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Wikipedia's administrative tools are often likened to a janitor's mop, leading to adminship being described at times as being "given the mop".

Administrators, commonly known as admins or sysops (system operators), are Wikipedia editors trusted with access to restricted technical features ("tools"). For example, administrators can protect, delete and restore pages, move pages over redirects, hide and delete page revisions, edit protected pages, and block other editors. See Wikipedia:Administrators/Tools for more information.

Administrators assume these responsibilities as volunteers; they are not acting as employees of the Wikimedia Foundation. They are never required to use their tools and must never use them to gain an advantage in a dispute in which they are involved. Administrators should not be confused with Wikimedia system administrators ("sysadmins").

The Sepedi Wikipedia currently has 1 administrators.

History[edit source]

In the very early days of Wikipedia, all users functioned as administrators to perform various administrative functions, using a single password that was handed out fairly freely.[1] The modern form of administratorship is the result of a code modification which changed from password access to role-based access control. Under this, individual accounts could be flagged per the roles they could perform, which in turn determined functions/tools they could access.

During this transition, it was emphasized that administrators should never develop into a special subgroup. Rather, administrators should be a part of the community like other editors, with no special powers or privileges when acting as editors. Administrators are also expected to observe a high standard of conduct. Likewise, in general, most maintenance and administration aspects of Wikipedia can be conducted by anyone, without the specific technical functions granted to administrators. An often paraphrased comment about the title and process of administratorship was made by Jimmy Wales in February 2003—referred to as "sysops" here:


I just wanted to say that becoming a sysop is *not a big deal*.

I think perhaps I'll go through semi-willy-nilly and make a bunch of people who have been around for awhile sysops. I want to dispel the aura of "authority" around the position. It's merely a technical matter that the powers given to sysops are not given out to everyone.

I don't like that there's the apparent feeling here that being granted sysop status is a really special thing.

Stated simply, while the correct use of the tools and appropriate conduct should be considered important, merely "being an administrator" should not be.

However, Wikipedia's worldwide cultural impact and visibility grew in the intervening years, and as the community grew with it, the role of administrators evolved. Standards for adminship have risen considerably and the community generally holds administrators to a higher standard of editorial and interpersonal conduct.

Becoming an administrator[edit source]

Note: Each individual Wikimedia project (including other Wikipedias) may have its own policy for granting adminship.

The Sepedi Wikipedia has no official requirements you must meet to become a Wikipedia administrator. Anyone can apply regardless of their Wikipedia experience. Administrators are expected to uphold the trust and confidence of the community, however, so requests for adminship from users who do not have considerable experience are not usually approved. Each editor will assess their confidence in a particular candidate's readiness in their own way. Before requesting or accepting a nomination, candidates should generally be active and regular Wikipedia contributors for at least several months, be familiar with the procedures and practices of Wikipedia, respect and understand its policies, and have gained the general trust of the community.

If you are interested in requesting adminship, you should first read the guide to requests for adminship and the nomination instructions. When you are ready to apply, you may add your nomination to the Wikipedia:Requests for adminship ("RFA") page, according to the aforementioned instructions. A discussion (not a vote) will then take place among fellow editors about whether you should become an administrator. After seven days, a bureaucrat will determine if there is consensus to approve your request. This determination is not based exclusively on the percentage of support, but as a general descriptive rule of thumb most requests above ~80% approval pass and most below ~70% fail.

Only one account of a given person may have administrative tools. The only exceptions are bots with administrative access. See WP:ADMINSOCK.

Adminship is granted indefinitely, and is only removed upon request, under circumstances involving high-level intervention (see administrator abuse below), or temporarily for inactive admins.

Places where administrators in particular can assist[edit source]

Administrator rights can be particularly helpful for working in certain areas of Wikipedia:

See also Wikipedia:Admins willing to make difficult blocks and the administrators channel on IRC for IRC users.

"Uninvolved administrators" can also help in the management of Arbitration Committee remedies and the dispute resolution concerning disruptive areas and situations. Administrators acting in this role are neutral; they do not have any direct involvement in the issues they are helping people with. Lists of sanctions that are to be enforced by neutral administrators can be found at Wikipedia:General sanctions and Wikipedia:Arbitration/Active sanctions (see also requests for enforcement at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement).

Administrator noticeboards[edit source]

Two main noticeboards exist on which general administrator discussion takes place (any user may post or take part in discussions there):

Expectations of adminship[edit source]

Care and judgement[edit source]

If you are granted access, you must exercise care in using these new functions, especially the ability to delete pages and to block users and IP addresses. You can learn how to do these things at the Administrators' how-to guide and the new administrator school. Please also look at the pages linked from the Administrators' reading list before using your administrative abilities. Occasional lapses are accepted but serious or repeated lapses may not always be.

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.

Administrator conduct[edit source]


Administrators are expected to lead by example and to behave in a respectful, civil manner in their interactions with others. Administrators are expected to follow Wikipedia policies and to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Occasional mistakes are entirely compatible with adminship; administrators are not expected to be perfect. However, sustained or serious disruption of Wikipedia is incompatible with the status of administrator, and consistently or egregiously poor judgment may result in the removal of administrator status. Administrators should strive to model appropriate standards of courtesy and civility to other editors and to one another.[2][3][4][5]

Administrators should bear in mind that they have hundreds of colleagues. Therefore, if an administrator finds that he or she cannot adhere to site policies and remain civil (even toward users exhibiting problematic behavior) while addressing a given issue, then the administrator should bring the issue to a noticeboard or refer it to another administrator to address, rather than potentially compound the problem by poor conduct.

Accountability[edit source]


Administrators are accountable for their actions involving administrator tools, and unexplained administrator actions can demoralize other editors who lack such tools. Subject only to the bounds of civility, avoiding personal attacks, and reasonable good faith, editors are free to question or to criticize administrator actions. Administrators are expected to respond promptly and civilly to queries about their Wikipedia-related conduct and administrator actions and to justify them when needed.

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:

  • "Bad faith" adminship (sock puppetry, gross breach of trust,[7] etc.)
  • Breach of basic policies (attacks, biting/civility, edit warring, privacy, etc)
  • Conduct elsewhere incompatible with adminship (off-site attacking, etc.).
  • Failure to communicate[6]Template:Ndash this can be either to users (e.g., lack of suitable warnings or explanations of actions), or to concerns of the community (especially when explanations or other serious comments are sought).
  • Repeated/consistent poor judgment

Security[edit source]

It is extremely important that administrators have strong passwords and follow appropriate personal security practices. Because they have the potential to cause site-wide damage with a single edit, a compromised admin 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 bureaucrats, 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.

Administrators should never share their password or account with any other person, for any reason. If they find out their password has been compromised, or their account has been otherwise compromised (even by an editor or individual they know and trust), they should attempt to change it immediately, or otherwise report it to a bureaucrat for temporary de-sysopping. Users who fail to report unauthorized use of their account will be desysopped. Unauthorized use is considered 'controversial circumstances', and access will not be automatically restored.

Involved admins[edit source]


In general, editors should not act as administrators in cases in which they have been involved. This is because involved administrators may have, or may be seen as having, a conflict of interest in disputes they have been a party to or have strong feelings about. Involvement is generally construed very broadly by the community, to include current or past conflicts with an editor (or editors), and disputes on topics, regardless of the nature, age, or outcome of the dispute.

One important caveat is that an administrator who has interacted with an editor or topic area purely in an administrative role, or whose prior involvement are minor or obvious edits which do not speak to bias, is not involved and is not prevented from acting in an administrative capacity in relation to that editor or topic area. This is because one of the roles of administrators is precisely to deal with such matters, at length if necessary. Warnings, calm and reasonable discussion and explanation of those warnings, advice about community norms, and suggestions on possible wordings and approaches, do not make an administrator 'involved'.

In cases which are straightforward, (e.g. blatant vandalism), the community has historically endorsed the obvious action of any administrator – even if involved – on the basis that any reasonable administrator would have probably come to the same conclusion. Although there are exceptions to the prohibition on involved editors taking administrative action, it is still best practice in cases where an administrator may be seen to be involved to pass the matter to another administrator via the relevant noticeboards.

A user seeking administrator or uninvolved user help may use the {{uninvolved|type|details}} template to request assistance. Requests will appear in Category:Requests for uninvolved help until removed.

Grievances by users ("Administrator abuse")[edit source]


If a user believes an administrator has acted improperly, he or she 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 (see Dispute resolution process below). For more possibilities, see Administrators' noticeboard: Incidents and Requests for comment: Use of administrator privileges. Note: if the complaining user was blocked improperly by an administrator, they may appeal the block and/or email the Arbitration Committee directly.

Misuse of administrative tools[edit source]

Wikipedia:Administrators/Misuse of tools section

Reversing another administrator's action[edit source]

Administrators are expected to have good judgment, and are presumed to have considered carefully any actions or decisions they carry out as administrators. Administrators may disagree, but except for clear and obvious mistakes, administrative actions should not be reversed without good cause, careful thought and (if likely to be objected) usually some kind of courtesy discussion.

Reinstating a reverted action ("Wheel warring")[edit source]


When another administrator has already reversed an administrative action, there is very rarely any valid reason for the original or another administrator to reinstate the same or similar action again without clear discussion leading to a consensus decision. Wheel warring is when an administrator's action is reversed by another admin, but rather than discussing the disagreement, administrator tools are then used in a combative fashion to undo or redo the action. With very few exceptions, once an administrative action has been reverted, it should not be restored without consensus.

Do not repeat a reversed administrative action when you know that another administrator opposes it. Do not continue a chain of administrative reversals without discussion. Resolve admin disputes by discussing.

Wheel warring usually results in an immediate Request for Arbitration. Sanctions for wheel warring have varied from reprimands and cautions, to temporary blocks, to desysopping, even for first time incidents. There have been several relevant arbitration cases on the subject of wheel-warring.[2] The term was also used historically for an administrator improperly reversing some kinds of very formal action.[3]

Possible indications of an incipient wheel war:

  • An administrator getting too distressed to discuss calmly,
  • Deliberately ignoring an existing discussion in favor of a unilateral preferred action,
  • Abruptly undoing administrator actions without consultation.

Wikipedia works on the spirit of consensus; disputes should be settled through civil discussion rather than power wrestling. There are few issues so critical that fighting is better than discussion, or worth losing your own good standing for. If you feel the urge to wheel war, try these alternatives:

Exceptional circumstances[edit source]

There are a few exceptional circumstances to this general principle. (Note: these are one-way exceptions):

  • Biographies of living persons—material deleted because it contravenes BLP may be re-deleted if reinstated, if it continues to be non-BLP-compliant.
  • Privacy—personal information deleted under the Foundation's privacy policy may be re-deleted if reinstated.
  • 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 (i.e., reasonable possibility of actual, imminent, serious harm to the project or a user if not acted upon with administrative 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.

Review and removal of adminship[edit source]

If an administrator abuses administrative powers, these powers can be removed. Administrators may be removed by Jimmy Wales, by stewards, or by a ruling of the Arbitration Committee. At their discretion, lesser penalties may also be assessed against problematic administrators, including the restriction of their use of certain functions or placement on administrative probation. The technical ability to remove administrator status rests with bureaucrats, stewards and Jimmy Wales.

There have been several procedures suggested for a community-based desysop process, but none of them have achieved consensus. Some administrators will voluntarily stand for reconfirmation under certain circumstances; see #Administrator recall. Users may use dispute resolution to request comment on an administrator's suitability.

Technical note – removal of rights performed by stewards does not currently show up in the usual user logs. Use {{Userrights|username}} for full links to user rights information and full logs, including the stewards' global logs on meta as well, or Special:ListUsers to verify a users' current rights. See: Bugzilla:4055.

Procedural removal for inactive administrators[edit source]


Admin accounts which have made no edits or administrative actions for at least 12 months may be desysopped.[4] This desysopping is not to be considered permanent, or a reflection on the user's use of, or rights to, the admin tools. The admin must be contacted on their user talk page and via email (if possible) one month prior to the request for desysopping and again several days before the desysopping would go into effect. Desysopping on inactivity grounds should be handled by Sepedi Wikipedia bureaucrats. The summary in the user rights log should make it clear that the desysopping is purely procedural. If the user returns to Wikipedia, they may be resysopped by a bureaucrat without further discussion as long as there are no issues with the editor's identity and they stopped editing Wikipedia while still in good standing or in uncontroversial circumstances.

If necessary, the user's userpage should be edited to clarify their status - particularly if any categorization is involved. For example, the userbox {{User wikipedia/Administrator}} should be replaced with {{User wikipedia/Former administrator|inactive=yes}}.

Voluntary removal[edit source]

Administrators may request that their access to administrative tools be removed at Wikipedia:Bureaucrats' noticeboard. Administrators who stepped down in good standing (that is, not in controversial circumstances) may request at any time that their administrator status be restored by a bureaucrat, provided the bureaucrat is satisfied that the account's security has not been compromised in the meantime. This is commonly done at the bureaucrats' noticeboard.

Disputes or complaints[edit source]

In most cases, disputes with administrators should be resolved with the normal dispute resolution process. If the dispute reflects seriously on a user's administrative capacity (blatant misuse of administrative tools, gross or persistent misjudgment or conduct issues), or dialog fails, then the following steps are available.

Administrator recall[edit source]

Some administrators place themselves "open to recall", whereby they pledge to voluntarily step down if specified criteria are met. The specific criteria are set by each administrator for themselves, and usually detailed in their userspace. The process is entirely voluntary and administrators may change their criteria at any time, or decline to adhere to previously made recall pledges.

Requests for comment on administrator conduct[edit source]

Misuse of administrator access or behavior that is incompatible with adminship may result in an involuntary request for comment on administrator conduct. Administrators who fail to satisfactorily respond to community feedback are likely to become the subject of an Arbitration Committee review, for which see below.

Arbitration Committee review[edit source]

This is an involuntary process. Generally, the Arbitration Committee requires that other steps of dispute resolution are tried before it intervenes in a dispute. However, if the matter is serious enough, the Arbitration Committee may intervene without a request for comment on administrator conduct or other steps. Remedies that may be imposed, at the discretion of the Committee, include warnings, admonishments, restrictions, and removal of administrator privileges.

Related pages[edit source]

History and statistics

For administrators


  1. nostalgia:Wiki Administrators
  2. Tony Sidaway; UBX war; Pedophilia userbox wheel war; Freestylefrappe; Daniel Brandt deletion wheel war; Sarah Palin protection wheel war.
  3. (E.g.: "Wheel warring against Jimbo Wales", "Wheel warring against BLP special enforcement")
  4. Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/suspend sysop rights of inactive admins, June 2011

Related information[edit source]

Template:New admin school