Administrators, commonly known as admins and also called sysops (system operators), are Wikipedia editors who have been entrusted access to a number of restricted technical and maintenance features ("tools").
This page lists the details of the MediaWiki tools accessible to administrators, and what administrators are able to do with them.
Note that administrators as a rule see exactly the same IP information about users, that other (non-administrator) users see, and can neither view pages deleted using oversight, nor modify other users' bot or sysop status. Bureaucrats can add or revoke bot and sysop status, while stewards can add or remove all permissions.
List of tools
- Edit the Main Page and other protected pages. For information and guidelines, see Wikipedia:Editing the main page. You can suggest changes at Talk:Main Page. The Main Page used to receive a lot of vandalism; protecting it is an unfortunate compromise to keep our welcome mat free of random profanity.
- Protect and unprotect pages, with different kinds of protection against editing by certain classes of users, and page moving. Pages are generally protected rarely and temporarily. For information and guidelines, see Wikipedia:Protection policy.
Deletion and undeletion
- Delete pages, including images, and their history. For information and guidelines, see Wikipedia:Deletion policy and (most definitely) Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators. To suggest a page for deletion (after reading the policy and guidelines pages), see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. Sometimes deletion is a technical matter, in which a redirect page has to be removed to make way for moving an article, or a page whose history has been broken up has to be deleted and the pieces recombined. Other times it is a matter of cleaning up junk edits on pages with no actual content, or removing material that has been pasted from another site, thereby causing copyright infringement.
- View and restore deleted pages, including images, and their history. See Wikipedia:Viewing and restoring deleted pages by sysops for guidelines. To challenge a decision to delete a page, contact the deleting administrator or see Wikipedia:Deletion review.
- Revert pages quickly. Any user (logged-in or not) can revert a page to an earlier version. Administrators have a faster, automated reversion tool to help them revert vandalism called rollback. When looking at a user's contributions, a link that looks like: [rollback] – appears next to edits that are at the top of the edit history.
- See Wikipedia:Rollback for more information on when rollback is appropriate and when it is not.
Keeping vandalism out of recent changes
- Administrators can exclude bulk vandalism from Recent changes. To do this, add &bot=1 to the end of the URL used to access a user's contributions. For example, [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Contributions&target=Example&bot=1]. When the rollback links on the contributions list are clicked, the revert and the original edit that you are reverting will both be hidden from the default recent changes display. (The bot marker was originally added to keep massive bot edits from flooding recent changes, hence the "bot".) This means that they will be hidden from recent changes unless you click the "bots" link to set hidebots=0. The edits are not hidden from contributions lists, page histories or watchlists. The edits remain in the database and are not removed, but they no longer flood recent changes. The aim of this feature is to reduce the annoyance factor of a flood vandal with relatively little effort. This should not be used for reverting a change you just do not like, but is meant only for simple vandalism, particularly massive flood vandalism.
Design and wording of the interface
- change the text of the interface by editing the pages in the MediaWiki namespace, which includes the text at the top of pages such as "Special:WhatLinksHere" and the page that a blocked user will see when they try to edit a page (MediaWiki:Blockedtext);
- edit the style of the interface by changing the CSS in the vector stylesheet at MediaWiki:Vector.css; and
Administrators can also:
- move pages protected against moves;
- automatically move up to 100 subpages along with a page;
- view Special:Unwatchedpages to see pages which may be more vulnerable to vandalism;
- view the history of deleted pages, and the deleted contributions of users; and
- create accounts with names similar to those of existing accounts.
- Grant and remove reviewer, rollback, autopatrolled, file mover, confirmed, IP block exemption, mass message sender, Edit filter manager, template editor, and account creator permissions to other users, and to their own alternate accounts.
- Edit without being affected by IP range-blocks. That is, a block has no effect on an administrator's editing access, unless it is specifically a block on their username.
Misuse of tools
- Main policy links: Wikipedia:Administrators#Misuse of administrative tools, Wikipedia:Administrators#Uninvolved admins
Misusing the administrative tools is considered a serious issue. The administrative tools are provided to trusted users for maintenance and other tasks, and should be used with thought. Serious misuse may result in sanction or even their removal.
Common situations where avoiding tool use is often required:
- Conflict of interest or non-neutrality – Administrators should not normally use their tools in matters in which they are personally involved (for example, in a content dispute in which they are a party). See Involved admins.
- Communal norms or policies – When a policy or communal norm is clear that tools should not be used, then tools should not be used without an explanation that shows the matter has been considered, and why a (rare) exception is genuinely considered reasonable.
- Reversing the actions of other administrators – Only in a manner that respects the admin whose action is involved, and (usually) after consultation.
- Reinstating an admin action that has already been reversed (sometimes known as "wheel warring") – Responses have included Arbitration and desysopping even the first time.
See Wikipedia:Administrators (policy link) for these and for the very few exceptions.
In most cases even when use of the tools is reasonable, if a reasonable doubt may exist, it is frequently better to ask an independent administrator to review and (if justified) take the action. This is a matter of judgment if necessary.
- Wikipedia:Requests for adminship
- Wikipedia:Administrators' how-to guide
- Wikipedia:Administrators' reading list
- Wikipedia:Advice for new administrators
- The tools