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Why Staff Don't Remove Bad Admins

Sannse February 26, 2014 User blog:Sannse Google

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There's a difficult balance on a site like Wikia, between the ideal of communities running themselves and the need for staff intervention. What we all hope for is a community, led by its admins, that runs on civility, good sense, and fluffy kittens. But, of course, no wikia is perfect. There can be angry disagreements, hasty admins, uncivil conversations, and often all of those at once.

That's when staff are often asked to intervene. Maybe someone has been unfairly blocked. Or their perfectly good edits have been reverted. Or perhaps the wikia has developed a habit of excessively hostile conversations, with no chance of a careful and thoughtful idea being considered. Or maybe it's just one overly grumpy admin who keeps leaving rude wall messages.

These are all situations that Wikia staff have been asked to jump in and sort out. And they are all situations where we have declined to do so, and pointed straight back at the community.

So why do we so often refuse to get involved? That's where that balance comes in. If we were too keen to take over when things got messy, then we would no longer have a group of community and admin-run wikias, we would have wikias solely run the way staff think they should be. It would also mean we would have staff who do nothing but intervene in disputes. We have to resist that, so that we can get other things done!

So instead we have a wide variety of wikias. Some are managed well and some not so well - but even those can still be successful and enjoyed by those using them. Some are managed so badly that the community will move on, and the wikia will fail. But we believe that the ideal is for each wikia to stand on its own merits and find its own way. And the principle of a community-run wikia, in all their messy variety, seems to turn out pretty well most of the time

But of course, there are still times when we do get involved. In general, staff are most likely to intervene in situations that involve the Wikia Terms of Use or are otherwise very serious. We may also get involved if a dispute is affecting other communities, or a project or promotion that's going on. And sometimes we may get involved simply because we believe that would be the best thing to do in that specific situation - every case is different, but our main goal is always to do what is best for the health of the individual community, and for Wikia as a whole.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you are in dispute with others on a wikia, here's some basic advice:

  • Try to compromise with those you are in dispute with. If you are blocked on the wikia in question, you can talk via Community Central message walls. One message should do though; if you don't get a reply or you get a negative reply then you shouldn't persist
  • Talk to someone unconnected to the dispute. An uninvolved admin may be able to help, or any respected contributor. If they agree you have been treated badly, they may be willing to speak for you
  • If you are unhappy with an admin and you feel they should lose their rights, you can propose this on the wikia itself. Then the community as a whole can decide whether the admin should stay or go.
  • Ultimately, if you can't come to an agreement, you may need to focus on another wikia. Things may go better there, and you might find a community that fits you better

Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight into why we so often direct people back to their communities when there are disputes. You are in charge, and as long as you keep the good of the wikia and its community at the front of your minds, you can work things out for them both.

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