Adminship debates

Issues surrounding adminship debated

Matters related to the selection and conduct of Wikipedia administrators were the subject of considerable attention last week, as community opinion on these questions was solicited in multiple venues.

Radiant! launched an admin accountability poll on Tuesday in an attempt to see whether any particular changes should be made in order to deal with "a number of perennial complaints about adminship or the related procedures."

The poll asked for opinions on a number of different propositions. Radiant! said he had made an effort to include the most frequently expressed views about adminship issues, whether or not he agreed with them personally. A number of additional statements were still added for consideration after the poll started.

Just after the poll began, Linuxbeak also started a discussion intended to focus on possible reforms to the Requests for adminship (RfA) process. Linuxbeak said he hoped this could develop a rough draft of a modified system for handling adminship nominations. Considerable discussion followed, with people listing a number of complaints about the current RfA system. A few possible changes were mentioned, such as de-emphasizing voting in favor of discussion more like featured article candidates, but a concrete reform proposal has yet to emerge.

On Saturday, meanwhile, Radiant! started work on a possible Administrator Code of Conduct that might synthesize some of the ideas from the admin accountability poll. Initial reactions were positive, but indicated some uncertainty as to wording used. A proposal for an Arbitration Committee Code of Conduct discussed last month has gone nowhere, with the fundamental concept drawing mixed opinions, but the actual proposal was widely panned as the work of dissatisfied users who had come under Arbitration Committee sanctions.

In addition, a proposal was also started regarding Requests for comments (RfC). After a large percent of people commented that RfCs were ineffective and not taken seriously, the proposal was made in an effort to give administrators the ability to carry out and enforce small-scale remedies following RfCs. The proposal allows users to make motions to remedy certain undesirable behavior, such as by banning a user from a particular article, which will then be voted on. If the motion receives 2/3 support and has at least five administrators advocating it, other administrators will then have the ability to enforce that remedy.

Poll results

The admin accountability poll is not designed to achieve any particular policy outcome, simply to gauge public sentiment. Note that most users made individual comments on most issues, thus the results are not as black and white as statistics would suggest. The responses on specific issues, as of press time, are listed below:

Wheel warring is an inappropriate use of admin powers 95% Agree
Requests for Comment (WP:RFC) is not taken seriously enough 93.8% Agree
Admins placing blocks should be contactable via e-mail 92.5% Agree
The ArbCom should be less hesitant about de-adminning admins who violate Wikipedia rules 86.8% Agree
Admins should be held more accountable for their actions than they are now 83.3% Agree
# Ignoring consensus is inappropriate for an admin 77.8% Agree
@ There should be suffrage rules for voting on RFA 73.8% Agree
Someone should have the authority to temporarily de-admin problematic admins 63.6% Agree
RFA should be more of a discussion and less a vote 62.5% Agree
% The standards for becoming an admin should be higher than they are now 51.4% Agree
A community-based process should be created to de-admin problematic users 43.6% Agree
The rollback button should only be used in cases of clear vandalism, or reverting oneself 43.4% Agree
Bureaucrats should remove (or strike out) votes that are in bad faith or nonsensical 38.5% Agree
Rather than letting the ArbCom or the community deal with de-adminning, some other panel should deal with that 26.7% Agree
Bureaucrats should not be on the Arbitration Committee 22.2% Agree
All admins should be subject to periodic reconfirmation of their admin status 21.1% Agree
More users should have CheckUser rights 10.9% Agree
& There should be an additional layer between "user" and "admin" 8.2% Agree

# Most dissenters think ignoring consensus is inappropriate in most cases, but cite a few clear exceptions.
@ There are widely varying suggestions for where suffrage should lie.
% The majority of votes are not agree or disagree, so this percentage can be somewhat misleading.
& Several users do suggest the Rollback Tool should be more widely available.

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