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Isabelle Belato on their Request for Adminship

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By FormalDude

The Signpost sits down with Isabelle Belato whose recent Request for Adminship (RfA) saw 237 votes and all but one of which supporting their being made a sysop.

1. Congratulations on your nearly unanimous RfA. Why do you think it was so successful?

Thanks for the congratulations! I can positively say that a big part of it was my nominators, partially due to the trust the community has put into them, which was then translated to trust in me as an editor, and partially due to their help in preparing me for my RfA. I feel very lucky to have had Barkeep and TNT as my noms. Not to toot my own horn, but I imagine my time patrolling recent changes, closing discussions and mentoring helped somewhat.

2. How was the RfA process for you overall? Was it about what you expected, better, worse?

Well, it's hard for me to say. On one hand, it was definitely better than I expected; I was sure I would receive a fair amount of opposition based on my not participating too much in AfDs or contentious areas, but that didn't come to pass. On the other hand, I knew it would attract some trolls, but I never expected to get attacked in the manner I was. In general, it was a very stressful period, compounded by the issues surrounding it, and I was very happy when it came to a close, so that I could return to my normal editing habits (I remember closing an RfC during the RfA and some user seeing that as unadvisable move, so I decided to stay away from doing anything that could cause controversy for the remainder of the RfA).

3. An administrator appears to have opposed you simply because you use they/them pronouns. Is there anything you'd like to say about this?

I decided not to participate in the various discussions that occurred after the vote mostly because whatever I'd say at the time would be influenced by my emotions, and considering how stressed I was, it wouldn't be a net positive. I did discuss these events with my nominators, as well as with a couple other editors and some friends, and I remember that my first reaction was one of genuine shock. Initially I thought it to be just another troll, but soon it became clear it was a veteran editor and administrator, and that made me upset, not because of what was said, but because of who was saying it. Having a trusted user say those things was deeply hurtful, not only to me, but to other editors too, I'm sure.

4. Have you encountered transphobia elsewhere on Wikipedia before your RfA?

Yes, both indirect and direct. As someone who spends a lot of time patrolling recent changes, it's not uncommon to see edits to the biographies of trans people that attempt to deny their queerness, or who flat out attack them. My talk page also has plenty of insults thrown by these kinds of editors. On occasion, more experienced users will be reported at ANI due to comments that are considered to be transphobic, though thankfully that's much rarer.

5. Do you think the community reacted correctly to the previously mentioned administrator's tasteless !vote?

While the discussion showed a vast amount of support by the community, and I'm deeply grateful for all the kind words people left in my talk page, it also showed me some editors don't quite understand why a comment like the one made by Athaenara is problematic, regardless of venue. Had she said this on any other space on Wikipedia, the result would have been just as damaging to the trust queer editors put into the community. It's also hard for me to ignore that some editors took this opportunity to tacitly share their support for this kind of bigotry.

6. What advice, if any, do you have for editors considering running the gauntlet?

My advice would be the same that Barkeep gave me when he first approached me, which is to wait until you are ready. This will vary widely between editors, but for me it was when I felt like I could be doing more with the tools, be it clearing backlogs at AIV or RFPP, or closing contentious discussions where the trust of the community was seen as needed. Don't be afraid to contact an administrator that you trust and ask them for an opinion on your readiness, either.

7. Does your experience give you any ideas on how to improve the RfA process?

I see my RfA as an anomaly, in that nothing exciting happened until something did, and most people forgot about the RfA itself.

See also

Category:Wikipedia RfA debriefings

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I looked at their user pages and saw things like the signature gallery and lists of articles created, and their logs show literally thousands of spam pages removed from Wikipedia, and it strikes me that they had a lot invested in the good of this place. I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't done a lot of thinking and re-thinking in the two weeks since their last post.
Looking at their talk page, discovered a template I hadn't known about that notifies people that someone else has joined a discussion they began! So, @Schwede66: @Kudpung: @Blaze Wolf: @Novem Linguae: I just think total termination forever or a death sentence goes too far because it doesn't take into account that they may be learning something from all this. (talk) 21:57, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why did you ping me. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 21:59, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, Blaze Wolf, I see now your post was about something else! (talk) 22:01, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
🤔 Isabelle Belato 🏴‍☠️ 20:49, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


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