(Shortened significantly from “The Administrator’s Guide to making decisions for a Community in a fashion that does not result in civil disobedience, unpopularity and eventual replacement”)
My name is Leo Fox. Formerly, I was known as SPARTAN-118 – and many of the lessons I will pass on to the reader I learnt under that pseudonym.
An Administrator is a role model for a wiki; simply a selfless user entrusted with a few extra buttons and privileges to ensure the wiki is kept orderly, with a good dose of integrity and a firmly-rooted sense of what is morally right and wrong – not to mention capable of arbitrating, and possessing the ability to interpret and enforce the rules (and capable of being firm but fair while doing so). In fact, an Administrator is supposed to be nothing more than a model user – a Prefect, in all intents and purposes. Users are supposed to look at an Admin, and think: “That is a user I should emulate. That’s what I want to be.” The other key thing about an Administrator is that they are supposed to be elected by the Community to govern the Community – after all, they are but users trusted with the Key to the wiki.
That’s what an Administrator should be. However, as I’ve found, the theory and reality behind Administrators are two completely different things. For example, I’ve seen Admins who simply ban on a whim, and act like insufferable jerks at all times – earning the ire of all whom have the misfortune of being ruled by. Some administrate without established rules, and simply make them up as they see fit for their usage – and then disregard them as they see fit. And then there are those who are hopelessly inept at their duty, and offer too many “chances” to those they govern; incapable of striking a balance between firmness and fairness.
My experiences as an Administrator have been rather positive as a whole and quite informative in hindsight – getting first a billet on the Halo Fan Fiction Wikia Administrative Team. I’d been a respected user there after spending three years contributing, earned Rollback rights two years into my stay there, and (finally) after two Requests for Adminship (RfA, or a community vote to receive Admin rights), I received the position of Administrator. I must admit, I probably was not mature enough upon receiving my rights – but within the first month of my tenure, I found myself reacting to issues on the wiki much more calmly and efficiently. By all means, I made mistakes – but the senior administrative staff was there to pull me to the side (or PM me on the Internet Relay Chat channel, anyway) and discuss the mistake, how I could have handled the situation better, and offered advice. The wiki itself was very democratic – and in some ways, very elitist, with the Administration cadre being referred to (half-jokingly) as the Cabal. The site had very clearly established rules, regarding Administrator conduct – holding them to be more accountable for their actions then normal users. This taught me to be responsible and civil.
The second Administrative position I have received was on the Halo Nation wiki, following the spilt between Halopedia and Wikia. Despite my siding with Halopedia on the matter, Subtank appointed me to aid her in helping improve the site, and turn it into something else beside a Halo Encyclopaedia, which would have clearly differentiated between the two sides. I accepted the appointment, and began work on changing the wiki for the better - but the ever-so helpful and insightful Wikia staff quickly ended that attempt, sacked the previous Administration, and left me and a few other Admins in place - along with several very inactive Bureaucrats. Eventually, I ended up taking the lead in Policy reforms during the latter months of 2011 to keep the wiki alive – and I am still working with it now, trying to expand the Administrative team and attempting to establish a less-transient and more-permanent community.
<span style="font-family: Courier New,Courier,monospace;">This guide will not be complete by any means – after all, I’m still learning the ropes myself; but I might as well record thoughts, theories, and essential skills an Administrator will need to keep the wiki they manage running and thriving. To the potential future administrators reading this, I hope you take this guide to heart and use it to make yourself a better leader of your community – not to mention a better all-around person.
The Ideal Process of becoming an AdministratorEdit
Being taught to be an Admin by the Halo Fan Fiction wiki, I’ve adopted some of their policies there regarding the processes in which one must pass to become an Administrator. It’s not supposed to be easy – after all, Adminship is not an easy job, and as such, I’d recommend six to eight months in between each step I outline below. Assuming you want to be an Admin, you’re in it for the long haul, right?
The first step should be joining the site, and getting experience within the community; getting to be known and respected for what you do for the community. Every action you make should be for the betterment of the community (in Soviet Russia, State for YOU!).
The second step should be the achieval of Rollback rights – usually achieved by requesting them via a forum just for that purpose or on a talkpage of a Rollback Policy page. Rollbackers are users entrusted with the powers of rollbacking contributions in a single click – faster than reverting pages with several clicks and page loads. Ideally, the rights should be given to an up-and-coming user who is demonstrating conduct very becoming, and is almost a model user (minor infractions made by a member while he/she is still new should be taken into account, but largely discounted due to the fact the user in question was still learning the ropes). In fact, Rollback rights should almost be a prerequisite for Adminship (something I’m trying to implement about on Halo Nation).
The third and final step should be actually achieving Adminship. This is much easier said than done. In some ways, a bit of political skills might be of value, as the position of Adminship can be very political – but it is not essential. On the talk page of Administrator Policy page, you will want to ask another user with whom you are close with to endorse you for Adminship by submitting a Request for Adminship (RfA) in the format shown below (depending on the wiki, it might be moved to a dedicated page or simply left on the talk page):
==Request for Adminship== ===USERNAME=== *Nominee name: *Nominator:' *Reason for Nomination:' ---- I, (NOMINATOR), do hereby nominate (NOMINEE) for the position of Administrator of (FULL WIKI NAME HERE).
I, (NOMINEE), do hereby accept/decline the nomination for Adminship of the (FULL WIKI NAME HERE). ==Voting== ===For (# users / # Admins+Bcrats)=== *Nominator vote here plus encouraging remark. -Leo Fox (My bark is probably bigger than my bite) 14:31, January 20, 2013 (UTC) ===Against (# users / # Admins+Bcrats)=== ==Discussion==
Once you accept your RfA (or decline, depending on what you want), you are encouraged not to vote for yourself, as it looks bad. It is also frowned upon to campaign, as the election will span roughly one (1) month, before the Administration decides the result. The community (and the Administration itself) will vote and voice their opinions regarding your potential appointment to the Administration. If the results are overwhelmingly ‘for’, the Administration will usually rule in favour of your appointment. If you lack much support, your chances are dubious at best, unless you have the Administration on your side – and then you are going to be an unpopular admin upon the conclusion of the election.
This rise to power is what some of the poorer Administrators out there tend to forget: Administrators are given power by the common user. Should that Admin fail to use that granted power in a professional fashion or abuse his/her powers, it is within the power of the community to have the powers stripped from him through democracy - and through external intervention if necessary.
The Ideal AdministratorEdit
As I touched on above, expecting everyone to behave like the Ideal Administrator is not particularly realistic – but as long as you do most of what follows, you’ll be a decent wiki moderator. As a result of the length of this section, I’ve broken this down into numbered points (part of it is also my unwillingness to make this Guide a University textbook on the subject of Wiki Leadership, or ridiculously un-understandable).
- Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Common sense, right? After all, I’m sure your parents have told you since you were a young child. If they haven’t to you, or there is some extenuating circumstances to which I am not aware, apologies – and consider yourself informed now.
- Act like a decent person at all times.
- Be firm, but fair.
- Follow through with threats. If you are making threats (another point is don’t make unnecessary threats!), make damn sure you follow through with it. If it appears you are all bark and no bite, your rulings as an Administrator have no weight to them. So, basically, if threaten consequences on a user/group of users, make sure you hammer them hard if they carry on with their conduct.
- Civility: no exceptions.
- Modesty is the best Policy. You would think so – but experience tells me otherwise. Basically, some people let the power go to their head and vastly inflate their impressions of themselves. Newsflash – just because you are an Administrator does not mean everyone will instantly love you. Just remember that you are an Admin because you got the wiki to trust you; don’t give them a reason to think twice about it or take advantage of it.
- Don’t make rules that won’t be followed. Bad for all parties involved - its easier not to make the rule than to make it, fully aware that it will be broken. So don’t bother.
- Exercise a policy of lasissez fair in regards to user affairs. This one is rather straight forward – if Admin intervention is not required for the eventual settling of drama/minor user affairs, then don’t get involved. Its too easy to mess it up, and tarnish your reputation as an impartial mediator. However, if it grows to the point of affecting the wiki, then intervene to end the said issue. Also, if the said issue is causing a user to become a victim of the said drama/etc., it is probably a good time to kill the issue.
- Don’t be a killjoy - too much
Winning Hearts and MindsEdit
How to use Admin toolsEdit
Waving the BanhammerEdit
While not the most in-depth guide that the reader has probably read, this Guide should aid a new Administrator learn the basics of maintaining a wiki and