Wikidata:Guide to Adminship

Wielding a mop is serious business.

This page offers advice for admins and would-be admins on Wikidata, about how to appropriately use the admin tools. This is not a policy page, it is an essay!

There are two important differences between administration on another Wikimedia project and administration on Wikidata. They are:

  1. Unlike actions taken on most Wikimedia projects, actions taken on Wikidata have the potential to affect the entire Wikimedia community—hundreds of other wikis. This has implications for both item deletion and user interaction.
  2. Unlike users on most Wikimedia projects, Wikidata users cannot be assumed to understand a common language. Care should be taken to avoid discriminating against users who don't speak the same language(s) as you.

The similarities between Wikidata adminship and other Wikimedia projects are many:

  • You are expected to enact the community's consensus.
  • You are expected to act in the best interests of the wiki.
  • You are expected to consult with other admins if you are unsure about an action.
  • You should admit when you make a mistake and do your best to fix it.
  • You should be contactable on the project you are admin on.
  • You should help users when they request it, or point them to someone or somewhere else where they can get help. Let people know when you're on a Wikibreak.

Initial setup edit

  • Add Babel info on your userpage, so other users will know which languages you speak or understand.
  • Make sure email is enabled in your preferences and working properly.
  • It is considered bad practice for an admin to ask editors to leave them messages on some other wiki. You are expected to remain reasonably available on Wikidata, and to check your Wikidata talk page regularly.
  • Mention your adminship on your user page by this userbox or some other method.

Suggestions for new admins edit

Impact of item deletion edit

Wikidata is serving 107,843,175 items to other Wikimedia wikis. Therefore, a deletion on Wikidata is likely to impact dozens of other wikis.

Impact of user interaction edit

Wikidata supports the other Wikimedia projects, but we can only succeed with the support of these other projects too. Why? Because it's the attitude of local projects towards Wikidata that determines whether or not those communities will encourage their users use and contribute to Wikidata. Therefore, keep in mind that when communicating with other users you may be seen as representing "Wikidata" in its entirety. It's important to be polite and patient.

When we perform actions whether as individuals (deleting single items) or as a community (such as in requests for comment), we must take care to explain the reasoning behind our actions, and accept and use the input of users of all Wikimedia projects. In community discussions, in many respects (but not always), the Wikidata community is the Wikimedia community. We have duties to all those users, not just the ones with active accounts at Wikidata.

Good communication and a willingness to accept feedback are not optional extras for an admin. Good communication is particularly important because without it decisions cannot easily be reviewed and understood.

Multilinguality edit

No language should be prioritised over any other, when practicable. No user should be disadvantaged because of the languages they can or cannot speak. If you have hints that a user doesn't speak your language, make an effort to get your messages to them translated. The onus is on you, not the user. See Wikidata:Administrators by language to find an administrator that does speak the other user's language.

Specific operations edit

Deletion and undeletion edit

Wikidata's requests for deletion are often backlogged. Your help is definitely needed in this area.

Note that item deletion may impact all Wikimedia wikis. As an admin, you must always be willing to explain why you have deleted an item. More specifically, you should always provide a brief justification for your deletion decision in the edit summary, and you should respond promptly and politely to any subsequent user queries that are posted to your talk page. Sometimes, an editor who has just had their item deleted will be angry. In responding, remember that you are representing the whole Wikidata community, and be ready to explain your decision calmly and clearly using wikilinks where needed to point the user in the right direction. More often than you might think, a clear and sympathetic explanation can convert an initially angry newbie into a useful contributor.

If circumstances change significantly (for example, if an editor indicates the notability of an item), you should undelete it as soon as possible.

Revision deletion edit

Revision deletion (revdeletion or revdel) is a way of deleting specific revisions of a page without deleting the entire page. It is usually used on libelous vandalism.

Blocking and unblocking edit

Have your email confirmed, so blocked users can contact you (and let them know this). Blocked users are also usually able to edit their talk page. Keep in mind the principles of #Multilinguality mentioned above.

Note that Wikidata currently has no formal three revert rule. This doesn't mean that edit warring is acceptable. If you notice edit warring, push the participants to discussion, warn, and finally if necessary block.

Protecting and unprotecting edit

Don't protect preemptively. Use semi-protection whenever possible. In general, avoid cascading protection.

In the case of serious disputes and revert wars, protect and send the users to the talk page to sort out consensus.

In the case of repeated vandalism, a short block to the user or IP is preferred because it attacks the problem at its source and doesn't disadvantage other well-meaning users. Semi-protection may be required if there are multiple vandals, however.

Rollback edit

This tool allows for fast reverting of the last edit(s) to a page. It's similar to the undo function, however, this will undo all consecutive edits by the same user, thus restoring the latest version made by a user other than the last. It generates a auto-summary and saves automatically. (Non-admins can request this tool here.)

Property creation edit

Administrators are able to create properties via Special:NewProperty. This should only be done after a discussion to create a certain property has resulted in consensus. (Non-admins can request this right here.)

Vandalism and vandal fighting edit

Avoid labelling people's efforts as vandalism. True vandals know that what they are doing is wrong; you don't gain much from telling them again. For people who believe they really are editing in the best interests of the wiki, calling them "vandals" is inflammatory and unhelpful.

If you speak languages other than English edit

  • Please participate at the project chat in your language. This is one of the few places users can ask for help in their own language.

Checklist of stuff you should know edit

This is stuff you should come across or be aware of before considering becoming an admin. It's not a complete list. (if the question doesn't have an answer in parenthesis... that's because you REALLY need to know the answer to it before you consider standing... and if you don't already know, or don't know how to find out on your own, you probably haven't been around enough to have picked up the norms here yet)

  • What is notability? (WD:N)
  • What items should be merged and how to merge them? (WD:Merge)
  • When is it appropriate to use page protection (including cascading)? (WD:PPP)
  • When is it appropriate to block users? (WD:BLOCK)
  • What is the correct procedure for nominating an item or property for deletion/undeletion?
  • How to find an admin that speaks a particular language, when you need to?
  • Where users should seek opinions and help?

Where your help is needed edit

Wikidata is frequently backlogged in the deletion area.