Steward handbook

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Stewards Steward handbook
This page documents steward tools, and provides guidelines and suggestions about their use. See also CheckUser, oversight, and steward policies. For discussion of steward activity, see the Stewards' noticeboard.


User groups and rights adjustment[edit]

Single wikis[edit]

Screenshot of Special:Userrights.

Stewards can use Special:Userrights on Meta to adjust users' access on any Wikimedia project by checking or unchecking specific groups. Each group is assigned a set of rights in the MediaWiki configuration, listed by Special:ListGroupRights on each wiki.

  1. Enter the user name.
    • The format must be "Username@database_prefix" (for users on other wikis) or "Username" (for users on Meta-wiki).
    • The first letter of the name must be uppercase (unless the wiki allows case-sensitive first letters in names).
    • The database prefix consists of the language code for wikis with subdomains (replacing hyphens with underscores), followed by the project's prefix shown below.
  2. Click "Edit user groups". A new box will appear showing you what groups the user is already in, and which other groups are available.
  3. Reassign the groups.
    • To assign a new group, check the appropriate group.
    • To remove a group, uncheck the appropriate group.
  4. Click "Save user groups".

Database prefixes[edit]

The prefixes for the main projects are shown below. For others, see the full list. Note that hyphens ('-') should be replaced with underscores ('_'), so for example "cbk_zamwiki" is the DB name for cbk-zam.wikipedia.org.

project prefix
Multilingual wikis
Commons commonswiki
Foundation foundationwiki
Incubator incubatorwiki
MediaWiki wiki mediawikiwiki
Multilingual Wikisource sourceswiki
Test Wikipedia testwiki
Wikidata wikidatawiki
Wikispecies specieswiki
Wikis with subdomains
Wikibooks codewikibooks
Wikinews codewikinews
Wikipedia codewiki
Wikiquote codewikiquote
Wikisource codewikisource
Wikiversity codewikiversity
Wikivoyage codewikivoyage
Wiktionary codewiktionary

Examples:

English Wikipedia Billy@enwiki
French Wikiversity Billy@frwikiversity
Classical Chinese Wikipedia Billy@zh_classicalwiki
Multilingual wiki Billy@sourceswiki

Rights[edit]

The following groups can be manipulated (among others on some wikis):

  • Very restricted groups
    • Steward – Do not manipulate the steward flag on any wiki except Meta, and only then after a steward election or when a steward has resigned.

Encoding problems[edit]

Many browsers have difficulty manipulating user names in non-Latin characters. There are two ways to get around this problem:

  • Enter the URL-encoded name through the URL.
    1. First, get the URL-encoded name:
      • Copy it from the address bar of your browser while viewing their user page;
      • or, type "{{urlencode:{{PAGENAME}}}}" on the user's page, preview, and copy the text.
    2. Go to Special:Userrights, and in the address bar add "?user=" followed by the URL-encoded name. For example, http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:Userrights?user=Foo+Bar.
  • Enter the user id (for example, "#55@frwiki" for user #55 on the French Wikipedia). There are a few ways to determine the user ID:
    • Ask the user. They can find it on Special:Preferences on that wiki.
    • Ask a developer in #wikimedia-techconnect.
    • If the user has edited on that wiki, you can find the ID by exporting that revision (if it is the latest) or exporting the whole history and locating that revision. Once located, look for the number inside "<id></id>" under "<contributor>" (make sure you're not getting the revision ID under "<revision>").
    • Use a tool hosted on the toolserver such as this one to find the user id.

Globally and wiki sets[edit]

Screenshot of Special:GlobalGroupPermissions (group selection).
Screenshot of Special:GlobalGroupPermissions (rights list).

Global accounts have the same name and password reserved on all public Wikimedia wikis (except previously-existing unattached local accounts). These global accounts can be assigned global groups, which give the user certain rights on all wikis where their global account can log in.

Note that a right is a specific access (like "edit-interface"), and cannot be given to a user directly; a group is an abstract grouping of rights (like "steward").

Managing groups[edit]

Stewards can create, edit, or delete a global group using Special:GlobalGroupPermissions. The scope of each wiki can be global (all public wikis), or defined for a specific set of wikis.

  • Edit:
    1. In the "Existing groups" box, click "View and edit permissions" for the group you want to edit.
    2. A list of possible rights will appear (see also mw:Help:User rights). Check the rights the group are to have and uncheck those they are not to have.
    3. If the group needs access on specific wikis (instead of globally), select the set of wikis in the drop down menu above the list of rights (see Managing sets of wikis).
    4. Enter the reason for the change in the textbox below.
    5. Click "Save changes to group permissions". The changes will be applied immediately.
  • Create:
    1. Enter the group name in the "Create a new group" textbox.
    2. Click "Assign permissions".
    3. Check at least one right, and if applicable select the scope (see step 2 onward how to edit above).
  • Delete:
    1. Uncheck all its rights (see how to edit above).
    2. The group can be recreated later, and all former members will regain the same rights.

Managing group membership[edit]

Screenshot of Special:GlobalGroupMembership with example content.

Stewards can edit global accounts' membership using Special:GlobalGroupMembership. Placing a global account in global groups will give them all the rights assigned to that group on all public wikis.

  1. Enter the global account's user name in the textbox.
  2. Select a wiki where they have a local account from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click "Edit user groups". A "Edit user groups" box will appear below.
  4. Check the global groups to assign. (Even if they are similarly named, global and local groups are not necessarily identical!)
  5. Enter the reason for the change in the textbox.
  6. Click "Save User Groups".

Managing sets of wikis (for global groups)[edit]

Stewards can define 'wiki sets' using Special:EditWikiSets, lists of wikis where global groups can be given access (instead of globally). It's not necessary to create a set of all wikis: that is the default for global groups if no set is selected.

  1. If you're creating a new set, click "Create a new set". Otherwise, click "view/edit" beside the name of the existing set to edit.
  2. Enter the set's name in the 'name' box. This is for the convenience of stewards, and can be changed any time.
  3. Select the appropriate type in the 'type' box (opt-in or opt-out).
  4. Enter the database prefixes, one per line, in the 'wiki' box.
  5. Enter the summary or reason for your change, which will appear in the global rights log.

Managing global accounts[edit]

Screenshot of the CentralAuth interface for managing global accounts
Error message when trying to log in with a locked account

Stewards can access unification information about a particular global account, unattach local accounts from the global account, delete the global account (restoring all local accounts), and lock out access to the account using Special:CentralAuth (see logs).

Warning: Accounts should never be locked except in cases of certain bad faith. Locking the account (not to be confused with global blocking for IPs) will cause the user to log out, and prevent their login on all wikis. Since bug 57866 was fixed, users get an error message that they are locked when trying to login; previously they were told that the password was wrong. There is still no indication of a possibility of appeal or knowing the reason for the lock directly. (See bug 15294 for the request of allowing global blocking of accounts).

Bug: Special:CentralAuth can only hide the global account (see bug 14476). An option to hide local accounts when using the secure login can be enabled with Global hideuser in Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets.

Global account renaming[edit]

At this time, global accounts cannot be renamed. If a user would like a new username, they should use the following process:

  1. Check availability of the new name with a tool such as vvv's sulutil. If there are existing accounts with that name that have contributions, especially across multiple projects, the user is encouraged to select a different name, as usurping users with significant contributions is not likely.
  2. On each of the projects with local bureaucrats, seek a rename to the desired name.
  3. Once the renames are completed, stewards may perform renames for projects with no bureaucrats.
  4. While a user may request that the old global account be deleted, this is discouraged, as the old user signatures and discussion pages will point to that username. It's highly suggested that the old account remain in place in order to prevent malicious users from impersonating the renamed user.
Global account deletion[edit]

Stewards can, via Special:CentralAuth, delete global accounts. This should only be done when there is a compelling reason. Requests such as "I don't want it" are not sufficient to warrant a deletion.

  • Requests to delete the global accounts of vandals should not be performed at all, as this would interfere with the ability to lock the account in case of a spread of the abuse.
  • If a user has renamed themselves globally and left behind an empty global account, that global account may be deleted to free the old username. While this is possible, the user should consider leaving the global account in place in order to prevent users from creating a new account under the old name, which would be linked in previous signatures and community discussions.
  • Users should be warned that preferences (including passwords and email addresses) will be reset to their pre-merge values and that they will lose any global group membership which they previously had. Local accounts will not be otherwise affected and cannot be deleted.
  • Some bot owners may request a deletion of the global account if it interferes with proper functioning of the bot. Of course, non-unified bots are not eligible for the "global bot" flag, and if the bot login password has changed during the time it was unified, that password will be reset to the pre-unification password.
  • Warning: Once a global account is deleted, it cannot be reversed by stewards (see also bug 23243). An option to warn before deleting the account, can be enabled via the preferences (Confirm account deletion).
Unmerging local accounts from the global account[edit]

If a local project wishes to rename a vandal account, unmerge only that project from the vandal's global account, even if it's the only project in the global account. If there is a valid reason to not want the global account to be visible after the rename, the global account should be hidden instead of deleted, as deleting it would simply open that account name to recreation.

Global access restriction[edit]

IP address blocks[edit]

Error shown to globally blocked users when they try to edit.

Stewards can block IP addresses and CIDR ranges (up to /16 in size) on all public Wikimedia wikis using Special:GlobalBlock, and remove a global block using Special:GlobalUnblock (see guidelines at Global blocking). Current global blocks are listed on Special:GlobalBlockList and logged on Special:Log/gblblock.

Globally blocked IPs cannot edit any page on any wiki except MetaWiki (which allows users to appeal on Meta). When a global block conflicts with a local block, the strongest block will apply; for example, a global anonymous-only block will be overridden by a local full block.

Local administrators can unblock a globally-blocked address on single wikis using Special:GlobalBlockWhitelist on those wikis, and customize the error message using MediaWiki:Globalblocking-blocked.

Global account lock (& hide)[edit]

See "Managing global accounts" above.

Global abuse filter[edit]

Since July 2013, stewards can create abuse filters on MetaWiki (Special:AbuseFilter) and then mark them as global; however, these global filters only apply to some wikis. See "Global AbuseFilter" for the current status of this tool. See here for some proposed guidelines during this phase of Global AbuseFilter deployment. If you create or edit a globally-enabled filter, please consider updating its status on Global AbuseFilter/Active filters.

Guidelines for processing requests[edit]

User access[edit]

  1. Check the Steward requests/Permissions page regularly
  2. Check that the procedure on that page has been followed and that the request does not violate any policies or guidelines (see the following sections for details)
  3. If the request is valid, fulfill it using Special:Userrights (see above for instructions)
  4. Mark the request as fulfilled (this is most often done with {{done}}) or rejected ({{not done}}) as appropriate.
  5. Tell the user, preferably on his own wiki, that he is now an admin and/or bureaucrat and invite him to join the admin channel by using Template:Invite.
  6. Leave the request on Steward requests/Permissions to allow follow-up comments and questions. Move a section to the archives only after no new comments have been added for two or three days.

General advice[edit]

  • Checking facts: If a user claims they already have a certain right, you can verify this by checking Special:Listusers on the local project. If the steward has any doubts about the request, they should discuss with one or more regular users of the local project.
  • Promoting very new users: There is no approved policy regarding the promotion of very new users for projects with no local community. New users should generally not be given rights until they have spent more time editing projects. However, stewards might grant new users temporary rights until a community has time to build up, at which point it can hold a vote to confirm the user's status.

Administrator and bureaucrat rights[edit]

  • If the wiki has a community, the community should have approved the user's request, generally on a local request page. The user should wait at least a week—perhaps two if the community is very small—before placing his request on Meta.
  • If the wiki has no community, or if it has too few active users to hold a meaningful discussion of the issue, it is probably advisable to grant temporary rather than permanent rights. Three months is a common period for temporary rights.
  • Be sure the community does not already have a local bureaucrat. Stewards should only grant administrator and bureaucrat requests on wikis with no local bureaucrats. The only exception to this is if all local bureaucrats have been inactive for a period of time.

CheckUser rights[edit]

  • Read the CheckUser policy carefully. Pay particular attention to the Access section, which specifies several important rules regarding the bestowal of this status. The use of this tool can have legal implications, so knowing and following the policy is of the utmost importance. Breach of the rules in this policy may result in removal of steward rights.
  • Send this e-mail to the user to request that they identify to the Wikimedia Foundation, record on the request page that the mail has been sent.
  • If the user claims to have identified to the Foundation already, check the Identification noticeboard or ask for confirmation of this fact from the Director of Community Advocacy.
  • Grant rights only after receiving confirmation of identification from the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • After granting access, list the user in the appropriate section on CheckUser.
  • Ask the user to subscribe to checkuser-l, and notify the listadmins that the user has been approved.

Oversight rights[edit]

  • Read the policy at Oversight policy carefully. Pay particular attention to the Access section, which specifies several important rules regarding the bestowal of this status. The use of this tool can have legal implications, so knowing and following the policy is of the utmost importance. Breach of the rules in this policy may result in removal of steward rights.
  • On the English Wikipedia, only the Arbitration Committee can approve a request for this status.
  • Send this e-mail to the user to request that they identify to the Wikimedia Foundation, record on the request page that the mail has been sent.
  • If the user claims to have identified to the Foundation already, check the Identification noticeboard or ask for confirmation of this fact from the Director of Community Advocacy.
  • Grant rights only after receiving confirmation of identification from the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • After granting access, list the user at Oversight policy/User list.

Removal of access[edit]

  • If a user requests that his own rights be removed, check that he has confirmed his identity as explained on Steward requests/Permissions. If their account is global (SUL) with both their Meta and local account on the specific wiki attached to it, this is not necessary.
  • If a user requests that his or her own rights be removed, it is generally put on hold for some time to allow the user to change their mind if they wish to do so.
  • If a user requests that another user's rights be removed, be sure that the action complies with the local wiki's policy on removal of rights. This will often involve sifting through a lengthy debate on a local request page to confirm the validity of the procedure.
  • After removing a user's checkuser or oversight rights, do not forget to remove them from the corresponding lists.

Temporary rights[edit]

  • The precise duration is a matter of discretion; three months and six months appear to be the most common.
  • A bot will move the section to Steward requests/Permissions/Approved temporary.
  • Check the subpage occasionally and remove access from users whose expiry dates have passed.
  • It would be best to use {{Systmp}} to state clearly when the rights will be removed.

CheckUser information[edit]

  • See Steward requests/Checkuser.
  • If local checkusers exist in a project, checks should generally be handled by those. In emergencies or for multi-project checkuser checks as in the case of cross-wiki vandalism stewards may perform local checks. Stewards should remove checkuser access on the projects upon completion of the checks and notify the local checkusers or checkuser email list. (from the official CheckUser policy page).
  • Stewards may checkuser on loginwiki as a form of long-requested "cross-wiki checkusering" (link).
  • Note: The German Wikipedia requests that absolutely all CheckUser queries must be announced on de:Wikipedia:Checkuser/Anfragen (please ask the local users with access if you need help with formulation, or with precisely what should be published).

Other steward tasks[edit]

  • Ideally, one or several stewards should be 'on duty' in the #wikimedia-stewardsconnect IRC channel at any given time. Users of small wikis are encouraged to use this channel to report emergencies, but it has also been used for conversation about and among stewards, and for discussion of routine matters.

Email templates[edit]

To be sent to users with access to private data:

Communication with other stewards[edit]

Mailing list: There is a private stewards mailing list, for discussions of policy and private requests.

IRC: The public #wikimedia-stewardsconnect channel is a place to ask for help, announce emergencies, or discuss ongoing events with stewards and others. stewardbot will flag stewards' attention if you say !steward in the channel.

Meta: High-level discussion about policy and other wikis takes place on the Stewards' noticeboard and Meta:Babel.

Tools and bug reports[edit]

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Tools[edit]

Main page: Small Wiki Monitoring Team/Tools
user or wiki activity
  • CrossActivity: one user's edit/sysop/bureaucrat activity on all wikis.
  • Stewardry: sysops/bureaucrats/checkusers/oversighters on a wiki by date of last activity (log and edits).
  • Steward activity statistics: times of the last log actions per steward.
  • User contributions: contributions and block status on all wikis for the given user name.
  • xWikiness: the spread of his contributions over the various projects..
other
  • CrossBlock: block status of given IP, CIDR range, or user on all wikis with links to prefilled block/unblock forms.
  • gUserSearch: search and filter global accounts by exact, partial, or regex match.
  • SULutil and Stalktoy: information about a given global account, and information and unification status for each local account with that name.
  • SULWatcher - Reports: reports and logs of SULWatcher's monitoring of account unifications.
  • Steward requests: overview of open steward requests.
JavaScript
  • StewardScript: adds shortcuts to the Meta interface for quicker stewarding.
  • hideuser: allows quickly crosswiki local-hiding of globally locked & hidden accounts; available on the gadgets tab of Special:Preferences
IRC
  • StewardBot: a Python script which accepts commands from authorized stewards on IRC and performs utility operations related to steward activities.