This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was no consensus.jSarek 06:01, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I've noticed a number of times that the cases of admins performing significant actions (bans, deletions, page locks, etc.) has increased significantly, and that a thread under discussion has the potential to greatly increase the ability of admin discretion.
From the other thread, I take it that the author did not intend for his proposed rule to be heavily modified, I would like to address the relationship between policy and administrative discretion, because I can see the potential for abuse.
I would like to bring this issue out in the open, and possibly make a rule about it. Even if it doesn't pass, I'm interested in the role that we expect policy to play in a site that is becoming increasingly more "ruled" by admins rather than "moderated" by admins.
Isn't that why we have policies? To provide guidelines for Wookieepedia? Isn't that why we have CT: to get the will of the community on relevant site issues? It seems to me that all users should be bound by all policies and all consensus track decisions, as well as Mofference decisions. That would include admins and would preclude them from acting outside the boundaries carefully delineated in our policies.
Blocking by admins should be kept within WP:BLOCK at all times, as well as relevant policies that outlines violations specifically. Therefore, a user cannot be blocked for something not on the WP:BLOCK page. Additionally, the actions of a user in IRC should not be reflected on Wookieepedia. I.e. no blocking someone on Wookieepedia for a personal attack made in IRC, because we have separate guidelines for the two mediums. Also, let's have leeway on this for sockpuppets, because they shouldn't exist anyway. I'm not suggesting we allow sockpuppets to get off while the master gets banned.
Admins should not utilize their powers of locking/protecting pages to stop edit wars/talk page feuds they are involved in, save in the case of clear and undisputed* vandalism(* undisputed among other admins—vandals and the other party of the feud don't really count, unless the other party is also an admin, in which case locking the page is pretty silly).
Admins should not unblock themselves unless A) the block was stated to be "non-serious"- i.e. not for a policy violation. B) An overwhelming majority of admins agrees that the block was unjust.
Admins should not use their power when it comes to closing contentious CT/TC debates they are involved in, particularly if the vote is close, without consultation and the agreement of a majority of other admins. This is to prevent partiality when it comes to those debates and is not meant to preclude admins from closing threads with clear consensus. As far as what "clear consensus" is, I would say if one has to ask if it is clear consensus, it probably isn't. In hard terms, I usually think 3 to 1 or more, but that's just me.
Admins should keep their administrative actions within policy and consensus as much as possible. Rather than have a silly laundry list of specific dos and don'ts, perhaps we should have a general guideline of behavior for admins to follow. And this would not preclude admins from participating in Consensus Track or Trash Compactor debates, but merely ensure that administrative actions have a basis in policy.
This is a discussion primarily for administrators, but all members of the community are welcome to chime in. Feel free to bring up new ideas, revisions, provisions, and especially cookies to the discussion, because everything is better with a nice, warm, chewy cookie. And please try and use bold when it comes to expressing a final opinion on each option, so consensus may be easily determined.
And if I've stated something already codified somewhere, please point it out. I'd like to think that most of these are standard practice anyway, but having a written policy may be a good thing to add officialness to them.
Obviously, I support all of these ideas. Otherwise, I wouldn't have posted them here. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 17:10, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
After giving this some thought, I have decided to support all these ideas. Note that this is not my final opinion, and that I'm looking forward to seeing as many admins as possible express their views on these issues. --Imperialles 18:27, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Number 1 is just stupid. WP:BLOCK can't possibly cover every contingency. That's like saying you can't arrest someone for shooting a person with a laser, because lasers haven't been outlawed yet. The rest should be common sense. -- Darth Culator(Talk) 18:35, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Poor analogy, methinks, because laser-based offenses can be classified as assault with a deadly weapon, but I'm curious: What types of contingencies doesn't WP:BLOCK cover? It seems fairly thorough to me. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 18:43, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Ataru, you do realize that most of these policies contain an "administrator discretion" clause? Your proposal gets us nowhere. Moreover, I find it rather disturbing that you're so determined to completely defang the administration and put the interests of a handful of troublemaking users ahead of the interests of the community as a whole. I oppose the Nanny Ataru Rules. Havac 21:02, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Havac, I do indeed realize that. The idea of the proposal was merely to add a variety of "policy first" clauses to Culator's administrative autonomy thread, but Culator seemed to dislike the idea of adding suggestions of this scope to his proposal. Of course there's administrator discretion- I like administrator discretion, as long as it was guided and within reasonable bounds of policy. And most of these things are "common sense" anyway- so I don't understand why you are opposed. "Don't close threads that you're heavily involved in if the vote is at all close."- that's currently practiced by pretty much everyone I think, no? Since most of these items are typical admin practice or even "common sense", as Culator says, how is this "Nanny Ataru Rules?" Furthermore, I have no idea what you are referring to when you say I want to "completely defang" the administration and "put the interests of a handful of troublemaking users ahead of the interests of the community as a whole." I fail to see how adding that administrator actions should by and large be within the bounds of policy is a bad thing, especially considering the opening paragraphs of WP:A, which seems to describe admins as much more technical than political. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 22:52, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
The act of seeing a proposal dedicated to the idea of preventing admins from undercutting each other, then starting a proposal to force admins to follow policy . . . That's the whole idea of policy. Do we really need a policy that says, "Follow policy"? Look, you yourself admit it doesn't accomplish anything that isn't already being done. So there's no reason to propose it except to make some kind of political statement and to try to limit policy to your narrow definition of policy. In other words, it's a pointless political stunt. "Follow policy" is understood in Culator's proposal; there's nothing in it that would justify acting outside policy. The problem is not with acting outside policy, it's with having different ideas of how much policy allows a person to do and just how significant the "admin discretion" clauses should be. Saying, "Follow policy" will not have any affect when people believe they are acting inside policy. Moreover, it's even stupider to say, "You are not allowed any discretion and you must follow policy, which allows for discretion." When the issue first arose because certain admins were determined to allow only their personal, cripplingly narrow interpretation of policy to be enforced, starting a thread to say, "You have to follow policy" reeks of "You have to follow policy as I define it. It's pointless and inflammatory. Havac 23:20, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
I entirely disagree with you on this point. First, you say it's useless because it "doesn't accomplish anything that isn't already done." I beg to differ: It's a pre-emptive measure for someone who says, "Well, policy doesn't say I can't close a contentious thread that I've dedicated my life to." or "I can lock this thread because of my personal feelings" etc. Who's to say that they can't, especially if admins aren't to undercut each other? (by the way, respecting other admin's decision is an excellent idea and I support that idea, as I have for awhile.) There have been specific abuses of power in the past that this idea is designed to more definitively address, and I highly resent the notion that I'm trying to pull some "pointless political stunt." Admins are more technical than political, in my mind. And nowhere on this thread have I ever indicated that I want to enforce my personal interpretation of policy as law. It's totally baseless. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 23:38, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Some of the rules, like the closing of CTs and such, which have merely been informal -- there you have a point. But the main reaction has been to the fact that you led off with a proposal to eliminate admin discretion in blocking by forcing them to follow a policy which allows discretion. That very much seems to be your center of emphasis and the center of opposition. Now, if you want to create a proposal that says, "You must strictly abide by WP:BLOCK" yet that allows admin discretion, there's no point to bringing it up unless you've forgotten the bit about admin discretion and think you're completely eliminating discretion. There's no other point to it. So if you honestly tell me that you had the admin discretion bit in mind when you crafted this proposal, then it's a completely pointless proposal and therefore cannot serve anything other than a rhetorical and political point. If you did not have it in mind, then you clearly wanted to enforce WP:BLOCK as you see it or think it ought to be and not as it is. To enforce your own interpretation of the rules -- and the fact that there's a loophole cannot ameliorate that intent. If you try to fall back on the argument of, "Well, I knew there was a loophole," then we're back to moral-high-horse-riding political stunts. There's no way I can't question your motives here. Havac 01:51, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
The only clarification that I feel I need to deliver is that I have been under the impression that only block length was listed as being under admin discretion on WP:BLOCK and I was seeking to clarify that point. If that's an incorrect understanding on my part, well, then I've learned something and I'll gladly vote or whatever against the first proposal. Other than that, I've said all I need to here- question my motives as you will. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 03:15, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
The "Final discretion is left to the blocking administrator on a case-by-case basis" rule in the Block policy applies to block progression, i.e. the length of the ban. You don't seriously interpret that as "block for whatever you want"? If you do, that's very unfortunate, and we should remove the weasel wording from that sentence. --Imperialles 08:12, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
Nope, length is what I was talking about, as I've explained to Ataru via IRC. However, when there's discretion for length, and very broadly defined categories of offenses such as "disruption" which an admin can legitimately interpret differently than another admin, saying, "You must abide by the thing you already must abide by and feel you are abiding by" doesn't serve much purpose. Havac 18:57, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, if the first provision is more contested, let's just put it to a vote separately from the other parts.
Eh...what if I like the "Admins can't unblock selves", but I dislike the rest? Thefourdotelipsis 23:31, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Then re-format the vote. I don't care how many times new options go up. Actually, I don't care at all. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 03:10, 28 September 2007 (UTC)