I've been thinking about a conceivable new usergroup right. Just as there is a
bot-global usergroup, which is essentially the "bot" group on every wiki, I think that we should consider a
admin-global group. That is, it's basically an administrator, but on every wiki on Wikia.
How often do you get to use admin powers, whether due to being an administrator of a wiki or simply a "administrator"? In my experiences on Central and c:wolfenstein, the answer is "almost never". Properly used, rollback is only really important when a massive spam/vandalism attack occurs.
It's not that these attacks don't occur, it's just that when I do find them, it's usually happening on random wikis I've stumbled across... ones in which I don't have any rights. I usually end up doing regular undos and reverts, and it amounts to a massive pain in the bum, at least until VSTF or (preferably) local administrators can come along. A user entrusted with a global rollback right could better fight such attacks until higher forces arrived. Maybe even discourage the vandal to the point of leaving!
I know that many will object to this, which is not unreasonable. I'll try to explain.
How will the right be given?
While every part of my proposal is up for discussion, this would probably be the most tentative. I suppose a useful system would be:
- a page requesting the right here on Central
- (maybe on VSTF wiki instead)
- Users would put in requests and give reasons why they'd deserve it
- High editcount would be a plus.
- The user should give a link to a wiki they've helped yet would have been more capable of helping with the right
- Staff would read the requests and grant the right as necessary.
But we already have VSTF!
VSTF do exist, yes, with far more power than this hypothetical admin-global group. But they're very powerful, and this means that they have to be very exclusive. There's only a few VSTF, and often there will be none around to fight a massive attack. Admin-globals, while having less power than VSTF, could be much more open to the public and could have much greater numbers. They could supplement the VSTF in their work.
What if it's abused?
"But I'm just worried by some guy who's been on Wikia for 4 months and is eager to get rights for a sense of importance applying for it. Rather than someone who wants the rights to actually help improve Wikia." - T3CHNOCIDE, administrator of c:halo
The group would not be particularly exclusive, but at the same time, neither would it be extremely open to the public. There would be requisites, the user would have to express some tendency to fight spam and vandalism (maybe they could show an instance in which they could have used the right).
It's important to note that a global-admin user should not be considered to outrank local users of the wiki for any reason, and certainly not administrators. This isn't a new idea - VSTF too aren't considered to have more say in a wiki than local admins, and even Staff will often defer to local admins' desires.
In the event of misuse of the admin rights, or misrepresentation of the authority of a admin-global, there would also have to be a system by which the misuse can be easily reported and the right revoked.
Proper use of admin powers
My opinion of the proper use of admin rights is that it should never be used to do edit wars. Even if the edit was terribly bad for the wiki, if it was made in good faith, I believe there should be an edit summary given for every reversal of a user's contribution.
Will wikis object?
I'd wondered this myself, and I went around to larger wikis with many admins. I figured they'd be the ones most likely to object, and that if they did object their objections would be the most important. I never really had much to do on such a wiki myself, so to me it was a system mysterious.
I found that the general consensus was that the admin right tended to be rather trivial to get on these wikis anyway, certainly easier than chatmod/rollback rights. Admins expressed the same concerns I've listed above. User:T3CHNOCIDE, administrator of c:halo, supported the idea, though again with reservations I feel I've addressed.
If a wiki had very, very strong objections I suppose they could request the right be made ineffectual on their wiki... But I wish it wouldn't come to that. I hope that everyone would agree that this would be a great group to have!
Feel free to post comments and suggestions. =)