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Manual for administrators

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Manual for administrators

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This page is currently under construction and far from being an established consensus... as such, it holds no weight in policy discussions


This manual for administrators (sysops) is an aid for new admins and contains advice on how the administrative role should be carried out.

The role as an administrator[edit]

An administrator is someone who has, through the trust and confidence of his or her fellow Wikitravellers, been granted access to certain tools which could be subject to abuse in the wrong hands. Administrators do not have a higher rank or the right to the final word than any other contributor. It is important to be well aware of the danger of being seen as an authority. When dealing with sabotage, the power of the written word should be exercised as far as possible, but the usage of force, i.e. blocking a contributor, should only be used as a last resort. It is imperative that an administrator does not use his or her privileges to gain advantage in a conflict with other users. There is a difference between the role as an administrator and as a contributor and it is important to notice the difference.

Tools[edit]

Experience shows that the best way to prevent sabotage and vandalism, both in the real world and on Wikitravel, is to keep the site tidy and to pursue vandals. This makes serious editors happy to contribute, since they feel safe. It also makes vandals think twice – if their edits are reverted or deleted, they sooner or later realise that is is of no use to continue. In order to help them to carry out their task, the Wikitravel administrators have been given access to certain special tools.

These tools are designed mainly to deal with single-minded and malicious vandals. To permanently block the IP address of an entire school, just because a less well-adapted pupil vandalised a single page, is to overdo it a bit. “Revert” and “delete” are powerful functions and is in most cases enough for the needs of Wikitravel. Also, please note that if you discover that a single IP address is the source for extensive vandalism, it might be a good idea to contact the user’s internet service provider on their e-mail address for abuse. They welcome such tips, but make sure you can provide log information regarding the IP address.

When you have been granted administrative rights, i.e. when a bureaucrat has opened certain features in the MediaWiki software, you will find some new links at the bottom of the Special:Specialpages page. Under the headline “Restricted special pages” aa few new functions are listed. Through the link Special:Blockip, you can block IP addresses as well as registered users for a shorter or longer time span. The page Special:Undelete helps you to restore deleted pages and files. On the top of each and every article page, you will also discover two new links: “delete” and “protect”. These functions are used to delete pages, and to protect (and un-protect) pages so they cannot be edited by anonymous users.

Revert[edit]

"Revert" is a button and/or a link in the history of a page or following the article names on the contribution list of a user. To hit that button is the same thing as restoring and saving the latest version of a page prior to the vandal’s edit/edits. This is the primary tool for any counter-vandalism fighter and should be used in abundance. This may seem simple, but through this function, an entire day of unserious edits can be undone and the article restored to its latest serious appearance. However, this only works for already existing articles. If a vandal creates a new page, it must be deleted. When deleting a page, always state a reason for it so other administrators understand why you did it.

Vandalbot[edit]

To revert the edits by bot/script, see wikipedia:m:Vandalbot#Sysop response.

There is another way to mark both your rollback and the edits being rolled back as bot edits in Special:RecentChanges, do the following:

  1. Click "diff" button on the edit being rolled back.
  2. Append "&bot=1" to the difference between revisions page URL and hit enter key.
  3. Click "rollback" button on the edit being rolled back.

Deletions[edit]

Pages may be deleted, which in reality means that they are moved to an archive where they only can be reviewed by administrators through the page Special:Undelete, something that also makes it possible for administrators to restore deleted pages, if such would be required. Vandalism (rude words, curses, "adsddsfsafsdaf", "hi I tagged your page”) can be deleted without further ado. If the case is a bit unclear, delete it anyway. Other admins can restore the edits if there should be a discussion about it. Pages which are difficult to assess or where there are no precedences, should be discussed on votes for deletion. Remember to remove foul language or unnecessary text from the comment box and add your own deletion comment.

A very important principle is that if an article has been accessbile under a certain name for a certain time, it should always remain accessible the same way. This is all about the credibility of Wikitravel as a source. If someone uses Wikitravel and states the URL as the source, that person must be certain that the URL works as long as Wikitravel works. It could be that the URL is published in books, newspapers, theses, etc. We do not know where or how our work may be quoted, and that’s why we cannot delete a page just because we do not see a reason to keep it. When articles are moved or merged, always leave a reference to the valid article. The redirect function is created with this in mind.

As an administrator, you also have the possibility to restore images and/or illustrations in the same way as you would with an article.

Protection of pages[edit]

As an administrator, you have a link on each page which allows you to protect a page from being edited. This is something which should be used only in extreme cases and only for a short time. The entire idea of Wikitravel is that everybody can edit anything, so the limitation of this possibility can be disputed. Single pages can very well be protected for a shorter time if needed, but any longer time span should be discussed. See Protection of pages.

Warnings[edit]

If you discover a vandal, warn the miscreant by applying the appropriate template (S1, S2, etc on their talk page and sign. Always add “S1”, “S2” or so in the comment textbox.

Example: User X (or IP adress X) vandalises an article. Whoever notices this reverts the vandalised article and applies the template {{S1}} on the user’s talk page and signs it, as well as typing ”S1” in the comments text box. This can be done by any serious contributor. If the vandal continues, the template {{S2}} is applied, together with “S2” in the comment text box. If the vandal still goes on, the contributor could yet again add an {{S2}} And type "S2 - ONGOING" in the comment text box. If an administrator is online, the user should try to get his or her attention. If not, the user should leave a note on any admin’s talk page and have them look into it later.

Warnings and reverts may be carried out by any user. A user who wants to revert an article just uses the link provided, which is not the same link an administrator uses.

Block[edit]

To block a user may be seen as a drastic measure. Someone is silenced, something which could be associated to censorship and suppression of free opinion. In many cases, several users share the same IP (for example, schools and companies), and blocking such an IP inevitably prevents many possible users just because of one individual. Blocking people is therefor to be kept to a minimum and if they are used, they should be kept short.

Reverts and deletions with subsequent warnings is the first line of defence, blockings should not be used unless it is apparent that the vandal does not listen to warnings and/or continues to vandalise. Blockings should be as short as possible – two hours is more than enough for a high school student to get bored and find something else to do. Remember that it is easy to extend a blocking if required. Long time blockings are not suitable for several reasons, the ambitious vandal can for example change their IP and continue. Blockings with a duration of more than a week should not be used unless there are reasons to believe that it will do more good than harm.

Blockings should be done according to the following scale:

  1. First time – two hours
  2. Second time – eight hours
  3. Third time - 24 hours
  4. Fourth time – one week
  5. Fifth time – one month
  6. Sixth time – six months
  7. Seventh time – twelve months

Normally, a user or IP adress should not need to be blocked more than a week. One month and more is very rare. Use the administrative rights with care!

Abuse[edit]

If the same adress is used by several vandals and/or several occasions, contacting the service provider is an option. Read more about this on Wikitravel:Abuse.

Wikitravel Shared[edit]

As an administrator on any language version of Wikitravel, you are also an administrator on Wikitravel Shared, our shared repository for illustrations. This requires that you have registered an account on Wikitravel Shared.

More admins[edit]

A list of administrators can be found here.

Validity[edit]

Note: if you do not log in and/or use your admin rights for three months, you will lose your administrative rights on all language versions and on Wikitravel Shared. This is because of security reasons, as an unused account poses a security risk. Fellow administrators are required to let a bureaucrat know if an administrator should have his or her admin rights revoked because of absence. Any admin may also request to have his or her own admin rights revoked. This can be done on Wikitravel Shared:Administrator nominations, but only to alert bureaucrats to one's lack of contributions for periods longer than three months.

Original[edit]

This article is largely built on a manual for administrators on Wikipedia in swedish. A transparent copy of the original text may be found here: Wikipedia:Manual för administratörer.