Wikipedia talk:Administrators

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
WikiProject iconWikipedia Help NA‑class Top‑importance
WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of the Wikipedia Help Project, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's help documentation for readers and contributors. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks. To browse help related resources see the Help Menu or Help Directory. Or ask for help on your talk page and a volunteer will visit you there.
NAThis page does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
 Top This page has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.

External video
video icon Wheel warring

Australia flag[edit]

Semi-protected edit request on 16 August 2023[edit]

ls ${{ github.workspace }}
      - run: echo "🍏 This job's status is ${{ job.status }}."
$ bfg --strip-blobs-bigger-than 1M --replace-text banned.txt repo.git

2A02:8109:85C0:1620:E1E5:5C5B:7625:4E0A (talk) 23:46, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 Not done. It's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format Thryduulf (talk) 09:25, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A recent RfA included significant discussion about admin involvement. I thought it might be a good idea to update our description of it to reflect the discussion that happened there, if that's what we've basically agreed is the current interpretation.

I had added The concept of involvement has evolved over time to include topic areas in which the admin is a frequent content editor; caution should be used especially in contentious topic areas where the admin is a frequent content editor. at edit warring, was waiting for any response, and Firefangledfeathers asked to have a discussion here. Valereee (talk) 20:10, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Valereee. I have some thoughts but I'd love to listen first. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 00:40, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This idea that administrators should be considered involved for an entire contentious topic area may reflect the consensus of a few oppose voters at one RfA, but I don't believe it reflects the consensus of the community. For one thing, we need experienced editors working in contentious topic areas, and many experienced editors are also admins. It's not fair to them, nor to the community, to require them to decide in advance whether to function as an editor or as an admin for an entire topic area (some of which are very broad). Codifying this change will only exacerbate our admin shortage. Secondly, we already expect administrators to interpret these policies conservatively when working in contentious topic areas. By putting this expectation in writing we would be moving the goal posts further, limiting administrator discretion and discouraging them from carrying out the duties they were empowered to do. – bradv 15:10, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Frankly I'm relieved to get pushback on this. I was watching that happen at the RfA and thinking...does that mean I can't admin around food articles? Becuz some of them do get contentious due to gastronationalism, and it's a topic area with few admins. Valereee (talk) 15:55, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe you were an arbitrator when the Arbcom literally has written this in one of their decisions (I keep the reference on my user page). I tried to object, nobody reacted on my objection. Ymblanter (talk) 01:16, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I think simply being a frequent editor in a given topic area doesn't mean the editor shouldn't be trusted to put aside any personal views they have in order to perform administrative tasks related to that area. Part of the evaluation of trust that occurred during the request for administrative privileges is judging that the candidate is capable of determining when they are able to act impartially. I appreciate, though, that there is a spectrum of editing in a topic area, from spelling and grammar corrections to contributions that are at the centre of contentious discussion. Somewhere along the line, edits become significantly close to the dispute in question such that it would be better for someone else to exercise administrative privileges. But I think managing this on a case-by-case basis is preferable to blocking out entire topic areas with a binary involved/not involved descriptor. isaacl (talk) 15:54, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There were multiple opposers, including highly experienced ones, who flat out said the candidate's understanding of involved was completely incorrect. I think if the candidate's understanding was not incorrect, we need to figure out where that line, blurry as it may be, is even approximately drawn. Valereee (talk) 16:01, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure; I don't have a clear sense of community consensus on this point and thus only gave my personal view. isaacl (talk) 17:46, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good question, I myself prefer the term conflict of interest and it is generally obvious when that is the case, even the appearance of a conflict can cause a problem. There was a quite a discussion of this around a contested RM and then an attempted but stalled upgrade of a relevant guideline at the pump. At the end though, it is quite difficult to describe and probably has to be handled, as in that example, case by case. Selfstudier (talk) 16:26, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not a conflict of interest as described in Wikipedia:Conflict of interest, which covers a personal conflict based on one's relationship with others, so I avoided using that term to sidestep going down that route. It's more being personally vested in the outcome of an administrative decision or action. isaacl (talk) 17:51, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I mean, is it possible for an admin to reach the point where they're involved with regard to an entire topic area? I think so: if, for example, we had an admin who described herself as pro-Armenian on her userpage, contributed almost exclusively to contentious Armenia-Azerbaijan–related content, and almost always !voted the Armenian "party line" in talk page discussions, RfCs, RMs, AfDs, etc., I probably wouldn't trust that administrator to use the tools impartially on anything related to WP:AA2, regardless of whether she was directly involved. But that happens very infrequently, and in the mine run of cases (e.g. Valereee's food example) there's no problem unless the admin has a history with the article, the editor, the particular question being disputed, etc. Anything else leads to absurd results: as someone asked at FFF's RfA, Does editing Trump- and Biden-related articles and talkpages make one involved re. Preston Daniels? I don't think there's much need for a policy change here: the usual advice we give admins when it comes to INVOLVED (use common sense, step back if there could be reasonable doubts about your impartiality, and bring any grey-area questions to WP:AN) should cover it. Extraordinary Writ (talk) 22:38, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Editors may find this close review of interest to the discussion. In it, some editors seeking to overturn the close advanced the argument that FormalDude was involved with the entire AMPOL topic area. The close review was closed as "no consensus", but my reading of the discussion is that the community rejected that specific argument. BilledMammal (talk) 01:24, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just want to clarify that I'm not an admin, since this discussion appears to be primarily about admin involvement. ––FormalDude (talk) 20:00, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree that simply editing in a topic area doesn't necessarily make you involved. At the same time, it seems worth warning admins that, in practice, doing so leaves you open to the accusation of involvement and, if you're not careful about how you respond to that accusation, you could end up in deep trouble. I think this raises a more general point, which is that over time WP:INVOLVED has become the single most common source of disputes over administrative conduct, but the written guideline has not kept pace with its growing importance. It's so vaguely worded that someone motivated to do so can spin any source of potential opinion-having as "involvement", and with the atmosphere at places like AN being so focused on seeing people (and especially admins) humbled, trying to argue against that is rarely worth it. It would be helpful to try find out what, specifically, the community does and does not considered involved, and update the guideline accordingly. – Joe (talk) 08:42, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I wouldn't codify it, but it has been practice at least since I've been around the project (so 7ish years) for admins to consider them involved i.r.t. entire topic areas. It isn't really a new development. And in all honesty, this is one of the cases where we don't really enforce policy consistently. If a popular admin who edits plant articles were to make an edit warring block of an unknown user who hadn't violated 3RR but was edit warring in an article about a shrub species, we wouldn't call them involved.
    On the other hand, if a legacy admin who came back and started editing American politics were to make an edit warring block on a Trump-related article, even if they weren't involved and hadn't edited the article before, they'd likely end up desysoped either by ArbCom or because the community made such a fuss and filed a case that they resigned under the cloud.
    The best practice is for admins not to take administrative action in areas where they may be perceived as having personal leanings and to avoid the mere appearance of involvement. That typically means they should ordinarily not act as administrators in content areas where they regularly participate unless it is an obvious situation that would be an exception to the involved rule.
    Finally, I would agree with Joe's overall commentary here, but like so much of Wikipedia, a lot of the consensus on this matter is in our practice and is situational. While I would be fine with tweaking the wording to show that what is and isn't involved can be controversial, I also don't really think an RfC would agree on any one phrasing because how we interpret the policy is very situational and any major update enough of the community would disagree with that it wouldn't get the 65-70% support typically needed for a policy update. I could probably get behind an update of some sort, but I think a large RfC would end in no consensus. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:49, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If you are around long enough you can find yourself involved in a lot of areas. Some, like AP, if an Admin clearly takes sides in say Trump debates, they shouldn't use their tools. But how about areas where Wikipedia is clear what the mainstream view is? If an Admin is pro-evolutionary theory and anti-Creationism, does that make them too involved to use their tools? Doug Weller talk 12:30, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can anyone see a reason for having two sections, #Grievances by users ("administrator abuse") but also #Disputes or complaints? They seem to cover the same ground to me. Can we merge them? – Joe (talk) 13:01, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd support that. At the very least the latter section needs to include processes between talk page and arbcom. Thryduulf (talk) 22:11, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]