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Wikipedia:Administrators/2019 request for comment on inactivity standards

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Are the activity standards for administrators effective? Should they be adjusted? 20:47, 23 January 2019 (UTC)



In 2011, English Wikipedia first established activity standards for administrators. Except for some very small changes, this policy has remained essentially the same since that time. The purpose of this RFC is to examine the effectiveness of the policy and adjust it if needed.

Recent eventsEdit

In late 2018 there was a rash of administrator accounts being compromised. The situation led to several admins having their permissions removed. A number of these accounts were almost totally inactive or had not used administrative tools in a long time.

Around the same time there were several discussions on the bureaucrats' noticeboard about largely inactive admins who nevertheless technically meet the requirements under the inactivity policy and therefore continue to retain the tools despite not really using them and not being reasonably engaged with the community. Some outreach to almost totally inactive admins was attempted but there was little response.

These two situations highlight the two potential issues with mostly inactive admins and the current policy structure: security breaches, and admins who are out of touch with the community. The following proposals are aimed at rectifying these issues by closing perceived loopholes in the current policy. 20:57, 23 January 2019 (UTC)


There is no consensus in favor of any of the matters proposed in this RFC; each proposal has yielded either a rough split of support and opposition, or clearly greater opposition than support. bd2412 T 02:01, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

User spaceEdit

The current standard for retaining the tools is to make one edit or logged action per year. There is no requirement as to the substance of this edit. A small minority of administrators will simply make an edit or two to their own talk page or other user space pages, thus ensuring they retain the tools for another year without actually engaging with the project. Should the minimum edit requirement already in place be modified to specify that the user in question make at least one edit or logged action outside of their own userspace?

Support user space requirementEdit

  • Support as proposer. We can't close off every avenue for gaming the requirements, but we can close this one easily enough. If your only edit in a year is to your own talk page, you aren't doing admin work. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:57, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as a second choice to #Raise minimum edits required -FASTILY 21:43, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support, although this is extremely badly worded -- the wording should be something like Exempt userspace edits. Softlavender (talk) 02:28, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • weak Support - I don't think this makes a huge difference, but I think anything that gets people doing more edits in article-space at all is a net positive, however weak...Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:35, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

Oppose user space requirementEdit

  • Oppose The one edit requirement demonstrates a nominal interest in the user's interest to return to the project at some point. I don't see the need in forcing the edit to a more "productive" space, which defeats the point of the requirement. SportingFlyer T·C 20:57, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose this is a nominal threshold, adding a slight hoop to it won't make it better. power~enwiki (π, ν) 21:13, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose The ten edit requirement is a better solution. It would be hard to see a marginally active admin making all ten edits to their own user space. -- Dolotta (talk) 21:58, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose: While I would consider increasing the minimum total number of *actions* including edits to any space and admin actions of any type, I don't think there's much value in requiring this level of nitpickery. And no, I don't actually care that some bot could calculate it all out. Risker (talk) 22:37, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If people are making one edit a year to keep administrator status, and we tell them the one edit can't be in a certain place, they'll just make that edit in a different place. To the extent that there is an underlying issue, this doesn't address it. Dekimasuよ! 23:22, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose logged actions are what is needed in addition to the edit requirement. Removing userspace doesn't help confirm that someone isn't around. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:04, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • oppose I'd not edited for ~3 years during and after my mom's terminal illness. I was glad to be received back when I was ready to return and I'd like to think I'm a net positive. Unless you've been there, you cannot understand the emotions involved in a long hiatus. A lack of response does not mean they won't want to return at some point even they might not see.-- Dlohcierekim (talk) 00:31, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Not required. Lourdes 03:32, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per others. This literally will not make any impact. –Ammarpad (talk) 10:31, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per all the above - why bother? Nosebagbear (talk) 10:53, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose In addition to the arguments made above, this is a solution without a problem. Worse, it is a solution making a real problem worse. We need to spend more time, creativity and energy on trying to encourage users - and admins - to stick around, rather than go away. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 11:17, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Moot. If they are going to make one edit only, it is pointless to say it can't be in user space. This just adds a layer of bureaucracy while doing nothing to preventing gaming. Dennis Brown - 14:09, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - So they make their edit outside of userspace instead of in it. Nothing guarantees it will be substantial or otherwise be any more indicative of their current attention to the project. I also find the arguments put forth that this indicates administrators have an intention to return to the project compelling, though I wonder whether it would be best for them to lose their status and then, should they return, be able to reapply for it with a simplified process, if only to reduce the damage from possible account compromization. -- NoCOBOL (talk) 14:19, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Not really helping much, and might snare some who are on partial hiatus but still working on userspace drafts. Raising the total activity required (which I already supported) is the more useful change. --RL0919 (talk) 23:12, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - There are useful things that can be done solely within the userspace (e.g. working on userspace drafts and answering questions on one's talk page). — Godsy (TALKCONT) 07:21, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, completely pointless. —Kusma (t·c) 09:30, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - One edit is enough to demonstrate a nominal interest in eventually returning as a regularly (more) active editor. - tucoxn\talk 19:42, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Weak opposite after reading everyone else's comments. JACKonWIKIS (TalkMy edits) 19:08, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Serves no useful purpose.· · · Peter Southwood (talk): 05:13, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Serves no useful purpose. prat (talk) 05:24, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Not really helping much, as many have explained above already. - Nabla (talk) 12:21, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I don't see how this does anything to close off avenues to gaming - adding a space to an article is not exactly onerous. And if it's not accomplishing something, we ought to ask what the point of doing it is. Parsecboy (talk) 13:00, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose With that you could just fix a typo in some article, not much use. SemiHypercube 13:18, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose the inactivity requirements aren't here to find an excuse to remove a flag that is to be added back on request. An edit like this is effectively an interested admin saving some administrative work for others, and demonstrating that they are still interested and probably contactable. Jamesday (talk) 21:51, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose The inactivity standards are just to protect against accounts being compromised. The substance of what they do in their edits are irrelevant. (beyond the obvious vandalism etc) -DJSasso (talk) 14:35, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Doesn't solve the problem. — pythoncoder  (talk | contribs) 00:07, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Discusion of user space requirementEdit

Well people could obviously make edits to the sandbox if we don't also exclude that. But I guess the other obvious question is, do we want people leaving minor comments at ANI, deletion discussions or whatever other easy things there are to do possibly without much thought or understanding? If not, is there a big risk this requirement will lead to that? It could also lead to checking out the recent changes log or other stuff which is perhaps harder to screw up I guess. But it seems to me there's a good chance this isn't going to lead to particularly useful edits but instead token edits if that's what's already happening. Nil Einne (talk) 12:00, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

Raise minimum edits requiredEdit

Currently, the minimum number of edits or logged actions required each year to retain the tools is one. Should the minimum number of required edits/actions be raised to ten, in order to demonstrate at least marginal engagement with the project?

Support Raise minimum edits requiredEdit

  • support as proposer. This is still a laughably low requirement, but better than what we have now. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:57, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support power~enwiki (π, ν) 21:14, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong Support How long does it take to assess ten short articles for a WikiProject? 10-15 minutes max? Pretty reasonable requirement if you ask me. -- Dolotta (talk) 21:53, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I'd be happy with a considerably higher requirement. Hut 8.5 22:40, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. This is the most important proposal on this page. If we want admins who actually have some ongoing connection to the project, then they need to do at least a little bit of work on the project. Contra an objection that was copy/pasted to every proposal, activity standards are not causing admins to be absent, they are just identifying those who are already absent. To those who object that 10 isn't significantly different from 1, I disagree. Only the most blatant "gamers" are going to make 10 trivial userpage edits, and if they do it will be very obvious what they are doing. Some others will find 10 or more useful edits/actions to do, and in doing so be drawn a bit back into the project. And as with the original implementation, I expect quite a few just won't be bothered, and as a result they will appropriately no longer have the additional rights that they do not use or need. Finally, while this is a good step in the right direction, it is still a conservative standard compared to several other WMF projects, which include policies requiring 25, 50, 70, 100, 250, up to as many as 500 (!) annual edits to retain admin status. --RL0919 (talk) 23:00, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per RL0919. Encouraging inactive admins to make 10 edits might actually have the effect of rekindling their interest in the project. -FASTILY 21:43, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support to encourage active Wikipedia participation. feminist (talk) 09:19, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as one edit iw not really "active" Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:28, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. 10 is the number of edits required for autoconfirmed status, and it's a reasonable measure of whether an administrator is at least nominally active. — Newslinger talk 11:43, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as per new slinger and generally the support section. I mean, even if "it's not much", it's something, isn't it???? JACKonWIKIS (TalkMy edits) 19:14, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as I think some activity requirement above 1 edit should be required. However, this is just a gesture. I would prefer something like 10 edits per month, if not per week or per day. IOW, activity should be continuous. Dhtwiki (talk) 01:34, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong support. One edit is far too gameable. Softlavender (talk) 02:29, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support One order of magnitude increase is better than none. SemiHypercube 13:20, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • weak support - if it does rekindles anyones' interest into a bout of editing, I think it is a Good Thing. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:37, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per Beeblebrox. I'd support raising it to 100, but this is a step in the right direction. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:34, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support, largely per the persuasive argument of RL0919. Espresso Addict (talk) 02:34, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - but I'd also prefer 100. I've been an Admin for over 10 years now and I think that if I wasn't an active editor and thus encountering policy and guideline issues every day I wouldn't understand them enough to do my Admin duties properly. Doug Weller talk 06:16, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as a bare minimum; per Doug Weller I'd prefer at least 100 and probably higher. If you're not active, you're not keeping up with custom and practice, if you're not keeping up with custom and practice you're not in a position to help in admin areas, and if you're not in a position to help in admin areas you shouldn't have the admin bit. It's a tool given to people who are in a position to use it, not some kind of eternal promotion. ‑ Iridescent 18:53, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support This isn't much, but at least it's something. Natureium (talk) 19:09, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Oppose Raise minimum edits requiredEdit

  • Oppose. If people are making one edit a year to keep administrator status, and we tell them they have to make ten, they'll just make ten edits once a year; and ten edits are not necessarily more productive than one. To the extent that there is an underlying issue, this doesn't address it either. Dekimasuよ! 23:24, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose pointless as they can just request it back and number of edits isn't a good alternative to logged actions, and if anything is counterproductive if we have admins who are active on other projects who may want to return here at some point. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:59, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. We are trying to quantify the unquantifiable. And if the problem we are trying to address is admin account compromise, requiring strong passwords (or even 2-factor authentication) would work better.-- Dlohcierekim (talk) 00:35, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Not required. Lourdes 03:32, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Hard to see the difference between 1 and 10 edits. –Ammarpad (talk) 10:34, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Editcountitis. We shouldn't be evaluating quantity or quality of edits. - jc37 11:10, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose In addition to the arguments made above, this is a solution without a problem. Worse, it is a solution making a real problem worse. We need to spend more time, creativity and energy on trying to encourage users - and admins - to stick around, rather than go away. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 11:18, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per all above. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 07:22, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - 10 edits can be spammed just as easily as one, and does not demonstrate engagement with the project or community. Such a change would be nothing but superficial. Even that as a given, admins are entitled to their tools indefinitely. If we want to change this longstanding practice, propose a real activity requirement and see how the community feels. I oppose the gradual creep of activity requirements.  ~~Swarm~~  {talk}  02:11, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as Dekimasu says, if the bar is raised to 10 edits a year they'll make 10 edits a year. This does not solve anything. Fish+Karate 14:10, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, completely pointless. —Kusma (t·c) 09:30, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Isn't 10 a very arbitrary amount? Also, I agree that 10 edits can be spammed just as easily as one - why make someone go through that unnecessary bureaucracy. - tucoxn\talk 19:48, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is just a shifting-goalpost argument. OhanaUnitedTalk page 04:11, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Ineffective and pointless. prat (talk) 05:25, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We can make 10 useful minor edits in no time- Nabla (talk) 12:23, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - as above, I don't see how this is a solution to the problem (assuming the problem presented actually is one). Parsecboy (talk) 13:53, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - If the goal is to stop people from gaming the system, this only adds 1 extra minute of effort in order to game the system, so it accomplishes nothing. Dennis Brown - 16:38, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Per Dekimasu, this does nothing to solve the actual problem here. Kb03 (talk) 15:56, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Any engagement is sufficient and there's no value in raising a threshold that's about showing the person is still alive and paying attention from time to time. Jamesday (talk) 21:51, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose This doesn't solve anything, the edits making 1 edit would just make 10. -DJSasso (talk) 14:36, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Discussion of Raise minimum edits requiredEdit

The current policy doesn't require 1 edit per year, it is at least 1 edit or logged action. — xaosflux Talk 21:02, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

  Fixed good point. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:04, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

If people are just making minor edits to their userpages or talk pages with the apparent intent to meet the activity requirement, I fail to see unless we pass 2.1 or otherwise take action against anything we perceive as "gaming", how this is going to make a difference. Is there some reason to think people won't just make 10 edits to their user page or user talk page? Is it to make it more obvious when people are just doing that? I mean if someone gets a warning and then does it isn't it fairly obvious already? Is the belief that when you have to make 10 edits, people are going to feel more like it's wrong to just make 10 pointless token edits to their user page or user talk page then when it's just 1? Nil Einne (talk) 11:55, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

The idea, in my mind anyway, is more to make the admin think about what they are doing and if they really actually care anymore or are just making edits for no reason other than to keep the bits. Even after they are removed they still have two years where they can get them back for the asking if they really wish to re-engage instead fo making token edits.
We have seen very blatant gaming of the current requirements, but proving intent is basically impossible, or we could pass a rule about that. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:27, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I am thinking about my self here, so it may not be representative. I am inactive as admin - I went back to college 1.5 years ago, I do not have the time to be here much, I might have made a couple of simple deletions some day, but usually I do not. But, and that is the point, I still use WP regularly as a source, and so I edit when I find some inaccuracy, I request clarifications, or sources, I pop up in the occasional internal discussion as in here, and so on. So I guess it is clear from my edits that I am still involved with WP, even if at a slow motion pace as it is. So? Well, I think a yearly minimum edit requirement is probably unneeded, a long term (as if several years) one is enough. But I would consider a more sophisticates rule, requiring a number of edits and some dispersion. Kind of, but not exactly, 12 edits per year, with no gap between them larger than 3 months. It could/should be more sophisticated, but still human-readable, even if we got a bot to do the math once in a while. (In case you have not guessed yet, I am doing math :-)- Nabla (talk) 12:38, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
"gaming of the current requirement"? This policy isn't about someone with ill intent trying to get round an arbcom ruing, it's about removing a flag from a temporarily otherwise engaged friend who likely has more pressing things going on in their life for a possibly long while. Jamesday (talk) 21:51, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
Fully endorse what Jamesday says above. In addition, what Beeblebrox says is not fully correct. He says: "Even after they are removed they still have two years where they can get them back for the asking." - this is not always the case. If the admin had not taken an admin action in the three or more years before they were desysopped, they don't have two years to ask for the tools back, they have until the 5-year clause is triggered, which may be immediately or at some point over the following two years. This is what comes of making the requirements complicated... Carcharoth (talk) 12:31, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Logged actionsEdit

While not all administrative tasks require the use of the admin toolset, it is reasonable to expect that an administrator who was even marginally engaged in admin work would find the occasional cause to use the tools. Should the activity requirements include a requirement to use administrative tools at least once every two years, regardless of number of edits?

Support Logged actions requirementEdit

  • Support as proposer. If you don't find any reason to use the tools in the course of two entire years, you clearly don't need them. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:59, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support this really isn't that difficult. Viewing deleted files and editing protected pages are great, but it really isn't that hard to go over to CAT:G7 or CAT:EX or any of the other nearly mindless admin actions and get a logged action once a year. If you can't be bothered to do that, they should be removed. Since they can be restored on request, this isn't that big of a deal. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:56, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per both above. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:37, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. If during two years the administrator barely touches the tools, then there's really no need for them. This simply artificially inflates the number of admins. They really should run another RfA and demonstrate a need, which would require them to return to the project for a period of time, not simply think about returning. Ifnord (talk) 00:43, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support In the real world, normally a user that doesn't use their advanced permissions will have them removed as it becomes a security issue. This needs to be applied here. spryde | talk 13:09, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
This is a good point as well, I didn't think about it before. Ifnord (talk) 18:41, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I never understood why we didn't only count administrative actions. I agree that if you aren't making use of the tools, you probably don't need them. There was at least one admin I recall who literally made a single edit to retain the tools, then disappeared for another year. I don't recall who, and even if I did I wouldn't call them out :) But, my point stands. I do however agree with some of the opposers that edits to fully protected pages should be counted. It's pretty easy to detect this with SQL, so no technical concerns. MusikAnimal talk 01:44, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. ~ Rob13Talk 19:29, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support -FASTILY 21:43, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support although I would be happy to see 10 edits to admin only pages counted. Viewing deleted pages in order to assist others (eg at deletion review or refund) could also be counted even if not logged. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:31, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as per TonyBallioni. Anyway, we need to address the backlog anyway. JACKonWIKIS (TalkMy edits) 19:18, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. Either retire the tools (temporarily or permanently), or be an admin at least once a year. This is not rocket surgery. Too many admins lose touch with current reality by disappearing for far too long and then expecting to be treated as if they had never disappeared and lost touch when they pop up with their admin hat years later. Softlavender (talk) 02:32, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. This is where we'll see admins actually using their tools and Wikipedia will benefit more with this requirement. -- œ 06:55, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support This, combined with a higher edit requirement, would show if an admin is actually engaged in the project. SemiHypercube 13:22, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support – Not needing the tools is a prime reason for not passing someone at RfA. If you're not using the tools, you're not needing them. Even once every two years is still a joke. Just give them up and then ask for them back when you're ready to do some admin work. Dhtwiki (talk) 13:35, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support 2 years is plenty of time. If you haven't made a single admin action in 2 years, there's a good chance you aren't up to speed on the current practices around the project anyway. Natureium (talk) 01:29, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per Softlavender; either you're working an adminny backlog or you're not an admin. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:38, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - as User:Natureium says above, not using them (and not editing as I've said further above) means not likely knowing enough to do the job properly. Doug Weller talk 06:18, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per everyone. ‑ Iridescent 18:53, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Oppose logged action requirementEdit

  • Oppose unless edits to protected pages are counted, those are not normally considered logged actions and don't appear in Special:Log. We do have admins who don't use the tools for anything other than editing protected pages. We had one admin until recently who did nothing but administer one of the bits of the main page. Such people shouldn't be desysopped. Hut 8.5 22:05, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose: While I would consider increasing the minimum total number of *actions* including edits to any space and admin actions of any type, I don't think there's much value in requiring this level of nitpickery. And no, I don't actually care that some bot could calculate it all out. Risker (talk) 22:38, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Policies, guidelines, and interfaces change over time. If an administrator almost never uses the tools, this might eventually result in becoming less capable of using the tools properly. But the numerical standard here does not really address that issue, and as trusted users administrators are assumed to understand whether or not they are capable of using the tools effectively. Further we allow inactive administrators to regain the tools by request alone, so desysopping for tool inactivity would not solve that problem. Dekimasuよ! 23:33, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • oppose "nitpickery" is the word I was looking for.-- Dlohcierekim (talk) 00:37, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Absolute nitpicking. Not required. Lourdes 03:32, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose edits to locked pages and rejections of admin actions also need to count otherwise we are creating an incentive for incorrect action when inaction would be warranted. The whole "logged action" thing increasingly looks like an example of the Streetlight effect, too. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 06:28, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose- I really don't like the idea that editors will start bloating logs with actions just to indicate inactivity. Plus, there are more things than those listed which require admin tools which are not considered "logged actions". - jc37 11:10, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose In addition to the arguments made above, this is a solution without a problem. Worse, it is a solution making a real problem worse. We need to spend more time, creativity and energy on trying to encourage users - and admins - to stick around, rather than go away. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 11:18, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Some of the best work admin do is finding ways to solve problems WITHOUT using the tools, thus not generating a logged action. For example, blocking editors is easy, mediating a dispute is hard. Mediating is often more effective when the parties know you COULD block them if needed, so admin are often key in this mediation. That is no less important than a logged action. Dennis Brown - 14:04, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Not all admin actions have associated logged actions. An admin who handles unblock requests may do lots of work and end up with 0 logged actions from it - very few requests are good enough to justify an unblock, and fewer are abusive enough to require disabling talk page access. Additionally, moving pages over existing pages creates a log entry, but identical to one produced by reversing a redirect with no edits (any user who can move pages can do this). And editing protected pages can't be detected easily from edits to other pages. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 14:49, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The administrator toolset can be used in useful ways that are not logged, e.g. viewing deleted pages. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 07:23, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the obvious reason that logging actions with admin tools has no correlation with fitness as an admin. If a user can become an admin with no logged admin actions, they should be able to remain one without any.  ~~Swarm~~  {talk}  02:18, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I brought this up in my similar set of proposals from a couple months ago and a lot of people made good arguments there why this sort of requirement will always be dead in the water. Essentially there's always going to be some thing that some definitely-active admins do which isn't logged, or can't be logged, or would really only be logged if we were logging it for the sole purpose of determining inactivity. Basically per everyone who came before me on this. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 05:19, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, not all admin actions are logged. Fish+Karate 14:11, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, completely pointless. Easy to game, and may make people delete a CSD'd page where declining may be more appropriate, or protecting a page that should not be protected, just to satisfy this requirement. —Kusma (t·c) 09:32, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above; not all admin actions are logged, such as work in maintaining T:ITN. SpencerT•C 02:27, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Many admin actions are unlogged. Some of them are even considered to be "high impact" (e.g. fixing Main Page error). OhanaUnitedTalk page 04:24, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Engagement can fluctuate, this is fine and normal. This sort of thing just wastes everyone's time. prat (talk) 05:26, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Things like reviewing deleted edits and other admin actions are still useful and the proposal seems misguided, approaching this policy as trying to enforce some sort of minimum "work" threshold when it has nothing to do with that. Jamesday (talk) 21:51, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose negligible benefit for an added layer of bureaucracy Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:38, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose there are many valid reasons why an editor might not have logged actions. We shouldn't require using the tools. -DJSasso (talk) 14:38, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are many admin actions that don't log tool use, such as editing the main page or checking the content of deleted pages; further, I believe it is equally an admin action to, say, close a closely argued AfD as keep/decline a speedy/trout-slap a valued editor having a bad day, as to delete an article/block an editor. Espresso Addict (talk) 02:42, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Discussion of logged action requirementEdit

  • Why should this one measure have a different observation window from everything else? — xaosflux Talk 21:00, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm trying to keep it to things that are achievable. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:02, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox: I think making one action per year should be easily achievable? — xaosflux Talk 21:04, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, let me clarify: I meant that the proposal has a chance. I aimed low in anticipation of objections I've seen in the past. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:05, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Would "editing fully-protected pages" count as a logged action for these purposes? power~enwiki (π, ν) 21:15, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
    Not an answer, but to see an example of such edits see this log. — xaosflux Talk 21:19, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
    The current policy (and establishing RfC) specifically note "administrative actions" so while IANAB'crat, it seems reasonable to me for such things to be considered, especially given the new filter log to keep track of them. ~ Amory (utc)

  • Combine higher number with logged actions? - I was ambivalent on raising edits (at least to only 10), and I'm not sure on the effectiveness of being required to make 1 logged action. However a requirement for 10 logged actions would be an appreciable amount of admin activity. However it's substantially different and not necessarily a logical corollary to passing both these proposals. Looking for thoughts at this point Nosebagbear (talk) 10:57, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I fail to see why there's any expectation things are going to be any different from how they are at the moment unless we also pass 2.1 or take actions against stuff we consider "gaming". AFAIK, at the moment it's trivial and fully within policy (WP:U1 to create a sandbox or some other subpage of your userpage and delete it, and this will I presume generate a logged action. I also assume it's not unheard of for admins to do this when testing stuff, so it's not something we want to blanket ban either. I mean heck, an admin with a user page (or existing user sandbox) could just delete their user page and undelete it if they still want it, I presume also generating 2 log entries. 2.2 may just mean they do these 10 times. Nil Einne (talk) 11:51, 24 January 2019 (UTC)


When the inactivity policy was created, it was mandated that admins about to have their tools removed be notified of the impending action, on their talk page and by email if available. This has resulted in an observable trend of almost totally inactive admins who repeatedly receive such messages, and make a few token edits in the window between the notification and the suspension of their rights. Given that we have had an inactivity policy for seven years and we expect administrators to be familiar with the administrator policy of which it is a part, is it reasonable to remove mandatory notifications from the inactivity policy?

Support removal of notificationsEdit

  • Support The notifications were a fine idea when the inactivity policy was established. Now that we have had this policy for seven years+ it is reasonable to expect admins to be aware of it already and the mandatory notifications have had the unintended effect of actually encouraging gaming the requirements. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:01, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support because doing otherwise leads to gaming the requirements. And so what if you forget? You can just request the flag back at BN. --Rschen7754 01:14, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
    • Because it's petty and churlish? Seriously, we've got two admins below saying it got them to return to the project, where they are both making a difference. Would they have returned if they'd been treated as disposable and unimportant? Risker (talk) 05:47, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
      • If we're taking away some sort of social status, then yeah it is petty. If we're taking away unused and sensitive tools that can be returned, then I would disagree. --Rschen7754 19:26, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
        • I would be hard-pressed to say that "trusted user" isn't a social status as much as it is a tools-access issue, and I suspect you'd feel the same way. It's not just tools that are being removed, it's that "trusted user" status that is intertwined into the entire administrator permissions. It was particularly so some years ago, but even today many votes at RFA specifically mention the word "trust". Risker (talk) 01:44, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
          • And I think that's the source of the disagreement. Should adminship be a social status, or not? If it is, we should never ever remove adminship for inactivity. If it is not, then we should, and the rules should probably be stricter than they are now. --Rschen7754 02:15, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support because the notifications encourage bad behaviour. I don't understand the view that it's somehow petty to do this, it's basic security, and anyone who loses the bit this way can just ask for it back with no judgement. We all understand people have lives. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 04:30, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support to prevent gaming. Per Ivanvector, any admin in good standing with community support can regain the tools by just asking; and the laggards and hangers-on can be weeded out at that time. Softlavender (talk) 02:35, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support to prevent gaming. Easy to ask for them back. Doug Weller talk 06:19, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Oppose removal of notificationsEdit

  • Oppose I am fine with going from two warnings to one, but some sort of reminder should be sent. -- Dolotta (talk) 21:46, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I find this deeply disrespectful. Even if the people this is aimed at aren't all that active at the time of the notice, they have (by definition of having been entrusted with adminship in the first place) been active and valued contributors in the past. We should not treat people this way; it's exactly the kind of behaviour that has earned our community the reputation of being uncivil, inconsiderate and rude. Risker (talk) 22:42, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the nonsense that gets pulled on meta every six months when one specific bureaucrat goes on a removal spree and removes admins on that project who are active Wikimedians without giving them any warning. A basic principle that we follow on this project is that we notify people when things happen to them. Also, per Risker in the ideological standpoints, but the semi-annual disaster that is meta's admin activity review should be warning enough to not do it here. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:02, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • oppose The reminders nudged me into returning when I was able.-- Dlohcierekim (talk) 00:39, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
    • I know one current arbitrator who is fairly highly regarded who has expressed the sentiments as you have to me in private, Dloh. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:54, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Nitpicking. Not required. Lourdes 03:32, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - like Dloh, I came back because I got the email and thought it might be worth getting back into the project. I agree with Risker that it is inconsiderate to not bother warning people, not to mention the possible benefits of reminding people about the project. ♠PMC(talk) 05:24, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm happy to buy the nudge theory actually contributing to many more edits/logged actions - thus a good Rate of Return. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:58, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - We should presume innocence, not guilt. - jc37 11:10, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose In addition to the arguments made above, this is a solution without a problem. Worse, it is a solution making a real problem worse. We need to spend more time, creativity and energy on trying to encourage users - and admins - to stick around, rather than go away. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 11:19, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - What Dweller said. Dennis Brown - 14:06, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Removing admin rights in the metaphorical night would be disrespectful to individuals who have undoubtedly contributed considerably to the project over the years. However, perhaps it would be worth mentioning in such messages the reason for the action (reducing the risk of hostile entities taking over powerful accounts) and mentioning that should they return in the next year they can (per current rules) regain admin rights without having to progress through a RFA. -- NoCOBOL (talk) 14:56, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - People should have reminders. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 18:48, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is one of the few cases where the proposed change really is counterproductive. A reminder (not multiple, but that's covered in a separate proposal) is helpful to draw back in those who have been distracted away but are still interested in the project. --RL0919 (talk) 23:07, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose The solution is to only count logged administrative actions (or edits to fully-protected pages). The notification is just common courtesy. MusikAnimal talk 01:47, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as there is a chance that the notification will trigger useful activity. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:30, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - There are benefits to the notices and this does not fix any problems. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 07:25, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
  • OpposeI find risker convincing above - if you want to address an issue address the issue don’t limit helpful communication. AlasdairEdits (talk) 19:59, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. People who want to game the system could easily set an off-wiki reminder to make an edit. People who just are busy IRL for a while and are not well organised will be caught out for no benefit whatsoever, other than showing that this community is inconsiderate and rude. Who benefits from that? —Kusma (t·c) 09:37, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Reminders are important. SpencerT•C 02:28, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Reminders are important. prat (talk) 05:26, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As I understand it, the aim of the inactivity policy is basically for security, and so admins are still familiar with policies/processes. If reminders get almost-lapsed admins participating again then great. Sometimes the tone of these conversations suggests that inactivity is more of a moral fault and that anyone who hasn't met the activity standards no longer 'deserves' to be an admin - if that's the case then deadminning people without reminders would make perfect sense, but I'd prefer we avoided that. The Land (talk) 15:30, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose (quite strong) Being sneaky is unbecoming in our relation to... ourselves. - Nabla (talk) 01:06, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This seems to go against WP:AGF. -- œ 07:04, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Could be an attempt at security through obscurity, which is advised against. SemiHypercube 13:24, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose This policy isn't about catching people out, it's about temporary removal of a flag from the accounts of people who may not be reachable. The notifications help to demonstrate reachableness, though still not really ideal for those who are habitually around not logged in. It's supposed to be a friendly reminder. Jamesday (talk) 21:51, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose not a collaborative approach and does not Assume Good Faith Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:39, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Part of the purpose of the notifications was to get them to come back and make some edits.... -DJSasso (talk) 14:39, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Reminders are important. (I know this has already been said but it bears repeating.) — pythoncoder  (talk | contribs) 00:09, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Discusion of removal of notificationsEdit

Perhaps totally off the rails, but what about removing the tools if an admin has received three (arbitrary number picked out of the air) notices notices within a 37-month (another arbitrary number) span? 78.26 (spin me / revolutions) 22:25, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

  • For background on my !vote here see m:Meta:Requests for adminship/Hoo man 2 and m:Meta:Requests for adminship/Courcelles 2 (courtesy ping to Courcelles as he's an active participant of this project.) It shows how ridiculous not notifying people of pending inactivity removal is. Hoo man being a steward who is obviously engaged in meta even if he doesn't edit (not really required for many steward actions) and Courcelles being an active meta oversighter where they also didn't really have to edit that frequently. Both of them were desysoped without warning and had to immediately run a new RfA. Less of an issue on en since it could be restored on request, but still. You'd get the ridiculous situation of removal followed by immediate 24 hour waits for resysoping in come cases. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:11, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
    • But Wikidata and Commons have had removals without notifications for years and have relatively few complaints. --Rschen7754 01:16, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
      • I suspect our process would end up more like meta's, to be honest. We are the project that most people start off at if only because of pure size, and then some find other projects that they contribute on and rarely contribute here. Namely, people are unlikely to become admins on Commons and WD first, then discover en, and work here and rarely use the tools elsewhere. and meta are somewhat similar in that its very possible for people to get sysop here and there and hang onto it while focusing on other projects.
        On the flip side, the meta process has issues beyond the pure policy dimensions and in part relates to the personalities involved with the inactivity review there which we would be unlikely to have (and I'm saying that as someone who does like meta.) TonyBallioni (talk) 01:39, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
        • "Namely, people are unlikely to become admins on Commons and WD first, then discover en, and work here and rarely use the tools elsewhere." - I'm not so sure about this. Some folks are admins at those places who didn't or wouldn't pass RFA here. There are also other large Wikimedia sites that don't require notifications:,, FWIW, I think that our policy of requiring three two notifications plus an email does not serve any practical purpose - I don't know of any other wiki that does that. --Rschen7754 01:54, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
          • I'd agree the last bit is ridiculous. I'd be content with one notice a month before.
            I wasn't saying that people have to be sysops here first: just that it is pretty rare to have either Commons or WD actually be a home-wiki in the sense that people first registered their accounts there and became involved in that project before discovering en or another language Wikipedia.
   and are probably the best examples of the five you've given as comparisons. I still think theres a size discrepency even though they are large, we are significantly larger and a significant amount of contributors to other projects get their start here. That's not saying we are better, but that when you have a project of 5.7 million articles vs. projects with 1.9 million and 1.5 million respectively, there are valid concerns to take into account that might be less of an issue there. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:04, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
          • I'd be very cautious in comparing enwiki to any other project, because we really are an outlier project. A lot of those practices go back practically to the origin of those projects, and thus there would be almost no administrators who were appointed without knowing that was how de-adminship would happen. I can see an argument about increasing the volume of activity an administrator needs to do to retain their permissions, but I see absolutely no justification for failing to be courteous toward inactive administrators, who we know based just on the participation in this RFC may well be encouraged to return to significant activity; it's a net benefit to the project if experienced admins return. We don't need anecdote to tell us that we have a significant number of returning administrators - we can track it through our statistics. The comparator for other projects is, how many of their administrators who were desysopped for inactivity (a) return to the project and (b) return to adminship; and that should be compared to how many admins who get a notice that they're going to be desysopped for inactivity return to activity. I'm not a betting woman, but I'd be surprised if they're getting more people returning to adminship after a desysop for inactivity than we are. Risker (talk) 06:12, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
            • Yes, we do and my own activity is gradually increasing and likely to continue doing so. I actually had the flag removed over on meta many years ago and did nothing about it because I thought I was unlikely to use it. My expectation for en is that low activity levels are likely to be temporary, perhaps for work, family or health reasons. En adminship is in effect, even with all the current hoops, about trying to establish an attitude of kindness and respect for others that's likely to make a positive community contributor and those characteristics are likely to persevere. Jamesday (talk) 21:51, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Reduce number of notificationsEdit

Per Rschen's comment above, I think we're at the point where we can reduce this to one notification a month before. I think two on-wiki and an email is a bit excessive, especially considering they can just go to BN and request back. So, my proposal is that we reduce the number of notifications to one that will be given a month before. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:20, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

Support reducing notificationsEdit

  • Support as proposer. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:20, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support -- Might as well make the comment I made above official. -- Dolotta (talk) 02:39, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per above. The default setting is to send an email when your talk page is edited, anyway. --Rschen7754 04:49, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support – Seems sensible. If they're truly active and just lurking with their account, then they'll probably see the notification on their user talk page. Mz7 (talk) 06:51, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support If they see it and act on it, they're potentially active, if they don't, they won't, ad they're not. ——SerialNumber54129 11:56, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support 1 pair - that is, I support one Wiki notification and 1 email (better this than trusting in the default setting still being active) Nosebagbear (talk) 14:01, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support We shouldn't want sysops that are needing prodding to stay active for a number of reasons including that policy and guidelines change. Community norms evolve. We should reduce the attack vectors for possible compromised accounts. The ones who poke their heads above water to keep the mop are at least saying "this remains important to me." Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 16:35, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support The over-notifying was developed when this was a new policy. It isn't new by any reasonable definition now. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:21, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Per TonyBallioni support one notification.Pharaoh of the Wizards (talk) 20:01, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. One notification is sufficient to remind people. As Beeblebrox notes, the extra bureaucracy of multiple notifications is something that was put into the original policy, but hardly seems necessary almost eight years later. --RL0919 (talk) 22:30, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. ~ Rob13Talk 19:29, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support -FASTILY 21:43, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support 1 notification and 1 email. feminist (talk) 09:22, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Dreamy Jazz 🎷 talk to me | my contributions 18:39, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - notifications are excessive, as this proposal is still reasonably generous.  ~~Swarm~~  {talk}  02:19, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support reluctantly. Would prefer the number be reduced to zero, or to one notification sent out after the user has already been desysopped for inactivity with instructions to request restoration. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 04:35, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support One Notification. I am getting the sense of a lot of WP:IDONTLIKEIT arguments from the oppose side of this proposal. We shouldn't have to beg multiple times for our administrators to come back, but I will admit activity has been steadily dropping for some time now (and measures should be taken). As TonyBallioni stated, many users (like myself) have linked notifications to their email. WP:INACTIVITY is purely procedural anyways, so it is not like they we are taking away their ability to use WP:BN to regain adminiship. In regards to Dweller point, I would like to emphasize that this is a minimum requirement for a bit of policy. This does not forbid us from encouraging users to re-engage with the site by sending them emails or notifications as individual editors. If a Bureaucrat feels more than one notification (say an email) is appropriate, we should be leaving it to their discretion. However, if the matter of inactive users is important to any user on this site, I would sincerely encourage them to join the WP:Welcoming Committee or create a Wikipedia:Comeback committee of sorts. I hope my arguments make some bits of sense. ―Matthew J. Long -Talk- 20:04, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support We don't need multiple hints. SemiHypercube 13:25, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support One warning, a month in advance, is enough. Remember that even if they get deflagged, they have two years to notice it and ask for their flag back. If they haven't been active enough in all that time to even notice they were desysop'ed, they should not have the bit. -- MelanieN (talk) 19:29, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Once should be enough. If they aren't paying attention they can still get them back within the two year limit. Doug Weller talk 08:07, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Oppose reducing notificationsEdit

  • Oppose - Probably doesn't need to be 3 notifications. I'd probably be fine with dropping one notification, but we should keep at least 2 notifications of some type. Personally the month one could be email or on-wiki. - prolly doesn't need to be both, but definitely keep the second notice. - jc37 11:10, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
    The proposal has been changed since I commented above. To be clear, I strongly oppose removing the "several days before" notification. Wikipedia is a collegiate place. And this reeks of gamesmanship. Even if this is being proposed as counter-gamesmanship, that still makes it gamesmanship. Which would seem to me to violate one or more of our policies in WP:NOT. - jc37 04:58, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose In addition to the arguments made above, this is a solution without a problem. Worse, it is a solution making a real problem worse. We need to spend more time, creativity and energy on trying to encourage users - and admins - to stick around, rather than go away. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 11:19, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as too vague. One email and one online would be acceptable. Dennis Brown - 14:07, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
    • I’m not necessarily opposed to the email, I just think we currently have too much bureaucracy surrounding this that isn’t needed. As SN points out, if they see the talk page message, they’re active, if they don’t, they aren’t. Triggering email is the default and will result in one for most users (I’ve disabled it personally, so I know not all do, but it accounts for most users.) TonyBallioni (talk) 14:35, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I think it is courteous to have an advance reminder and a more immediate reminder of an account configuration change being made. It makes for a better experience, which is more apt to encourage the former administrator to return to active editing. isaacl (talk) 22:29, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
    • Regarding an "I don't like it" rationale, to be honest I see it the other way around. With the on-wiki notifications being automated, there is virtually no overhead in delivering them, so what problem is being solved by eliminating one? It really is best practice to give an advance notice of an upcoming account configuration change, followed by an imminent notice. (Consider any registered account you have with different configuration options and how you'd like the provider to handle changing your options.) isaacl (talk) 20:19, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Dweller. GABgab 18:55, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Dweller. These do not cost the project any time or money - the on-wiki ones are done by a bot - and they are courtesies. I'd consider one one-wiki and one email notification, but I still don't see any way that this is (a) encouraging re-engagement or (b) improving account security, the purported purpose of these proposals. Risker (talk) 21:26, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I don't see what eliminating a notice will solve. It's not like we are talking about dozens of admins, there are just a handful every month. This is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Liz Read! Talk! 22:31, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Current number is fine. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 07:25, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Notifications help bring users back to the project and cost us nothing to do.--Danaman5 (talk) 04:25, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I would favour more notifications, not fewer. Starting after 3 months of inactivity. Fish+Karate 14:13, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I would support a reduction to 2: 1 by email and 1 onwiki. People have, sometimes, to take leave of absence for good reason eg long-term illness, working away etc. The person will have made a very significant contribution to the project in the past and I think a couple of notifications is a reasonable courtesy. Just Chilling (talk) 02:36, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Dweller. Don't see any issues with the current system. SpencerT•C 02:47, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Current system is superior. Things happen which require attention, it is easy to slip, at least two media should be used for notification, time should exceed a month or two (people may be offline, dealing with offline issues, etc.). prat (talk) 05:28, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose This policy isn't about trying to catch people out, least of all by trying to guess whether email or logged in only on-wiki will be least effective at reaching the person with one notification. We're trying to be friendly before doing something that may be upsetting to someone who life may already be handing plenty of strife. Jamesday (talk) 21:51, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose not collaborative. people are busy. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:40, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is easy to miss one notification. Multiple is fine and doesn't harm anything. -DJSasso (talk) 14:40, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Discussion of reducing notificationsEdit

  • Clarifying question - is this one notification, toto or one notification on wiki side + 1 email - just dropping one of the wiki notifications? Nosebagbear (talk)
  • @Nosebagbear: My understanding is that the only change to the current practice of e-mail/talk page notifications 30 days prior to removal and both again 5 days prior to removal is to get rid of the 5 day e-mail/talk page notification. -- Dolotta (talk) 12:43, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I guess this one doesn't make a huge difference. It seems as useless as most of the other proposals, but not clearly harmful. Strong don't care. —Kusma (t·c) 09:40, 31 January 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Require those former admins requesting resysop to provide a clear rationaleEdit

Without placing any actual quantitative requirements, in light of the current discussion on the crat’s noticeboard I think this might help. In particular, in cases of long-term inactivity or minimal activity, the user requesting the bit back should be required to explain in their own words why they now need the tools back, what they intend to do with them, and how their activity levels will change. The crats can decide whether they consider this reasonable, and if not they can bounce the request to RFA. Open to tweaks to this. Fish+Karate 05:21, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

  • Support given the discussion and if they can't answer that (or don't do that - it should be a requirement that if you fail to meet what you say you'll do crats can remove it as you've not met the conditions of your resysop without notice) RhinosF1(chat)(status)(contribs) 07:16, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as proposer (forgot that). Fish+Karate 08:52, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support in particular given the current discussion at WP:BN and fall-out from that. Open to tweaks but since we trust the 'crats to use discretion in "close" RfAs, surely we should allow discretion in potentially (or actually) contentious re-sysops. - Sitush (talk) 08:58, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, unclear what this will achieve unless you hold people to the promises they make. We don't do that at RFA, so why should we do so with a technical resysopping? —Kusma (t·c) 09:07, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Kusma do you have any suggestion of how to actually deal with the issue because, believe me, it is an issue. Tweaks are welcome but stonewalling is a bad look. - Sitush (talk) 09:15, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I am not sure what the issue is. I see that people disappear for a couple of years, then come back. Their very next edit is to WP:BN asking to be resysopped (of course it is, the first thing they do after logging in is to read the message on their talk page that tells them to go to WP:BN and ask to be resysopped). Some other people are unhappy about that and immediately moan about people gaming the system. The user is usually resysopped and one of three things happens: either they become inactive again, or they become active again and do useful sysop work, or they start making terrible admin actions with their tools, and don't respond to feedback on their tool use. Only the last case is truly a problem. In the case currently at WP:BN -- what is the problem with giving them their tools back and asking them to be more careful with their use? (In my understanding the user has made two run-of-the mill admin actions that were not perfect but not far outside the spectrum of the acceptable. You will find actions like these in many admin's logs).
  • The underlying issues are a general perception of an admin accountability problem, too few admins, too many highly experienced non-admins who should be admins, and a feeling that those problems can't be fixed. Thus people turn to making achievable but mostly irrelevant changes to the sysop system. Changing "ask for your tools back" to "ask for your tools back nicely and write a ten line essay" isn't going to fix any real problem. —Kusma (t·c) 10:05, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
While I mostly agree with everything you said in specifics, and I absolutely agree with the utilitarian perspective of looking at this in terms of the three potential outcomes of resysopping, I think there's a broader message to be sent out here. There is a wide and ever-widening chasm of expectations between requirements for new users to get the admin bit and the requirements for long-term inactive admins to regain the bit, and there's palpable frustration at what can be seen as double standards - the "once you're in the club you're in the club" mentality; it's far far far harder to get into the Promised Land Of Adminship then it is to stay in it. Giving the bureaucrats a short rationale for wanting the bit to be returned is not onerous, it allows the crats a sliver of discretion in edge cases, and it sends out a message to the wider community that there's at least a modicum of quality control being applied to resysops. I think that's a good thing. Fish+Karate 14:37, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
I think we agree on about half of this. But I think the answer is to MANBDA (make adminship no big deal again), not to worry about unworthy people who get to keep or even re-acquire their admin bits. Interface admins and oversight mean that some non-social reasons why adminship was a big deal may no longer be as important as they used to. But then again, your approach may be better politics than mine. Having said that, I like the idea of waiting for more than 24 hours with resysopping that appears below. Asking people to participate in the community for a while seems more useful to me than asking them to "correctly" answer RfA-style questions. —Kusma (t·c) 14:56, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
While I had to double take because I thought you'd written NAMBLA, I agree, but people have been trying to get adminship back to being no big deal for about ten years now, and this RFC isn't going to achieve that. We can address what we can address, and my proposal might help in some way. I do also agree that a longer period than 24 hours would be good, perhaps a week of showing involvement in editing - I wouldn't even care in what namespace, just a message of "go and do some edits that make Wikipedia better in some way over the next week to show you do still vaguely know what you're doing". Perhaps that needs to be an additional proposal. Fish+Karate 15:22, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Maybe if people truly though of adminship as a set of tools to improve wikipedia rather than a status symbol or a shiny trophy to display, they would be more willing to give it up when they aren't using it. It's a cultural problem with people hanging on to this status symbol when they aren't using the tools. Maybe we should just let people vote on who to give trophies to instead. Natureium (talk) 15:28, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Inactivity desysoppings are procedural. They're not an opportunity to re-examine one's right to the mop, nor were they ever intended to be. Something like this would grant 'crats the de facto authority to perform discretionary desysops, and uncontentious procedural desysopping should not be used as a back door to implement discretionary desysopping. Currently, desysoppings are only done with a high degree of due process. This would subject the fate of admins who have been desysopped for purely procedural reasons to an arbitrary and informal discussion between a small, stagnant and shrinking group of editors, some of whom, I will note, were appointed in the early days of Wikipedia in small discussions and wouldn't pass an RfA today, much less an RfB. Don't get me wrong, I trust the 'crats, but I'm entirely uncomfortable with that scenario. I'm all for making merit-based desysoppings available to the community, but not under the guise of tightening activity standards, and not via 'crat chat. Here's my monthly reminder to the community that there's no need to massively overcorrect any time there's a bit of one-off drama involving a single editor. ~Swarm~ {talk} 08:40, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure why procedural desysopping is a red line; we can move the line wherever we want to move it. The people this will most likely affect are also those who represent a small, stagnant and shrinking group of editors, some of whom, I will note, were appointed in the early days of Wikipedia in small discussions and wouldn't pass an RfA today. They're the 300 or so to which UninvitedCompany has referred, of which the recent "drama" is but one representative. I'm seeing admins, such as yourself and (at User talk:Iridescent) TonyBallioni, saying that they're not opposed in principle to some sort of change but it would perhaps be helpful if they could actually formulate a proposal for the change that they think is worthwhile. - Sitush (talk) 09:08, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Of course we can move the line, but this move doesn't make sense. We'd be converting extremely minor, token activity standards, into reconfirmation RfAs for anyone who goes inactive for a year. Admins who are willing to meet the extremely low activity requirements are in the clear indefinitely, but if you don't game the system? You're subject to discretionary revocation. It's just kind of a ridiculous scenario. And, while I absolutely intend no offense or disrespect to this person, it's ironic that you've invoked UninvitedCompany, who is a prime example of my concerns regarding ancient crats who aren't even active themselves being able to judge others' activity. ~Swarm~ {talk} 23:48, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Nothing personal, but this is a really bad idea as it puts the Crats in the position to judge the sysop as it if it is a second RFA. This would convert a bland procedural action into a court whereby the Crats would have to determine if the (former) sysop is "worthy" or "sincere". I seriously doubt any Crat wants that responsibility. The surrounding chatter at WP:BN would also be a circus, with every person the sysop has every blocked chiming in. Dennis Brown - 09:34, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • 'Crats already have discretion in close RfAs. Your point about BN becoming a circus of discontented contributors is actually also something that happens at RfA and would be even more evident at a re-RfA; in a roundabout way, you're tending towards an "admin for life" scenario. I'm probably missing something, though. - Sitush (talk) 09:42, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose the whole purpose of this policy was just to avoid account compromise. If the account is not compromised they tools should be automatically returned unless they resigned under a cloud. -DJSasso (talk) 14:42, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this, for much the same reasons as Swarm. Additionally, I'd actually prefer quantitative requirements: why rely on pro-forma promises that an admin will become at least minimally active instead of requiring they become minimally active first? —Cryptic 16:59, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. BN resysops shouldn't be a mini-RfA. — pythoncoder  (talk | contribs) 00:13, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I assert that most editors asking for the bit back after inactivity are doing so for the status symbol. If a former admin can't express whick backlog or noticeboard they're working, they shouldn't have a mop, per WP:NONEEDFORTOOLS. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:42, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. I think this is an interesting suggestion for moving us forward. Perhaps bureaucrats could merely be empowered to ask a returning administrator to justify their request for return of the admin toolset, if there is, in the opinion of one/more bureaucrats, a possibility of gaming/account compromise/evidence of poor understanding of current policy. ETA. I'd also suggest that, if returning editors were to be asked why their activity on the project had declined to (near) zero, if the answer is 'personal reasons' they should be allowed to explain -- if need be -- via e-mail; I'm looking at a 25-month editing lacuna of my own that I would not care to explain to the internet at large beyond 'personal reasons'. Espresso Addict (talk) 02:55, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as the only measure that has a chance of passing. If someone turned up at RFA saying "I want to help but I'm not going to tell you how or why" they'd be swiftly shown the door; why should this particular subset of people demanding access to a tool with no indication of why they want it be treated any differently? ‑ Iridescent 18:55, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose This leaves it to the discretion of crats (who, I honestly don't trust should be given the leeway to make judgements independent of community directions). This proposal should be a snow close and I would want that this be publicised in a proper RfC rather than sneaking this in after the main RfC has closed. That would show the number of opposes to this proposal giving power to crats. Absolutely no way – crats are not arbcom and I don't trust their competence to make such judgements (purely because they were not RfB'd for this purpose. Lourdes 09:53, 28 February 2019 (UTC)

Increase WP:Bureaucrat discretionEdit

One problem with many of these proposals is the bureaucratic hard line in the sand, however, Wikipedia's bureaucrats are already able judge consensus on issues relating to the addition and removal of the sysop user-right. I would suggest simply passing this to bureaucrats. Adding the following two points give a clear steer.

Support increased bureaucrat discretionEdit

  • Proposed. To be clear, there is no "requirement" to desysop by 'crats, nor to with-hold a resysop, if the 'crats feel that the explanation given by the user is acceptable. It just allows bureaucrat discretion in situations where it is needed. WormTT(talk) 16:13, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Strongly support increased bureaucrat discretion as described in the first proposal. It was painful to follow the recent discussion at BN, where every bureaucrat was reluctant to restore the person's bit, but at least one felt obligated to do so by the firm wording in existing policy. For heaven's sake, why do we have bureaucrats if they are not allowed to discuss a controversial action and reach consensus about it? They are supposed to be our most trusted (and best paid! 0;-D) volunteers at enwiki. Let them exercise their judgment about these requests. -- MelanieN (talk) 19:18, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I question the need for the second proposal. It seems to REQUIRE a bureaucrat discussion. I don't think anyone has a problem with the current system where such a person can request a re-sysop, and if no-one has objected within 24 hours, they get it. The need for a discussion comes up very rarely. -- MelanieN (talk) 19:23, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

Oppose increased bureaucrat discretionEdit

  • Oppose - "Increased discretion" sounds harmless, but as I said above, this concept is completely draconian and would convert incredibly minor procedural requirements into back door reconfirmation RfAs, only decided upon by an incredibly small and stagnant class of users. The title of this proposal is a misnomer, because bureaucrats don't have this discretion, and granting it to them would be granting sweeping powers that they have never possessed. A majority of crats were not even appointed in this decade. Some were appointed in small early discussions and have not even been particularly active this past decade themselves! Some 'crats would not even pass an RfA today, but we'd be expected to let them pass judgment on others' adminship? As I said above: uncontentious procedural desysopping should not be used as a back door to implement discretionary desysopping. I'm all for making merit-based desysoppings available to the community, but not under the guise of tightening activity standards, and not via 'crat chats, and not only for those who fail to meet token activity standards. ~Swarm~ {talk} 09:03, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I'm all for giving Crats lots of leeway, particularly when they chose to do nothing (their strongest tool), but the position of Crat is not a judge and they weren't selected for such. They were selected to blindly look at policy and follow it without letting emotions get in the way. You are asking us to accept the injection of more emotion, more judgement, more opinion. Policy may need to change, but the position and role of Crat does not. Empowering Crats to "wing it" undermines their role and standing. Arb can take the bit away from misconduct, the community SHOULD be able to take the bit away for not using it (that is the real policy that needs addressing), but Crats don't need to be able to deny the bit by themselves. Dennis Brown - 09:40, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose The whole idea of the inactivity removal was just to protect accounts from compromise. Getting back the bit was supposed to basically be automatic. This is just a backdoor reconfirmation attempt. -DJSasso (talk) 14:44, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Again, read my oppose in the above section. I don't trust the competence of crats to make such judgements. And more importantly, such proposals have to be properly brought in through RfC; otherwise, you'll have a majority of supports from the regulars than the majority of opposes I expect when the whole community sees this. Lourdes 09:55, 28 February 2019 (UTC)

Discussion of increased bureaucrat discretionEdit

  • You are making two proposals here, one about desysopping for inactivity, one for resysopping. Both of them are discussion-worthy, but I don't see why they should be combined. I don't like the desysopping one at all in its current state at all. Do you really want bureaucrats to police admin activity levels? Also, in practice, it will probably involve bots to find out who is potentially inactive and should involve talking to the user at some point. Note also that less strict activity requirements have been strongly opposed on this very page. For the resysopping proposal, essentially you are moving from "one bureaucrat agrees to push the button" to "several bureaucrats agree to push the button", which may or may not be an improvement, but without clear guidance that is going to be a worse mess than the recent BN discussion. —Kusma (t·c) 17:25, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    I'd have no problem with splitting them out, or indeed changing the suggested wording, which I meant as more a steer for the 'crats than anything else. I believe that someone should be policing activity levels, and it should not be done in a mindless manner, there are all sorts of reasons that people may not be active for extended periods of time and I do not believe that should mean they automatically lost the tools - however, if they have been inactive for a significant period and do not explain why they need to hold on to the tools during the period of inactivity, then the tools should be removed. As for the resysopping, I was thinking more 1 bureaucrat push the button, unless contentious - I'll have a think about how to re-word. WormTT(talk) 15:05, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Without any specific guidance, bureaucrats will essentially be creating their own personal criteria as to why a petitioner should or should not be deemed deserving of being an administrator. I would prefer to provide specific guidance on what bureaucrats should weigh when deciding to restore privileges. For example, bureaucrats could be directed to consider, at their discretion, if the petitioner's actions starting from 2 years prior to the removal of privileges provide sufficient confidence that the petitioner will satisfy current expectations of an administrator, including following present policies. isaacl (talk) 20:23, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    I expect the 'crats will follow the community on such matters. My concern is that everything feels automated at the moment without the chance of any discretion. WormTT(talk) 15:05, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
    If you're suggesting that the bureaucrats will solicit the community's opinion and then base a decision on that, that's a lot like saying the petitioner must file a new request for administrative privileges. In essence, then, the removal will be made permanent based on inactivity or voluntary relinquishment. isaacl (talk) 19:35, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't particularly favour having a process where the bureaucrats review every administrator whose activity has fallen below the specified basic activity level. If the community thinks this level of activity is necessary to retain its trust, then the default case should be to remove privileges, with perhaps some leeway for activity slightly below the threshold. Otherwise we are basically initiating an administrator review process, triggered by activity levels. It's unclear to me if activity levels is a good way to decide who to review, and I am wary of having a review process without any guidance on how to review the administrators. isaacl (talk) 20:39, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    This is a good point - I'll have a look to see how many administrators we would be considering here. WormTT(talk) 15:05, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure it does very much good to allow crat discretion without saying discretion for what. You could say users who would clearly not pass RfA under current criteria. You could say users who are obviously gaming the system. You could say users for whom serious issues are raised at BN in their request for resysop. You could probably say any number of things. But I don't know that you do very much good by saying "discretion" without any qualifications, and I think the result would be the same. GMGtalk 17:12, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
    Perhaps, though as I mention in my other response, my concern is more about the way we're going forward with a mindless automation and no discretion. WormTT(talk) 15:05, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Use common sense and snow-close most proposals above that are clearly not passingEdit

I have considered this request, and deny it. The discussion has hardly begun and the emerging consensus could change, especially if new reasons are presented. There is no harm in letting this discussion proceed. Jehochman Talk 15:46, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Looking at this as an exemplifier, there seems to be enough (and now probably tending towards excessive) unreasonable proposals against administrator inactivity by various editors in the past (with no malice against Beeblebrox; this is just a general comment). The community doesn't need to be repeatedly asked these questions regularly. Some of these RfCs waste community time beyond reason. In such cases, as is clear in some of the mini-RfCs above, if the said mini-RfCs above clearly are not going to gain traction (except probably Tony's), it doesn't make sense to keep those proposals open for beyond a handful of days; even a couple of days.

So I propose that in such mega-RfC proposals, and specifically in this one, there be allowance for common sense snow closure of the clearly not passing mini-RfCs, within a handful of days at maximum. Lourdes 03:29, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

Support snow-closure of clearly not passing RfCs aboveEdit

  • Support as proposer (I'm tired of seeing these repeated proposals, which will clearly fail). Lourdes 03:28, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support but recording the overall view I have that the antipathy toward what I believe are generally effective proposals is disappointing. Leaky Caldron 14:59, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

Oppose snow-closure of clearly not passing RfCs aboveEdit

Discussion of snow-closureEdit

  • I mean, yeah. If you're uninvolved and you see a WP:SNOW situation, then just be bold and close it. If you think you need permission to close something per WP:SNOW then it's probably not ready for WP:SNOW. Mz7 (talk) 07:00, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
    Though with that being said, the only proposal that I think is heading towards SNOW at the moment is the userspace requirement one. Please keep the others open for now. Mz7 (talk) 07:05, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
    I'm agreed with Mz7 on this one Nosebagbear (talk) 11:00, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

General discussionEdit

Allowing administrative privileges to continue to be held on requestEdit

With the one-edit standard, since an on-wiki request to continue to hold administrative privileges would meet the standard, there was no need for a distinction. Should any new standards be enacted, an additional condition should be added that administrators can retain administrative privileges simply by stating their continued interest in holding them. isaacl (talk) 22:20, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

The policy already allows former admins to reclaim the privileges by asking at WP:BN, provided they have haven't been inactive so long as to trigger the long-term inactivity exceptions. I don't think we need to make it any easier for them than that. --RL0919 (talk) 23:21, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but it seems like unnecessary overhead to require an administrator who has shown up before their privileges have been revoked to wait until the privileges have been have been removed in order to request them again at the bureaucrats' noticeboard. I feel we may as well skip removing the privileges. isaacl (talk) 23:28, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

Mid-term notificationEdit

  • Since we're in the business of throwing out ideas, I would be interested in the effect of a mid-term notification rather than an end-term notification. I think it's probably equally fair to say "you've been gone for six months, you have six months to come back", as it is is to say anything else. If someone gets six months notice and can't come back in six months, then fine. If they get six months notice and come back, then we've reduced our "come back" period by half. GMGtalk 23:22, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
That's an interesting idea. I think I like it. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:31, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I mean, the idea being that:
  1. It's equally fair. There is no moral difference between an end term notice or a mid term notice.
  2. If you are the kind of person who is disconnected from the community and is just procrastinating your permissions away, then this makes it easier to actually procrastinate them away, since it loses the sense of immediacy, to perform a perfunctory contribution.
  3. If you are the kind of person who just got busy with their kids or their job, and really just needs a reminder, then we get you back twice as quick. GMGtalk 23:49, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't want it to replace a end-term notification, but a regular inactivity notification could be useful. It might prompt notified administrators to check their contributions and see if they can detect a compromised account. isaacl (talk) 00:41, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
I like it. feminist (talk) 09:25, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
Me to. I'd been slowly coming to that thought myself, having waded through all the above. Seems a good way to stimulate resumption of activity even sooner. What's not to like? Nick Moyes (talk) 00:44, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I like it as well. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 07:27, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I like this too. It's easy to lose track of time. (Edit to say that I agree with Risker - it would be good to add a midterm notice, not replace the end-of-term with the midterm.) ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 18:05, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I have no thoughts one way or the other about adding a midterm notice, but would not replace the end-of-term notice with a mid-term notice. Essentially what would happen here is that people would get a notice saying "you have six months to do X" they will not feel any pressure or urgency to do "X". With a one-month notice, at least they understand that they've only got four weeks to get their act together. A very large percentage of the population naturally procrastinates. All that you need to confirm this is by looking at the number of people doing Christmas shopping the days immediately before Christmas. It's not like they didn't know that Christmas was going to happen on December 25 - and they're being reminded constantly on a multiple-times-daily basis from the end of October. (Or you could see how many Arbcom decisions actually follow the schedule, if you want a Wikipedia example.) Risker (talk) 18:54, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
    Just read this, and it's in line with my thinking that a notification after 3 months wouldn't hurt. Three months, six months, whatever, anything that even marginally has a slight chance of encouraging a 'lapsed' admin to return sooner is a good thing. Fish+Karate 14:15, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I like this idea (as an additional notification). Looking at the shall-we-say extremely infelicitous timing of when my own one-month bot-delivered warning for inactivity was issued, I'm actually rather surprised I didn't delete my user page, scramble my password and walk away from the project permanently. A personalised note from a bureaucrat or admin, conveying the message "Hey EA, how's it going? (By the way, I see you've been inactive for 6 months, do you want to have your permissions temporarily removed while you sort your life out?)" would have felt a great deal more encouraging. Espresso Addict (talk) 05:27, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

Affirmative permission removalEdit

In the spirit of discussing ideas, what if instead of notifying admins to make one edit to keep the bit, we instead notify them that they're coming up on one year of inactivity and ask if they would like to suspend their privileges? They can then decide to go to BN and request suspension of their mop, or if they do nothing they keep the bit. (In both cases, subject to the long-term inactivity provision)

My thinking is this addresses the view that automatic removal for inactivity is undignified. Inactive users still get a periodic reminder about the project, but they don't have to do anything unless they want to voluntarily (and temporarily) relinquish their access. It removes the security theatre of making people make one nonsense edit once a year. It leaves the condition where a reconfirmation RFA is required after a very long period of total inactivity, which isn't a change but I think that's a good thing to leave in. Anyway, just a late night thought really. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 05:13, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

My experience in contacting inactive admins is that they don't respond even when the message is clearly personalized. The current notification messages encourage people to resign voluntarily. Few do (<10%). UninvitedCompany 18:41, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

How serious is this problem really?Edit

According to the latest Administrator Newsletter, there were six administrators last month who avoided desysoping by making last minute edits. That does not seem to me to amount to a whole hill of beans. And we are still desysoping more than we promote every month; have been now for years. SpinningSpark 02:54, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

I note that the introduction is a typical case of insufficient data presented as proof of a problem. I am not claiming any bad faith, quite the opposite, I believe in the good faith of whomever started this (I have not checked who). The problems with the introduction, as I see them, are... The sentence "A number of these accounts were almost totally inactive or had not used administrative tools in a long time" is as true as «A number of these accounts were active and have used administrative tools recently», meaning that we must desysop active admins... Then "Some outreach to almost totally inactive admins was attempted but there was little response." meaning the same as «A few admins responded to our outreach», which is a success, no? I know, we read and ear this a lot from politicians, or the news, and friends talking, and so on; but we could do better, no? So, please, first show us the problem, then it will make more sense to find a solution. (disclaimer: I am a almost inactive admin right now, I have been doing some 10, 20, edits per month or so and no admin actions, since I am back to college - but I keep reading the newsletters, I care, and I should be studying right now... :-) - Nabla (talk) 12:20, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
Not at all serious on security or activity aspects, more serious about lack of respect for others and nickle and diming policies to the detriment of others in the community. There's a set of folk who appear to not want to recognise that life happens and we should bend over backwards to be friendly towards people to whom life may already be delivering troubles. Jamesday (talk) 21:51, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

I spent a fair bit of time on assessment of this problem and was working on something at User:UninvitedCompany/sandbox, which you can look at if you like. Out of around 1200 administrator accounts, around 300 of them have not been actively engaged in admin work for years, and are either making occasional good-faith edits, or annual token edits. Most of them are people who became admins in 2005, 2006, or 2007. I do think it poses various risks and distorts the way we look at the project in important ways, but I've thought about it -- a lot -- and haven't been able to figure out a policy answer to it that I actually like. UninvitedCompany 23:04, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

@UninvitedCompany: Is there any way of getting a list of such admins? I'm not really sure what level of disengagement you are talking about (would I have counted, for example?). Espresso Addict (talk) 00:49, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
Well, there's a list of particularly inactive administrators at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Editor_Retention/inactive_administrators who nonetheless make enough edits to hold onto their privileges. I don't think there's any way to get a complete list without writing a bot. UninvitedCompany 13:33, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

By "hill of beans", you're referring to the policy of "don't stuff beans up your nose", if I'm not mistaken? Woshiyiweizhongguoren (🇨🇳) 22:31, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

Big dealEdit

We keep saying being an admin is no big deal, we refer to the tools mops. Yet at every turn from the moment you consider an RfA everything becomes a big deal. Every action an admin does can be reverted by other admins, if one goes rogue there are measures and options in place to take action. After 15 years of throwing admin options around trying to find the best format, why not automate the system with Q&A test around policies for getting the tools and then repeat it every 6 months. All thats needed is a base criteria, then anyone can do the test - Those that are new Crats do a commonsense check start a discussion, those that have the tools and fail crats can review, discuss, or remove, everyone else just keep doing what they are doing. If you arent active when your 6 months comes up tools get taken away, then its truly no big deal. Gnangarra 03:53, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

In theory, being an admin is not supposed to be a big deal, but in practice it has been made into a big deal, largely by people trying to impose their own requirements at RfAs. Being an artificially big deal has inflated the desire to keep the bit just in case - to avoid another artificially big deal of another RfA. We reap what we have sown. Or maybe we reap what those before us have sown - depends how long we have been here. Cheers, · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:08, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
Yep so we take the big deal out of the equation and this isnt an issue Gnangarra 07:51, 5 February 2019 (UTC)


The problem, as amply demonstrated on this page, is the community's fractured attitude towards adminship. Everybody seems to have a different idea of what it's about.

It's not a question of need. No single editor needs the admin tools, because there are hundreds of others who could do that particular job – that how you define 'need'.

It's not a question of competence. Every single admin is trusted to edit Module:String (or refrain from editing it), but I am not allowed to edit it. It's simply a matter of trust, not competence.

It's not a question of status or of levelling-up or of anything else redolent of a MMORPG. For obvious reasons.

What it should be about is one thing only: the trust that the community has in the editor. It's completely binary: the community trusts that editor to make sensible decisions and actions; or it doesn't.

If you define an admin as a user who has received confirmation that the community trusts them, then RfA becomes the process whereby that trust is gauged and acknowledged, and the inactivity standards simply become a security protection against unused admin accounts being hijacked. If you can bring yourself to that mindset, you'll see that the requirement for edits or logged action is just to save a 'crat from removing the bit from any admin who is still committed, albeit lightly at the moment. If we trusted someone with the tools in the past, it's really most likely that we're going to trust them enough to return the tools on request. After all, why wouldn't we trust them to take things easy at first and ease their way back if they've been away for a long time? Most of the proposals here are addressing an issue that doesn't really exist. --RexxS (talk) 22:33, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

You've seen the following comment elsewhere, RexxS, but I'm saying it here because I said at WP:BN that I would make some sort of comment regarding what is happening in this RfC.

there is an open RfC regarding the inactivity requirements. I've read it and the thing is mind-boggling: admins I know well, trust and respect are circling the wagons to stop change. I'm paraphrasing but if someone says "increase by ten", they reply "just as easy to game as if we leave it as it is"; if someone says "increase by 100", they say "woah, this is a volunteer thing and we can't expect people to put in the time like that". I'm sorry, but if someone thinks they have a need for the bits then I'd like to imagine they're reasonably active. I can understand breaks lasting several months but not twelve, and if it does get to twelve then they're out of touch

That's how it appears to me and I strongly suspect it is how it appears to a lot of other people. It is why I initially told Xaosflux that it would be a waste of time for me to comment here. - Sitush (talk) 07:32, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
"If we trusted someone with the tools in the past, it's really most likely that we're going to trust them enough to return the tools on request." That's not true in my case. I do not trust somebody who passed RfA in 2003 as much as I trust somebody who passed RfA in 2018. The latter has been thoroughly vetted by hundreds of people against established standards; the former hasn't. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 14:59, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
I think You are talking about competence (that is mostly what RfAs currentlky *try* to assess - do you know most editing issues, do you know protection rules, do you know blocking rules, and so on); while RexxS is talking about trust (do we believe your intention is good, do we believe you will not go blocking or protecting unless you (re)read the rules, and so on). And trust changes very little since 2003. So I'll have more trust on someone which was active from 2003 to 2013 without much trouble, than on some newcommer from 2018 (which as less actions to show) - Nabla (talk) 11:49, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
@Nabla: The attitude today is that people would prefer a new admin to be one with some—not necessarily massively lengthy—tenure and steady, regular edit count over, say, a legacy admin who has demonstrably found it difficult to hit three figures a month for the last five years. It's because experience is demonstrated, and trust is proven, with both tenure and activity. I suggest reading some recent RfAs... ——SerialNumber54129 12:24, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
I do read a RfA a once in a long while, I wonder what makes you think you know what others do or not. - Nabla (talk) 23:07, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
@Serial Number 54129: And it's exactly that attitude that I'm criticising by asking for a change of mindset. The attitude today has led to the deeply flawed process that masquerades as RfA at present – a process that has more in common with a fraternity pledge that with a rational system of deciding whom the community can trust to have extra powers. It seems that contributors can't make their minds up about whether they can trust a candidate without a hundred-and-one proxies like the number of times they mashed an XfD button. --RexxS (talk) 13:21, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
No worries, RexxS, you can have all the admins you're willing to pay for. I don't disagree with you though; I was alerting the previous poster to the difference in what is and what was. ——SerialNumber54129 14:09, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
Oh, thanks. I'll have two pointy admins, a big flat crat, and a packet of rollbackers. Cheers --RexxS (talk) 17:11, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

New proposals?Edit

Is it too late to add proposals here? Based on the latest re-sysop request, I'm considering a proposal along the lines of: editors de-sysopped for inactivity must make at least 25 edits or logged actions before (possibly: within 30 days of) re-requesting the bit. Bureaucrats have discretion to decline requests if the edits appear to have been made to game the system and are not constructive improvements to the encyclopedia or its administration. power~enwiki (π, ν) 19:45, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

power~enwiki, go for it! This has yet to be closed. However, I would probably relist the proposal formally for it to get a chance at being seen.:D ―Matthew J. Long -Talk- 20:55, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
There's no such thing as "relisting" a proposal like this. power~enwiki (π, ν) 20:56, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
I meant like adding a seperate {{RFC}} tag to it. ―Matthew J. Long -Talk- 20:57, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
  • If you wan't something that's actually going to solve at least part of the problem, rather than add more overly prescriptive rules that can just as well be gamed but with somewhat greater effort, instead add language giving the crats discretion to decide not to resysop in cases where a user is obviously gaming the system. The idea that being a crat means that you can't have a pulse and apply any level of common sense is silly. GMGtalk 23:37, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Well, the stated purpose of the RFC revolves around security, although there isn't a single proposal related to security in this entire RFC, so...why not. However, it probably won't get very much feedback after this length of time, and won't have as clear an outcome. Please at least try to make it relate to security, though. If it doesn't, at least be very, very clear what problem you're trying to solve. Risker (talk) 04:56, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    • Didn’t see this section before making my additional proposal above. Basically the same thing, Power if you have suggestions please do pile in. Fish+Karate 05:24, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    • Risker, the kickstart to the sudden activity here is the current thread at WP:BN, where Xaosflux linked this discussion. As for the focus of the RfC revolving around security, yes, that is how it seems and is why I initially told Xaosflux that it seemed somewhat irrelevant to the matter at hand. However, Xaosflux has suggested that this is the correct venue and it is obvious that at least some 'crats are struggling to reconcile current policy and the specific event being discussed there. It is also well-known that there are numerous other admins who "game the system", as is being alleged in the specific BN situation. - Sitush (talk) 08:00, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I like this a lot more than the other new proposal above (checking whether people have truly returned to the editing community before re-sysopping makes more sense than asking them to make promises to do so). If this is adopted, it should come with a friendly message inviting returning ex-admins to re-engage with the community and then ask for the admin bit again. —Kusma (t·c) 13:17, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

Well, during all of 2018 we had 4 users who were re-sysopped at BN after losing their bit due to inactivity, and three of them have been making a genuine effort to contribute, so I'm not sure that this proposal addresses a large enough share of the problem to be meaningful. The problem is, instead, the ~300 people who are making token or occasional edits -- in most cases often enough that they never get the warning message -- and who have no intention to return to the project. UninvitedCompany 23:07, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

If I recall correctly, the wave of compromised admin accounts last year were mostly those who almost but not quite met the inactivity standards. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:44, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. This should possibly be re-linked at CEN, as the traffic it is receiving at the moment from the Bureaucrat Noticeboard might not be representative of the whole community. Espresso Addict (talk) 04:53, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Some of the discussion here may be relevant. I don't currently have the time to formalise the points I raised there here, but wanted to be sure those participating here are aware of that (short version: voluntary removal of tools used to differ from removal due to inactivity but changes to the policy removed that difference). Those who are actively engaged with the project, but decide to voluntarily give up their tools (e.g. to go on a break), are being treated the same as those who are long-term inactive and not responding to messages and are not engaged with the community. That doesn't seem right to me. If you voluntarily give up your tools, but remain engaged with the community and continue editing, why should there be a limit on when you can ask for the tools back? Carcharoth (talk) 10:15, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Elephant in the roomEdit

It's been discussed upthread, but I think the root cause of this discussion is the standards to pass RfA and to regain the bit at BN are wildly different. If passing another RfA after inactivity was straightforward, people would suggest that - hand-wringing over "what's inactive and what isn't" wouldn't happen because somebody would simply say "why don't you just go to RfA and see what happens?" and there'd be enough of a view of that being a sensible idea, whereas currently people see it as trial by ordeal. Similarly, admins make one edit a year to avoid losing the tools because they know getting them back at RfA would be too hard. This is basically what all this discussion is about.

I don't have a solution for making RfA easier. Well, I have one idea - drop the pass mark so that a supermajority (66% support) is a straight pass, a majority (50% support) has a crat chat, anything else is down to crat discretion, so even a 45% support could pass if the support rationales are really good and the oppose rationales are bogus. Heck, major changes are happening in the UK on 51.9% support. Also, do more clerking so that any votes that don't meet the spirit of Wikipedia:Advice for RfA voters in support or oppose get struck. This would bring it more in line with what happens in practice at AfD. It means if you really, really want / don't want somebody to be an admin, you need to up your game and talk a better argument - just like AfD. I don't believe it will pass because there's not a widespread agreement on this, so there'll be lots of opposition. But there'll be lots of opposition for a wide variety of interesting reasons. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 15:37, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

I don't think it's the difference in standards per se; I think it's more that people like to feel that administrators are part of the community. If an administrator isn't participating in the community but then comes in and starts performing administrative actions, people feel like outsiders are trying to tell them what to do. I think if a higher activity threshold is introduced, it should be described as an activity ramp-up period: editors are expected to spend some time re-engaging with the community before they can resume administrative duties. isaacl (talk) 19:00, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Naming the conflict and a proposed policy from UninvitedCompanyEdit

I have devoted a good deal of thought to this problem and have tried to deal with it constructively through Wikipedia:WikiProject Editor Retention/administrators under the idea that what we, as project, really want is for these people to re-engage and again do the fantastic work that they did in the past. This proved to be a happy fiction since, after a good deal of effort, only one of the twenty or so people I contacted by email and on their talk pages engaged in a meaningful dialogue. As part of that effort, I updated the inactivity messages to make them more focused on re-engagement and to specifically discourage people from making token edits to retain their rights. It didn't work.

So, let's name the conflict, that is, define exactly what the problem is here:

The problem is that we have a significant share of the administrator community -- over 25% -- that has not made regular and frequent contributions in an administrative capacity for years, and has not edited regularly outside a few personal areas of interest for years, that does not respond to one-on-one attempts to engage with them, and is unlikely to return to the project. Most of these people joined in 2005, 2006, and 2007 during the rapid growth in numbers of admins and before the era of automated tools that reduced the admin workload and made it less mechanical. And yes, these accounts do pose various problems, quite real ones, to wit:

  • The quality of the occasional admin actions taken by these accounts is poor, because they tend to be in topic areas where the admin in question is overly involved.
  • It is, in most cases, impossible to determine whether the accounts are still operated by their original user, and not by a friend, cousin, coworker, etc.
  • There is a risk that these individuals, since they are now marginally attached to Wikipedia and do not intend to use their accounts, may attempt to sell them to individuals or organizations who do not have Wikipedia's best interests at heart. In particular, I think that there is a risk that paid editing organizations would bid top dollar for accounts that will more readily allow them to subvert WP:COI.
  • The ongoing retention of adminship by these individuals is creating a legitimate feeling of unfairness in those who have more recently worked hard to obtain adminship or who are in the process of doing so.
  • The risk of password compromise, while small, is real.
  • The volume of accounts complicates security solutions that pose dollar costs or developer-time costs on a per user basis, such as 2FA.
  • The group is large enough that it confounds other analysis of all admins as a subcommunity.

There are several reasons this is hard to fix and it's important to identify those, too:

  • It is impossible to come up with any sort of useful yardstick that defines a minimum level of activity that is difficult to "game" and that does not adversely affect legitimate ongoing contributors. The discussion upthread here shows that.
  • Any policy change will draw significant opposition from people who are marginally active but who still identify closely with the project. There are many of these people.
  • There are legitimate concerns that returning contributors may not be treated reasonably at RFA.
  • Any process we adopt will have to be either a) mechanical, or b) require some sort of reconfirmation. There are legitimate reasons to dislike either alternative.
  • Due to the large number of users affected, the rollout of any change will have to be handled carefully, both technically and in a way that is sensitive and respectful.
  • It is, at best, difficult to confer recognition on people for their past good work that is as meaningful to them as their retention of a disused admin flag.

I have tried to come up with a complete policy proposal. It appears below. I don't like it, because it's too mechanical, but I offer it for discussion, and maybe it will serve as a springboard to something better.

I haven't worked out a way to handle the transition on this. At a minimum, we should choose a future date for it to go into effect, and notify people who may be affected by it. UninvitedCompany 00:28, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

UninvitedCompany 00:20, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Proposed policyEdit

--- proposed page title --

Wikipedia:Inactive administrators

--- cut here ---

Administrators are expected to use their administrative rights on a regular, ongoing basis for the good of the project. Administrators who do not anticipate that they will participate in administrative matters in the foreseeable future are encouraged to voluntarily relinquish their administrative rights by posting a request at the bureaucrat's noticeboard. Inactive administrators may have their administrative rights removed in accordance with this policy.


The first administrators were appointed in 2002. Administrator activity was not seen as a problem when policies were formalized in 2005, and administrative rights could be held indefinitely. In June 2011, an inactivity policy was adopted, but former admins returning to the project could regain their administrative tools "without further discussion" (i.e. demonstrating community support at WP:RFA), regardless of the duration of their inactivity. In 2012 the policy was amended so that the "without further discussion" provision would no longer apply once an administrator had been inactive for three years.


Inactive accounts with administrative permissions pose several potentially serious risks to the project:

  1. The security of the accounts can be compromised. The known incidents have led to vandalism of the Main page (since administrators can edit through protection), and disruptive blocks of other administrators. It is possible that other accounts have been compromised but have not been used for egregious violations of policies and have therefore been unidentified. While the accounts of active administrators can be and have been compromised, active administrators are more motivated to take steps to keep their accounts secure, and can report compromise when it occurs.
  2. There have been isolated instances of administrators who have utilized their tools disruptively after diverging from the evolving norms of the community during a period of inactivity or low activity
  3. While there have been no confirmed cases related to inactivity, there is a risk that former administrators may attempt to monetize their accounts by selling their credentials or utilizing them on behalf of paid editing firms.
  4. Substantial numbers of inactive or low-activity administrative accounts complicate widespread deployment of account security measures that pose costs and administrative overhead for the WMF
  5. The presence of inactive accounts held by individuals who no longer have a serious interest in Wikipedia distort statistics on the number of administrators serving the project.

The goal of the inactivity policy is to encourage administrators who genuinely plan to re-engage with the project while limiting the risks of inactive accounts.


  • Administrative action means any logged action that can only be performed by administrators or other user groups with comparable or greater access rights.
  • Editing day means any day, beginning and ending at 00:00 UTC, when at least one edit or administrative action is made.
  • Active means a user who has five or more editing days and one or more administrative actions in the preceding twelve months.
  • Fully active means an active user who has achieved ten or more editing days per month, in each of the preceding six consecutive months.
  • Otherwise contributing means a user contributing to Wikipedia in a substantial capacity that does not result in locally logged edits or administrative actions. Examples include service to the Wikimedia Foundation as an employee or Board of Trustees member, substantial and ongoing contributions at Wikimedia Commons or other sister projects, serving as a steward, serving on the ombudsman commission or substantial and ongoing work building, maintaining, or operating a useful bot, script, or other tool that benefits Wikipedia.

Removal of administrative rightsEdit

Administrators who are not active are subject to removal of their administrative rights. The admin must be contacted on their user talk page and via e-mail (if possible) one month prior, and again several days prior, to the change taking effect. Desysopping on inactivity grounds should be handled by English Wikipedia bureaucrats. The summary in the user rights log should make it clear that the desysopping is purely procedural.

Administrators who have recently been granted administrative rights are not subject to this policy until they have a reasonable opportunity to perform an administrative action.

Restoration of adminshipEdit

Regardless of how adminship is removed, any editor is free to re-request adminship through the typical requests for adminship process.[1]

Former administrators may re-request adminship subsequent to voluntary removal or removal due to inactivity. Adminship is granted unless one of these situations applies:

  • Not active or otherwise contributing for the preceding 36 months.
  • Not fully active at any point in the preceding ten years.
  • Adminship was resigned while "under a cloud." If there were serious questions about the appropriateness of the former admin's status as an administrator at the time of resignation, the request will be referred to WP:RFA. In doubtful cases, re-granting will be deferred until a broader community discussion takes places and is closed.
  • Security of account cannot be established. At their discretion, bureaucrats may decline to restore adminship if they are not satisfied that the account is controlled by the same person who used it previously.
  • Account not currently in good standing. If there have been substantive sanctions imposed since adminship was removed, the matter will be handled analogous to adminship being resigned while under a cloud.

Related permissionsEdit

Administrators who have also been granted other permissions that are ordinarily granted only to administrators are subject to removal of these related permissions as well. Restoration of these other permissions is not automatic and must be requested and approved according to the procedures established for the permission in question.


Bureaucrats are expected to exercise the duties granted by their role while remaining cognizant of relevant community standards concerning their tasks. If a bureaucrat does not participate in bureaucrat activity[2] for over three years, their bureaucrat permissions may be removed. The user must be notified on their talk page and by email one month before the removal, and again a few days prior to the removal. If the user does not return to bureaucrat activity, another bureaucrat may request the removal of permissions at meta:Steward requests/Permissions. Permissions removed for not meeting bureaucrat activity requirements may be re-obtained through a new request for bureaucratship.

# # #

  1. ^ Excepting those with a specific arbitration or community sanction barring the request.
  2. ^ Bureaucrat activity is widely construed and includes acting or commenting as a bureaucrat at any venue including WP:BN/RFA/RFB/RFBAG/BRFA and responding to requests in their capacity as a global renamer or signalling that they remain actively engaged and available for bureaucrat tasks.


Just a small point, but users sometimes have more than one account. While administrative tools are attached to a single account, adminship belongs to the user. You may want to consider how that may affect some of the statistics, and you ought to reformulate at least the phrase "Account not currently in good standing." Accounts don't have standing; users do. --RexxS (talk) 01:25, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

UninvitedCompany you say that you are concerned that your proposal is "too mechanical". Does that mean you would prefer to see some discretionary "powers"? The current resysop process, as you know from the BN discussion closed yesterday, is entirely mechanical. - Sitush (talk) 11:01, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps a better phrase is too "mechanically complicated" with counting editing days over various periods. I tried to capture what I saw by manually going through the contribution history and logs for dozens of editors -- some clearly inactive, some trying to contribute -- and that's the best objective set of tests I was able to create. I think that any discretionary policy is going to pose the usual problems and distortions. We especially would not want to give that to the 'crats, as they are chosen for trustworthiness and sound judgment, but are not representative of the community. UninvitedCompany 14:23, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I understand now. However, any mechanical process can be gamed. - Sitush (talk) 14:27, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
True enough. My goal when drafting was to create a policy where someone "gaming" the policy would end up engaging enough that we would be happy to have them retain the tools. UninvitedCompany 18:28, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
I think this is a good proposal, which I will be happy to support, but I think the last point (account which has been sanctioned after resigning the tools) needs to be more elaborated: which exactly sanctions will lead to ineligibility of resysop, and whether this ineligibility has a finite time duration (if sanctions have been imposed once does it mean that the user is never eligible for the restoration of the tools without RfA).--Ymblanter (talk) 18:42, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
I think a decision whether a sanction should prevent re-sysop should come through ArbCom, or failing that, a decision not to resysop should be subject to appeal through ArbCom. —Kusma (t·c) 07:55, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I am surprised to see such a lengthy discussion without any figures to describe the problem what is, perhaps, to solve. My impression is that there are 42 so-called admins that have done exactly zero admin actions from 2016-01-01 together with less than 13 edits from 2016-01-01, i.e. no more than 4 edits per year on the average. In fact, adminstats gives the impression that 381 so-called admins have done exactly zero admin actions in three full years. Something is broken for sure, either adminstats or what adminstats is describing. Pldx1 (talk) 23:09, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
    • I included some figures up in the "Naming the conflict" section upthread. The problem is much larger when you consider admins who have done very little in addition to those who have done nothing. UninvitedCompany 18:28, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
      • Once again: adminstats says that 381 so-called admins haven't done any admin action in three full years. Faithul reflect of a bad reality or only the bad result of some bug in the scripts ? Remark: some of the 381 have good reasons for that. But not so many !!! Pldx1 (talk) 19:28, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
        • There's always the fact that things like editing protected pages, including the main page, isn't logged. ~90% of my admin activity would fall into that category, and the same would be true of many of the main-page regulars. Espresso Addict (talk) 00:58, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
          • @Espresso Addict: check out this log. — xaosflux Talk 01:55, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
            • @Xaosflux: Sure, but those admin edits are not (as far as I'm aware, correct me if I'm wrong) summarised in adminstats. I believe one explanation for why so many admins appear not to have performed any admin actions according to adminstats is some of them are editing protected pages. I have never cared to delve into whether the admin actions as noted by the bureaucrats when determining activity count these or not. There was some discussion in a previous RfC convened by Beeblebrox on whether such actions should or should not count, but I don't recall whether the discussion ever came to a conclusion.
(Also my log gives a grand total of 8 edits? I might have been inactive, but I wasn't that inactive... I don't think it's collating PotD or OTD or all the other dated subpages that go in and out of protection.) Espresso Addict (talk) 02:43, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
@Espresso Addict: that log was only enabled ~3 months ago. If you have an example of something not showing please let me know at my talk and I'll look in to it. — xaosflux Talk 03:32, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
FYI for anyone following this, phab:T216827 opened to improve matching cascade protection matches. — xaosflux Talk 16:22, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
  • This is the reason why Bureaucrats should be allowed some leeway when deciding that someone is inactive to the point that the bit shouldn't be kept or returned without a full RfA. When seeing
    * Espresso Addict (admin);2010 40;2012 1;2013 50;2014 21;2015 196;2016 2472;2017 66;2018 735;2019 25;
    * Espresso Addict (edits);2006 2075;2007 5378;2008 3438;2009 1625;2010 4193;2011 1;2012 1075;2013 4665;2014 928;2015 2063;2016 4871;2017 1005;2018 3070;2019 663;
    * RfA 2007-09-23 60/0/1 ; Suspend 2019-02-09
    the activity is largely proven and there is no need to ask the opinion of filter 942. When seeing
    * XXX (admin);2013 5;2014 18;2015 1;
    * XXX (edits);2008 3;2009 0;2010 5491;2011 103182;2012 96001;2013 3202;2014 2046;2015 1564;2016 2069;2017 1664;2018 1609;2019 206;
    the activity is largely proven. Moreover the RfA was preventatively explaining the values of adminstats. On the contrary, when seeing:
    Where (admins);2006 469;2007 37;2008 2;2011 3;
    Where (edits);2005 14;2006 5831;2007 166;2008 24;2009 0;2010 3;2011 2;2012 2;2013 1;2014 1;2015 1;2016 1;2017 1;2018 1;2019 0;
    it is not so difficult to see that User:Where is gaming the system. The actual policy forces the bureaucrats to take iteratively the same stupid decision. Time to change, isn't it ? Pldx1 (talk) 10:14, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

What if...Edit

I think this is some great work from UninvitedCompany. The "fully active" section intrigued me, and I think it might be the key to solving this puzzle. What if, instead of regranting sysop rights on request, bureaucrats regrant them on request only if the requesting editor is fully active, and otherwise ask the requester to come back once they have fully re-engaged with the project? That eliminates the problem of people just appearing out of nowhere, getting the bit back, and disappearing again for another year (or more), which has led to such acrimonious discussions in the past. And no one would be denied a resysopping they were told they would be entitled to: all they have to do is demonstrate that they're willing to be active enough to use it. Thoughts? 28bytes (talk) 11:08, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Would it be difficult to get statistics on say how many current admins are fully active now?--Ymblanter (talk) 11:22, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
Or even how many users are fully active now?--Ymblanter (talk) 11:28, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
Active, semi-active, inactive. Carcharoth (talk) 11:32, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, but the above definition of fully active (edits on 10 days per month during six months) is different from the definition of active administrators (30 edits in two months). What I would like to understand is how reasonable the requirements of fully active are. If there are hundreds or thousands of users like that it is one story, if there are dozens, it is a completely different tstory. (I know that I was fully active by this definition always since six month after the registration of the account - before six month it is impossible to conform to the definition - but on the other hand I am in 400 most active users of all times and am hardly representative).--Ymblanter (talk) 11:41, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
I do share your concerns and believe that some sort of assessment should be made, which would require automated tools to perform at scale. If there is support for this policy otherwise, someone should write a bot. If no one else steps forward, I could do it. UninvitedCompany 18:28, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
Fully active under this definition only requires editing activity. There is no requirement for taking any admin actions. It is entirely possible for people to stay fully active and engaged with the project under this proposal without ever using the tools. However, the current rules state that if you have not taken any logged admin actions for five years, you have to go back through RfA, even if you voluntarily give up the tools. The presumption being made in all this is that someone who has not taken any admin actions for five years is not active as an editor. That is not necessarily the case. I would support this proposal, but only if a clear distinction is drawn between: (i) those admins who are totally inactive; (ii) those admins who are active as editors but not as admins; (iii) those admins who are active as both editors and admins or just active as admins. I get that those who are totally inactive may no longer be conversant with current community norms, but those who are active as editors (depending where they edit) may still be aware of what is needed to use the tools to current standards. A distinction should also be drawn between those who are desysopped for inactivity, and those who give up the tools voluntarily. Carcharoth (talk) 11:49, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
Substantially all of the sister projects and other-language Wikipedias require admins to actually use their tools to retain their admin rights. I believe this is fundamentally sound policy. The relatively few highly active editors who hold admin rights but do not use them will, I imagine, find something to do with their mop from time to time, should we move forward with something like this. UninvitedCompany 18:28, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
You may believe that this is fundamentally sound policy, but until you made this change to the policy, that was not the case on the English Wikipedia. Until you made that change, it was still possible for admins in good faith to take a break from being an admin, relinquish the tools, remain active as an editor, and then ask for the tools back, with no time limits. The wording that you removed stated: "Administrators in good standing who were not considered to be in controversial circumstances when voluntarily requesting removal, may request at any time that their administrator status be restored by a bureaucrat". I am not that active myself these days, but I have been active in the past few days to try and put my views across. At the moment, the current status is that resigned former admins who remain active as editors can request the tools back unless they have been inactive as an editor for three years. That is in line with both this RfC and this RfC. I hope that won't be changed further without a clear consensus at a new RfC. Carcharoth (talk) 13:08, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
That is actually not true, the vast majority have no activity requirements at all and the few that do are usually just about editing not admin tool use. -DJSasso (talk) 18:47, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

I think it is difficult to have a higher activity threshold for regaining administrative privileges than to attain them in the first place, so I think any standards along these lines would have to be applied to new requests for administrative privileges as well. I think some of the thresholds are too high (ten years of ten days of activity every month? Most people aren't around for ten years, and that's a long time to have sustained activity at any thing), but I don't have an objection to the general principle of requiring some kind of ongoing activity. I think a ramp-up period prior to attaining or re-gaining administrative privileges may be desirable, where editors must demonstrate some degree of ongoing engagement with the community. isaacl (talk) 19:06, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps the way it's written is unclear. The intent is that at some point in the last ten years, there has to have been a period of near-daily engagement lasting six months. Every successful RFA in recent history would meet that. I do like the idea that people have to engage with the project before asking for the bit back, and it's mentioned as a stand-alone proposal somewhere up the page, I believe. UninvitedCompany 19:19, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
OK, that makes more sense. "Not fully active at any point in the preceding ten years" reads like at any given point in the preceding ten years, the petitioner must have been fully active. isaacl (talk) 19:25, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
I'll just note that there are dozens of administrators who almost everyone on this page would consider to be active editors and administrators who do not meet the "fully active" criterion even now. This is particularly true of administrators whose participation includes off-wiki activities, global activites, or non-public activities. Risker (talk) 03:41, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

Going backwards?Edit

I haven't read through every single comment on this page, but some of this feels like it's going backwards. It is known that there are a number of administrators who have edited very little, basically annually, and they retain their adminship according to current policy. There have been a number of RFCs over the years trying to prevent that. Assuming that "annually-editing admins" is a problem (which I'm not claiming it is or isn't), then a policy that makes it harder to get the admin tools back after they're gone (e.g., "meeting fully active requirements"), will result in the intermittently-editing admins holding their tools even tighter. Useight (talk) 23:50, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Also, incremental changes to the policy makes it harder to be sure it is possible to take a meaningful break (whether a complete break or one where the former admin still edits) and be able to come back and be sure that the rules at the time you took the break will be honoured. Some people will conclude that rather than voluntarily relinquish the tools and ask for them back later, it would be better to keep the tools and make token edits and token admin actions, thus making worse the problem some people here are trying to solve. Carcharoth (talk) 12:49, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

The elephant in the roomEdit

There have been about 100 editors who have participated in this RFC. The overwhelming majority are administrators and, of those, a disproportionate number are also bureaucrats. Now, this isn't surprising - all of the proposals here affect mainly administrators and bureaucrats in one way or another. But let's look at the reality on the ground.

We're seriously debating a proposal by UninvitedCompany - who was barely active for 8.4 years and would have had his administrator permissions removed if his own proposal had been in place during the period of his near-absence. Another former arbitrator, AGK was barely active for 2.7 years and would have had his administrator permissions removed if this proposal had been in place. Instead, less than 4 weeks after he returned to active editing, he was re-granted *checkuser* permissions without any concern being expressed by community members (administrator or not), and another 2.5 months later he was easily re-elected to Arbcom. The dry facts of the participation of both of these contributors would point to them having "gamed the system" to keep rights for an extended period. The reality is that both of them, after extended periods of very limited activity, promptly re-integrated into the community and were recognized as valued, respected, and *trusted* users by both the administrator cadre and the community as a whole.

We're kidding ourselves. In the abstract, many people here may think that administrators who are minimally active for an extended period are gaming the system somehow or other. But when we look at individual cases, the same people rarely express concern about the very administrators that these proposals are intended to affect; in fact, if they come back, they're usually treated as a returning prodigal son. I think it's time to stop pretending otherwise. Risker (talk) 03:11, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

  • On a somewhat related note, as per my comments on the first § Elephant in the room, it makes me uneasy when someone who has been away for an extended period of time makes a proposal for a significant policy change. Now certainly someone coming at a problem fresh may introduce new ideas, but there can also be a bit of white knight perception (that is, someone coming in to save the day) that can be offputting for those who have lived through the problem in question for years. (In this particular instance, it's also changing the rules just a few months after the proposer benefited from the current ones.) Now of course this doesn't mean the proposal can't be a good one, and communities should be open to adopting and evolving ideas from anyone. But I think the desire to feel that we're in this together is a significant reason why the community would often like to see a period of prolonged engagement prior to someone taking on administrative tasks, or proposing big process changes. isaacl (talk) 03:48, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
  • dissenting elephant. It seems that:
    AGK (admin);2012 2896;2013 897;2014 535;2015 98;2017 2;2018 237;2019 5;
    AGK (edits);2006 1161;2007 7199;2008 7869;2009 2441;2010 2415;2011 4033;2012 10493;2013 3576;2014 2537;2015 313;2016 1;2017 10;2018 1145;2019 199;
    UninvitedCompany (admin);2005 802;2006 515;2007 55;2008 7;2009 484;2010 348;2011 22;2012 3;2013 13;2014 2;2017 8;2018 107;
    UninvitedCompany (edits);2003 131;2004 2052;2005 2059;2006 1667;2007 1059;2008 230;2009 392;2010 586;2011 83;2012 53;2013 17;2014 13;2015 7;2016 4;2017 52;2018 1807;2019 147;
    Did I miss something ? Pldx1 (talk) 12:04, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
    Some graphs about RfA's can be seen at How old were the crocodiles when entering the bayou. Pldx1 (talk) 12:15, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
    • What are you dissenting from, Pldx1? Could you please present the pile of numbers you've inserted above into a more readable format? I genuinely can't tell what your point is. Risker (talk) 12:25, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
      • Someone said would have had his administrator permissions removed if this proposal had been in place... twice. I have checked and found otherwise after collecting some pairs (year, number). I have no doubt that you, Risker, have also worked your exercise and I would be glad to see the data you could have collected to sustain your own assertion. Best regards. Pldx1 (talk) 13:23, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
        • I genuinely can't figure out what those numbers are, they're not readable to me. Anyone can look at the edit counts of those admins. Anyone can look at the admin actions of those admins, if that is what those numbers are. But I still don't see what your point is. Are you agreeing with me that, had UC's proposal been in place, the two admins I pointed out would have been desysopped, or are you dissenting from my assessment? And perhaps more importantly, are you dissenting from my key assertion that the community itself didn't care that each of those admins had extensive periods of extremely low activity? Risker (talk) 13:53, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
          • Dear User:Risker. Anyone can look at the edit counts of those admins, Anyone can look at the admin actions of those admins. Yes, indeed. And I have looked. And your three posts give me the impression you haven't, but an impression is only an impression. Did you look into the details or not ? Are you agreeing with me that, had UC's proposal been in place, the two admins I pointed out would have been desysopped. Do you really have the slightest doubt that I disagree with you on this point ? Could you, please, do your own maths and post the details, not only a stratospherical overview ? Obviously, User:UninvitedCompany's message just below answers the key point of the problem. My own message was only answering the fact that you were suggesting that elephant-UC just not perceived he was breaking porcelan-UC. He was not. Pldx1 (talk) 15:30, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

I think that in a well-functioning community with sensible policy, AGK and I both would have lost our bits when we left (or, more likely, given them up voluntarily), asked for them back at RFA after returning, and received them at that point. One might hope that a culture at RFA would arise where people would be given their bits back routinely and without drama, when it is clear that they intend to rejoin the community in earnest. UninvitedCompany 13:25, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

@Risker: I'm going to add this contribution history as an example. While not all cases are this obvious, there are dozens if not hundreds of users who are doing this:

(change visibility) 16:32, June 14, 2018 diff hist +18‎ m Rye Brook, New York ‎ Undid revision 845102718 by 2604:2000:6B10:8000:9D45:B493:9088:F5C0 (talk) current [rollback: 1 edit] Tag: Undo [rollback] [vandalism]

(change visibility) 11:05, August 9, 2017 diff hist -425‎ User talk:Where ‎

(change visibility) 20:35, August 31, 2016 diff hist +11‎ User:Where/Header ‎ Mark Wherebot as inactive current [rollback: 3 edits] [rollback] [vandalism]

(change visibility) 06:53, August 20, 2015 diff hist +117‎ User talk:Where ‎ respond ot worm message

(change visibility) 20:13, July 31, 2014 diff hist +8‎ User talk:Where ‎

(change visibility) 11:43, August 1, 2013 diff hist -20‎ User talk:Where ‎

(change visibility) 15:11, August 8, 2012 diff hist -5‎ m Commerce minister ‎ fixed error in stub classification

(change visibility) 15:11, August 8, 2012 diff hist +12‎ Commerce minister ‎ more specific stub type

(change visibility) 20:35, August 9, 2011 diff hist +73‎ Kyar Ba Nyein ‎ Start to copy-edit the article

(change visibility) 20:22, August 9, 2011 diff hist -62‎ 1973 raid on Egyptian missile bases ‎ References had been added. Does not appear to be in need of copy-editing

(change visibility) 22:03, August 9, 2010 diff hist 0‎ Ingeborg of Denmark, Queen of France ‎ reorganize, fix spelling error

(change visibility) 16:32, August 9, 2010 diff hist -4,535‎ Ingeborg of Denmark (1175–1238) ‎ made into a redirect current [rollback: 1 edit] [rollback] [vandalism]

(change visibility) 16:32, August 9, 2010 diff hist +1,094‎ Ingeborg of Denmark, Queen of France ‎ copied some facts from Ingeborg of Denmark to this article for a merge. THis may have added some redundancy to this article, which I will fix later.

(change visibility) 22:39, November 16, 2008 diff hist +265‎ Inkjet printable DVD ‎ question about notability

That's Where (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA). There are other examples. I think that some of these examples make a mockery of our policy, and my many attempts to reach out individually to these users on their talk pages and via email have been ignored. That's why I believe there's a problem. UninvitedCompany 13:42, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

  • Nothing stopped you at any time from handing in your tools voluntarily, UninvitedCompany. There's nothing stopping you from doing it right now, for that matter, except that I don't know what point you'd be proving. The fact of the matter is that there are activity standards for admins on a small minority of the 800+ Wikimedia wikis, and there are plenty of "well-functioning" communities that don't have any policy one way or another on this issue. I'm not going to dispute that there are dysfunctional elements in this community - but I'm hard-pressed to say this is anywhere near a significant issue to the vast majority of community members. It bugs about 100 people out of the 30,000 monthly active editors. They're just unusually vocal people. There's no evidence that the broad community cares about this. Risker (talk) 13:53, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
    Actually, I believe that there are Meta default admin activity standards, and the projects which explicitly did not opt out have their inactive admins desysopped by stewards. There are a couple of stewards who I believe watch this page, I would appreciate their clarification. (Not that it is important for the general point). As far as I know we are the only project where an admin can lose a flag in any manner and then get it back without a new RfA.--Ymblanter (talk) 14:20, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
      • Thanks for that, Ymblanter, the page is here. The global policy on admin inactivity is defined as zero edits and zero admin actions over two years (i.e., either a single edit or admin action over a 2-year period is sufficient to maintain admin permissions). In other words, the current English Wikipedia policy, which requires a minimum single edit/action per year, is stricter than the global one. Risker (talk) 14:35, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
    It is not unknown for people to hand in the bit and run a reconfirmation RfA, or to do so after a lengthy period of time away. I can remember at least one (see Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/HJ Mitchell 3), but I think there have been others (including maybe a bureaucrat somewhere along the way?). I am mildly surprised no-one has maintained a list of these reconfirmation RfAs. Having said that, I found a list, Wikipedia:List of resysopped users, which includes about 30 're-RfA' links, though the reasons for the re-RfA are varied, some are genuine inactivity ('wanting a new consensus') ones, but mostly from the early years. The bureaucrat one I remembered was Wikipedia:Requests for bureaucratship/Cecropia2, but that was more the bureaucrat equivalent of a re-sysop request. The other reconfirmation RfA I am aware of was Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/SarekOfVulcan 2. The two most recent 'after lengthy inactivity' RfAs were Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Opabinia regalis 2 and Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Abecedare 2. Carcharoth (talk) 14:24, 22 February 2019 (UTC)