Wikipedia:Administrator Code of Conduct

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This was a proposed policy based on the many opinions given at the Wikipedia:Admin accountability poll.

Accountability[edit]

Admins are primarily held accountable by other admins. All admin actions are logged, are subject to discussion and review, and (with the exceptions of image deletion and page history merges/splits) can be undone by other admins. An admin who regularly misuses admin tools may be temporarily blocked by other admins, just as users can be blocked for edit wars or personal attacks; such blocks should be noted on the admin noticeboard.

Admins, having more power, can do more harm than an average user, and thus are subject to higher standards of behavior. It is the responsibility of the admin to know the additional policies which apply to them as admins, and to take care to faithfully operate within them, so as to foster a just environment. Admins are held accountable to the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, which has the authority to impose probation or sanctions, including removal of admin status.

That said, nobody's perfect. While admins are held to high standards, it is inevitable that they make the occasional mistake, or perform an action that isn't particularly wise. Admins are expected to listen to reasonable criticism, and to learn from their mistakes.

Behavior[edit]

General[edit]

Admins are entrusted with additional abilities, but do not have special rights beyond those of regular editors. Like everybody else, admins are expected to behave in a civil manner, to not engage in revert wars and to not claim ownership of articles. With regard to simple misbehavior, admins are treated identically to regular users; for instance, a three-revert violation can be sanctioned with a 24-hour block.

Consensus[edit]

Wikipedia works by consensus, and admins are expected to implement consensus (though an admin who holds a minority view is free to make their case as an editor and let another admin close the discussion). Admins who have taken sides in a discussion should not rule as to what the consensus was unless either it was very clear, or they are ruling that the consensus was against their position.

Similarly, if discussion is ongoing regarding a certain issue, it is bad form to bypass the discussion and "force" the issue. Instead, one should help out by joining the discussion, or requesting outside opinion if necessary. This, too, applies to any editor.

This does not mean that discussion is needed before any action can be taken. An admin who thinks that e.g. deleting a disruptive page is a good idea can do so. However, should this action turn out to be disputed by another good-faith user, it is preferable to discuss it or get a third opinion.

That said, a few core principles of Wikipedia are non-negotiable. In particular, copyright law (which includes applications of doctrine of Fair Use), the GFDL license, or the Neutral Point of View cannot be overridden by apparent consensus to the contrary. Additionally, sometimes sockpuppets are abused to make an opinion seem more prevalent than it actually is. Such sockpuppetry does not constitute true consensus.

Wheel warring[edit]

"Wheel warring" is the repeated performing of an admin action that is then undone by another admin. It can occur between two admins who disagree, or between one admin and a larger group of like-minded individuals.

Just as edit warring on articles is unacceptable behavior, wheel warring is never appropriate, regardless of an admin's goals or motivations. It is counterproductive and needlessly divisive. An admin should never repeatedly perform the same admin action within a short time frame when the action has been undone by another admin. If admins are in disagreement over what should be done, the issue should be discussed (generally at the admin noticeboard, or deletion review, or on the talk pages of the admins involved) so that consensus can be formed.

Bullying and threats[edit]

Admins should never use their admin abilities to intimidate others. For instance, threatening a user with an inappropriate block is just as bad behavior as actually making that block. Of course, warning a user in advance of blocks that are appropriate is good practice - it is only common courtesy to inform a revert warrior or vandal that a block can be imposed for that behavior. When dealing with established editors that don't generally make problems, it may be preferable to suggest different behavior, rather than mentioning blocks.

Policy[edit]

Admins are expected to use their tools in accordance with current policy, and therefore are expected to keep abreast of policy in the areas where they use the tools. Admins using a new or unfamiliar part of the admin toolset are advised to refresh their understanding of relevant policies.

Security[edit]

Admins are privy to information that other users are entitled to expect will be kept securely. Therefore admins are expected to operate on an appropriate level of security, including using a strong password and not using their admin account on insecure machines such as in Internet cafes. See WP:SOCK#LEGIT.

Admin tools[edit]

Deletion[edit]

Pages should only be deleted if they meet a criterion for speedy deletion, or a copyright violation, or if a consensus was reached to delete the page on one of the deletion process pages.

If a page is deleted per one of the deletion process pages, it should only be undeleted after being discussed on deletion review. On the other hand, if a page is speedily deleted, it may be appropriate for an admin to speedily undelete it as well, especially if the admin improves or expands the article. It would be polite to notify the admin who deleted it, and if the two parties cannot reach agreement, the matter should be taken to deletion review.

A page should never be speedily deleted if it has been restored as a result of a deletion review vote.

Blocking[edit]

An admin should not block a user if they are not neutral with respect to that user, or have a conflict of interest. For instance, an admin blocking a user for an edit war involving that same admin is abusing their power. That said, being accused or attacked by a user does not necessarily mean a conflict of interest. When in doubt, the admin should place a notification on the admin noticeboard.

Admins should also be aware that warning a user of a block, especially when the user has no prior history of problems, can be perceived as a threat. When dealing with otherwise good contributors, it may be advisable to make suggestions as to their behavior without mentioning a block.

When undoing a block placed by another admin, it is good form to make a note of it either on the blocking admin's talk page, or on WP:ANI. Better yet would be to discuss it first unless the block is a clear violation of policy. Assume good faith should extend to admin actions and they should not be undone without a better reason than "I wouldn't have done it".

Admins blocked for any reason cannot perform any admin actions until and unless another admin unblocks them. Blocked admins may only edit their own talkpages. Similarly, admins should not unblock their own alternate accounts, other than auto-blocks for sharing IP addresses with blocked users.

The appropriateness of a block on another admin should be discussed on the noticeboard. It is extremely bad form to wheel war over whether another admin should be blocked.

Protection[edit]

Admins should not protect pages in edit wars that they are involved in. However, protection of a page does not imply endorsement for the version the page is protected in. For that reason, it shouldn't be a problem if an uninvolved admin reverts once to the other version and then immediately protects.

Admins can edit protected pages, but should in general refrain from doing so (with obvious exceptions such as acting on talk page consensus or adding a {{protected}} message). If a page is protected to stop an edit war, it is bad form to edit the page unless you are neutral in that edit war.

Admins can also edit the MediaWiki pages which define the Wikipedia interface. Since any change in there affects the entire community, these pages are not for experimenting with and should never be modified without prior discussion in a central place, such as the admin noticeboard and the village pump.

Rollback[edit]

Admins and Rollbackers can use the rollback button to quickly undo the last edit(s) by a single person on a single page. It is the equivalent of picking the last version by another editor from the history and restoring that, without leaving an edit summary. Non-admins have access to a javascript tool that has the same function.

The rollback tool is mainly intended to be used against vandalism, but can also be used to undo ones own mistakes. It should never be used in content disputes, edit wars or to revert another users' good faith edits.