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This has been something that's come up repeatedly over the last few years, either in the form of a "removal of administrator" suggestion, an "inactive administrator" suggestion, or otherwise.

As it's been a while since it last came up, it's time to bring it up again.

The eventual goal would be a full "removal of administration rights" policy to go with the nominations for administration policy, but I'm intending to start small here.

I've trolled through all of the older discussions, and looked exclusively at the bits on inactive admins, and come up with the following as a common theme through all of them:

  • There should be an automatic "de-admin" clause for inactive administrators.
    • Any admin that has been inactive for a considerable amount of time cannot be expected to still know about the current rules after his return.
    • Why have admin rights handed out to people who don't use them?
    • Users constantly contact admins that have not edited for months, or in some cases, years.

As such, administrator rights should be automatically revoked after a specified period of time (common suggestions have been 3-6 months). If the user begins editing again, they can re-apply for an administrator position after a period of activity (common suggestions have been 4-6 weeks). This would be the only case where someone can self-nominate, and a link to their prior successful nomination must be included.

The time period is long enough for people to go away for the summer (etc) and thus, should weed those out who are truly inactive or have left MA entirely.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions for improvement? -- sulfur 18:12, February 13, 2011 (UTC)

Sounds good to me.–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 08:07, February 14, 2011 (UTC)
Yes, sounds good. One suggestion I have is that I think such a policy should include one attempt to contact any such person through their talk page a certain amount of time prior to removal(perhaps one attempt within the period of inactivity without a response).--31dot 08:58, February 14, 2011 (UTC)
I'm for this in general, but I think there should be a required minimum of edits over the 6 month time frame. The reapply minimum should also be 4 weeks and a number of edits. This would make sure that an admin is actually active, and I agree with 31dot that there should be an attempt to contact an admin before removing rights, with maybe something like the reapply minimum applying before removal after contact. - Archduk3 11:46, February 14, 2011 (UTC)
Adding this (both contacting and "minimum activity levels") might make this policy look more like a threat ("edit, or else...") than a neutral housekeeping procedure ("anyone not using admin tools at the moment will be removed from the list of people having them"), though. So, this contacting attempt would at least need to be worded in a way that doesn't sound as such - and will probably just lead to some people trying to maintain whatever minimum activity level we define, to avoid being "demoted".
In the end, this will mean more work for the active admins (contacting, checking and re-checking activity levels) for a smaller net gain.
I think what this policy in that case should definitely contain is an appeal for fairness directed at the inactive admins: Please don't try to game the system by making X+1 edits in Y-1 days - if you don't want to do the job anymore, be fair and let us take away the status. -- Cid Highwind 12:00, February 14, 2011 (UTC)
I tend to agree Cid, but I don't think this should be enforced to the point where admins are being checked on. We merge and delete articles when someone gets around to it, and both of those are housekeeping activities, this shouldn't be any different. As with all of our policies, I would think of this as a guideline, not something that kicks in the day after 6 months or because you failed to reach a certain number of edits by 50. No one here is that on the ball. :) That's not to say we shouldn't have set guidelines, it's just that to be fair we shouldn't follow the letter so much as the spirit, but the letter will save us a whole bunch of grief later IMO. If someone has been gone for awhile, we might as well try to find out why and if they're coming back before doing something that requires a whole bunch of hoops for them to jump though to return, as it were. - Archduk3 22:05, February 17, 2011 (UTC)
Oppose: I disagree with this policy suggestion, as it's biased against certain time-traveling archivists. That doesn't seem very fair! --Defiant 22:23, February 17, 2011 (UTC)
It's not fair to expect administrators to be around once in awhile? How can one exercise their admin powers if they aren't here enough to understand policies, current issues on the wiki, etc.?--31dot 23:02, February 17, 2011 (UTC)
I support sulfur's idea. But I don't think an inactive admin should be contacted. When this community can work out some guidelines and terms and add these requirements to the MA:Administrators page we can say that all admins are aware of the terms and conditions holding their admin rights. Over the years I saw several announcements when an admin or regular contributor knew he would be away for a month/two months - they posted it on their user page. Tom 23:25, February 17, 2011 (UTC)