[Foundation-l] models for adminship/wiki leadership

Brianna Laugher brianna.laugher at gmail.com
Wed Apr 11 15:12:58 UTC 2007

On 11/04/07, Jean-Denis Vauguet <jd at typhon.org> wrote:
> The problem with separating adminship from leadership is that many admin
> tasks require to rule on. Consensus is not always reached and admins are
> expected to, well, rule on, then proceed (delete, protect, whatever).
> Those two actions could be separated (a "Community-Leader" rules on,
> then an admin puts the decision in effects), but I assess it would
> impede the process.

Right. In my envisioning, it wouldn't, because there would be a high
overlap between Community Leaders and admins, i.e. for consensus
discussions that require action (typically deletion), it would make
sense for someone who is both a CL and an admin, to make the
conclusion about if discussion had been reached.

This is what I envisage:
Introduce the concept of a 'Community Leader'. Explicitly, it has these things:
* a user who is experienced in one or more areas of the wiki (define
key areas as appropriate to the wiki activity)
* a user who generally exhibits model behaviour (=acts with the best
interests of the wiki at heart, even and especially when this
conflicts with their personal opinion ), especially in relation to
other users
* a user who is trusted to decide on when consensus has been reached
in a discussion
* the position is a recognition of trust
* the position is decided by consensus of all users
* the position may be revoked when the consensus of user trust is lost.

Create a page that lists the attributes of a Community Leader, and
lists the Community Leaders and their key areas of interest and talent
(one or more; probably self nominated).

For the first six months after implementing, admins can still act to
decide consensus. They are encouraged to apply for recognition as
Community Leaders during this time (as are other users).

Community Leaders get no extra technical powers, so there is no reason
to limit how many the community should recognise.

After the six months, make these changes:
* Only Community Leaders can make decisions on consensus.
* Change RfA (requests for adminship) so that it becomes clearly
oriented towards maintenance work. *RfAs are decided by consensus of
Community Leaders, not the general public.*

After a year, poll the entire community and see how they feel about
the Community Leader position and if it should continue, or if it
should be discontinued.

Some time after the first six months: introduce a new thing called
'Achievement awards' or 'recognition of significant contributions' or
whatever you like. There can be many in different key areas too,
possibly of different levels.
Similar to barnstars, but
* Users earn them by meeting *measurable* standards (so they are not
exactly voted)
* They recognise contributions without any connotation of community trust
* There is an official list of awarded users, and users may not
display the award without first having been recognised as receiving
These can be for all kinds of things from content creation (# articles
started, # edits over certain size, # images uploaded) to community
management (# edits to a help page - helping users, not asking
questions ;)) to maintenance (# pages deleted per deletion
discussions). They can also be graded - the numbers can be 100, 500
and 1000, or whatever is appropriate. There can also be special
one-off awards for people who write special bots or useful tools, for
example, or who play a special role in the community (like important
foundational users who lead the way).

What's important about these is that they're official bragging rights
without endorsing the user's general behaviour (usually). Simply,
there are users who do great work in content creation or organisation,
but who just don't necessarily interact well with other users. How can
we recognise the contributions of these users? Currently there is no
real way. I see many RfAs that look like this: this person does a
great job contributing content. How can we reward them? By making them
an admin. Sometimes these succeed (for some commentators they will
seem particularly "irrelevant") and sometimes they don't and that is a
very sad thing, because there's been an effort to try and reward a
user for their work and instead they get rejected. Those types of RfAs
leave a lot of bad feeling around and it's my opinion that it's
because we don't have different ways of formally recognising different
 types of contribution.

Wikis need two things: to build content and to build a community. I
often read now on English Wikipedia the mantra "we're here to write an
encyclopedia" as if nothing else can be relevant. But huge amounts of
time and effort are already spent on these "meta" activities of
organising community. They reinforce each other. You could not enforce
a Manual of Style if there was no community. You couldn't agree that
blanking articles was wrong and to have an article deleted a certain
process should be followed, if there wasn't a community. So they are
two sides of the same coin.

Any volunteer organisation needs ways to recognise and thank its
volunteers. Currently it's quite sad, if all we have is barnstars and
they are ad-hoc and "unofficial", meh. So that's what I consider the
'achievement awards' to be about.

building content -> achievement awards. nothing about user behaviour
or trust. not possible to revoke (short of copyvio discovery). decided
by counting (in practice, probably Community Leaders).
interaction with community -> Community Leader. represents knowledge,
trust, help for new users. revocable. voted by all, decided by
Community Leaders. should be a large, welcoming pool.
maintenance work -> admin tools. revocable. Voted, decided by
Community Leaders. smaller pool, large overlap with Community Leaders.

probably largest pool is achievement award recipients, then Community
Leaders, and admins are a smaller pool.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list