So, I just took User:Karen Johnson off the list. It's been more than three months since Karen has been contributing to Wikitravel, and as mentioned on this page, that's about time to change the privileges on her user account. --Evan 12:14, 19 Jan 2004 (EST)
I've been thinking a bit lately about the Wikitravel concept of Administrators and I'd like to change the name of this role to something that reflects the job a bit better, Two thoughts I had were "Janitor" and "Steward" (like "air steward" with the travel connection see...). Here's my reasoning for the change:
It's a burden, not a privilege: "Admins" exist to keep things running smoothly for all users. It's not a reward or even an indication of how good a contributor someone is (I'd say “Not all great contributors are admins, but all admins should be great contributors”). The new name should better reflect this.
All contributors are equal: Sure, "admins" have access to things that other users don't, but it's because they have more responsibilities not more power. (There are a lot of great users who have turned down the offer of Admin status). Things like votes for deletion or any other discussion should not be weighted towards the few folks who will do the actual deleting... oh, and
It's pretty easy to start throwing "But I'm an Administrator" into arguments about policy, not so easy to get on a high-horse about being a "Janitor"
"Administrator" is used by lots of other sites to mean other things (often an authoritarian role or "superuser"), the different name would make people realize that there's something different going on here-- ire. we try to have a pretty egalitarian system/anarchy and everyone should be on equal footing whether it's their second post or second year...
Hey, do folks think we are ready to move forward with the administrator name change? -- Mark 08:15, 26 Jan 2005 (EST)
I know this fell by the way-side ages ago (ok, not surprisingly right in the middle of my first trimester of pregnancy!) but I was just remined of the idea and I'm still interested in making the change to "janitor" -- the same reasoning still stands.
How difficult would this be to execute? I don't think the word appears in too many places... Majnoona 22:56, 4 Nov 2005 (EST)
So where is this? It seems to want to die... but I'd support it. -- Ilkirk 12:46, 15 Nov 2005 (EST)
Lets do this. There has never been an objection (for some five years), and the benefits as enumerated above are pretty clear. We've also discussed this here, where there was only support for the change. Speak now or forever hold thy peace. --PeterTalk 21:37, 5 April 2009 (EDT)
I don't like it. "Admin" is a well-established term on wikis, and "janitor" doesn't capture the extra responsibility involved in adminship. We do a lot more than just cleaning stuff up. LtPowers 21:49, 5 April 2009 (EDT)
I don't understand this objection. It is noted above that administrator is a well-established term on other wikis, and the purpose behind the name change is precisely to emphasize that sysop status means something different here, that we have an egalitarian ethic, and that administrators have no more authority in decisionmaking than other users. What is the extra responsibility of which you speak? Sysops are supposed to use the extra tools according to policy, but this is true of all tools available to any user. The only accepted difference is functional, and the extra functions all exist purely to help keep things clean. I would ask you to please address the existing arguments above. --PeterTalk 22:02, 5 April 2009 (EDT)
I'm puzzled by your tone. I expressed my opinion on the topic; I'm sorry if you felt I didn't adequately address every argument previously presented. You seem to be implying that if I can't specifically refute every argument, then I shouldn't bother writing anything. Maybe I'm just tired, but that's how your response reads to me. I'll wait and check back tomorrow and see if I understand things differently then. LtPowers 22:09, 5 April 2009 (EDT)
Sorry, didn't mean to come across as harsh, I just wanted to understand your objection better in light of former arguments. --PeterTalk 01:46, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
Agreed with LtPowers. I note that this proposal has appealed to a number of people who continue to be strong contributors here over the course of a long time. But personally, although I recognize the good intent, "janitors" strikes me as cutesy and a dash pretentious in a faux-humble sense. And the rationale as described above is overstating the potential power of a word change. An egalitarian atmosphere is established by conduct, not cosmetic steps. (And her logic was proven flawed by time — nobody has been throwing "but I'm an administrator" into policy arguments over the last four-plus years.)
I also agree that "janitor" doesn't fully capture the responsibilities of adminship, at least as I see them. Admins should have a strong knowledge of the site's policies and precedents, and should be prepared to patiently explain those to other users. God bless Mr. Schulte, my grade school janitor, but he didn't know bunk about anything other than the physical plant of the school. Gorilla Jones 22:31, 5 April 2009 (EDT)
Agree with Gorilla Jones. If we're going to go with goofy/cutesy, I'd rather go with something more neutral that sticks to the theme of our wiki, like "adventurer" or "journeyman" or "frequent traveller" or something. That said, I'm perfectly happy with things the way they are, and the suggestions above are straight off the top of my head. But I definitely think "janitor" just sounds too lowly to be a position for which you have to be nominated and voted upon. After all, if admins are janitors, what does that make burocrats? Sewer line workers? Texugo 00:22, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
Plenty of latent objections, it would seem. But to be clear, bureaucrats are in my view simply users we have decided to trust with the ability to flip sysop switches—nothing more, nothing less. I sometimes do worry that members of the community, from new users to experienced ones, lose sight of the fact that these little titles carry with them no authority. --PeterTalk 01:46, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
It's true that authority is vested in the community as a whole, but administrators are the executors of that authority, at least for functions that require that extra level of trust. Which, to my mind, fits the definition of "administrator" pretty well. To an extent, all Wikitravelers are, or should be, janitors, in the sense of cleaning up articles and keeping things tidy—admins are just entrusted with the really dangerous tools. =) LtPowers 13:03, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
Neutral, ever so lightly swaying against a change - but I really don't care either way --Stefan (sertmann)Talk 14:21, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
So I've been an admin for over a month now... and haven't actually used any of my abilities yet. Has the page deletion mechanism been re-enabled yet? Jpatokal 05:39, 28 Dec 2004 (EST)
I think it's part of the whole personalization of pages (including skins, etc.) that has been disabled. Evan says he's going to work on it when he gets back. But I figured out how to do it anyway. When you click on the history link, you get a URL like
I just checked, and yes, an image can be restored from history. Just go to Special:Log/delete, click on the name of the image, and then click the "restore X deleted edits" link, and you'll get a form asking if you want to undelete. --Evan 20:22, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
The "rollback" button for admins is a hugely useful tool, but it unfortunately does not provide any way to indicate why an edit is being rolled back. That's not a problem for things like obvious vandalism, but in other cases it really would be nice to know why an edit was rolled back - even a simple note like "revert - see Wikitravel:External links" provides more explanation to a user than just "Reverted edits by 220.127.116.11 (Talk); changed back to last version by 18.104.22.168". I'm guilty of over-using that button as well, but it would be really, really helpful to others if admins made an effort to do at least one of the following in cases where the reason for a rollback isn't blatantly obvious:
Leave a note on the article's talk page explaining why the change was reverted.
If multiple changes by the same user are being reverted (and the changes are not vandalism) either provide an edit comment by using the manual revert process for at least the first revert, or else leave a note on the user's talk page explaining the reason for the revert.
This is just a suggestion; feel free to ignore as always, but I do think it would be very helpful to others. -- Ryan 15:21, 3 August 2006 (EDT)
I've made this request before, but would it be possible to modify the "rollback" functionality to give admins the option of including a comment? I can see the use of an explanation, but I'm going to be cleaning up a lot less junk if I have to go through the non-admin process for most fixes. I do try to leave a note if the edits are made by a registered user, but it seems less likely that explanations will reach the ears of "drive-by" editors. -- Jonboy 15:28, 3 August 2006 (EDT)
I like that idea, as long as we keep an eye out for the slippery slope of making Admin-stuff too "in-crowd" ish... Maj 15:44, 3 August 2006 (EDT)
Having the option to specify a reason for a revert would be helpful. And to be clear, I'm not proposing that admins do any more work than a normal user, I'm just asking that unless the edit being rolled back is something like "asdfasdf Bob is gay and I rule!" that at least one indicator of why the edit was rolled back is given. Most registered users start out anonymous, and if an anonymous user adds a link to their favorite nightlife guide and that contribution is then rolled back without comment that user is unlikely to contribute here again. However, if either the rollback comment OR a note on the article or user talk page refers the user to Wikitravel:External links then the user may realize that they are still welcome to contribute, but that in this case we just don't link to external guides.
And yeah, a Wikitravel:Administrator handbook would be useful for explaining how to use things like rollback, block, delete, etc. I don't think it would be any more "in-crowd" than any other page that explains Wikitravel functionality, provided everyone has access to read and edit the page. -- Ryan 16:10, 3 August 2006 (EDT)
Agree with Ryan on all counts. For that matter, I think an Administrator Handbook would be useful as a tool to help non-admins understand just what the admins are doing/can do. However, it's not necessarily the most "urgent" thing to work on; no opinion on that. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 20:09, 3 August 2006 (EDT)
Is there any way it could be translated to English? I believe something like that could be very useful to all administrators. Does anyone else think we should start this? I agree with Ryan and Bill-on-the-Hill comments above. We could provide guidelines and also it would help explain to all Wikitravelers how Administartors operate or should operate. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 15:07, 4 October 2006 (EDT)
I have started on the translation and I expect to put it up on Shared for review sometime during christmas 2006. Riggwelter 16:21, 13 December 2006 (EST)
The page doesn't actually spell out what's required to be accepted as an admin, so I plunged forward and laid out the criteria I've seen applied in nomination discussions. Edit away. Jpatokal 23:14, 11 June 2007 (EDT)
Nicely done! Looks just about right to me. I think the only thing I'd change is that the magic number of three months has been bandied about before, but I don't know if that's worth enshrining here. --Evan 23:25, 11 June 2007 (EDT)
Can one of the bureaucrats please revoke my admin rights. I will be taking an indefinite leave from Wikitravel. Updating and maintaining wiki's are supposed to be fun and enjoyable, but lately Wikitravel just has not been that. I have 5 firefox tabs open at the moment, 3 of them require speedy deletion, but the adverts seems to be more important than my nice shiny deletion button, they loaded, my delete button did not. So, I will yet again have to log out, log in and reopen all those tabs and frankly I can't be bothered. This is feeling more and more like my corporate job, filled with frustrations and management that does not care or listen. I may or may not be back sometime in the future, but for now I think I'll find myself some place else to play. --Nick 09:30, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
I'd hate to see you leave, although I certainly sympathize with your frustration. (We've been losing a bunch of great contributors lately...) In any rate, in the past we've leaned towards not removing administrative status, even when the user requests it and will not be editing for a long time. If you do decide to edit in the future, even for a day or two, I'd rather that you have the sysop functions, rather than have to re-nominate you for admin. --PeterTalk 15:39, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
Nick, I'm in agreement with Peter. There's plenty to do on Wikitravel that doesn't even require the buttons. LtPowers 09:06, 21 October 2008 (EDT)
Me three, and I certainly share your frustration. This has really become painful, and the spam-idiots aren't affected by the pain. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 16:28, 21 October 2008 (EDT)
Supposedly all is back to normal now, if you're still missing your tabs, head over to shared and speak up so that IB knows – cacahuatetalk 18:35, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
(background 1, 2, & 3) The argument against de-activating inactive admins is straightforward: inactivity isn't a reason to stop trusting users who have been given sysop status, and if such users return, we'd be happy to have them retain their privileges. The argument in favor is that unused sysop accounts present a "security risk." I'm not sure why though—even if some vandal hijacked a sysop account, they couldn't really do anything that would be hard to fix. And the probability of that happening seems very small to me in any rate. Unless I'm missing something, the only reason I can see why we should revoke sysop privileges is in case of abuse. So I'd say revise. --PeterTalk 01:16, 26 December 2008 (EST)
I agree with Peter. If a user goes permanently AWOL (>2 years), I think it's fine to de-sysop them, but 3 months is just silly. Jpatokal 06:09, 26 December 2008 (EST)
I agree as well. I've even come damn near three months myself in the past. Even at two years, I don't see any special need to de-sysop them. Texugo 06:15, 26 December 2008 (EST)
Let's revise to 2 years for now? – cacahuatetalk 18:23, 12 January 2009 (EST)