[WikiEN-l] Admin burnout

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Re: Admin burnout

geni
On 2/10/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> 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
>

The problem is who do admins answer to on a day to day basis? And I
mean de facto because de jure tends not to be very relevant in day to
day matters.

Now editors answer to each other and admins. Do something silly and
people will let you know.

Admins who do admins answer to. It is a long time since admins in any
meaningful sense answered to the community in any meaningful sense and
since any formal mechanism for doing so has serious bugs (think RFA on
steroids) at this present time that appears broken beyond repair. What
about other admins then? Problem is that going up against a fellow
admin is risky it gets political fast and people cease to be
objective. Nether the less I think if there is hope of making admins
more accountable it is to find a way to make them answer to their
fellow admins.
--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 2/9/07, 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?
>
> I still aspire to an English Wikipedia where any editor can become
> admin unless unsuitable - rather than the present utterly broken RFA
> process. Meh!

The one plus side is that controversial people get flagged really quickly.

I think that my RFA failed because of that - as much as I think I was
in the right in where I was trying to balance my responses to the
MONGO situation previously, at the time my RFA came up, the topic and
what I was trying to do were pretty controversial.

I can live with that.  I don't think it was fair, but it's probably
the least of the unfair things that happened to people coming out of
that sequence of events. The community saying "that's controversial"
was reasonable.

I do want a good feedback mechanism in place.  It may make more sense
on the back end (desysopping more easily) than front end (RFAs harder)
but I do think we need that feedback and correction mechanism working
there.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Admin burnout

Michael Snow
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
Guettarda wrote:

> On 2/8/07, Marc Riddell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> on 2/8/07 10:34 PM, Michael Snow at [hidden email] wrote:
>>
>> > We are supposed to be focusing on quality, not quantity, with
>> respect to
>> > the encyclopedia articles. It's high time we did the same for
>> > administrators.
>>
>> A resounding YES!
>>
>> Marc
>
> I'd have to say a resounding NO.  The article quality philosophy says
> that
> we have enough articles and we should put higher priority on improving
> the
> ones we have than adding new ones.  That philosophy isn't workable with
> admins.

Without the context provided by the remainder of my message, I'm afraid
you've misunderstood what I meant by this. I was addressing the way we
evaluate candidates for adminship, a bloated process that emphasizes
quantity (as in volume of activity) over quality.

I am more concerned that we have a process to choose quality
administrators, rather than invent a way to get large numbers of
mediocre-to-poor ones. The current system badly needs to be redesigned
to accomplish the former and avoid the latter. A natural byproduct of
this may well be that we get more administrators because the process is
not so tortuous.

--Michael Snow

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Re: Admin burnout

Arne 'Timwi' Heizmann
In reply to this post by Rich Holton
Rich Holton 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.

Within no time, you'll have people impose ridiculous criteria on what a
probationary admin needs to do in order to "pass the test". Before you
know it, people will be demoted simply for being on holiday and not
showing up in a month.


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Re: Admin burnout

Arne 'Timwi' Heizmann
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:
>
> I have better things to do with my time than babysit admins. So do most people.

Then leave it to those who don't. There will be enough. Especially if
you let more people be admins.


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Re: Admin burnout

geni
On 2/10/07, Timwi <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Then leave it to those who don't. There will be enough. Especially if
> you let more people be admins.

We have spare admin resources? We have backog of over 1000 images
needing deletion (see [[CAT:CSD]]) could you ask these people to help
doing something about it?


--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

Guy Chapman aka JzG
On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 15:35:11 +0000, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

>We have spare admin resources? We have backog of over 1000 images
>needing deletion (see [[CAT:CSD]]) could you ask these people to help
>doing something about it?

OK.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:0008811297923.jpg

An album cover, with a fair use rationale, used in the right place,
but tagged for speedy as "no source" - do I delete it or not?

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


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Re: Admin burnout

geni
On 2/10/07, Guy Chapman aka JzG <[hidden email]> wrote:
> OK.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:0008811297923.jpg
>
> An album cover, with a fair use rationale, used in the right place,
> but tagged for speedy as "no source" - do I delete it or not?
>

Heh that has always been a bit of a grey area. Technicaly yes since it
does not mention the music lable. In practice I would be woundering
why User:Sfgsn6 only has edits to the image namespace.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Sfgsn6


--
geni

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Unsourced album cover (was: Admin burnout)

jkelly-2
In reply to this post by Guy Chapman aka JzG
  Guy,

Quoting Guy Chapman aka JzG <[hidden email]>:

> OK.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:0008811297923.jpg
>
> An album cover, with a fair use rationale, used in the right place,
> but tagged for speedy as "no source" - do I delete it or not?

  If you're interested in what, in theory, should happen when one is cleaning
out image CSDs, take a look at it now -- I edited the page to identify the
copyright holder (we need to do this), added our standard fair use rationale
for an album cover.  I then orphaned the image, because it wasn't being used in
the way the rationale specifies -- it was decorating a discography listing on
the artists' page, not being used in an article about the album.

                 Jkelly


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Re: Admin burnout

phoebe ayers-3
In reply to this post by Mike R-2
On 2/9/07, Taco Deposit <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> 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.
> >
>
> And you can't have made the 3000 edits over too long or too short a period
> of time.


Because Heaven knows we wouldn't want people who had been hanging around the
project for a long time to be admins.

KP's point, below, about only people who have lots and lots of time to edit
becoming admins is a good one -- it means, for the most part, that people
with very busy outside lives will never get the chance. We're losing a whole
swath of potential admins this way.

The thing about adminship (to sort of address Marc's questions) is we don't
really have any other "official" way to recognize editors. Sure, there are
barnstars and the like; but these are pretty meaningless outside of a narrow
context. There are cabals, but since TINC, well, you're out of luck :) Being
able to say "I'm an administrator on the English Wikipedia!" is a kind of
code for "I've devoted a lot of time to the project, and people recognize
and value my contributions -- I'm an important person!"

It doesn't really matter what the actual work is. The current administrators
on this list are talking about the pain and suffering of having to use the
mop & bucket (which is, as far as I can tell, entirely true) but ignoring
the fact that by having the sysop bit they have recognition within the
project that it's not possible to get in any other way. There's no "trusted
editor bit" that can be set. There's no "you've been editing for three
years, now you're level x". You can make a tremendous number of valuable
edits on the projects (or perhaps a smaller number of really good edits over
a long time), but there's no way to up your privileges or even recognize you
officially without making you an admin. And what if I want that recognition,
but don't really have any interest in deleting speedys or mucking through
endless policy? Perhaps then you get trouble, or at least an inefficient
system where people play to "admin criteria" rather than "let's make this a
good encyclopedia criteria".

I give a lot of talks on wikipedia to the outside world, and I get asked all
the time if I'm an admin -- not because the people asking really have any
conception of what that means, but because they assume that if I know a lot
about the site I must be in the "in crowd" and the only thing they know
about on Wikipedia that constitutes an "in-crowd" is adminship. We must
change this, and find some other recognition mechanism for devoted,
conscientious and level-headed editors that does not depend on their
knowledge of what the heck "A7" means or whether they've made x number of
edits to the wikipedia namespace.

-- phoebe (brassratgirl)
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Re: Unsourced album cover (was: Admin burnout)

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by jkelly-2
>   If you're interested in what, in theory, should happen when one is cleaning
> out image CSDs, take a look at it now -- I edited the page to identify the
> copyright holder (we need to do this), added our standard fair use rationale
> for an album cover.  I then orphaned the image, because it wasn't being used in
> the way the rationale specifies -- it was decorating a discography listing on
> the artists' page, not being used in an article about the album.

Shouldn't the image be deleted if it's orphaned? A fair use rationale
is only for a particular use, as this image isn't being used, the
rationale is nonsense.

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Deleting orphaned unfree images (was: Unsourced album cover)

jkelly-2
  Thomas,

Quoting Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:

> Shouldn't the image be deleted if it's orphaned? A fair use rationale
> is only for a particular use, as this image isn't being used, the
> rationale is nonsense.

  I agree with this, of course.  But en: treats unfree content as deserving of
many of the same protections from deletion as free content, and deleting a
"fair use" image that we're not actually using will provoke people into
accusations of ignoring process, abuse of admin tools, and may even wind up at
Deletion Review.

                                  Jkelly


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Re: Unsourced album cover (was: Admin burnout)

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

> >   If you're interested in what, in theory, should happen when one is cleaning
> > out image CSDs, take a look at it now -- I edited the page to identify the
> > copyright holder (we need to do this), added our standard fair use rationale
> > for an album cover.  I then orphaned the image, because it wasn't being used in
> > the way the rationale specifies -- it was decorating a discography listing on
> > the artists' page, not being used in an article about the album.
>
> Shouldn't the image be deleted if it's orphaned? A fair use rationale
> is only for a particular use, as this image isn't being used, the
> rationale is nonsense.

You have to wait 7 days before zapping orphans.


--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout (deputy admins)

William Pietri
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
Having read with great interest much of the discussion, I'd like to
offer another proposal for reforming the way we get admins. This isn't
really something I'm championing; I'm just throwing it out in hopes of
advancing the discussion. Many of the elements are borrowed, and if this
goes anywhere, I'll gladly go back and cite them.

The spirit of this is that there is a lot of relatively uncontroversial
admin work that needs to be done, so that we should let a wider set
responsible people do some of the basic mop-and-bucket stuff. For
controversial stuff, that would effectively stay in the hands of current
admins. It's more "I guess it's my turn to clean the bathroom" than "I
run this place."


The basics:

    * We introduce the status of "deputy admin" (other possible names:
      provisional, temporary, transient, acting, probationary).
    * Deputies have all the powers of a regular admin.
    * If stepping into something controversial or difficult, they are
      expected to get help from a permanent admin.
    * The term is limited to, say, 3 months.
    * Application is similar, but the bar is lower:
          o they should have a modest history as a useful contributor;
          o they should have demonstrated reasonable knowledge of how
            Wikipedia works;
          o they shouldn't be obviously dangerous;
          o no serious objections means they pass.
    * They can be more easily be de-admined. Possible mechanisms:
          o their request stays open, and a serious objection means they
            lose the bit;
          o any N (1? 2? 3?) admins can agree to de-admin them with
            cause; or
          o any serious, validated complaint of admin power abuse ends
            their term.
    * After their term is up, there is a mandatory break of say, 6
      weeks, during which they are just another editor.
    * After the break, they can:
          o carry on editing, without prejudice or pressure,
          o apply for another term as a deputy, or
          o apply for administrator-for-life status through the RfA process.


So that's the basic notion. Like a lot of what goes on here, I think
there will be a lot of useful social convention that grows up around the
core mechanism.

Why do it? Here's my thinking:

Pros:

    * Many hands make light work.
    * Experienced admins can focus on the hard stuff.
    * Gives deputies a track record for future full RfA.
    * Helps de-emphasizes adminship as status item.
    * Limited scope and term will make it less appealing to those
      seeking admin-hood for the power.
    * Helps identify responsible people.
    * Wider distribution of power means less us-vs-them divide.
    * Requires no code changes.


Cons:

    * More admins to keep track of.
    * The process of deciding who gets in and who doesn't is more work,
      and possibly more drama than the current setup.
    * More work blessing and de-blessing deputy admins.



Naturally, I don't think this would solve all of the problems that have
come up, but do folks think it would be a step forward?


Thanks,

William





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Re: Admin burnout

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by phoebe ayers-3
on 2/10/07 2:23 PM, phoebe ayers at [hidden email] wrote:

> Because Heaven knows we wouldn't want people who had been hanging around the
> project for a long time to be admins.
>
> KP's point, below, about only people who have lots and lots of time to edit
> becoming admins is a good one -- it means, for the most part, that people
> with very busy outside lives will never get the chance. We're losing a whole
> swath of potential admins this way.
>
> The thing about adminship (to sort of address Marc's questions) is we don't
> really have any other "official" way to recognize editors. Sure, there are
> barnstars and the like; but these are pretty meaningless outside of a narrow
> context. There are cabals, but since TINC, well, you're out of luck :) Being
> able to say "I'm an administrator on the English Wikipedia!" is a kind of
> code for "I've devoted a lot of time to the project, and people recognize
> and value my contributions -- I'm an important person!"
>
> It doesn't really matter what the actual work is. The current administrators
> on this list are talking about the pain and suffering of having to use the
> mop & bucket (which is, as far as I can tell, entirely true) but ignoring
> the fact that by having the sysop bit they have recognition within the
> project that it's not possible to get in any other way. There's no "trusted
> editor bit" that can be set. There's no "you've been editing for three
> years, now you're level x". You can make a tremendous number of valuable
> edits on the projects (or perhaps a smaller number of really good edits over
> a long time), but there's no way to up your privileges or even recognize you
> officially without making you an admin. And what if I want that recognition,
> but don't really have any interest in deleting speedys or mucking through
> endless policy? Perhaps then you get trouble, or at least an inefficient
> system where people play to "admin criteria" rather than "let's make this a
> good encyclopedia criteria".
>
> I give a lot of talks on wikipedia to the outside world, and I get asked all
> the time if I'm an admin -- not because the people asking really have any
> conception of what that means, but because they assume that if I know a lot
> about the site I must be in the "in crowd" and the only thing they know
> about on Wikipedia that constitutes an "in-crowd" is adminship. We must
> change this, and find some other recognition mechanism for devoted,
> conscientious and level-headed editors that does not depend on their
> knowledge of what the heck "A7" means or whether they've made x number of
> edits to the wikipedia namespace.

Excellent & informative post!

Thank you,

Marc Riddell


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Re: Admin burnout (deputy admins)

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by William Pietri
It's not a new idea. My main problem with it is that it reduces the
trust the community has in admins as a whole. Admins can only do their
job if the rest of the community lets them, and the rest of the
community will only do that if they trust them. Having a way for
people to get admin tools without the strict processes of RfA would
diminish that trust and make the whole project unworkable.

To summarise: Adminship is not about being trustworthy, it's about
being trusted.

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Re: Admin burnout

Matthew Woodcraft-2
In reply to this post by Guettarda
Guettarda wrote:
> 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?

Really, that's something we should fix anyway. If we don't have
permission from the copyright hiolders, we shouldn't have this material
on our servers at all.

-M-


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Re: Admin burnout

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by Arne 'Timwi' Heizmann
Timwi wrote:

> Rich Holton 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.
>
> Within no time, you'll have people impose ridiculous criteria on what a
> probationary admin needs to do in order to "pass the test". Before you
> know it, people will be demoted simply for being on holiday and not
> showing up in a month.
>

Well, you may be right about what would happen, but that is certainly
not my proposal. Under my proposal, if the person did nothing different
from what they had been doing, or even if they did far less than they
had been doing, they would still be kept as an admin.

I know that there have been objections amounting to the fear of 'bots or
sleeper vandals becoming regular admins--apparently this is one of the
reasons the RfA requirements continue to creep.

Remember that under my suggestion, we're talking a total of 6 months
that a sleeper vandal would have to "sleep" before they entered the
ranks of "normal" admins (3 months of keeping your nose clean, followed
by three months of continued good behavior as an admin). And remember,
someone setting out as a sleeper vandal would not be guaranteed of
becoming an admin after three months, it's still up to the random
selection. Is it impossible for someone to game this process? Sure. Is
it likely? Hardly.

-Rich


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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images (was: Unsourced album cover)

MacGyverMagic/Mgm
In reply to this post by jkelly-2
We should see if there's an article we can use it in with a reasonable fair
use claim.
If we can't delete it. We're in our right with policy backing us. We can
delete images that were uploaded without correct copyright information.
Inform the user and list it as usual. If anyone claims process is being
ignored then...


On 2/10/07, [hidden email] <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Thomas,
>
> Quoting Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:
>
> > Shouldn't the image be deleted if it's orphaned? A fair use rationale
> > is only for a particular use, as this image isn't being used, the
> > rationale is nonsense.
>
> I agree with this, of course.  But en: treats unfree content as deserving
> of
> many of the same protections from deletion as free content, and deleting a
> "fair use" image that we're not actually using will provoke people into
> accusations of ignoring process, abuse of admin tools, and may even wind
> up at
> Deletion Review.
>
>                                  Jkelly
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
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Re: Admin burnout

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Rich Holton
> Remember that under my suggestion, we're talking a total of 6 months
> that a sleeper vandal would have to "sleep" before they entered the
> ranks of "normal" admins (3 months of keeping your nose clean, followed
> by three months of continued good behavior as an admin). And remember,
> someone setting out as a sleeper vandal would not be guaranteed of
> becoming an admin after three months, it's still up to the random
> selection. Is it impossible for someone to game this process? Sure. Is
> it likely? Hardly.

The flaw in that logic is in thinking that there is anything different
between a "normal admin" and a "provisional admin" besides the name.
There isn't. Adminship is a bit in a database, either you have that
bit and are able to do enormous damage to Wikipedia, or you don't.
There is no need to sleep for 6 months when you can do the damage
immediately. It would take a few minutes at the very best to desysop a
provisional admin that started vandalising - how much damage do you
think an AdminVandalBot could do in that time? I imagine it would be
hours normal-admin time to cleanup.

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