Project restarting process

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The following is a proposed Wikimedia global policy. The proposal is in development, it may still be very experimental, not working as currently described or intended, and could be possibly never finalized.

This is a proposed process to deal with project editions that have severe problems in their government. Currently there is no way to deal e.g. with projects where administrators completely ignore the community's consensus, and/or arbitrarily block people who disagree with them, even though such cases can happen on smaller projects with few safeguards.

It provides a way to basically totally restart a project from scratch, and let a new community form around it, while retaining its existing content. This is not intended to be a routine process that happens often - it is intended to be a last measure when all else fails.

Project restarting committee[edit]

The Wikimedia community shall periodically elect a committee called the project restarting committee. How many members it should have and how often it should be elected, who is eligible for electing and being elected, etc. should still be determined. Another option would be to just use either the global arbitration committee or global requests committee, neither of which currently exist.

Submitting a request[edit]

If, after a request for comment about the project edition that is concerned, it should turn out that among users, including blocked and banned users, that have contributed or are still contributing to that project edition, there is consensus that the project is dysfunctional due to its administration, the project restarting committee shall open an evidence page where users can provide evidence (and counter-evidence) for severe and systematic administrator abuse that, as must be obvious to any reasonable person, absolutely cannot be fixed by the community anymore.

After reviewing the evidence, the project restarting committee has two options:

  • Do nothing
  • Restart the project, as detailed below

It does not have the authority to selectively de-sysop or block users. This is to prevent using this process as a weapon to get rid of some unwanted administrators or users.

Restarting the project[edit]

Restarting the project means:

  • All administrators, bureaucrats, CheckUsers, and oversighters are removed from their position.
  • A handful of transition administrators are appointed who are familiar with the project language, whose only role is to unblock registered accounts and unset bans.
  • Blocks of registered accounts for content reasons are removed, with the exception of spam/vandal accounts. Bans are declared void, though formerly banned users should be considered to be on probation.
  • Every user with a confirmed email address who is registered on the project, and has made more than 5 edits, receives an email in the language of the project edition, that informs them about the restart. Where applicable, this should note the fact that they have been unblocked. A notice about this should be added to the sitenotice.
  • The community should review the admin-approval and block/ban processes, and change them if necessary. Existing processes for choosing administrators and banning users should not be automatically applicable after the restart, unless there is still consensus for them in the restarted community.
  • New administrators are chosen by the community. In the meantime, stewards and global sysops (not the transition administrators) deal with everyday administrative issues, including closing admin elections, until there are once again more administrators. This uses the threshholds usually used on small wikis.

If a project has been restarted once, the next request for restarting may be filed only after some years (5? 10?) have passed since the day the last restart became effective.