User:Friday/Admin abuse

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This might turn into a Wikipedia essay one day, right now it's just the beginnings of a page of personal thoughts. Anyone can edit this if they like, although I reserve the right to exercise more editorial control here than I would in article space.

The topic of abuse of administrative powers comes up frequently. Frequently, the accuser is a newbie, troll, or POV pusher and the accusation is completely unwarranted. Many editors have become jaded about such complaints because of this. However, I have seen an unfortunate amount of questionable conduct by admins, including questionable use of admin functions, so I agree that there's a problem here.

Update: The Arbcom now seems willing to remove adminship from those who exhibit a pattern of misuse of the tools. This may well pretty much solve the problem. So I'm not sure how much of what's here is relevant anymore. Another update: I'm not sure at all that the arbcom still shows much willingness to remove adminship except in obvious cases. (Is this changing?) Yet another update: I still think we need a process for admins who have lost the confidence of the community. The crats, despite being charged with determining consensus for adminship, seem unwilling to address the other half of the issue. Many editors seem convinced that only Jimbo or Arbcom can remove adminship, but I think they're only saying that because no one else ever has. Maybe it's a small issue- several of the admins who I'd lost confidence in are no longer admins, so the system may well be working just fine.

Old Ramblings[edit]

(This section particularly needs to be organized).

Maybe some new place for informal review of admin functions should be made. (Or does it already exist? AN/I can be used for that.) RFC is too much, something less formal and less severe is needed. Yes, I know, talk pages are the right place, but unfortunately, it's not always effective. Some admins delete things too easily despite frequently being talked to about it. Some improperly handle Afds, despite objections.

Some assert that admins should be held to a higher standard than "mere editors". Some disagree. Whether we like it or not, admins represent the community. High standards does conflict with it being "no big deal", but many accept that it has become a bigger deal lately.

Many say that automatic reconfirmation of admins is too much work. This may well be true. And it's probably unneccessary. I've seen patterns of bad behavior in admins, but certainly not in MOST admins. Most editors do good things; admins are no exceptions.

Perhaps the notion of this as a cultural problem can be addressed by making efforts to de-emphasize the division between admins and "mere" editors. If the conflicts are really between newbies and experienced editors, that's another issue. If the experienced editors are ganging up, it's probably ok. Experienced editors (admins or not) should try to enforce basic editorial policy, even if newbies don't like it or don't understand it. Some misunderstandings come from users assuming that all the experienced editors are admins, or that admins have special editorial authority.

-Admins will always be abusers no matter what. They don't care about you and why should they. 99 percent of admins abuse at one time and never look back, its just the way it is.


Some portion of the percieved problem revolves around deletion and undeletion. WP:PURE seems like an obvious answer to that problem.


We do not want WP to be a "two-class society". Many editors complain that this is the case on wikipedia, with admins doing whatever the hell they want while the "regular editors" are held to the rules. I don't see that this is particularly the case, altho I do quite often see surprisingly bad behavior from admins. I think we need to make a serious effort to de-emphasize the divide between admins and non-admins. We're all just editors.

Anything that makes people think there's a culture of admin abuse should be avoided when possible. One thing that's missing right now is a way to de-admin people, possibly with some method that makes de-adminship somewhere near as easy as granting adminship. The appearance of an untouchable class does much to strain editor relations.

Perhaps the Wikipedia:Harmonious adminship club (counterpart to WP:HEC) is not such a bad idea.

Things to avoid[edit]

Dismissing all such complaints immediately, or, worse yet, calling the complainers "trolls" is a Very Bad Thing to do. This just lends more credibility to the allegations, whether or not they're baseless. We want transparency here. If 90% of such complaints are bullshit, we want this to be clear. For whatever percentage of them are legitimate, we want this to be clear also.


It's possible that many admins would bristle at the idea of an RFC-like thing that would be permanently open on them. Well, too bad. If you can't handle the idea of the community scrutinizing your actions, don't accept a nomination for adminship. Editors are already scrutinized (to a greater or lesser degree) during the RFA. If admins are truely trusted by the community, with that trust goes accountability.

What to do[edit]

What should be done when you disagree with something an admin did? First, bring it up on the talk page of the person in question. Explain your side, and say what you think should have been done instead. If the situation cannot be resolved satifactorily, it could be brought up on WP:AN/I for third opinions. If particularly admins find themselves frequently disagreed with in AN/I, this is probably an indication that they should modify whatever behavior is leading to such disagreements.

Also, Admins should not be afraid to revert an action taken by someone else, if they strongly disagree with it. This is not to encourage warring though- it's to encourage everyone to be bold, once. If you've been bold once and someone undoes it, it's probably time to stop and talk things over rather than warring over it.

Later thoughts[edit]

The real problem may well have been just a small number of particular individuals, combined with a culture of putting up with bad behavior from certain people. To me, the important thing to learn is that we need to hold all editors to a set of common standards. People who habitually violate those community expectations are a difficult problem, and I've discussed that issue a bit at User:Friday/problem. Perhaps then, there's no real reason to consider problem admins seperately from other problem editors (the main difference is that a problem admin has a couple more potentially dangerous tools at their disposal.)

See also[edit]



WP:RFDA My major complaint, in adding to this, is that I've used sources from USA Today, that are deemed reliable to the community, yet I've had admins not only pull them off, and revert my changes, they called it original research!! How on Earth is USA Today articles original research?? Then, when I changed it back to what I had repeatedly, got banned from editing it repeatedly, basically by an admin who didn't like me changing their original content. I've had articles about billion dollar companies pulled off by admins claiming there are too many articles on Wikipedia, and that mine was of a "small" company, despite having worldwide locations. Of course that admin later banned another account I had. Admins are out of control, and it's the reason why the scholastic community still regards Wikipedia as an unreliable source, it is as long as admins abuse their power like this!2602:304:CFD3:2EE0:1D75:DDD:2935:6502 (talk) 01:29, 23 February 2015 (UTC)