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This is a guide to current practice at Old School RuneScape Wiki's requests for adminship (RfA) process, the mechanism by which editors are considered for administrator status. To become an administrator, there needs to be a clear consensus that you are committed to the RuneScape Wiki and can be trusted to know and uphold its policies and guidelines.

For an unprepared user, even a very valuable contributor, the process can be frustrating and disheartening. Under no circumstances should any editor considering acceptance of a nomination construe the contents of this guide as a barrier to nomination. Consequently, no Wikian should refer to this guide for the purpose of deterring a candidate from accepting a nomination. This is only a guide to current practice on requests for adminship, not policy.

For an informal look, please see the miniguide to requests for adminship.

Overview

RfA is the means by which the community develops consensus on whether an editor should be given administrator rights, such as the abilities to delete and protect pages, edit protected pages, and block users.

A glance at the 'requests for adminship' mainpage will quickly reveal that there are no official requirements to becoming a Old School RuneScape Wiki administrator. Any user can apply regardless of their experience. However this does not mean that there are no standards to be aware of.

The reality is that adminship is oriented to communal trust and confidence, not percentages and numbers, and each user will have their own way to assess candidates' readiness for the role. While anybody can apply, a review of failed RfAs will quickly show that members of the community have many unwritten expectations.

Common areas where users may have expectations will usually be those that show:

  1. breadth and duration of wiki-experience;
  2. appropriate approach and conduct as a community member (quality of interaction and ability to work with others); and
  3. understanding of the RuneScape Wiki ethos and its most important norms and policies (their "spirit" and intent, and that you understand the norms administrators must follow).

Evidence of any concerns may also be raised and questions asked, for reassurance whether they will present concerns in future, and any other signs of helpfulness or work undertaken in the community will be seen positively.

General advice for nominees

The nomination process is not intended as a forum for discussion on a nominee's popularity or strength as an editor. It is a forum by which consensus is generated on whether an editor should be given administrator rights. An editor should not construe the outcome of an RfA as praise or condemnation of their efforts as an editor. Instead, it is an evaluation of their likely ability to appropriately use administrator rights.

An RfA is a very open process where your record will be looked at by sometimes opinionated users who have already made up their minds about what kinds of people they want as administrators. An RfA is open to everybody, including anyone you may have had disagreements with in the past, as well as users you may be disagreeing with at the time.

Some users find the level of scrutiny and frankness very difficult. Some editors have left RuneScape Wiki as a consequence of an RfA that has gone poorly. This should not happen, as this process does not judge an editor's value to the project. There are many fine editors who would not make good administrators.

Things to consider before accepting a nomination

Things that a potential administrator nominee should consider before accepting a nomination include:

  • There is a lot of admin stuff you can do without being an admin! Maybe you are here because you've done several hundred edits and your wiki enthusiasm is now looking for new challenges, new ways to help the wiki. Well, there are lots of ways in which you can do admin stuff, without being an admin, for example:
  • Get involved in vandalism fixing. Request rollback rights if you haven't already to help you revert vandalism quickly.
  • Help and welcome newcomers
There are so many other admin tasks that you can already do that until you really start to find there are things that you cannot do there, there is not much point in trying to become an admin. Indeed, only when you have had a good amount of experience in all the freely available admin tasks are you likely to succeed in an application.
  • RfA can be a harsh process. Your past record will come under scrutiny and any questionable actions can lead to intense open discussion. If you aren't experienced in handling conflicts, this can be distressing. On the other hand, you can take the experience as an opportunity to measure your skills in conflict resolution.
  • Nominees with lower edit counts are less likely to succeed. Many administrator nominations for editors with low edit counts have been rejected for this alone, although some have succeeded. With fewer edits, you should be prepared to respond to this objection, or, better, explain in your nomination acceptance why you think you would nevertheless make a good administrator. Editors with a limited length of time or active experience can expect similar concerns. If you are unsure if you have enough edits or experience, consider asking another user or two that you trust before leaping into an RfA.
  • RfA contributors have differing standards for what they consider to be acceptable administrator candidates.
  • Ask yourself, "Am I ready to be an administrator?" Administrators can be and often are more involved in contentious disputes than regular editors. If you think you will likely not respond well in such situations, perhaps being an administrator is not for you. Adminship is not a statement of worth or acceptance in the RuneScape Wiki community. Some of the most valued and active editors have said they do not want to be administrators, and many administrators find that they prefer to contribute largely or solely by editing articles.
  • Declining is allowed. Declining a nomination will not be held against you and can show a desirable thoughtfulness; you can always accept a later nomination.
  • Administrator status is not a trophy. Editors who regard being an administrator as an affirmation of their contributions as an editor or an award for good editing or other good service will generally be disappointed. Administrator status does not place you in an elevated status within the RuneScape Wiki. Since many editors believe administrators should follow a more strict code of conduct than the average user, the opposite may occur. Every good-faith editor, from the newest editor to the most experienced bureaucrat, has the same status within the RuneScape Wiki. You will not gain respect simply by being an administrator. Adminship is, in essence, janitorial duties.
  • Do not expect to succeed. You may consider yourself to be the perfect candidate or editor, but please keep in mind that you are being judged by your fellow wikians, who may not share your view. Do not invest too much into passing an RfA, as in the event of failure, you might suffer psychologically. Also, remember that a failed RfA does not ruin your life on the wiki, as users will treat you no differently than before.

Follow instructions

The nomination process has clear instructions for constructing, accepting, and posting a nomination. A number of RfA contributors look askance at nominees who do not follow the instructions properly. Administrators are expected to read and follow policies. The inability to do this here is a bad sign. If something is unclear, then ask the person who nominated you, put a message on the discussion page of RS:RFA, or ask a user who has nominated someone else. Avoid mistakes rather than making them and then fixing them.

What RfA contributors look for and hope to see

RfA contributors want to see a record of involvement and evidence that you can apply policies calmly, maturely and impartially. What are often looked for are:

  • Strong edit history with plenty of material contributions to articles.
  • Varied experience. RfAs where an editor has mainly contributed in one way (little editing of articles, or little or no participation in RfDs, or little or no participation in discussions about policies and processes, for example) have tended to be more controversial than those where the editor's contributions have been wider.
  • User interaction. Evidence of you talking to other users, on article talk or user talk pages. These interactions need to be helpful and polite.
  • Trustworthiness. General reliability as evidence that you would use administrator rights carefully to avoid massive damage, especially in the stressful situations that can arise more frequently for administrators.
  • Helping with chores. Evidence that you are already engaging in administrator-like work and debates such as RC Patrol and articles for deletion.
  • High quality of articles. A good way to demonstrate this is contributing and improving articles.
  • Observing consensus. A track record of working within policy, showing an understanding of consensus.
  • A clean block log as evidence of good editing behaviour.

These points are not mandatory and there are always exceptions, but if you think back over your contributions and any of these are missing, it may be better to broaden your experience before an RfA.

What RfA contributors look for and hope not to see

No matter how experienced you are, some actions will cause problems. In roughly decreasing order of seriousness, here are some things which, if seen in your edit history, will be raised and thoroughly discussed:

  • Vandalism: A persistent and unreformed vandal will never be made an administrator; one of the primary tasks of administrators is fighting vandalism (and a truly bad administrator could cause serious damage to the site). Even a relatively minor disruption, like making a joking edit to a friend's userpage, can cause problems.
  • Incivility: If a nominee has responded to unpleasant or irritating users by leaving insulting messages which violate the spirit of civility.
  • Edit wars: If a nominee has ever refused to be involved in good faith efforts to reach consensus on talk pages, and instead engaged in edit wars. If a candidate is prone to repeating a single edit after it becomes obvious that there is a disagreement with it. To most RfA contributors, it does not matter who is right, it matters how a candidate handles themselves during a debate.
  • Controversial activity on RfD: Deciding according to criteria not relevant to the purpose of RfD, persistently starting RfDs on articles on the kinds of subject generally (let alone explicitly) recognised as worth an article.
  • "Advertising" your RfA: Some editors do not like to see an RfA "advertised" by the nominee on other people's talk pages, in signatures, ingame, or on IRC. RfA is not a political campaign. The intent is to develop consensus. Impartial evaluation of a candidate, not how popular they are, is the goal. Canvassing is often looked down upon.
  • Blocks: If your block log has activity and shows you've been blocked in the past several months.
  • Long gaps in editing: Unless you have a good reason and you state on your page, a steady edit history is preferred.
  • Use of sockpuppet accounts to avoid scrutiny, or to mislead the community about your past editing history.

However, many RfAs have succeeded despite some of the above. The important factors are:

  • Time. If a nominee has demonstrated high standards of conduct for a few months, the RfA contributors may discount earlier undesirable behaviour.
  • Disclosure. If a nominee brings up past missteps him or herself, and either apologises or explains how such missteps will be avoided in the future, the candidacy will be more likely to succeed.
  • Approach to opposing opinions. Responding in a calm, rational, and (if needed) apologetic manner will be to a candidate's credit. A candidate who shows anger or frustration or makes insults when presented with opposition is likely to engender more opposition.

General advice for nominators

Nominators should be careful in their decision to nominate someone for administrator status. As noted above, the RfA process can lead to unsavory results. A nominator should consider the possibility of the negative impact on a nominee, and ensure they are making appropriate nominations.

A nomination consists of an introductory nomination statement followed by the RFA template in the form {{subst:RFA|Candidate's username here|Your reason for nominating them and your signature.}} to be later signed by the nominee. When you craft a nomination for someone, including yourself, you should outline in the nomination statement why you think the nominee should be an administrator. You might offer some information on where the nominee has done significant work, areas where the nominee has already helped out with administrator appropriate tasks, how long they have been with the project, and their ability to handle stressful situations. Single-line nomination statements will do little to aid the nominee, and may hinder the RfA.

When nominating someone, it is generally a good idea to ask them if they would like to be nominated before crafting an RfA nomination per the instructions at RuneScape:Requests for adminship#How to nominate.

Nomination process

The RfA nomination process has evolved and continues to evolve. Years ago, such nominations were all made on the same page. Later, the process became more formalized as the current RS:RFA pages. As time has gone on, efforts have been made to improve the process. The process we have in place now is relatively straightforward.

Before nomination

Either you or another editor may nominate you to be an administrator. Any user can become an administrator, and any user can nominate a candidate. However, keep in mind that nominees who have not been on the RuneScape Wiki for very long are not necessarily well regarded, as they are less likely to perform effectively as administrators and they are not widely known by RfA participants. It is considered good practice to approach the nominee first to find out whether they would accept the nomination.

To nominate yourself, follow the instructions as they are outlined at RuneScape:Requests for adminship#How to nominate. For someone else to nominate you, they likewise follow the appropriate instructions on that page. If you have been nominated, then again follow the instructions on that page.

During the nomination

An RfA remains open for fourteen days, beginning from when the nomination is posted to RS:RFA. RfA contributors will make comments when they wish. Administrator nominees should stay involved on their RfAs so that they may answer questions or any other comments raised on their RfA. Absence by the nominee from the RfA process during the fourteen days it is open can harm the chances of success. While it is appropriate to respond to comments and questions raised on the RfA, it is important to keep in mind that the RfA is not a forum for debate except as it closely relates to the nominee's acceptability as an administrator. Poor behaviour by an RfA candidate will generally have negative consequences.

Arguments to avoid in adminship discussions

Through the RfA process, participants should be focused on the nominee's deeds, not on personal bias or other administrators. For example, these users are discussing the nominee, "User B".

Support - I support User B because he's my friend! -User A 13:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Here, this is based on personal bias. This is not allowed as adminship nominees should be assessed impartially based on their actions on the wiki.

Oppose - I don't want User B to become an admin because I hate him! User C 13:20, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

This is also bias and is not allowed.

As decided by the community, arguments against the candidate based on the current number of administrators - also referred to by "the wiki's need" - are not allowed. Arguments for the user on this premises are allowed.

Oppose - The wiki doesn't need any more admins so User B should not be sysoped. User D 14:54, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Oppose - User B says he will specialise in countervandalism, but we already have 10 active countervandalism sysops in his timezone so User B shouldn't be an admin. User E 03:48, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Both of these arguments will be considered void at decision time. Remember, consider the candidate's ability to be an administrator, not the status of other administrators on the wiki at the time of their RfA.

It should also be noted that the Old School RuneScape Wiki is not based offsite, therefore it is not recommended to support or oppose someone because of deeds in RuneScape itself. Examples should only be taken from the Old School RuneScape Wiki except under special circumstances.

Closure

Sometime after the fourteen days for the RfA have elapsed, a bureaucrat will review the RfA and close it. A bureaucrat will close the RfA as soon as this is feasible, which may be hours or even a day or two after the formal closing date. Do not remove your own RfA from RS:RFA unless you are intentionally withdrawing your nomination from consideration.

If you would like to withdraw your nomination after it has opened, you may do so simply by editing the RfA to indicate your desire to withdraw instead.

If you'd like, you may remove the RfA from RS:RFA on your own, but you are not required to do so. Additionally, you should edit RuneScape:Requests for adminship/Archive 1#Unsuccessful appropriately to include your nomination.

Consider not posting "thanks for contributing" messages to the participators' talk pages. This is unneeded and probably not a good use of your time. Consider posting a thanks message instead on your own talk page and/or the talk page of your RFA page instead.

If you disagree with consensus

It is the job of bureaucrats to determine consensus when closing a request for adminship. As RfA is not a straightforward majority vote, there is no precise "pass" or "fail" percentage, and the bureaucrat may discount comments which were made in bad faith or are of questionable validity. However, as an approximate guide, you are likely to pass if you achieve at least 70-75% support. Nominations which receive less than 70% support are unlikely to be successful, except in exceptional circumstances.

If you feel that a nomination is wrongfully declared as successful or unsuccessful, you may petition the bureaucrat who made the decision. This can usually be determined by looking at the page history of RS:RFA and seeing which bureaucrat removed the RfA from the page. Bureaucrats do have the option of extending RfAs where they think this is necessary. Another possibility is to wait for some time and either renominate yourself or have someone else nominate you for a second time. Many current administrators did not pass their first nomination, yet had a later nomination easily succeed. Your first nomination is not your only chance to become an administrator.

Bureaucrat nominations

Bureaucrat nominations (RfB) are also considered on RS:RFA. Bureaucrats are at present responsible for two tasks: determining consensus on RfA, RfF, and RfB and granting rights on successful nominations. The RfB process is similar in nearly all respects to the RfA process with a few exceptions:

  • The bar for determination of consensus for acceptance as a bureaucrat is higher than for an administrator. Generally, RFBs require at least 85-90% support. The comments for and against are taken into even more consideration.
  • Bureaucrat nominees typically undergo significantly more scrutiny than an administrator nominee.
  • Bureaucrat nominees are expected to be fully aware of current debates around RfA and of its guidelines.

What is often looked for by RfB contributors

  • A strong participation in requests for adminship and the policies surrounding it, with sensible rational reasoning for opinions.
  • History of productive administrator work, especially with regards to determining consensus (e.g. in RfDs).
  • Civility.
  • A good record as an administrator.
  • A need for bureaucrats.
  • A full understanding of what consensus to promote is, and understanding of when to and when not to promote under extraordinary circumstances.
  • A good record of providing clear reasoning for their actions.

Re-adminship

Former administrators may seek reinstatement of their privileges through RfA unless prohibited from doing so by Wikia staff office actions.

Admins who resigned voluntarily, under uncontroversial circumstances, can ask to skip RfA. Upon a review to confirm that the user both was in good standing at the time of the de-adminship and is in good standing currently, a bureaucrat may restore access rights. If there is any question that reinstatement would lack community consensus, the user will be referred to RfA. The guiding principle for such decisions is that bureaucrats may grant adminship only when doing so reflects the wishes of the community.

See also