Forum:Grandfathering old sysops

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This thread was archived on 28 November 2018 by Cqm.

In our last(?) discussion about this topic (Forum:Security of sysop accounts), it was decided that admins who have their rights removed for being inactive for a year can come back and request their admin rights back without the need for passing an RfA. I think, especially given the fact that we have now forked from Wikia, it is worth rethinking this.

According to RuneScape:Administrators, there are 10 inactive bureaucrats, and 49 inactive administrators. This means that there are 59 people that could come back after a hiatus, even after as long as several years, and request their rights back. While administrators and bureaucrats are not in a higher position of authority than normal users, the tools that they have can be destructive if used improperly, and there are some users that just don't need the tools. Old sysops should be required to demonstrate this need again. Old sysops should become active in the community again. An ex-sysop from 2010 may not be the same person with the same thought processes and characteristics as they have today.

For context, of the current admins who are listed on that page as having rights removed for inactivity, their last edits were:

  • 2007-2009 - 12
  • 2010-2012 - 14
  • 2013-2015 - 17
  • 2016-2018 - 16 (of which 1 is blocked after being hacked)

I'm not sure how much our RfA process has changed over the years, but I think that someone who passed an RfA before becoming inactive for over a year, and then comes back after inactivity, should have to pass another RfA. This is not to say that the person cannot become a sysop again, but they should be required to give detail as to why they require the tools at that point in time and face scrutiny from the community as much as someone who would request sysop rights now would. Our community has changed over the last few years. It is not right to assume that someone who passed an RfA while a specific set of users were editing many years ago would still pass an RfA today.

For clarity, my proposal is this:

  • Inactive (1 yr+) sysops (and bureaucrats, for clarity) will be required to pass another RS:RFA
    • The policy change will apply retroactively to all of the currently inactive 59 sysops and bureaucrats
    • RuneScape:Administrators will be updated to reflect this
  • Apply this policy to not only inactive sysops, but also to any sysop who has had their own rights removed by request or by desysopping themselves

I think it's time to stop grandfathering back old sysops and require them to pass an RfA again. The fact that there are still people who last edited as early as 2007 who could come back and have their rights restored with nothing more than a simple message to an active bureaucrat seems pretty ludicrous to me.

Discussion

Support - jayden 18:04, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - The communities they've served in their prime may differ vastly than the ones we serve today. I've done this for several OSRS admins; I'm interested in seeing this brought over here as well. -- Recent uploads SpineTalkGuest book 18:55, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - Have been wanting this change for a while, and Jayden has put my thoughts into words exactly. Talk-to Kelsey 19:06, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - The fact that there are still people who last edited as early as 2007 who could come back and have their rights restored with nothing more than a simple message to an active bureaucrat seems pretty ludicrous to me. Literally that. Srylius (talk) 19:54, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Semi-Support - After like, A check up on the rules'n'such. hush it's a friday and i've been editing Twig Talk 772kZGs.png 19:59, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - I'm afraid a few editors on that list might have fallen off the face of the earth since their last edit. It has been ten years for some of them. - Ryan PM 20:21, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - As the current proposal, the timeframe is too short. No actual benefit is raised with full removal of access to rights that the community has granted them since the beginning of the project. If this were aimed at those that hadn't been around for half a decade, I might understand simple hesitation, but a year is too little to account for anything.
In my instance, even with edits sparce throughout 2017 and 2018 was due to real life issues from loss of everything we ever owned and demoralized me from playing the game or editing here until fully getting settled this past summer. While this might not have affected me, my thought process here is that I probably would still be retired if not for the fork. I didn't think it would actually happen so I retired in August but came back once I saw that this project actually had legs.
There are still things I want to improve for the mobile version of this site. If indeed this barred me, myself, from editing, I would be back to 2010 and 2011 just asking for edits to be made to system message pages like the Mobile.less pages. Might I remind editors is that some of us requested tools during an RfA for the ability to edit the MediaWiki namespace? I'd imagine that creating AbuseFilters helped and reduces actual need to manually block editors. Most things I would have considered sysop work just got put into an automated system. - Ryan PM 02:02, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Question Does the community still mostly pass RFAs for trusted known users or do they generally want more technical knowledge to earn the tools these days? I know the page says the first but how people vote might be another thing entirely. Degenret01 (talk)

Support - Things have changed a lot over the past decade. With a complete new system on a complete new site, I think it is the best moment to revise the current regulations. MissLioness (talk) 23:07, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

What new system are you referring to? No policies have changed as a result of the move. ʞooɔ 09:32, 19 November 2018 (UTC)

Support-ish - Definitely agree with them having to make another RfA, but how do we consider their application? Do we still keep in mind all the work they did years ago, or do we nullify that because “back then it was different times”. Of course, I would hope if they’re making an RfA they’ve actually edited and showed interest in rejoining the community, but how much is enough? We wouldn’t put them on the same level as a new account going for admin would we?

FWIW I think it’s fine to credit them for their edits they did years ago, as long as they’re showing some sort of interest in rejoining the community and having the tools. HaidroH rune.pngEagle feather 3.pngCandle (blood red).png 1XqyDNM.png Crystal triskelion fragment 3.pngHazelmere's signet ring.png 23:19, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Amendment - I'd only support them having to make RfAs if we can actually agree as a community that we should be crediting these returning admins for their previous contribution. It's utter bullshit that we should oppose them because "the times are different" or "we're not on wikia anymore" or "I don't know you, so I don't trust you". Of those 13 admins Cook mentioned below, I didn't know most of them in their prime, nor do the majority of people who have supported this thread. But they've contributed with their tools since returning, whether big or small, and it's unfair that you'd oppose their returning RfA because you don't trust them.
I'd really like to hear from everyone who has supported this thread. How would you treat their RfA? Consider the scenarios where: their first edit after many years is creating the RfA; they've done a few edits and want their tools again; they've done nothing but have expressed interest in wanting to contribute again to the wiki. What valid reasons are there to oppose them? HaidroH rune.pngEagle feather 3.pngCandle (blood red).png 1XqyDNM.png Crystal triskelion fragment 3.pngHazelmere's signet ring.png 04:08, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
By examining their edits and contributions. I'm not sure where the "I don't trust you" mentality is coming from. I'm really going with your previous edit's suggestion as a baseline, where on the whole we would be giving some leniency to returning (wannabe)-admins. Treat it like someone going for adminship with good intentions. Achievements Coelacanth0794 Talk Contribs 04:13, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - I would defintely want a say for someone coming back and also having to go through an RfA process (whatever that means). The community is different and we need to make sure they aren't returning to avenge a decades long vendetta. :P RuneMetrics icon.png Tyler JarretTalkLight animica.png 23:47, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

If someone is returning to avenge a decades long vendetta, how would an RfA (which stands for request for adminship, btw) expose that? ʞooɔ 09:32, 19 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - Grandfathering is an issue, and hopefully this will get rid of that on this wiki. --dDbvitC.pngScuzzy Betahib8CAd.png 00:41, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Can you point to any situation where grandfathering has actually been an issue? ʞooɔ 09:32, 19 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - I think this is actually a pretty bad idea, appealing more to emotion than facts or persuasive reasoning. In short:

  1. This proposal would prevent well-meaning returning admins from being able to do admin things
  2. I think we can demonstrate that this happens quite frequently, with positive effect
  3. Nobody has yet demonstrated any actual harm that has been caused by old admins returning to the wiki and being maladapted to the new community.

This all adds up to a big "Why?" from me. It is bewildering to me that anyone is actually supporting this, other than getting caught up in the euphoria of bashing on retired admins, which is admittedly pretty fun.

I was curious about the actual data here, so I took a look at the 13 users who requested adminship back since desysopping-for-inactivity became the norm in August 2015.

Date re-added User Length of inactivity/reason Non-admin stuff Admin stuff
26 October 2018 Ryan PM Requested by user (retirement) ~150 edits ~10 deletions, protection, major MediaWiki CSS/JS work
27 September 2018 -Matt 2-3 years ~70 edits ~50 deletions, fixing JS and CSS
1 June 2018 Calebchiam ~2 years ~20 edits ~30 deletions
11 May 2018 Soldier 1033 ~3 years Wikian nomination ayy lmao nope
15 February 2018 Gangsterls ~2 years ~150 edits, lots of discord/community involvement ~5 deletions
15 October 2017 Chiafriend12 Requested by user due to security concerns ~15 edits ~30 deletions
20 April 2017 Huanghe63 ~5 years ~150 edits 1 protection
3 April 2017 Powers38 ~1 year 300+ edits ~50 deletions including the fucking main page
2 March 2017 Chaos Monk basically 5+years ~25 edits lol
22 December 2016 Degenret01 ~2 years 500+ edits ~40 deletions+blocks
13 December 2016 Suppa chuppa ~1 year (requested removal in thread) ~70 edits ~15 blocks, deletions, closures, abusefilter mods
3 December 2016 Karlis ~2 years ~70 edits since returning, including countervandalism. ~50 deletions, 3 user rights changes (amusingly, all re-sysops)
13 November 2015 Sacre Fi ~2 years 4 comments on YG posts. 1 block, 1 user rights change (ironically, de-sysopping Soldier)

Of the 13, only 2-4 have, in my opinion, contributed nothing or next-to-nothing as administrators. And even those ones haven't actually done anything bad -- they've just done nothing in particularly (except Powers deleting the main page, way to go bud.) I have yet to see any real-world application of the hypothetical horror stories that you guys are conjuring up here, where the returning admins are completely out of place and do dumb things. That's just not how it's played out. If someone has evidence to the contrary, hit me up and I might change my tune...but I haven't seen it.

On the other hand, you have a pretty wide variety of people returning from breaks (some short and some long) and doing some pretty cool things. I encourage you to look at their contributions and log actions and think about whether there's any reason to actually prevent them from returning.

You might say "oh, those people can just pass another RfA". Please read some of the comments already on this thread seriously think about whether you realistically expect any of those people (even someone like Ryan) to actually pass an RfA. I think these returning RfAs would be incredibly contentious and shitty, in ways that are similar to how we deal with title nominations for old folks, but magnified tenfold because there's actually something at stake.

I get that a lot of you guys don't like inactive admins, and people take offense at the idea that they can just come back into the fold and resume where they were before. That's fine to feel that way. But it seems like this proposal is going to hurt the site, so think about whether your personal feelings about inactive admins is actually worth passing this proposal for emotional, rather than rational, reasons. ʞooɔ 01:46, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

I don't think it's anything to do with "not liking" inactive admins at all. It's more to do with not knowing them, not understanding their intentions, and not having years of being consistently active to back them up. Many of the people who edit the wiki in the present day have no idea who most of the inactive admins on RuneScape:Administrators actually are. I don't think it's particularly fair that these people should not get a say in someone being re-sysopped after such a long period of inactivity. Your argument that many of these people who may return would not pass an RfA today kind of backs up the point that I have made in this thread.
Look, I get that you have strong feelings towards allowing these people to have a pain-free process for having their rights given back to them, but this should be decided by today's community, rather than freely handed out by a bureaucrat. Some of them may be helpful, yeah, and if they have their previous experience on the wiki behind them and come back and start an RfA because they want to help with something that is restricted to sysops (e.g mobile CSS, like Ryan has done), then it would be reasonable to expect that the RfA would pass. Regardless of personal feelings towards inactive admins, the point still stands that someone from like, 2007, coming back and requesting their rights back over 10 years later and being given them freely is absolutely ludicrous. Let the community decide if someone should have their rights restored after a long period of inactivity. Not a bureaucrat or a single person or group of people. jayden 08:35, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Jayden, there are a lot of us that wouldn't pass an RfA today. I certainly wouldn't. Half the admins commenting on this thread probably wouldn't. I know that given the lack of thought that has gone into a lot of the support for this thread, the mere idea of a former admin wanting to return to adminship would garner a lot of opposition for better or for worse. I have zero faith in our community to give these people a fair shake, and I think it's disingenuous to pretend we would.
You keep bringing up this idea that somehow these scary admins from 2007 are going to come back and cause problems. That just has not happened, and the people that this would affect are much more recent folks who some of us (though not all of us) are familiar with. Your proposal would be much more palatable if you had literally any historical evidence supporting the idea that it is useful or necessary. ʞooɔ 08:46, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I take a general issue with people coming back not being subjected to scrutiny by the people who are most prolific in the present day (such as some of those who have supported this above), not the likelihood that they will come back and cause problems. There doesn't need to be historical evidence to give an opinion that those who have rights removed for sustained inactivity should be required to take part in another RfA. An RfA doesn't stop someone coming back, and if it does, maybe it should be considered why a person would actually be coming back? The process isn't awful, and just because you're worried that people may have legitimate reasons for opposing future RfAs by inactive admins doesn't mean you should be trying to shoot down a valid proposal.
I think the "there are a lot of us that wouldn't pass an RfA today" argument is kind of moot. Someone who has passed an RfA and then has consistently been a prominent and active figure in the community and on the wiki, regardless of how much they use their tools, is different to someone who has become inactive, had rights removed, and is requesting them back. Our current timeframe for rights removal is a year, and (though I imagine this is currently up to a bureaucrat's discretion) it is not hard to retain your rights during that long 12 months period by editing a few times before the year of inactivity is out. We're pretty relaxed on that front.
The fact that you have "zero faith" in the community to be able to weigh up an RfA and make a fair judgement on a person kind of furthers my point that at the moment, the whole grandfathering thing is controlled by a select few older admins/b'crats who have strong opinions on bringing back inactive ones. I don't think it should be in the sole interest of any of us to decide whether an inactive admin should have their rights returned, and I think it reflects poorly on us if we don't even think the community is capable of making an informed decision on an RfA. jayden 09:07, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
To be clear, I don't inherently have an opinion on how we should treat inactive/returning admins (in fact, if you look at my comments on earlier threads, I've been generally supportive of these ideas). Rather, my opinions on these matters are based on the real-world consequences of the proposals, based not on hypotheticals and imagination, but on what's actually happened. And based on that data, it is very clear to me that this proposal does more harm than good. It's also clear to me that nobody (including you) bothered to figure out how this proposal would have affected previous returning admins, which itself is kind of concerning. I don't like the insinuation that somehow I'm sinisterly on the side of the old admins. I'm on the side of what results in the most positive contributions for the wiki, non-dogmatically and based in reason.
"it is not hard to retain your rights during that long 12 months period by editing a few times before the year of inactivity is out." - is this something we want to encourage? Isn't this basically a rote example of gaming the system? Come on...
I don't have any concern that people will have legitimate reasons for opposing these RfAs. I am however extremely concerned that people will have illegitimate, stupid, inconsistent reasons for opposing the RfAs (the same way that we've had ridiculous amounts of controversy over activity thresholds for the Wikian title for previously-prolific editors.) The issue is as follows: we are mostly in broad agreement about what level of activity should be required for a new RfA. This thread (plus other conversations that you are privy to) makes it abundantly clear e are not even close to being in agreement about the required level of activity for a returning admin. I find it extraordinarily likely that this difference of opinion (mixed in with a general distaste for old admins, which is palpable here whether it's admitted freely or not) would result in NONE of these returning-admin RfAs ever passing. I think this is something you're probably aware of, but are using this carrot of "they can do an RfA later on!" the same way we do when we talk to people in desysop threads: we all know it's never going to happen, but we pretend it's possible so the thread is easier to pass. ʞooɔ 09:27, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
To be clear, my point about editing to retain rights is based on the fact that it is clear that those who make a few edits every year will have their admin rights retained by bureaucrats. That's just the sad truth and how it stands currently.
I still really disagree with your points. I don't think people are incapable of opposing an RfA for meaningful reasons, and it's clear that an RfA holds a lot more weight than a discussion about an in-game title does. Also, what constitutes as an "illegitimate, stupid, inconsistent" reason for opposing an RfA in your mind may not be to someone else, and that's the same regardless of if it's an RfA for a new person or if it's an RfA for a returning admin. jayden 09:34, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Out of those 13 people mentioned in your table, I'd argue that bar two admins, they've done next-to-nothing with their admin tools. A couple of deletions and protections is frankly minimal grunt work that any admin can do. As for harm done, I can't recall who exactly, but there was an admin that got hacked and consequently banned afterwards. Powers also deleted the main page at one point. Sure, these are both small inconsequential things, but frankly so is your data.
I don't think we should discourage returning admins having to do some form of RfA on return simply based on your reasoning that "the community wouldn't give them a fair shake". Should we stop having any form of discussion nowadays because you don't trust the community on certain subjects anymore? I don't think it's fair that these admins can just return from a huge hiatus without any form of community input. Talk-to Kelsey 13:42, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - Ancient admins wouldn't have too much trouble getting back into the community anyways, and with everything being on a case-by-case basis it wouldn't be terribly difficult to get back into editing, or, as in Cook's question #1, ask any other administrator to do some tasks for them. "Hey Coel can you delete these 15 pages and merge these 5?" Along with that, I could very well see Haidro's reply of "not putting them on the same level as a new account" taking effect, in that the 'grandfathering' would still be there to an extent with a reduced expectancy of editing requirements for re-adminship (even though I am personally opposed to this), and thus we could still have an RFA to gleam over the contributions of returning ex-admins to see how well they've re-integrated. Achievements Coelacanth0794 Talk Contribs 03:33, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

"...ask any other administrator to do some tasks for them." - if we're going to start making that argument, what is the point in having most of us as administrators? ʞooɔ 03:37, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Isn't that the point of this thread, though? Am I missing something? Achievements Coelacanth0794 Talk Contribs 03:55, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 03:34, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Expanding my response re: my discussion with Cook last night. From my discussion with Cook last night (I admit I haven't re-read this thread since I posted my comment), Cook believes the community will be make the wrong decisions in a re-RfA for former admins. This seems fundamentally flawed as we are at our core a community discussion ran project. The idea that we have to lock in the choices of the old community in the modern era seems silly. The person I always reference in these discussions is Avian Maid, not because they ever did anything bad, but because their name was always near the top of the inactive administrators list because their name starts with A. They have been inactive since 2008 with literally 0 community involvement in years, possibly over a decade. Under our current policy, they are allowed to come back at anytime and claim the role of administrator. Literally no one in the current community has had any interaction with them nor knows them at all. If they were to come back today and request their rights back, I'd oppose them in a re-RfA to just be outright. We do not need to be held hostage by the community of the yester-year. If an inactive admin comes back and makes constructive edits and is all around a decent fellow, I don't think they'd have any issue re-passing an RfA.
One of Cook's favorite things to compare this to is the issue of inactivity with the Wikian title. I have the same feelings towards the wikian title, but accept that other users disagree that someone should do literally anything else before creating their wikian nomination after being inactive for 5 years. However (as has been said), this is for something that actually matters, not just a title we like to give Haidro a hard time about. I also accept that this thread will be closed as no consensus no matter what is said here because that is also how everything goes. svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 15:21, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - I haven't seen any evidence at all that this is an issue. I've been here a long time and I cannot think of a single instance where a former admin comes back and makes bad faith edits or abuses their tools (I'm not counting the hacked accounts, cause obviously that wasn't them, and we resolved that issue already). Meanwhile, as Cook has listed, there have been many many real instances of former sysops coming back and giving us good edits. I really don't see what the benefit to this would be. If anyone can actually find an instance of an old sysop coming back and abusing their tools I would like to see it. --LiquidTalk 03:55, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

It's not about previous examples of people coming back and abusing their tools or making bad faith edits, that's not exactly what this thread is about. It's about requiring the community of today to be able to make a judgement call on someone returning after an extended period of inactivity, rather than being grandfathered in by a bureaucrat or a small group of people that are obviously going to fine with it (e.g you, Cook, and others who have past dealings with the person). I think that the scaremongering in some of the responses in this thread about how we'll lose people who can make good edits if they can't come back and instantly get their rights back is kind of insulting -- people can edit without rights and if they decide they need them, then they've probably become active enough to be able to pass an RfA, or at least be strongly considered by the community.
An RfA is not a long process. Nobody is saying that someone's previous edits should be discounted in a new RfA. However, I think by allowing the current editing community to make a decision on someone receiving their rights back, it shows that we're actually a wiki run by the community, not commanded by a select few existing bureaucrats and admins. jayden 08:35, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Excuse me? You are the one doing far more scaremongering than I am. Your argument amounts to basically using ancient admins as a strawman and exploiting peoples' feelings about them. I'm not saying that's inherently a bad thing, but pretending that scaremongering is happening more on the oppose side than the support side is what's actually insulting. Adminship is not supposed to be a big deal RS:ADMIN#BIGDEAL (or whatever the link is). This thread is a "solution" in search of a nonexistent problem. --LiquidTalk 12:15, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
If we're quoting policies, considering RS:NOT#BUREAUCRACY and RS:SOW, we shouldn't be leaving the decisions for if someone should be re-sysopped or not to the bureaucrats or sysops. After the point of having their rights removed, they are no longer an admin. We give people rights via existing processes such as RS:RFP and RS:RFA, and I think that reinstating rights from inactive admins, or admins who removed their own rights, should be a community decision. The community should decide whether someone gets rights, no matter what the previous circumstances are. jayden 12:27, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Please clarify or correct me if I've misunderstood you (I don't mean to interpret you in bad faith), but I'm getting quite confused by this argument you seem to be making here as well as in your replies to Cook that the process of grandfathering inactive admins is somehow being controlled by some shadowy uber-cabal, or something. As far as I'm aware, this is the first time this matter has ever come up for debate like this. The current policy, as I understand it, is that an admin who has had their rights removed for being inactive for a year can request their rights back at any time, and they'll get their rights back. I'm not aware of there being any decision or discretion vested in any crat or sysop, or any groups of crats and/or sysops, as part of this process (except for if maybe something was obviously wrong and giving the rights back was obviously a bad idea); that's just the policy. And that policy is also not "commanded by a select few existing bureaucrats and admins"; as you know, it was determined by consensus. Reinstating rights for inactive admins is indeed a community decision, made a few years ago on a Yew Grove thread. And as is always the case, the community is free to over-turn that decision, which is literally what we're discussing right now. I actually think it's the tremendous value we place in consensus that shows that we're actually a wiki run by the community, not commanded by a select few existing bureaucrats and admins. It is our consensus that works to uphold RS:NOT#BUREAUCRACY and RS:SOW, and the consensus is that inactive admins can get their rights back by asking for them. Do you mean to say that this proposal would enhance the role of the community in the process? Because yeah, sure, I can see that. But there is no part of this process that was not decided by the community in the first place. The community should decide whether someone gets rights, no matter what the previous circumstances are. Matt (t) 14:07, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I don't think not bureaucracy or SAOW apply here at all. And I don't agree that just because they're desysopped suddenly means they're no longer a sysop in any sense of the word, I'd merely treat that as a state of being in temporary dispossession of the technical tools. If an old sysop came back and closed a thread without technically having the tools, for example, I'd accept the closure. The removal of rights was (in most cases) for security reasons and it was explicitly stated that they could request their rights back at any time. I would not have supported it if that was not the case. --LiquidTalk 23:39, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - I have been in favour of abolishing this system ever since I learned of it after my own hiatus from editing. Cook seems to be implying that none of us are capable of looking at this rationally and instead are seemingly unanimously supporting based on emotion alone. This simply isn't the case and I feel Jayden, Haidro, and Coel have made valid points.

It is my belief that this system directly weighs previous admins who have been inactive as more valuable, or of a higher status, than regular editors some of which may never nominate themselves.

If a previous admin returns then they should do a RFA, because if they show they are genuinely going to improve the wiki from being an admin again then it's my belief that this community will be rational and support such an RFA. Cook however said the following: "Please read some of the comments already on this thread seriously think about whether you realistically expect any of those people (even someone like Ryan) to actually pass an RfA. I think these returning RfAs would be incredibly contentious"

So I ask you directly cook, do you have an example of this happening or is this just a worst case scenario, a horror story as you would put it? iN008talk 04:22, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

I don't think any of the supports have made arguments based on evidence or real-world events. That's what I take issue with.
Based both on prior sentiment, and very recent discussions with the other admins, I think it is very unlikely that a large enough contingent of the community would be willing to support *any* of these returning admins' RfAs. I have zero faith that we will "be rational and support" them. I obviously do not have an example of a returning admin failing an RfA, since this is not a process that we do right now. However I would point to the closest analogue we have currently: title nominations for formerly-prolific editors. Take a look at Forum:Do we need another discussion on the Wikian? and the the title nomination that precipitated it. This should lay bare how many of the editors here would probably oppose any of those RfAs on principle. Seriously, go look through that thread and count up how many people you think would just never support a returning RfA, ever. I count about six. ʞooɔ 07:19, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Soft oppose - Not necessarily because of the premise, but more so because of the actual proposal Star Talk ayy lmao ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 04:57, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

What would be your alternative proposal? jayden 08:35, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
I'd be more inclined to support if the period of time was longer (as in, the desysop after inactivity time period can still be a year, but the time required to not be grandfathered back in is longer by x years), and/or if they only had to do a RfP type thing (less serious than an RfA) - I know this was already discussed by you and others and you weren't keen on that for various reasons Star Talk ayy lmao ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 00:37, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - I'll put in my two cents as an admin who has not only requested their rights back, but would have had to request their rights back by RfA under this proposal. To be clear, even though I wasn't there to say so a few years back, I think desysopping inactive admins, myself included, was a fair and reasonable reform—in fact, I wish we would have done it earlier.

I don't think I'm actually opposed to the principle of this idea. I can totally understand that there may be an issue with someone who hasn't edited in years and years coming back out of the blue and requesting their rights back, whether that issue be the actually tangible issue of lack of familiarity with the wiki in its current form, or just community discontent or whatever. However, I am completely baffled by the proposal that one year of inactivity is the point at which we should draw this line.

I fear we may be conflating two different groups of inactive admins here: those who have been inactive for a few years, and those who have been inactive for much longer than that. It is completely reasonable to believe that an admin who has been inactive for a few years or so (I'll exclude myself from this consideration) could return, be familiar with the wiki and the community, and make positive contributions as an admin, and indeed that there is no real reason to believe that that wouldn't happen, as Cook has gone over. I do not accept that the fork is a good reason to look upon this proposal more favourably. It is crucial to the fork that continuity is maintained with the community from Wikia, and I think drawing the line at one year of inactivity will directly work to break that continuity in a way that benefits nobody and will only hurt the wiki.

It is completely unclear to me in this proposal, given Jayden's reference to sysops last active in 2010 and then his reference to sysops last active "many years ago" and then his refernece to "people who last edited as early as 2007", why the logical conclusion is to draw the line at one year. It seems to just go without saying in this thread, but it's a critical detail. The support for this proposal also mostly seems to refer, explicitly or implicitly, to those ancient admins, but this proposal would capture many more people than just them. I would be open to supporting this idea if the time before it came into effect was longer, and I think this idea would be much less controversial generally if that were the case. Matt (t) 05:39, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia's own policy on this issue sets the bar at 3 years of inactivity for requiring a user to pass another RfA. I'm open to discussing a change of timeframe as part of this proposal, if that would be better supported. Even for the current proposal though - 12 months is a long time. It's not like we're kneejerk desysopping people we haven't heard of in a few months. It's a whole year. jayden 08:35, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
In this context, I absolutely do not accept that 12 months is a long time. Maybe I have a different perspective on this because I've had a period of sustained inactivity (maybe I'm biased, even), but I think 12 months is negligible in terms of the ability of an admin to act as effectively as any other admin, and negligible in terms of their ability to connect with the community. Our community really doesn't change that much in 12 months, and neither do people, as you refer to. I don't think users being inactive for 12 months and then returning is particularly uncommon, and there are so many reasons why it could in happen, whether it be life stuff or an on-off relationship with the game, or anything. Indeed, 12 months seems like such a short time that it would feel like strange and unfair to make people re-do their RfA. I really think it would act as a deterrent for inactive admins to return, and in that sense, actively hurt the wiki. I was inactive for 2 to 3 years, and I can assure you that I would not have come back if I had been made to do an RfA again; in fact, it would have really rubbed me the wrong way. It would be much worse for someone who had only been inactive for a year. I also really think that 12 months would severely de-value the RfA. If an active admin can go inactive for a year and then have to be re-scrutinised by the community upon returning, then how important or meaningful was their RfA in the first place? I just really don't think the arguments in this thread against ancient admins make sense when applied to admins who have only been inactive for a year or a small number of years.
I'm definitely more open to three years than I am one, but it's still not as long as I would like. I've never edited Wikipedia, but it definitely seems like there's a lot more going on there than there is here, and that the stakes are much higher there, and so it would make sense for their time to be shorter than what our time might be. If the point of this is to deal with ancient admins, I don't think three years is the best way to do that given the considerations I've raised (I acknowledge that I have a particular personal interest in this). If the point of this isn't to deal with ancient admins, then I don't know what the point of this is. All of that said, three years could be a good compromise, at least. It would be useful to know if the people supporting this thread particularly want it to be 12 months, or if they just want this to happen at all. Matt (t) 10:09, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
Having slept on this, I feel the need to more succinctly emphasise my point. I'm not necessarily opposed to the principle—if anything, I'm kind of on board with it. However, drawing the line at one year is absolutely bonkers. I am genuinely bewildered by the fact that the people supporting this thread seem to just not take any issue with this. I'm honestly unsure if they read that bit of the proposal correctly, given that Jayden's proposal mostly refers to a completely different group of inactive admins, and their support mostly refers to that different group of inactive admins. There doesn't seem to me to be any rational reason whatsoever as to why RfAs should expire after only one year of inactivity, either in abstract or as outlined in this thread, and I absolutely don't see why one year is in any way an effective solution to the problem which Jayden refers to, and which people seem to be in support of solving. The one year stipulation makes this proposal unacceptable; it just seems mainfestly counter-productive with absolutely no benefit, and even a little bit destructive. I would appreciate it if people supporting this could explain to me why exactly it is acceptable (Jayden has already made some attempt), since there doesn't seem to be any explanation for it anywhere in this thread. Matt (t) 01:09, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - For two reasons, primarily:

First, Cook makes a strong argument that it would do more harm than good. I haven't seen any returning admins abuse their tools, and I think the risk of that is very low. Most returning admins have contributed on some level and in my own case I feel that I would have contributed less if the rules were different.

Second, I believe this proposal as written, and the inactive admin policy more generally, draws a pointless distinction between admins who are completely inactive and admins who are just barely active. The former group is then targeted for scrutiny upon their return. There is actually a bad incentive for inactive admins to make one or two minor mainspace edits per year to avoid losing their rights. It wasn't so bad when you could just ask for them back, but the additional burden of an RfA will only exacerbate this and encourage gaming the system.

I think a more fair solution would be to have the community review and reapprove the rights of every admin on a periodic basis (3-5 years). It doesn't necessarily need to be a full RfA, but we should not appoint admins for life even if they aren't using their rights as long as they correct a typo annually. For example, C Teng has held sysop rights continuously since 2008 despite not regularly editing since 2014. He hasn't done anything wrong. But this proposal would make it so he can come back tomorrow no questions asked while someone who has been similarly inactive such as Horsehead can't, and I don't agree with that.

I suspect my suggestion will be unpopular, but it would allow the community to determine who should keep their rights on a much more accurate basis than the standard set in Forum:Security of sysop accounts. If Jayden's proposal does pass, I think that an RfA should only become required after at least 2-3 years. Gangsterls (talk) 07:11, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - As per what @Gangsterls said and laid out as alternatives. Fishing cape.png Kate the HuntressQuest.png 15:54, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - it should be a case by case basis, because i still remember when mol came back suddenly (at least to ingame) and was starting to deteriorate things for people on every level, i should say they should be vetted to some degree. Thefreeman500 (talk) 17:21, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

FYI, Mol was never an admin as you can see here. Farming-icon.png Salix of Prifddinas (Talk) Prifddinas lodestone icon.png 20:01, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - It's necessary. There's one person I know of who rather recently got their adminship back (just out of pique from the bcrat, or the other requested it - idk how that all works as it's very opaque, probably them messaging on Facebook or talking on some old server). That person hasn't done anything since, and really shouldn't have had admin to begin with. The wiki community has done a good job of cleaning up policies and procedures, and things like vote canvassing are much rarer (well, usually 🙃) and not really tolerated. That should be reflected in the quality of the folks having/retaining adminship. That's mostly the case, although a few oldmins have ruined it for the other oldmins. In a perfect world I would prefer bcrats just using their judgment to allow the quality admins to return, but that is not workable due to our circumstances. Also, simply not readmining people is a lot easier and less drama than requesting to desysop someone (not sure if the latter is a thing on the wiki, but it wouldn't be great for the community if it was tried).

Btw, this is a long-simmering issue that many are reluctant to comment on, especially if they're of the same sort of opinions as the proposer. Should be kept in mind, especially compared to the sudden reemergence of the oldmins --cUYuYGL.png Shockstorm 17:22, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Who are you referring to? HaidroH rune.pngEagle feather 3.pngCandle (blood red).png 1XqyDNM.png Crystal triskelion fragment 3.pngHazelmere's signet ring.png 21:40, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
+1. What are you talking about? ʞooɔ 09:32, 19 November 2018 (UTC)
Does "the sudden reemergence of the oldmins" mean Ryan and I? Matt (t) 01:09, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

Comment - I think you should be more clear about what you are proposing here. There is no problem with inactive admins/crats coming back and being compromised, or coming back and misusing the tools. It's a fiction that is repeated whenever these inactivity discussions come up anywhere in the wiki universe and it has never actually happened, or at least has not happened in such a significant number as to warrant any action.

This discussion actually arises from adminship is viewed and treated. Compare this proposal to the inactivity policy for rollback and custodian rights - there is none, because those rights are generally seen as not a big deal and just some extra tools for trusted users. Adminship is just a collection of tools too, but there is an added status to it that makes it a bigger deal in the eyes of some, hence the desire to remove people that don't "deserve" it anymore because they spend less time on this website. This has nothing to do with security - you (generally) think it's important, you don't like that other people think it is less important, and ultimately it's less of a special thing if more people have access to it.

Back when I was an active admin here, we took a number of steps to make adminship less of a big deal. We removed the green hilights, and often argued against special status being granted to admins. It seems that the community has gone significantly backwards since then. The cabal channels on discord are more active than the public ones, and it's pretty clear that the active group of admins don't want their ranks being polluted by people that do other things with their time. Sure, there's a song and dance on this discussion that all editors are equal, but if adminship really was not a big deal then there shouldn't be a problem with old-timers coming back. All of this said, I don't expect to return to being an admin here, so really you can do whatever you want as a community. But I hope that you stay honest with yourselves about what you are doing and why. Adragon111 (talk) 20:22, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

As he who proposed the initial policy of removing tools after a year of inactivity, I feel that the above is largely correct. The original reasoning was on the back of Wikia's security incident a few years ago and the possibility of that happening to us as well. In hindsight, the exploit was only valid for those who regularly logged into the wiki and could have never been applied to inactive users. The protection it offers is for users who have other passwords compromised, re-use the same password here and aren't available to regain control of their account. This has worked precisely once with Eucarya. Every other example I can remember of an admin account being compromised was when they could be contacted fairly quickly to change their password. cqm talk

Comment - I've thought about this proposal a lot over the past few days. On one hand I feel strongly that our admins should be active members of the community. At the same time I am disappointed to have to think that Cook raises some valid points about the potential negative implications of trying to enforce that in reality.

For me the issue is not a lack of trust in admins who gained adminship a long time ago or who have become inactive. I'm pretty sure that we've always judged admins to on their trustworthiness to some extent, and I don't believe any of the communities of yesteryears have screwed up in this respect. What I do think is that our expectations of other qualities in admins has changed over time. For example being active in counter-vandalism used to be a big deal; but I can’t even remember the last time I did anything in this area. I do believe that admins now are expected to be figures who can represent the wiki as a whole and that historically this has not been a thing. Over time our interaction with the RuneScape community through outlets such as Reddit has increased; and admins are generally the editors that we look to be the spokespeople for the wiki in these forums. The process of forking raised the stakes with this dramatically; Jagex reached out to the admins as the group of editors responsible for the initial discussions of the fork. For the purposes of NDAs and other reasons we were required, for a whole year, to represent the views of the wiki community as a whole, while having no input from any other editors. For me this is where keeping inactive people sysoped is an issue; because I think it would be fairly impossible for an admin who is not active and in touch with the current goings on of the wiki to do a good job of this.

I’ve not been convinced by the arguments made to suggest that we get a benefit out of inactive admins returning and having easy access to admin tools. With regards to Cook’s data I think that a couple of hundred edits requiring the use of admin tools is a very trivial amount over a 3 year period. From the point of view of someone who feels that we should have much higher standards for activity in admins the argument that we’ve had no bad things, such as returning admins going on rogue tool-abuse sprees, falls so far below what I’d like to expect that I don’t really consider it at all. If we’re going to have the argument that adminship is not supposed to be a big deal and it’s purely about having a need for the associated tools then surely it should also not be a big deal to no longer be an admin when you’re not actively editing and showing a need to have those tools? There seems to be a strange implication that if you lose admin tools through inactivity you couldn’t simply go back to editing as a non-admin and using RuneScape:Administrator requests and all the other things we have for people to make use of when they less frequently need something that requires admin tools.

So what gives? I don’t think having admin tools is such a big deal in terms of editing experience that people who are desysoped are not be able to adjust to not having them. But I do think being an admin is a big deal for nearly everyone who goes through the process (and if you’re an admin who thinks that this doesn’t apply to you then I think you’re kidding yourself). I don’t mean this in a sense that admins think they’re more important than other editors or anything bad faith like that. I think that you can’t help but feel proud to be recognised as being a great editor who is trustworthy and responsible and all the other things that we expect in someone who passes a RFA. It would be silly to act like there isn’t an element of this involved in adminship. If we acknowledge this then we can also see that having adminship removed has some negative emotional implication - perhaps you are no longer valued/trusted/welcome in the community or whatever. And so I do think that Cook has a point; would we have inactive admins returning and starting to edit again if they have had their admin tools removed? I think there would be a serious risk that they would not return to even do regular editing; not because the removal of the tools themselves are a big deal, but because of the other negatives implied by having tools removed.

I think that this perception of admin as a status is a kindof shitty consequence of adminship having always been granted forever; and I don’t know if it’s possible to create a system where there’s no longer that perception associated with adminship. The current system of removing adminship from people who have been inactive from x amount of time is not ideal, because it’s open to the abuse of people making a few token edits once in a blue moon just to avoid having their tools taken away. I actually think something like what GangsterIs suggested is a sensible idea. If was just taken as standard that adminship is granted for a fixed period of time then maybe we could avoid the current issues we have with trying to desysop inactive people on a case by case basis. If adminship was automatically removed at the end of the time period then hopefully it would be seen as just the way that things are done, and not to reflect on the qualities of the individual themselves. Individuals who still felt a need to continue having the tools could then do another RFA. But then that brings me onto the second point of Cook’s that I agree is a concern; grandfathering and inactivity in admins has long been a controversial topic where it’s clear that people have strong, conflicting views on what their expectations of activity in admins are. From this discussion I can already see that people would not be in agreement on what level of activity should be expected in RFAs from returning candidates. I can say right now that I would expect continuing high levels of activity from people looking to regain admin tools; and I know that’s going to be an unpopular opinion but I feel strongly that that is what we should be expected. Cook draws an analogy to times where there’s been drama caused by people have different opinions on what we expect in Wikian nominees. Resulting disagreements have caused some unpleasant nomination discussions and deterioration in relationships between editors who hold opposing views on standards. I actually think that it is fair to use this an example of what issues we could expect in RFAs and I can honestly say that is entirely undesirable to have a greater amount of this type of conflict.

This has been a long statement but I feel like this is quite a complex issue, which is made more complicated by not wanting to acknowledge the difficulties that making changes would actually cause. My feeling is that we should require admins to be continually active and aware of the current state of affairs on the wiki. My reservations are that I am not sure that we can create a proposal that achieves this without causing the negative effects that have been described. If there was a way to achieve the former that I believed would not cause the latter than I would support the proposal in a heartbeat, but the original proposal of this thread will certainly not help in my opinion. One final argument to consider is that although I think that admins are now being called upon to represent the community more than ever, there has yet to be an issue with out of the loop admins doing a poor job of this, or of a “too many cooks spoiling the broth” kind of situation. Similarly, Jagex have seemed happy so far to extend invitations such as “discussing things with RS wiki admins” to as many admins as would like to be involved. If there ever comes a situation where there’s a restriction on how many admins can be involved with this kind of representation then I think that may be the time to seriously consider this idea again, and involve only those who can do the best job. For now I sadly remain to be convinced that there’s enough of an issue to warrant going through the harmful consequences that I can see coming from trying to change the status quo. Magic logs detail.pngIsobelJTalk page 23:38, 17 November 2018 (UTC)


Oppose – I’ll throw in my two cents. I think at the heart of this discussion are the questions of: (1) what is an administrator? and (2) how comfortable is the current community with this definition? I’ve seen this discussion play out several times (and now I’m actually participating in it as one of those ‘inactive administrators’) but it’s always been centered on this theme. Are administrators supposed to be continually active? If someone is currently an administrator, does it imply that he/she would be able to pass an RfA at this point of time?

I will make two main points. The first is that there are reasons why we can trust returning administrators to carry out their roles as admins responsibly. The second is that, even if unintended, this proposal if passed would only heighten the exclusivity of the admin tools and disincentivize editors from returning, and thereby harm the long-term health of the Wiki.

Those supporting this proposal rightly point out that it seems strange that the current policies would allow someone like Avian Maid to regain their admin tools. I must admit that I share that aversion (even though Avian Maid stopped editing in 2008 and I began editing in 2008.) But as others have already pointed out, highlighting such users as examples is disingenuous when it targets administrators who have been active as recently as a year ago.

That being said, I generally don’t have a problem with older administrators returning and having their tools restored. Looking at the list of inactive administrators, I can see a bunch of users that I would readily vouch for: Hurston, kytti khat, Leevclarke, Robert Horning, Evil yanks, even though most of them have not edited since 2010/2011. I would gladly restore their tools, without the expectation they would do anything with it, because: (1) I, like the community that elected them, trust them. (2) They know how to use the tools. As we often point out, administrators are simply trusted members of the community that have access to a few extra tools so that their work on the Wiki can be more productive. We also hold them as model members of the community and trust that they will exercise good judgment in resolving disputes. For me, personally, these older administrators fit the bill.

The quibble, of course, is that the community changes. We come to the Wiki as strangers, become familiar with one another, and as new editors join and older editors retire, older administrators become strangers once again, especially if they are not as active in interacting with the community as they once were. I trust them because I’ve worked alongside them and have had positive experiences. But why should the community of today, most of which have not interacted at all with them, have to maintain the choice of administrators of the community of yesteryear? A related question that provides some food for thought: do you personally have to trust an administrator for that person to be a trusted member of the community?

The second question is easier to answer: no. You could disappear for a year, find a complete stranger elected to be an administrator, and yet still safely regard that person as a trusted member of the community, as a person you can put your trust in. The reason is that even though you had no say in the process, you were comfortable with the fact that person went through a community consensus process to ensure that they were suitable before they were granted the tools. Implicit in this statement is the fact that you trust the people that form the community, and trust that they had the good judgment to elect someone trustworthy.

But the first question is different. You may not have interacted with anyone from the community who played a part in electing them. For the older users I listed, I can see why newer members of the community would be hesitant to trust them. It’s a question of whether these newer editors have had any positive experiences with these older administrators and do you trust the process they were elected in? As someone who participated / was observing in the election of these administrators, I like to think that the Wiki, except maybe for the first 1-2 years when things were up in the air, has taken the election of its administrators pretty seriously. On that, I’d argue to the community has good reason to trust them. But I’m biased because I started editing in 2008. Older editors may find it easier to accept this line of reasoning, having been around back then, but this argument is likely unconvincing for newer editors. For better or for worse, the community has a spectrum of old and new editors and this tension will only continue to persist and be re-negotiated every time this discussion comes up. I don’t think there is an easy answer to this issue. What I would say though is that if it was 2010/2011 again and Avian Maid had returned to editing from inactivity since 2008, I’d be happy for her to retain her admin tools. But were she to come back now, I’d be less enthusiastic. On that note, I oppose the 1-year threshold but would tentatively support a 3-year threshold.

Secondly, I disagree with the notion that administrators should continually be highly active editors. This is true when they are first elected, and we elect them based on activity because it allows us to determine that they both know how to use the tools (based on counter-vandalism, requests for speedy deletions, and such) and they would put them to good use for some period of time. But there has never been an expectation that they would continue to be active in the long run, and moreover, such an expectation is unrealistic and would eventually result in there being an inadvertent threshold on the number of administrators at any one point of time.

The fact is that the Wiki has always had more administrators than it actually needed. Barring the more technical work that goes on behind the scenes (Mediawiki, css, js, etc), there are only so many vandals, so many pages that need to be deleted, and so many discussions that need to be closed. These days, it’s much harder to demonstrate actual need for the tools. Abusefilters and other factors seem to have minimized the amount of vandalism that actually occurs. Just glancing at the block log, there have been 50 blocks in nearly 3 months, whereas back in 2010, it wasn’t a rare occurrence for me personally to block 10 vandals in a day. While the proposal only requires that administrators inactive for >1 year have their tools removed, implicit in this proposal is the stance that Isobel has laid out that only highly active editors retain the use of their admin tools, or as Jayden has implied, that administrators should generally be active enough such that they would be able to pass an RfA even today. Taken to its logical conclusion and keeping in mind that there is only so much work that requires admin tools to carry out, there is effectively a threshold on how many administrators we can have at one point of time. This is the outcome that the proposal, if enacted, effectively works towards.

I share Ajraddatz’s concern this only heightens the exclusivity of adminship and makes it a status reserved for ‘super-editors’. Already, there are already some signs of this in the thread. I find it strange that some users have argued that only 2 of the returning admins have done something worthwhile in their time back. Presumably, these are the two that have done some technical work, rather than just housekeeping or “minimal grunt work”. Most of the older admins got the tools precisely to help out with these housekeeping tasks – deletion, protection, blocking vandals, the bread-and-butter stuff. Didn’t we used to have the analogy of the admin just being a guy with a mop and a bucket? Steadily, it seems that there is a perception that administrators should be able to do the more technical backend/frontend tasks, which I think is what Degen is getting at when he asks if the community will still pass for RfAs for trusted known users or only for those with more technical knowledge. As things go on and as Discord has become such an integral part of the Wiki such that it’s unlikely for one to be considered an active part of the community unless one is active there (and I share Ajr’s discomfort with how much discussion on Wiki matters takes place in the cabal-channels) that I fear that the admins will only become a more insular and tight-knit group over time. I used to be able to edit and discuss things publicly with minimal use of IRC without feeling I was out of the loop, and most instances if I had to confront someone on an issue I would do it on their talkpage out in the open. But somehow I suspect this would be much less the case if I were active again today.

I also agree with the no-harm argument that Cook brings up. I deem the security issue to be fairly minimal, and apart from that, only Isobel has brought up instances of potential harm. I don’t really buy the “social media harm” argument Isobel mentions simply because being a spokesperson on these channels is a role undertaken by only a few administrators and one is free to post without a flair signalling your association with the Wiki. And to address Isobel’s point head-on – does having less admins really make it seem like less of a big deal? I can see the argument that it may create some stigma around being a normal user, but I don’t buy it. Does making a set of tools more exclusive make it more desirable or less? My intuition and, arguably, economic reasoning point towards the former. If anything, seeing more admins makes it seem like less of a big deal and reinforces that it is simply a “mop-and-bucket” addition for established users.

I’ll end on a personal note. I haven’t edited frequently since 2013/2014 due to real-life circumstances and, at times, a lack of interest in the game. I’ve often thought about returning, and tried a few times - going about my old routine, clearing speedy deletes, clearing some of the wanted pages, scanning the recent changes for vandalism. Frankly, it’s harder – vandalism simply doesn’t happen as frequently and editing, in general, is more difficult. For example, I created Template:Study back in 2009. In its current form, I can still figure out how to make it do what I want to do but ngl the documentation can be intimidating at first glance. Or, a few months ago, I was editing this article and figuring out how to add that it can be dropped by the Motherlode Maw. It took me a good few minutes to figure out how the drop table was being generated. I don’t say this to complain, in fact I was happy to do it and happy as always to see that the Wiki has been ‘professionalized’ to the point where these kinds of modular implementations are standard. But it is more difficult, and I will admit to feeling outmoded at times. I toy with the idea of returning some time, and putting in the time to figure out how to best use some of that CS knowledge I pay an exorbitant amount of tuition for to good use on the Wiki, but I bring up the higher difficulty to editing to highlight that as someone who has had admin tools as part of their toolkit for nearly a decade, while I am not, by any means, offended by their removal – it just makes things more difficult. And if they were removed, I'll likely simply not bother with editing the Wiki (despite being very happy to see it thrive) simply because I’ll take it as a sign of the times that I should just leave things to the current community.

Everyone chips in and does what they can for the Wiki, and we are all volunteers here. (Well, mostly.) I requested my tools back simply because if I saw something that needs to be done that required some admin tools – why not I do it? I haven’t edited consistently in a few years, but IMO this does a teeny tiny amount of good so that other more active editors can focus on more important things. And that’s the personal policy I would extend to other returning administrators, every use of their tools, however small, is a bit of good. Some users see fit to bash on the small number of edits / uses of tools, but to be honest, I’m just happy to see their names around and know that these users still care and may come back someday. With the understanding that it is highly improbable that returning admins will ever return to the state of sustained activity that got them elected in the first place, especially given how the experience of editing the Wiki has changed since then both on-Wiki and off-Wiki, I would much rather they have the tools than not. Calebchiam (talk) 05:40, 18 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose — A lot has been said already in this thread so I don't wish to be too repetitive. I mostly agree with Caleb, Liquid and Ajr. In essence, I think the problem is blown out of proportion. If the proposal comes to pass, I would hope to see the time span increase, I disagree that 12 months is a long time in this context and it is not out of the ordinary for someone to take a hiatus of that time while still wanting to be involved in the near future. Forcing someone to go through a community approval to get access to the same tools they had before (obtained via a community approval) doesn't sound right to me. I would also rather see something like "request for reinstating" rather than a complete RfA; if someone has demonstrated they can be trusted with the tools 5 years ago and they have come back to edit, surely they can be trusted now. That's really all adminship is: being entrusted with a few tools (and having at least decent behavior), rather than a "community higher-up". --laagone talk 16:43, 18 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - There seems to be a notion that the process of reassigning adminship is not under the control of the current community. This is not correct, because removal on inactivity and automatic reassigning on return was a process determined by contemporary community consensus.

The deciding factor should be the benefit this process will serve to the wiki. Our active editing community is not overwhelmingly large, and we should always be encouraging people to edit. Having inactive admins return and edit at any capacity is a benefit to us. It does not make sense to add additional barriers.

The comments by Matt are incredibly revealing for the perspective of the returning admins this proposal will actually impact. Most importantly, he states that "I would not have come back if I had been made to do an RfA again". Jayden earlier uses the term "scaremongering" to dismiss the argument that this proposal will discourage positive contributions from returning admins. Besides this being a very charged and potentially offensive way to frame the opposition, it is clearly a real actual problem from the perspective of a returning admin. There's a larger implication to those users that goes further than the lack of administrative tools.

There is no existing precedent for how a returning admin's RFA would play out, since this isn't an existing process. There is, however, an existing process for the removal of admin status from users who are seen to be unfit. The only thing is that we haven't had to use this process for any returning old admins, because this whole thing is literally not an issue we are running into. The entire premise does not seem to have a foundation in an actual problem. Riblet15 (talk) 08:54, 19 November 2018 (UTC)

Support - Here is my reasoning. RuneScape:Administrators Says the following. "Administrators also take responsibility for determining consensus in discussions, such as requests for deletion, requests for merging, and featured image nominations. While not a tool, it is still a right reserved only for administrators." While I don't give to shakes of a rats behind who has the tools of block and unblock and the rest of all that, I do care who has the ability to decide when a decision has been made by the community and determine what the decision was. I want there to be input from the community on who gets to make that choice. They don't have status but they do have some pretty measurably large power when it comes to that. Now I'm certain that an appeal could be made if someone decision was made and the community believed that consensus was not reached or was improperly interpreted. But policy should not be made with that mindset. But you should not set out a policy to require this as a course of action. I'm not saying every admin brought back will do this but this is the reason why I don't think an admin should be grandfathered with out consensus. jericowrahl 22:58, 20 November 2018 (UTC)

"I'm not saying every admin brought back will do this" -- I'll go one step further and say no admin brought back has *ever* done this. ʞooɔ 00:28, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
Let me rephrase. Maybe no admin ever does at any time ever and I trust that no admin will maliciously but what if someone has been gone so long they don't know the community and the misinterpret something. Policy should not be designed where we have to go back and fix something even if it's a small chance jericowrahl 15:27, 22 November 2018 (UTC)
Seriously? Someone is going to read a discussion (such as this one itself), read all the points raised on all sides (I count like 7 sides currently), and totally miss the closure to the point it needs to be redone? Sure, if you mean a discussion with as many sides and viewpoints as this one. But to be honest, it is just as likely for a current admin to get this particular one wrong as someone coming back from grave. And just because a closure happens it does not become engraved in stone. If a mistake is made it is quite simple to flip it to where the community wants it. Once, of course, it is understood what the community wants. If you support this proposal, good for you, but when you say the reason is some 1 in a billion hypothetical it doesn't weigh as much to the closing admin. Degenret01 (talk)

Comment - It feels like some people are arguing from the perspective of the admin role as a set of tools, and other from the perspective of the admin role as a position in the community. The thing is, like it or not, as it exists right now, adminship is both. There is a view of admins as community representatives, and I'd say it's reasonable to expect the people who can ban people from the clan or close wiki discussion to be active in the community - they may only be expected to administer the wiki itself, but they're trusted to administer the wiki community, and that is very different.

Honestly, though? I don't think all that should be considered part of one single role. I think it'd be better if the admin role were split up into a role focused on the technical tools and one to three roles focused on the community side of things (either just one community-admin role, or separate roles for the wiki, cc and discord). I agree that letting people keep their editing tools when they leave has done no harm and at least some good, and I feel we should probably keep doing that. But there are things we trust admins to do where they should (or even have to) understand the community as it exists at the time, and I also don't feel it's unreasonable to want them go through another RfA/RfR/neo-RfCM if they want to be able to keep doing those things. -Hourglass (2011 Hallowe'en event) detail.png I Am Me Talk III The Spark.png- 03:49, 21 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - While I think it's reasonable to desysop people who have been inactive for a year, I don't think it's fair to treat them as a stranger and require that they go through RfA again. I'd support this if it was 1 year for desysop and something like 3 years to require a new RfA. I think after three years the argument of the community not being the same as it was when the person was last active holds more water. —Shaun Dreclintalk 23:30, 22 November 2018 (UTC)

Oppose - I changed my mind about three times while reading this thread. But my overriding consideration is pretty much what I Am Me just said: the role of administrator has evolved since the time many of the users that have been brought up in this thread were sysop'd, so much so that there are two identifiable roles. The 'mop-and-bucket' janitor that Calebchiam evokes is pretty far from the community representative, Jagex liasion and effectively-webmaster that administrators are today. On that note, the wiki has evolved very far as well. Most of the janitorial work is automated, and the tools of blocking and deleting and so on seem pretty trivial beside the community representative role of an administrator (though they still do require a measure of trust). The problem, or at least one of the problems here, is that users who passed an RfA a very long time ago did so for a different, more limited role than they would have today. Not all admins do or must represent the community, but it is a part of their role nevertheless.

The main reason that I can see people have for forcing inactive administrators to undergo another RfA isn't because they are not trusted with their sysop tools, they already cleared that condition when they originally got the tools. It's because they may not be trusted to represent and administrate the current community, because they aren't in it anymore. As has been said, some of them are ten years away; nobody in the current community knows them. With the current role of admins, and completely apart from whatever edits they would make, that is the problem.

I don't think expecting a returning admin to (re)join the current community and gain its trust before being able to represent it as an official and make decisions for it is unfair. To determine when that has happened, after one or three or ten years or whatever - or if it even needs to happen in the first place (an admin gone for just over a year might still be pretty well known), you need to ask the community. That is what an RfA is, so I understand the thinking behind the current proposal. But I'm of the opinion that a request for a different role, with wider scope as a community representative, would be better - and it would probably be beneficial to the wiki as a whole.

That would deserve its own thread, though. I would agree with Calebchiam that any edits that a returning admin can make are positive, and it'd be foolish to discourage those. I do think we can trust a returning admin not to come along and vandalise the wiki, or anything. So I oppose not returning their tools for that reason. -- Cycloneblaze (user - talk - contribs) 23:50, 22 November 2018 (UTC)

I’m a little confused by this comment, because it seems like you agree on the main point but oppose? Although the last line indicates that you are opposing returning tools to inactive admins which means you support the proposal? Correct me if I’m wrong jayden 02:34, 26 November 2018 (UTC)


Closed - After reading through the discussion here, I can find no consensus for the proposal as it stands. Therefore, the existing policy where admins that are inactive for a year will have their tools removed remains, at which point they can informally request them back via a medium of their choosing. Of the opposition to the proposal, there is frequent reference to altering the proposal to requring a fresh RfA after 3 years of inactivity which I don't see any explicit opposition to. If someone wants to pursue this topic further then I would suggest making that amendment, but I do not feel it has been given due consideration throughout this discussion to enact it here. cqm talk 13:05, 28 November 2018 (UTC)