Wikipedia talk:Requests for adminship

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
RfA candidate S O N S% Ending (UTC) Time left Dups? Report
RfB candidate S O N S% Ending (UTC) Time left Dups? Report

No RfXs since 01:38, 1 May 2019 (UTC).—cyberbot ITalk to my owner:Online

Current time: 18:25:24, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Purge this page

Recently closed RfXs (update)
Candidate Type Result Date of close Tally
S O N %
HickoryOughtShirt?4 RfA Successful 1 May 2019 182 19 9 91
RexxS RfA Successful 11 Apr 2019 164 92 15 64
Primefac RfB Successful 7 Apr 2019 151 7 5 96
DeltaQuad RfB Successful 13 Mar 2019 229 6 2 97
Evad37 RfA Successful 18 Feb 2019 212 15 6 93
Enterprisey2 RfA Successful 26 Jan 2019 253 2 2 99
De la Marck RfA WP:SNOW 4 Jan 2019 0 11 1 0

RfC on the nature of bureaucrats' discretionary range for closing Requests for Adminship[edit]

In future, should the discretionary range be understood primarily as A) a unit (bureaucrats should close Requests for Adminship based entirely or almost entirely on the strength of the arguments for supporting and opposing, and the raw percentage of supporters should not be a significant factor), or B) a spectrum (the strength of the arguments does matter, but the default expectation should be that RfAs with support near the upper end of the discretionary range are likely to pass and RfAs near the lower end are likely to fail)? Sideways713 (talk) 10:11, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Extended initial comment Tempers have got pretty heated after the controversial closure of RexxS's RfA. I understand that many editors would like a longer cooldown period before any Requests for Comment even tangentially related to the RexxS case, and equally that many editors on the other side might like to see a much more aggressive RfC than this, one that proposes drastic changes to the RfA process or openly questions the appropriateness of the RexxS close.
    So I fully expect to be pilloried by everybody on both sides; but I think it makes sense to have this RfC first and have it relatively quickly, because it's something we ought to have a consensus on before other RfCs about the discretionary range can really work. Arguments that will be very strong in future discussions if the discretionary range is a unit can be much weaker if there's consensus to treat the range as a spectrum, and vice versa; so if we don't know which it is, we'll just be talking at cross-purposes. Moreover, 1) the answer will be relevant in any future RfA that lands in a 'crat chat, and there's no guarantee that's a long time away; 2) the answer is fairly unlikely to be rendered irrelevant by future RfCs (only happens if the discretionary range is abolished altogether); 3) it is, hopefully, if not completely noninflammatory then at least less inflammatory than some other RfCs might be; so I hope we can work together, concentrate on policy and avoid relitigating RexxS's RfA.
    I appreciate that the answer isn't completely binary and that the discretionary zone has both unit and spectrum properties, but I believe it's worth determining which nature, unit or spectrum, editors think is or should be more important. Sideways713 (talk) 10:12, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for opening the conversation, but I might suggest brainstorming a little more to refine the question being asked. It seems that either option you’ve presented would allow for an RFA with 64.1% support to be deemed successful, yet many of those critical of the outcome felt that the 65% threshold should be a hard-and-fast breakpoint beyond which none shall pass. –xenotalk 10:19, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I do realize there's an appetite for an RfC on the 65% threshold as a hard-and-fast breakpoint; but the strength of many arguments pro and con in that discussion will greatly depend on whether the range is seen as a spectrum or a unit, so I think that's something we should clarify first. Sideways713 (talk) 10:27, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks for bringing forward this RFC. I think we should strike while the iron is hot. I also agree that the scope of the RFC should be refined. Also, for at least the initial stage, the existing 'crats. should avoid participation, so that the community view as opposed to the 'crats view is clearly refined. They can contribute if asked and in any case later. It is my already clearly stated view that it is the 'crats themselves who created this mess and need to be accountable for it. Having said that I expect most who think the 'crats made perfectly the correct decision re Rexx will not agree and that is the difficulty - people will not agree to change something that suits their personal position. On the specific topic of the so called discretionary range - 65-75% is an 11% space for the exercise of discretion. That can be at the discretion of a 'Crat acting alone or as a collective. The introduction of a further zone of doubt below 65% is highly dubious alchemy. The community specifically rejected 60% - 65%. That embraces 64.1%. Simply put, the arithmetic boundary has to start somewhere. This is entirely consistent and since the 'crats have shown in successive cases to be incapable of consistent judgement it will help them at lot. Leaky caldron (talk) 10:56, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    If the RfA had ended (164/88/15) [65.1%], would you still be contesting the result? –xenotalk 13:04, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I think making some changes to Cratchat process rather than this more fuzzy 'how to look at it thing' might be better use of time, like majority of unrecused crats determining whether any !votes need to be stricken entirely; and a 75% of unrecused crats adopting a single reasoning statement when finding consensus. Throughout the pedia, editors working in small groups for consensus have to negotiate and find a a single way to say something and agreement on why they are saying it that way, all the time. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:05, 12 April 2019 (UTC) (by stricken I generally mean given-0-weight, in case that's not clear - Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:49, 12 April 2019 (UTC))
  • Neither as you're presenting a false dichotomy between "the raw percentage of supporters should not be a significant factor" and "support near the upper end of the discretionary range are likely to pass and RfAs near the lower end are likely to fail". The reason we have crat discretion rather than straightforward votes is that not all voting is equal; in cases where the consensus isn't obvious, it's entirely legitimate that the closers consider whether those supporting/opposing are giving valid reasons for doing so, and that isn't immediately obvious. (There's a significant difference between "Support" without explanation and "Support per nom", for instance; while to take the specific RFA that prompted this, there's a world of difference between "Oppose. Don't like the guy" and the opposes who took the trouble to explain why they felt the candidate was unsuitable for adminship rather than just admitting they were expressing a personal grudge.)

    The raw numbers really aren't as significant as they're made out to be (personally I'd deprecate the ranges altogether and have the crats close purely on strength of argument); if we were to go down the mechanistic route of combining "all votes are considered equal" and "automatic pass/fail thresholds", it would be trivially easy to game any given RFA by flooding one section with sockpuppet votes two minutes before the RFA were due to close. ‑ Iridescent 11:16, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

    • Well put. I think the current misconceptions might be problem of the current (2015) wording "in general". The previous wording "historically" was more useful to highlight the fact that these are merely examples of the boundaries at which RFAs usually have succeeded or failed, not a rule that any given RFA has to fail/succeed if the support is larger/smaller than these numbers. I outlined some of the history on my talk page which shows that throughout RFA history, the wording was always clear that ultimately, crats should decide whether a certain RFX fails or succeeds. Regards SoWhy 11:36, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      • I especially like the wording that had been in use in 2009: At the end of that period, a bureaucrat will review the discussion to see whether there is a consensus for promotion. This is sometimes difficult to ascertain, and is not a numerical measurement, but as a general descriptive rule of thumb most of those above ~80% approval pass, most of those below ~70% fail, and the area between is subject to bureaucratic discretion. Regards SoWhy 11:39, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I know all that, and the reason for much of my extended initial comment was precisely to avoid giving the impression of any false dichotomy like that. Sideways713 (talk) 11:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • With all due respect, Iridescent (I was surprised which way you went on this one, but I was watching all through hoping to be persuaded that a change had taken place from when I became aware of this person and started avoiding them), that strikes me as a ridiculous fear. RfAs are scrutinised from all sides for signs of socking, and insofar as they are not votes it's because participants engage with each other, and often change sides as they're persuaded by others' points or evidence. How the percentages shift during an RfA is indicative. (I used to see the crats using such trends to discern consensus, before they started citing "the need of the community" for more admins as an overriding principle as one has here. In short: maybe I'm an idiot or demonstrating my unsuitability for a life of crime. Yngvadottir (talk) 19:15, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • RfA does what it is supposed to. Nothing needs changing at all at this stage - RfAs have become such a rare phenomenon that they can all be taken on an individual basis without having to re-politicise the whole thing. Discretionary range or not, a closing 'crat is not obliged to call for a 'crat chat - that is also part of the bureaucrats' discretion. Like this extremely close call which might well have gone the other way if there had been a 'crat chat - which it probably should have, but nobody was prepared to make a hooha of the result so why should they be suddenly doing so now? Is it just for the want of yet more drama? IMO, people should be looking at what's wrong with the voter mentality instead of down the wrong end of the telescope, and try to make RfA a more inviting environment for any potential candidates of the right calibre who might be left. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:05, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Explanatory figure
  • I'm not surprised to see people piling on to complain about how bad this RfC is; but much of the opposition seems to be to something that the RfC was never intended to be about, which is unfortunate. If that is my fault for not being sufficiently clear in opening it, I apologize for that.
    I hope the explanatory figure helps make the point clearer. This RfC was not intended to be about eliminating or limiting bureaucratic discretion; it's to determine whether people think Fig. 1 or Fig. 2 more closely approximates the way the discretion range works or ought to work. I hope the difference between Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 makes clear why I think we need to be clear on that before any RfC about 65% as a hard limit. Sideways713 (talk) 12:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Maybe a wording like "does a higher support percentage in an RfA mean bureaucrats have a stronger mandate to promote an admin?" would have worked better? That's essentially equivalent to the intended question - if the answer is "no", that creates as a natural by-product a probability curve that roughly approximates Fig. 1 or 3; and if the answer is "yes", that gives a result that roughly approximates Fig. 2 or 4. - but a wording like that would (hopefully) make it clearer why there's no false dichotomy with the right answer being neither yes or no. Sideways713 (talk) 12:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
You didn't read what I said above, Sideways713. There was no mention of the quality of this RfC, but there were some key words like 'drama'... Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:15, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I fully acknowledged in my initial comment that many editors would like a longer cooldown period after the RexxS case before any RfC goes up; I take it that you are one of them. Equally, though, many editors do think this is an appropriate time for an RfC; and maybe a bit of extra drama now will save us from even more drama later. Sideways713 (talk) 13:22, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
What Kudpung said (and note that when it comes to RFA, I very rarely agree with him). The mechanism of RFA is that people explain why they feel the candidate should or shouldn't be trusted, and the crats assess which comments should be taken seriously and what the consensus is. Talk of "discretionary ranges" and "cutoff points" is a misunderstanding of the data, which was based on an analysis of likely outcomes at varying levels of support and never intended to be enforceable cutoff points. The issue affecting RFA ultimately stems from a mentality among some people that the job of participants is to look for reasons to oppose, rather than only opposing if they feel something genuinely precludes the candidate from being given the sysop bit; trying to impose hard limits or pass/fail cutoff points is never going to be the way to address this. It's not that we want a longer cooldown period after the RexxS case before any RfC goes up, it's that your RFC is based on an utterly false premise which you're repeatedly trying to present as fact despite the rest of us repeatedly explaining to you that it's not the case. ‑ Iridescent 13:25, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
This RfC is not intended to impose a hard limit or a pass/fail cutoff point. Sideways713 (talk) 13:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I was surprised by the Crats decision, not disappointed as I believe RexxS will make a good admin. But I was surprised, and if I were a crat and a comparable cratchat came up I would probably be in the no-consensus position. I'm concerned that if we were to hold an RFC now it would be too heavily influenced by the most recent RFA, there are other scenarios where a Crat might judge consensus as being outside the normal 56-75 zone. For example here is a fictional scenario: 24 hours before the normal end of the RFA the candidate makes a disclosure that sees support fall by 24% in 24 hours with the only activity supporters striking and moving to oppose. I would hope that a Crat looking at such a situation with support dropping from 100% to 76% in 24 hours would not feel that they had to close as successful, or even start a Crat chat or extend for further consideration. I would hope that a crat would read the consensus and close as lacking consensus to promote. Going back to the recent RFA, there were at least four reasons given for giving less weight to some opposes in that RFA. I think it would be good to give the crats some steer as to which if any of those reasons are acceptable to the community. I've mentioned extrapolating the trend, which doesn't particularly apply to the recent one and I doubt would be contentious. But other reasons for going beyond the discretionary zone include:
  1. Being more lenient with longstanding members of the community. I don't agree with this, not least because the RFA !voting community is quite capable of doing this where appropriate, so no need for crats to give extra weight where the community chooses not to. I think an RFC could usefully clarify things for the crats on this.
  2. Giving less weight to opposes over an issue where the candidate has given an assurance that the issue won't recur. In the past this has been more likely to sway the community on things like a signature that doesn't follow the rules or a default to minor edits that has resulted in many non minor edits being flagged as minor. It is fairly easy to interpret a situation where after the candidate responds such as by fixing the signature there are few or no further opposes over that issue and some existing opposes strike. Less easy where some opposers strike but some new ones oppose despite the reassurance.
  3. Use of humour by the candidate or nominator. My own first RFA used too much humour for some of the RFA crowd, and I'm happy to see humour at RFA, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wants to pass, and I'm not convinced that Crats should discount Opposes from people who don't get or appreciate the joke.
  4. Opposes without rationale. Personally I'm OK with such Opposes where there is already a substantial and unified Oppose section, though I'd recommend adding the words per above. Where there are two or more significant reasons being cited by Opposes then I'd prefer if Opposers said which of those reasons they agreed with. So I wouldn't have struck or discounted such Opposes in the recent RFA. But I would support discarding such votes if there are no Oppose rationales already there for them to be agreeing with. We give the typical Oppose close to twice the weight of the typical support, so while I'm happy to treat a support without a rationale as being per nom, I would be happy if an RFC reaffirmed that Opposers should do the courtesy of explaining why they oppose (there is also the practical matter that we need admins, and if people are turned down at RFA they need to know why if they are to be tempted to run again in the future).
  5. Weak strong etc weightings to votes. I'd hope we are all OK with the idea that if someone marks their own vote as weak they are inviting the crats to give it less weight. I'm tempted to argue that less weight should also be given to people who try to up the impact of their own vote with prefixes such as strong, but I'm going to assume that an RFC would simply affirm that such verbiage be ignored. I doubt if the community would be at all bothered if the crats were to close a 63% RFA as successful because there were lots of votes marked as weak and they were almost all opposes. Or conversely if a 77% support RFA failed because many of the supporters had marked their !votes weak.
  6. Something we have seen at RFA is when people !vote per another editor and that editor subsequently strikes their !vote and moves to another section. I think that in such circumstances we should have RFA clerks invite such editors to return to the RFA and possibly replace their rationale. But I can see this as an interesting one for crats, and there is an argument that if RFA is a discussion and at the end there are a couple of per user:example !votes when user:example has switched is difficult to see how one can give full weight to them.

Not all of the above have been seen in the last RFA, and that might be reason to wait a while before an RFC. ϢereSpielChequers 13:36, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Iridescent is right o the money and I'm afraid, Sideways713, that I don't really understand what you do want, and I'm not the stupidest of people when it comes to RfA reform. What I do see is that you didn't get the result you hoped for despite the drama you added to the RexxS RfA, and now you appear to be asking for solutions that are looking for a problem. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:52, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • We get these 'emergency' or 'flood-of-bogus' scenarios that are really not in the least 'scary'. Not only crats but basically every other person would go, 'yep that's an emergency, handle it.' Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:12, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I want a polite and constructive discussion on policy (as opposed to the RexxS case), giving us a clear answer to a question to which we do not currently seem to have a clear answer ("does or does not a higher support percentage give bureaucrats a stronger mandate to promote an administrator?"), so that future RfAs will create less drama than RexxS's did. If we get a consensus that the answer is "yes, it does", I will consider that a win for Wikipedia; and if we get a consensus that the answer is "no, it doesn't" I will consider that a win for Wikipedia also. Either way, future RfAs will cause at least a bit less drama, and future RfCs will have more to build on. If there's no discussion and no answer, that will only cause more drama further along the way. Sideways713 (talk) 14:14, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Sideways713 it's all to do with the RexxS case - because that's why you began this discussion. AFAICS, you were directly involved in some of the drama there so I fail to understand how you can be campaigning for less drama at RfA. Untill the voter community gets potty-trained, there will always be drama at RfA, And due to that, RfAs will take place in ever decreasing numbers., I urge you to read some of the links you've been given and familiarise yourself with the history of RfA ad its reform over the last 8 or 9 years. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:55, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • In principle I'm in favour of no hard cutoff at the high and low ends. But if a discussion is right at one of the extreme ends of the discretionary range, the bureaucrats should have extraordinary reasons for closing it the other way. Canvassing and sockpuppetry would be suitable grounds for chucking out a pile of oppose votes. "I don't agree that civility is a concern" is not. Reyk YO! 14:19, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Reyk: Could you point out which of the bureaucrats in the discussion indicated they did not agree civility was a concern? –xenotalk 14:35, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    That's the impression I got from the fact that all the civility opposes were so severely devalued. I'f I'd meant for that to be taken as a direct quote, I'd have given a diff. Reyk YO! 14:46, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    So you're putting forth a paraphrase (in quotation marks) that has no basis in the subject discussion, and has no adherents. I'm not sure where the impression that opposes on civility grounds were "thrown out" or "severely devalued" comes from. If a bureaucrat found consensus to promote, that doesn't mean they are ignoring the oppose section, simply that on the balance they found the discussion leaned towards promotion. –xenotalk 15:16, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Zeno, an example of where I personally got a similar impression that opposes were being "severely devalued" from was when you said "I’m also concerned there may have been somewhat of a pile-on effect with participants [expressing an oppose view] merely looking at the words used by the candidate without fully exploring the context and circumstances behind the comments." Well, yes... some participants expressing an "oppose" view may have merely looked at the words used by the candidate - neither you nor I have any no way of knowing. Equally, some participants expressing "support" may have been piling on as well, and may not have looked at the words used by the candidate at all - again, neither you nor I have any way of knowing! I know in my case, I read quite carefully around the various cases that came up, and I'm prepared to assume that other editors did so as well, including those who disagreed with me in the RFA. Even if you didn't mean it to be (!), I found it a bit insulting to be unilaterally told I may have been part of a pile-on effect, and therefore my view shouldn't carry as much weight. NB: I think an RfC at this point would be too soon, and feelings are running too high. Time for everyone to draw breath, think a bit, and come back to it in a few weeks. Hchc2009 (talk) 16:24, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Hm - I'm sorry that it came across that way - and my comment was not at all meant to disenfranchise those who opposed the candidate on civility grounds. I wouldn't say those comments need to be "severely devalued" to come to my opinion, either. In my more active past (and certainly wherever I see it), I've advocated for bitten newcomers and feel strongly that they are one of our most valuable assets and did not take the civility concerns lightly. It may help if I explain how I come to an opinion when participating in a bureaucrat discussion: approach the RfA with an open mind and project's core principles in mind, after closely reviewing the submissions from the community, determine if, on the balance, the consensus is that the community would be better served by having another administrator, sometimes in spite of legitimate concerns noted in opposition. It's a balance scale, certainly more art that science, in trying to divine the community's will, and in the present case I found the balance in favour of consensus to promote. In my mind, the opposition advanced due to civility did not need to be "severely devalued", for the scale to remain on the side of promotion. I do my best to articulate my thoughts on how I come to my opinion in each bureaucrat discussion. I must be honest in my opinion, and others may disagree with my opinion, as is their prerogative. –xenotalk 17:06, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Thanks for replying Xeno, and, while I do think they were unfortunate, I equally don't imagine that you intended for your remarks to come across that way. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    I think DeltaQuad's claims that people were hypocrites and WP:POINTy was a bit of a stinky thing to say too. Reyk YO! 16:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Too soon - I think per WereSpielChequers above, there are some legitimate discussions to be had here, and the fact that I don't agree with all his observations is testimony to the fact that some thought is needed (e.g. (a) I would have seen consensus for RexxS promotion if I were a crat, and I say that as someone who sat out the RfA because I wasn't sure how to !vote. And (b) I think oppose !votes based on the jokey nature of the RfA should be given less weight, as to me they show a disregard for WP:CIVIL and WP:AGF. Although there are very often excellent reasons for opposing a candidate it is always going to be a hurtful action if you do. By default anyone with the basic level of experience and nous should pass, and opposes should be made for genuine reasons of thinking they'd make a bad admin, rather than just that you don't like their sense of humour.) But, with all due respect to the OP of this RfC, I think feelings are still running too high and, per Iridescent, I don't think the RfC is asking the questions that most need to be asked. I therefore suggest we wait a few months and then brainstorm some proper ideas with WereSpeilChequer's questions above as a starting point. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 14:53, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I did not participate in the RFA, and I would find entirely differently as I wrote on the the cratchat page, and I think that's either disrespectful or a misunderstanding of what the concern was around the 'humour issue', for lack of a better term. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker: Well you have your view and I have mine, that's fine I fully respect that. That's why it's a legitimate question for debate. My intention was not to insult those that cited the humour issue or even to say their opinion is wrong per se, just that for me, if you take into account the goals and pillars of Wikipedia, I personally think that is a poor reason to Oppose an adminship. Others feel differently and we can come to a consensus decision in the RFC. Cheers  — Amakuru (talk) 16:21, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I do think this is a question that needs to be asked eventually; it may not be the question people most want to see asked, but it's one that answers to those questions will depend on. Unfortunately it does look like feelings are still running too high for a policy discussion to be possible without it getting personalized; and this RfC has clearly strayed very far from its intended purpose. Sideways713 (talk) 15:19, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
When an Arbcom member says this: "I feel strongly that this was a poor close by the crats, essentially supervoting away valid opposes because they were not convinced by them, while, as usual, being far laxer with the supports. It does look like excessive leniency for an "establishment" RfA candidate, and it is particularly grating that civility concerns were dismissed given mounting evidence that a hostile culture is stifling the project." there is every reason to examine what led to that and to resolve it. The 'crats are incapable of self-resolving so let the community do it. Speedily. Leaky caldron (talk) 15:21, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
And what about the six or so arbitrators who feel and spoke differently? Looking at the nine arbitrators, there is a stronger consensus towards this being a good call by the 'crats than otherwise. Do you disagree? -- Avi (talk) 15:24, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
As far as I can see, Joe Roe was the only arbitrator to directly opine on the goodness or the badness of the close. Several arbitrators called it a good call by Maxim to open the chat in the first place, but without giving any views on whether the chat's actual outcome was good. Sideways713 (talk) 15:39, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Avi, my reading of the declines is not so much an endorsement of a good/bad result and more as a statement that the specific actions were not within the purview of arbitration. — xaosflux Talk 15:42, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • They made a decision within their remit and according to their procedures;
  • In fact, I cannot see that even a first resort process is needing used: excepting the filing party, the community appears to be content that processes worked as designed in this case.
  • As someone who participated in the 2015 RFC and provided the second support vote for lowing the discretionary range, I believe the bureaucrats acted in accordance with the instructions provided to them by the community.
  • Closing RfAs is up to the bureaucrats, and I think it was a good call on their part to get wide input on the closure amongst themselves.…It would be an overstep for us to revisit the 'crats decision, which I think shows no sign of improper behavior that would justify our involvement.
  • Not going to set some precedent of running here if a discretionary call ends the way someone doesn't like.
The point being that while the close was not, and would never be universally approved, it was neither outside the burecrat remit nor some other violation. -- Avi (talk) 15:49, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I'd appreciate if anyone who is going to advance the claim that bureaucrats are "supervoting" to head over to Wikipedia:Supervote include definitions on what constitutes a bureaucrat supervote and provide examples. –xenotalk 15:30, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Does anyone have any historical insight on why I keep seeing RexxS called an "establishment candidate"? 1, 2, 3, to name a few. I'd never even heard of the guy until the 'crat chat, but I've been semi-active (to really stretch the definition of that word) for a number of years. Has he served in various Wikipedia capacities in the past that I'm unaware of? This is not supposed to be a knock on RexxS, I apologize if it came across that way. I also never heard of User:Joe Roe who is the ArbCom member that said the quote above, so it's nothing personal against RexxS. It's my own lack of recent activity, that's all. Useight's Public Sock (talk) 15:41, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
It's an unsubstantiated claim that RexxS is an "establishment candidate" (whatever that means in this context) whom the bureaucrats wanted to appoint as an administrator. Those of we bureaucrats who did want him as an admin, such as me, supported him in the RfA and recused from the close accordingly. Anything to the contrary starts to descend into the tin-foil hat-wearing zone. Acalamari 16:15, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I can think of four reasons why people may consider RexxS an "establishment" candidate. He has been active on Wikipedia for a very long time. He has been involved in the UK chapter for many years, he has been involved in outreach for many years and he is involved in WikiMed. The UK link is particularly strong, looking at the supports and opposes I spotted a dozen people who I know are in the UK, and only one was an oppose. Wikipedia is big, I can't remember many on Wiki interactions that I have had with him, I know him largely from meetups and editathons in the UK. ϢereSpielChequers 16:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Neither – I feel the question is too narrowly-focused and we would benefit from a broader conversation about RfA reform and community de-sysop before any specific proposals are made. I've started a thread with one idea at WP:Village pump (idea lab)#RfA reform: straight vote?. Levivich 16:14, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I think what is meant by a 'establishment candidate' is that RexxS has been around for a long time, has been highly active in areas that are not reflected in his edit count on-Wiki, and is certainly of an age and maturity where he doesn't 'need' the mop on his CV or to brag about in the schoolyard.
On another note, WereSpielChequers and I have been heavily discussing RfA on and off, on- and off-Wiki, for a decade and we mostly agree on most things. I'm not so keen on his #4, but #5 and #6 are important - especially #6. Overall though, on the hundreds of RfA I've participated on, the community has usually reached (rightly or wrongly - and more often right than wrong) a clear outcome; where the decision has been left to the 'crats, there has only been, IMHO, one outcome which I disagreed with. It was an extremely knife-edge but very polite RfA on which a single 'crat extracted a consensus where a 'crat chat would certainly have been a much safer option. What I'm saying is however, that where I was very disenchanted with the outcome, I didn't make a song and dance about it and didn't call for RfCs to get the votes more closely examined or cut-off values renegotiated.
To suggest that the 'crats are , or have been guilty of supervoting would be highly infelicitous. RfA nevertheless remains to this day the one venue where editors can rejoice at being drama mongers and as nasty as they like with almost total impunity. That's where reform is needed. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't want to knock the OP for opening a discussion in good faith, but I think the discomfort myself and presumably several others felt about the outcome here is because of a more fundamental problem that this does not address. Essentially, we as a community have decided that consensus is always based on the strength of arguments, not on the numbers favoring each argument (the one exception that proves this rule are the ARBCOM elections). However, even with such analysis, outcomes of discussions are not clear; there is a continuum of outcomes from "unanimity in favor of (X)" to "unanimity against (X)", and encompassing everything in between. RFAs usually fall somewhere along the continuum, and so of necessity we need some sort of threshold to turn a continuum of outcomes into a pass/fail. While acknowledging that this threshold cannot be numerical, it is also obvious that this threshold should broadly be consistent, otherwise the process is meaningless. In this case, I felt it not to be; or to put it another way, if the outcome here was okay, then Jbhunley got a really raw deal, and that's extremely unfortunate for many reasons. It's unfair to him personally, it's unfair to the community as a whole because we've been deprived of the services of an extra admin, and it's doubly unfair to the community because it makes RFA (already seen as an extremely unpleasant process) also appear capricious. Both these RFAs are now closed, but we need to be discussing how to find this balance between basing consensus on the strength of arguments while also keeping it reasonably consistent. Vanamonde (Talk) 16:24, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I supported both JBHunley and RexxS, but having just revisited the earlier RFA I don't see them as similar other than in raw numbers, and raw numbers are not the whole issue here. You could conclude that the crats were taking the reasons cited for opposing JBHunley slightly more seriously than they took the reasons for opposing RexxS. Or that they gave greater latitude to a WikiMed person who had been here 11 years over an editor who had been here 6 years. Or that one got cut some slack for commitments made during the RFA. The truth is that both were close, both could have gone either way, and the crats have to make a binary choice when there is clearly a close call. ϢereSpielChequers 17:00, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers: While I agree the two were not identical, my comment wasn't just about the numbers (broadly similar, slightly more support for JBH) but about the nature of the opposition, and more specifically about the applicability of some of the crat comments in the Rexxs crat-chat to Jbh's RFA, and vice-versa. While I supported both, I recognize that they were both judgement calls. My complaint, though, is that the reasons to give less weight to the opposition to RexxS also applied broadly to Jbh. I'm particularly concerned by the comments of WJBscribe and Nihonjoe, who supported promotion in the latter case but not the former; and I'm concerned because AFAICS, their analyses in each case could be applied in its entirety to the other discussion. At the moment it's unclear if this result was because the crats are hearing community feedback about RFA having too many overly-demanding naysayers, or whether it's stochastic variability. If it's the former, that's great; if it's the latter, we need to talk about making it less variable. Vanamonde (Talk) 17:22, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Quoting WJBscribe "The Opposition is largely concentrated on one issue in relation to which limited evidence is presented despite the candidate being a longstanding contributor." I see those as three arguments two of which are radically different between these two RFAs. The RFA that failed had two major arguments in the Oppose section and an editor who had been here six years rather than 11. I'm not sure that I agree with WJBscribe on either of those, I don't see a case for cutting extra slack for our longest serving editors. As for whether the argument in the Oppose section has focused on one argument or not, I could put the other case, there were two main arguments for declining the other RFA, but if they had been voted on separately it is likely that over 75% thought that the candidates contributions were sufficient for RFA and a not quite overlapping 75% thought that their behaviour was acceptable. I'm not sure if I agree that a united Oppose section should be given less weight than a divided one, but I would agree that on those two criteria those two close calls go in opposite directions. ϢereSpielChequers 17:45, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
My thoughts pretty much mirror those of WereSpielChequers, who phrased them much better than I would have. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 18:02, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Indeed it was. In fact your change of course, as it happens from one favorite to another, was especially poorly explained. Looks like you just wanted to go with the mood shift. I mean, repeating something is "a hard one" doesn't really explain your rationale, does it? Leaky caldron (talk) 18:22, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
@Leaky caldron: Thank you for the backhanded compliment, Leaky. It was a "hard one" because I was pretty much on the fence with it, and could have gone either way. Initially, I decided one way. After reviewing the comments made by a number of the other 'crats, I decided I agreed with the reasoning they gave, and so I changed my opinion. There's nothing nefarious here, despite what you may think. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 19:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I didn't participate in RexxS' RFC (because I didn't know it was happening) and I've not read the Crat Char or almost all the subsequent drama, however I am firmly against numerical cutoffs, strong or weak. Every RFA should be assessed on the strength of the arguments presented - two dozen !votes based on a subsequently-clarified misunderstanding are worth much less than a single !vote that is based on things everyone agrees are accurate (even if they disagree on whether they are good or bad). Thryduulf (talk) 16:59, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I appreciate the good faith of opening this discussion and I have nothing negative to say about it having been opened, so thanks. In one sense, yes, I do think that the higher the support percentage, the stronger the rationale for closing as successful, and that trend applies pretty much across the entire range of results and not just in the discretionary zone. But in another sense, I feel strongly that, per WP:VOTE, the numbers just do not matter that much and no numerical cut-off should be regarded as binding. (The example given earlier, of an RfA in which new information comes forth late in the process, is a good example.) It's intentionally hard to pass RfB, so crats are entrusted by the community to use discretion, and they should be able to do so. I also think that there is a logical flaw in arguments that there could be a problem because there was one crat chat where the decision was to promote, and another with a very similar percentage where the result was no consensus. The logical flaw is the assumption that a given percentage always indicates the same thing about community consensus, and it's a flaw for the very reason that we have !votes rather than votes. Two different RfAs that both ended at 64% are not automatically equal in terms of how the discussions played out. And that is exactly what I do want the crats to evaluate. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:56, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I am not a statistician. I don't understand the question, and the diagrams don't help. But RfAs are now advertised with a notice that has had the desired effect of increasing participation. And the hard-argued RfCs on lowering the discretionary range established that the community wanted the discretionary range lowered to start at 65% and rejected lowering it to 60%. The job the bureaucrats swore they would do in their RfBs is to interpret consensus in the RfAs. A discretionary range is a discretionary range: outside it is not discretion, it's wilfully changing the result (and persuading someone to break a repeated promise doesn't make it better). RfA is enough of a popularity/influence contest already. Deprecate the bureaucrats' changing results that do not fall within the discretionary range. Whether they do it because they like someone or because they think having more admins is so imperative it doesn't matter if we get an abusive one is immaterial. Fit that into the RfC however you statistically literate people see fit. Yngvadottir (talk) 18:00, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • At last!! the DISCRETIONARY Range BEGINS at 65%. Below is outside Discretionary range - obvious, simple logic. Leaky caldron (talk) 18:13, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Then we're back to bean counting. In this case, after weighing the strength of the arguments, in my opinion, there were more than 65% weighted responses in favor. I'd say that Enwiki either says we have absolute hard and sharp boundaries at the bottom, or they trust the discretion and resoning of the 'crats. We've always had the latter, knowing that 30%+ of participants in an RfA may be annoyed. Switching to the former requires a site-wide RfC. -- Avi (talk) 18:25, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Forgive me Avi, this is not intended to be as critical as it sounds but are you being deliberately obtuse? You guys - 'crats - have a discretionary range of 11 percent in which to do your sums, play your games, pontificate, muse and opine. Why do you need more? The community expressly rejected less than 65% in an RFC. Leaky caldron (talk) 18:29, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Will you stop? They're fulfilling their roles as bureaucrats. If we wanted someone to just total up a numeric percentage, bots already do that. Natureium (talk) 18:36, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • That's going too far. Reyk YO! 18:48, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I hope he/she doesn't stop. "Bean counting" = respecting what the voters say. We are only too aware of your opinion, Avraham. It's that the RfA was an unnecessary formality because you and your friend crats know better. I'm coming to be ashamed that one of you once promoted me. This was not discerning consensus, and you can't be trusted to do so any more. Let us vote and stay out of it. Yngvadottir (talk) 18:54, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Me too. As I said on BN, it seems like the crats used their discretion to ignore votes related to the process to bring the percentage up to 65%, then ignored the other oppose votes by closing the request as successful. By the current consensus, 65% should be the minimum, after which crats can engage in their arbitrary reasoning at the crat chats. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 19:25, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Question are the outcomes of RFCs exempt from WP:IAR? Asking for a friend... The Rambling Man (talk) 18:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Bureaucrats don't need to invoke IAR. Yngvadottir (talk) 19:17, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      • Is that indoctrinated in policy, or just your opinion? Asking for a friend... The Rambling Man (talk) 19:18, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        • I might be wrong, it has been known :), that the convention when resorting to IAR is to quote WP:IAR in the rationale for whatever the IAR is being used. Leaky caldron (talk) 19:21, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
          • Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure if IAR is a reasonable explanation here, or not, but the point is, if IAR is a policy, and 'crats aren't forbidden from using such policy, then all this bluster over 65% and discretionary ranges etc, is a complete and utter waste of time. Either get consensus that 'crats can't IAR or move on. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:24, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
            • To belabour the point, the crats have demonstrated that they consider their opinion to be the rule, and hence have no need for that nicety. Yngvadottir (talk) 19:39, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
              • What you mean is, the 'crats, like Arbcom, have exercised their own judgement, even if the community don't agree with it? Is that what you're belabouring? If IAR is something that can't be applied to 'crats and Arbcom, we should be told, right? The Rambling Man (talk) 19:41, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
                • Based on the principle behind IAR, I don't understand why it shouldn't apply to crats.Natureium (talk) 19:46, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
                  • Because they promise at RfB to merely discern consensus. Yngvadottir (talk) 19:50, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
                    • Ah, so "discern consensus" means they are not allowed to IAR? Could you be clear here? The Rambling Man (talk) 19:52, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • This RfC question is so badly worded that I can't even respond to it. It actually seems like you don't even understand what the issue is. The discretionary range is a general rule that is almost always followed, with strength of arguments factored in according to policy considerations and common sense, just like any other discussion. I don't think anyone disputes that. The actual question is whether 'crats can judge a 64% scenario to be in the discretionary range by disqualifying illegitimate opposes. That's what happened. That's the controversy. After discounted opposes, RexxS' RfA would be in the discretionary range, so they passed an RfC that did not even hit the minimum percentage. Some users feel that regardless of the merits of the opposition, the vote count is the vote count, and being outside of the discretionary range is be a quick-fail. This RfC does nothing to resolve this actual issue. ~Swarm~ {sting} 19:36, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • (I think you mean an RfA). That's not what I saw happen. One of them opened a crat chat because participants disagreed in the RfA (shock, horror). Several crats then decided to discount opposes by "weighting" and based on disagreement on the major issue raised. They persuaded the candidate to rescind his withdrawal. They persuaded at least one of their fellow crats to fall in line. They were determined to change the result, and did so. Yngvadottir (talk) 19:46, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      • I think that's gross assumption of bad faith. I suspect, given that I trust most of our 'crats a damn sight more than the Arbcom, that they saw a corner case and needed to act on it responsibly and in keeping with their ability to do more than just divide one number by the sum of two numbers. All this "persuasion" and "determination" that's being perceived in my opinion is hysteria. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        • I hope I'm right in seeing bad faith here, because otherwise they're idiots. Don't let's bring Arbcom into it, one set of powerful people telling common editors their concerns don't matter is enough for this week. Yngvadottir (talk) 20:14, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
          • Once again, you're not answering the question. And yes, it's important to include Arbcom here. Are 'crats (like admins, and it would seem Arbcom) allowed to IAR, or are 'crats the only subset of the Wikipedia editing community which are precluded from exercising such a policy? The Rambling Man (talk) 20:17, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
            • Michael Howard [1] and yes they are. Leaky caldron (talk) 20:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
              • Did you order the code red? Yes, 'crats are allowed to invoke IAR because it's policy and everyone here is bound by policy. So this is a pointless exercise. If, however, someone wants to start an RFC which says "below 65% support, no-one may even invoke IAR", then you have your RFC. Right now, this is yet another timesink. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:38, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

  • Another historical question. When Biblioworm made the edit summarizing the 2015 RFC, did anybody voice any concern with the wording? I scoured the related talk pages and archives looking for anyone lodging a complaint about the wording, but couldn't find anything. The closest I found was a short conversation that took place in August 2018 here, which wasn't about the 2015 change at all, but about a small 2018 change that ended up getting reverted. Does anyone know of any conversations that took place shortly after the 2015 RFC regarding how the results were codified and summarized by Biblioworm? Or is this the first instance? Useight's Public Sock (talk) 19:47, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • B? This is a very weird RfC question. In general, my guess is that the likelihood the bureacrats see consensus to promote scales with the actual vote tally. This isn't so much a policy or unspoken practice as it is common sense. More votes in support = higher probability the community came to consensus to promote. That said, figuring out current practice is hard since very few RfAs close at or near the discretionary range. By my count at Wikipedia:Requests_for_adminship_by_year, since December 2015 there have just 9 that ended up within a couple points of the range. Pbsouthwood (77%) and Oshwah (75%) closed as consensus to promote without a 'crat chat. Jbhunley (70%), Godsy (68%), and Hawkeye7 (67%) were closed as no consensus following 'crat chat. GoldenRing (67%) was closed as consensus to promote following 'crat chat. Between 60 and 65% the only closes we've had are Philafrenzy (64%) closed as no consensus with no 'crat chat, and RexxS (64%) closed as consensus to promote after 'crat chat. If you chart those, you'll find a mess. In general, I'd say the 'crats rarely find consensus to promote when the vote tally is under 75%. In some rare cases, they judge that there is consensus to promote. Put another way, the expansion of the discretionary zone in 2015 has changed the result of at most 2 RfAs. I don't think the answer to this RfC would further change RfA outcomes, so I'm not totally clear on its purpose. Some folks obviously feel that there should be a hard numerical cutoff under which 'crats should not consider promotion. If you feel that way, perhaps start an RfC on that instead. Ajpolino (talk) 20:13, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • This is what was actually passed [2] according to the closer, Neonjoe, by a supermajority. At the same time reducing the lower edge to 60% was firmly rejected [3]. 64.1% lands below 65% - there is no fuzzy margin here. The added verbiage was added outside of this supermajority decision. Wrongly. Leaky caldron (talk) 20:25, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    I feel like you're replying to my question with your response, but it isn't actually answering the question. I do not and will not get into philosophical discussions. My question remains (and is not directed at you, but at anyone who might know): Does anyone know if Biblioworm's edit in December 2015 was made without incident until now or was there prior discussion about the wording? Useight's Public Sock (talk) 20:45, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Did that RFC state that 'crats could not IAR nor could they dismiss objections (e.g. "I don't like the guy") which clearly fall outside the normal expectations? Just asking, because all this bluster about 65% etc is fine, but once again, we're just dancing around the edges of whether or not 'crats are entitled to act with IAR in boundary conditions. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I commend Sideways713 for attempting to clarify this issue. RfA has always benefited from and been plagued by the vague nature of voting/!voting. The RfA from which this RfC came forward is simply the latest iteration of many. This RfC can't and won't clarify this. For all its hideous ugliness, the system is working as intended. For those that are gravely concerned about the outcome of Rexx's RfA; be aware that RfA is an absolutely horrible predictor of whether an admin will fail and lose their bit. The last 10 admins who lost their bit for cause passed RfA with a combined tally of 928/52/29. The community expressed an enormous amount of confidence in those 10 former admins, only for them to subsequently lose their bit for cause. Rexx's RfA is not a predictor one way or another whether he will succeed as an admin. This, too, shall pass and we will continue as we have been. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:40, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Wow, recentism works, or is it just lies, damned lies, and statistics? I was elected second time round to admin 128/0/0. Then look what happened. And even to 'crat a couple of years later. I would take the preceding comment with a pinch of salt. I have little doubt that RexxS will do good things with the bit, especially in light of all this unnecessary heat (which, incidentally, should not be any reflection at all on him). The Rambling Man (talk) 20:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    And then I would take my own comment with a pinch of salt. Hammersoft nailed it (is that allowed?). The final sentence was spot on, to whit: This, too, shall pass and we will continue as we have been., my apologies to Hammersoft for spending too much time watching The Victim on the iPlayer while editing... The Rambling Man (talk) 21:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Hahahah! TRM, you are the first person to ever (even if unintentionally) make that play on words. Bravo sir, bravo :) --Hammersoft (talk) 23:09, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The last RFC expanded the discretionary range, I don't believe that it made it more rigid as it would have done if the proposal had been to change the wording such as from "below the range will normally fail" to "below the range will always fail". What I do wonder is whether we have now moved de facto into an era where adminship is such a big deal that all close calls have to go to crat chats. ϢereSpielChequers 20:42, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    I believe what is being sought here is hard and fast. (a) above 75% - promote (b) between 65% and 75% - chat (c) below 65% - fail. And this means completely ignoring the substance of the votes being cast. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:46, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Exactly. Bureaucrats are appointed to assess substance of comments made. If the community wants to go off percentages only, then the only way I can think of it working is making RFA like ArbCom elections, with established users only and hidden voting. Aiken D 20:55, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Indeed, at which point we might as well remove the position of 'crat from Wikipedia altogether as it's only really nowadays serving a middleware purpose of promotion to adminship. Let's just hand that off to Arbcom and actually get them to do something useful and timely. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Just FYI:The last RfC also rejected discretionary ranges below 65[4] [5]. Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:59, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    But the 'crats HAVE a 65%-75% range in which to use discretion. The arithmetic has to start somewhere. 65%. Leaky caldron (talk) 21:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    @the Rambling man I'm aware that there are several people on this page who want to make such a change, and even who think that this is the current policy and that the Crats have breached it. There are also people such as myself who are uncomfortable changing RFA to a rigid discretionary zone. Just to repeat the hypothetical that I gave earlier, on the seventh day of an RFA Support slides from 100% to 76% as a series of supporters shift to oppose. Currently a sensible crat would close such an RFA as a failure. Is there anyone who wants such a rigid discretionary range that a crat should close such an RFa as successful? ϢereSpielChequers 21:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Your description of a 100% -> 76% slide (or more importantly, a 74% or even 64% slide) is why we vote for and enable our 'crats to make hard decisions. I trust them. I don't trust Arbcom at all, but 'crats are worthy. They perform their duties openly and honestly, are elected openly and honestly, and sometimes have to call it, and this time they did. It's not a problem, and IAR exists for this very reason. Once again, if someone wishes to revoke 'crats' ability to act subjectively based on their assessment of various opposes (e.g. "I don't like the guy" for god's sake), then make that the RFC. Or if someone thinks IAR doesn't apply to this dozen or so of the millions of us, then make that the RFC. Meantime, get over it. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:08, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Can I clarify with those opposed to the 65% minima - what does 65% mean? Leaky caldron (talk) 21:09, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

65% is merely a number derived from two other numbers which happen to be based on a subset of editors who chose to preface their comments with a #. To set the system such that candidates who fall even slightly below 65% automatically fail, without any regard to the actual comments behind those #’d remarks would be to allow form to triumph over substance, and I do not think this is what the community wants from bureaucrats. Since we disagree on this very fundamental aspect, until an RFC answers that question in your favour or mine, I don’t think we can come to any kind of mutual understanding, unfortunately. –xenotalk 22:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
In other words, what I said below about half an hour ago. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I think it means that you add up all the supports (A) and then add up all total votes (B), divide (A) by (B) and if it's 0.6500000 or above, you are allowed to be "discretionary" and below 0.6500000 you must fail and you (i.e. the assessing 'crat) must not pay any attention whatsoever to the substance of any of the votes, all must be treated equally, like a secret vote, like we do for "Arbcom". The Rambling Man (talk) 21:16, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    I answered your question regarding IAR fairly. I would appreciate your interpretation please. Leaky caldron (talk) 21:18, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    I just gave you my interpretation. What are you looking for? The community seem to need a minimum below which they cannot trust 'crats to make a decision. 65% apparently seems to be the current minimum. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:20, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    In which case I am sorry that I have misinterpreted your previous remarks as being opposed to that. I am hoping to gain an understanding from those opposed to 65% minimum what they believe 65% means and you responded under that heading. Leaky caldron (talk) 21:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Ah yeah, well I'm neither in favour of, or opposed to a 65% minimum. I think it's nonsense. Any numerical answer which simply relies on 'crats dividing (A) by (B) renders their role lower than a lowly Arbcom clerk. Anyone can tweak numbers, be told to refactor or redact something, divide two numbers and check it's above 0.65. Is that really what we have 'crats for these days? I'm glad there's a growing consensus against there being any issue here whatsoever, but if this ever got more traction to suggesting that 'crats overstepped their bailiwick, then I'd immediately opt to eliminate 'crat as a position now they're not needed for renames, and if judging borderline RFAs is gone too, what's the point? The Rambling Man (talk) 21:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Is a 65% - 75% borderline not sufficient though? Does it have to be a Donald Trump sized border to police? Leaky caldron (talk) 21:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    I don't see the point in a borderline at all. The 65%-75% you describe is purely numerical, so it includes votes like "I don't like the guy" (wow, I mean, WOW). Should we be doing that? I don't think so. I think 'crats should be given the latitude to completely ignore such ridiculous votes, and if you can find a consensus that says we shouldn't allow 'crats to do that, I'd be surprised. So immediately, the % argument starts to lose its way. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    [6] [7] Leaky caldron (talk) 21:40, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    I don't see anywhere in either of those links where it says that 'crats can't discount blatantly disruptive votes like "I don't like the guy" and hence I don't see anywhere in either of those links where 'crats can't make subjective decisions over what constitutes a reasonable vote, and hence I don't see anywhere in either of those links where 'crats shouldn't be enabled to do what most of us voted for them to do, make important decisions without resorting to bean counting. And even then, if necessary, IAR. Numerical accuracy is perverse here when you have clearly disruptive voting tactics. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Maybe they should have said which votes they were discounting in order to arrive at the 65% to begin their discretion consideration? Leaky caldron (talk) 21:52, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Maybe, and then of course every user whose vote was discounted would be up in arms, and it would become a never-ending story, hence perhaps we should vote for admins like we do our "Arbs". And leave it to someone else to do the vote counting and announcements. All in secret. And as I noted, that way we could get rid of the 'crat position entirely. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:55, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    every user whose vote was discounted would be up in arms- you say that like it's a bad thing. If someone participates in a process in good faith, and then their opinion gets chucked on the trash heap, I think they're justified in wondering why. Reyk YO! 22:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Well, the one example I gave thus far was "Oppose - I don't like the guy", so that's a prime candidate for being "chucked on the trash heap". Time to start getting real here, and avoid pandering to those who are clearly not engaged in the process of electing someone to admin. If someone is prepared to give a suitable reason for oppose or support, than we should trust our 'crats to take those votes into consideration. Votes based on whether you like someone should be thrown out and the voter should be banned from future voting as disruptive. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:04, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    I'm no fan of trollish opposes in RfA's either. I've often objected when candidates are opposed for such extreme felonies as not being a native English speaker (though fluent), or being a fan of a particular author, or of editing articles that some people don't find interesting. Yet people tell me I need to respect those opposes. Which is why I'm annoyed when actual good faith opinions then get tossed in the garbage. BTW, your example of "I just don't like the guy" is a horrible example because Softlavender followed it up with a measured reply in response. Reyk YO! 22:27, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    No, it's far from horrible because it's an exemplar of the kinds of votes that 'crats have to work with all the time, and in close-run cases, they need to exercise judgement which is why they were elected in the first place. Simply put, if we want RFA to work purely numerically, then say so. If we want 'crats to work purely within the 65% to 75% range after the pure numerical closure had happened, then say so. If we want 'crats to reject anything below precisely 65% from the pure numerical closure, then say so. If we want 'crats to be disallowed any latitude on interpreting the validity of votes, then say so. If 'crats are not allowed to exercise IAR, then say so. Right now, I'm not hearing any real solutions, just a lot of bitching about one instance where a few people appear to be "butt-hurt about the situation" (to use a US vernacular). The Rambling Man (talk) 22:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    RfA does not follow the patterns we normally use when judging consensus. The supports are invariably variations on "I think this editor would make a suitable admin, and the opposes are insufficient to convince me otherwise". The opposes are generally more colourful, often detailing grudges and grievances, with the occasional "we have too many admins already" and "I couldn't vote for someone who urinates in the sink". Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:33, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree there's a hint of false dichotomy, but logically it has to lean toward the "unit" side. It can't really be that 'Crats are bound to almost always pass someone near the top of the discretionary range, and almost always fail those lower in it, or it is not in fact a discretionary range, but a pretense of one, and we have no use for fake process that creates a bureaucratic layer "just to have one". It has to actually serve a function, and the specified function is for 'Crats to carefully examine the arguments presented. We already know the numbers are iffy, because it ended up in the discretionary range at all. So, making the 'Cratchat outcome dependent on any kind of numeric approach defeats the entire purpose of remanding the candidacy to a 'Cratchat in the first place. But of course the 'Crats are not robots and will of course take numeric support into account as they're going over the RfA, so it is a factor and will remain one (that's the false dichotomy part).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:10, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • My thoughts are to decline to engage directly with Sideways713's question as proceeding from a false premise. I can see why Sideways713 is taking the approach chosen here and recognise that it is being done in good faith, but trying to define and then mathematically describe the nature of the discretionary zone proceeds from a premise that the decision being taken is one capable of precise modelling – and that is false. The same fallacy is seen in a focus on specific values of the S / (S + O) ratio.
    The purpose of RfA is to determine whether there is a consensus amongst community members who choose to participate to grant access to the sysop tools. It is not about winning or losing a prize, nor about filing a fixed number of positions with editors whose views you favour, it is not about governance or politics or popularity. Now, it is true that !vote counting can provide information on which to decide whether consensus exists, but that is all it is – a tool used to provide a means that assists in making a decision. In many cases, the result of such a calculation makes consensus clear and a single 'crat makes the call on consensus and close the RfA accordingly. In others, the presence or absence of consensus is unclear and a 'crat chat is held. We as a community held an RfC some years ago to modify the "discretionary zone", which I see as another tool to assist 'crats in deciding the result. Our discussion showed that there was a majority view that standard practice at RfA at that time was adopting a threshhold for consensus that was inaccurately reflecting community views, and we asked / directed the 'crats to lower the threshhold and gave guidance as to how this should be applied. To me, the idea that that RfC dictated to 'crats that they must find consensus at and above 75% support, must find no consensus between 75% and 65%, and must find no consensus or consensus against when below 65%, is an interpretation inconsistent with the nature of the decision and instead reflects the faulty premise that I mentioned above. It implies that the RfC changed the decision from being about consensus to having a narrow range for considering the strength of arguments sitting inside a broad range where only !vote counting mattered. I do not accept that as an accurate view of what happened.
    I have no problem with the 'crats having a 'crat chat on a 77% support case, and even finding no consensus so long as the reasoning shows an honest and reasonable evaluation of consensus. I have disagreed with the outcomes of 'crat chats before and there have certainly been cases where my opinion differed from that of some 'crats or of the 'crat consensus. However, I can't recall one where I viewed the conclusion as objectively unreasonable / unsupportable and where I thought the actions had gone beyond the limits of the discretion they are granted to carry out their duties. It would only be if that happened that we'd need to act on a policy level, or through RfAr to remove individual 'crats. I am glad the 'crats concluded as they did, but much more important, I am grateful that they took their duty seriously, carefully examined the discussion, and offered their views and reasoning for all to see. We may disagree with some comments, but I think we should be respecting the collective decision reached after a serious and mutually respectful discussion that itself demonstrated the emergence of consensus.
    I understand that some editors feel RexxS is not suited to being an administrator and are disappointed that others have disagreed. I understand that the outcome reached is not the one that follows from strict !vote counting... but that has never been the basis for judging consensus at RfA. But, please, consider whether attempting to change the nature of RfA is something you really want, reflect on whether 'crats as judges of consensus have done anything worse than come to conclusion about which you disagree, and ask what there is to gain from these discussions. If you truly believe that one or more 'crats, or even the 'crat group as a whole, have so violated their obligations and granted boundaries of discretion that they are unfit for the role, you can take it up with them directly or with ArbCom and seek sanctions... but before doing that, ask if that is truly what you think. Disagreeing is not a wikicrime, it's a part of a healthy community and productive discussions and debate. Deliberately abusing discretion is a wikicrime – and in this case it's a charge that logically would apply to at least seven 'crats, or more if you see even having / participating in the 'crat chat as a betrayal – but I struggle to see how that view can be sustained. Finally, give some thought to RexxS, who didn't ask for this controversy and must be feeling stressed by all that's going on. At least, let's try to allow him the space that all new admins need to grow into their new role and its responsibilities. EdChem (talk) 03:45, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
It is a bit of a wonder that any of this is all that confusing for an experienced pedian (although sure, I think it would have been great to wait for awhile on these serial RfC's, etc.). Something happened in the community that almost had never happened before, so yes, it's going lead to things. The 'real world' does 'after-action' review all the time, so it can't be all that unexpected (we just are messier). Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:58, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Neutrally-stated Summary[edit]

The discussions have been all over the place (literally on various pages and topically splintering into tangents), making it somewhat convoluted. I went through it and made a list of all the questions and concerns I came across. There could certainly be more (and others could arise in the future), so feel free to add to the list. I am not commenting on any of these, nor am I stating that I condone or condemn any of these questions or their (potential) answers. I'm merely listing them for the sake of clarity. I tried to phrase each concern as neutrally as possible, phrased as a yes/no question. They are also in no particular order.

  1. Should April Fool's festivities be banned from RFA areas?
  2. Should April Fool's festivities be banned from the site as a whole?
  3. Is the discretionary zone bounds of the 2015 RFC a hard 65%-75% or fuzzy?
  4. Do the bureaucrats have the ability to IAR when it comes to the discretionary zone boundaries?
  5. Was the discretionary zone fuzzy before the 2015 RFC? If so, was it still fuzzy afterwards?
  6. Was it within the bureaucrat's remit to open a 'crat chat for RexxS' RFA?
  7. Did any or all of the bureaucrats participating in the aforementioned 'crat chat act in bad faith, COI, etc?
  8. Did any or all of the bureaucrats participating in the aforementioned 'crat chat use discretion in a substandard way or explain their discretion in a substandard way?
  9. Should bureaucrats be more explicit in which !votes are given full weight and which ones are not and why?
  10. Was the RexxS 'crat chat, or any portion of it, a supervote?
  11. Is more leniency provided for longer-tenured candidates?
  12. Can RFAs or 'crat chats be compared? Is precedence a factor?

I don't know if that helps provide any clarity or not. Feel free to completely ignore. Useight (talk) 01:46, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Order of operations[edit]

So, I don't really want too get deep in to this dramafest right now - but here is something to consider: when "weighing" votes - I don't necessarily consider all votes to be equally weighted (as I clearly stated in my RfB). So when closing an RfA: in general I weigh out the votes and if it results in <65% I'm likely closing as unsuccessful, and if its >75% I'm likely closing as successful - in between requires more consideration, and possibly, but not necessarily, extra help (the 'crat chat). So to note here, I look at the weighing first, then the calculation. I certainly don't expect every 'crat to weigh every every discussion point the same as I do, so there certainly could be variance between crats here. The point of this is: weighing may be performed prior to percentage support determination by at least some of us crats. If the community would like a strict numerical cut off somewhere (computed prior to any weighing) then continue in the section above - if not, this order of operations may be what is confusing the causal observer. — xaosflux Talk 23:53, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Not sure about these tailing level three headings, but this follows the preceding post. Consensus is not about the numbers. Understandably, there was a curiosity about studying the RfA numbers and their correlation with whether the bureaucrats promoted. Unfortunately, this led to an obsession with numbers, and with time, the perception of the correlation with the numbers hardened, and now, for some, their is a belief in the numbers at the expense of consensus. Consensus is not about the numbers. It is about strengths of arguments, and whether some arguements eclipse others, and whether some arguments overcome others, and whether some arguments are more persuasive to others in the discussion. The recent RfC on shifting the discretionary zone should have been written differently, and should be interpreted as the community telling the bureaucrats that they should be passing more RfAs. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:55, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • But there is still a percentage element to consensus. Unanimity is the ideal, which is 100%. 2 people have different views and they come to agreement and you have a consensus of 100%, if the two don't come to agreement you don't have a consensus, and they are at 50-50. (See also meeting of minds.) As you scale larger, it becomes harder to have agreement of all, so it becomes acceptable to expect less, but not down to 50% - 50% again, and 75 is between 100 and 50. (And the issue, here, of course, is an admin is an admin for 100% of us. Also, a discussion among 300 is, well, a bit imaginary). As I have said elsewhere, it would be good, if the cratchat modeled making consensus in a group, like explicit statement that an !vote is given 0 weight (say, by majority of crats), and a group statement of consensus that, say 75% of crats can agree too. All over the pedia, small groups of editors come to consensus on what to say, how to say, and why to say something, all the time. Overtime you would get a better informed !voting population, too. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:40, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
      Drawing the line at 75% would require 3-out-of-4 but also 4-out-of-5, 5/6, 6/7, 6/8, 7/9, 8/10, 9/11, 9/12, and so on. As practically applied to small groups of voters (like crats), it would require near-unanimity. It would be strange if five-out-of-seven or seven-out-of-ten people agreed on something, and yet that wasn't considered to be "consensus". Levivich 21:24, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
      So, 70%. But are you assuming, for say 10 people of similar interest and background to discuss something together and come to agreement is either impossible, or a miracle? -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:35, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Alan, the percentage element of consensus is overblown. Unanimity is not consensus, unanimity is what happens when you have unanimity. If you have unanimity there is not need and no point talking about consensus. Consensus is about making a decision, taking into account disagreement. If there is no disagreement, the feature function of consensus is irrelevant. Counting numbers is about discounting a minority view based on numbers. Consensus is about considering more seriously the minority disagreeing view. Many Wikipedians have trouble with the concept of consensus, and try to substitute numbers. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:44, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
      Partly right. Consensus is still agreement, if you have 100% agreement you have consensus. But, yes if you don't have 100% at the beginning, you work on the differences, until you come close enough. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:52, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
      100% right. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:11, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
      All-right! Right-on! Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:18, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Is RfX a vote, or a consensus discussion? (RfC)[edit]

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.
The result was RfA is still about consensus. There have been a lot of arguments for and against the proposal for changing RfA to be more vote-based, or even a pure anonymous vote ala the Arbitration Committee elections. But it's clear that the view that RfA is about consensus enjoys consensus here. Yes, there are vote-like elements to it, and not to be self-referential, but those facets also exist for the closing of this very RfC. Ultimately, though, even if I were to ignore those preferences which merely said "no" or "yes" (hint: I did), the arguments are rather significantly in favour of RfA to continue as a discussion rather than a vote -based process. While there were strong, cogent arguments in favour of abandoning the establishment of consensus in favour of straight-forward anonymous vote, those arguments did not enjoy consensus. As an aside, I don't think this has that much of a bearing on the alarmingly diminishing willingness to undergo an RfA, as even a pure vote would have discussion components to it which may become unpleasant. I think that greatly increasing the encouragement for and the nominations of admin-hopefuls is the way to go on that front. My hope there is that we will turn the tide. El_C 03:37, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


I've been quietly observing this drama filled situation about RexxS, and I think the bigger question is, should crats be treating this as a vote where every vote is treated equally regardless, which in turn creates hard limits and ranges, or is this a discussion where crats weigh the arguments and assess the consensus, resulting in flexible ranges? If it is a vote, should we just switch over to a voting platform like secure poll, or should we keep it as is?—CYBERPOWER (Chat) 16:48, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

FTR, I'm neutral in all of this.

Yes, it is a vote[edit]

  1. Whatever the participnts may have assumed, it quite obviously is not a headcount. (in case anyone is not clear on this, I am rebuttintg this suggestion as obviously incorrect as the recent RfA has shown.) · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 07:14, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. There are numbers involved, so it's a vote. Chris Troutman (talk) 19:17, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
    If it were simply a question of numbers being "involved", then this would be, too, because it's a content RfC about a page about number codes. What's more illuminating is in what way the numbers are involved. If a given number or percentage always leads to a corresponding result, then it's a vote. But that's not what happens at RfA, nor should it be. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:03, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

Yes, it should be a vote[edit]

  1. 100% it should be a vote. It is currently not, but we should make this change, get rid of crats, and let stewards flip the bit. The “RfA is not a vote, but it really is, until we say it isn’t” mentality’s only purpose is to justify the existence of crats: a user group we only need because of the !vote mentality on something that is very clearly considered a supermajority election by everyone involved. Yes, there are some negatives involved with it (see my meta RfA which was sunk by opposers from one wiki I’ve never been on who would have been ignored on en.wiki), but on the whole it is significantly more fair and reflects the reality of how both nominators and candidates view the process. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:54, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    I don't object to it being treated as a vote, but that is a change - if we do go this was we should consider making each vote a secret ballot, or at least removing comments associated with each vote. WormTT(talk) 17:16, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    I actually really like Meta’s model of allowing comments as to why the person is supporting or opposing, but having hard numerical cutoffs. I’m aware this is a change from current policy, and that I’m likely in the minority here, but I think it’s a point worth raising. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:21, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    What do you have against bureaucrat participation? Were it treated as an up-or-down vote, so you automatically passed if you got enough support, why would it matter who did the button-pushing? All admins' statuses and user rights are identical regardless of who took the technical action of +admin at the end of the RFA. Nyttend (talk) 22:52, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
  2. Support. Implement along Arbcom. voting lines so discussions and questions remain. Suspect that this is far too radical a proposition though (the whole thing, I mean) Leaky caldron (talk) 18:16, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. Support. It should be a vote, like Arbcom, because otherwise, if it's a discussion to form consensus, we need someone to assess that consensus, and that someone will be a 'crat, and that 'crat will have come from the admin corps. So ultimately, admin will always be assessing the consensus about who should be an admin. That will always create the appearance of impropriety (even if everyone is acting in good faith) in the borderline cases–it's unavoidable. So, to reduce drama, to eliminate accusations of favoritism, etc., to simiplify the process, to make RfA less divisive, and to ultimately increase the number of people who stand for adminship, we should make selection of the consensus-assessors (admin) decided by a straight vote instead of by an assessment of consensus. It's an area where we should have an exception to the general decide-by-consensus rule. That doesn't mean we can't also have a discussion concurrent or prior to the vote, as we do in Arbcom elections. We can have the discussion, but the ultimate decision should be a straight, mathematical, objectively-determined-outcome, one-editor-one-vote process. Levivich 19:45, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. Support - I agree that it should be a vote. I feel like everyone has talked about how the process is broken but we haven't tried much to "remedy" that. If not a direct vote, I would modify the current guidelines to make hard cutoffs....65% to 75% for the 'crats to decide it - hard limits though, which would prevent a situation like what just happened. -- Dane talk 19:56, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. Lourdes 11:33, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    Lourdes, this RFC was very strangely formulated - it's apparently trying to ask two questions at once (even though one has already been answered above). I've changed the section heading to more accurately reflect the views of the other participants. Please move yourself into the old heading if this does not accurately represent your position. –xenotalk 12:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. Support Voting is fair. You don't have to be perfect to be an admin, but you should have a high amount of community trust. The easiest and most objective way to determine that is by voting. You can persuade other people to vote the way you think is the best via comments and discussion. Most RfAs are decided by numerous "regular" users who are not into wikipolitics and necessarily not easily predictable to how they will receive "establishment" candidates. A few hardcore critics voting oppose to every RfA don't matter. So don't take away the power from the regulars. --Pudeo (talk) 16:45, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    That's not reflected in reality, though. For example, if you read Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Galobtter, you'd come away with the impression that he was a politically biased editor who should be kept well away from American Politics as he would inflame discussions and use the admin tools to advance his side in a dispute. Same goes for Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Vanamonde93. Does anyone have any evidence that's happened since they've got the bit? Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:52, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    Depends what one means by fair. A straight headcount gives the same weight to the votes of a troll, a fool, a newbie and an editor with 10 years worth of featured contributions and dispute resolution experience who has worked frequently with the candidate, and disregards any logical argument for or against the candidate. It would allow the process to be taken over by any group sufficiently organised to present a majority of voters. Once elected, it would make removal of unsuitable admins no easier that is currently the case. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 07:31, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  7. Elections for adminship on all of the large wikis have pushed the standards further and further beyond reason. RfA as it currently exists should be repealed and replaced with a CU/OS type process that evaluates candidates against a set of established criteria and a short community comment period to identify any major deficiencies. Since that or any other meaningful reform isn't going to happen, then we might as well do away with this "vote but not a vote" process, where a group of random dudes (and at least one dudette) can make decisions based on whatever factors they feel like. I just don't see bureaucrats as these visionary genius elders that the wider community seems to see them as. A straight vote will not fix the process, increase the candidates, or increase the number of users who become admins, but it would be a bit more fair than the current system. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 17:22, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    Our CUOS access process is the furthest thing from an 'election' we have, roughly it is: (1) Wait until arbcom feels like considering candidates and apply. (2) Be secretly reviewed by arbcom who can veto at this point. (3) Have a community commentary period (4) Arbcom selects the appointees. - Or you can go for route 2: Get elected to arbcom. @Ajraddatz: is this the type of process you are referring to? — xaosflux Talk 17:55, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, though the process would need to be modified to suit the purpose. PERM and CU/OS are local processes for requesting permissions that actually work (in that they successfully attract candidates), so if we want to fix the adminship granting process I think it makes sense to take the things that work and try them out. I would like to see an RfA-replacement have 1) established standards for requesting, similar to most of the advanced non-sysop permissions like templateeditor, 2) a community consultation period that is aimed at evaluating how well the candidate meets those criteria and identifies any other areas of major concern, and 3) a decision made external to a community vote with a clear road identified for the candidate to address deficiencies should they not be selected. But I also don't expect that anything like this will happen, because the community seems to be terrified of trying new things out, and won't accept anything except a perfect replacement process. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 18:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  8. It should be a vote, but there should not be any campaigning (i.e. comments and diffs) in the support or oppose sections. Discussion and voting should be separate, like in most (if not all) democracies. "Consensus" doesn't really work all that well in discussions where there are only two possible outcomes and no creative compromises can be found. —Kusma (t·c) 18:12, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    Consus has its liitations.. It means a result that everyone can at least grudgingly go along with, and that generally means that disputed situations need to attain compromise. At XfD there are many compromises between keep and delte, and we increasingly use them. But in giving or not giving admin rights, there's no intermediate and no way of compromise. This means that we need a more stable solution than consensus, and voting , despite its limitations, do es do that. I recently lost an election here by a very small number of votes. I can accept that much more readily than I could if there had been a general discussion with ambivalent results ad some one or few people needed to decide what was the better result. DGG ( talk ) 00:50, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  9. Support with the caveat that obvious frivolous votes (nominator is not an admin, too colorful a signature, etc.) can be ignored. It more or less is a vote now anyway, so why not call a spade a spade? Calidum 00:20, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    And how does one determine obvious frivolous votes? For example, why is "nominator is not an admin" obviously frivolous when the voter in question might be concerned that someone unfamiliar with adminship themselves cannot properly assess a candidate's suitability or is unable to check certain (e.g. deleted) contributions that might be relevant? Regards SoWhy 06:59, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  10. The existence of a discretionary range shows that RfA is a vote in practice. This is ideal as it reduces uncertainty. Yet our current approach of forcing it to be treated as a quasi-discussion forces most RfA voters to make a comment about a user, inviting more scrutiny and making the process much more nerve-racking for candidates. The current system shows vote counts in real time, which can be entertaining to some, but places a lot of pressure on the candidate. This is why, despite our encouragements, many users refuse to place themselves through RfA. My vision for RfA is for it to become an WP:ACE-like process, using an anonymous poll system, but continue to allow questions to be asked and comments regarding the candidate to be made. In such a case if the numerical result of the vote falls within the discretionary range, crats can base their judgment on the comments made about the candidate. If there is anything abnormal about the votes, these can be easily resolved, just as how our ArbCom elections resolve suspicious votes or vote counts. Such an RfA process would encourage many previously unwilling editors to have a go. feminist (talk) 18:26, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    Couldn't one make the opposite argument that more people are likely to vote against a particular candidate based on personal feelings if they know their vote will not be scrutinized? After all, the current system can (somewhat) help deter "silly" opposes by forcing those in opposition (unlike those in support) to provide a reason. So I doubt that many previously unwilling editors would be willing to face a system that they can "lose" without knowing, at the end of the day, why they failed. When I attempted RfB for a second time, it was of course daunting to see so many people finding flaws with my actions. But it was also a great opportunity to learn about these flaws, to get honest feedback about it and hopefully use it to improve myself going forward. So I am also grateful that I did not have to face a process where anyone could just oppose me without telling me why. On a side note, there are never that many more candidates for ACE than there are spots to fill, so a straight anonymous vote might not be something many people want to face either. Regards SoWhy 19:31, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    I guess you could say so, but under the current system oppose voters can already oppose for any stupid/minor reason, and at the end of the day the scrutiny faced by oppose voters cannot be compared to that received by RfA candidates. Although some users may see RfA as a learning process, it's a tough one and not everyone wants to open up themselves to that much harassment and scrutiny. We should not force that upon everyone. If a user wants advice on how to gear herself up for another RfA she can refer to the comments made by users, ask other editors for their views, or create a userspace subpage where other editors can leave advice in a manner similar to editor review. feminist (talk) 01:48, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
    I see your point but isn't the main reason for why this whole discussion has erupted that some people feel that crats have overstepped their role by weighing some opposes lower, something that cannot happen in a straight vote? Also, I fail to see that less scrutiny is necessarily a good thing. Last but not least, I think ACE only works as a vote because the majority of voters is unwilling to elect anyone who is not an admin and thus has not been previously vetted at RFA. Regards SoWhy 09:23, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
    Scrutiny = harassment and laser focus on minor issues in many cases. By forcing all potential admins to face this, we are unable to replace our admins at a quick enough rate. feminist (talk) 04:23, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  11. Per TonyBallioni, and the cut off should be set at 65% and no less. But I don't agree with getting rid of bureaucrats. Bureaucrats in essence are status of autonomy from meta-stewards control, and I don't think en.wp should be 'controlled' by stewards. Stewards are never been designed to do 'crating on local wikis. Albeit similar, they have different purpose.--AldNonUcallin?☎ 14:44, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Aldnonymous: Why 65%? Just curious how you arrived at this number when ArbCom requires only 50% for allowing someone to have far more influence on Wikipedia. Regards SoWhy 14:50, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
    For simple reason SoWhy 65% is quite low enough for a wiki with no active yearly all admin recall like de.wp (german). This is lenient enough for me. Or we should just go full blown insane like id.wp (Indonesian) 2 months adminship where the candidates gets beaten to pulp and has to pass 80% votes with 3 month activity policy (if you went inactive for 3 months without notification you will be desysoped)? Wiki with strict rules like this don't have admin yearly confirmation.--AldNonUcallin?☎ 14:55, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
    Again, I was merely wondering how you arrived at this exact number which outside RFA does not seem to be the standard for anything. Regards SoWhy 18:17, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
    SoWhy, well it's from other wiki practice. AFAIK other wiki don't gave lower than 65% threshold for adminship that don't have yearly confirmation. (see bellow or other comment regarding this practice), if you want to go bellow 65% at least en.wp have to get yearly admin confirmation (yearly recall).--AldNonUcallin?☎ 11:21, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
    Oh while I'm at it, please read this two essays, m:Polls are evil and m:Voting is a tool.--AldNonUcallin?☎ 04:39, 27 April 2019 (UTC)
  12. Works for ArbCom (hidden vote), works on dewiki (2/3+1 public vote). Looking at practical implementations, the theoretical concerns don't bother me enough. Votes require a considerable number of participants to become meaningful on Wikipedia, but enwiki's RfAs probably do not lack the required amount of attention. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 03:22, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
  13. Yes, but realistically who cares? Stifle (talk) 08:53, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  14. Yes, because almost all WP processes are not. There are virtues in going by consensus, and virtues in goingy by voting, and it is therfore reasonable to have a mixed system. This and arb com are the only two ones which go by vote, so we need them for balance. It's particularly appropriate that it be these two, sicne the real question for each ofthem is the general degree of trust, and that's more of a global perception than something that can be clarified by argument. DGG ( talk ) 09:55, 16 May 2019 (UTC) f

No, it's a consensus building discussion[edit]

  1. Hell no -- Unless we are bringing down the ratio for a flip of bit to 50% + 1. WBGconverse 17:09, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Doesn't seem to be a popular idea. Levivich 04:09, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. I vote for a consensus building discussion. I also argue that consensus building is a better way of selecting admins, as a vote leaves us with less material to develop an informed opinion. We do not all know every candidate well enough to responsibly vote without getting some input from others we know and trust, or for that matter, who we know and do not trust. If I know the candidate from personal experience, I can make an informed argument in their favour or against them. Those who trust me can look at my reasoning and decide whether it is reasonable. This may affect their support or lack thereof. Likewise those who do not respect my judgement can consider whether my support or opposition should affect theirs. Either way. If any changes should be made. I suggest that asking people to be more clear in their arguments both for and against the candidate is likely to have positive results, though it cannot be compulsory. As a consensus building discussion, bare numbers are of little value, and consensus determination inherently requires good judgement and the discretion to use it. I think the crats have done their job and justified their existence and should continue to do so. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 17:25, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. That is how it has been and I don't think it is broken. An open debate allows for people to consider and reconsider; change their minds or strengthen their opinions. There is an ebb and flow absent in a pure vote. It is also an important learning opportunity for the candidate. There is often a lot of valuable constructive criticism posted in these discussions. Even in successful candidacies, the candidate learns the main problematic issues which are perceived, and can work on addressing those. With a secret vote, that community-building criticism is non-existent or much devalued. -- Avi (talk) 18:12, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Bureaucrat note: <-- For the record. I feel comfortable giving my opinion here as it relates to me as an editor, not as a bureaucrat, but for full disclosure, I am a bureaucrat, and became so (eventually) just over 10 years ago when the cutoff was still 90%+ FWIW. -- Avi (talk) 18:15, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Well, it could be open voting. On the off chance this closes as “a vote” I imagine a new RfC would be needed on the format, limits, etc. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:19, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    @TonyBallioni: But in that case, we would treat opposes like "I don't like her username" with the same gravitas as "the candidate exhibits a poor grasp of AfD, and here are six examples to prove it". That's what a vote is; pure numeracy with the hope that as many level-headed people partake to outweigh manipulative, vengeful, or just unsupportable votes. With a discussion, judgement can be applied. Whose judgement? Well right now, bureaucrats, true. -- Avi (talk) 18:27, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. No. Of course it's about consensus. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:58, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    I'm coming back to re-affirm that my opinion is that it should be treated as a consensus discussion. I would be very uncomfortable with making it a vote, because there should be back-and-forth discussion. The fact that there can only be a binary result, successful or not-successful, does not mean that discussion is of low value or that voting is the most logical approach. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:43, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. Are we voting on what we believe the system currently is, or what is should be? I would go entirely in the opposite direction and have, similar to CUOS, a comment period and then have the bureaucrats decide whether an editor should be an admin. Natureium (talk) 19:24, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. No. ClubOranjeT 19:27, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  7. It's a hybrid of the two: a consensus building discussion that relies on voting; however, it ends with a determination of consensus so that is where I fall. Nihlus 19:43, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  8. There are !voting elements, it certainly isn't just a discussion. But the discussion bits are very important, especially for candidates, potential candidates and nominators trying to assess whether they are ready for a run or another run. If anything we should be making it, or at least the oppose section more of a discussion, that said I have no problem if more voters in both support and oppose simply vote per other specific editors if their points have already been made. ϢereSpielChequers 20:44, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  9. If it's not about assessing consensus, why are we involving human-decision-makers? Bonkers. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:27, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  10. As a fixed binary decision, it is not really capital C consensus-building, but it is most certainly not, and should not be, a vote. Rationales, justifications, strength of arguments, they are everything, the interesting raw numbers are a downstream consequence and have correlation. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:59, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  11. Not a vote per SmokeyJoe and per my arguments in the RFC just above. Differing arguments have differing weights. Also, there's no reason for an election since there aren't a fixed number of admin seats, unlike ArbCom. Reaper Eternal (talk) 00:27, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  12. Polling is not a substitute for discussion. I'm opposed to any binding use of polling as it goes against WP:CON. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 06:21, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  13. (Summoned by bot) Not a true vote per WP:NOTDEMOCRACY and the fact that some votes have more support than others, for example an RfA could have 10 well-supported "support" votes but 8 "oppose" votes with no rationale and if this were a vote, it would have 56% support rate and be out of range, but if consensus was used the oppose votes would have negligible weight and the RfA would likely pass (though "oppose" votes with no rationale generally have less weight than a similar support) SemiHypercube 11:24, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  14. Ironically, I actually lean towards TB's proposal (sorry!), but yet find myself here not because it's a bad idea but because others—WP:NOTAVOTE, WP:NOTDEMOCRACY (which is not only policy but addresses this very suggestion)—are still, 15 years down the line, better. It may not be the best system—it may even not be a good system—but it's a sound system for the model we have: hundreds of people all approaching a "vote" from a myriad of different perspectives. The current methodology allows the !voter to explain and clarify their approach which then indicates the extent to which they are actually voting...or !voting. ——SerialNumber54129 11:48, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    Broken by mediocrity and laziness though. Mainly the support !votes which take for granted that they will be weighed (or at least not discounted) despite banal "as per" and "thought they were already" comments and with genuine opposes differentiated by 'crats using inconsistent methods but always finding a way to discount a cadre of !opposes. Leaky caldron (talk) 12:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Leaky caldron: worse, the votes that are "per" someone in the opposite camp?! Wtf? When I first encountered that, I felt sure it was little less than trolling; although I can't deny I've been guilty of it myself occasionally. Still, it's clearly both unreasoned and unproductive, generally. ——SerialNumber54129 12:14, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    It's perfectly possible to be "per" someone in the opposite camp, if you take the evidence and facts from the opposing !vote and apply a different spin on it. You'd have to provide the detail on why though, otherwise it's effectively a wasted vote. On Leaky caldron's point about supporting "per nom", IMHO that is perfectly reasonable if the nomination has been made with a detailed rationale and is not a self-nom. The nomination statement and the answers to questions 1 to 3 effectively provide a list of reasons why the candidate should be promoted, and anyone who hangs their hat on that should be counted as a full supporter even if they add no detail of their own.  — Amakuru (talk) 14:47, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    I said "as per" - as per Tom, Dick or Harry - not "per nom". Leaky caldron (talk) 16:58, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  15. No, consensus is at the core of Wikipedia, and any individual "promote/don't promote" decision should be by consensus - because, even with its flaws, it is still serving us well. (ArbCom is different as it's an election filling n seats from n+ candidates, so a consensus on each as an individual can't really work). Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 12:04, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  16. Well I thought this question was a bit absurd, because it appeared to be forcing us to choose between two opposite extremes. But from the comments of those in the "it's a vote" section, it seems like the choice here is between doing away with crat discretion altogether and the status quo. In which case I must put my !vote here in the status quo column. The vote % for RFA is certainly an important thing, arguably more so than in other areas of the Wiki, but at root the principles of WP:NOTAVOTE still apply and, having hired ourselves a stellar group of people called crats, whose sole function is to assess consensus in RFAs, I am happy to trust in their decisions. I don't always agree with the outcome of crat chats, but I think the process itself works exactly as intended. If anything ArbCom elections should be the ones moving towards the RFA model, not the other way around.  — Amakuru (talk) 14:41, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  17. No, it would be too easy to game the system, and straight voting has no defence against stupid or gullible people (whether "support, nice guy thought he was an admin" or "oppose doesn't have 45 FAs"). Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion says it all, really. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:20, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    It is currently easy to game the system if you want a candidacy to fail Just find a friend, make some noise and turn a couple of five year old comments into an issue that sinks an RfA. That is a problem not related to whether the decision is up to the vote count alone, but to the discussions and campaigning that happens in the voting sections. It is these discussions that need to be fixed in order to stop people from gaming the system. —Kusma (t·c) 09:05, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Which recent RfAs suffered from that? Galobtter's seem to be heading in that direction but it still passed well above the discretionary zone. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 09:50, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  18. And if we want it to be a straight vote, switch to SecurePoll. ~ Rob13Talk 17:31, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    @BU Rob13: ask anyone one who has served on the WP:ACE commissions - SecurePoll is nowhere able to scale to handle this unless WMF wants to commit resources to it. — xaosflux Talk 17:58, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Xaosflux: If we were to ever move to SecurePoll, it would require a radical re-thinking of how we conduct RfA. We would probably need to structure it more like the steward elections than like our current RfA setup, so we wouldn't need to run a poll every month. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that; I'm just saying that if people want to take consensus out of it, then we might as well go with SecurePoll. ~ Rob13Talk 18:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  19. No it isn't a vote. RFA is predicated upon the idea (per NOBIGDEAL) that candidates should be promoted unless there's good cause that they shouldn't. The purpose of RFA is to convince a significant portion of the participants that the candidate isn't suitable. This is why "Yes" with no further explanation is acceptable, while "No" without explanation generally isn't. Standards have ebbed and flowed, people have changed their minds on what they consider an acceptable level of experience and acceptable behavioural standards. But underlying it all is a "convince me not to support for this person" approach. Which is why it's a discussion, not a vote. Guettarda (talk) 18:16, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  20. Consensus on Wikipedia does have a numerical aspect, and if one option gets enough support on a wide enough scale (such as at RfA) then it will almost certainly pass. But RfA is not a straight vote, and that's a good thing. This fact is the only thing which could possibly stop support or opposition based on unreasonable arguments. Elections are much better for positions which have a finite number of slots available, such as ArbCom. Hut 8.5 18:24, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  21. No. Many RFAs have substantially changed direction once new information has been brought forward. Not only has the discussion format allowed for this to occur, but also for others to engage in the discussion and assert the merits of concerns of others. Mkdw talk 18:25, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  22. No. Talk of "ratios" and "discretionary zones" is meaningless. Unlike most other Wikipedia processes, requests for permissions (of which RFA is just a specialist subgroup) functions on the basis of presumption; the candidate is presumed suitable to be an admin, the purpose of the discussion is for people to raise concerns that may preclude them from being so, and the closing crat decides if the concerns are significant enough to justify not granting the bit. If anything we should probably do away with the support section altogether, and only have a section where opposers raise concerns and other people if necessary explain why they don't consider the concerns significant. ‑ Iridescent 16:41, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  23. They're structured similarly to RFCs, and have an independent editor evaluate consensus and close like an RFC, so I think it's obvious that RFAs are discussions like RFCs. Like other discussions, editors generally include the reasons behind their opposition or support, which makes it easy for new participants to evaluate others' opinions, examine the evidence, and come to their own conclusions. People can and do respond to others' concerns and opinions and sometimes people change their minds. The only real structural difference between RFAs and other discussions is that RFAs keep a visible count of supports and opposes and can only be closed by bureaucrats. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 02:46, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  24. No: that's the whole point of discussion on Wikipedia, to gather consensus. Otherwise we'd do anonymous voting. My mind has been changed many times by reading the discussion of an RfA and those views backed up with more evidence and more explanation are worth more than those presented without comment or evidence. Bilorv (he/him) (talk) 19:49, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  25. No Adminship (/cratship et al.) is the only right which requires consensus-building - I see no reason to change that. I made a point that Jbhunley's RfA failed by 'crat discretion while RexxS didn't (with a lower support %) earlier at 'crat chat and I find it perfectly valid that there is a grey area. Maybe the ArbCom elections can be modelled according to stewards elections and make this process more transparent but I find it necessary that important bits should incorporate a consensus in the process, rather than strict numbers. --qedk (t c) 12:57, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
  26. It's a discussion. There are percentage boundaries, sure, that act as a "quick pass" or "quick fail" level of support, but they are not rigid and beyond common sense, consensus, IAR, NOTBUREAUCRACY, NOTDEMOCRACY, NOTVOTE, which are all fundamental ideals of this project. Outside of those situations, RfA consensuses are discretionarily assessed like any other, with strength of arguments determining the reading, not the percentage. The premise of this RfC is that there was a controversial reading of consensus at RexxS's RfA, and a few malcontents threw a temper tantrum about it. This is a fabricated crisis and it's getting old, take this shit off CD. ~Swarm~ {sting} 18:06, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  27. No With the caveat that the number of votes is itself one of the pieces of evidence in a consensus building discussion. The weight of an argument is in part based on the relative number of votes on each side; a vote that goes 99-for 1-against should basically never side with the 1-against no matter how eloquent the argument made against is. That being said, for discussions of a closer nature, strength-of-argument weighting should be given serious consideration, and votes that have spurious, incorrect, badly argued, or made in bad faith should be discounted, while votes that are heavily based on evidence and policy should be weighted more. We should be more nuanced in our reading of all discussions at Wikipedia, not less. --Jayron32 16:37, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  28. Crat Discretion over Tallies - otherwise there is too much temptation to game/canvass. EllenCT (talk) 06:09, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  29. No to the question and to the proposal. The numbers are a useful summary of the support a candidate receives, but should never be taken as a rigid line. Bureaucrats were correct to step in and discuss this particular instance, and I hope they do that in the future whenever there's a question of consensus. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw)  08:12, 03 May 2019 (UTC)
  30. Consensus building all the way. --Malcolmxl5 (talk) 12:56, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
  31. It's a consensus building process - at least it should be, like most RfC in which the closer evaluates the weight of the !votes and leaves a detailed closing summary irrespective of the numerical tally. This would give the closing 'crat or 'crats more freeroom to discount inappropriate votes - with the caveat that I still maintain that the support votes are an acknowledgement and agreement with the mominator(s)' statement(s) even if they are simply expressed as "Not a jerk" (TonyBallioni) for example. As per KarasuGamma above, all the serious !votes provide a reasonable index on the community's view, especially those in the oppose section that offer well reasoned explanations as to why the candidate may be unsuitable. See my further remarks in the 'Comments' section below.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:38, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  32. I expect Bureaucrats to be able to fail a 100% case and pass a 1% case. If they become aware that an RFA is actually a shared-account operated by a paid-editing-firm/Scientology/government-intelligence-agency to attack or subvert Wikipedia, then they damn well need to fail that RFA. If an RFC is swamped by thousands of bot-generated opposes, they need to pass it on the legitimate !votes. I find it incompatible to "prohibit" a 64% case while expecting them to flunk 100% cases and pass 1% cases where appropriate. There will always be borderline cases, and I see no indication of bad-faith or gross-incompetence among our Bureaucrats. The "65%-75%" figure is guidance, and they were hired for the job because they know how to cautiously and responsibly evaluate consensus. Alsee (talk) 23:34, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

...Or Both?[edit]

  1. I reckon it's a bit of both - it's clearly not a true !vote, since support votes aren't required to be justified. However if we fall into the c65-75% margin, then the consensus aspect does matter. It could be interpreted as "if the vote is one-sided enough, then consensus can be assumed". Nosebagbear (talk) 16:08, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. Percentages matter more than in, say, an AfD, but at the end of the day, it’s important that it not completely be a vote so that the RfA cannot be tanked by oppose votes that do not say anything about the community’s trust in a user (e.g. April Fools-related things, oppose without rationale, “this candidate has too much support—something must be wrong with them”). —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 13:22, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    • If it has to be 1, I would say it is a discussion, not a vote. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 13:22, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  3. Shameless plug: My 2016 presentation on this matter, and the YouTube video of the presentation. It's a bit of both: An action with >75% supermajority support will prevail even if the <25% opposition is very vocal and the decision overturns prior policy; an action with >50% opposition won't happen even if prior policy mandates it (caveat of sockpuppets, biased canvassing, blah blah blah). Where the idea of "assessing consensus" comes in is the 50%-75% range, where the closer carefully considers the arguments made at the discussion, and the relevant regulations, to come to a decision on the "rough consensus". What we're really thinking is, if somebody appeals a closer's decision to a higher venue, is it likely to get overturned? Deryck C. 16:19, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  4. A bit of both. If things are close for sure judgement can and should be used. But what is close? Well that depends on the argument. Maybe 50% should be the minimum but what about gaming? Meh... Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:36, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  5. It can only be a bit of both; I've seen so many bad arguments at RFA that I cannot support a numerical count, but also there's enough reasonable disagreement that some numerical threshold is necessary. Rather than trying to reduce it to a dichotomy, people concerned about making sure the process isn't arbitrary would do well to help evolve guidelines about what constitutes "good voting"; although I sometimes think those shouldn't be codified, per WP:BEANS. Vanamonde (Talk) 00:45, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  6. Clearly both - if it was only a vote, then the 'crats would simply need to confirm eligibility of each vote and lack of duplication of voters, and use a single hard-coded minimum for passing such that anyone who reaches that minimum passes and anyone who doesn't reach it fails. In fact, there's a range in which the 'crats get to use their own judgement on the consensus. If it weren't a vote, then a small number of well-reasoned supports would be good enough to override many non-reasoned opposes; we do generally require a 65% minimum, regardless of reasoning. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 10:17, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  7. Is and always has been a blend. If it were not a vote at all, there would be no mention of, much less rules about, numeric ranges. However, it is not a simple vote, like voting for mayor, but one in which your vote counts more/less depending on how pertinent/vapid it is, respectively, though this weighting applies much more to opposes than to supports.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:19, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  8. I guess you could call it a vote that demands a consensus. But it's first and foremost a vote. Just because the bar for passing is >50% doesn't make it any less a vote. A motion that requires >60% or 2/3 of a parliament in agreement is still a vote. feminist (talk) 18:29, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  9. Definitely a mix - To my experience, it's more skewed to be a vote, but this could easily be fixed by always requiring 'crats to make the final decision via determining consensus. Which they already do for those that fall in the 50%-65% range. Should extend to all of them, in order to confirm they're right for the admin position. Kirbanzo (userpage - talk - contribs) 19:09, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  10. Both - per all of the above. Atsme Talk 📧 04:52, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  11. I have followed this discussion for weeks and read everything, especially the "no" comments in the section above that are almost self-contradictory, or forthrightly acknowledging the hybrid. In reality, RfA is structured as a vote (a vote by acclimation, fine, but still a vote) the "consensus" aspect is kind of an overlay, indeed sometimes a figleaf, that acts in practice as only an exception to the rule, or kind of rare breaching. More unfortunate, the "consensus"-claiming rights, in practice, turns RfA into a fight over a person. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:20, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Discussion (RfC)[edit]

  • I think most people will say it's a bit of both, so I would suggest that unfortunately this RFC isn't going to settle very much...  — Amakuru (talk) 16:54, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Didnt the RFC you just closed basically answer this question? –xenotalk 17:32, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    • In a way, yes, but also slightly different. I commented here because I think the whole concept of bureaucrat discretion should be done away with. The previous RfC was about keeping it but also limiting it to a hard range, which I think is dumb, so I didn’t comment there. I don’t expect this RfC to go any where, but I also think “recognizable users” or whatever you want to call it should comment on things when they have a strongly held minority opinion that others might hold but don’t want to express because of the party line. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:50, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Xeno, It's not really the same. The previous RfC proposed setting hard limits on the bureaucrats regarding the discretionary range. This is simply asking if RfX is a consensus or a vote with hard limits. This regards the weighting of votes rather than discretionary limits. —CYBERPOWER (Chat) 18:03, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    It isn't remotely the same. That set a limit for discretionary discussion to 65%-75%, instead of 65% minus a bit more fuzzy discretion. This removes 'crat. involvement entirely (except the button part). If I have understood it correctly. Leaky caldron (talk) 18:11, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Leaky caldron, precisely. :-) —CYBERPOWER (Chat) 18:12, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Is a Watchlist-messages and/or Cent. notice needed for this? Leaky caldron (talk) 19:21, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Leaky caldron, I didn't intend for one, but if you feel one is needed, feel free to propose it there. I will be happy to add one if no one objects. —CYBERPOWER (Chat) 19:26, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I concur with Amakuru. Also, with all respect to Cyberpower, this question is improperly formed. The RfC question asks if it is a consensus building mechanism or a vote. That's asking what the situation is now. Cyberpower's support for it being a vote starts off with saying it should be a vote. Is this RfC assessing RfA's current status or is it asking us to change its status? --Hammersoft (talk) 19:34, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Hammersoft, Both. And where did I say I supported it being a vote. My small footnote expresses my neutrality of it being either. —CYBERPOWER (Chat) 20:05, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Sorry, misread the attribution. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:10, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Hammersoft, No worries. My question is phrased such that I want to know how the community perceives the process to be and what they think it should be. —CYBERPOWER (Chat) 20:15, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks. I think it would be best to set it up as one or the other, not both. I think you're likely to get neither question answered properly due to the confusion of which it is. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:19, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Ironic. See below :) --Hammersoft (talk) 23:40, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Does this question ask about what is or what should be? It seems people are talking about both. Wouldn't time be better spent discussing the latter instead of arguing about the former? Levivich 23:25, 14 April 2019 (UTC) Update: I probably should have read the comment above more closely before I posted a comment :-) Levivich 01:17, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • If it's not just a vote, why have people !vote, exclamation point or not, on someone's RFA at all? Why not cut out the middleman and have RFA candidates just directly ask a random crat "Can you make me an admin please" if so much trust is being placed in crats (and so little in the community at large) to make the right decision? Note that this question is posed to those who are, correctly, pointing out that RFA support and oppose !votes are often made for bad reasons. IntoThinAir (talk) 16:32, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I fail to understand the argument that a vote of 200+ is less likely to yield a valid result when compared to the opinion of 17 bureaucrats who have their own preferences, opinions and values. We also vote for Arbitrators, oddly. Leaky caldron (talk) 17:11, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It is clearly not a proper vote (see also the long discussions following some comments, not just the numerical counting), and it is clearly not a consensus building discussion. The main reason for that is that it is very hard to build consensus around a binary yes/no outcome. I have always advocated that it should be turned into more of a vote (we could have the discussion first, and then just vote without campaigning while at the ballot box, i.e. without giving "reasons"). But mine is a small minority viewpoint. Instead we have this weird discussion-with-some-attention-to-the-numbers, which in some cases is followed by a discussion-about-the-discussion. But if we want to have "strength of the argument" involved in the process, we have to end up with something like our "not a vote" RfAs, and if we don't want single bureaucrats to arbitrarily decide discretionary RfAs, we end up with the extra round of not-voting of the bureaucrat chats. But instead of arguing about the process, we could just wait and see whether the result was ok (i.e. whether RexxS will be a bad admin) and nominate more people here... —Kusma (t·c) 18:09, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Even for the people I like, I always start by checking the opposes, because it's important part of doing my due diligence - "what have I missed?" I've often showed up at RFA ready to support someone based on my experience, seen the opposes, and realised that I may have been missing something and probably shouldn't participate. Even when I don't like them, I think that well-explained opposes are one of the most important parts of the whole process. Guettarda (talk) 18:21, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • As Guettarda says above, a well explained oppose rationale supported by valid evidence is the best defence against appointing unsuitable admins that we have available. The default position should be AGF in the absence of plausible reason not to do so. The nominator generally provides reasons why the candidate should be acceptable. When this is absent, as in RexxS nomination, and also any self nominations, the supporters have more need to express their reasons for support. Opposition is the important part of the process, and when it is not clear or appears irrational, vindictive or spurious it is important to clarify, or it should be disregarded as unsafe. RfA is probably more like a trial than an election. The prosecutuion must make a solid case and the jury (the crats) must base their decision on balance of probability, not beyond reasonable doubt. There is even cross examination of the accused candidate in the questions section. It is not really surprising that the result is like a TV courtroom drama. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:59, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Whether RFAs themselves are votes or not, I'd at least like to see closing cratchats be consensus-based instead of passing by narrow majorities, like the last few really contentious ones have. —Cryptic 09:45, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Cryptic, Could you clarify what you mean by ...closing cratchats be consensus-based instead of passing by narrow majorities, like the last few really contentious ones have? Cheers, · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 13:14, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Don't know if this will help, but I expanded on similar concerns, on the crat notice board here. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:27, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Alan, just a note that I've read all your comments on how the bureaucrat discussions can be improved and will strive to do better in future. –xenotalk 13:31, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Thank you, so much. In case it is not clear, since the last close, I have generally been aiming to message to all about process (not, at all, to critique any one person), and I would really like if it inspires some inter-group internal reflection, since you are the ones who have to do it. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:42, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    I've already got some ideas on how to restructure my own contribution. I don't know if you'd have time, or if it even possible from the input, but if you took a recent bureaucrat chat and re-wrote it into an example of what you're looking for, this might help me (and others) to fully understand the format you're suggesting. –xenotalk 13:46, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    (edit conflict)I am pleased this has been raised. As I have said elsewhere the Rexx cratchat doesn't even give the vaguest impression of a chat. Only one mind was changed - on the face of it when the wind changed direction. So we ended up with a vote amongst 17 instead of a consensus amongst 250. Leaky caldron (talk) 13:48, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    I'm always open to suggestions to improve my processes, etc. Having read your comments on the subject, it sounds like you feel a bureaucrat chat would be better if there was more "back and forth" between the bureaucrats. In the past, it's always been pretty much everyone showing up and stating their piece and then that was that. I'm definitely open to re-examining that process. I still wouldn't expect unanimity between the bureaucrats very often, though, but I think the process and/or format of bureaucrat chats is definitely something we could have a conversation about. Useight's Public Sock (talk) 14:30, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Anything that avoids the appearance of 17 votes replacing 250 !votes would be good for cohesion when a contentious decision is inevitable. Back and forward behind the scenes or back and forward in a structured way would be preferable to the existing approach in which it is too easy to "fall into line" or for the closing 'crat. to be stuck with a marginal decision to weigh. Leaky caldron (talk) 16:17, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    I think nothing "behind the scenes" is preferable, build the consensus out in the open. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:25, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Thanks, again. Unanimity is of course good for amity but, no, to insist upon it would be unneeded, probably unworkable, and heavy handed. I suggest single agreed upon explicit rationale, among as many as possible, and perhaps process incentive to do so, because that looks more like consensus, and more likely causes careful, persuasive, and explicit messaging. (I think, read alone, decide alone, at the beginning is probably good, even though it has a implicit trust factor that that is what was done, such trust seems well placed). -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:55, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Useight's Public Sock, xeno, from my perspective, I'd have loved to see some more genuine discussion/debate in the chat, followed by an informative summing up by the bureaucrat making the final conclusion, explaining their judgement. It wouldn't need to be fancy... a quick 5 mins strawman version for the last chat might have looked like this for example (NB: if I've misrepresented any bureaucrat in writing this, my apologies - I'm trying to represent the views in a neutral way for the example to work, so any misinterpretations aren't intended!):
    "Although the final percentage was beneath the level of the new discretionary range, the bureaucrat chat was opened on the basis that RexxS was a well established editor and, as such, deserved additional "leniency"; there were no dissenting bureaucrat opinions on this procedural issue.
    "There was little substantive debate between the bureaucrats, who were ultimately divided 7 to 4 between "consensus to promote" and "no consensus", with one bureaucrat changing their view during the course of the chat.
    "Those arguing in favour of "consensus to promoted" highlighted that editors had noted RexxS's wider value to the Wikipedia project, and that no concerns had been raised over the editor's technical or other editorial skills. Although almost all bureaucrats in the chat accepted that RexxS had displayed incivility towards other editors, those favouring "consensus to promote" typically noted that those editors supporting RexxS's candidacy were not concerned with this issue, or did not regard it as significant as those editors who were opposing, and that it should therefore carry less weight as an issue.
    "Individual bureaucrats raised additional arguments. One argued that a "considerable amount [nfi] of opposes [were] of questionable to no merit", and another argued that 35% of editors having concerns with RexxS's incivility should not be sufficient to block their candidacy. Another felt that only one uncivil incident had actually occurred, and another argued that opposers might not have carried out sufficient research on the candidate during this incident before expressing their opinions. One bureaucrat argued that as only kind of concern (civility) had been raised, that this should give additional weight to the supporting comments. One bureaucrat argued that the views of editors who were willing to post repeatedly on the talk page should be given more additional weight than those who were not.
    "One bureaucrat did not give specific reasons for believing there was a consensus to promote, but by context implied that incivility concerns were not a sufficient issue to oppose in this case.
    "Bureaucrats arguing in favour of "no consensus" argued that there was a "substantial amount of opposition supported by facts and based on reasonable interpretation of policy". The bureaucrats felt that both sides of the argument were felt to be strongly held by editors, and that the community was "entrenched in their positions". Most bureaucrats arguing that there was no consensus mentioned the civility concerns over RexxS, one noting that "almost all of them of them are well-founded and well supported, and do not relate to one particular incident", and another noting the "multiple recent examples" of undesirable behaviour.
    "No bureaucrat felt the "April Fools issue" to be an important factor in weighting up the arguments in the case. Concern was raised over a sockpuppet investigation that continued for much of the chat, with one bureaucrat noting that the conclusion "might be an important factor in... reaching a determination". After the sockpuppet investigation concluded negatively, finding it "unlikely" that any sockpuppetry had taken place, no further mention was made. Only bureaucrat explicitly mentioned the "neutral" comments in the case; they argued that they added weight to the "no consensus" argument. By implication, no bureaucrat felt that RexxS's temporary resignation from the RfA process should influence the outcome of the chat in either direction.
    "On the basis of this, I conclude that... [consensus to promote / no consensus to promote], because..." Hchc2009 (talk) 17:04, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    Masterpiece! (I've copied everything up to Cryptic's opening comment to WT:CRATCHAT so this doesn't just get lost in the shuffle.) –xenotalk 17:15, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    My point is, the last three cratchats closed as consensus to promote did so with 7-4, 6-3, and 7-4 majorities. None of these exceed the lower bar of rough consensus to delete an article at a formal deletion debate, and that's a reversible action while adminifying, short of gross misconduct, is not. Two don't even get to the bottom of the discretionary range that would be the standard for closing the RFA itself. And while there's some attempt in each of these to convince the opposition, Nihonjoe in the RexxS chat is the only case I can remember where a bureaucrat ever changed his mind after posting an initial !vote in a cratchat.
    The short version: if the bureaucrats can't even come to a real consensus amongst themselves that there was a consensus in the RFA they're closing, then there probably wasn't one. —Cryptic 06:42, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Cryptic: I changed my mind at Nihonjoe's RfB. -- Avi (talk) 01:08, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
    I think you misunderstand how a crat chat works. While most discussions are labelled "WP:NOTAVOTE", in inverted commas, because everyone knows they partially are a vote, crat chats are not votes at all. They are a pure consensus building exercise and it's up to the crats themselves to come up with a group position. The initial thoughts are just the first stage of that, and changing votes is to be expected in the interests of coming to a common position.  — Amakuru (talk) 06:49, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • There was a vote but some people wanted a different result. The result is what most people want. If it was so clear why all this commentary? RexxS is an administrator because they said so and all this should stop. Eschoryii (talk) 08:42, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • As a somewhat tongue-in-cheek observation, at the time that I write this, the "votes" in this RfC are Yes: 10, No: 24, and Both: 8. So, again somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I wonder if the "Yes" supporters agree that their view is being voted down and rejected, or whether they would prefer to have the weight of their arguments considered when the RfC is closed. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:00, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I will repeat my 10-year-old mantra that the tone of the voting should be cleaned up: 'fix the voters, and RfA will fix itself'. After all, by and large RfA does do what it is supposed to and nowadays we do receive significantly fewer junk RfAs. I therefore still question the wisdom of the 2015 changes which increased the publicity of RfAs - doubling the number of participants has not changed the fact that RfA is very often an unpleasant experience for the candidate, even if they pass, and has certainly not increased the enthusiasm of potential candidates of the right calibre. As we did at WP:RFA2011/VOTING - a highly detailed survey - some up to date stats should be run on the behaviour patterns of voters before making any concrete decisions for future reforms. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:47, 5 May 2019 (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.

Time to look at the bare facts - and really look...[edit]

Successful RfA drop by almost half each year, while the pass rate has increased from 41 to 55% since 2015 – graph by Oshwah

The RexxS RfA has created a lot of comment and spawned many mini RfC recently, but the significant facts and stats have not been taken into account - more precisely clouded by the facts that the drama is due to the RexxS opposers not having got their own way, a lot is based on conjecture, and nobody appears to be bothering to check out the history of research into RfA as a process or to read some essential recent articles about it before commenting:

Something dramatic must have happened in 2007/2008 after which both the successful RfA and total number of RfA began to drop roughly by half each year shown on the (Wikipedia:RFA by month overview table by WereSpielChequers) until we were left with only 10 'promotions' last year. Research has failed to reveal the root cause of this phenomenon, but it could lie in a combination of forces such as the gradual unbundling of tools, a perceived sharpening of voters' criteria, the irresistible attraction for voters to be disingenuous and offensive with impunity, the doubling of the number of participants since the 2015 reform, and perhaps simply a general apathy for maintenance tasks - although this latter is not reflected in the regular clamour for minor rights. What ever it is, editors of the right calibre who have been approached have very often clearly stated that they are not prepared to go through hell on wheels for seven days however good their chances may be. Some of the key people such as Bishonen, Spinningspark, Jo-Jo Eumerus, Amakuru, Seraphimblade, Guy Macon, Cullen328, MER-C, Risker, TonyBallioni, Anna Frodesiak, MelanieN, and Spinningspark who don't regularly weigh in here my wish to come up with some ideas.

Only 10 new admins in 2018

The stats page at WP:RFAY created 2016 by Hammersoft provides yet again a similar overview with the additional undeniable evidence that the vast majority of successful RfA generally pass by a large consensus irrespective of pre or post-reform, and that very few were anywhere near the discretionary zone whatever it happened to be at the time. In fact while over 2,000 adminships have been created, only 28 RfA were ever subject to a 'crat chat, something like only 1.4%. Extrapolate that, and the next borderline RfA might not be for years at this rate.

This all seems to demonstrate that the current spate of discussions since the RexxS RfA are based on a set of artificial premises, none of which really need to be addressed. As I mentioned earlier, the community is looking at the problems associated with RfA down the wrong end of the telescope. Fix the voters and RfA will fix itself: that is the more pressing issue, and has been since Wales' famous statement about RfA being "a horrible and broken process". Horrible, certainly, but perhaps not beyond repair.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:20, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Ah yes. RfA reform. I have some observations:
[1] If you ask "is RfA broken" you get 60% to 80% consensus, depending on exactly what you ask and how you ask it.
[2] Any specific proposal for fixing the problem never gets even 10% consensus.
[3] You rarely if ever see any specific proposal that has not been proposed and rejected several times already.
[4] I have been asking for over ten years for somebody to give me a good reason why I or anybody else would want to go through hell to become a Wikipedia administrator. Nobody has ever presented a good argument. Mostly nobody even tries.
[5] I know exactly how to pass an RfA if I ever go batshit insane enough to want to become a Wikipedia administrator (see above). Spend one or maybe two years never disagreeing with anyone on anything. Stay away from all noticeboards. Spend a couple of hours every day writing new articles on noncontraversial subjects, and abandon the article the moment anyone disagrees with you on anything. Participate in things like AfD, new page curation, vandalism reverting, etc., but never ever on anything where there is the slightest chance that there will anything other than overwhelming agreement with you. Finally, having demonstrated that you have zero interest in doing any of the tasks that admins actually do, run for RfA. Once you get the bit, do the bare minimum of noncontroversial admin work required to avoid an inactivity desysop.
I would love to see someone argue that I am wrong on any of the above points. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:55, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Maybe I'd disagree a little on #5; I think some people will want to see how you handle a conflict.
Me, I am wondering if people just are less interested in becoming admin. Or perhaps more exactly, that the kind of editor who wants admin buttons thinks they'll struggle in RfA while the type of people who will pass uncontroversially just doesn't need access to the admin tools. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:07, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
EC@Kudpung. We know why RFA dropped off a cliff in early 2008. Rollback was unbundled, in that era you had to have Rollback in order to use Huggle, and before the unbundling of Rollback it was possible to pass RFA simply as a "good vandalfighter", after that particular RFA reform it ceased to be possible to pass RFA without some content contributions (there have since been various abortive attempts to raise that further to "some featured contributions" but the change in early 2008 is stark and known). There are multiple theories as to subsequent decline in RFA numbers, and yes an obvious anomaly in that effective vandalfighting does really require the ability to block vandals and protect pages.
@Guy Macon There is an old trope at WT:RFA to bemoan the inability of various proposed reforms to get consensus, and yes there are a set of perennial suggestions that keep recurring. But one reason why some keep recurring and getting in some cases over 50% support, is that there are several obvious and sensible reforms, and eventually we work through the opposition and fine tune the proposal or the idea comes up when the community consensus has shifted. Even a reform as obvious as making the page the equivalent of extended confirmed protected took about a decade. The last big reform package included two reforms, advertising RFAs on watchlists and lowering the discretionary zone. The greater advertising has greatly increased the voters, though sadly not yet the candidates. The change to the discretionary zone led directly to the recent RFA success. As for your method of passing RFA, yes that would work, but as recent RFAs have demonstrated, it isn't the only way of passing. for starters, how you respond to controversy is important. In terms of motivation, some people want the extra bits, others are content not to have them. As a nominator I start with the former group. As for it being "hell". RFA is timeconsuming, a contentious RFA is stressful, but most successful ones are more of an inauguration, and some of the last few have had support levels approaching 100%. I'm one of those who passed at the second attempt, and the contrast between my two in stress terms was marked. ϢereSpielChequers 08:12, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The chances of any kind of revolutionary change are close to nil in my opinion, but since I have been (double) pinged, I'll give you my views (entirely without evidence) as to why there is a problem. There are two broad reasons, neither of which can be fixed by tinkering, and neither of which the community is capable supporting a radical solution for.
  1. As others have mentioned, the RFA process is hell to go through. That is no way to appoint people to a task, most especially volunteers. Having the whole community interrogate is just crazy. The candidate will never know what the requirements are because any random issue can be raised by any random editor. This is not how things are done in the real world. The solution is to give the task of appointing administrators to a finite sized appointment board. The appointment of the board itself can be open to community participation, but once they are in place they are solely responsible for appointing admins. The board would be small enough that we don't need to worry about finding enough candidates to go through the process. After all, the Arbitration Committee does not seem to have this problem. Hell, this could even be a function of the already existing ArbCom. SpinningSpark 11:13, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  2. Administrators have very limited powers. I know this is an unpolular thing to say; the general perception is that administrators are too powerful. They particularly do not have any power to resolve content disputes. Think about it, we have been demanding content experience from candidates for years, but these content creators are given no powers in the very area that is of interest to them. In fact, there is a problem here that goes beyond the lack of administrators. That problem is that Wikipedia has no formal process for definitively resolving content disputes. This results in even minor disagreements becoming major wars with no hope of resolution. I have suggested elsewhere that Wikipedia should have an Editorial Board (you know, like the ones all grown-up encyclopaedias have) and if such a board were implemented it could set the boundaries for administrator intervention.
When Wikipedia was young and developing, it was an exciting thing to become an administrator. Now the community has matured, I think there is a better understanding of just how limited the administrator role is. That combined with the difficulty of going through an RfA pretty much explains, to me at least, why there are so few candidates. SpinningSpark 11:13, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • As long we have the occasional Arbitration Case over administrator conduct (for example, the one that just started), there is going to be that perception among random voters that candidates have to be extraordinarily vetted and qualified to ensure they don’t abuse the powers. I would argue that the arbitration case linked above, necessary as it is, will simply add fuel to the opposition fire. If Enigmaman was able to get away with the giant mound of examples in the evidence section, how can we be sure a new admin is not going to get away with the same? I know there are a lot of problems with that argument, but tell that to the pile-on opposers who can make a ridiculous claim look just credible enough to be usable at RFA. As an aside, I do not think most of the recently appointed admins in the last couple of years have been overly bad at abusing power. The bigger problem I see with newer admins as a normal content editor is their being over-zealous in using the tools and throwing their weight around. While an overzealous admin with good intentions is easier to handle (and repair damage from) than one who skits the fine line of abusing power, I don’t think either one is helping RFA candidates at the moment. ZettaComposer (talk) 12:03, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Radical or semi radical?
Quarterly selection dates (and Crats may call selection, at any time, generally related to the number of candidates expressing interest). Crats will also decide on incidental timings related to quarterly selection, and generally act as election committee in addition to final consensus maker).
Selection run similar to Arbcom elections provided that for winners, there be at least 60% of secure poll, and 75% Bureaucrats in the finalizing chat agree. (Crats who participate on a candidates page or in secure poll are recused) Candidates are still well advised to have nominators. Others may write voter guides if they wish. Crats may run the chat anyway they see fit provided that it is done openly (and it is expected that discussion will center on the issues raised on candidate pages, the level of secure poll support and anything else they see relevant), they are free to use straw polls among themselves any other consensus building mechanism. They may delegate scrutineer of the secure poll itself to remove votes to an internal group or single crat. (The secure poll question: Should [candidate] be forwarded to the crats for consideration?)
Further, it is the general expectation given to Crats to that about 1/3 of the candidates standing at the quarterly will be selected, barring good reason. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:10, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
(I can't see any way to make admin more attractive to those of us who don't find the job itself attractive, and I have never seen anything that convinces we actually need more admins, because we do not know how many we need, but if the desire is for new blood and the thinking is the current selection process is broken, let's try something different with a melding of the past). Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:10, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Spinningspark has an exceptional breakdown above: the problem is that RfA is too big of a deal, and adminship is too small of a deal proportional to the amount of work it takes to become one. As I've said before, nobody wants to spend years working on Wikipedia like it's their full-time job only to be able to mindlessly delete pages and block IPs at the end of it. Past RfA reforms were passed with good intentions but have been complete policy failures in terms of attracting new candidates.
Because this is a website and we have literally invented all of our policies and processes, there is endless possibility for reform. The obvious solution here is to make RfA proportional to adminship -- make the selection process closer to PERM. This would involve setting criteria for adminship, and a community comment period that is focused on those criteria. But I also think that deep down, the vast majority of the community really likes the status quo. Admins like it because it makes them feel good about passing such a big hurdle. The Content Creators™ like it because it means their "enemies" can't get access to more buttons. The dispute resolutioners at AN/ANI like it because it means they can continue to act as the final authority without pesky new people running around with the block button. It prevents bad people from becoming admins at the expense of preventing an uncounted number of good people, or good enough people, from accessing the toolset as well. We can put as many bandaids on RfA as we like, but in five years we'll still be wondering why nobody wants to step forward. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 16:53, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • In many ways I agree with Spinning Spark, but note an asterisks for one (semi-large, now, area). We have been unable to grapple with having a content board, mainly because there is no verifiable expertise, so what did we do instead, Arbcom stepped into the breach to create wide swaths of the pedia subject to plenary discretion of admins. (Further note, it looks like the job is unattractive, in part because large swaths of admins don't do it, we don't even expect them too, and basically say, 'here you go, after all that, be functionally inactive.') Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:40, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Our RfA standards are currently the lowest they have been in at least a decade, and while to one degree or another I agree with both Ajraddatz and Kudpung, I will again point out that I think the biggest problem is we need people to run. To address some of the points above:
    • The level we expect now is about right for what you'd want someone with administrative access on the 5th largest website in the world. Yes, we are just a website, but we're not the same just website we were in 2004. +sysop can't really do anything too terrible from a technical perspective, but it can create a ton of PR problems, which is just as important, and why I can't really fully get behind Ajraddatz' view here.
    • The January 2017 crop showed that we are willing to promote acceptable candidates en masse and if anything, the standards have remained the same or gotten lower since then. The question just becomes why aren't people volunteering? And there are several possible answers to this, but three come to mind:
      • We're losing people who are active editors to recruit
      • People who are qualified aren't interested or are scared off
      • We already have most of the people who would meet a reasonable RfA standard as sysops
I think the second one isn't really the answer: RfA has had a terrible reputation for years, and we haven't had this low of a number for a while. The real answer, I feel, is somewhere in between the first and third options.
There are plenty of editors who could make decent admins: somewhere between 10-20 a year who are interested, apparently, but while we are maintaining stable editor numbers, a significant number of new editors, even those who stay around, wouldn't meet a reasonable standard for administrator status on this project. I'm not talking full-time work, I'm talking basic understanding and competence of culture and policies and who don't have other issues that are incompatible with adminship on this project.
I suppose the point I am making is that as a maturing project, this is to be expected, and thanks to the advent of bots, etc. we don't really need 1200 active administrators anymore. We do need more admins, yes, but we aren't in a crisis by any means, and reflecting on where we are as a project today compared to where we were as a project even in 2007 will put this in perspective. That being said, I'm happy for anyone to reach out to me if they are considering RfA and I'll give me advice and see if we can work out a nom. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:43, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
That's probably a better description of why the community likes the status quo than the straw men I constructed; you're saying that the results of the current system are good for Wikipedia's current status as a top-five website. While I don't necessarily agree that a system designed by some random dudes in 2004(?) is ideal for that, I think that is a good explanation for why we aren't going to get any meaningful change. And maybe that's a good thing. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 17:52, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not saying it is an ideal system, but there is no such thing as an ideal system. I'm saying that the status quo works reasonably well at preventing 14 year olds with a clean block log and 3 months of Huggle experience from hard blocking the U.S. House of Representatives without realizing the implications, etc. I'm sure every one of the groups you listed above could find their own version of this action would not be ideal on a top-5 website. The system has flaws, but it does generally well at keeping disastrous choices out, which at this stage of en.wiki's development is more important than getting someone who might be good in. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:23, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I've typed up a number of responses, but none of them really hit the mark. I obviously fundamentally disagree with your assessment. There is no reason why adminship should be more important than other toolsets from a risk management perspective. There is no reason why people who were promoted in 2007 should be more responsible than users who joined more recently. Preventing good people from becoming admins stagnates our leadership and enhances some of the worst parts of the Wikipedia culture that exists today. But the reality is that you speak for the majority of the community − better to let 50 good candidates be dissuaded from the process than promote one bad admin. And that said, I'll go find more meaningful discussions to have :P -- Ajraddatz (talk) 18:56, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Re "no reason why people who were promoted in 2007 should be more responsible than users who joined more recently": If anything, we have evidence to the contrary, because early admins who went through less of a vetting have more often been desysopped. There's a possible statistical skew in there, in that the more years you are active the more opportunity you have to pooh the screwch in a way that causes people to seek your head on a pike (though that idea would seem to deny that admins could get better through practice and experience, so I don't buy it). Regardless, it's unquestionable that the criteria (both formal and "my personal RfA criteria are ...") were generally much more lax back then.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:30, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Since the English Wikipedia's edit rate has been fairly stable, I think it would be better to ask whether the situation is sustainable, rather than whether it's possible to increase the number of RfAs. Is the number of high-activity administrators stable? We know that the total number of administrators isn't necessarily relevant here, because the bulk of the work is handled by about a quarter of the current administrators.
    I don't know how to use Quarry, but presumably you could generate a graph of the rate of admin actions over the past five years. If it's realistically not going to cause the project to descend into chaos, then it's not really necessary to spend all this time debating it when it's not really going to spur anyone into magically wanting to dedicate hours of their time becoming one of Wikipedia's janitors. Jc86035 (talk) 17:49, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
S-index monthly (total).svg
presumably you could generate a graph of the rate of admin actions over the past five years As it turns out, I did such a thing! Check out User:Amorymeltzer/s-index; you can see some graphs (last updated in January) there of total actions, both including adminbots and not. A ton of caveats — not all sysop actions are equal and they aren't a great way to measure usefulness or difficulty — but I think both the totals and the s-index itself are interesting to have. ~ Amory (utc) 18:18, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I’m not sure I quite understand those graphs. Do they tell us whether it is the same subset of admins who are consistently active over time, or whether there are a significant group of admins who are sometimes active and sometimes not? ϢereSpielChequers 19:17, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Nope! It's the project/community as a whole, so it doesn't care who is doing what when. We can graph an individual's number of monthly actions over time, but I don't think that really means much? Or did I misunderstand the question? ~ Amory (utc) 23:58, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
@Amorymeltzer: - you get bonus points for not merely having created what I think this discussion needed, but adding it in so that the next paragraph I read actually contained it. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:21, 25 April 2019 (UTC) Now I feel this discussion needs some cheese paninis...
  • It's always been an issue. As Kudpung correctly states, we have an interesting conundrum, where there is a general consensus that something should change, but very little on what changes should be made or how to implement them. One of the primary problems I see is that there isn't any clarity on what makes a vote (and let's not kid ourselves by putting the bang before it, there are even codified numerical thresholds) valid versus invalid. At AfD, there's at least some general guidance, in terms of for example arguments to avoid, and those are more or less permitted to be "enforced" by the closing admin. If a bunch of brand-new users flood an AfD discussion, all making very poor arguments, that can be considered and weighted (or de-weighted) accordingly. On the other hand, there's little if any guidance on what makes for a persuasive RfA argument, and many are even just a bare "support" or "oppose".

    I think part of the problem is the idea of a "big deal" after a few administrators either had their account compromised or went off the deep end. If anything, I think that those incidents actually bolstered the "not a big deal" argument, since the disruption they caused was undone easily and quickly. Something like the Wifione and Runcorn incidents, on the other hand, certainly do show that an administrator determined to do harm can do actual and insidious damage over a period of time—but, then, the RfA process didn't exactly stop them, did it?

    So, I think the questions about whether RfA is fit for purpose are well in order. I don't know an easy answer; if I did, I certainly wouldn't have kept it a secret. Perhaps the best way forward, but by no means easily done, is to figure out what we, as a community, actually want to see in an administrator, but also realizing that just checking whether someone "ticks all the boxes" isn't a great way forward. I think, also, that there's some focus on things only tangentially related to suitability as an admin, such as content work. While I wouldn't want an admin with absolutely no content experience, there are plenty of people who don't write featured articles but could make great admins, and more than one who has written a ton of featured articles but who I wouldn't want within a million miles of the tools.

    Maybe the place to start is to ask that people put forth at least some rationale for why they support or oppose the person becoming an administrator, and giving bureaucrats greater leeway to discount arguments which are either completely unsupported or nonsensical. That would probably require some substantial notification and instruction, at the very least, as right now people are especially used to putting a "support" with no rationale. If you think someone should be an administrator, one would hope that you have at least a few words to say as to why you believe they should. I think that might also help the pass rate. As things stand currently, if you want to find actual reasons, you're much more likely to find them in the oppose section than in the supports. More indication as to why the supporters believe the candidate should be an admin could allow someone undecided to see both sides of the issue, not just the reasoning behind those against.

    That also brings up the other issue. Raising the pass rate doesn't help if good candidates won't run to begin with. When asked, potential candidates quite often note the ugliness of the process as a reason for their decision not to undertake it, and even many who ultimately passed noted that as a reason that they were reluctant to go forward with it. If RfA is keeping away good candidates who would be able to pass, that certainly indicates a problem. I think, there, that the solution already lies in our existing policies. We are expected to treat one another civilly. That certainly does not mean it's not okay to disagree with someone. It means that if you do, you focus on what you disagree with and why, rather than attacking them. Those standards of behavior should be enforced at RfA, and participants there (both candidates and voters) should expect that they will be. It is okay to say you're concerned about a candidate's history and why, and for that reason oppose their request. It should not be acceptable to say "Oppose, this moron completely sucks in every way." The same should apply to any discussion regarding a particular vote, or discussion of the candidate in general. I think an expectation of baseline civility at RfA would help in convincing good potential candidates to be willing to undergo the process. It's stressful enough without namecalling and nastiness; there's no need to actively make it even worse. Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:40, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

The problem is not so much "Oppose - candidate is an asshole", which happens rarely. More often, the problem is more like "Oppose - candidate made a typo [1]", "Oppose - only 1 GA", "Oppose - I have my reasons and I do not appreciate badgering" or "Oppose" (no reason) which is then jumped on with excessive badgering like "What the **** are you doing, haven't you got a ****ing clue how to behave here, people like you should be topic banned from RfA". I've done this, as has Kudpung, so I speak from some experience when I say this is neither big nor clever. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:47, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • There's an obvious missing cause (maybe several missing causes, but one's clear and I understand it well enough to outline it) missing from Kudpung's otherwise spot-on list of them at the top of this subthread under "Something dramatic must have happened in 2007/2008 ..."). Around this time is when meta:Eventualism stopped being viable. By this point, most of the "sexy" Wikipedia articles had already been written, most WP:P&G was firmly set, even most influential WP essays already written in much like their present form; ArbCom was solidly in its bureaucratic pattern, and Jimbo's "benevolent dictator" activity was being sloughed off (while along with it went the "anyone sane and clueful can be an admin, which is no big deal" idea – definitely already a thing of the past in practice despite mantra-like lipservice to that folklore); vandalism was already well-in-hand, and most mass-scale attempts to do stupid stuff on Wikipedia were over. In short, WP had aged out of the first phase of the organizational life-cycle, and the heady buzz of the wild and wooly era of "visionary founders" and "we don't really need rules" had worn off. This is when the general editorial decline began in earnest (starting as a trickle in 2006[8]). It's also, pretty much necessarily, when the RfA decline started in earnest, candidates and RfA participants being a statistical subset of the editorship. WPs editorial ranks had been massively swelled in the early 2000s bY a large influx of Slash/dot users, fascinated and very enthused by the idea of whether the crazy experiment to collectively create a free, volunteer, self-organizing encyclopedia could actual work. That enthusiasm and fascination, in a large block of the editorial pool, faded quite quickly. By the period at which WP actually had become one of the general public's most frequently used sources of information, very rule-bound, and with much less to do at it that was new rather than polishing and maintenance, it had become an institution not a "what if", so for many of those early adopters it became boring old news, or (for some having more of a "my job is done" than "yawn" reaction) like watching your kid finally ride that bike away from you, training wheels still attached but without you holding the offspring and bike upright. PS: The checklist in Guy Macon's tongue-in-cheek post after Kudpung's, for how to pass RfA, is missing a denouement point: after you get the bit, avoid making any potentially controversial decisions that actually require judgement (you know, the reason the community needs admins at all).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:30, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Arbitrary and capricious break[edit]

  • Re "...what we, as a community, actually want to see in an administrator", Maybe "we" want the wrong things. We have a number of highly vocal editors who create articles and think that this somehow makes them better than Wikignomes who make smaller improvements on a larger number of articles. Some people are simply not very good at composing paragraphs but are great at interpreting policies and dealing with people, but the content-creation-bigots would have you believe that such a person is somehow not qualified to be an administrator. :( --Guy Macon (talk) 20:00, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
It always seems to me that a pretty high proportion of "opposers" have created very little content themselves, though of course there are exceptions. Complaints about edit-count, an area where Wikignomes do very well, are common, but these, and excessively high requirements for actual content, are much fewer that they were a few years ago, imo. Johnbod (talk) 20:09, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Re "Oppose, this moron completely sucks in every way." We have admins, who are suppose to redact cmts/block people who write that. Are people not writing that or are admins not doing their job? Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:15, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
"Oppose, this moron completely sucks in every way" is indeed blockable; "Oppose, the user has not demonstrated good judgement in any of the areas" is not.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:23, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I sometimes think it would be a good idea to come up with a kind of a rubric - that an oppose or a support vote should be supplemented by a set of "partial" votes. I saw that users have RfA criteria, but, as far as I am concerned, they are often too rigid and too detailed. For example, often users say that they require GA and FA experience. This is not really necessary - for example, on my RfA I was very open that I am never going to have GAs and FAs, and I did not get a singe oppose on this ground. The real reason why people ask for this is that they want to see some content creation experience - and it is needed, in its turn, to demonstrate, that the candidate (i) knows what copyvio, vandalism etc means; (ii) has certain respect to people who actually create content and to the content creation process. This can be reflected in a rubric as "content experience" and be one of say ten criteria. If we would be able to come up with such a rubric and run it say during a year at all RFAs (without any effect on the outcome, the rubric must merely explain the vote), we would understand much better what voters actually expect.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:20, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
No, sorry, users do not often say "they require GA and FA experience"! Some used to, but there was a bit of a campaign slapping this down a while back, & it's much less common (part of my point above) - especially FA. These days 2-3 DYKs will satisfy the great majority of voters. Johnbod (talk) 20:32, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
This is ok, I just used it as an example to illustrate my concept. One can city DYK instead.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:35, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
?? To complete the point, take for example, from a nom this January "Enterprisey has written a handful of articles, often related to tech, of which four were promoted at DYK..." - 252 Support, 2 Oppose, neither mentioning content creation. Johnbod (talk) 20:38, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Opposes for a lack of (interest in) content creation are nothing new and in fact something I myself experienced in my RfA back in 2008, i.e. the "glory days of RFA". So I don't think these kinds of opposes were ever responsible for the decline in people running for adminship. As for Ymblanter's point, I wrote the essay Wikipedia:Content awareness, not content creation back in 2011 and I think it's advice still applies.</shameless selfpromotion> Regards SoWhy 18:42, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
All I ask is that there is a little bit of Wikipedia that they look at and are proud for their efforts.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:10, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
I remain unsure of why I had such an easy time of RfA, given that I had very little major content creation to my name (though I went to the opposite extreme after my RfA, I have yet to get any DYK/GA/FA credit at all) and was quite open about the fact that I Absolutely Just Don't Care about such things. As far as I know I haven't laid waste to anything, so why would anyone else standing for RfA in my situation do so? I was basically the last admin chosen based on NPP work (TonyBallioni arguably excepted), and the people deleting things and blocking username violations are still overwhelmingly all the same people who were deleting things when I tagged them (plus me!). Plus, I've come to see that getting enough experience to become an administrator drained a lot of parts of my life, which I frankly regret but can't take back now; only relying on people willing to take part in Wikipedia as a de facto second (or even first!) job, with enormous expense to their personal lives, is not a way to keep people interested in what tasks admins are needed for (since I am one now I happen to enjoy those tasks, but I'd have never sacrificed as much as I did to become one). The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:11, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I somewhat wrote the rule book on "why admins should create content" WP:WRITE, but I have never mandated GAs (eg: Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/331dot), and would indeed support a user who poo-pooed the process with well thought out and justifiable reasons (even if I didn't personally agree with them). Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:53, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Based on my experience, Blade, I never would encourage anyone to put themselves through an RfA. It's not worth the pain from the personal attacks. I guess I'm glad I passed but the RfA changed me, changed how and what I edit and how I view everyone else who edits here. Everything is different now and not in a great way. Working on Wikipedia is more duty than pleasure now. And RfAs aren't any less brutal now. Kudpung is right that it's the voters, not the candidates that are the problem here. There is no call to dutifully go through every area where a candidate is lacking and enumerate their faults. This is not Festivus, there doesn't need to be an airing of grievances but everyone that can find an edit where the candidate made a mistake will find a way to bring it up years later. Support, Oppose, I don't care, but one can oppose someone's attempt to become an admin without trashing the person. Liz Read! Talk! 00:59, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
I remember that all too well. Since then I haven't made a nomination because it was hard to even watch, I felt absolutely horrible that it got so vicious; I can only imagine what it was like for you. And it's not even for anything significant, despite the pompous claims of adminship being Very Serious. It's a few buttons, everything (save botched histmerges!) is easily reversed, and the number of ZOMG VANDALS CONSPIRING TO DESTROY US!!!!! ascribes an utterly unwarranted self-importance (as if they're lined up everywhere trying to get admin tools so they can blow up Wikipedia). It's a website. Seriously. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:54, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

The issue raised by Alanscottwalker about whether admins are doing their job, is probably due to admins preferring to vote rather than clerk the process. They can't do both. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:19, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

@Kudpung: - this is a similar issue to the fact that 'Crat chats have been recusing major numbers, because the more controversial (and thus likely to warrant a 'chat) an RfA, the more Crats end up participating in it. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:21, 25 April 2019 (UTC)


  • Do we have an ability to see what the median (not mean) number of edits is by an admin in general, and the median & mean number of edits by an admin created in, say, the last 2 years? Nosebagbear (talk) 20:21, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Any stats you can draw up on it are a bit problematic as the data set is rather small (see WP:RBM). For what it's worth, the mean edit count of a successful candidate at the time of their RfA for 2017 was 43k edits. The median was 33k edits. You didn't ask for this, but on the fail side...isolating for those that failed without SNOWing or NOTNOWing; 40k edits mean, and the median was 13k. I don't have full data for 2018. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:36, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @Hammersoft: - thanks for working that out. That's an impressive mean/median difference for the unsuccessfuls, must have been a seriously high candidate. You're right, of course, as to small sample size. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:42, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Meditations at the graves of dead nuclear plant managers
Actualy, "sample size" has nothing to do with it. This isn't a sample of RFAs. It just is the RFAs. Period. It's the whole population. Sampling don't come into it. EEng 23:40, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It has everything to do with it. Small data sets, even if they are complete, do not lend themselves to determining trends. You need larger sets to do that. consider an extreme case; let's say we had only one passing RfA in the time period. That one RfA could show a result in the six sigma range and we would never know it. Simplifying; flip a coin once and get tails, and the "sample set" would conclude that heads is impossible. Nosebagbear can amplify; but I suspect this is why he was asking for the median, and not the mean. Note how the median and mean in both sets are off by a fair bit. That's to be expected with small data sets. --Hammersoft (talk) 02:54, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
I have a feeling that EEng (for those unfamiliar with his, um, sense of humor) was capriciously yanking everyone's chain. He just means that it's the entire data set as opposed to a sample of data taken from within the whole. (See Sampling (statistics).) I don't think anyone disputes that more RfAs would yield sturdier conclusions. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:42, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Capricious isn't quite the right word, but here's the response I composed a few days ago and just now found, unsaved, in a forgotten browser tab...
Well, since I have a degree in statistics I don't really need any explanations, simplified or not. The concept of sampling can make sense here only if the RfAs we actually see are a subset of some larger set, this larger set being a "population of all RfAs" existing somewhere beyond our view. But that's not so: the RfAs we have are all the RfAs there are, period. In particular, when you say that a lone RfA might "show a result in the six sigma range" ("six sigmas" being a management buzzword with no practical application in statistics, but we'll let that pass), the sigma could only mean the SD of this hidden full population, which again doesn't exist. There is no sample.
You speak of "determining trends", but trends in what? You may be trying to infer a shift in some parameter or distribution which somehow represents the community's willingness to give adminship to editors with various edit counts, and that might make sense if we could see RfAs as some kind of random process like a coin flip. But though there are random mechanisms at work in RfAs (e.g. the random events of which particular editors happen to see the RfA notice, decide to participate, etc.) I have no idea how to model the RfA process as a random process in any statistically meaningful sense.
Or you might use # of edits as an input to a regression exercise, after which you might try to make statements such as "The edit count of editors earning adminship has been declining at about X thousand edits per year" but again, without a coherent model of RfAs as a random process that's just feeding a lot of data into some impressive mathematical machinery, letting that machinery clink and clank a while, and then exhibiting betas with no real idea of what they mean.
Loose misuse of statistical concepts such as sampling is what leads people to do silly things such as apply hypothesis tests to full populations, and as I said somewhere else once, that kind of thing has caused a lot of problems, as the ex-managers of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear plants would be able to tell you first-hand (if they weren't both dead, of course). So please do your part to stop the senseless slaughter of nuclear-plant managers, and don't talk about sampling when there's no sampling involved. (I realize that's a bit over the top, but I'm in a puckish mood.) EEng 14:30, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
You're lucky I didn't say "arbitrary" instead of "capricious". (wink) --Tryptofish (talk) 18:30, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
  • oooooommmmm <meditating> oooooommmmm :) --Hammersoft (talk) 15:42, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

RfA voting motivations[edit]

I think Seraphimblade is absolutely a spot on, and a discussion why and how we vote on RfA should happen. Hopefully it could lead to some understanding of the community what is actually going on.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:59, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

  • I personally rarely oppose (I believe I opposed twice, and in both times the candidates finished well below the line), and I often support if after research (admittedly, not always extremely thorough one) I do not see any crucial problems. The question is of course what are crucial problems. I do not expect the candidate to know all the details of the policies (which can be read at any moment), but I do expect them to have a clue - meaning they should know how to behave in various, sometimes unexpected situations. None of us is perfect, but at the very least one expects that if an admin really screws up and gets pointed out to that, they admit they screwed up and do not repeat.There are some things which would be absolutely unacceptable for me - such as past documented experience of vandalism, socking, or, I do not know, battleground mentality without proper subsequent reflection - but, to be honest, this is a non-issue, we do not get such candidates anyway. I can be lenient on experience, I can be lenient on past conflicts, again, if conclusions have been made, but if a candidate is clueless and not capable of reflection, I am not going to support them. See also my rubric suggestion above.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:21, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I also think Seraphimblade's comments are quite accurate, but everyone else who has commented up to now has made interesting observations and suggestions. I particularly find Seraphim's analogy with AfD a pertinent idea - it might be useful to revise WP:AAAD ad talk about it. My WP:RFAV is aimed generally at voters who are very new and/or unkind, and I often drop a link to it to voters who IMO have acted in an inappropriate manner; if anyone reads it, I belive it does its job quite well, but I'm not sure if either of the essays get read very much. One of the debatable effects of Biblioworm's reforms was the large increase in exposure of RfA - does doubling the umber of participants double the effectiveness of the process, or does it simply attract more drive-by and potential rubbish votes and user questions? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:34, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
As long as it isn't required to give any rationale for a support, we'll never know the answer to that. If all someone needs to type is "#Support ~~~~" (or even just "#~~~~") how are we supposed to know if it's drive-by and/or potential rubbish? ansh666 01:58, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
I mean I'd be perfectly game for support voters having to justify, however as the pass-rate is calculated off the current status quo, we'd have to rejig it before implementing Perhaps a push for support !voters to justify would be beneficial in multiple ways, without the drawbacks? Nosebagbear (talk) 21:44, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see how. Justification for support can be pretty much finding nothing to make you distrust the person. per Nom does that. Do we really want the RfA full of 'I didn't find anything bad' comments? That is basically 'per nom' so not achieving anything we don't already have. If someone comments that they support because of 'criteria a' are they then going to draw lots of oppose responses saying yeah, but what about b, did you find some of that, what about c candidate never worked in c....do supporters then need to list everything?. Oppose is different; you only really need to agree one significant thing makes them unsuitable....what I'm rally trying to say here is it is hard to prove a negative. I for one don't plan on writing a big diatribe for support along the lines of 'good AfD work, good template work, good edit count, made dyk, made fa, worked with bots, good hit rate at npp, polite talk page responses, helpful to new editors, etcetera ' ClubOranjeT 08:20, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

How this interplays with personality disorders[edit]

The current method favors the narcissist-leaning user, while a more mechanized voting method favors the psychopathic-leaning user. The current discussion method gives an advantage to the higher degree of networking which narcissist-leaning users are capable of. Psychopathic-leaning users, being more lone wolfs, are at a disadvantage. The existing rules concerning the limitations and conduct of admins are currently adapted to check the vices that narcissist-leaning users are more prone to succumbing. If you change to a voting system, some tweaking may be needed. As for my own preference, I suggest we continue to let the problem get worse. If it gets bad enough, people may start treating others better on the RfAs on their own. If the admin shortage gets very bad, in coming years there may be an algorithm based system which does a better job choosing admins. Epiphyllumlover (talk) 21:48, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

I understand your argument, but which system would favour down-to-earth, reasonable, perceptive, and caring users? ---Sluzzelin talk 21:55, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Jimbo Wales' country school (quick answer, I need to think more).--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 23:05, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Some sort of real-world program where prospective admins were vetted from a pool which had taught Wikipedia classes based at local schools, libraries, places of worship, neighborhood centers, half-way houses, etc. Classes could be for adults or children, but priority would come for working with youth. People would need to be evaluated by the teachers/librarians/clergy/other administrators for their people skills. A written form completed by these people would be signed, scanned, and uploaded to Wikipedia. A real world example which approaches aspects of this method would be the GLOBE program.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 23:14, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
A drawback to having down-to-earth admins is that we need near-personality disordered admins with the grit to fight hard against near-personality disordered editors. Possibly the feature with enhanced sanctions for certain topics could be strengthened--it could become sort of a mini-Wikipedia inside of a Wikipedia, with more rules and easier adminship. Admins would need to choose whether they want to be a good cop on the larger Wikipedia or a bad cop on the controversial pages. The tough ones could decide "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." Meanwhile, the rest of Wikipedia would become more pleasant due to safety valve theory.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 23:37, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
We want admins to be balanced not imbalanced — I'm not sure you're depicting reality or anything realistically-implementable with the rest. El_C 00:09, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that was for fun! The serious comment comes from the first one: "If you change to a voting system, some tweaking may be needed" to account for the difference in personalities you get from each system. In particular, Wikipedia culture tends towards cerebral narcissism as it is (See Sam Vaknin#Views on narcissism). The relation of this, broadly speaking, to the RfA process has already been discussed by Stvilia et al. (Wikipedia administrators#Requests for adminship, and see the scientific studies section at the bottom of the page if you are curious). If you change the system to disfavor near-cerebral narcissists in favor of near-psychopaths (see Psychopathy#Society and culture), expect to adjust some rules to account for this.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 00:22, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Whatever all that is, down-to-earth it is not. Which is to say: hello, my name is Mr. Snrub! El_C 00:58, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

Are we asking the correct question?[edit]

That there are very few RFAs, and very few new admins, is a fact. That the reason for this is problems with the RFA process isn't - before a user reaches the point of doing an RFA, (s)he genereally goes through the following steps:

  1. Doing a first edit on Wikipedia, and feeling that this edit was appreciated.
  2. Becoming a member of the Wikipedia community
  3. Handling areas of enforcement of policies, including requesting help from admins for this purpose.

I believe that we have serious problems with step 1, which result in fewer potential admins reaching step 3. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 13:23, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

What you say is absolutely true. Sadly the fact that no one has replied to your post shows that, with over 250 archives of this page, people are much more interesting in discussing the minutae than getting to the nub of the issue, which is that we don't have enough editors. If you want lots of top-class sportsmen or pianists or whatever, you need a large base at the grass-roots. That's what we're missing. Nigej (talk) 22:05, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Encourage people to run[edit]

Per my comments here, and comments I've been making going on two years now, one of the biggest factors that drive people to go for RfA is people telling them they should do it. Going back through the successful 2019 and 2018 RfAs, there have been by my count 18 nominators/conominators (excluding self-noms) with SoWhy, Ritchie333, Amorymeltzer, MelanieN and myself being the only five who have nom'd more than once in the that span (these are hand counts so disclaimer about potential error, but the pattern is clear.)

We are easily at the most RfA-friendly time in recent memory with the possible exception of January 2017 depending on how you are measuring. RfA has been made out to be this awful thing that discourages everyone from running, but if we look at recent trends, that is far from the case. Yes, you do have some nasty ones, but on the whole we are electing admins by acclamation.

My strong encouragement is for admins who know people who work in your maintenance areas to encourage them to run (and non-admins too!) If anyone reading is interested and wants an assessment of their chances, I'll volunteer to look them over via email and give my honest thoughts, and I'm sure there are others here who would do the same. I really encourage people to think about people who would be good at this and try to move them to RfA. That is the simplest solution to this in my view. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:02, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

I have been trying to persuade several folks to run for quite a while now, with little success; two are on extended wikibreaks, and at least three others have declined repeatedly. Which is discouraging, to say the least. I'd ping them here, but I suspect they don't want the attention. I'd be interested to hear from people who have either managed to persuade reluctant candidates to run, and from reluctant candidates themselves, what it was that pushed them to take the plunge. Vanamonde (Talk) 21:14, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I won't try for the tools again unless CRASH rights are unbundled or rendered irrelevant. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 22:08, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I canvassed potential candidates by email for years, usually letting one of the regular nominators do the nominating if an editor was foolhardy enough to throw their hat in the ring. 9 times out of 10 I was always met with "thanks for suggesting, but I'm not going to go through hell for 7 days just to get a few more buttons". Those were the people who really would have made good admins. So about 2 years ago I gave up trying.
TonyBallioni says: RfA has been made out to be this awful thing that discourages everyone from running, but if we look at recent trends, that is far from the case, but I'm afraid that for once, I have to disagree with him. It may look as if the majority of serious RfA have met with a success, but it does not take into account all those users who have been canvassed and encouraged to run but who will not do so until RfA is no longer such a humiliating experience and stops being treated as the one venue on Wikipedia where editors can be as spiteful and disingenuous as they like with total impunity.
The increasing dearth of serious enquiries at Wikipedia:Requests_for_adminship/Optional_RfA_candidate_poll/Archive_11 also demonstrates, by their absence, a lack of interest. Basically, all that ORCP has received this year is from editors who stand no chance whatsoever, and who have already disqualified themselves by not reading the instructions. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:30, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

I'll give you two things that came out of the two recent RfAs:

  • RexxS was hoping that by standing for adminship on a "no big deal" ticket on April Fool's Day, he would show the community that adminship really wasn't a big deal and people who wanted to help out should just ask. Instead we got the reverse, multiple RfCs, criticism of the 'crats opinions, and wondering what RfA actually is in the first place.
  • HickoryOughtShirt?4 wanted to run at a time they had a week free to deal with issues. They were perplexed at how much attention seemed to be placed on understanding ECP, a relatively new policy that many admins have not used and did not exist when most admins acquired their tools. In the event, the RfA passed but only because HOS?4 took time out to spend a considerable amount of time explaining the protection policy. They also told me they were somewhat upset that nobody had ever mentioned that their protection requests were ever an issue, otherwise they might have done something about it. As it is, they have got the tools, but the diplomatic work required to get them does not send out a positive signal to anyone else. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:36, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm one of those people Tony asked, and I've been mulling what, if anything, I should say here. I've thought hard, and there is nothing that I can think of that hasn't already been said multiple times. If it is starting to feel like the problem has become severe enough, it may be time for everyone to be more receptive to unbundling than what has been in the past. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:19, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
  • These discussions are now becoming monotonously periodic -- the same stuff about how RFAs are now the easiest to pass, how people are being actively solicited but are rejecting such offers and how we can combat this. This goes for a month before the thread gets archived and nothing changes on the ground. We again begin from the start, a few weeks later. If there is really a problem, we need to seriously delve into the territory of unbundling rights - there are numerous people whom I will easily trust with certain parts of the mop-kit but not all. IIRC, Neil already tried this with a proposal to unbundle a nuanced form of semi-protection and the reception was mixed, it might have succeeded with a more considered proposal. WBGconverse 20:44, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
    Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_152#User-right_that_allows_non-admins_to_Semi-protect_pages. WBGconverse 06:04, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Apart from allowing exceptionally experienced vandalism patrollers to block IPs and other accounts immediately who are on a vandalism spree (and I believe this has been discussed more than once in the past), I cannot think of anything that can now be safely unbundled. If there were, I would have proposed them. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:37, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    I've convinced myself that there are safe ways to unbundle page protection, but, a bit like RfA itself, I'm not convinced that it would be worth my time and effort to try to convince other people of it. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:52, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
  • There are two different approaches: the number of editors passing make it look easy, but the number of editors refusing to stand makes it look hard? ——SerialNumber54129 09:40, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    I thing we could use more freshblooded admis. Lectonar (talk) 17:43, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Tryptofish and Kudpung: Surely the ability to protect pages, or at least to edit protected pages, could be unbundled? We have a sizeable cohort of experienced editors who work on stuff related to the main page, but not in any other admin area. Giving them the ability to make fixes directly would ease a non-trivial admin burden. I'd even argue that this is safer than blocking; there's no technical distinction at the moment between blocking a vandal, which many users could do without a problem, and blocking for other reasons, which is typically the admin activity responsible for the most drama. I don't have the time to put such a proposal together at the moment; but if this is something others are interested in, I would be willing to invest some time in this in the future. Vanamonde (Talk) 17:57, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    Maybe, but the right to edit cascade protected pages - which many Main Page associated pages are - is inherently tied to the right to protect pages. And part of the reason why unbundling of protection rights failed was the concern that people with access to protection but not blocking would overuse protection in cases where blocking is appropriate. I like the idea but we'd need some guidance that such a Main Page Helper right may not be used for semiprotection or protection outside of the Main Page. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:22, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Jo-Jo Eumerus: That's a valid concern, but that's not difficult to address, I think. The number of pages that are related to main page activity is very small. Guidelines for the use of this hypothetical flag could specify, as you suggest, that it is not to be used elsewhere; but also, any flags that admins can grant and remove at their discretion is much harder to abuse. An editor using such a flag to deal with a content dispute wouldn't be able to do much damage before having the flag pulled. Vanamonde (Talk) 18:37, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    I don't know that unbundling at the moment is the answer to whatever problems we have with getting people to be sysops. In fact I'm skeptical that it is. However, if this were to move forward presumably the concerns about this being used in the wrong places could be identified through an edit filter of some kind? Perhaps to stop but certainly to monitor its application. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:44, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    We could do some of this with policy - it is easy to make a technical group that can "editprotected", they just also get some other things (like being able to modify protections). So we could make an access that CAN do things, but MAY NOT do them. If they do - well they could be blocked and/or degrouped. Now is this a problem that needs fixing? Well point to the backlog that shows it. — xaosflux Talk 19:56, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Xaosflux: re: "point to the backlog that shows it": I'm not going to compile diffs at this time, but as evidence I offer the following; complaints that "ready" nominations are not posted promptly are common at ITN; complaints that issues on the main page are not solved in time are frequent at ERRORS (there was one earlier today that was fixed by an involved admin invoking IAR, because no one else stopped by); DYK preps are frequently promoted to queues very close to the time they are supposed to run, and possibly, as a result, do not receive the level of scrutiny expected of such a promoted; and we have previously had a TFA coordinator who could not edit TFA entries when they were on the main page. Conversely, there are at least a half-dozen editors who are specialists in one or more areas of the main page, and do very little with respect to other admin functions. The unbundling proposed above (yes, I know it's been proposed before, by many others) would allow these users to chip away at things that are currently admin "backlog" without running the RFA gauntlet. It isn't a magic bullet for the problems outlined above, but it would address a substantive need, I think. Vanamonde (Talk) 20:59, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Vanamonde: OK, so some good points - though very limited scope - the argument could be stronger if User:AnomieBOT/PERTable was also growing. I think that the argument that someone who is trusted enough to edit MP content should be trusted enough to only edit other protected pages isn't very hard. Smaller projects have used sub-admin groups that can even delete/undelete/etc (some also include block!). With a sub-admin (usually technically called 'eliminator' on the backend) we could easily allow what ever access is supported by consensus - and include what ever rules we want for maintaining access. Pretty much the only admin-related access that WMF cares about is viewing of deleted text - and that just requires that a sufficient community approval process takes place. I've seen these debates endlessly here - and its usually the 'rfa should be no big deal' group that opposes it, but then you get the 'de-admining is to hard' group that keeps people out of +sysop. Getting support for some less-than-full-admin group is going to require a showing of need (mostly by really being able to point to backlogs) just as was done with other recently created groups like extendedmover and editfilterhelper. I'm personally in support of such a group, but would certainly want to clarify the parameters and rules associated with it. — xaosflux Talk 23:28, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
  • This thread started by TonyBallioni, has, like many discussions, now been side tracked. Instead of talking about ways to encourage more users to run for the bit it's now discussing unbundling the tools. We've had unbundlements before and it has never had any influence on the number of RfA which has been in free fall for years. Tony's comment that he referred to was: ... now is probably the best time to run for RfA in almost a decade (ignoring the January '17 surge). Candidates tend to pass in the 90s, and all but one of the serious RfXs that we have had this year have passed. I hate to sound like a broken record, but just encourage people you know to go for RfA and offer to nominate them". However, RfA Psouthwood is an example where success is not guaranteed until the lasyt moment, so as I said above, I do not wholly agree that this is a better time than any other time - RfA has been a cesspit of iniquity for a decade or more and still is "a horrible and broken place" (Wales).
That most of the very few RfA nowadays (10 last year) are successful is due only to the fact that the people running are almost sure they will be elected whatever cheap dung is thrown at them or the voters throw at each other. A candidate nowadays has to be so squeaky clean, with almost no history of doing anything remarkable whether magnificent or mundane, in order to have a fair run run such as Ealdgyth"s RfA. Enterprisey's RfA was spoiled with "Oppose 232 Supports and 1 Oppose. That is a >99% Support rate. There must be something wrong with this guy. I Oppose", by Isabela84, a user who according to their user page, is someone I would least expect to drag an RfA into the mire. Even Tony's own RfA was blighted by at least one example of trolling. The biggest challenge to reforming RfA now is that there is not enough sample to know if any new reforms will have an effect for a couple of years. I hate to sound like a broken record, but here is my mantra again: 'Fix the voters and RfA will fix itself' Perhaps we need to try. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:09, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think instances like those are worth worrying about; it's not like 45 people then said "Oppose per Isabela84" and caused the RfA to fail. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 09:14, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Lazy admins?[edit]

Closing per request. I think all points have been made. UnitedStatesian (talk) 21:38, 19 May 2019 (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.

Can someone please explain why we go through so much agita at almost every WP:RFA here so we have someone to close Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Management that got nothing but unanimous delete votes, the second it hits seven days? (and I don't mean to pick on that admin specifically: this is a symptomatic rant) Meanwhile, Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Music Portals by Moxy, and every other one in MfD's old business, is skipped over: no sense closing that one after it has been open for a month, takes too much time to read, why not keep it open two, three, four months? Must be a job for some super admin who will come along some day. How about you not skip over the hard cases? That's why we gave you the mop. Rant over. UnitedStatesian (talk) 03:31, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

I think there might have been a way to express this thought that would not attack many dedicated editors for the volunteer work they to to improve the world's knowledge through this encyclopedia, but this was not it. And perhaps if there were more sysops than there would be more capacity to take on the hard cases. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 03:36, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Certainly was not meant as an attack on anyone, and apologize that more diplomatic phrasing is outside my capabilities. Meant 100% as encouragement, pep talk, suggestion, and call to aim higher: the latter of which is something we all benefit from hearing from time to time, I think. UnitedStatesian (talk) 03:50, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
No one here is obliged to do anything. Describing any contributor or group of contributors as lazy is inflammatory and appears to a deliberate attempt at provocation. If diplomatic phrasing is outside your capabilities mine isn't. I suggest you close this. Leaky caldron (talk) 06:56, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
When admins get criticized for even uncontroversial edits/actions, it makes one leary of diving into controversial waters. It's not a matter of laziness....it doesn't take a huge amount of time to do any admin action. It just if you are walking into a no-win situation, no one is chomping at the bit to dive in. I mean, who relishes getting pissed-off editors posting on your talk page? Is that really a reason why anyone starts editing Wikipedia, to have angry people calling you out by name? I mean, it's part of the job. But not a part of the job anyone likes. Liz Read! Talk! 03:56, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
This reminds me of something I wrote before: It is demotivating for editors to know that any edit they make could get challenged and trying to resolve it can mean long, protracted discussions, with possibly no definitive resolution ever arriving. For non-privileged editors, every single edit is a potential trigger to be dragged into a prolonged morass; it's just worse for administrators who are required to engage in discussion over any decision they make. I think it is a key aspect of the editor/admin retention problem. isaacl (talk) 05:24, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I would encourage any lazy admins or even lazy editors to display this userbox to signal their constitution while inviting others to do that which is needful. –xenotalk 09:14, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
{{User:Mr.Z-man/lazy}}
Lazy sleeping barnstar.svgThis user is very lazy. Please feel free to do their work for them.
Transclusions
Done, now I can just point to [9] when someone complains at me. Galobtter (pingó mió) 14:52, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Added it to my user page. I'll be happy to have someone to do the heavy lifting. Volunteers? Liz Read! Talk! 04:18, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't know about all the other lazy administrators but I do know that I sometimes spend a lot of time reading about the controversy du jour and by the time I am ready to comment, someone else much smarter and quicker than I has already said something more insightful than the feeble observation I was formulating. Other times I conclude that I have nothing useful to add to the controversy. When I do choose to speak and take an administrative action, I am perfectly prepared to either defend my reasoning or to reverse my decision if I have made a mistake. I was not given the mop, in my opinion, to roam willy-nilly into closing every Wiki-controversy, but instead to act in cases that interest me and where I feel confident in taking administrative action. I admit that I am slow and deliberate. If that constitutes laziness, I plead guilty. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:41, 19 May 2019 (UTC)=
Some admins have been around so long, or have done so much already, or are now quite old, that they deserve and are welcome to slow down. Others may appear to be lazy, but a lot of the work they do is not necessarily reflected in their edit counts or admin logs. Adminship may be a user right for life, but it doesn't have to be a job for life. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:59, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

I'm a lazy fuck, and the more I see tedious fucking shite from people like UnitedStatesian, the lazier I'm inclined to get. Nick (talk) 21:31, 19 May 2019 (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.

Why not recuit admins to fill underserved area?[edit]

The discussion above actually raised a valid point, one that got lost because of the “lazy admins” talk: the question of why some areas get prompt attention while others languish in backlog. Here’s why that happens: There are some areas where many administrators feel comfortable working. Those include CSD, PROD, AFD, RFPP, AIV, UAA. The result is at those areas there is rarely a backlog; in my observation such requests are generally acted on very quickly, because there are a lot of admins willing to do them. Then there are also areas where not many administrators have experience or feel comfortable with, and so there are only a few admins who are willing to make decisions there. Such areas do get badly backlogged. They include: deletion of things other than pages, such as portals (MFD, the example given above) and categories; review and promotion of DYK nominations; review and closure of sockpuppet investigations; I’m sure you can think of others. God bless the few admins who struggle to keep up with those areas. But IMO the solution is that the editors who are active in those areas should recruit one of their own to run for RfA - or volunteer themselves. Personally I always find it a strong reason to support someone at RfA if they intend to fill a niche here that needs filling. -- MelanieN (talk) 21:59, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

@MelanieN: I fundamentally agree with your diagnoses. In trying to recruit several of the editors working on main page tasks, including DYK, I have seen multiple people express the sentiment that they felt they would not stand a chance at RFA without broader experience in admin areas, which they felt disinclined to obtain; and why shouldn't they? This is partly what motivated my comment above; if we have editors able to fill niche admin roles, we should make it easier for them to do so by delinking that ability from the rest of the toolset. Vanamonde (Talk) 22:13, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Something that I've been noticing is that at places like WP:ANI and WP:AE, difficult cases just sit there and, well, fester like an open wound without coming to a prompt resolution. If you look at ANI, the simple cases, the ones that are open-and-shut and can easily be dealt with, get settled and closed rapidly, but if there is a messy content dispute with both "sides" accusing each other back-and-forth, it stays open a lot longer than it needs to. It would be great if leaving something open longer would lead to more editors contributing information that helpfully sheds light on what needs to be done – but that pretty much never happens. And any admins who are trying to get an understanding of the information just end up being served with more and more information. It's understandable that this is difficult, and I'm not sure whether it is useful to identify RfA nominees, but it probably indicates that we need more candidates from the pool of experienced editors. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:54, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Tryptofish: Well, I can think of at least one; and so can several others; [10], [11]. Vanamonde (Talk) 04:15, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
or perhaps people need to stop bringing frivolous cases? 🐡 Though I agree with some of the unbundling premises you are advancing, I can't help but wonder if you are canvassing, Mr. Fish... 🎱 Mr. SashiRolls t · c 00:05, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Could you two please keep your dispute out of this discussion? El_C 00:17, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
"Why not recuit admins to fill underserved area?" The obvious example is Wikpedia:Requests for adminship/Jon Kolbert which I declined to run for fear of "lack of content creation" opposes that were in vogue at the time. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 11:38, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
That's the crux of the issue, in many ways isn't it? I sometimes read these discussions as "It's understandable but too bad that good candidates are too skittish to run." But the truth is that it's sysops who are cautious too. As Tony documented above only a few sysops are willing to nominate. And even those who are willing to nominate, will decide in some cases not to do so out of concerns not about the prospective candidate's temperament or knowledge/suitability for the role but for whether they will pass the ordeal. I had a discussion with a sysop who enthusiastically agreed with Tony's analysis that this is an ideal time to run and when I queried him about who he was going to try to get to run he ended up naming a couple of names but upon further analysis decided that neither were quite ready yet. So effectively potential nominators are examining two separate criteria: do I think this person would do a good job and do I think this person will pass RfA? Tony's analysis suggests maybe the prognostications on that latter question are a bit too conservatively. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 15:05, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Just change it already[edit]

Nice idea @MelanieN: but most of those you would approach aren't masochists. The main thing that makes RfA hard for the candidate is that it is a lifetime appointment and too much of the community gets to nash their teeth at them for a whole lot of (often frivolous or just downright nasty) reasons on the back of that premise. Mother Theresa would fail RfA if a couple of users dug up evidence she once kicked a rabid dog. @RexxS: was one of the best experienced candidates to run in recent times and look how that went. However, there are many other editors out there that have run out of ideas or enthusiasm for articles they want to write, or get bored with the monotonous vandalism reversion or NPP, or have reviewed all the current AfDs and are looking for things to do, but won't go through hell week and who could blame them. A way better idea would be to bypass the RfA process in its current form. Take the heat out of it by returning to "Admin is no big deal", and taking away the idea that the community is stuck with bad ones forever

  • Existing Admins should identify, approach and get agreement from potential candidates for said areas, and commit to providing some guidance.
  • Candidate should then be vetted by 'crats and given Adminship for 12 months.
  • Then they could have a 'ratification RfA', where they are generally likely to pass as they have shown they "ain't breaking it". I would expect all admins to pass this ratification as long as there are not generally popping up as the perpetrator in ANI cases or losing Arbcom cases against them.
  • I'd also like to see ratification RfAs for all admins every , say 3 years...same thing, unless ANI or ARBCOM cases are showing an unsettling trend, I'd expect opposers to be shut down by the community.

Never happen though, too many people like the drama.ClubOranjeT 11:18, 20 May 2019 (UTC)