|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.||
|This page in a nutshell: Administrators should not take bold, unileratal action when there is an ongoing community discussion on a particular matter.|
"Cowboy adminship" is a term sometimes used on Wikipedia to criticize an administrator who takes bold, unilateral action such as summarily blocking/unblocking an editor; protecting/unprotecting; or deleting/undeleting a page or file while the matter is still under community discussion.
In this context, "cowboy" primarily refers to the stereotypical negative associations towards cowboys and the evolved colloquial meaning to refer to one "who is reckless or ignores potential risks, irresponsible or who heedlessly handles a sensitive or dangerous task". See also cowboy diplomacy for real-world analogs.
The role of the administrator is to enact community consensus, not to rule by fiat. Cowboy adminship undermines the processes that have been put in place to function as a system of checks and balances on administrative decisions and actions. This is particularly important in the (thankfully rare) occasions where an administrator blocks another administrator, as undoing the block will almost guarantee criticism, and redoing the block will result in your own block. At this point, stopping and discussing is essential.
"Occasional mistakes are entirely compatible with adminship; administrators are not expected to be perfect." However, administrators who show a habitual disregard for community process and procedure may be subject to admonition or sanctions (up to and including removal of administrative privileges) at the administrators' noticeboard; via user conduct RFC; or the arbitration process.