Wikipedia:Administrators serve during good behavior
|This page in a nutshell: Administrators are not elected officials, and the process of confirming and retaining administrators should not resemble a political process, but rather that administrators serve "during good behavior", i.e. for an indefinite period barring serious misconduct.|
Administrators are entrusted by the community, following confirmation of that trust in Requests for Adminship, to have the ability to perform a number of actions, including determination of consensus and enforcement of policy. Some actions may be unpopular with some editors, even in cases where policy dictates that a certain action must be taken.
In the same spirit of how Wikipedia is not a democracy, administrators are also not elected officials. The process of selecting administrators is most similar to the process of selecting federal judges in the United States. In selecting federal judges, the candidate is first nominated by the President of the United States, and the nominee's appointment is subsequently confirmed or rejected by the United States Senate following hearings intended to determine the nominee's suitability to serve. If confirmed, the nominee then begins their tenure as a federal judge. In selecting administrators, a member of the community nominates a fellow community member (or themselves) to potentially serve as an administrator. Through the Requests for Adminship process, the community then has the opportunity to confirm or reject the nomination, asking questions as necessary, to determine the suitability of the administrator nominee to serve in the role of Wikipedia administrator.
Similarly to the idea that administrators' selection is similar to the selection process of federal judges, it is also the situation that administrators serve during good behavior. That is, barring serious misconduct as determined by Arbitration Committee, emergency desysoppings, voluntary resignation of adminship, or procedural desysoppings for inactivity, administrators are able to exercise, in good faith, their best judgment in gauging consensus, enforcing policies, and performing other administrative actions for an indefinite period, free from the threat of disgruntled users' seeking to recall an administrator or otherwise coerce an administrator into submitting themselves for recall.
As in any position that requires making difficult decisions, administrators may inadvertently make enemies in the normal course of performing administrative actions. Some administrative actions may be unpopular, and such is to be expected from time to time. Actions by administrators are routinely checked by other administrators and the community through discussion and consensus. Processes for recalling or reconfirming administrators, including the voluntary Administrators open to recall process, turns the administrator role into a political position, and essentially turns the administrator into a politician, requiring an administrator to make popular decisions to maintain the community's favor and retain their administrator role, rather than making the right decision, which may not necessarily be the popular one.
Additionally, nothing here should be taken to mean that administrators should be immune to reasonable criticism and discussion of their actions as administrators, or that whatever an administrator says goes. The symbol of the administrator is a mop for a reason, as administrators often perform much thankless work in order to maintain the encyclopedia. However, when it is believed that an administrator has erred, discussion should follow to resolve the matter. Constructive criticism and discussion is a method for all community members to continue to grow within the Wikipedia community and improve their skills as editors, and administrators should always strive to grow within the community and improve their skills in all facets of building and maintaining an encyclopedia.
While administrators are not and should not be immune to criticism and discussion if any user views an action as questionable, administrators should be able to function, barring serious misconduct, under the presumption that their position as an administrator is secure and free of political pressure from users who may have an axe to grind, allowing them, in good faith, to take the best course of action in the continued effort to build and improve an encyclopedia.
- Template:User admin good behavior - userbox expressing the opinion of this essay