YPPedia talk:Requests for adminship/Standards

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I'm getting to be rather discouraged by the standards people seem to be demanding, mainly because they seem to be moving away from the idea of Administrators as trusted -but ordinary- users, rather than an elite upper class of users.

I first noticed this with my own nomination, then with Sagacious's, and now with Sivius's. It seems that, to be an Administrator, a user must not merely have a solid editing record, but must also have behavior and patience matching that of a saint (as was apparently demanded for Sagacious). Not only that, but users must also have created significant new content (for Sivius and me).

Why are such standards for content creation a bad thing? Two reasons: First, YPPedia is a specialized wiki. It's not Wikipedia where there's always something new to write about: All the basic game information; it's already in here. Yeah, it can be fleshed out in places, but that doesn't seem to qualify as "serious content creation." So what does, then? In the absence of any real new content to add, aside from crew, flag, and pirate pages, and new features when a patch comes along, the only things which really seem to qualify are strategy pieces like captaincy and battle navigation tactics. Both fine pieces of strategy, mind you: But they're both highly specialized strategy pieces, the kind which could go just as well on the forums as on the wiki.

The other reason is that, as far as I can see, it's not the Administrators who are involved in most of the content creation. The admins, for the most part, are concerned with the same basic duties as regular editors, although more commonly doing mass reorganizations and the like when necessary (the admin tools are mainly to assist in making rote tasks less so)...Which brings us back to recent nominations: What was Sivius criticized for? Focusing too much on technical aspects and many small edits.

I'm also equally concerned about the lack of people actually voting in RfAs; in my case, when I complained about the lack of votes one way or the other, Barrister told me to wait and let people make up their minds. Aside from Guppy echoing those sentiments a few hours later, no more votes came in, except for Teeg's, 20 minutes before the time expired. Having time to take a look the nomination over is one thing; but if you're making a goodly number of edits to the wiki over a period of days and don't vote, then it's simply that you're unconcerned, or you trust others to handle the voting. And it's equally unfair to the person up for consideration if you wait until the last minute to cast your vote (take a look at the gap in times between the votes on Sivius's nomination) It offers no real chance for the person to defend himself, let alone for discussion.

I realize that this may upset a lot of people, as well as potentially damage any chances I might have for future adminship, but I'd rather speak out here than watch qualified admin candidates be scared away. --Emufarmers 15:04, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

You hit the nail right on the head, IMO. —Sivius(T/C) 15:18, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

In my opinion any new Admins at this point would be ancillary and pointless. What's the point in having hundreds of admins, if there isn't anything for them to do? Is the YPPedia really crying out for more overseers? --Featherfin 15:26, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

I tend to look upon administratorship as something akin to Employee of the Month. Let's be realistic... administrators get no special powers. We have no more rights than any other user, we just have the tools to invoke them. We still have to follow the same protocols to use the tools we get. There is no sudden influx of power, authority, technical access or ability upon being poked with the admin stick.
But what does come with adminship comes in two stages: Ceremonial, and Administrative. Ceremonial simply means you get a certain amount of prestige for being an administrator... it's a minor perk, but it's a perk. (And admittedly, just as many people thumb their nose at you for being involved with "that biased load of tosh" as praise you for your work.) We can give out endless ceremonial credentials. As we give out more, existing ones lose some meaning, but there is no technical nor moral reason to be restrained in appointing administrators here. (After all, anyone who persues administratorship for the ability to put it in their signature is patently persuing it for the wrong reasons.)
The other half is the administrative stuff. The YPPedia has dozens (literally dozens) of users, administrator and plain old user, who can do the technical stuff. There's no lack of people who can create templates or tables or fix spelling/grammar or install categories or whatever else. What there is a lack of, though, is people who create content. You're right; there is a finite number of articles that we can reasonably have. We're nowhere near it. There are thousands of potential topics, just waiting to be explored and expanded, to say nothing of the hundreds of articles in sore need of work. We have enough people who can do technical stuff, we need people who can do original stuff. And that's why I actively seek original content instead of technical power.
I don't believe in appointing people for the sake of appointing people. All that does is slow things down, because we depend on consensus both amongst the administrators, and within the broader community. I think there is a drastic need to attract people who do content creation, and not very much need at all to attract technical editors. That is why my requirements are so skewed in favour of content creation, that is why I require it, and that is why I encourage it. --Ponytailguy 15:28, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

Adminship is not a "perk" it's a duty. One where the user involved must upkeep the wiki. I see it as more of something every user should be able to attain with the right credentials. Their ability to edit and/or patrol the wiki on a frequent basis should not be excluded for having a chance. AFAIK, this community is equal opportunity, why change that?
Comparison: When Teeg applied for adminship, his only major edit, as far as I've seen, was captaincy.
When I applied for administrative duties, I had Battle navigation tactics and the mass importing and creation of Indigo island pages. Where did I go wrong? —Sivius(T/C) 16:16, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

Perhaps I should point out that the standards section is just individual opinions and not hardline policy? I get the feeling some of you are thinking that way. --Thunderbird 16:53, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

I know it's individual opinions, but with a comparison like that, I'm not sure these personal opinions are unbiased anymore. —Sivius(T/C) 16:59, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

A partial list of pages I created, implemented, or greatly improved before I applied for administrator status: event, swordfighting drop pattern, spades, blockade coordination, template:dutypuzzle, template:carousingpuzzle, template:craftingpuzzle, docktart, dockpress, wiki tips for event planners, art budget, captaincy, commanding officer, Bang! Howdy, Applying Texture With 3DS-Max. Now, if you're finished with the personal attacks, let's get back to the issue at hand, hmm? --Ponytailguy 17:02, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

Okay, I've been proven wrong, but how can I create about 50 pages for islands on the Indigo ocean and not have it even recognized as anything substancial, I spent 4 hours working on those. Also worked on: Alt abuse, Anti-cheating mechanism, Help:Editing clarified for newer users, which was only a table before I touched it. —Sivius(T/C) 17:11, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

Well, I'm glad to see that this has sparked some discussion (rather than leading to me being burned at the stake). I'd like to address some of the points which have been made. First, relating to us "already having enough" Administrators: Isn't the nature of a wiki supposed to be that there's always room for more people to help collaborate? As it stands, there are still things which make it through the proverbial filter, and as everybody always says, there's plenty more to be done. Beyond that, I would direct you to some discussion of this a while ago; there, 16 was suggested as a desirable minimum number of Administrators, if that provides any perspective. (We presently have 10 volunteer admins, although Callistan looks to be largely inactive.)

Now, to Teeg. I must wholly disagree that the Administrators' primary duty is content creation: If you look at the admins' contributions, you will find that most of what they do is, indeed, cleanup, maintinence, and technical work. While they do independently pursue other things, they could not come close, in terms of being engines of creative energy, to you or Sivius. I don't disagree that we need more creative work (although I don't think there's nearly as much putty to work with as you make out; many of those thousands of potential topics are more suited to the forums, because they're strategy pieces and the like [of the ones you linked to as having worked on yourself, those you added to the most were strategy or advice pieces]; and as to the hundreds of articles needing work, it doesn't seem that adding bits information to many existing articles qualifies as "major content creation" by your standards unless it's a large-scale rewrite), but administrators should not be the vehicle to look to if you want to garner that kind of force; if you want more content creation and creativity, get people on the forums and ingame to come on the wiki: The people hanging around here right now have some ideas, sure, but if you got 50 new, creative people onto the wiki, and there's as much room for expansion as you claim, then the wiki would double in scope in a month. But ridiculously high standards for content creation for Administrators isn't likely to bring in that brain growth. The technical aspects of adminship are useful for maintinence, not rampant growth, and the only good they provide to someone dedicated only to content creation is that shiny word in his or her signature.

If you consider new crew, flag, or pirate pages to be original content (even if you don't, they still comprise most new articles), then it is people who oftentimes don't have much experience with the wiki who provide the new pages and some requisite information, and then either one of the non-admin hangarounds (Sivius, Sagacious, and I all do a lot of this), or one of the admins, who fills in the rest.

To Thunderbird, with these not being official standards, I would respond only with this: Who cast most of the votes in RfAs? And whose votes are, for better or for worse, generally weighted more heavily, being the most influencial group of editors? --Emufarmers 18:29, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

Then you need to read my comments again, because that's not what I said. And when you tell me that the idea of recruiting new wiki editors is novel, original, and not ongoing, you're wrong. --Ponytailguy 18:32, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

I read you as saying that adminship should be reserved for those working with creative aspects, and that those who want to want to focus on technical aspects should stick to being "plain old users." I also read you as saying that reserving adminship for major content creators would attract those people to the wiki, something I disagree with both on practical, and ethical, terms. (That is, both that it would not work, and that it would not be right.) I never said that recruiting people to the wiki would be something "novel"; I said that reaching onto the forums and into the game more actively would be a more effective way than tailoring admin standards to suit percieved content needs. (Though I don't doubt that most of us probably do often refer people to the wiki when they ask a question with a long answer, directing people whom we see as likely being strong editors onto the wiki is something I certainly need to work on doing more often.) --Emufarmers 18:53, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

That's funny, because you're still quoting things I never said. What I said is that people who can make a table or a template are a dime a dozen, and that we have no shortage of technical administrators. We don't. We do have a shortage of original content being produced. Let me phrase that differently. We will always have a shortage of original content being produced. There is a finite amount of topics to write on, yes. But not only are we nowhere near it, as the game develops and becomes more complex, that list will grow. There will always be new frontiers of content to explore.

I'm not suggesting we treat adminship as a carrot to lure creative and practical writers to the YPPedia, and when you say that I am, you're at best not reading my comments, at worst outright lying to discredit me. What I'm suggesting is that we should not add administrators for the sake of adding administrators. The current set of administrators has no trouble with formatting, grammar-checking, attaching vanity tags, or doing technical work. But we do seem to have trouble when it comes to broadly introducing new content. I know this firsthand from my own experiences... especially on articles like Captaincy and Commanding Officer, where I've asked for help, sometimes going directly to individual administrators and asking for contributions, I've gotten very little. And this frustrates, bothers, and worries me.

Trying to attract people to the YPPedia as a group is stupid and pointless. We don't need to turn this into a theme park. My worst nightmare as an administrator is everybody from the forums suddenly contributing to the YPPedia. Why? Because information, consistancy, accountability and community will fall by the wayside as in-jokes, ego, game politics, soapboxing, and "plss unban mi littel bruthar did it ok eurydyke????!?!?!///??!?!? wat is bunpleasing??1/?1/" take over. We can't just open the gates and invite everyone to put up their feet and start tearing books off the shelves. We have to target individuals. --Ponytailguy 19:06, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

When you put it that way, I can only say that I did misread what you were implying, regarding attracting new users to the wiki. (You talked about admin appointments and attracting people in the same paragraph, and I took that to mean that you were corrolating the two. I apologize if that wasn't your intention.) I must still disagree with some of your conclusions, however: I don't see us as already having all the technical Administrators we need, because, in addition to creative topics as you've noted, I see technical issues often left by the wayside. (Nobody has responded regarding the blocking policy discussion of late, despite my asking there twice, and I haven't gotten much feedback on what I raised about stubs.) Reading what you just said, I'm starting to appreciate the frustration you're feeling about the lack of creative content, and I think we might have some middle ground there; I've just been more concerned personally with the other side of things, where I'm sometimes frustrated at the lack of feedback as well. I guess I'm seeing that having new admins could help in addressing these sorts of issues, since new admins, as in your case, are often the most active.

I guess this is getting back to something I've wondered about for a while: What is adminship really supposed to represent? I'm generally of the mind that any user who displays reasonable commitment to the wiki should be eligable for adminship, and that we should strive for having most of the (positively) active editors being admins. I'm not in favor of "adminship for the sake of adminship" either, but given the relatively small scope of real powers granted to admins (and the high degree of reversability for administrative actions), it doesn't seem like we need to be stingy.

As for bringing in people to the wiki, I definitely agree with what you're saying: It is promising individuals we want to be trying to recruit, and that's what I was trying to get at before (though, looking back upon it, perhaps my words were a bit muddled with emotion).

I definitely feel like some of my concerns are being assuaged here; and I apologize for the tone of some of my comments, which may have been too tinged by feeling. Keep talking, guys. :) --Emufarmers 19:40, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

Going back to the original message - I agree and disagree. I agree that it is now becoming difficult to fall into the serious content creation realms - I myself have yet to find a page I could really create, expand or seriously flesh out with. I disagree with the arguement reguarding responses to RFAs. It is an editor's perogative whether they respond to an RFA or not. Sometimes they may want to ponder and collect their thoughts and opinions on the candidates. Others may just not feel they have reason to respond, whether it be through not knowing the candidate well or whether they don't want to give an opinion as what they feel has already been said. And essentially, not everyone will want to vote. If there are already several 'Oppose' messages and it's clear the request will be unsuccessful, an editor may not see the point in responding unless it is to provide constructive feedback. I have yet to see anywhere say 'All regular editors of the YPPedia must vote on an RFA'.

Speaking about my unsuccessful RFA - I gained some valuable feedback from it. And to be honest I didn't actually expect it to be successful. But not everyone responded to my RFA - and they didn't all need to - what had been said appeared to have summed up the general concensus. And to finish of my rather babbly insert to this convo - editors shouldn't dive into the YPPedia with the overall goal being given an admin stick. That isn't what being an editor is about. Being an editor is (amongst other things) about donating yer time to making a valued resource to the general game community much better - with article consistancy and solving issues that arise. Adminship shouldn't be on the minds of editors 24/7 - otherwise it makes being an editor some sort of competition, which is rediculous. I going now to go sit on a fence. --Sagacious (talk) 19:43, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

I have some general points to make.

"...editors shouldn't dive into the YPPedia with the overall goal being given an admin stick. That isn't what being an editor is about. Being an editor is (amongst other things) about donating yer time to making a valued resource to the general game community much better - with article consistancy and solving issues that arise. Adminship shouldn't be on the minds of editors 24/7 - otherwise it makes being an editor some sort of competition, which is rediculous."

Agreed. Hell, I've been contributing to the wiki longer than several of the admins, I've been here since the Wikicity days. If we're being perfectly frank, I think Siv has a perfectly legitimate point about Teeg's contributions. Admins, in my mind, are people who stand out over a long, long period of time, as consistant contributors. Hence, my opposition to Teeg's adminship. However, democracy rules - do I lose sleep over it? Not at all. (This is not aimed at Teeg specifically) I don't need administrator status to validate my sizable knowledge and experience using the YPPedia. That should be the case for everyone, new and old users. If people want to become admins for their own little reasons, that's fine. When they start talking down on people, then it's a problem. When it becomes forbidden fruit and exclusive, then it's a problem. --Featherfin 21:16, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

A lot has been said here. Responding point-by-point would be difficult and of limited value, I believe. Instead, I'm going to spend some time on the philosophy of adminship. Before we can talk about criteria, we need to examine what it means to be a YPPedia administrator.

  • Trust. An admin must be trustworthy. As an admin, I have the ability to delete any article (temporarily) and any image (permanently). More importantly, I have the ability to do that with all the official pages and images. I also have the ability to block others from editing the wiki. Administrators can cause serious damage to the wiki and the official documentation that would require hours if not days to fix.
  • Diplomacy. An admin is often the public face of YPPedia. When someone takes issue with the content or administration of the wiki, we're the ones the community holds responsible. Not all the admins are equally skilled in tact, of course, but those that don't often exercise discretion by keeping a lower profile in the forums. Diplomacy is hard. Take a look at the relentless forum attacks by certain users. I've put up with it for months without ever telling any of them to do something that would be . . . anatomically difficult. And it's not because I didn't think about it.
  • Judgment. This ties into the two items above. An admin must excercise judgment when deciding whether consensus has been reached, when users should be blocked, and when deciding what parts of the wiki need the most work.

These are serious responsibilities, and I keep them in mind when evaluating nominees. Notice that they have nothing to do with editing and contributions. I use some objective standards to make my decision process easier, of course. If a candidate fails those criteria, then I don't usually bother to make a personal assessment of trust, diplomacy, and judgment.

A lot has been made of my (and other's) requirement for content creation. I have to admit this surprises me. Take a look at the blockade page. Nearly all of that came from my original work posted to the unofficial wiki, and it forms the solid core of the current page, right down to the headings. I wrote that page based on my own research.

For those seeking to become admins, I offer the following advice: investigate! There are plenty of stubs and wanted pages right now. Pick one. It doesn't matter if you don't know anything about the topic. Go learn about it. Suppose you picked rumble strategy. Go into the game and interview the people on the Ultimate list. Ask them about their tips and tricks (politely!). Then write it up and post it on the wiki.

I use the content creation requirement for two basic reasons. With new content, I can better assess a nominee's grammatical, spelling, and wiki markup skills. I also use it to assess the nominee's judgment about what the wiki needs and commitment to meeting those needs.

Yes, many of the unsuccessful nominees have made substantial technical contributions. I appreciate that greatly. But being an admin is fundamentally different from mechanical editing of hundreds of pages. It's not "better", but it does require different skills.

There's a certain tone to some of the above posts that disturbs me. With one exception, every unsuccessful nominee was self-nominated. They invited an evaluation of their skills, contributions, etc. One of the posters asked why people don't always vote. It's a fair question, but consider this. When I vote "no", I'm telling someone they're not yet qualified to be an admin. The nominee can't help but take that personally. I can't speak for others, but I feel it is my responsibility to vote based on what I feel is best for YPPedia. I take no joy in rejecting others, but I'd regret it even more if I voted "yes" for fear of offending someone. --Barrister 21:36, 29 May 2006 (PDT)