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The future is Swedish with a lack of administrators

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By Evad37 and Bri
Lunch at Wikimania 2019?

A Swedish Wikimania

In 2019, Wikimania will be held in Sweden, although the exact location is yet to be determined. Announcing the decision, Ellie Young of the Wikimania Committee said:

The Swedish proposal beat out three other proposals from teams in Armenia, Perth, and Prague. E

Zeroing out Wikipedia Zero

Wikipedia Zero eighty-sixed

The WMF is ending the Wikipedia Zero program, which has provided more than 800 million people with access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges. The reasons given by WMF for ending the program were "drop off in adoption and interest... due, in part, to the rapidly shifting mobile industry, as well as changes in mobile data costs". Zero had been critiqued by Vice magazine as embodying "digital colonialism" and for serving free porn and pirated movies. Early comments on the post brought up the issue of net neutrality. B, E

Shaping the future

The Wikimedia Foundation has released a research report on "Wikimedia's role in shaping the future of the information commons", available as a PDF on Commons or on Medium. The report, based on the Wikimedia 2030 strategy discussions held last year, presents insights, recommendations, and discussion points from the WMF's staff and consultants. E

Wandering in the RfA desert of 2018

Too late for this one. Maybe there's another RfA about to come forward?

With zero RfAs in January, this year looks more like 2016 than 2017 according to Wikipedia:RFA by month. If we have another year of under 20 successful RfAs, things will not look good. Commentary to June 2017 Signpost's News and notes by Widefox said 50 is a replacement number.

In the great 2011 RfA Reform debate, it was noted by Swarm "August 2011 saw only one promotion, a monthly low that has only been reached one other time in RfA history". So, a phenomenon that was alarming or even worth reconsidering the whole RfA process then, seems to be getting barely any attention at all at this time. Or is it? Your comments are invited below. B

Brief notes

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Actually, the problem with RFA isn't the process at all, it's the unrealistic expectations of some voters. Let's take a look at what it takes to get over the hurdle with one voter:
  • The maturity level of a responsible adult (18+) - evaluation of maturity is highly critical, but subjective, and I believe that minors who are admins should demonstrate an exceptional level of maturity that is beyond average for their real age. This also means that the candidate should have at least a basic user page but not one that looks like a 14-year-old's bedroom wall.
  • The ability to communicate in proper standard English (non-native and/or creole users take note), understanding that WP is not built by teenagers for teenagers or for mobile phone SMS.
  • 12 months autoconfirmed user or at least 6,000 non-automated edits in the preceding 6 months.
  • Preferably >30% edits to Talk and Wikipedia space.
...25 more criteria – hidden for page readability
  • At least 4 created articles of at least 500 words, perfectly sourced and formatted - no outstanding maintenance tags on any creations where the candidate is still the major contributor. FA, GA, or DYK are not prerequisites, but a very minimum of article creation and/or an equivalent amount of new content should demonstrate that we are here first and foremost to build an encyclopedia and not a WP:MMORPG. See also Why admins should create content.
  • No mass creation of very short stubs.
  • Preferably >100 New Page Patrols.
  • No warnings or comment about wrong NPP tagging in the preceding 6 months.
  • <5% declined CSD at New Page Patrolling.
  • >10 advice edits to a help desk that demonstrate knowledge of the policies/guidelines.
  • >50 edits to AfD with adequate rationale that demonstrate knowledge of the policies (hit rate over 75% on Scottywong's tool)
  • >10 edits to RfA (although this number might be difficult to achieve for newer users) with adequate rationale that demonstrate knowledge of the process.
  • 99% edit summaries in the main space.
  • No warnings for vandalism.
  • No warnings for spam.
  • No sockpuppetry (unauthorised use of multiple accounts).
  • No L3, L4, or single issue warnings.
  • A clean block log of at least 12 months, but this could be longer depending on the severity of the issue and the length of the block(s).
  • No confirmed personal attacks reported to a notice board.
  • Users have very different opinions as to what constitutes incivility - I judge this for myself and I'm not very tolerant. Note however that there is a big difference between being blatantly rude and just not mincing one's words.
  • Only 1 3rr warning, and older than 6 months.
  • No warnings of any kind 3 months preceding RfA.
  • No CSD, PROD, or AfD notices for own creations 6 months preceding RfA.
  • No reverted non-admin closures of any debate types.
  • No unnecessary 'clerking' of admin areas - such as, for example, WP:PERM.
  • 2nd or subsequent RfA not sooner than 3 months.
  • 2nd or subsequent RfA not less than 1,500 new manual, major edits.
  • No possible signs that the candidate has joined Wikipedia with the express intention of working towards adminship (includes hat-collecting and over-enthusiastic participation on admin boards).
  • No canvassing on- or off-Wiki (off-Wiki discussion with your nominator is OK).
  • Finally, and most importantly, people don't join the army just because they want to shoot guns, and they don't join the police force just because they want to drive a fast car with a blue light and a siren and hand out speeding fines. Which means, for those who don't get the metaphors, that users who join Wikipedia with the sole intention of working their way towards adminship don't get my support, which also means that 'I wanna be an admin someday' userbox.
No, that's not a joke, that's actually one voter's laundry list. Gee, I can't imagine why there are only 20 people a year willing and able to take off their pantaloons and successfully run the gauntlet to become a site janitor... So no, don't blame the process — blame those with unrealistic expectations. Carrite (talk) 15:04, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That list is utterly preposterous and I agree wholeheartedly with Carrite that people set ridiculous expectations for something that is supposed to be no big deal. The only criterion that matters is "is the candidate generally trustworthy?" WaggersTALK 15:37, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
And the joke is that Carrite hasn't even got the courage to say whose list it is. It's actually one of the mildest set of criteria. He should see the others before he puffs his non-admin chest out. Perhaps he should try his own luck at RfA... Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:54, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Courage? Ha. Carrite (talk) 16:57, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
P.S. Been there. Done that. Carrite (talk) 17:05, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed - one of the very few RfA I haven't voted on over the last 9 years. Wasn't a particularly savoury moment for you, I'll grant you - in fact the very paradigm of what's really wrong with the process rather than 'laundry lists'. IMO it should have passed. If you'd bothered to read the laundry list rather than simply copying and pasting it, Carrite, you would have noticed that while it is long, taken as a whole it's nothing more than the very bare, all-round minimum just spelled out - our anti-admin people should rejoice in that some people do at least exercise some basic but realistic criteria. But Where on the list are the ridiculous three years, 30,000 edits, and half a dozen FA that some users are calling for nowadays since the new rules allowed all the publicity for every RfA ? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 17:46, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I think I acquitted myself well and I respect the perspective of the dissenting views of most of the 52 of those who voted against me — and, of course, the 82 who voted for me. But that's a digression from my basic observation that you are completely off base pointing fingers at the structure of RFA as the cause of the steady attrition of the Administrator count, when in actual fact it is the unreasonable expectations of some Wikipedians that is the primary cause of the plague. Look no further than your own mirror. Reflect. Carrite (talk) 19:03, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I agree, the standards expected over the years and years have been creeping ever high, perhaps not in itself a bad thing for the standards to grow as the site itself grows but the growth hasn't been kept in check. Now it is at totally unreasonable levels, as seen by some months having zero new admins approved whatsoever! Mathmo Talk 01:15, 13 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Carrite, I'd like to probe in all possible collegiality about the statement "the problem with RFA isn't the process". You and I have both been to RfA, aren't currently admins, and are (still) long-term contributors, so we probably have a unique perspective. I found it to be very vexing and stressful, to say the least. It took a while for the sting to fade and feel like I was a welcome contributor again. You didn't feel that way? In other words: do you think the current process is OK the way it is – healthy and beneficial to the project and the people involved? Depending on your answer I might try to explain a more relaxed set of criteria I developed for this list. ☆ Bri (talk) 18:29, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I ran for city council when I was 22 or something and I know from that that losing elections sucks. Running through RFA and failing in the effort wasn't a personal blow — I was seeking the toolbox for a limited time for a limited purpose and was going to turn it in when I was finished. There was unexpected howling, much of it from the CCI people who wanted to hang the guy I was defending at ArbCom, some of it from the Foundation from a legal perspective that I hadn't anticipated, a little of it from Wikipedians whose oxen I had punctured over the years. But all in all, I found the process illuminating more than anything. See my Timbo's Rule 19. Having underwent the RFA process through no fault of my own (trying to get temporary reading rights for deleted material in connection with an ArbCom case) I can say this with authority: "Yes, Virginia, there is a cabal." (July 2013) Carrite (talk) 19:09, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
With respect to your actual question: I think the process is more or less fine the way it sits. Too many arcane questions about policies and procedures, I suppose, and not enough emphasis on track record and editing history. But the basic process is fine. See also: Timbo's Rule 16. The slogan "Adminship is No Big Deal" is a joke. Actually, RfA is a 7 day proctological exam conducted by a tag team of 150 people of differing intentions — some of whom wish to subject the patient's rectum to blunt-force trauma during the process. Only people who REALLY like proctologists would be advised to run. (July 2012; modified Jan. 2016) + Timbo's Rule 17. Then again, proctological exams do help ward off certain types of cancer. (Oct. 2012) Carrite (talk) 19:15, 21 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I supported Carrite's RFA, so obviously I don't agree with much of the opposition to it, but I could have predicted that opposition if I'd been the nominator. Wanting to view deleted edits is a very limited use of the admin toolkit, and comes close to "no need for the tools". I don't agree with that oppose rationale, I actually take the opposite view that is we had a bunch of new admins who weren't sure what they'd do with the mop beforehand after a while we'd look back and say "who'd have thought our new history merger and appointer of autopatrollers were going to come from that batch". But I don't consider "no need for the tools" as either a common oppose rationale or one that limits our ability to appoint new admins who are ready to get involved in the main admin areas of blocking and deletion. As for standards inflation and unhelpful RFA criteria, Yes I'd agree that we have a problem there, but I wouldn't take the cited example of someone's RFA criteria as indicative of that - that particular one is atypical in being far too prescriptive. Occasionally we get opposers grandstanding at RFA with non standard criteria such as "oppose all self noms, oppose if you don't have the initiative to self nom you aren't ready for adminship, oppose no articles created from scratch, oppose vandalfighting and writing FAs is a nice combination, but I expect to see activity at deletion/ files/ UAA/insert hobby horse here" usually it doesn't get traction, the candidate can ignore it and it degenerates into threads on the talkpage and elsewhere. There was an era when we had admin coaching and a bunch of candidates emerged who had ticked the various boxes of so many AFD votes, AIV reports etc, but most people see such levelling up as very MMORPG like and would prefer a candidate who has been here long enough and done enough that we can assess them and has enough activity in an admin related area to show that they are ready to use the tools. Such candidates still exist, and when they do run often get 98-99% support, my concern is how do we tempt more of them to come forward. ϢereSpielChequers 12:39, 23 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Widefox; talk 23:42, 26 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]

One of the reasons you would sign up for admin is because you are a paid operative. Someone else would reward you from outside, say a Russian, same as on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. Wikipedia is broken, just like Twitter. At least Twitter has moved on from denial. - Shiftchange (talk) 04:04, 6 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Looking at the graph featuring the projected future rates, could one reading of Widefox's data be that as time progresses, those who play future administrative roles with less fellow admins to help share their burdens will become more efficient, in that they need only be semi-active in order to maintain the same level of control that their predecessors had with more active co-admins? I think something has to be driving the semi-active numbers higher. I find it hard to believe that these dedicated future administrators, hardened to a greater sense of loyalty through increasingly rigorous RfA's, would so easily switch from very active to semi active roles if they didn't sense that Wikipedia was able to handle it. Perhaps a growing sense of confidence is the driver of this switch. Spintendo      05:57, 13 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]
There's scope to double the number of active admins without recruiting anyone. That could be a good short-term fix. If a fix for numbers is needed, I do not know. Response times and backlogs at boards would be useful metrics. With low numbers of fresh blood, this is natural wastage. Widefox; talk 23:59, 13 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I've long wanted to see an apprenticeship system, where people with modest and clear experience requirements could be granted limited privileges (assistant admin or such title) and work with an existing admin for some period, say a year, and be asked to work in several different area during that time. They would then be evaluated for full admin privileges based on the work they actually did during the apprenticeship. One thing I would never approve is an admin request to gain access to resources not publicly available for purposes other than maintaining Wikipedia, such as research. That is not a knock on the applicant, but any such research should be formally proposed and approved by the community and/or the foundation, with strong privacy safeguards and formal Institutional review board approval, since it may involve access to material that never should have been here in the first place, such as personal information, harassment or libel.--agr (talk) 14:45, 26 March 2018 (UTC)[reply]


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