[Foundation-l] models for adminship/wiki leadership

Andrew Lih andrew.lih at gmail.com
Tue Apr 10 09:29:47 UTC 2007

Great minds think alike...

Just this week I started to fill in profiles for different Wikipedia
communities, as part of our ongoing effort on the WikipediaWeekly
podcast to identify and discuss interesting practices in different
Wikipedias. (Shameless plug: www.wikipediaweekly.com) For example,
some interesting sample tidbits:

* Portugeuse Wikipedia, barnstars are not simply given out. They are
voted on by the community.
* German Wikipedia, there is a dedicated mailing list for
administrators. Current event articles are discouraged and usually
quickly deleted.
* Chinese Wikipedia, there is a need to map between two writing
systems - simplified and traditional
* Azerbaijani Wikipedia, there is a need for mapping among *three*
writing systems - Latin, Cyrillic and Arabic script

So the meta pages are just a start, and address some questions like
Delphine had:
What language features are challening?
What would surprise the outside reader about the community?
What are some unique practices/characteristics?

Please feel free to add and start new ones. Some samples:



-Andrew (User:Fuzheado)

On 4/10/07, Delphine Ménard <notafishz at gmail.com> wrote:
> I would argue that for such a survey, a wiki page would be a good
> idea, that could be linked from one wiki to the other.
> The idea being tthat one wiki's community could answer those questions
> within a delimited time (say, 3 weeks) and that this page is updated
> as rules change and evolve.
> I think such surveys on various topics can be very helpful in the
> cross-cultural communication between projects (and here I mean project
> culture, not necessarily national culture).
> A million subjects come to mind as to what those "cross wiki surveys" could be:
> Adminship: how it works, what it does, how has it evolved, and a part
> about "suggestions from improvement".
> Articles for deletion: How it works, what it does, advantages and drawbacks etc.
> Copyright issues: how are they noted, how are they treated, what's the
> tolerance, what are the specific rules in place in your project..
> And so on.
> A list is too much of a troll magnet, in my opinion. ;-)
> Whatcha think?
> Delphine
> On 4/10/07, Brianna Laugher <brianna.laugher at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > I am interested in finding out what models or processes different
> > projects use to decide adminship. And especially how those processes
> > adapt as the wiki community grows.
> >
> > Note: this is not an invitation to bitch about the administrators at
> > your (least)favourite project.
> >
> > There are some common views about adminship:
> > * Adminship is an expression of trust of an individual by the community.
> > * Adminship is decided by community consensus.
> > * Adminship represents a person taking on a janitorial role, doing
> > maintenance or "meta community" work rather than [in addition to?]
> > content-building work.
> > * Admins are wiki community leaders?
> > * Adminship is no big deal?
> >
> > In technical terms, the admin has several extra functions at their disposal:
> > * un/protect pages from editing or moving, edit protected pages
> > * un/delete pages, view deleted pages
> > * un/block users
> > * rollback edits (basically redundant since the introduction of 'undo'
> > functionality)
> >
> > Admin status is easier to get than it is to revoke. Admin status
> > doesn't have an expiry date [...yet???] and de-adminship requires
> > contacting a steward and demonstrating community consensus for the
> > de-adminship decision.
> >
> > The word 'status' implies something that is often felt, that adminship
> > is recognitition of one's work/worth in a wiki, like a reward; that
> > admins are "above" "regular" users or their opinions hold more sway.
> > Admins generally can perform actions like declaring a discussion
> > closed, even though any user, even unregistered, could make the same
> > edit. I have a suspicion that an admin performing the action is seen
> > as making it "official", though.
> > Admins are often looked to for help, by new users. Sometimes an
> > "administrator's noticeboard" exists, although all users can generally
> > edit it.
> >
> > Does it matter if admins are inactive? Does it matter if admins edit
> > actively but don't use their admin tools? Do they have to keep using
> > them to "deserve" them?
> >
> > If admins are looked to for help and as community leaders, is not
> > having inactive admins somewhat deceptive?
> >
> > Meta has an adminship policy I am quite fond of:
> > http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Administrator_on_Meta
> > "Sysop-hood is not a lifetime status. Get it if you need it. Keep it
> > if people trust you. Quit it if you do not need it. Lose it if people
> > feel they cannot trust you. Sysop status on meta will be granted for
> > one year. After that time, people will be able to vote to oppose a
> > sysop. If there is no opposition for the sysop to stay sysop, then
> > they stay sysop. If opposition is voiced, then the sysop may lose
> > sysopship if support falls below 75%. No quorum is required. It is not
> > a vote to gain support status, but a poll to express disagreement with
> > the current situation. The point is not to bug everyone to vote to
> > support the sysop again (if there is no opposition, there is no point
> > in voting your support again), the point is to not allow sysop-hood
> > status to stay a lifetime status. If a sysop is not really strongly
> > infringing rules, but is creating work for the community because of a
> > lack of trust, then it is best that people have the possibility to
> > express their opposition."
> >
> > But I wonder if it is not kind of a lot of work.
> >
> > Who are the RfA voters?
> > Once a community reaches a certain size, it's not possible to know
> > everyone and notice their work just by glancing over Recentchanges
> > every few days. It becomes more necessary to rely on trusted
> > testimonials. I trust User A's judgement, and User A endorses
> > Candidate B, so I will endorse Candidate B too. It encourages
> > something of the dreaded "cabal", a tight-knit group which it is not
> > possible to break into simply by doing good work - you need to "know"
> > the right people to succeed. I guess we all want to avoid that, but
> > when the wiki is so big, how is it possible?
> >
> > Many people here will be familiar with English Wikipedia RfA, where
> > people's support or opposition for a candidate can rely on seemingly
> > trivial and ever-more-specific requirements. It is doubtful whether
> > all the current admins would pass such requirements, but they manage
> > to keep their adminship by virtue of not doing anything worrying or
> > damaging enough to have it removed.
> >
> > I guess I am not the only person who is active on a non-enwp project,
> > and who wonders how RfA evolving like enwp can be avoided. I want to
> > know what other possible evolutionary paths are there? How can I help
> > influence my project to a more healthy, sustainable model?
> >
> > So I want to know some ideas that other wikis use. Meta's "1 year
> > confirmation" is one. What else is there? What else could there be?
> >
> > While writing this mail it occurred to me that perhaps part of the
> > problem is multiple   goals being conflated in adminship, ie "janitor
> > role" "community leadership". There are few ways to be considered a
> > community leader, I would posit, apart from adminship. Sure, if you're
> > lucky, someone might throw you a barnstar, but it's not like
> > *official* *community endorsement*.
> >
> > Perhaps we need to create a post for designated community leaders.
> > (Community Leaders -please brainstorm a better term...)
> > Declaring someone a Community Leader would be an expression of trust
> > and endorsement. It would be an explicit recognition of a user's
> > worth, their contribution, to that wiki. It would be decided by
> > community consensus. It would not represent a janitorial role or
> > maintenance work, quite the opposite - it would represent someone who
> > excels at a particular (or multiple) aspect of collaborative content
> > building.
> >
> > There would be a page with a list - official endorsement. Community
> > Leaders would represent very good "go to" people for new users needing
> > help in some area.
> >
> > There would probably be very high overlap between admins and Community
> > Leaders, especially at the start. As the process became stronger, it
> > would be much clearer for new users who want to contribute, which
> > process (RfCL/RfA) is appropriate for what they want to achieve. For
> > status in the community, one should aim to be a Community Leader.
> > And then maybe adminship would really become "no big deal". Instead of
> > dealing with so many disputes, admins would be more about enacting the
> > decisions made by Community Leaders - a better reflection of the
> > division between the community role and the technical/maintenance role
> > that are currently both conflated within "adminship".
> >
> > I welcome any ideas about all of this.
> >
> > regards,
> > Brianna
> > user:pfctdayelise
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> > http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
> --
> ~notafish
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