|This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.|
There are a lot of things in the "wiki world" that really aren't very big deals.
Some of these come up often, some come up less often. Some of them are more big deals then others, but still not very big deals.
Features and groups
Take for example a new group or feature on a Wikipedia project. Most of these features really aren't big deals at all. When I come across a request for one there is really one important thing I think about: Why Not? Can I think of any reason that it would hurt to implement the request? If I can't I look at the reason for the request: Does it at the very least make sense? If it does then I vote yes, even if I really don't think it's necessary. Why? Why not?
How about a Request for Adminship: Here again it really isn't a big deal. I will however admit that I generally want to look for a couple things first:
- Have they shown enough to me that they can be trusted with the tools (i.e will they break the wik, which is hard)? Some of them are "relatively" powerful. To decide this I will look both at their contributions on the wiki where they are requesting access as well as foundation wide.
- Do they have a reason to have the tools? This is important, why do they want the mop and bucket? Are they planning to clean things up? Adminship isn't a big deal, but it isn't a hat to wear. There isn't any reason to make someone a sysop (my preferred term) "because they are a good editor" if they just want to be an admin "because" they don't need it. In fact as the Commons project points out: being an admin can have a detrimental effect on your contributions, because your busy doing adminy (yes thats a word) stuff.
- Do they have a clue? similar to can they be trusted but a little more advanced (and harder to explain) basically do I think they will make good decisions
Contributions really aren't a huge deal to me, though a lack of them can make it hard for me to figure out the above. After everything above it still comes back down to Why Not? If they meet the general guidelines then sure go ahead. It is VERY easy for me to agree to take them away if you mess up or go inactive (it makes NO sense to keep people as sysops for years when they never come around anymore :) ). There really isn't anything a normal admin can do which can't be totally undone with a little time by other admins/stewards if they go berserk, I won't vote to promote them if I THINK they're going to go berserk but if I can't find a reason they would (and I think I have enough info to make that decision) then the benefit outweighs that risk.
"Crats" are a special type of admin, they require (in my mind) a little bit more scrutiny but not a whole lot more, like Admins there isn't really anything they can do that can't be undone by others. However there are things they can do that have to be undone by stewards. So they have to have a "clue" and a need for the tools.
Other "minor requests" (Rfx's)
For most other user requests there is very little to think about and it tends to come down very much to a Why Not? mode of though. Ok they want rollback? Why Not? If I can't see any reason to say they would "fuck up" with them then why not, they can just as easily be taken away. This would hold similarly with something like en:WP:Importers, the Confirmed group on wikis that have it etc. If you can give an ok reason to have it the only question is Why Not?.
If you were directed here in the midst of a discussion about something else that's doesn't fit above it is because I or whoever linked you thinks Why Not applies. If your stop here and think about it for a second... there are alot of discussions that happen on wiki where the final result doesn't REALLY matter in the end. If we say yes what are the chances that something bad will happen? Why Not do it? Are we just delaying the inevitable? What will happen if we DO do it? There is a good chance it won't really matter either way, but still Why Not?
Where Why Not? is still used but to a different degree and along with Why?
There are some things that Why Not is NOT meant for, at least by itself. These include anything where there is a serious possibility that the individual could do something that would be impossible or very hard to revert, or that could seriously harm the privacy of a user. This specifically includes anything where the Rfx Requester would have to identify to the WikiMedia Foundation for. I.E Oversight or checkuser. A big part of all the WMF projects is trying to have as much public information as possible. To that end we try to delete as much as possible and keep as much transparency as possible.
Oversighters are able to delete data to a point where ONLY themselves and very select WMF staff members and Developers are able to see. They, by definition, work with little oversight to eliminate information that should NOT be in the public view and when they delete something the only way to undelete is to have a developer do so at the root level.
Checkusers have an even more important job for the community. They are important tools to combat vandalism: checking to see when an account has been hacked, banned users are editing or blocks are being avoided. They help our communities keep from being overrun by vandalism and problems. That being said, they are able to have access to the personal IPs of anyone who edits the Wiki, and like oversighters have only limited supervision in the other checkusers, WMF staff and higherups who are able to see what was done. If they wanted to they can cause problems for users off wiki, that can not be undone simply by removing the flag.
The Global Rollback flag is only given on Meta Wiki (the coordination and documentation wiki for all WikiMedia Foundation projects). As the title says it gives the m:rollback flag to the user on ALL WMF projects (just under 800). It also grants them addional rights such as the ability to mark rolledback edits as bot edits (to hide vandalism from the recent changes page that can be easily flooded for long periods of time at a small wiki) and the ability to suppress a redirect when they move a page (effictivly deleting the old page). These are very helpful for vandalism (the suppress redirect right is invaludable for move vandalism).
Global Rollback is very usefull for crosswiki vandalism and vandalism on small projects where there are few to no sysops available. The problem is that these communities are still growing and are in many many different languages. Someone who comes into the community could easily misunderstand an edit as vandalism when it is made in good faith (or even just plain not vandalism). They also come in with tools that local users are often likely to have only seen in the hands of their local sysops and could be seen as outsiders trying to force things when they are only trying to help.
There is of course a small group, based on Meta, that works with small wiki vandalism regularly. The Small Wiki Monitoring Team is the most equiped and generally has the most experience (and the best teachers to learn from) in doing so on smaller wikis even where they do not know the language. In my opinion it is almost always best for a global rollbacker to be involved in this group so that they can show they have the skills required. A month or two (and moderate amount of edits in smaller wikis) can show that they are able to slow down and make sure that they are doing the right thing. If a user only wants to work on large wikis the local rollback flag those wikis usually have ends up being more beneficial.