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Inactive admins Edit

The reasoning for this is that we have a number of inactive admins, some of which may never return. Since admins who aren't active in the community don't need the admin privileges, since they aren't using them, they can be removed. Admins are also the people who users go to for help, and having a large number of inactive admins just increases the likelihood that someone asks a question to an admin who simply isn't there.

Immediate reinstatement of an inactive admin would be implicit in this, since it simply isn't fair to expect an admin to go through the nomination process again just because they took a break from editing. An "inactive" admin is still an admin, the privileges were just removed for a time as a housekeeping measure. - Archduk3 15:38, November 17, 2011 (UTC)

Admin template and categories Edit

This isn't really required, I just think it would be cool.

A template can be created and placed on the user page of admins, with a call for inactive, the language, and "status" (admin, crat, or staff). This will place the admins into a category for their language (en would be the only one we would need an "inactive" hidden cat for), so the list of admins on Memory Alpha:Administrators can be auto populated. This allows admins from the other languages to make changes to the list, by adding or removing the template from a user page, without needing a local admin to make the change. Also, the template could also have text and links to the admins "home" language pages, since most admins on other versions of MA generally have little to no content on their user pages. - Archduk3 15:38, November 17, 2011 (UTC)

Admin removal Edit

Proposal 1 (Archduk3) Edit

While there is currently no need for this, we might as well plan for the worst. - Archduk3 16:15, November 17, 2011 (UTC)

The suggested process sounds elitist to me by leaving the entire process in the hands of admins. The last thing we want to do is foster a perception that MA is an exclusive club. "Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done." Leaving the removal of administrators in the hands of people who themselves have a stake in retaining their position goes against the wiki spirit. Since ordinary users get a say in who becomes an administrator, they deserve a say in who remains an administrator.
I know all the arguments about administratorship becoming a popularity contest, and of the risk of sockpuppetry. But I think there absolutely has to be significant involvement by the community, not just admins.–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 06:10, November 18, 2011 (UTC)

The "tyranny of mob rule" should be avoided, and the fact of the matter is that the only people on this site entrusted to enforce MA's policies and guidelines are admins, and that's exactly what this would be, enforcement. I didn't say that the greater community couldn't participate in the discussions, I assumed they would regardless, but this isn't a democracy, at best it's a representative republic where there isn't any limit on how many users can be appointed to "represent" the rest. If this would seem like a small group of users making decisions, I don't know how to fix that, since the same could be said for a group of active contributors, or a group of users with edits above X number, etc. The sad truth is that no matter what we do, someone will call it injustice, so I would rather leave the decision to enforce policy in the hands of the people who already were given that responsibility by the community. - Archduk3 15:04, November 18, 2011 (UTC)

As I too do not see the need for an immediate resolution, it might be prudent to start thinking about this. I'm not entirely sure if this my place to comment, but I would want to open the discussion by putting the following procedure up for consideration:
Stage 1:
  • Presentation of point/counterpoint by "offendee/offender" respectively
Considering the gravity of such an eventuality I propose this be done on a dedicated page.
Stage 2:
  • Discussion, also open to other members of the community
This is strictly a non-voting stage primarily intended for presentation of arguments and to allow for possible resolution before voting is called for.
Stage 3 (in case no resolution is reached):
  • Straight forward voting stage, without argumentation (any argumentation be made in stage 2)
This stage is open for admins and users alike to avoid "elitist" or "tyranny of mob rule" issues
Two provisos in this stage:
  • Neither "offender" nor "offendee" can cast a vote as this logically always results in a yes/no vote
  • Only users with a certain minimum number of edits to their name are in this case allowed to cast a vote. The reason for this is that it diminishes the chance of "mob-rule". Another reason is that the larger the amount of edits a user has made, the more likely it is he/she had dealings with the admin in question and is thus more qualified to cast a vote based on his/her experiences with the admin in question...It discourages whimsical voting IMO.
Details such as how many credits a user should have to its name, or if a vote has to be unanimous or a qualified majority should be matters for a later point in time when due process is decided upon...My two cents--Sennim 16:27, November 18, 2011 (UTC)

While an all around good idea Sennim, I see three major flaws with it.

  • First, the same point I made above about it looking like only a small number of users voting (which is likely to be the case no matter what we do). If the cutoff for voting was 10,000 edits, there would only be a handful of non-admins who could vote. Even at 5,000 edits the number is still relatively small, so to an "outsider" this would look like the admins "buddies" helping him/her out. If it's going to look like that anyway, we might as well just have admins do it, for the reasons above.
  • Second, an infraction, or a series of infractions, that leads to considering the removal an admin, as opposed to just blocking or otherwise dealing with the situation, shouldn't, and simply won't, be something that can be resolved without confrontation and argumentative debate. The very intent of the discussion will be confrontational. Also, anyone who is involved with the process should have already checked the record (logs, edits, etc.) before entering the discussion, so stages 1 and 2 wouldn't really be necessary. A point/counterpoint is bound to happen rather quickly anyways, so a formal setting isn't really required, but that does lead me to my third point...
  • Third, we need to avoid setting up a formal "court". The creation of a stage means you intend to use it, and that people will want to use it, regardless of a need to. If this ever came up, a simple and informal forum page will do. We should also avoid anything that looks like wikilawyering in the instructions/policy. There's bound to be enough of that in the discussion, so trying to avoid loopholes in the wording, as far as the intent is concerned, should be top priority. The more layers and instructions we add, the more likely this won't work the way we intended.

I've brought up at least once in IRC, and I'm pretty was sure I did somewhere on site as well, the idea of actually using the rollback option as something given to users who are "active" and "trusted" so they can help combat vandalism if an admin isn't around. Having these users vote might be an option, but it has the same problem already outlined above. - Archduk3 00:01, November 19, 2011 (UTC)

I know, I know , it is far, very far, from being perfect, I only intended it to be a starting point--Sennim 00:36, November 19, 2011 (UTC)
Archduk3, I'm fully aware that no matter what process we have (or don't have), the decision will largely remain with the small group of editors who are most active here, most of which are admins (But not all of them, which is my point). Also obviously, it will be up to a bureaucrat to actually remove admin powers.
If I were a non-admin, I'd be royally annoyed that I couldn't have an effect on the outcome if someone abused their powers. Wikis aren't a democracy, but it would be good for us to remember that leaving important decisions in the hands of a few self-interested parties invites at least the perception of abuse. I stand by what I said above – if non-admin members of the community are allowed to participate in the process to create admins, they must have the power to do the opposite. When admin power is granted, it is given by the community to help advance the wiki's best interests. While this is obviously a decision that no one exercises lightly, it cannot be seen to have been intended to be a grant of power for all time. Circumstances and behaviour change.
Absolutely, there should be some kind of warning process on the first "offence", and this can usually be dealt with by fellow admins. Absolutely, there should be a high bar before removal – something significantly more than a simple majority "vote". (Probably even higher than your 3/5 admin "vote") Absolutely, there should be some minimum requirements (not too high, just enough to weed out very new users) Absolutely, there should be a strong discretionary power to allow admins to remove sockpuppet votes.
Finally, I'll just say that I don't want for this process to have to be used. Nor do I think anything ill against any current admins - quite the opposite. We have robust (and sometimes heated) debates, but only because we feel strongly about what is best for the wiki. :-) I just feel it is best to be prepared for the worst.–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 00:50, November 19, 2011 (UTC)
Probably not my place, but I'll say Amen--Sennim 01:13, November 19, 2011 (UTC)

[edit conflict] - The main problem with this is trying to predict a problem before it becomes one and solve it without creating more problems. I know the draft I've put forward has major flaws, Cleanse has already pointed out the biggest one. The purpose of this project is to get as many points of view on these subjects here before actually proposing anything. I'm hoping that eventually other "complete" proposals will be added to the project page, and that by finding ways to combine them back into "one" we end up with something that works, we can pretty much all agree on, and never has to be used. :) - Archduk3 01:22, November 19, 2011 (UTC)

Bro, as far as I'm concerned, no conflicts, seriously, just having put forward possibilities...I've done my worst, so I'll keep out of the discussion henceforth:)--Sennim 01:39, November 19, 2011 (UTC)
Oh, absolutely Archduk3. I really appreciate the work you've put into this and the FA/PR/AotW. Sorry if it sounds like I'm trying to lecture you, that was not my intention. :-) I will do what you suggest and write up the kind of thing I'm proposing.–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 01:52, November 19, 2011 (UTC)
Split into two sections here.

Proposal 2 (Cleanse) Edit

I've now placed a rough draft of my proposal on the page.–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 02:54, November 19, 2011 (UTC)

I would say the first thing that pops out is that admins can't be blocked, either by temporarily removing their sysop powers or with the "honor system" (the preferred option). At least there isn't an explicit mention of it being possible. I had added that specifically because it should be clear that admins operate under the same rules as everyone else, and can be dealt with in the same way if it comes to that, before anything such as a removal of sysop powers is required. I also think that any discussion about removing an admin should at least be started by one, as a stopgap to "frivolous" nominations. If a user can't find at least one admin who believes that there is a reason to have the discussion, there probably shouldn't be one. Also, as part of my last point, if we are going to create a specific location to hold these discussions, it should remained locked until an admin has "opened it", specifically because users may not read the policy or feel it should be followed, even if they have a legitimate complaint. - Archduk3 03:35, November 19, 2011 (UTC)

Okay, I see where you were going with the block now. Even if unaccompanied by a temporary removal of sysop powers, I think it would be a good signal to block. As you say, it shows everyone plays by the same rules, and I think it would also show that the admin accepts the cooling off period.

As for the rest of what you suggest, I was just thinking that this process in terms of starting it would be like any other - e.g. Memory Alpha:Nominations for administratorship. Certainly, the review page would be protected to only allow registered users. I believe the strong discretionary power allowing any non-involved admin to instantly throw out frivolous nominations should suffice. However, I doubt it will make much practical difference if we required admins to start it, because as you say, no motion is going to fly without at least one admin supporting it. They already would have had to get involved in Step 1. Therefore, I could support what you suggest there.–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 04:25, November 19, 2011 (UTC)

I've started combing the two proposals into one, though it mostly only covers the parts we already agreed on right now. In the delay caused by my working on other things, I've been mulling this over some more and I'm still very wary of having a page devoted to this, even if it was locked. It seems to me that the page itself is sending the wrong message, mainly that we need and/or expect to have to use it. If we do have one, it seems we agree it should be locked, though it might be better to simply use the forums for this. Here are some of the problematic hypothetical situations I've been thinking of:
  • A user isn't able to find a free admin "in time" to unlock the page.
  • A user gets the only other active admin to unlock the page, but then the reasoning for the discussion is invalid. Is the admin who unlocked the page still uninvolved enough to end the discussion?
  • An admin refuses to unlock the page for a valid discussion. There are a number of reason this might happen, the least of which is an uninvolved admin might not be up to speed on the situation.
This is all leaving the details of the actual removal discussion section aside for now, in favor of addressing the location. I just can't shake the feeling that having a devoted location is a problem. It might be different if the location was used for all users, including admins, but that seems to just be adding a layer of complication to conflict resolution. - Archduk3 14:55, December 3, 2011 (UTC)

If you'd prefer to use the forums, then so be it. I don't really care about the venue, so long as a. we have a policy and b. that policy says where discussions are to be held.

However, I don't understand what your last sentence is about. Could you clarify?–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 00:18, December 4, 2011 (UTC)

I was talking about the creation a central location to deal with all user disputes, not just admin ones, kinda like a cross between Wikipedia:Requests for mediation and Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee. The main problem with that is we simply aren't big enough to warrant the necessary overhead that would create, since actions taken aren't as likely to get lost in the recent changes as they are at Wikipedia, and we tend to want to use the user talk pages for this so there's a record there later. All that coupled with the overall idea that purpose made locations suggest we expect to use them just makes disciplinary devoted pages a bad idea in my book.
I've also now completed my version of a combined policy. The main thing to point out would be the requirement of at least one admin in a successful vote. I'm still wary of any policy enforcement being something that could happen without at least one admin involved, not including the bureaucrat who would actually have to make the change, since that's part of what admins are suppose to do. - Archduk3 08:54, December 4, 2011 (UTC)

The combined policy is fine by me.–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 10:21, December 4, 2011 (UTC)

I think this is coming along nicely. I like the way the inactivity removal portion is worded and think that it is reasonable. The removal policy idea seems to be coming along. I like that it encourages a resolution before any formal removal discussion. I think the voting results suggested are pretty good.
One question I have is the reference to blocking the admin after the intervention of an non-involved admin- does this refer to the temporary removal of sysop powers, or a block that the admin will be expected to observe? --31dot 13:38, December 16, 2011 (UTC)
Admins would be expected to observe a block, but if they chose not to their sysop powers would need to be removed to enforce the block. Once the block is over, the powers should be returned. The only problem I see with this is if a bureaucrat needed to be blocked, since we would need wikia to remove the powers in that case. I would expect that when the block is over that a discussion to remove them as bureaucrat would take place though. It might be necessary to put in some language to define that, as well as stop any discussion for removal while the user is blocked. Thinking on it, this might be a reason to formalize the rest of the bureaucrat stuff at the same time, since in this scenario we would need a new bureaucrat. - Archduk3 14:51, December 16, 2011 (UTC)
Yes, although I hope it's unlikely we will need to remove Cid or Sulfur. :) --31dot 09:46, December 18, 2011 (UTC)

I would consider it unlikely, as I consider the need for any formal removal policy unlikely, but I'm basing my musings about this on Cid's comments in the "original" discussion. If he though he might go rogue, who am I to disagree? ;P - Archduk3 15:49, December 18, 2011 (UTC)

Change to nominations Edit

As part of the above, objections to a user becoming an admin should be limited to actions within 2 years. If a problem user has been "reformed" into a productive member of the community, their past shouldn't be held against them indefinitely. - Archduk3 16:15, November 17, 2011 (UTC)

Absolutely.–Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 06:10, November 18, 2011 (UTC)

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