At 12:56 AM 6/1/2010, Durova wrote:
Let's not mince words: Wikipedia administratorship
can be a serious
liability. The 'reward' for volunteering for this educational nonprofit can
include getting one's real name Googlebombed, getting late night phone calls
to one's home, and worse. The Wikimedia Foundation has never sent a cease
and desist demand to the people who have made a years-long hobby of driving
its administrators away.
Durova's history is a classic example. She was hounded by a screaming
mob when she made a mistake, even though she recognized the error and
undid it within an hour. She might have been desysopped had she not
resigned, but that would have been a miscarriage of wikijustice. She
should have been defended, but was not. And why? I've never really
While I've studied and have dealt with administrative abuse, the
people who are most abused by the Wikipedia system are
administrators, and that is probably a major source of abusive adminship.
I've argued for clear and strong rules for admin recusal, but what's
often been missed is that this *protects* administrators from
becoming over-involved in the mudslinging contests.
I've been a meeting chair, and a good chair rigorously stays away
from involvement. So the chair is obligated to rule on matters of
procedure, and perhaps a member stands up and starts shouting about
how stupid a ruling was and how the chair is biased. What does the
chair do? Argue?
No, the chair puts the ruling to a vote, immediately (that's the
substance, there are details I won't go into). The chair is not
actually in charge, the membership is, at all times. The chair is
just a servant. A chair who doesn't understand that and who becomes
attached to control can make quite a mess, and the belief of some
that Robert's Rules of Order is some kind of oppressive document have
probably experienced a chair like that. But even a few members in an
organization who understand the rules and know how to use them to
guarantee that decisions are adequately deliberated and that
democratic decision-making is maintained efficiently can handle even
a poor chair.
But there is no power that can avail against a stupid and active
majority, and when that happens, it's time to consider leaving.