Administrators, commonly known as admins and also called sysops (system operators), are AHWiki editors who have access to technical features that help with maintenance. They can protect and delete pages, block other editors, and undo these actions as well. These privileges are granted indefinitely, and are only removed upon request or under circumstances involving high-level intervention Administrators undertake additional responsibilities on a voluntary basis, and are not employees of HiTech Creations, Inc..
Generally, the maintenance and administration of AHWiki can be conducted by anyone, without the specific technical functions granted to administrators. While the tools granted to administrators are technical and do not convey authority per se, administrators are people that are entrusted with, if not used properly, very harmful tools.
Administrators are expected to be experienced members of the community, users seeking help will often turn to an administrator for advice and information, or in a dispute. In general, administrators acting in this role are neutral; they do not have any direct involvement in the issues they are helping people with.
As of now, there are 22 administrators on the AHWiki.
The wiki software has a few important features that are restricted. The tools cover processes such as page deletion, page protection, blocking and unblocking, and access to modify protected pages and the MediaWiki interface.
Full details, and comments on their use, are listed at AHWiki:Administrators/Tools.
- Note that administrators as a rule see exactly the same IP information about users, that other (non-administrator) users see, and can neither view pages deleted using oversight, nor modify other users' bot or sysop status. Each of these require additional permissions that are only granted to a very few users.
There are no official requirements to becoming a AHWiki administrator. Anybody can apply regardless of their AHWiki experience. However this does not mean that there are no standards to be aware of.
Adminship is oriented to communal trust and confidence, rather than checklists and edit counts; each user will have their own way to assess their confidence in a candidates' readiness for the role.
See current systops for a list of Admins.
Becoming an administrator
You should become familiar with AHWiki by editing for a while before requesting for administrator status; you need to know what you are doing, and other users will need to recognize you in order to agree on trusting you with admin tools.
Although multiple user accounts are allowed on AHWiki in general, 'only one account of a given person should have administrative tools.
Be careful, please!
If you are granted access, you must exercise care in using these new functions, especially the ability to delete pages and the ability to block IP addresses. You can learn how to do these things at the Administrators' how-to guide. Please also look at the pages linked from the Administrators' reading list before using your administrative abilities.
Administrator tools are also used with judgment; it can take some time for a new administrator to learn when it's best to use the tools, and it can take months to gain a good sense of how long a period to set, when using tools such as blocking and page protection in difficult disputes. New administrators are strongly encouraged to start slowly and build up experience on areas they are used to, and by asking others if unsure.
Administrators and all other users with extra tools are expected to have a strong password, to prevent damage in the case of a compromised account.
If you have exercised your right to vanish, and return under a new name, your new name can request administrator access by contacting a bureaucrat privately and producing satisfactory evidence of being the same user, provided you did not originally request desysopping under controversial circumstances. This will not guarantee privacy, however, as new accounts which are granted sysop rights without an RfA tend to attract attention and speculation.
Administrators, like all users, are not perfect beings. However in general they are expected to act as role models within the community, and a good general standard of civility, fairness, and general conduct both to users and in content matters, is expected.
Administrators who seriously, or repeatedly, act in a problematic manner or have lost the trust or confidence of the community may be sanctioned or have their access removed. In the past, this has happened or been suggested for:
- Misuse of tools (deletion, protection, blocking in clearly improper circumstances)
- Breach of basic policies (attacks, biting/civility, edit warring, privacy, etc)
- Repeated/consistent poor judgment
- Fighting with the tools (known as "wheel warring"). That is to say: with very few exceptions, as soon as an action using tools is reversed by another administrator, it should not be reinstated by the original user or any admin, no matter how good the intention may be, without consensus.
- Failure to communicate. This can be either to users (eg lack of suitable warnings or explanations of actions), or to concerns of the community (especially when explanations or other serious comments are sought).
- "Bad faith" adminship (sock puppetry, good hand/bad hand, gross breach of trust, etc)
- Conduct elsewhere incompatible with adminship (off site attacking, etc).
Grievances by users ("Administrator abuse")
If a user thinks an administrator has acted improperly against them or another editor, they should express their concerns directly to the administrator responsible and try to come to a resolution in an orderly and civil manner. However, if the matter is not resolved between the two parties, users can take further action by requesting help from HiTech Creations, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reinstating a reverted action ("Wheel warring")
Administrators are strictly forbidden from fighting over the use of administrative tools by using those tools.
With very few exceptions, when an action performed using tools has been rejected to the point that another administrator has reversed it (or similar related actions were reversed), then there is almost never a valid reason for the original or any other administrator to reinstate the same or similar action (or end result) again, without clear discussion leading to a consensus decison. Administrators who do so risk desysopping for abuse of their access.
As a corollary, reversal of an administrative action should also not be undertaken lightly, or without good cause.
With very few exceptions, once tool use has been reverted, tools should not be used by the original (or any other) administrator in that matter (even for a desirable reason). There are a few, specific, exceptions where re-use of tools may be reasonable:
- Emergency—in certain situations there may arise an emergency that cannot be adjourned for discussion. An administrator should not claim emergency unless there is a reasonable belief of a present and very serious emergency (ie, reasonable possibility of actual, imminent, serious harm to the project or a user if not acted upon with admin tools), and should immediately seek to describe and address the matter, but in such a case the action should not usually be reverted (and may be reinstated) until appropriate discussion has taken place.
- Page protection in edit warring—reasonable actions undertaken by uninvolved administrators to quell a visible and heated edit war by protecting a contended page should be respected by all users, and protection may be reinstated if needed, until it is clear the edit war will not resume or consensus agrees it is appropriate to unprotect.
Note these are "one way" exceptions; for example, an exception for re-deletion does not imply that an exception exists for re-reversal, unless consensus seeking has taken place.
Removal of adminship
Administrators can be removed if they misuse their powers. At their discretion, lesser penalties may also be assessed against problematic administrators, including the restriction of their use of certain powers or placement on administrative probation. The technical ability to remove administrator status rests with HiTech Creations, Inc.
It is, of course, possible for administrators to request that their access to the administrator tools is removed. Such a request may not be under controversial circumstances. Administrators may request removal by contacting email@example.com.
As an operations note, only HiTech Creations, Inc. may remove a right on any project (with the exceptions of administrators, and bureaucrats, who can revoke bot status); administrators should not request their right be removed by a bureaucrat, as that is not technically possible
Administrators who stepped down in good standing (that is, not in controversial circumstances) may request their administrators status be restored at any time, by sending the request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is extremely important that administrators have strong passwords and follow personal security practices. Because they have the potential to cause site-wide damage with a single edit, a compromised sysop account will be blocked and its privileges removed on grounds of site security. In certain circumstances, the revocation of privileges may be permanent. Discretion on resysopping temporarily desysopped administrators is left to HiTech Creations, Inc., who will consider whether the rightful owner has been correctly identified, and their view on the incident and the management and security (including likely future security) of the account.