This December, for the first time since the list was established in its current form in 2014, the tally of active administrators has been under 500 for the entire month. It does not appear likely to rise above 500 again, unless there is a major change in trend.
|I see two trends here, a very longstanding one that those who pass usually do so uncontentiously, and a newish one that unanimous RFAs are now rare. The community is rarely ambiguous at RFA, this year two out of twenty two successful RFAs were so close as to involve cratchats, whilst 12 ended with fewer than 10 opposes. RFA is almost like an inverted bell curve, with most results being very clear rejections or very clear passes and very few being borderline. That's why the lowering of the discretionary band has had little effect, there just aren't many RFAs where the community is undecided or close to being undecided. The newer trend is that unanimous passes are now a thing of the past. There have been none in the last two years and only three in the previous three years. By contrast in 2014 nearly half (10 of 22) of all the successful RFAs were unanimous passes. I'm pretty sure that the older trend, that those who pass usually do so with little or no opposition, is partly down to RFA's reputation, most successful candidates don't run until many months or years after they were first ready to be admins. The end of unanimity I believe to be down to a small number of individuals with particular non standard criteria such as "must have an FA or GA". RFA is a dynamic process, it doesn't have agreed criteria such as we have for Rollback, account creator or other individual tools. Sometimes an RFA !voter will come along with a new criterion such as "must not be a self nomination", "must have created new articles" or "must have a certain percentage of manual edits"; over a series of RFAs the new test usually fades away, sometimes after a phase as part of our default expectation, sometimes as a test that never attracts more than one or two adherents. So the odd thing about the last few years is that we no longer have unanimous RFAs, not that most successful RFAs are almost unanimous.
Just before we went to press, the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled the block of Wikipedia in Turkey invalid. We will have to cover the full implications of this in more detail in a future issue. Suffice to say that we (Wikipedians) think that it is important for people to be able to access our content, and the fact that a national court agreed is significant. To our knowledge, this is the first time any court has found there exists a constitutional right to read Wikipedia specifically.