I think it's time we got down and made some changes to our requests for administratorship process. I'm well aware of the debacle surrounding Wikipedia's RFA (I will leave finding out more about Wikipedia's system as an exercise for the reader), but as one user repeatedly states: "Fix the !voters and RFA will fix itself."
With that being said, I'd like to propose changes to our own RFA system to make it more like Wikipedia. The Wikipedia system itself, I do not believe, is broken or troublesome (although it could use a few changes); the core of the problem is the people that use it. As our wiki is many multitudes smaller and "shouldn't" contain the stubbornness of Wikipedia's RFA !voters, I think these changes will work out okay... or at least, worth trying.
Here are the changes I propose:
- Having three mandatory questions on every new RFA, which the candidate must answer before the RFA can actually begin. The three questions I have in mind are:
- What administrative work do you intend to take part in?
- What are your best contributions to The Sims Wiki, and why?
- Have you been in any conflicts over editing in the past or have other users caused you stress? How have you dealt with it and how will you deal with it in the future?
- Once the RFA officially starts, users are free to ask the user any additional questions that the candidate may optionally answer.
- Support, Oppose, Neutral, and Comments get their own section. Each user who participates in the discussion should place their comments and overall opinion in either the "Support", "Oppose", or "Neutral" section. They may move and change their position at any time, although they should preferably strikeout their old comment (using the <s></s> tags, <s>like this</s>) and instead start a new comment in the appropriate section with their modified views on the candidate. Anyone can respond to a comment if they disagree (It is useless to reply to a comment with a simple "I Agree"), although lengthy discussion should be relocated to the Comments section instead.
- The reason why I want to split the sections up is to make the RFA page more organized. Because RFAs can understandably get quite heated at times, having some sense of order is needed to avoid overwhelming new participants of the discussion. The "Comments" section is intended for general discussion about the candidate, and is not the same as the "Support", "Oppose", or "Neutral" sections. It's a way for a participants to discuss with other editors and the candidate themselves before coming to a conclusion on whether to support, oppose, or remain neutral.
- I would like to remind the community that merely participating in a discussion does not mean you are supporting or opposing whatever is being proposed. The "Comments" section, I hope, will help facilitate this.
- Unregistered users should not be allowed to start new threads in the Support, Oppose, or Neutral sections, but they are welcome to respond to messages in any of those sections, and they may freely participate in the Comments section. IP addresses are not indefinite and can change users at any time, hence this decision. They are also easy to exploit; it's easy to use proxies to simply bomb a discussion.
- RFAs should run for seven days, rather than the original five days. There shouldn't ever be a "rush" to promote a new user, and a full week will be beneficial for editors that do not have the opportunity to contribute to the wiki throughout the entire week. (For example, if an RFA began on Monday and ended on Friday, those who only have the weekend to edit the wiki will be unable to participate)
Here's what has not changed:
- It's still a discussion, not a vote. The term !vote, first used on the English Wikipedia in 2006, is pronounced "not vote"; the exclamation mark is used as a logical negation in many different fields. "!vote" should be a reminder that most on-wiki processes are not determined by the power of the majority, but the power of consensus and those with the most reasonable arguments.
- As such, when closing an RFA, I urge bureaucrats not to simply tally up the results but to actually read the discussion carefully. 50 crappy !votes does not come anywhere close to offsetting one good !vote.
- Any prerequisites we may have of prospective candidates. That should go in another thread; I want to focus on the RFA process itself here.
If the community approves of this idea, then hopefully some of these changes can be applied to TSW:RFB as well. I'm working on a sample RFA page that looks a lot different from the one we have now, but I wanted to pitch this idea out to the community first.