[WikiEN-l] Admin burnout

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Re: Admin burnout

Rich Holton
geni wrote:

> On 2/9/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Because I really don't know and am curious, can you give an example to
>> illustrate the amount of damage an admin can do?
>
> Userboxes. Take admin powers out of that fight and things would have
> been a lot less ah dramatic.
>
> Other than that there were the ones who facilitated the Bobby Boulders
> troll. Many things are best left buried. A significant number of those
> involved are still admins.
>

Yeah, the userboxes thing I've heard about. How much actual damage to
the project was done? Who, aside from those directly involved, were
affected by this?

I have no idea what the "Bobby Boulders troll" is about. But again, how
much actual damage was done to the project?

For both of these, and the other unspoken cases, would having many more
admins have helped or hurt?

It seems to me that no method of selecting admins will be perfect...
there will always be some who, with hindsight, we can say should not
have been made admins. But it would almost seem to be a question of
ratios. If our de-facto policy of selecting admins results in a very
small number actually being selected, is our ratio of good to bad admins
significantly better than having a less restrictive selection process
that allows many more people be admins?

What we don't want is to have admins be so rare that it becomes big news
when one screws up. That would be a bad thing. Far better to have so
many admins that it's no big deal when one screws up. Just like it's no
big deal when a page gets vandalized. The vandalism gets fixed, perhaps
the vandal gets blocked, and we move on.

-Rich

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Re: Admin burnout

gamaliel8
In reply to this post by Keitei
On 2/9/07, Keitei <[hidden email]> wrote:

> In order to become an admin, one must have an impeccable track record
> and have been aiming for adminship for quite some time. Then one must
> jump through all sorts of flaming hoops while all the people one gets
> along with the least gather to heckle. Then having become an admin,
> one gets treated like shit by newcomers pissed that one has deleted
> their page, trolls pissed that one has blocked them, POV pushers
> pissed that one has protected their page, users insistent that one is
> just the same as them and does not have any greater level of trust
> and should never be given any level of slack, users convinced that
> one is abusing one's powers, and "valued contributors" insistent that
> one does not matter and should go to hell because they do so much
> more and are so much more important to the encyclopedia.

We should put this on a plaque and hand it out to every new admin with
their mop, bucket, and hazmat suit.

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Re: Admin burnout

Stan Shebs-2
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:
> On 2/9/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> Because I really don't know and am curious, can you give an example to
>> illustrate the amount of damage an admin can do?
>>    
>
> Userboxes. Take admin powers out of that fight and things would have
> been a lot less ah dramatic.
>  
Given that the issue was unimportant one way or the other, I don't see
where the massive damage comes from.
> Other than that there were the ones who facilitated the Bobby Boulders
> troll. Many things are best left buried. A significant number of those
> involved are still admins.
>  
I work on WP for a hour or so every day, and this is the first I've
heard of a "Bobby Boulders". Are you sure it was that big of a deal?

This whole overdramatization of admin activity is the root cause
underlying burnout, I'd say. All admin actions are reversible, so no
permanent damage is possible, but POV-pushers and other miscreants have
learned that they can get their way by blowing everything way out of
proportion, accusing admins of tyranny and cabals and bla bla bla, so
that the reasonable people get tired of it all and walk away.

It's kind of a clever way for POV-pushers to get control of WP actually;
raise the bar for new admins, drying up the supply, and drive the old
ones away with continual harassment.

Stan


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Re: Admin burnout

Jeff Raymond
In reply to this post by Marc Riddell

Marc Riddell wrote:

>
>> On 2/9/07, Marc Riddell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> How does the Community define a "quality admin"?
>>
>> on 2/9/07 8:10 AM, Steve Bennett at [hidden email] wrote:
>
> Never having pissed anyone off. Ever.
>
>
> Steve,
>
> Are you really serious about this one?

He's not wrong.

-Jeff

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Re: Admin burnout

Guy Chapman aka JzG
In reply to this post by Marc Riddell
On Fri, 09 Feb 2007 07:17:48 -0500, Marc Riddell
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>How does the Community define a "quality admin"?

Badly, for the most part :-)

The admins considered good by other admins are the ones who are
prepared to take on the difficult tasks.  A small but very vocal group
of non-admins considers these to be the *worst* admins, because they
are typically the ones who delete things like Encyclopedia Dramatica,
myg0t and GNAA.

There is a culture of baiting these admins until they crack.  A recent
example was MONGO.  There are others.

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


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Re: Admin burnout

Guy Chapman aka JzG
In reply to this post by geni
On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 14:06:46 +0000, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Other than that there were the ones who facilitated the Bobby Boulders
>troll. Many things are best left buried. A significant number of those
>involved are still admins.

We don't require people to be infallible, only to acknowledge when
they are wrong.

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


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Re: Admin burnout

Guy Chapman aka JzG
In reply to this post by Keitei
On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 08:50:04 -0500, Keitei <[hidden email]>
wrote:

>In order to become an admin, one must have an impeccable track record  
>and have been aiming for adminship for quite some time.

Not so.  I was invited a couple of times before I finally accepted a
nomination, I never aimed for it.  Who would?  They'd be mad.

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


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Re: Admin burnout

geni
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs-2
On 2/9/07, Stan Shebs <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Given that the issue was unimportant one way or the other, I don't see
> where the massive damage comes from.

Community relations. The anger. The blocks. Take out the admin powers
and it would have been just another minor spat. It was the involvement
of the admin powers that caused the damage to the community. At lost
of the distrust of admins comes from that event.


> I work on WP for a hour or so every day, and this is the first I've
> heard of a "Bobby Boulders". Are you sure it was that big of a deal?
>

It resulted in the brief deletion of the counter vandalism unit see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Miscellany_for_deletion/Wikipedia:Counter-Vandalism_Unit_%28third_nomination%29

> This whole overdramatization of admin activity is the root cause
> underlying burnout, I'd say. All admin actions are reversible, so no
> permanent damage is possible,

Editors are people. Being blocked hurts. Haveing your work deleted hurts.

> but POV-pushers and other miscreants have
> learned that they can get their way by blowing everything way out of
> proportion, accusing admins of tyranny and cabals and bla bla bla, so
> that the reasonable people get tired of it all and walk away.

I suspect there are other reasons.
>
> It's kind of a clever way for POV-pushers to get control of WP actually;
> raise the bar for new admins, drying up the supply, and drive the old
> ones away with continual harassment.

The role of admins in dealing with POV pushers is little different
from the role of non-admins.

--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

Keitei
In reply to this post by Guy Chapman aka JzG
On Feb 9, 2007, at 9:39, Guy Chapman aka JzG wrote:

> On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 08:50:04 -0500, Keitei <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> In order to become an admin, one must have an impeccable track record
>> and have been aiming for adminship for quite some time.
>
> Not so.  I was invited a couple of times before I finally accepted a
> nomination, I never aimed for it.  Who would?  They'd be mad.

A lot of people do... c.f. Editor review. However, I meant that in  
order to get the edit summary percentage right, and the proper  
namespace distribution, the right total number of edits, edits per  
day, all the ridiculous arbitrary things, one pretty much has to be  
aware of these arbitrary measures and aiming to reach them. Which is  
a horrible, horrible thing because we get those people who come to  
Wikipedia just to be admins and aren't really in sync with the mores  
of the project and all that jazz. Well, theoretically we do at least.

--keitei

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Re: Admin burnout

geni
In reply to this post by Guy Chapman aka JzG
On 2/9/07, Guy Chapman aka JzG <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 14:06:46 +0000, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> >Other than that there were the ones who facilitated the Bobby Boulders
> >troll. Many things are best left buried. A significant number of those
> >involved are still admins.
>
> We don't require people to be infallible, only to acknowledge when
> they are wrong.
>

The various guides to stepping outside policy and IARs to a large
extent biol down to "be right" the further you step away from policy
the more important it is the be right. Or not get caught either will
do.

--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by Jeff Raymond

>
> Marc Riddell wrote:
>>
>>> On 2/9/07, Marc Riddell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> How does the Community define a "quality admin"?
>>>
>>> on 2/9/07 8:10 AM, Steve Bennett at [hidden email] wrote:
>>
>> Never having pissed anyone off. Ever.
>>
>>
>> Steve,
>>
>> Are you really serious about this one?

on 2/9/07 9:31 AM, Jeff Raymond at
[hidden email] wrote:
>
> He's not wrong.
>
> -Jeff

Wow! That's a tough one.

Marc


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Re: Admin burnout

Guy Chapman aka JzG
In reply to this post by geni
On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 14:48:45 +0000, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

>The various guides to stepping outside policy and IARs to a large
>extent biol down to "be right" the further you step away from policy
>the more important it is the be right. Or not get caught either will
>do.

This is true.  Being right mainly involves thinking first and foremost
about whether a given action makes a better encyclopaedia.  Of course,
some people confuse a better encyclopaedia with one which better
reflects their personal interests.

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


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Re: Admin burnout

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by Guy Chapman aka JzG
on 2/9/07 9:36 AM, Guy Chapman aka JzG at [hidden email] wrote:

> There is a culture of baiting these admins until they crack.  A recent
> example was MONGO.  There are others.
>
> Guy (JzG)

As I suggested in a post a while back, perhaps there needs to be an
identified, organized support system within WP that an embattled admin can
turn to for encouragement and perspective. In this way they may not feel
they are so alone in a given situation.

Marc



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Re: Admin burnout

Stan Shebs-2
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

> On 2/9/07, Stan Shebs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> I work on WP for a hour or so every day, and this is the first I've
>> heard of a "Bobby Boulders". Are you sure it was that big of a deal?
>>
>>    
>
> It resulted in the brief deletion of the counter vandalism unit see:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Miscellany_for_deletion/Wikipedia:Counter-Vandalism_Unit_%28third_nomination%29
>
>  
Bleah. I couldn't even read the whole thing, it's so sordid and petty.
>> This whole overdramatization of admin activity is the root cause
>> underlying burnout, I'd say. All admin actions are reversible, so no
>> permanent damage is possible,
>>    
>
> Editors are people. Being blocked hurts. Haveing your work deleted hurts.
>  
There are many hurts in life. I know Mr. Linkspam-Cabo-every-day is
bummed that I revert him over and over, he's even said so, but his goal
is to make a buck no matter what it does to WP. I'm sure if he was
smarter, he could find editors to testify to the arbcom that I'm being a
mean and nasty admin by not reverting him with an individually-composed,
sensitive, and caring message each time, and should be desysopped as an
example to the others. So, are you on his side, or on mine?

If I'm not going to be supported by other editors, admin or not, then I
don't want to be an admin any longer.

Stan


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Re: Admin burnout

Stan Shebs-2
In reply to this post by Marc Riddell
Marc Riddell wrote:

> on 2/9/07 9:36 AM, Guy Chapman aka JzG at [hidden email] wrote:
>
>  
>> There is a culture of baiting these admins until they crack.  A recent
>> example was MONGO.  There are others.
>>
>> Guy (JzG)
>>    
>
> As I suggested in a post a while back, perhaps there needs to be an
> identified, organized support system within WP that an embattled admin can
> turn to for encouragement and perspective. In this way they may not feel
> they are so alone in a given situation.
>
>  
It would be continuously attacked, as proof positive of the evil admin
cabal. That's all part of the baiting culture. There are also quite a
few editors who are inclined to regard admins unfavorably to begin, as
tiny manifestations of the The Man(tm), and who I'm sure are secretly
gleeful when admins are taken down. It's not an organized program of
divide-and-conquer, but the net effect is the same. One of the reasons I
don't do more admin work is that I see what happens to other admins who
stick their necks out, and it's just not worth it to me.

Stan


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Re: Admin burnout

geni
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs-2
On 2/9/07, Stan Shebs <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Bleah. I couldn't even read the whole thing, it's so sordid and petty.

The CVU has rather a good record of bringing new people into the
community. So when a group of admins falls for a troll and trys to
take action against the first group to make you feel part of a
community on wikipedia it is understandable that you are going to want
to make sure that doesn't happen again.

> There are many hurts in life. I know Mr. Linkspam-Cabo-every-day is
> bummed that I revert him over and over, he's even said so, but his goal
> is to make a buck no matter what it does to WP. I'm sure if he was
> smarter, he could find editors to testify to the arbcom that I'm being a
> mean and nasty admin by not reverting him with an individually-composed,
> sensitive, and caring message each time, and should be desysopped as an
> example to the others. So, are you on his side, or on mine?
>

That would the false dilemma logical fallacy.

No one is objecting to linkspamers being reverted or blocked. Problem
is the community know admins don't just limit themselves to that kind
of activity

> If I'm not going to be supported by other editors, admin or not, then I
> don't want to be an admin any longer.
>

We have no right to demand support. We have to earn it.

--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

Arne 'Timwi' Heizmann
In reply to this post by Marc Riddell

>>>How does the Community define a "quality admin"?
>
>>Why do you need such a definition?
>
> I would think for the same reason that, before you decide something is
> substandard, you would first need to define what the standard is.

Hm, this sounds like you didn't read the rest of my posting, but maybe I
didn't make it clear enough, so I'll try again.

I believe that current Wikipedia practices implement the following mindset:

You don't need to define what constitutes a "good quality" editor
because the "medium quality" editors can edit just as much as the "good
quality" editors. You only need to define "bad quality" editors because
those are the ones you need to find in order to block them from editing.
"Bad quality" can be determined on the basis of specific incidents (e.g.
continued vandalism).

Similarly, I am advocating that the same should apply to admins:

You don't need to define "good quality" in this case because the "medium
quality" admins can stay just as much as the "good quality" admins. You
only need to define "bad quality" admins because those are the ones you
need to find in order to demote them. "Bad quality" can be determined on
the basis of specific incidents (e.g. continued disruptance).

Why do we allow everyone to edit even though people vandalise pages all
the time? Of course, it's because the constructive edits from passers-by
outweigh the work required to clean up after vandals. The RfA system is
analogous to having all users blocked by default and requiring them to
apply for editing privileges first. Then you'd get people voting
"oppose" because the user makes spelling mistakes in their blog or
something, thereby missing out on potentially useful contributions like
uploading selfmade pictures or organising categories.

Wikipedia claims to have a system in place that finds "good quality" (or
at least "good enough quality") admins -- it's called RfA. What I'm
saying now is that this search for "good enough quality" admins is
misguided because the ones you need to identify are the "bad quality"
ones. Although the current system makes it difficult for a genuinely
bad-quality user to become admin, it also misses out on "good enough
quality" admins because of specious criteria like "not enough edits".
This way (potentially) hundreds of users are prevented from helping
constructively.

Timwi


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Re: Admin burnout

Guy Chapman aka JzG
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs-2
On Fri, 09 Feb 2007 07:54:06 -0800, Stan Shebs
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>There are also quite a
>few editors who are inclined to regard admins unfavorably to begin, as
>tiny manifestations of the The Man(tm), and who I'm sure are secretly
>gleeful when admins are taken down. It's not an organized program of
>divide-and-conquer, but the net effect is the same.

Seen the ED page on MONGO?

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


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Re: Admin burnout

Death Phoenix
In reply to this post by Arne 'Timwi' Heizmann
Yes, as long as we get the "no big deal" message across (like we have been
since the inception of Wikipedia) and admins have no greater power than,
blah blah blah, all we really need to do is prevent the bad admins from
getting it. Almost all actions that admins take are reversible anyway, all
we need is an RfA that ensures that the mediocre admins can still get the
bit while we can successfully "fail" the bad admins. I don't even bother
checking RFA anymore, it's almost as painful reading through all the
questions as it is to actually vote, I know I'd think thrice before
accepting an RFA nomination if I were to get it in this day and age.

On 2/9/07, Timwi <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> >>>How does the Community define a "quality admin"?
> >
> >>Why do you need such a definition?
> >
> > I would think for the same reason that, before you decide something is
> > substandard, you would first need to define what the standard is.
>
> Hm, this sounds like you didn't read the rest of my posting, but maybe I
> didn't make it clear enough, so I'll try again.
>
> I believe that current Wikipedia practices implement the following
> mindset:
>
> You don't need to define what constitutes a "good quality" editor
> because the "medium quality" editors can edit just as much as the "good
> quality" editors. You only need to define "bad quality" editors because
> those are the ones you need to find in order to block them from editing.
> "Bad quality" can be determined on the basis of specific incidents (e.g.
> continued vandalism).
>
> Similarly, I am advocating that the same should apply to admins:
>
> You don't need to define "good quality" in this case because the "medium
> quality" admins can stay just as much as the "good quality" admins. You
> only need to define "bad quality" admins because those are the ones you
> need to find in order to demote them. "Bad quality" can be determined on
> the basis of specific incidents (e.g. continued disruptance).
>
> Why do we allow everyone to edit even though people vandalise pages all
> the time? Of course, it's because the constructive edits from passers-by
> outweigh the work required to clean up after vandals. The RfA system is
> analogous to having all users blocked by default and requiring them to
> apply for editing privileges first. Then you'd get people voting
> "oppose" because the user makes spelling mistakes in their blog or
> something, thereby missing out on potentially useful contributions like
> uploading selfmade pictures or organising categories.
>
> Wikipedia claims to have a system in place that finds "good quality" (or
> at least "good enough quality") admins -- it's called RfA. What I'm
> saying now is that this search for "good enough quality" admins is
> misguided because the ones you need to identify are the "bad quality"
> ones. Although the current system makes it difficult for a genuinely
> bad-quality user to become admin, it also misses out on "good enough
> quality" admins because of specious criteria like "not enough edits".
> This way (potentially) hundreds of users are prevented from helping
> constructively.
>
> Timwi
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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>
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Re: Admin burnout

The Cunctator
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
On 2/8/07, George Herbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> We apparently just lost Alkivar (hopefully just on a stress relief
> break, but he says he's out of here indefinitely).
>
> We're doing terribly at keeping identified, overstressed admins from
> ending up going over the edge.  What are we doing wrong, or what do we
> need to learn to do right?


Why assume we're doing anything wrong? Some degree of churn is, I think,
healthy.
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