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Wikipedia administrators

wikipedia administrators, george terry wikipedia administrators
On the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, trusted users may be appointed as administrators also known as admins, sysops, and janitors,:327 following a successful request for adminship There are 1,278 administrators on the English Wikipedia as of November 2016 Administrators have additional technical privileges compared to other editors

On Wikipedia, becoming an admin is often referred to as being "given the mop", a term which has also been used elsewhere In 2006, The New York Times reported that administrators on Wikipedia, of whom there were then about 1,000, were "geographically diverse" In July 2012, it was widely reported that Wikipedia was "running out of administrators", because in 2005 and 2006, 40 to 50 people were often appointed administrators each month, but in the first half of 2012, only nine in total were appointed However, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's co-founder, denied that this was a crisis or that Wikipedia was running out of admins, saying, "The number of admins has been stable for about two years, there's really nothing going on" Wales had previously in a message sent to the English Wikipedia mailing list on February 11, 2003 stated that being an admin is "not a big deal", and that "It's merely a technical matter that the powers given to sysops are not given out to everyone"

In his book Wikipedia – The Missing Manual, John Broughton states that while many people think of administrators on Wikipedia as judges, that is not the purpose of the role Instead, he says, admins usually "delete pages" and "protect pages involved in edit wars"


  • 1 Requests for adminship
  • 2 Role
  • 3 Scientific studies
  • 4 References

Requests for adminship

While the first Wikipedia administrators were appointed by Jimmy Wales himself in October 2001, administrator privileges on Wikipedia are now granted through a process known as requests for adminship RFA Any registered editor may nominate themselves, or may request another editor to do so The process has been said to be "akin to putting someone through the Supreme Court" by Andrew Lih, a scientist and professor who is himself an administrator on the English Wikipedia Lih also said, "It's pretty much a hazing ritual at this point", in contrast to how the process worked early in Wikipedia's history, when all one had to do to become an admin was "prove you weren't a bozo" Candidacy for the role is normally considered only after "extensive work on the wiki" While any editor may vote in an RFA, the outcome is not determined by a majority vote, but rather by whether or not consensus has been reached that the candidate would make a good administrator, a decision which can only be made by a bureaucrat, a Wikipedia editor who is also appointed by the community through a "request" process, though the process is much stricter for them than for administrators This may have been implemented as a result of RFAs attracting increasing levels of attention: Stvilia et al quoted that "Prior to mid-2005, RFAs typically did not attract much attention Since then, it has become quite common for RFAs to attract huge numbers of RFA groupies who all support one another"


Once granted administrator privileges, a user has access to additional functions in order to perform certain duties These include "messy cleanup work", deletion of articles deemed unsuitable, protecting pages restricting editing privileges to that page,:66 and blocking the accounts of disruptive users Blocking a user must be done according to Wikipedia's policies and a reason must be stated for the block, which will be permanently logged by the software:401:120 Use of this privilege to "gain editing advantages" is considered inappropriate

Scientific studies

A scientific paper by researchers from Virginia Tech and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that after editors are promoted to administrator status, they often focus more on articles about controversial topics than they did before The researchers also proposed an alternative method for choosing administrators, in which more weight is given to the votes of experienced editors Another paper, presented at the 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, analyzed data from all 1,551 requests for adminship from January 2006 to October 2007, with the goal of determining which if any of the criteria recommended in Wikipedia's Guide to requests for adminship page were the best predictors of whether the user in question would actually become an admin In December 2013, a similar study was published by researchers from the Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology in Warsaw which aimed to model the results of requests for adminship on the Polish Wikipedia using a model derived from Wikipedia's edit history They found that they could "classify the votes in the RfA procedures using this model with an accuracy level that should be sufficient to recommend candidates"


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ayers, Phoebe; Matthews, Charles; Yates, Ben 2008 How Wikipedia Works No Starch Press ISBN 9781593271763 
  2. ^ a b "Wikipedia:Administrators" Wikipedia Wikimedia Foundation Retrieved 29 July 2015 
  3. ^ a b Burke, Moira; Kraut, Robert April 2008 "Taking Up the Mop: Identifying Future Wikipedia Administrators" CHI '08 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems: 3441–3446 doi:101145/13586281358871 
  4. ^ Hafner, Katie 17 June 2006 "Growing Wikipedia Refines Its 'Anyone Can Edit' Policy" The New York Times Retrieved 23 January 2014 
  5. ^ a b c d Meyer, Robinson 16 July 2012 "3 Charts That Show How Wikipedia Is Running Out of Admins" The Atlantic Retrieved 23 January 2014 
  6. ^ Further coverage:
    • Steadman, Ian 19 July 2012 "Wikipedia might be running out of administrators, figures show" Wired Archived from the original on October 6, 2014 Retrieved 24 January 2014 
    • Wrenn, Eddie 17 July 2012 "Will Wikipedia edit itself out of existence 50 volunteer 'admins' used to join site each month but last month there was just one" Daily Mail Retrieved 24 January 2014 
    • Lo Wang, Hansi 19 July 2012 "As Wikipedia Gets Pickier, Editors Become Harder To Find" NPR Retrieved 29 November 2014 
  7. ^ Lee, Dave 18 July 2012 "Jimmy Wales denies Wikipedia admin recruitment crisis" BBC News Retrieved 24 January 2014 
  8. ^ Wales, Jimmy 11 February 2003 "Sysop Status" EN-I Wikimedia Mailing List Retrieved 24 January 2014 
  9. ^ Broughton, John 2008 Wikipedia – The Missing Manual O'Reilly Media p 199 
  10. ^ Schiff, Stacy 31 July 2006 "Know It All" The New Yorker Retrieved 19 February 2014 
  11. ^ "Wikipedia:Bureaucrats" Wikipedia Wikimedia Foundation Retrieved 29 July 2015 
  12. ^ Stvilia, B; Twidale, M B; Smith, L C; Gasser, L 2008 "Information quality work organization in wikipedia" Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 59 6: 983 doi:101002/asi20813 
  13. ^ User talk:Tony Sidaway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 22 September 2006
  14. ^ a b Ebersbach, Anja; Adelung, Andrea; Dueck, Gunter; Glaser, Markus; Heigl, Richard; Warta, Alexander 2008 Wiki: Web Collaboration Springer ISBN 9783540681731 
  15. ^ Das, Sanmay 2013 "Manipulation Among the Arbiters of Collective Intelligence: How Wikipedia Administrators Mold Public Opinion" PDF Proceedings of the 22nd ACM international Conference on information & knowledge management: 1097–1106 doi:101145/25055152505566 
  16. ^ See Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship
  17. ^ Jankowski-Lorek, M; Ostrowski, L; Turek, P; Wierzbicki, A 2013 "Modeling Wikipedia admin elections using multidimensional behavioral social networks" Social Network Analysis and Mining 3 4: 787 doi:101007/s13278-012-0092-6 

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