[WikiEN-l] Admin burnout

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Re: Admin burnout

Jeff Raymond

George Herbert wrote:
> On 2/9/07, Marc Riddell <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> How on earth would you go about persuading someone to take this on?
>> The
>> whole day's posts have spoken about nothing but the negative side of the
>> job; are there any advantages - or are you simply hoping there are
>> enough
>> masochists out there to fill the positions?
>
> Why is anyone contributing to Wikipedia at all?

That's a really good answer to this.

I mean, I look at things this way, for myself:

1) I'd make a really good, if not great, administrator on this site.
2) Even as a mediocre administrator, I have the spare time and ability to
clean out uncontroversial backlogs.  I'm "available" 12-16 hours a day in
many cases.
3) I'll never pass RfA for a number of reasons, none of which would have
to do with my trustworthiness except for one or two editors.
4) I'm still not sure I even want to be part of that "club," given some of
the administrators in place.
5) Even with #4 being true, I'm dedicated enough to this project to have
donated two years of my time to it, and I'm capable of more and would do
it if I could.
6) I can't.

Do I WANT to be an administrator?  No, not really, for all the reasons
people describe - it's largely thankless, it leaves you wide open for even
more criticism, and it's not "fun" in the way writing about an 18th
century chess hoax is.  Could I BE a greater asset to the project as an
administrator?  Without question.

So the system leaves people like me behind.  Since I don't really WANT the
bit, I'm not terribly concerned about it.  But when I hear about burnout
and backlogs from the same people who want to stand in the way of getting
people who can use the tools equipped (and that generally does not apply
to people here), I simply have to roll my eyes.

So yeah.  Someone else said it - it's probably going to take a
Foundation/Jimbo-level decree to get anything to change on this point.  A
great idea at [[Wikipedia:Trial adminship]] was ditched this week, and the
100 new admins every 3 months idea is even better, but will never gain
traction from the non-mailing list community.  It's a pathetic truth, but
there it is.  And until we start being more forgiving of users who've made
mistakes and learned from them, the situation's not going to get much
better.

-Jeff

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Re: Admin burnout

Guy Chapman aka JzG
On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 16:32:37 -0500 (EST), "Jeff Raymond"
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>Do I WANT to be an administrator?  No, not really, for all the reasons
>people describe - it's largely thankless, it leaves you wide open for even
>more criticism, and it's not "fun" in the way writing about an 18th
>century chess hoax is.  Could I BE a greater asset to the project as an
>administrator?  Without question.

That was my view, anyway :-)  But we know what the outcome was (and
many of us know that it was wrong).  Perhaps we should try again.

Guy (JzG)
--
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:JzG


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Re: Admin burnout

Guettarda
In reply to this post by geni
On 2/9/07, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On 2/9/07, Marc Riddell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > on 2/9/07 3:44 PM, geni at [hidden email] wrote:
> >
> > > Šyou end up with resentment against the lucky
> > > ones.
> >
> > After reading all of the posts on the provocatively-named subject "Admin
> > Burnout", I am hard pressed to see anything "lucky" about being "chosen"
> as
> > one. How on earth would you go about persuading someone to take this on?
> The
> > whole day's posts have spoken about nothing but the negative side of the
> > job; are there any advantages - or are you simply hoping there are
> enough
> > masochists out there to fill the positions?
> >
> > Marc Riddell
>
> You can see deleted edits you can speedy stuff without tagging and you
> can block without going through AIV. You can edit protected templates
> without messing around. reverting is less effort. Certian types of
> page moves are only posible for admins
>
> On the less official side people tend to think twice before attacking
> you and you tend to get a free pass when it comes to being trusted.
>
> On the against policy but can be done anyway if you are smart. You can:
>
> Speedy rather than prod
> Block new users who are being anoying


Having admin powers is convenient from an editing perspective, especially
the ability to move pages and see deleted edits.

There are a lot of reasons not to give people admin powers after just 50
edits.  I'm guessing that one of them is copyright.  Right now there are a
lot of deleted copyvios.  If anyone who registers (just about) has access to
those copyvios, then aren't we back to publishing the copyvios?  It would
also create a lot more need for oversight - we'd be opening up a huge amount
of personal information to the public.

Then, of course, there's the damage an admin can do.  Willy on Wheels can
sit tight for 50 edits.  Fifty edits with a sleeper account and you can put
all the penises you want on the main page. A dozen sleeper accounts and a
dynamics IP, and you could really have fun.  And while I won't go into
details per WP:BEANS, there are a lot of ways that an admin can do
effectively irreversible damage.

While we probably need lots more admins, we don't need automatic admins.
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Re: Admin burnout

Joshua Brady
In reply to this post by Arne 'Timwi' Heizmann
On 2/9/07, Timwi <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Joshua Brady wrote:
>
> > >  * Wikipedia doubles every 6 months, we need an admin pool to
> > compensate it, and we need those who will focus on handling admin
> > issues, not waive the mop around for 2 months and discontinue use. So
> > lets not look at a new admin based on his edit count, but his
> > contributions and WILLINGNESS.
>
> Here is this wrong sentiment again. Just because you need admins who
> "will focus on handling admin issues", you are (incorrectly) concluding
> that people who only "waive the mop around for 2 months and discontinue
> use" are somehow worthless and therefore shouldn't be made admins. Even
> if someone helps out with some admin tasks for only 2 months, surely
> they're worth more than they would be if they couldn't do any of it
> because they're denied access to the admin functions. You never know if
> one of them stays on and becomes the focussed admin you need.

Out of everything I posted, how did you draw the conclusion that I
said anything to the effect that, those who "wave the mop around for 2
months and discontinue use" were worthless?

I simply stated that we need more admins who were willing to stick it
out for the long haul.

> Timwi

- Josh

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Re: Admin burnout

Joshua Brady
In reply to this post by Steve Bennett-8
On 2/9/07, Steve Bennett <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 2/9/07, Marc Riddell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > How does the Community define a "quality admin"?
>
> Duh. 100% edit summaries. 3000 edits, well distributed across article
> space, project space and article talk space. Never having pissed
> anyone off. Ever.

I'd be reluctant to support anyone who has never pissed anyone off.
They don't know how to handle personal confrontation.

> Steve

- Josh

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Re: Admin burnout

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by The Cunctator
The Cunctator wrote:

> On 2/9/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 09/02/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> I propose an experiment:
>>> Select at random 100 editors who meet some minimal criteria* and make
>>> them admins. Make it clear to them that they may turn down adminship
>>> without prejudice.
>>> Then, we watch these 100 "probationary" admins for 3 months. If they
>>> abuse their admin powers in that time, their admin status is removed.
>>> Otherwise, we treat them as regular admins. The only difference with a
>>> "probationary" admin is the level of scrutiny they receive.
>>> If this works, then after 3 months we do it again. And again every three
>>> months. Soon, adminship loses almost all of its "status" appeal. It's
>>> just something you'll get if you hang around and keep your nose clean.
>>> Of course, you can still apply through RfA. But I predict that RfA will
>>> quickly become much less political and controversial.
>>> *My suggestion for "minimal criteria":
>>>     At least 50 edits to at least 10 different non-own-user pages for
>>> each of the past three months, and
>>>     No blocks in the past three months
>>> Essentially, just enough to give a good indication that the user is
>>> involved and isn't a trouble-maker. Nothing more.
>>> Comments? Flames?
>>
>> EXCELLENT idea. If Jimbo and the ArbCom like it (I'm picking the AC as
>> sanity checkers here) then the experiment should be declared.
>
>
> Good idea. How about no blocks after the first week of editing? Editors who
> are bold and learn from their mistakes would make good admins.
> _______________________________________________

Well, my criteria were just a starting point, and I hope they can be
improved upon. Do note, however, that I suggested no blocks in the last
three months. Blocks early on won't matter after three months of no blocks.

-Rich

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Re: Admin burnout

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs-2
on 2/9/07 2:58 PM, Stan Shebs at [hidden email] wrote:

> I
> encourage you to try designing a support system though, WP can't afford
> to lose all its admins to "churn".


Stan

I¹ve learned a lot from the List today; specifically about some of the
people who make Wikipedia go. I have a hell of a lot to learn about its
administrative workings; and I won¹t even think about going near the
technical background elements (no one is ready for the chaos that would
produce :-) ) But, the peopleŠ

Everyone brings their own special gifts to the Project; that¹s what makes it
work so well. Mine happens to be people: how they interact with their self,
and with other persons.

From what I have read I do believe a formal, recognized support mechanism is
needed to help persons in the project experiencing periodic, situational
difficulties. Were are dealing with creative personalities here, and, like
it or not, this creativity comes with a certain degree of fragility, and,
yes, flakiness (very definitely, me included ­ in fact I¹ve been called
things I had to look up).

To even suggest that if someone burns out, there are hundreds waiting in the
wings to replace them is to dehumanize them.

I¹m going to chew on this some more. But whatever proposal I come up with is
probably going to require people to do some thinking outside the Wikibox;
but why the hell not ­ something¹s not working within it.

Marc Riddell


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Re: Admin burnout

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

> On 2/9/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I propose an experiment:
>>
>> Select at random 100 editors who meet some minimal criteria* and make
>> them admins. Make it clear to them that they may turn down adminship
>> without prejudice.
>>
>
> So we increase the number of paper admins in return for what? Risk
> benefit analysis doesn't look good.
>
>> Then, we watch these 100 "probationary" admins for 3 months. If they
>> abuse their admin powers in that time, their admin status is removed.
>> Otherwise, we treat them as regular admins. The only difference with a
>> "probationary" admin is the level of scrutiny they receive.
>>
>
> I have better things to do with my time than babysit admins. So do most people.
>
>> If this works, then after 3 months we do it again. And again every three
>> months. Soon, adminship loses almost all of its "status" appeal. It's
>> just something you'll get if you hang around and keep your nose clean.
>>
>
> Statistically no. In fact you end up with resentment against the lucky
> ones. At least at the moment there is some theoretical reason why
> people are or are not admins.
>
>> Of course, you can still apply through RfA. But I predict that RfA will
>> quickly become much less political and controversial.
>>
>> *My suggestion for "minimal criteria":
>>     At least 50 edits to at least 10 different non-own-user pages for
>> each of the past three months, and
>>     No blocks in the past three months
>>
>
> So I now need to be hitting users who stay just below the level of
> blocking with 1 second blocks?
>
>> Essentially, just enough to give a good indication that the user is
>> involved and isn't a trouble-maker. Nothing more.
>>
>> Comments? Flames?
>>
>
> I strongly suspect you don't know all the things that it is
> theoretically possible for an admin to do.

Well, in your last point you're wrong. I'm one of those "paper admins"
that you seem to hate so much.

As far as "hitting users who stay just below the level of blocking with
1 second blocks", it sounds to me like "gaming the system".

What is your *real* objection to this suggestion, Geni? You seem to
simultaneously complaining about any added work, and bashing good faith
suggestions for improving the situation.

-Rich

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Re: Admin burnout

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Marc Riddell
On 2/9/07, Marc Riddell <[hidden email]> wrote:

> on 2/9/07 2:58 PM, Stan Shebs at [hidden email] wrote:
>
> > I
> > encourage you to try designing a support system though, WP can't afford
> > to lose all its admins to "churn".
>
>
> Stan
>
> I¹ve learned a lot from the List today; specifically about some of the
> people who make Wikipedia go. I have a hell of a lot to learn about its
> administrative workings; and I won¹t even think about going near the
> technical background elements (no one is ready for the chaos that would
> produce :-) ) But, the peopleŠ
>
> Everyone brings their own special gifts to the Project; that¹s what makes it
> work so well. Mine happens to be people: how they interact with their self,
> and with other persons.
>
> From what I have read I do believe a formal, recognized support mechanism is
> needed to help persons in the project experiencing periodic, situational
> difficulties. Were are dealing with creative personalities here, and, like
> it or not, this creativity comes with a certain degree of fragility, and,
> yes, flakiness (very definitely, me included ­ in fact I¹ve been called
> things I had to look up).
>
> To even suggest that if someone burns out, there are hundreds waiting in the
> wings to replace them is to dehumanize them.
>
> I¹m going to chew on this some more. But whatever proposal I come up with is
> probably going to require people to do some thinking outside the Wikibox;
> but why the hell not ­ something¹s not working within it.
>
> Marc Riddell

Problems like this have plagued online interactions since they
started, and to some extent volunteer organizations back into the dark
depths of modern history.

That said, some organizations deal with them pretty well, and I am all
for outside-ish suggestions on how we can do better with them.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Admin burnout

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by Marc Riddell
Marc Riddell wrote:

> on 2/9/07 3:44 PM, geni at [hidden email] wrote:
>
>> Šyou end up with resentment against the lucky
>> ones.
>
> After reading all of the posts on the provocatively-named subject "Admin
> Burnout", I am hard pressed to see anything "lucky" about being "chosen" as
> one. How on earth would you go about persuading someone to take this on? The
> whole day's posts have spoken about nothing but the negative side of the
> job; are there any advantages - or are you simply hoping there are enough
> masochists out there to fill the positions?
>
> Marc Riddell
>

While it's true that some people's approach to being admins puts them in
the way of much undeserved abuse, that is not the only way to be an admin.

Lest I be misunderstood, I appreciate the work that those admins do. It
is necessary work, and Wikipedia benefits from it. These admins deserve
our thanks and our support.

However, Wikipedia can also benefit from the less active admins. These
admins have a lower profile, and spend much less time on the project.
Because of how RfA works now, these admins tend to be those who have
burned out, or who became admins quite some time ago (as I did).

-Rich

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Re: Admin burnout

geni
In reply to this post by Rich Holton
On 2/9/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Well, in your last point you're wrong. I'm one of those "paper admins"
> that you seem to hate so much.
>

How does the whitelist work?

> As far as "hitting users who stay just below the level of blocking with
> 1 second blocks", it sounds to me like "gaming the system".

I would regard it as protecting the system from itself. Legal fictions
have a long and sometime honorable history.

> What is your *real* objection to this suggestion, Geni? You seem to
> simultaneously complaining about any added work, and bashing good faith
> suggestions for improving the situation.
>
> -Rich

Good faith does not mean correct. My experience is that most people
most of the time act in good faith. Left to themselves humans tend to
do so. No I am not claiming the idea was made in anything other than
good faith. It could be argued that the first sentence of that
paragraph assumed bad faith but perhaps it is better read as a request
for clarification.


But I do claim it was flawed. Lets look at the benefits yes? Maybe 10
active admins. Maybe.

Downsides:

100 admins who don't really know policy. Sure we have a load that
applies to at the moment but at least in their case we know they once
did.

100 admins I can't trust (that is what probation means). Sure there
are a handful I can't trust right now (whoever is behind wikitruth)
but that is a problem I would rather not see grow.

Greater ease for someone with an agenda to get admin powers.
Astroturfers, Scientologists, probably various political agents

Greater ease for trolls perhaps whoever it was who was hitting the
main page a while back.

I don't know if you read SEO forums much but text generation systems
are getting quite good. How certain are you that you can pick up 100%
of them within 150 edits? Heck write a wikification bot and even fewer
will be picked up.

The risks outweigh the benefits.

--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

David Gerard-2
On 10/02/07, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I don't know if you read SEO forums much but text generation systems
> are getting quite good. How certain are you that you can pick up 100%
> of them within 150 edits? Heck write a wikification bot and even fewer
> will be picked up.


I must say I hadn't heard of that one. Do you have any pointers to
somewhere I can read up on this?

I still aspire to an English Wikipedia where any editor can become
admin unless unsuitable - rather than the present utterly broken RFA
process. Meh!


- d.

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Re: Admin burnout

Matthew Britton-2
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:
> I don't know if you read SEO forums much but text generation systems
> are getting quite good. How certain are you that you can pick up 100%
> of them within 150 edits? Heck write a wikification bot and even fewer
> will be picked up.
>

This is indeed true, and no text generation system or bot is necessary.
150 small, useful, constructive edits, done manually, should take about
half an hour, on a slow day.

-Gurch

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Re: Admin burnout

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

> On 2/9/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Well, in your last point you're wrong. I'm one of those "paper admins"
>> that you seem to hate so much.
>>
>
> How does the whitelist work?
>
>> As far as "hitting users who stay just below the level of blocking with
>> 1 second blocks", it sounds to me like "gaming the system".
>
> I would regard it as protecting the system from itself. Legal fictions
> have a long and sometime honorable history.
>
>> What is your *real* objection to this suggestion, Geni? You seem to
>> simultaneously complaining about any added work, and bashing good faith
>> suggestions for improving the situation.
>>
>> -Rich
>
> Good faith does not mean correct. My experience is that most people
> most of the time act in good faith. Left to themselves humans tend to
> do so. No I am not claiming the idea was made in anything other than
> good faith. It could be argued that the first sentence of that
> paragraph assumed bad faith but perhaps it is better read as a request
> for clarification.
>
>
> But I do claim it was flawed. Lets look at the benefits yes? Maybe 10
> active admins. Maybe.
>
> Downsides:
>
> 100 admins who don't really know policy. Sure we have a load that
> applies to at the moment but at least in their case we know they once
> did.
>
> 100 admins I can't trust (that is what probation means). Sure there
> are a handful I can't trust right now (whoever is behind wikitruth)
> but that is a problem I would rather not see grow.
>
> Greater ease for someone with an agenda to get admin powers.
> Astroturfers, Scientologists, probably various political agents
>
> Greater ease for trolls perhaps whoever it was who was hitting the
> main page a while back.
>
> I don't know if you read SEO forums much but text generation systems
> are getting quite good. How certain are you that you can pick up 100%
> of them within 150 edits? Heck write a wikification bot and even fewer
> will be picked up.
>
> The risks outweigh the benefits.
>

Geni,

You're welcome to your opinions, and I appreciate your more thought-out
response. However, I do believe that you're missing the largest benefit
of the proposal: the de-politicizing of RfA. The de-emphasizing of the
status of being an admin. Perhaps you don't see these a benefits.

It seems to me that one hazard for an admin who if heavily involved is a
sort of "messiah complex" -- the belief that without them (or in this
case, others like them) the project will fail.

As others have pointed out, Wikipedia is built on a premise that open
editing can produce a quality encyclopedia. This is a premise that many
(most?) traditional encyclopedia editors can't believe will work,
because they passionately believe that without people like them, it
cannot possibly work.

So I ask you to think carefully about your own motives and beliefs about
admins on Wikipedia. No one else knows what those are.

It's very possible that my proposed experiment has real problems and is
unworkable. But, may I suggest that you offer alternate suggestions for
improvements, instead of just criticizing those of others?

-Rich

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Re: Admin burnout

geni
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 2/10/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 10/02/07, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I don't know if you read SEO forums much but text generation systems
> > are getting quite good. How certain are you that you can pick up 100%
> > of them within 150 edits? Heck write a wikification bot and even fewer
> > will be picked up.
>
>
> I must say I hadn't heard of that one. Do you have any pointers to
> somewhere I can read up on this?
>

markov text generator

The tactics tends to be regarded as black hat so a lot of stuff isn't
public and at present direct scraping wikipedia and the like is more
popular

> I still aspire to an English Wikipedia where any editor can become
> admin unless unsuitable - rather than the present utterly broken RFA
> process. Meh!
>

That will first require a more effective way of neutraliseing problem admins.

--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

geni
In reply to this post by Matthew Britton-2
On 2/10/07, Gurch <[hidden email]> wrote:

> geni wrote:
> > I don't know if you read SEO forums much but text generation systems
> > are getting quite good. How certain are you that you can pick up 100%
> > of them within 150 edits? Heck write a wikification bot and even fewer
> > will be picked up.
> >
>
> This is indeed true, and no text generation system or bot is necessary.
> 150 small, useful, constructive edits, done manually, should take about
> half an hour, on a slow day.
>
> -Gurch
>

You will want to run a lot more than one account though and it adds up.


--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

> On 2/10/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 10/02/07, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> I don't know if you read SEO forums much but text generation systems
>>> are getting quite good. How certain are you that you can pick up 100%
>>> of them within 150 edits? Heck write a wikification bot and even fewer
>>> will be picked up.
>>
>> I must say I hadn't heard of that one. Do you have any pointers to
>> somewhere I can read up on this?
>>
>
> markov text generator
>
> The tactics tends to be regarded as black hat so a lot of stuff isn't
> public and at present direct scraping wikipedia and the like is more
> popular
>
>> I still aspire to an English Wikipedia where any editor can become
>> admin unless unsuitable - rather than the present utterly broken RFA
>> process. Meh!
>>
>
> That will first require a more effective way of neutraliseing problem admins.
>
Geni,

What do you see as the current issues in dealing with problem admins? Is
it that it's necessary to go through a lengthy ArbCom process? Do you
have any thoughts on how to improve?

-Rich

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Re: Admin burnout

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by geni
On 10/02/07, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 2/10/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > I still aspire to an English Wikipedia where any editor can become
> > admin unless unsuitable - rather than the present utterly broken RFA
> > process. Meh!

> That will first require a more effective way of neutraliseing problem admins.


Oh, I dunno. (I don't think I'm revealing anything I shouldn't about
AC discussions by saying that) The AC is quite aware of problematic
admin behaviour and, while extending admins a *lot* of trust and
slack, will deadmin people at the end of a case or (if needed) at the
drop of a hat for the good of the project. The AC doesn't scale, but
us old burnouts are telling the n00bs to do a set number of hours a
week on mucking out the arbitration pits AND NO MORE.


- d.

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Re: Admin burnout

Guettarda
In reply to this post by Rich Holton
On 2/9/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> geni wrote:
> > On 2/9/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> Well, in your last point you're wrong. I'm one of those "paper admins"
> >> that you seem to hate so much.
> >>
> >
> > How does the whitelist work?
> >
> >> As far as "hitting users who stay just below the level of blocking with
> >> 1 second blocks", it sounds to me like "gaming the system".
> >
> > I would regard it as protecting the system from itself. Legal fictions
> > have a long and sometime honorable history.
> >
> >> What is your *real* objection to this suggestion, Geni? You seem to
> >> simultaneously complaining about any added work, and bashing good faith
> >> suggestions for improving the situation.
> >>
> >> -Rich
> >
> > Good faith does not mean correct. My experience is that most people
> > most of the time act in good faith. Left to themselves humans tend to
> > do so. No I am not claiming the idea was made in anything other than
> > good faith. It could be argued that the first sentence of that
> > paragraph assumed bad faith but perhaps it is better read as a request
> > for clarification.
> >
> >
> > But I do claim it was flawed. Lets look at the benefits yes? Maybe 10
> > active admins. Maybe.
> >
> > Downsides:
> >
> > 100 admins who don't really know policy. Sure we have a load that
> > applies to at the moment but at least in their case we know they once
> > did.
> >
> > 100 admins I can't trust (that is what probation means). Sure there
> > are a handful I can't trust right now (whoever is behind wikitruth)
> > but that is a problem I would rather not see grow.
> >
> > Greater ease for someone with an agenda to get admin powers.
> > Astroturfers, Scientologists, probably various political agents
> >
> > Greater ease for trolls perhaps whoever it was who was hitting the
> > main page a while back.
> >
> > I don't know if you read SEO forums much but text generation systems
> > are getting quite good. How certain are you that you can pick up 100%
> > of them within 150 edits? Heck write a wikification bot and even fewer
> > will be picked up.
> >
> > The risks outweigh the benefits.
> >
>
> Geni,
>
> You're welcome to your opinions, and I appreciate your more thought-out
> response. However, I do believe that you're missing the largest benefit
> of the proposal: the de-politicizing of RfA. The de-emphasizing of the
> status of being an admin. Perhaps you don't see these a benefits.


Is the benefit worth the trouble of a dozen vandalbots with admin powers?
Is it worth the benefit of trying to undo some of the far worse things an
admin can do... (I won't give examples, per BEANS, but I'm sure you could
come up with some pretty awful things)

It seems to me that one hazard for an admin who if heavily involved is a

> sort of "messiah complex" -- the belief that without them (or in this
> case, others like them) the project will fail.
>
> As others have pointed out, Wikipedia is built on a premise that open
> editing can produce a quality encyclopedia. This is a premise that many
> (most?) traditional encyclopedia editors can't believe will work,
> because they passionately believe that without people like them, it
> cannot possibly work.
>
> So I ask you to think carefully about your own motives and beliefs about
> admins on Wikipedia. No one else knows what those are.
>
> It's very possible that my proposed experiment has real problems and is
> unworkable. But, may I suggest that you offer alternate suggestions for
> improvements, instead of just criticizing those of others?
>
> -Rich
>
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Re: Admin burnout

geni
In reply to this post by Rich Holton
On 2/10/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Geni,
>
> You're welcome to your opinions, and I appreciate your more thought-out
> response. However, I do believe that you're missing the largest benefit
> of the proposal: the de-politicizing of RfA. The de-emphasizing of the
> status of being an admin. Perhaps you don't see these a benefits.
>

I see that after the resulting mess people will be more uptight than
ever about who they let get hold of the admin bit.

> It seems to me that one hazard for an admin who if heavily involved is a
> sort of "messiah complex" -- the belief that without them (or in this
> case, others like them) the project will fail.
>

Such admins are normally within a couple of a weeks of burnout.
Generally they drop off before they become a problem.

> As others have pointed out, Wikipedia is built on a premise that open
> editing can produce a quality encyclopedia. This is a premise that many
> (most?) traditional encyclopedia editors can't believe will work,
> because they passionately believe that without people like them, it
> cannot possibly work.

Admins are a pragmatic response to finding that the pure editing
approach doesn't quite work.

Unfortunately we then hit a "if all you have is a hammer everything
looks like a nail problem". It has become to tempting to try and solve
problems by increasing admin powers or throwing admins at the problem.
Often it appears to work but far to often admins are little more than
a sticking plaster.

> So I ask you to think carefully about your own motives and beliefs about
> admins on Wikipedia. No one else knows what those are.

I think admins useful furthering the objective of finish what my
ancestors started and conquering the world in the name of the Crown.
No you don't know my motives are and I don't know yours (I think it is
a fairly safe assumption that you want to improve wikipedia) but that
has little relevance to the truth or otherwise of my arguments

> It's very possible that my proposed experiment has real problems and is
> unworkable. But, may I suggest that you offer alternate suggestions for
> improvements, instead of just criticizing those of others?

I always tended towards Karl Popper's philosophy but no matter. I
think we need to find a better way of dealing with problem admins and
stop trying to use admins as a sticking plaster for problems that are
better dealt with through other means.

--
geni

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