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This page outlines policies and guidelines for stewards. For instructions and other documentation, see Steward handbook.
Don't override consensus
Stewards should not override consensus, such as whether or not a user should be given a particular user right. Their task is to implement valid community consensus within the bounds of Wikimedia's goals. If there are any doubts as to whether or not an action should be performed, stewards should not act unless it is an emergency situation requiring immediate action or there are no active local users to do it.
Stewards should always be neutral. They can vote in elections, but when executing the result of the election the steward has to act according to the result, even if they disagree with the outcome.
While stewards must follow the above rule, they are not required to like it and as they are still ordinary editors and any other position(s) they hold, are entitled to freely voice their opinions, state their view and be heard by the community, just as any other user may.
In a nutshell: they do not lose the ability to think and feel because they have access to more buttons.
Don't promote users on projects with existing bureaucrats
Local bureaucrats are responsible for granting sysop, bureaucrat, and bot rights. Stewards should only grant these rights on a project if there are no active bureaucrats available on that project.
If a steward also has bureaucrat access on a particular project, they should grant rights using the local bureaucrat interface rather than the stewards' interface on Meta. This increases transparency, since the action will be logged on the local wiki, and reduces confusion about which role the user is acting as.
Avoid conflicts of interest
Stewards should use their judgment to avoid conflicts of interest, situations where they are not impartial to the decision. Such situations should be left to neutral stewards. These include:
- using steward access on any wiki where they have been blocked;
- changing rights on home wikis (wikis where they are active community members), except for clear-cut cases (such as self-requested removal) or emergencies.
Requests for steward action should be made on the relevant steward request page. When a community asks that rights be changed, a link should be provided to the page where the action was discussed and agreed upon by the community. Steward activity is visible in the Meta logs. When a request is fulfilled, stewards should note this on the Meta request page, and ideally on the local request page if there is one.
Discussion of steward actions should occur on Meta, rather than privately, so editors can understand the stewards' decisions. If a steward has doubts about a request, they should let the other stewards know so the request will not be granted by another steward.
Check local policies
Should a wiki have existing policies regarding the steward action, stewards must ensure requests conform to the relevant policy before acting, or that a consensus in favour exists.
Links to existing rights policies (where known):
- en-wp: w:en:Wikipedia:Global rights policy#Stewards
- simple-wp: :w:simple:Wikipedia:Global rights policy#Steward
- sr-wp: :w:sr:Википедија:Корисничка права н глобалном нивоу#Стјуарди
- en-wn: n:en:Wikinews:Global rights usage#Stewards
- en-ws: s:en:Wikisource:Restricted access policy#Stewards
- ro-ws: s:ro:Wikisource:Politica administratorilor#Stewards și dezvoltatori
- meta: Meta:Meta–steward relationship
- en-wb: wikibooks:Wikibooks:Global rights policy
For criteria of current elections see Stewards/Elections 2023/Guidelines.
Loss of steward access
Any steward inactive (as a steward) will have their steward permissions removed. "Inactive" means: with steward actions amounting to zero for the past 6 months and less than 10 in the last year. They may re-apply through the regular process.
Poll after a year
Stewardship is not a lifetime status. Users get it if they need it, keep it if people trust them, and lose it if they do not need it or are no longer trusted. Steward status is granted until the next yearly elections, where users will be invited to comment and in particular to ask for removal of status. However, since stewardship is typically a position likely to get into trouble and since the steward group can easily control itself, the confirmation itself will be done by other stewards. If the majority of other stewards request removal of steward access, the steward will lose their status. Stewards will be specifically careful to review situations when opposition from the community is registered.