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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This is the archive of my Admin Coaching. If you wish to make comments about it, please do so on User talk:Phantomsteve. Thank you.


Welcome Steve! A few questions before we get started.

  • Why do you want to be a sysop?
  • What do you hope to achieve with admin coaching?
  • Are there any areas you feel we should focus on?

Juliancolton | Talk 16:46, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

  • I want to be a sysop because it would enable me to contribute to Wikipedia at a higher level than I can as a regular editor:
  1. Protection: Wikipedia gets enough stick from the outside world for being unrealiable, yet ironically many people rely on it as a source of information. High levels of vandalism prevent information in articles being reliable. Obviously, a single bit of vandalism can be reverted by any editor, but deeper vandalism requires the page being protected. Also, edit-warring may mean that a page needs protection while the parties involved (along with other editors) come to a mutual decision about the content of an article. I have only ever requested page protection once (see this diff - it was declined because it was a content dispute rather than vandalism), but as a sysop I would not necessarily request protection (I can do that as an editor), but look at WP:RFPP and protect pages if necessary.
  2. Deletion: as a sysop I can delete pages (either obvious CSD ones, expired PRODs or xfDs where the consensus is to delete) - this prevents material which should not be in Wikipedia (or at least, which don't meet the criteria at this moment in time) from being there, again making for a more reliable encyclopedia.
  3. Blocking: Sometimes persistent vandals, editors who are abusive, etc, may need to be blocked to prevent vandalism or "bringing the project into disrepute".
  4. Reverting: I am already a rollbacker, so this is a tool I already use. I've made the odd mistake, but have rectified those (leaving apologies and removing warnings from user pages if required)
I am aware that there are other tools available to sysops (as per Wikipedia:Administrators/Tools) but these are the ones which I feel are most important.
  • With admin coaching, I hope to be given guidance in three areas:
  1. How to become a better editor overall. Sysops need to be able to lead by example. If I decided not to become a sysop, then hopefully at the very least I will be a better editor as a result of coaching!
  2. Find out about policies, guidelines and essays which I was not previously aware of - again, to improve my understanding of Wikipedia and improve my general editing
  3. How to use the tools reliably and responsibly (more of that in the next answer!)
  • The areas that I feel we should focus on are:
  1. Deletions: Finding out how to judge when an article is eligible for deletion, or (just as importantly) not eligible!
  1. CSD: A better understanding of when a CSD is applicable or not applicable. At the moment, my figures for SD nominations show that out of 42 SD noms I have made, 55% were accepted, with 43% declined (I withdrew one myself when I found some sources after a bit more searching). If I was a sysop, I could have deleted those articles instantly - and those 43% (18 articles) would have been deleted when they shouldn't have. I realise that admins sometimes delete articles speedily when maybe they shouldn't have, but 43% is a high level of "mistakes" to make!
  2. PROD: Similarly with Proposals for deletion. At the moment, my figures (out of 29) are Contested: 52%, Deleted: 34%, Redirected: 7%. Some of these may have gone to AfD, but I'd have to check in a lot more detail for that!
  3. AfD: I'm not as worried about these. Out of 74 AfDs I've contributed to and 56 MfDs, 82% of my !votes are with the consensus (65% on the ones I nominated), 4% are against concensus (0% on the ones I've nominated), I've withdrawn 4% (9) as I've been persuaded that I was wrong and 7% had no concensus (see User:Phantomsteve/Editor/Deletions for all these figures)
  1. Protection: Find out how to judge when a page is eligible for protection/unprotection, and when it isn't
  2. Blocking: Find out how to judge when a user should be blocked (and if so, when a permanent block is suitable, or otherwise how to gauge how long a block should be for)
  3. Anything else which you think I would need to know!

Just so that you know, due to family commitments I probably won't be on much tomorrow or Saturday, and probably only for a short while on Sunday - but I'll try to check out Wikipedia some time during tomorrow and the weekend! Otherwise, I'll be back online properly on Monday

Regards, -- PhantomSteve (Contact Me, My Contribs) 20:40, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

A bit more![edit]

Good! Now, answer the following and we'll be good to go (I just want to get an idea of your experience so I know what to focus on during this coaching program).

Have you ever:

  1. Eventualism vs. immediatism: Moderate eventualism (regardless of article rating)
  2. Statusquoism: Moderate anti-statusquoism
  3. Communityism and Encyclopedyism: Communityism
  4. Authorism vs. Communalism: Communalism
  5. Sysopism vs. Rehabilism vs. Politicism: Rehabilism
  6. Edit warring: WikiPacifism
  7. Adminship: Adminship is an important duty
  8. Neutrality: Basic skill
  9. Factions, advocacy and suppression: Semi-factionalism
  10. Vigilantism vs. Proceduralism: Proceduralism
    • This really got me thinking! I particularly had to think hard about "Neutrality" - I had to really think about which one was nearest to my thinking (I ruled out "Unattainable absolute" pretty much straight away!)
  • helped out on the Account Creation Toolserver Interface?
    • Yes - I was approved at 2009-07-16 11:55:47. I have created one user account, I referred one to admin accounts, and one which I closed was created by another user. Having those two which I either didn't know how to handle, or incorrectly handled, shook my confidence, but I thought I'd retry again, when I was able to create the one user account.
      • Update: I started using IRC yesterday, and so I have been able to know when there are requests waiting! I have now created 6 accounts. -- PhantomSteve (Contact Me, My Contribs) 00:54, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
  • requested and received/been denied for Rollback?
  • had a previous RFA?
    • No
  • Written a good article?
  • Created any featured content?
    • No
  • Written a DYK?
    • No

Juliancolton | Talk 15:57, 6 November 2009 (UTC)


Alright, thanks. Now we'll go into the area of deletion, which is usually where you spend most of your time as an admin. First, we'll review WP:AFDs, then I'll post some PROD, CSD, and IAR-deletion exercises:


AfD is an important part of Wikipedia's maintenance, and is critical for keeping out non-notable and problematic pages. As an admin, you'll likely end up closing some AfDs here and there. A crucial part of closing discussions properly is being able to correctly evaluate a debate and interpret consensus. However, as you probably know, not all "votes" should be taken with the same amount of consideration. Here are a few examples of hypothetical posts, and I want you to identify the weaknesses and strengths of each argument. –Juliancolton | Talk 01:12, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Delete: If we deleted my article, this should go too! --JealousEditor (talk) 20:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Strength: None
    • Weakness: This does not give a valid argument as per the validity of the article being discussed. This is a retaliatory action by an angry editor.
    • Comment: Also, it smacks of being along the lines of Wikipedia:Arguments_to_avoid_in_deletion_discussions#What_about_article_x? - although only an essay, it is a fair rationalisation of an argument that would be unuseful in an AfD
  • Delete: I haven't looked for sources, but many others say that the subject is not notable. Hence I vote, "delete". --BandwagonVoter (talk) 20:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Strength: None
    • Weakness: Each !vote should be a single editor's considered opinion. In this case, firstly it is not BandwagonVoter's own opinion - and it definitely is not considered. It is required that the editor looks at the article itself, not the arguments given already - and if there appear to be no (or too few) sources, to actually look for them.
    • Comment: I sometimes will quote the number of hits (with a qualifier if necessary) - such as "Google News returns 10 hits, but 8 of those are clearly press releases" - along with a link to the relevant search.
  • Keep: I checked Google and there's lots of reliable sources. --GoogleFanatic (talk) 20:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Strength: The editor has apparently done some checking!
    • Weakness: The editor has not indicated any examples of reliable sources, so there is no verification of their comment. It may or may not be true.
    • Comment: I would generally either look for sources myself (and quote some), or ask GoogleFanatic to give examples
  • Keep per reliable sources that I incorporated into this article. --Sofixit (talk) 20:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Strength: The editor has not only looked at the article, they have found reliable sources and tried to fix the article. This should be the prime role of the editors who are considering the article. If it can be fixed, it should be. It should only be deleted if it cannot be fixed at this moment in time or never
    • Weakness: None, with the proviso below
    • Comment: I would check the sources incorporated into the article to ensure that they were reliable (the history of the article would show the contributions made by Sofixit) - the fact that they are reliable needs to be verified.
  • Delete - Violates WP:BLP, should be deleted. --RandomBLPguy 20:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Strength: The editor has an awareness of the importance of the BLP policy, and by implication the fact that issues with BLP articles could potentially have legal consequences (if untrue facts are in the article, or unduely negative ones)
    • Weakness: The editor does not actually specify what part of BLP is violated. The policy has a lot of areas where an article could potentially violate it - and it is necessary for the editor who makes such a !vote to explain precisely which area(s) of BLP have been violated! Just saying it is so doesn't make it so.
    • Comment: This is the area of AfD in which I have not done much! It can get very contentious - but we don't have a guideline, we have a policy - and knowing the different areas of the policy, and what is required in a BLP article is important.

Answered -- PhantomSteve (Contact Me, My Contribs) 01:53, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Closing discussions[edit]

Very reasonable descriptions. Now, here are a few hypothetical AfDs. Explain how you would go about closing these (stolen from another one of my students. :))

  • Before I would even consider closing any of these, I would look at the articles and sources - and if I felt that it should be kept (i.e. I could find sources) or it should be deleted, I would not close it myself, but add a "keep" or "delete" !vote myself and leave it for another admin to close. However, assuming that I had no particular views one way or another, here is how I would go about closing them:
  1. User:Olaf Davis/Coaching/AfD1
    • I would close this as a keep: 60,000 hits on Google could indicate notability (in actual fact, I'd have a quick look at the hits, to see if they are reliable, or just from blogs/wikipedia mirrors). Neither of the two 'delete' !votes gave substantiated reasons (one just said "per nom", the other a vague "against policy" argument). I'd ignore the 'keep' !vote if the random link was truly random - although I'd check it out just on the offchance it was useful to show notability.
  2. User:Olaf Davis/Coaching/AfD2
    • I would ideally relist this for another week to see if concensus could be found (and adding to relevant WP:DELSORT categories if possible).
    • If I absolutely had to close it, I would close it as no concensus for two reasons:
    1. Including the nominator, there are two !votes - there is not enough to really say there is a concensus for deletion
    2. The nominator would need to be more specific about the BLP/libelous problems: There is no evidence here of what they are. (I would probably contact the nominator and ask if they could specify what their precise concerns are).
  3. User:Olaf Davis/Coaching/AfD3
    • To be honest, I'd be inclined to look into this one and !vote myself, as I do not consider the arguments given to be consensual - and then leave it for another admin to close. However, I would close this as a no concensus because:
    1. The nominator made no !vote - they just felt it should be put up for discussion, but had no strong feelings one way or another
    2. "Keep because I love this blog" is not a valid argument for keeping, so I would discount this !vote
    3. "Keep: notable" - no evidence of this given, but this is by an editor who probably only contributed to this AfD (or the article), and so it should be "taken with a pinch of salt", as a biased !vote - so I would discount it
    4. "Keep to save from rogue admins" - This is not a reason to keep this article. This cabal of 'rouge' admins doesn't exist, so can't be used as a reason for not deleting an article - again this is a user who is likely to be biased, as they have made few or no edits outside of this subject
    5. "Delete" - if this was one of a few delete !votes, I'd be more willing to close it as a 'delete', but one !vote to delete is not sufficient consensus to do so.
  4. User:Olaf Davis/Coaching/AfD4
    • No concensus closure. It is not worth relisting again (to be honest, I probably wouldn't have relisted a third time even). When it was relisted the second time, I would have expected the relisting admin to either find a suitable DELSORT category to list it in, or leave a message at relevant WikiProjects asking for comments (and made a note similar to the DELSORT note to show that I had done this - similar to what I did at this AfD)

Juliancolton | Talk 02:12, 12 November 2009 (UTC)


No errors in your last responses as far as I can tell! Now for some CSD stuff. Please explain how you would handle the following pages listed at CAT:CSD:

  • Decline A7 merely required the assertion of importance. This one says [they] won the national high school news anchor competition which asserts this.
  • Delete No assertion is made here. Furthermore, this would qualify under G11, as unambiguous advertising or promotion. If it had been created a couple of times before, I would also WP:SALT it.
  • Decline... but: Trickier! On the face of it, this asserts notability, and so should be declined - however, there are BLP issues! I would check the source for the 2nd statement (about stealing funds) - if the source verifies the information and is reliable, I'd do nothing further. If the source either did not verify the information and/or is not reliable, I would remove the 2nd sentence under the WP:BLP guidelines: Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion
  • Delete: His business earning 45 million isn't relevant - this is an article about him not his business. His being married to a supermodel is also irrelevant to his notability: notability is not inherited.
  • Decline the article clearly asserts notability: it claims they have a number 1 hit, which would clearly meet WP:MUSIC
  • Delete I do not consider that the article makes assertions of notability. Last year, helped nearly 12,000 advertisors and companies get together does not imply that this is unusual compared to similar organisations.

Juliancolton | Talk 01:50, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

PRODs and IAR deletions[edit]

Well, I'm quite impressed! Excellent answers all 'round. There's one more distinct area of deletion, though: PRODs. In general, an article is tagged and seven days later deleted if nobody objects in the meantime. As an admin, I'll delete almost all uncontested PRODs, but it is important to know when one has been doctored/vandalized/faked. I don't think it's necessary to do any examples for PRODs, but let me know if you have any questions :)

  • The doctored/etc can be worked out from the history can't it? With PRODs, I would look at the cause for concern, look at the article - and if the concern is apt, then delete the article - unless I think I can rescue it with reliable, independent sources! -- PhantomSteve (Contact Me, My Contribs) 17:16, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Now, IAR should rarely be invoked for deletions, but in some cases it is appropriate to delete something out of the standard process. Please list three such hypothetical cases. After this, we'll move forward and dive into WP:PP stuff. Cheers, –Juliancolton | Talk 14:32, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Ok, I had to think really hard about this! But here goes...
  1. If an AfD was put up, and within an hour there were 15 reasoned "keep" comments from non-SPA editors, who do not have a COI, then rather than waiting for the full 7 days to elapse, it could be closed early. The Wikipedia:Speedy keep guidelines say "SNOW may be cited for an early close, but its use is discouraged".
  2. If an article was created which was unsourced, with the title "Charles and Diana: Research by Johann Schmidtt" submitted by editor Johann.schmidtt.research which contained the phrases "This is the theory I developed after watching a TV Show about Charles and Diana" - and no hits on GNews, GScholar, GBooks (and all the GSearch hits were social sites or other unreliable ones), it could be deleted - although CSD specifically states that "OR cannot be used as a reason for speedy deletion", the fact that the title of the article clearly shows that this is OR, the author admits it within the article and there are no sources to confirm the information, all point to OR without any doubt.
  3. An article is created in a language other than English. A {{notenglish}} tag is placed on it, it is listed Wikipedia:Pages needing translation into English but with no responses, and a message is left on the talk page of the relevant WikiProject, where one of the Project Leaders replies "This is not a sufficiently notable enough subject to merit translation.", with other Project Members concurring. I come across this article after a week, see all of this - and delete it, as it is obviously not going to improve the encyclopedia, as the "experts" don't think it warrants inclusion.
To be honest, I feel that these latter two are very much stretching the point - and in fact, I would probably either {{prod}} or AfD them.
I would be grateful if you would give me some examples of hypothetical sitations when IAR would be a valid use - I was under the impression that generally IAR refers to creating and editing articles, not admin actions. -- PhantomSteve (Contact Me, My Contribs) 17:16, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable, I suppose. To be honest, I'm not really familiar enough with foreign language issues to make a call re. answer #3.

IAR can be used for nearly any purpose, so long as it is applied appropriately and within reason. In theory, it should be invoked only if doing so directly benefits the encyclopedia itself, so it could be used for admin actions on occasion. (Normally for page protection and deletion; blocks should really only be issued within the realm of documented policy.) More practices tomorrow, sorry for the wait! –Juliancolton | Talk 05:17, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

No worries - real life and Wikipedia work are important! To be honest, apart from the "early close" example I gave (where I should have made it clear that I would only do it if there were no delete !votes or !redirect votes given, only keep !votes), I can't think of a realistic occasion when I would use IAR - I would PROD/AfD the article instead - unless BLP issues were involved, in which case I would improve/remove text to satisfy that. -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 08:06, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

For something different[edit]

Your work so far has been excellent, so I'll take a break from boring deletions and blocks for now to focus on something completely different. For the next few practices, I'll ask some random wiki-related questions that don't really have a right or wrong answer, but will hopefully help to initiate discussions on various wiki-philosophies. –Juliancolton | Talk 17:28, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Is this Wikipedia?[edit]

Size of English Wikipedia broken down.png
  • What does this image symbolize? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?
  • The image symbolises the perception of the value of the contents of Wikipedia that people can have. My thoughts on the components:
  • Pokémon characters: Symbolises information which most people don't really care about - but those who are into the subject think is really important. Interestingly, in the 4-1/4 years that List of Pokémon characters has existed (since 1st Sept 2005), it has never have been up for SD, PROD or AfD - despite the fact that there are no references or sources, plus other tags it's had for a long time. However, I can't forsee anyone ever seriously putting this up for deletion, as other articles on Pokémon are sourced - but this is, I would say, an example of IAR: the 'rules' say that all articles should be referenced, this isn't!
  • Crappy MySpace bands: Symbolises that most nebulous of concepts: 'taste'. The band I think is crappy is the band you think are the best in the world - it's all a matter of opinion. If there are references for the band away from their MySpace/Facebook/etc profiles, in reliable, independent sources then they are worthy of inclusion: how good you think they are or are not is not relevant. Obviously, if they are a band who most of the world think are crap, then this can be mentioned in their article, as long as it is sourced!
  • Bush is teh gay LOL: Represents the vandalism that occurs on a regular basis: it is essential to keep an eye out for it, and to remedy it. If only all vandalism was as easy to spot though: it's the little ones (like changing 1986 to 1984) that are harder to spot - and yet, little things like that make Wikipedia less reliable.
  • [citation needed]: Symbolises the need for verifiability of information. For end-users, this is their main worry: that information will be in the encyclopedia that isn't verified, and so they may get incorrect information. For editors, it's a reminder that we need to look for reliable sources of information!
  • Disinformation inserted by the CIA: Represents the conspiracy 'nuts' who see the CIA/Government/(your choice here) as trying to prevent the truth getting out.
  • unfunny memes: Wikipedia spreads 'knowledge' rather than ideas (as per true memes) - but again, the issue of funny vs unfunny is down to the individual
  • Urban legends: Wikipedia isn't really a place for urban legends (there are a few here, some examples of which are listed at Urban Legends) - but some people think that part of Wikipedia's job is to show what is true and what is false - but truth is subjective: that's why our policies refer to verifiability not Truth
  • Lording it over Britannica: This is implied when you feel the need to defend Wikipedia. "Unlike traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia can be updated 24/7", etc. Truth be told, if I had to submit a piece of work to a university, I would be more likely to use Britannia as a source of information, rather than Wikipedia - but I would read up the subject on Wikipedia, and look at the sources used in the article, and then use them. Wikipedia's strength and weakness are the same thing: the principle of "anyone can edit" - this allows untruths/unverified information to be entered into the encyclopedia, but it also allows updated information to be entered as well!
  • Libel: Critics in the press will mention creating their own article and inserting provably false information: in general, this is a minor problem - but an important one. That's why we have WP:BLP. The policy is clear: Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion. Vandal patrol and new page patrol help ensure that this happens.
  • Stephen Fucking Colbert: Ah, our good friend Stephen Colbert! This symbolises that a comment on radio/tv/etc can cause real problems with Wikipedia: such as when Mr Colbert (who I think is very funny, but don't get to see much over here in the UK) suggests that people alter Wikipedia articles to say African elephants have tripled in number in the last 6 months - which caused relevant pages to have to be protected for a while. It was funny for Stephen, for his audience and for the vandals - but for Wikipedia, it was a pain. One of the disadvantages of Wikipedia's "anyone can edit" model.
  • " Popular Culture" (i.e. Family Guy): This symbolises people trying to fit things into articles which don't particularly belong there. From In popular culture: "Official" Wikipedia guidelines indicate that this section "should contain verifiable facts of interest to a broad audience of readers", though over-zealous contributors have been known to add obscure and non-noteworthy references as well.
  • Bitter political infighting: this symbolises two things which newcomers/critics see: firstly, edit-warring in controversial subjects - by definition, a bad thing. I've not seen much of that myself, as I don't tend to have knowledge or interest in political subjects on Wikipedia; the second is the perceived infighting between the cabals and the non-members of whichever cabal is involved.
  • Some village in the US with a population of 3 you've never heard of: The problem of size and geographical locations: what size makes a human habitation big enough to include? No guidelines exist - although the essay Wikipedia: Notability (geography) says "Populated, legally-recognized places are, by a very large consensus, considered notable, even if the population is very low. It is important though, when notability is challenged, to reliably document that a place is legally recognized in some way". My main problem with the statement, though, is the you've never heard of. Just because a user has never heard of it, does not make it non-notable. Of course, this is more of a problem with non-Western places/companies/films/people - many countries do not have the large number of online resources as America, Canada, UK, Australia, etc - and it can be easy to say "I can't find sources, so there aren't any" - something it is important to avoid!
  • (actually useful stuff): No two readers/editors/admins/bureaucrats/group would agree on what is useful and what is not. I can only think of one group which would agree amongst all its members of what is actually useful stuff - and that would be the Wiki [Wikipedia:UAL#Founder|founder]] group - as it only consists of one member: [User:Jimbo Wales|Jimmy Wales]]!
Do I agree with it? There are aspects which challenge us as editors, make us think. There are areas where we can let our own close-minded-ness affect what should be in Wikipedia and what should not be. (I hear a Babylon 5 character Ta'Lon saying "That was a stirring reply, Phantomsteve. Unfortunately, while all answers are replies, not all replies are answers. You did not answer the question that I asked."
I both agree and disagree with it: as long as an article follows the policies and guidelines of Wikipedia, it can be in the encyclopedia. If it does not follow, it cannot. Most of the things on the diagram have a place to play in encyclopedia: either to remind us what can be in here, or what to look out for.
And with that, I'm off to bed! -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 01:51, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm quite pleased with this response. Your in-depth explanation of these various issues shows that you have a very comprehensive understanding of how Wikipedia works, which is a good thing. :) One more before we go to protection practices. –Juliancolton | Talk 14:36, 9 December 2009 (UTC)


Is Wikipedia failing? Or not?

Yes! Moving on....
Seriously, though, it is both failing and not failing.
The problem is "How do we define success"? Both of the essays make valid points, and either of them could be used to show success or failure quite easily.
While it is true that the number of FA/A class articles is low in comparison to the total number of articles, I would contend that this is not a totally valid comparison with a traditional encyclopedia - Wikipedia does not have a staff, whose job is to work on an encyclopedia... we're all volunteers with real life commitments; Wikipedia does not have dedicated experts to work on articles, unlike a traditional encyclopedia; Wikipedia does have new articles created all the time, unlike a traditional encyclopedia.
Yes, some articles drop in quality - but again, a traditional encyclopedia would never have this problem as their articles are 'fixed'.
I feel that given the system used here (i.e. "Anyone can edit"), Wikipedia is succeeding, albeit modestly. It would be an interesting experiment for one of the traditional encyclopedias to give the world access to their source material for one week, and see how many of their articles would still be considered as being of encyclopedic standard (especially if they allowed people to create their own articles as well!)
The only way in which you could ensure that the majority of articles were of encyclopedic standard would be to delete everything, start again, and work on (say) 5000 articles - when they are at the required standard, "lock" them so that they can't be changed, then work on another 5000 articles, and repeat this cycle - unfortunately, this would then mean that this would not be Wikipedia, whose greatest strength and weakness is that it is the "Encyclopedia that anyone can edit".
And that's my 0.02! -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 08:26, 16 December 2009 (UTC)


Rollback is a fickle friend. It's miles easier than undo for vandalism, spam, and ban-evading IPs, but one has to decide what qualifies as "unproductive" worthy of rollingback. If possible, give me two fairly specific scenarios where rollback is appropriate and two where it isn't. Good luck! –Juliancolton | Talk 20:44, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Two "inappropriate" scenarios:
    1. Over a series of edits, an editor re-arranges the order of some of the paragraphs in an article I have been editing. I feel that the new order is "stupid" and "illogical", so I just use rollback to put it back to how it was before the other editor started "messing it up"
      Rollback should not be used for edit-warring or content-dispute
    2. An editor makes an edit where they add an unsourced statement about a building. I feel that the statement should not be present, as it is unsourced and revert.
      Rollback should not be used to revert a presumed good-faith edit (and when in doubt, GF should be assumed). At most, in this case undo should be used, but by preference, it should be discussed on the article's talk page.
      Incidently, if this had been a BLP article, then again rollback shouldn't be used, but undo used, with a message on the user's talk page explaining the removal and policy.

Regards, -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 15:14, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

No issues here; excellent work! Now, as an admin, what would your standards for granting rollback be? –Juliancolton | Talk 05:15, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I would basically follow this check list:
  • Has the editor been editing for at least a month? No? Not done Otherwise...
  • Has the editor been blocked within the last 2 months for vandalism? Yes? Not done Otherwise...
  • Has the editor done any anti-vandal editing? No? Not done Otherwise...
  • Has the editor given warnings for vandalism they've reverted? No? Not done Otherwise...
  • Has the editor reported persistent vandals to AIV? No? Not done Otherwise...
  • Does the editor use edit summaries? No? Not done Otherwise...
  •  Done
-- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 15:46, 12 January 2010 (UTC)


Alright then, let's move on to blocks. Blocking, as you probably know, is an extreme measure, and only to be used in a last attempt to stop disruption to the project by a particular editor. This function is widely considered the most 'powerful' tool sysops have, and care should be taken when usin it. Vandalism and spam blocks are generally straightforward, and don't stir up too much trouble. However, blocks for 3RR, incivility, arbitration enforcement, etc. do have the potential to get a lot of people mad and cause a ruckus at ANI. We'll focus on this aspect of the bit for the new few rounds of practices. For now, here are four standard candidates for blocks that admins see every day. Explain what action you would take, and how you would go about it. –Juliancolton | Talk 15:14, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Before answering, I should point out that if any of the following were cases where I was involved (content dispute) then I would not even consider blocking the user, but report the user at ANI for other admins to consider what action to take.
  1. A new account creates an attack page and commits another disruptive edit, though has received only a level-2 warning.
    Block (1 week) - as it is being used exclusively for disruptive purposes, I would block it with no further warnings. After the block, I would watch the account, and if it commits another disruptive edit, I would then issue an indefinite block.
    Further: If the attack page disclosed personal information or actions that placed users in danger, I would notify ArbCom about the block (plus ANI), as well as asking an oversighter to permanently delete the material
  2. A shared IP address from a school vandalizes sporadically every couple days for the past month. However, there are multiple constructive contribs as well.
    No block if no warnings, otherwise (24 hour) block - There is no mention of warnings here, so if there are none, I would post a warning and monitor the situation. If there are warnings, I will look at the ones issued in the previous 24 hours. If they have reached 4 warnings within that period, I would issue a short-term (24hours) block (otherwise it is not persistent vandalism, as mentioned in WP:BLOCK) - if the IP has already had a 24-hour block within the last week, I would use a week block instead. If they have had a week block within the last month, I would use a month block instead. If they have had a month block (i.e. they have had at least 3 blocks previosuly), then I would use an indefinite block - but make sure that account creation from the IP is allowed.
    As it is a school IP, a long-term block could affect many users, so this would be unfair. (Sometimes School IP notices on talk pages of IPs may have a contact for the school's IT contact, so it may be wise to provide that person with dates/times of vandalism, as they may be able to deal with it by refusing to allow the vandalising student access)
  3. An IP has received multiple warnings for vandalism, yet there's doubt as to whether the edits are truly bad-faith.
    No block initially (unless recently blocked) - I would review the edits to see if I can AGF. If there is still doubt, I would leave a personal message on the IP's talk page explaining the problem (whether it is removing sourced information, adding unsourced information, etc). I would also suggest that the user registers an account and tries adoption. If there were further edits which could be reasonably seen as vandalism, I would issue a 24-hour block initially. If they have already had recent blocks, I would use the same pattern of blocking as I mentioned for the school IP above (24 hr -> 1 week -> 1 month -> indef)
  4. A new user is reported to UAA for having the name "AlabamaOil", yet has not made any promotional-type changes.
    Conditional block - I would use Template:Uw-ublock (Your username is the only reason for this block. You are welcome to choose a new username)
    Actually, in the case of a seemingly promotional username that hasn't made any problematic edits, it's better to leave a {{uw-username}} note than block on-sight. If they don't respond after a week or so, then it's appropriate to block. –Juliancolton | Talk 21:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Regards, -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 15:32, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Otherwise, your answers seem fine. Anything in particular you'd like to focus on next? –Juliancolton | Talk 21:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the comment about the final block. I'll bear that in mind if I am ever in the situation where I have the bit and see that situation!
As to what next... well, unless you have anything else about blocks, then page protection would be the next area, unless you can think of anything more suitable. (By the way, when I answered the questions way up the top there, I had no DYKs and no GAs... now I have one DYK (Gilbert Thomas Carter, which was a one-sentence stub when I found it) and one GA (William Stanley (Victorian inventor)).) -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 21:58, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Status update[edit]

OK, time to regroup. Sorry about the delayed responses as of late; I should be able to tend to this page more often in coming months. Before we proceed, I'd like to ask you this: how close do you feel you are to passing RfA? –Juliancolton | Talk 16:14, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't feel that it would be a WP:NOTNOW or a WP:SNOW closure at least!
I feel that there are several editors (from comments they have made over the last few months) that would support me, and there will be some who I think might oppose me (although even some of those who do not like admin coaching, like Coffee, have said to me that they look at the overall performance of the candidate, and that a single item on their standards list would not in and of itself prompt an oppose). I've made mistakes in the past,of course, but they tend to be corrected (with apologies made as appropriate). I've not received many negative comments from others.
Overall, I don't think I'm a million miles away, but as to how close I am? I wouldn't know. Of course, in the "old days" when it was more a case of it being no big deal, I think it would be easier - but these days RfA can be a bit of a bear pit!
When you think I'm ready, I am willing to go for it - I don't think that I would do too badly, even if I failed, but I'm in no rush - it's not the most important thing in my life! My family, my kids (including the one due in July), etc - those are the important things. At the end of the day, Wikipedia is just another website - one I enjoy working on immensely, one which I think has an important role in the world - but at the end of the day, just a website.
Whether I'm an admin next week, next month, next year, never - it's not that important. I think I'd be able to offer a lot of help with the maintenance and protection of Wikipedia, but there are plenty of admins at the moment who are doing that, so I'd be another hand to help out, but it can wait.
Again, I'll go with when you are happy to nominate me! -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 17:36, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
That's a very reasonable response. Personally, I think you could pass RfA if you ran now. But I have notoriously lenient standards for adminship, so I might not be the best judge. To ensure success, you might want to think about spending a while working on dispute resolution, even if informally. WP:3O is a good place to look for minor and resolvable quarrels. Achieving respect as a mediator is an excellent way to increase your odds of passing, but more importantly, it helps the wiki along in general. Whaddya say? –Juliancolton | Talk 18:06, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I looked at WP:3O, but there are no active disputes there at the moment! If you think that I would have a good chance of passing RfA, I am happy to go with that assessment. Although there may be some editors who would not necessarily agree with your standards, I think that I am willing to face the gauntlet that is RfA! If you are ready to nominate me, I would be happy with that - could I just ask that you also see if ukexpat (talk · contribs) would still like to co-nominate (as he said here in November)? -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 00:33, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Alright then, sounds fine to me. I'll ping Ukexpat. –Juliancolton | Talk 01:46, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.