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Recently I've been working on creating some guidelines for admins here on Community Central. That and Trella's post about "the qualities of a good admin" set me thinking about an overall philosophy for wiki admins.
This is more general than the guidelines I'm working on, it's just some thoughts about the things that I strive for when I'm on Wikia. My aim in life is to try to avoid adminitis ;) and to follow the example of the best admins around. These are my thoughts on how to do that and I'd love to get some feedback on this: Anything I've missed? Anything that doesn't sound right to you? What do you think of these thoughts?
Admins are role models. They are the people who others want to be. They lead by example, showing how it's possible to stay polite and reasonable in the most heated dispute. They are the ones that others trust and try to emulate. They choose their words and actions knowing that they are demonstrating good practice with everything they do.
Admins are supportive. They are the person that everyone turns to in a difficult situation, the one who brings calm and reason to a dramatic conversation. They are facilitators who are a stable and calming influence who see both sides of a problem and helps others do the same. They are willing to explain and to take the time to give information and advice – even to those they find irritating or difficult.
Admins are sympathetic. They know that they can't possibly keep everyone happy, and will do what's needed for the community as a whole while still treating each individual with respect. They understand that it can be hard to be at odds with a community, or to be excluded from it. So they take care to empathize with all, even if they are having to block someone.
Admins are informed. They are passionate about their wiki, and committed to trying to make it the best site that it can be. They love to contribute to the wiki and know their topic and how wikis work, or are willing to learn!
Admins share the wiki. They are not owners and do not control the wiki exclusively. Instead they help lead it and recognize that non-admins also have a role in shaping their mutual project.
Admins are gentle. They always try to use the minimum force for any situation. They act decisively when necessary, but choose to act in a way that makes the least ripples. They know that it's better to try and have an effect with a small action and leave room for recovery, than to over-react and leave no room for future changes.
Admins listen. They don't jump to conclusions or rush to judgment, instead they talk to those around them to understand the full story. Then they decide on a course of action with the full information, and without anger. They are both a source for ideas on how to improve the wiki, and a willing ear for them.
Admins are not perfect. And they know it! They are humble and willing to change their mind if they are wrong. They decide, but with others' opinions in mind.