Feedback for Board of Trustees election: Plus, the incredible shrinking admin cadre.
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Feedback for Board of Trustees election

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By Bri, EpicPupper and Smallbones
Shrinking admin cadre: a fascinating adventure into the unknown, indeed

Call for Feedback regarding the upcoming Board of Trustees election

A Call for Feedback on the upcoming Board of Trustees elections was launched by the Wikimedia Foundation and is open until 16 February 2022. Unlike previous Calls for Feedback, this discussion incorporates community feedback from 2021, replacing Board-suggested proposals with key questions from the Board of Trustees sourced from the feedback about the 2021 Board of Trustees election with the hope of inspiring collective conversation and collaborative proposal development. There are three questions regarding diverse representation, expectations for candidates, and affiliate participation. Interested editors can participate on Meta. – E

Administrator cadre continues to contract – more

The Signpost special report "Administrator cadre continues to contract" in 2019 noted that the number of active administrators had dropped below 500 for the first time. Since then, the numbers have continued falling and have not risen above 500 in the last six months. Another milestone was set in September 2021: the number of active administrators was under 450 for most of the month. By January 1 this year, the number had "recovered" to 469. – B

Whither WMC User Group?

When we last heard from the (non-recognized) Wikimedians of Mainland China User Group they were planning on creating a "hard fork" of zhwiki, the largest Chinese-language Wikipedia and a project of the WMF. The WMC hard fork encyclopedia was expected to copy current articles from zhwiki and then independently edit from there. Several zhwiki admins and other users had been blocked by the WMF, leading up to the fork. An anonymous source, claiming to be a spokesperson for WMCUG, has informed The Signpost that their encyclopedia has now copied 600,000 zhwiki articles and has about 50 regular editors. Editors must be approved by the managers of the project and their numbers are soon expected to rise to 75-100. A new large commercial partner is expected to join the project within days and will guarantee their minimal financial needs and community independence. New text will be freely licensed CC BY SA 4.0. None of this information could be independently verified. – S

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What is "the largest Chinese-language Wikipedia" meant to signify here? You mean the largest Sinitic-language Wikipedia? Well, since Mandarin is by far the most commonly spoken variety and Standard Chinese by far the most commonly written, and we only have one Wikipedia per language, it's no wonder it's the largest, is it? I don't think you meant what you said there. Nardog (talk) 06:04, 2 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Nardog: Please see Chinese Wikipedia (the intro and several sections have good info on your question) but especially Chinese_Wikipedia#Wikipedia in other varieties of Chinese which has a table with 6 versions of Wikipedia in "Chinese" and discusses another. I'm not a linguist or a Chinese speaker (of any type - though I know a very few "words to avoid" in Cantonese). The key here, I believe is your assumption that "we only have one Wikipedia per language." In Chinese as I understand it - it has a lot to do with the writing system. I'm not exactly sure why we have 2 Norwegian language versions (maybe one is an older, more formal version?). I have a pretty good idea why we have Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, *and* Serbo-Croatian versions (hint:war and nationalism). I'm wondering whether we have both Romanian and Moldovan? So there are lots of exceptions to the very general rule of "one Wikipedia per language." Hope this helps. Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:46, 2 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, so you do mean it. Then my point remains that it adds nothing. Mandarin is by far the most commonly spoken variety and even speakers of other varieties are often proficient in the standard written variety based on it as it is the primary administrative language in mainland China and Taiwan, so it goes without saying that the Wikipedia written in it is the biggest of its kind. It's just such a bizarre thing to say I thought you were trying to say something else. Nardog (talk) 10:58, 3 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In fact, the "largest Chinese-language encyclopedia" is an official catchphrase of Baidu Baike, written in its homepage, and persumably regarded as a sell point. In fact, it has roughly 5x articles than English Wikipedia here. I believe it qualifies as the largest single-language online encyclopedia of all time. (You can't just add up all ~300 Wikipedia sites altogether and compare it with Chinese-only Baidu Baike, right?) Milky·Defer >Please use ping 18:11, 4 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

By the way, according to another independent source in Chinese, the "big-tech company" WMCUG refers to turns out to be ByteDance, the owner of TikTok. Although the reliability of the news is still not verified, it sounds plausible. Milky·Defer >Please use ping 18:16, 4 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Admin decline. 2011 inactive admin rule was a really dumb idea

My 2 cents. The July 2011 inactive admin suspension rule was a really dumb (and possibly coercive) idea. Editors don't get suspended when they are inactive. Admins should not be suspended either.

See Widefox charts on admins: User:Widefox/editors.

Contrast the drop in admins with the steady number of 40,000 active editors (5 or more edits per month) on English Wikipedia for the last couple years:

--Timeshifter (talk) 16:06, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see the suspension rule as more of a security measure than anything else. Per the community discussion that created the policy, if an inactive admin returns to Wikipedia, they may be resysopped by a bureaucrat without further discussion. And plenty do just that. I hardly see this as grounds for losing admins who really want to return to engagement. ☆ Bri (talk) 17:22, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the community discussion link. I previously looked at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-07-31/Special report.
As someone else said, the 2011 rule was a solution in search of a problem. The security risks were small and infrequent.
But as someone who dabbles in this and that, it bugs me to no end when any bureaucracy gets in my way. So I understand why many previous admins would be bothered by this 2011 rule.
Having to figure out where to ask for reinstatement. Having to dig around old bookmarks to do that. Having to wait even a few minutes to get back my admin rights.
Why bother just to make a few admin edits. I operate on inspiration. Once started I can sometimes do an amazing amount of work. Any interruption takes a lot of the fun out of it. I work on multiple projects. So I go to a different project that I can work on right away without any bureaucracy. And without any coercion being applied to do a certain amount of work.
--Timeshifter (talk) 21:35, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If "having to figure out where to ask for reinstatement" exceeds your interest in following processes, I personally am fine with you not being an administrator, looking at WP:ADMINACCT, WP:WHEEL, WP:AC/DS et cetera. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 21:50, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Having to figure out where to ask for reinstatement. Having to dig around old bookmarks to do that. Having to wait even a few minutes to get back my admin rights. Why bother just to make a few admin edits. Exactly. Working as intended. Levivich 22:55, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's hard to be interested in a process if it's a huge pain in the ass and you don't think it's a good idea for the process to exist. Surely, if using rollback required me to solve two sudokus and a Wordle, I'd be allowed to complain about it without people suggesting a revocation of the user right. jp×g 09:12, 1 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Speaking generally, it's my experience that bureaucrats like bureaucracy. It gives them a sort of passive aggressive power. In the various discussions on this it is obvious that there are 2 camps on this. Those that get it, and those that don't. Fine. Let them feel powerful in their diminishing group of admins. --Timeshifter (talk) 14:05, 1 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Comment. An automated process for reinstatement would solve the problem. Maybe require 2-factor authentication for returning admins. Reinstatement would be near instant. Inspiration would not be lost through delays and bureaucracy.

If admins provide an email address and one or two phone numbers to Wikipedia, then at least one of them will probably be working even after years of inactivity. Choice of text, email, or phone call. Just like my local bank when I sign in. The authentication would only be required to automatically re-enable the admin tools. Authentication not requested again for at least a year, regardless of admin-related edit count. Authentication not required for normal editing that non-admins do. --Timeshifter (talk) 16:07, 2 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

By the way, here are the relevant pages on English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons:
Wikipedia:Inactive administrators
--Timeshifter (talk) 22:05, 10 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


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