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Administrators, commonly known as admins or sysops (system operators), are Wikipedians who have certain extra tools. These can only be acquired through a Request for adminship (known by the initialism "RfA").

RfAs run for up to seven days after being transcluded onto the main RfA page. However, if an RfA application is clearly not going to succeed, it will likely be closed early. If you are reading this page, it is possible that this has happened to your RfA. Alternatively, you may have been sent here by another Wikipedian, whom you approached because you wish to become an administrator. In either circumstance, you have been directed here to find out why both newcomers and those with only limited experience are extremely unlikely to pass an RfA and become administrators.

Reasons for early closure[edit]

Although the only technical RfA requirement is being extended-confirmed, in general, there are still certain basic levels of contributions that the community looks for beyond a flat edit count and tenure, without which an RfA is certain to fail. When a candidate fails to meet a number of fundamental community-accepted criteria, occasionally a pile-on of oppose comments may occur. This can be demoralizing for the candidate and some users feel deterred from further productive contributions. This is clearly not in the best interests of the candidate or Wikipedia, because it often takes more than one attempt. An RfA that is clearly going to fail will often provoke a number of responses suggesting early closure.

Things to note if your RfA was closed early[edit]

  • You are welcome to reapply in a few months when you have more experience and have taken care to address the concerns brought up by opposers.
  • If your past conduct was a concern, it will be seen as old after some months, once a better track record exists and you can show it is 'old'.
  • Editors are commenting on your suitability to be an administrator today, based upon the current accepted norms, not on you as a person.
  • Many experienced and highly respected administrators have failed one or more RfAs before being granted the tools. Do not think that a failed RfA reflects badly on you or prejudices a future RfA. It doesn't.

What to do if your RfA was closed early[edit]

  • If you accept that there was no chance of your request passing at that time, you don't need to do anything. The editor that closed your RfA will have made you aware and probably pointed you at this essay. They will have taken care of the technical aspects of the closure.
  • If you do not accept that the early closure was a good thing, please ask the editor who closed it to reverse their actions. In general, assuming a good faith nomination or self-nomination, it is acceptable for a candidate to request their RfA to run for the full amount of time.

What not to do if your RfA was closed early[edit]

  • Worry about it too much. Again, it happens. It has happened to some of our best administrators on their first attempts at RfA.
  • Quit Wikipedia. You would not have submitted yourself, or accepted a nomination, to be an administrator if you hated this project. An early-closed RfA is not a good reason to start feeling hate towards it. Go back and do what you were doing that made you enjoy Wikipedia. If you feel that a break is necessary, take a wikibreak, and return when your mind and your emotions have had a chance to clear.
  • Refuse help. There are many great options and willing editors ready to help you grow as a Wikipedian. Several options are listed in the "Further reading" section.
  • Immediately reapply for adminship and submit another RfA, or do so much too soon. The editors who contributed to your last RfA have taken the time to give you feedback, and you need to understand, act on them, and allow your contributions and history to build a consistent track-record over time so that you can demonstrate that you've improved or overcome any concerns expressed. Immediately re-applying for adminship will almost always be seen by the community as being dismissive toward the time they spent evaluating you and providing you with feedback on your last one, and result in that RfA being closed with more opposition and additional concerns from the community regarding your patience and ability to understand and act on feedback. Argumentum ad nauseam will not benefit you in any way, and will certainly make it take even longer for you to pass an RfA, as you now have to show the community that you've overcome these additional concerns in addition to demonstrating that you've improved from initial feedback given.
Remember: an admin needs to be a good judge of consensus, even on issues that concern them personally.

Cautious use of this essay[edit]

This essay is specifically written to ensure that we do not discourage newcomers or the relatively inexperienced, and to explain why certain minimum standards are expected at RfA even though they are not codified in any document. This guideline should not be linked to from RfAs of more experienced Wikipedians; this could be perceived as condescending or rude to seasoned editors who are well aware of what adminship entails. See also Wikipedia:Don't template the regulars.

Further reading[edit]