Wikipedia:Administration

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For Wikipedia administrators (admins, sysops), see Wikipedia:Administrators.
Wikipedia namespaces
Subject namespaces Talk namespaces
0 (Main/Article) Talk 1
2 User User talk 3
4 Wikipedia Wikipedia talk 5
6 File File talk 7
8 MediaWiki MediaWiki talk 9
10 Template Template talk 11
12 Help Help talk 13
14 Category Category talk 15
100 Portal Portal talk 101
108 Book Book talk 109
118 Draft Draft talk 119
446 Education Program Education Program talk 447
710 TimedText TimedText talk 711
828 Module Module talk 829
2600 Topic
Virtual namespaces
-1 Special
-2 Media
Human Administration
Wikimedia Board of Trustees
Wikimedia Staff
Stewards
Bureacrats
Administrators
Readers

Wikipedia requires a certain amount of administration in order to further the project's goals. To achieve this, a wide range of administration pages are made available in various namespaces (see also below) which enumerate the various policies created and implemented by user consensus for editing Wikipedia. Of course, this process is not generally automated, and live human administrators are necessary to ensure that the editing of project pages, whether administration pages or project content pages, happens peacefully and in accordance with the policies generally, and very loosely, governing the creation and editing of all project pages. Pursuant to the Five Pillars of Wikipedia, the "government" of Wikipedia does not occur according to firm rules, but policies and guidelines do exist that are used to decide editing disputes, when necessary. However, unlike the Wikipedia articles themselves, the Wikipedia administration pages are used to assist the building of content and should be seen to be mutually exclusive of the content pages, except for cases were a linkage is required. In other words, the administration pages should be in the background and not visible to the reader.

Administration pages (see below), including user pages, fall completely within the bounds of administration, as distinguished from project content. In this regard, categories are utilized for both content and administration but should not have both types of pages within the same category. Templates are also used for both content and administration pages and therefore, unlike other administration pages, are collected together and entirely as sub-categories of Category:Wikipedia templates. While a template itself may be used on a content page, it should not be part of a content category but, instead, should only be part of Category:Wikipedia templates.

Ensuring the harmonious implementation of the project's consensus-developed policies governing the creation and development of both administration pages and content pages are people elected or appointed to certain roles: i.e., stewards, bureaucrats, and admins, all of whom ultimately derive their own authority from the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns all the rights to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. Both the non-human administrative structure, as well as its human components, are briefly described within this article (with appropriate links to the more exhaustive articles on each topic).

Wikipedia Data Structure and Development[edit]

Development of the Wikipedia data structure (as well as development of the other Wikimedia project databases) occurs within various namespaces. Each namespace segregates and organizes the data according to its function within the overall project schema. Each Wikipedia namespace and its particular function are briefly described below, with links to the corresponding project namespace article for each topic.

The Main Namespace[edit]

The Main namespace or article namespace is the namespace of Wikipedia that contains the encyclopedia proper—that is, where Wikipedia articles reside. The main namespace is the default namespace and does not use a prefix in article page names. This is distinct from other namespaces where page names are always prefixed by an indicator of the particular namespace in which the page resides. For example, all user pages are prefixed by "User:", their talk pages by "User talk:", templates by "Template:", and various types of internal administrative pages by "Wikipedia:" (such as this page). Thus, any page created without such a prefix will automatically be placed in the article namespace. The Main namespace number is zero (0).

The User Namespace[edit]

Wikipedia provides user pages to facilitate communication among participants in its project to build an encyclopedia. Generally, substantial content on a user page that is unrelated to Wikipedia is avoided. Wikipedia is not a general hosting service, so a user page is not used as a personal website. However, a user page may be about the particular editor's "persona" as a Wikipedian, including the pages to which the user has contributed or their general interests in regard to subjects or projects related to Wikipedia, its administration and content. In addition, there is broad agreement that an editor may not include in his or her user space any material that is likely to bring the project into disrepute. To reach a user page, simply type User:username, where "username" is the user's Wikipedia username. The User namespace is assigned the namespace number two (2).

The "Wikipedia" Namespace[edit]

Although it may appear from its name that the Wikipedia namespace or the Project namespace might contain the actual content of the Wikipedia articles, this is not correct. The Project namespace is a namespace consisting of pages with information or discussion about Wikipedia itself. As such, Wikipedia namespace pages are purely administrative, and the inclusion of substantive content should be avoided unless the content itself is about administration. The present page is contained within the Wikipedia namespace. The Wikipedia namespace number is four (4).

Pages in this namespace will always have the prefix Wikipedia:. They can also be reached by alias WP: or the standard (for any MediaWiki site) prefix Project:.

The File Namespace[edit]

The File namespace contains millions of illustrative images and other electronic media. The File Namespace is the namespace in which all of Wikipedia's media content resides and the media filenames all begin with the prefix File:. The File namespace number is six (6)

The MediaWiki Namespace[edit]

The MediaWiki namespace is one of the standard namespaces in the database structure of the MediaWiki software, on which Wikipedia runs. The pages in this namespace (whose titles begin MediaWiki:) contain the text to be displayed in certain places in the web interface. Only administrators can edit this namespace, but all editors can propose changes on the appropriate talk pages. See also Wikipedia:MediaWiki messages for discussions about the content of MediaWiki pages. The MediaWiki namespace number is eight (8).

The Template Namespace[edit]

Templates duplicate the same content across more than one page. You can change a template in one place and it will immediately propagate to the pages that use it. Templates should not normally be used as a substitute for usual article content, in the main article namespace.

Templates often look like text boxes with a different background color from that of normal text. They are in the template namespace, i.e. they are defined in pages with "Template:" in front of the name.

For example, consider the template Template:Disambig (follow the link to see the page where it can be edited). To insert the template's content into an article, type {{Disambig}} in the wiki page ({{Disambig}} is called a template tag). Every article with that tag in it will display the following text:

This technique is commonly known as transclusion. Templates can also include calculated and substituted elements, as well as parameters, allowing for complex usage. For a table of some useful templates, see Wikipedia:Template messages. For detailed templating documentation see m:Help:Template. The Template namespace number is ten (10).

The Help Namespace[edit]

The Help namespace is a namespace consisting of Wikipedia pages whose titles begin with the prefix Help:, such as Help:Link.

These pages contain information intended to help use Wikipedia or its software. Some of these pages are intended for readers of the encyclopedia; others are intended for editors, whether beginning or advanced. Some of the pages in the Help namespace are copied from Meta-Wiki.

There is a large amount of overlap between the Help namespace and the Project namespaces. For this reason redirects and hatnotes are often set up between these two namespaces. The Help namespace number is twelve (12).

The Category Namespace[edit]

Categories are a software feature of MediaWiki, which enables pages to be added to automatic listings. These help structure a project such as Wikipedia by grouping together pages on similar subjects.

A category page lists the articles (or other pages) that have been added to a particular category. There may also be a section listing the subcategories of that category. The subcategorization feature makes it possible to organize categories into tree-like structures to aid navigation. The Category namespace number is fourteen (14).

The Portal Namespace[edit]

Portals are pages intended to serve as "Main Pages" for specific topics or areas. Portals may be associated with one or more WikiProjects; unlike WikiProjects, however, they are meant for both readers and editors of Wikipedia, and should promote content and encourage contribution.

The idea of a portal is to help readers and/or editors navigate their way through Wikipedia topic areas through pages similar to the Main Page. In essence, portals are useful entry-points to Wikipedia content.

Portals are subject to the five pillars of Wikipedia, and must comply with Wikipedia's core content policies like Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Verifiability.

At present, there are 166 featured portals, of a total of 1136 portals on Wikipedia. The Portal namespace number is one hundred (100).

The Book Namespace[edit]

A Wikipedia book is a collection of Wikipedia articles that can be easily saved, rendered electronically, and ordered as a printed book. For information and help on community books in general, see Help:Books (general tips) and WikiProject Wikipedia-Books (questions and assistance). The Book namespace number is one hundred eight (108).

The Talk Namespaces[edit]

For every type of namespace there is a corresponding talk namespace. The accompanying talk namespace for each namespace page is a place where Wikipedians may discuss and dialogue on their work in the various administrative and content pages in the corresponding namespaces. Whereas the user and project namespaces are even-numbered (or zero, in the case of the Main namespace), the talk namespaces are odd-numbered and are assigned the odd number that follows the corresponding substantive namespace number.

The Virtual Namespaces[edit]

There are two virtual namespaces that do not relate to pages stored in the database: Special and Media.

The Special Namespace[edit]

Special pages are pages that have no wikitext, but are generated by the software on demand. They are found in the "Special:" namespace. It is not possible to make a redirect to a special page, or to create normal pages beginning with the "Special:" prefix. The namespace number for a special namespace page is negative one (-1).

Special pages often take parameters. Sometimes these can be supplied after a slash (as in Special:Log/block); in other cases an index.php call is used (as in Special:RecentChanges). Also the content of some special pages depends on preferences that have been set by the user, e.g. classic or enhanced Recent Changes, the number of titles in Recent Changes and the watchlist, etc.

Some information is generated by toolserver rather than by special pages. See WP:Database reports.

The Media Namespace[edit]

The Media namespace can be used to link directly to a file, rather than to the file description page. See information above on the File namespace. The namespace number for a Media namespace page (not a MediaWiki namespace page, see above) is negative two (-2)

Human and Legal Administration[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

At the top of the human and legal administrative structure is the Wikimedia Foundation, governed by a Board of Trustees, presently composed of ten persons, who are either appointed or elected. The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit, Florida corporation. Its headquarters are located in San Francisco, California. The Foundation is governed and guided by the terms of their Charter, Corporate Bylaws, Mission Statement, Vision, Values, and Strategy (the last two of which are not officially adopted by the Foundation). In addition, the Founding Principles are a statement of the common principles guiding the founding of any Wikimedia project. The Wikimedia Foundation also publishes a complete list of their officially adopted policies.

The global work of the Foundation is supported by "local chapters" (usually incorporated as non-profit corporations, according to the law of the locality), located in nearly every nation on Earth, and each governed by their own chapter board of trustees. The Wikimedia Foundation owns and operates Wikipedia, along with several other collaborative, wiki-based Internet projects. Wikipedia alone contains 4,604,948 substantive (Main namespace) articles, with a total of 22,517,504 named user accounts, 130,997 of which are active, an historic total of 735,356,043 page edits, and between 40,000 to 80,000 client requests per second to the various Wikimedia servers. In their general oversight of the projects, the Trustees are assisted by a very small number of Wikimedia staff.

Stewardship[edit]

Stewards are users with complete access to the wiki interface on all Wikimedia wikis, including the ability to change any and all user rights and groups. This means that, along with the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, stewards have Checkuser and Oversight rights. They are tasked with technical implementation of community consensus, dealing with emergencies, and intervening against cross-wiki vandalism. The number of stewards is not limited by any policies.

To get emergency help or ask a question of a steward when administrators or bureaucrats are otherwise unable to assist, join the IRC channel #wikimedia-stewards. After joining the channel, type !steward as chat in this channel to notify the stewards of an emergency. For regular requests, see the list of request pages in the box at right. To contact a steward directly, use that steward's talk page.

Stewards generally do not perform actions on wikis where local users are available to perform them, except in emergency cases. This position was originally created to dissociate rights management from software development.

Stewards are elected annually by the global Wikimedia community, and appointed from the elected candidates by the Board of Trustees. Candidates must have a support/oppose ratio of at least 80% with at least 30 supporting users. Current stewards are confirmed during each election. Stewards are subject to the stewards' policy; further documentation may be found in the steward handbook.

Bureaucrats[edit]

Bureaucrats are Wikipedia users with the technical ability to:

  • promote other users to administrator or bureaucrat status;
  • remove the admin status of other users
  • grant and revoke an account's bot status; and
  • rename user accounts.

They are bound by policy and consensus to grant administrator or bureaucrat access only when doing so reflects the wishes of the community, usually after a successful request at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship. In like fashion, they are expected to exercise judgment in changing usernames, and in granting or removing bot flags on the advice of the Bot Approvals Group. They are expected to be capable judges of consensus, and are expected to explain the reasoning for their actions on request and in a civil manner.

Bureaucrats do not have the technical ability to grant other levels of access (they cannot assign oversight or checkuser rights). These actions are performed by stewards, a small multilingual group that serves all Wikimedia projects. Additional stewards are elected annually; for more information see Requests for permissions. Changes in user rights by stewards are recorded at Meta:Special:Log/rights.

Users are granted bureaucrat status by community consensus. The process is similar to the process of granting administrator status, but the expectations for potential bureaucrats are higher and community consensus must be clearer. See requests for adminship.

Administrators[edit]

Administrators, commonly known as admins or sysops (system operators), are Wikipedia editors who have been trusted with access to restricted technical features ("tools"). For example, administrators can protect and delete pages, and block other editors. See Wikipedia:Administrators/Tools. Administrators are appointed after a successful community review process at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship in which consensus is determined by the bureaucrats.

Administrators assume these responsibilities as volunteers; they are not employees of the Wikimedia Foundation. They are never required to use their tools, and must never use them to gain an advantage in a dispute in which they are involved. Only Jimmy Wales or the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee may authorize the removal of administrator privileges, and this authorization may be executed by any steward.

The English Wikipedia currently has 1,393 administrators as of 17 September 2014.

Editors[edit]

Wikipedians are people who write and edit the pages for Wikipedia as opposed to readers who simply read the articles.

Anyone can be a Wikipedian—including you. Any reader may click the edit link at the top of any page, or one of the edit links at the beginning of each section and become an editor simply by making and saving an edit. Visit the editing tutorial to learn more. Although registration is no longer required for editing articles, any reader or editor can become a registered user and receive credit for their edits.

You can browse or search the full user list, or request a random Wikipedian's user page.

Readers[edit]

A reader is someone who visits Wikipedia articles to read rather than edit the content. Editors, often referred to as Wikipedians, also read Wikipedia of course, but as well as reading they also edit the pages to help build the encyclopaedia. Wikipedia is a completely free, almost 100% volunteer effort, and anyone may use its content so long as they are respectful of its administration and do not violate any of the rights and obligations of re-users, as governed by the GNU Free Documentation License or the Creative Commons Licenses.

See also[edit]