Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Academy/Becoming a coordinator
|This page is part of the Military history WikiProject's online Academy, and contains instructions, recommendations, or suggestions for editors working on military history articles.
While it is not one of the project's formal guidelines, editors are encouraged to consider the advice presented here in the course of their editing work.
Like some larger projects, the Military history Project has adopted a system whereby multiple coordinators are elected to serve the project. Our coordinators are generally responsible for maintaining all of the procedural and administrative aspects of the project, and serve as the designated points-of-contact for procedural issues. They are not, however, endowed with any special executive powers, nor with any authority over article content or editor conduct.
As is the case with all projects on Wikipedia, our coordinators' main role is performing the maintenance and housekeeping tasks required to keep the project and its internal processes running smoothly. This includes keeping the announcement and open task lists updated, overseeing the assessment and review processes, managing the proposal and creation of task forces, and so forth. There is little that couldn't theoretically be done by any other editor, of course—the coordinators are only explicitly written into a few processes—but, since experience suggests that people tend to assume that someone else is doing whatever needs to be done, the most efficient route has proven to be to delegate formal responsibility for this administrative work to a specified group.
Military history WikiProject coordinators also have several other roles. They serve as the project's designated points of contact, and are explicitly listed as people to whom questions can be directed in a variety of places around the project. In addition, they have highly informal roles in leading the drafting of project guidelines, overseeing the implementation of project decisions on issues like category schemes and template use, and helping to informally resolve disputes and keep discussions from becoming heated and unproductive. The coordinators are not, however, a body for formal dispute resolution; serious disputes should be addressed through the normal dispute resolution process.
Role of coordinators
Traditionally, milhist coordinators:
- Look after the routine administrative jobs, listed in the coordinators' handbook, preferably on a daily basis.
- Contribute promptly to projects discussions:
- Help administer, and provide back-up support for, any special projects (drives, etc.).
- Try to informally resolve conflicts (especially long-running ones or disputes affecting many articles).
Although some coordinators are also administrators, coordinators:
- (i) do not require sysop tools for any of their responsibilities; and
- (ii) do not become involved in article protection and the like.
These tasks can be time-consuming, especially when other coordinators are busy in real-life, and sometimes stressful. Coordinators should be prepared to prioritize coordination over other wiki-activities. A helpful toolbox can be found here.
Frequently asked questions
- How are coordinators appointed?
- The project uses a simple approval voting system; the first candidates to reach a target level of support—currently 15 nominees and 20 votes, though this can change for each election—become coordinators. Voters may support as many candidates as they wish, but we do not make use of Oppose and Neutral sections.
- Who gets to be the lead coordinator?
- The lead role requires considerable experience and familiarity with the internal workings of Milhist. First refusal is generally offered to the candidate who got the most votes, although they are free to recuse and ask that the role be offered to another.
- Do I need to be nominated for coordinatorship?
- No! Coordinators nominate themselves, so don't wait for someone to nominate you. In the run-up to the elections, standing coordinators may leave a message on your talk page encouraging you to stand if they feel you would be a good candidate, but they cannot formally add your name to the nominations list; only you can do that. This is done to ensure that those who do not wish to be coordinators are not added to the election page, and also serves as a check to make sure that those who really do want to run are fully aware of the process and expectations that go into the position.
- If I become a coordinator, will I have time to do something other than project work?
- Absolutely! Coordinators, both past and present, have found the time to browse through articles, fix mistakes, and build content while serving as coordinators. Although we need to monitor the day-to-day operations of the project, the amount of actual work depends largely on the overall activity of the project: the fewer the number of active editors, the less daily work we have.
- Do I need to be an administrator to be a coordinator?
- No! Coordinators are everyday users that agree to take on an increased role in the daily tasks for the project. There is almost no work a coordinator does on a day-to-day basis that would require access to admin tools. In fact, users who have shown great skill in handling coordinatorship often end up nominated for adminship by other project members or coordinators. This is not to say that every user that is elected a coordinator will also become an administrator, but coordinatorship can give editors an opportunity to demonstrate many of the skills that are looked for in potential admins at RfA.
- Is it okay for me to leave on vacation while serving as a coordinator?
- Yes! There are several coordinators elected during each tranche, which helps to compensate for temporary absences. There are also several semi-standard vacation periods (December holidays, summer break) during which MilHist activity is typically low, meaning that the two often correlate and have little to no negative effect.
- Can I be a coordinator if am currently a student?
- Of course! In the past we have had students that have served successfully as coordinators, and we do understand that school must come first.
- Is there an age requirement to be a coordinator?
- No! Age is not a major factor with regards to being a coordinator, so teens can serve just as ably as senior citizens. You will, however, be expected and called upon to demonstrate a degree of maturity.
- My typing skills are poor. Will this count against me?
- Not really. Although coordinators should be able to communicate clearly and effectively, everyone makes spelling and grammatical mistakes. As long as your main points are clear you may be able to get away with less-than-admirable typing.
- Can I resign my coordinatorship?
- Yes. In the event that you are unable or unwilling to continue serving, you may resign. Depending on the needs of the project at the time others may take up the slack, or if necessary one or more users in good standing will be co-opted to fill in.
- Do I have to disclose the reason for my resignation?
- No, under no circumstances. Previous coordinators that have resigned often provide a reason for their decision, but your resignation can be as public or as private as you want it to be.
- I'm fairly new to Wikipedia and/or the project. Can I run?
- Yes! You are welcome to run for coordinator regardless of how long you have been on Wikipedia or how long you have been a member of the project. All we ask is that you be familiar with the project's policies and procedures. However, remember that the project's members are responsible for voting coordinators into office and that each member evaluates candidates by different criteria, so some will inevitably withhold support for lack of experience.
- Is there a term limit for coordinators?
- No! You are welcome to run for coordinatorship as many times as you want. Do note though that your actions during your time in office will affect the support you may receive during an election.
- What is co-option?
- Co-option is method of voluntary drafting used to artificially increase the size of the current coordinator tranche. On occasion, if the needs of the project are determined to be greater than the current coordinator tranche can reasonably handle, the coordinators will consider co-opting a limited number of additional members to serve as coordinators until the next election (at which point co-opted coordinators are free to put themselves forward for election in the usual way).
- Can I turn co-option down?
- Of course—the key word is "voluntary"! If you decide you do not want to be co-opted you may decline the offer; this will not count against you should you later decide you wish to stand for election.
- What happens if I accept co-option?
- If you accept you will receive an official welcome to the coordination group, a coordinator's insignia, and your name will be added to the list of current coordinators on the main coordinator page and the main project page. Your term will last until the next round of coordinator elections (March or October), at which time your co-option will end.
- Do I have to display the coordinator insignia or userbox in my user space if I become a coordinator?
- No. Your user name will be listed on the main page and on the coordinator page to show that you are a coordinator, but you are under no obligation to use or display the paraphernalia in your user space.
- Who gets to vote in the election?
- Traditionally, only editors who are also members of the project are allowed to vote. We occasionally have input from non-members too, many of whom have contributed greatly to Milhist and/or our articles without ever joining up. The views of non-members in good standing are welcomed, but this courtesy is not extended where there is evidence of external canvassing. If candidates intentionally engage in campaigning for the purpose of becoming a coordinator or lead coordinator, they should expect to receive a sanction from the project.
- If there are fewer than 15 candidates for coordinatorship do we still need to have an election?
- Yes. By tradition and consensus, we do not simply endorse the candidates as coordinators if there are fewer than 15 running. Additionally, as the election is the process by which we determine who will be the Lead Coordinator for the coming tranche, simply endorsing the candidates would leave us in a position whereby the community would be unable to determine who among the candidates running should receive the top spot.
When the election concludes there will be two immediate things that will happen that will concern the newly elected coordinators and the lead coordinator. These are a matter of internal interest, and have little effect on the rest of the project members outside the coordinator family.
The first thing will be the official delivery of your stars. As a matter of tradition, those who are elected to the position of coordinator receive a 5-star insignia while the lead coordinator receives a 6-star insignia. These are handed out just as soon as the election concludes, so look for your official star delivery to occur within the first hours of the official conclusion of the election. As noted above, you do not have to display the stars on your userspace, they are intended to represent the trust the community hold in you to manage the project effectively, efficiently, and honorably.
The second thing that will happen right after the election relates to an internal operation initiated by Roger Davies to help energize our task forces. By now, if you have not already noticed, each of the task force talk pages has two or three coordinators listed at the top who oversee the task forces. The coordinators for a given six month term will select there task forces within a day or two of the close of the election on our project's coordinator talk page. Selecting task force allocations is simple; all you have to do is look for the section on the coordinator talk page (it will be at or near the bottom of the page) and put your name on the line for the task forces that interest you, and from there you have a stake in the task force in question. As a practical matter, the popular task forces like World War II fill the fastest, so if you are interested in obtaining a share of the oversight for one of these task forces be prepared to move quickly to secure a spot. In some cases, if a user in question has amassed record in a certain task force, others may voluntarily remove their names to open a spot for the coordinator in question. DO NOT add your name directly to the task forces that interest you; allocating task forces to coordinators takes a week or two in order to establish consensus, and adding your name directly to the task force without working with the other coordinators on the talk page to establish consensus can create the illusion that your either unwilling to work with your fellow coordinators or unwilling to allow others a chance to work task forces they are interested in.
On the matter of task force allocation you are strongly encouraged to sign up for task forces outside your main points of interest. A large number of our task forces are low traffic task forces, meaning you can safely sign up for one these task forces and not have to worry too much about large scale requests or major content disputes or other issues of this nature. Therefore, do consider adding your name to low traffic task forces so we can balance the task force allocation in such a way that most of the coordinators get at least some of the task forces they originally wanted. If you are unsure which of the task forces are considered to be low traffic task forces then ask, our returning coordinators will be happy to tell which task forces are considered low traffic and, which ones you can sign up for and not have to worry too much about your absence of knowledge on the are covered by the task force.
Once these two immediate task are completed you will be free to go about your coordinator roles any way you see fit. Remember that you are responsible for monitoring the task forces you signed up for, and that your actions in office will be monitored by project members and the coordinators, so behave yourself.