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How to Deal With a Bad Bureaucrat

Mira Laime February 24, 2016 User blog:Mira Laime
Flickr - Postmemes - Escalated quickly
We’ve given plenty of advice in the past on how to deal with trolls, annoying users, and bad admins. But what if that user who is upsetting the community is a bureaucrat, and can delete anything and block anyone they like?

Try diplomacy first

As in any dispute, the best option is to talk it out: Stay calm, assume your bureaucrat isn’t evil, but just coming from a different point of view, and see if you can find a way to work together.

Try these options, if a bureaucrat is causing trouble:

  • Talk to the bureaucrat: Leave them a message and let them know what you think they should do differently, and why (be nice about it).
  • Talk to the other bureaucrats and admins: Maybe they are on your side and willing to discuss matters with the troublesome bureaucrat on your behalf?
  • Talk to your community: Start a thread in your wikia’s forum or any other place that your community uses for general discussions. Explain why you think this bureaucrat isn’t doing a good job and suggest ways to improve things.
  • If you’ve been blocked, or none of that helped, ask other Wikia users for advice in Chat or the forums on Community Central.

When to get a bureaucrat demoted

Spiderman great power great responsibility

With great power comes great responsibility!

If, after all that talking, things still haven’t improved, it might be best for the community to take that bureaucrat’s rights away. Users can sometimes feel like they have no say, powerless against their wikia’s leadership. But that’s not true - if the community agrees a bureaucrat needs to go, Wikia staff will demote them. We just don't demote someone before that community consensus is reached - here is why.

Stripping someone’s bureaucrat rights should be taken seriously - after all, they might be the one who started your community. At the very least, another leader had enough trust in them to promote them to that role. However, if their actions hurt the community, demoting them might be your best option.

Common reasons why a bureaucrat needs to go:

  • They suppress opinions they don’t like, e.g. by deleting discussions and blocking users who criticize them
  • They block users without warning and for unacceptable reasons
  • They refuse to talk about what they could be doing better
  • They set unreasonable rules for other users but don’t stick to the rules themselves
  • They keep reverting perfectly good edits
  • They create a hostile, unproductive atmosphere on the wikia

How to get a bureaucrat demoted

If a bureaucrat hasn’t made a single edit in at least twelve months, we can assume they’ve lost interest in the community. You can simply let Wikia staff know through Special:Contact, and we’ll demote them for you.

You can also ask a bureaucrat to demote themselves. If there hasn’t been any kind of dispute, but they’re just not active enough to be a good bureaucrat, they might not mind doing what you ask.

In order to strip an active, unwilling bureaucrat of their rights, the community needs to have a discussion, and the majority of participants need to agree on demoting them.

This is how you typically conduct a bureaucrat demotion vote:

  • Create a thread for the vote in your community’s forum, portal, or any page suitable for a general discussion.
  • Give a summary why you think this bureaucrat needs to go.
  • Make it clear this thread is for voting only, not for any detailed debate! At this point, you should already have discussed your concerns about this bureaucrat elsewhere.
  • If possible, highlight the thread, so that as many users as possible will see it.
  • Let the vote run for at least seven days.
  • If the bureaucrat in question or anyone else interferes with the voting in any way, please ask Wikia staff at Special:Contact for help.
  • If you’re blocked on your wikia, or you need to conduct your vote on neutral ground for some other reason, you can use your Message Wall on Community Central for the thread.
  • Once a good part of your community's active users voted and decided to demote the bureaucrat, send a link to Wikia staff, and we’ll carry out the community’s verdict.

Bureaucrat trouble in very small communities

The smaller your community, the fewer supporting votes are needed to decide on a bureaucrat demotion, and vice versa!

In the rare case that your community is so small that a vote can’t happen at all, there might be no way for you to get that bureaucrat demoted. You’ll either have to find a way to work it out, or leave the turf to them. However, that wikia is likely just starting out anyway. You can create your own community on the topic you’re passionate about, and run it as you see fit. If you’re a better community leader, you’ll likely have more contributors join you.

Have you already had a demotion vote in your community, or have you found a better way to solve bureaucrat trouble? Share your tips with other users in the comments!

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