There have been many mentions of modifying the process for Administrator selection. The current process is outlined below. Please leave comments as to what modifications you would like to see to this process. After a week or so of discussion, we will write up a new proposal and put it forth for community input.
Comments unrelated to the Administrator position will be removed. Separate forums are open for Chat Mod and Wiki Mod positions.
Promoting an Administrator
Anyone can nominate someone as a candidate to become an administrator, but nominations will only be accepted for candidates who meet certain conditions:
The candidate must have been a Wiki Moderator for at least 2 months.
The candidate needs 3 other users to vouch for him/her within a week. One of these users must be Wiki Moderator/Administrator.
The candidate must not have received a block on this Wiki or another Wiki since he became Wiki Moderator.
The candidate cannot be nominated more than once per 3 months(If a nomination is refused due to the candidate not meeting requirements, then it is not considered a nomination and the candidate can be nominated again once the other requirements are met).
I think we have made most staff positions far too easy to obtain, and they have proven to be popularity contests. The most challenging to me are Admin and Wiki Mod, because of the "power" of the ban/block tools.
I joined the wiki about 10 months ago and have always felt that Admins are the people who are the most helpful in a variety of ways. I wish there were a way to measure that helpfulness, but I want to see the following from Admin candidates and don't know how this would turn into reuirements:
-Are helpful to users in comments, either providing answers to questions or giving resource information;
-Are observant about items needing attention (such as forums under wrong topic, spam in comments or on pages)
-Participate in Forum discussions regarding changes to the wiki
-Recognize that while they are not "better" than other users, they are seen as "higher" by many users and they behave accordingly. All of us are people, but there should be a higher standard for those in any type of "leadership" position
-Bring skills that are needed-it may be coding, it may be ability to write well, it may be an ability to soothe arguments or discuss conflict. No one thing should be required, but demonstration of "differentiated behavior" matters.
Finally, I believe that any Admin candidate should serve as a Chat Mod for at least two months before being eligible, as that role truly demonstrates skills in paying attention and managing conflict. If the Wiki Mod role is decoupled from Chat Mod, I believe that the two months as a Wiki Mod would be sufficient to show Admin skills, although I think that should be changed to have longer membership requirements.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, all nominees should have to write an explanation of why they are qualified, and all nominees should have a written commentary from an existing Admin that assesses qualifications.
I would also like to see us develop an "Admin veto" process for any candidates for Admin, although I know that would have to be carefully designed.
I believe that Chat Moderator should not be a requirement (or automatically granted) for either Wiki Moderator or Administrator positions because of the perceived forced obligation to participate in the chat room.
The chat room is a great place to visit for any of a long list of reasons, information being high on that list, but those who choose to make the chat room a place they want to be and to help maintain a safe & fun atmosphere are more qualified than someone who doesn't or cannot participate in the chat room for whatever reason... regardless of their contributions on the wiki.
The wiki is a separate entity and while I might feel that even Administrators should be required to spend time in the chat room before being granted/utilizing Chat Moderator rights, I know it is a matter of prudence... Admin duties encompass both the wiki & chat room - but ultimately the use of rights is up to the user.
@Dragon trip - I agree with the "Admin veto" process, though I would feel more comfortable if this was implemented as a Bureaucrat veto process, whenever we get our unicorns back.
I agree with iNate. It shouldn't be required. Someone could show their contributions in other ways & still be worthy as an admin. That said, they should be encouraged to experience the chat room in order to understand how it works.
An admin veto could keep a popularity contest somewhat contained. Like you said it would have to be done carefully. In order keep admins from becoming a clique. I don't know how to do that. These changes shouldn't be made anytime soon, because we really, really need to tread carefully. From what I remember these rules were made to be as fair as possible, not that long ago. Weren't they?
My thought on an Admin veto is more along the lines of consensus, not majority or one user. I see the current, active Admins discussing candidates and coming to a shared decision-if one has a very strong "negative" and the others a very strong "positive" they should work together and ensure that one of them takes ownership of communicating and documenting the combined decision.
The challenge with 50% approval (to me) is that one Admin could be the person who has actively observed some significant issues and those should be heard by others, but not necessarily publicly discussed because they could be just personality conflicts. And, of course, we do come to the challenge of how to define "active"-if two admins had commented recently but could not be reached to vote, does the nomination just hang until they come back on?
Dragon trip wrote:
I see the current, active Admins discussing candidates and coming to a shared decision-if one has a very strong "negative" and the others a very strong "positive" they should work together and ensure that one of them takes ownership of communicating and documenting the combined decision.
So are you saying that when a candidate is chosen, the admins are split up in the decision by very fixed feelings, we should combine the two sides and have a quote unquote 'Neutral Side?'
I must admit your explanation is very similar to that of the American government, and how they have two parties on opposing sides on an issue. Except for the fact while the American parties are always disagreeing on topics, our admins work well together, but hold private thoughts sometimes.
So I interpret this as saying the admins should come to a compromise in such a situation where a disagreement occurs between the admins over admin. I'm not entirely sure, so I'm going to allow you to answer that than for me to guess. I hope you answer this soon.
I believe, whenever possible, in consensus, which means that one person could stop the process. I have seen this work exceedingly well in small groups.
To clarify, I will use real names.
Let's say I were running for Admin. I have gone through the nomination and discussion/voting process and the community has expressed support. So, the three active admins (Justin, Pickle and Bane) get together to make the final decision. Bane thinks I am a good candidate, so he supports me. Justin does not really know me, but on the basis of my nomination material, he agrees that he can support me. Pickle has seen some bad behavior from me, either here or on another wiki. He adamantly does not support me, and nothing Bane or Justin says can convince him otherwise. The group has not reached consensus, so they veto my nomination. Pickle must write a candid, detailed explanation to the community as to why I was not approved for the promotion. Preferably, it would serve to give me feedback on what I need to change if I want to try again.
The advantage to this over majority rule is that if Pickle felt that I was that bad, and he was willing to be candid and kind in his assessment, he is not forced to be a co- admin with someone he cannot support.
I can't speak for everyone, of course, but my experience with our current admin team is that they make decisions based on experience and actions, and they can set aside personal feelings about people to make good decisions for the wiki.
So, Earl, to tie back to your original question specifically: when the admins make a decision, it is ideally one they all support, either because they all agree or because any who disagree have stepped aside to reach consensus. It is closer to the American jury system than the political process. It may include compromise but always allows equal strength to the minority voice.
Dragon trip wrote:
It is closer to the American jury system than the political process. It may include compromise but always allows equal strength to the minority voice.
So are you saying the vote has to be all admins in? So this can't be popular sovereignty. You want the minority to receive the same power. I suppose your plan does make logical sense, as long as compromise is available, and compromise is always a good alternate choice. This seems agreeable as long as compromise is allowed. The American government did once use this system in order to vote for a law rather than a office. Yet obviously, that has some disagreement and flaws. The alternate choice of compromise, however is a whole different other matter....
Yes, it would be "all in" or the answer is "no". The strting point is "Reach consensus on the yes". It requires compromise.
We used this model in our church until we got too big for all voices to be heard. It worked very well. One difference is that in this model, there are only two outcomes: Yes or No. It might make sense for there to be three: Yes, No and "In x amount of time if y occurs", but not sure.
Yes, Bane, and I would think we would want to structure it in such a way that says "Subsequent to an affirmative vote, the admin team will have x days to come to consensus on the nominee". So, it would be all admins who were active during that x days and weighed in on the decision. We would need to figure out how to make that happen.
I think two weeks feels excessive. If admins are active, they would be aware of the week for "veto discussion" coming up. If they knew they could not be available in the week where that discussion was to occur, they could share their thoughts ahead of time with other admins.
This feels effective, I suppose. I is fair that all the admins will receive a notice to all the admins that a discussion would be coming up. This would give them time to prepare. A third choice would be a good alternative to be used in a certain situation where it is required in order to be fair and disinterested on both sides, without bias. I would quite happily agree to this. But I suppose I don't exactly have too much of a choice, just a voice.
This has been great input from interested community members. We are closing this forum and using the input to develop the new proposal. Upon completion of the draft, we will open a community discussion/vote in order to publish and proceed with an update.