogonity. The 'crats are capable of judging individual !votes on their merits. ƒirefly ( t · c · who? ) 07:54, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
    Nor any bogons, which are even more in evidence in this. >;-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  08:08, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Absolutely not I would say "why is it that oppose voters only get jumped on from a great height when the RfA is a runaway success", but it's pretty obvious; if you voice an opinion that 250+ people disagree with, you can expect blowback - it's just human nature. Saturnalia0 is not violating policy by opposing an RfA candidate; in turn, nobody is really violating policy by rebuking it as being a weak argument. I don't mind advising him to up his game and leave better oppose rationales, but frankly I could say the same about some of the supporters (and indeed I have been bashed around the head when I've criticised a support !vote for being weak and unconvincing). Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:26, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No ~ Abelmoschus Esculentus (talk to me) 11:25, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No Complete waste of time. How people vote is their own business, and always has been and always will be. scope_creep (talk) 11:54, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:27, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • No per Kudpung. — sparklism hey! 13:45, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Nope. ​—DoRD (talk)​ 14:26, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • N - TNT 💖 14:32, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Absolutely not. MBlaze Lightning talk 14:44, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, ie., No - Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:48, 9 July 2018 (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.
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