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McJeff/Admin cases

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This page is intended to portray a few test scenarios in which an administrator would have to use his or her judgment on how to deal with a situation. Administrator hopefuls are to read the cases and explain how they think the cases should be solved.

I have deliberately tried to present these cases in such a way that there is no single 'right' answer.

As it's been several months since the elections and I've stepped down as bureaucrat, I've decided to give my own answers to these questions if anyone's curious as to how I go about being a sysop.

Case 1

(Based on an incident at Grand Theft Wiki)

A new user, John123 has made somewhere between 20-30 edits. They have all been minor edits but good - correcting spelling and grammar in articles and occasionally fixing the format of something. In the article Love Fist, he changes which instruments the band members play without leaving an edit summary. John123 is reverted by a patroller named CowboyPatroller, who uses rollback to undo the edit. John123 makes the same edit again, leaving the edit summary "maybe you should play the game, if you did you'd know I'm right". CowboyPatroller reverts him with rollback again. John123 makes the same edit for a third time, this time with the edit summary "STOP UNDOING MY EDIT YOU STUPID PRICK". CowboyPatroller rollbacks his edit again, and then tells you. For the sake of this question, you don't know which members of Love Fist play what instrument. What would you do?

The thing too many people failed to notice is that CowboyPatroller behaved very badly. For starters, a patroller or sysop should check someone's contributions before acting - if they have a history of good contributions it's more important to assume good faith, if they have a history of garbage edits and vandalism it's less important. Secondly, CowboyPatroller was misusing rollback. After John123's edit with the summary "maybe you should play the game, if you did you'd know I'm right" CowboyPatroller should have recognized the issue as a content dispute rather than vandalism and taken the issue to either John123's talk page or the article's talk page.
As for John123, he too should have been cautioned to discuss content disputes rather than edit war. Had the issue progressed to his "STUPID PRICK" edit, he should have been sternly warned about civility." Being right doesn't give you the excuse to be a dick.

Case 2

(Based on the Rigby2000/Dodo/Sasquatch incident)

A brand new editor, Newbie200, makes an article called When Do i Get Trevor? The 'article' is a question about how long he has to play GTAV before Trevor becomes playable. Newbie200's written English is so bad that it's almost incomprehensible - he uses capital letters and punctuation almost at random and he frequently uses netspeak ('u' instead of 'you', '&' instead of 'and'). A regular user with no special rights and no prior history of bad behavior, GTAFAN316, nominates the article for deletion with the comment "lrn2wiki". CowboyPatroller reverts GTAFAN316 with the edit summary "Don't be mean dude" but doesn't otherwise talk to Newbie200 or GTAFAN316. Who do you think was out of line? As an administrator, what do you say and to whom?

GTAFAN316 was uncivil with his deletion nomination. However, CowboyPatroller should not have reverted GTAFAN316 since the page did need to be deleted. If a newbie is making non-malicious bad edits, a user should reach out to him and try to help him edit better (like Sasquatch101 did to Rigby20000). If the newbie in question is truly too incompetent to edit the wiki, he'll sooner or later break enough rules through his own failure to understand that he'll be blocked. If he isn't that incompetent, he can be taught and there's no reason to mistreat him.

Case 3

(Based on something a semi-active member of this wiki did)

An editor has been uploading images and refusing to follow the image policy. He has been warned by a bureaucrat and blocked for refusing to follow the rules three months ago. He has continued to upload images - he now names them correctly but he doesn't bother with a license. When confronted on that he says "I don't bother with that only women care about such things". The bureaucrat who warned and blocked the user 3 months ago has said nothing about this. What do you do about this?

The bureaucrat who originally warned the editor uploading images against policy should have been informed that the editor was continuing to upload images against policy. If that bureaucrat doesn't respond, then the most active sysop should have been told.

Case 4

(Loosely based on an argument Messi1983 and I had)

A user named TheWikiKid says on his userpage that he is 10 years old. Bureaucrat01 blocks TheWikiKid for being underage and in violation of the Wikia-wide rule that says you must be 13 to edit. TheWikiKid posts on Bureaucrat02's Community Central talk page that he was only joking and that he's really 16, and so Bureaucrat02 unblocks him. Bureaucrat01 immediately reblocks him with the comment "he might be lying and he was causing trouble anyway". Bureaucrat02 re-unblocks with the comment "no he wasn't". The two bureaucrats start wheel-warring (undoing each other's admin actions) and swearing at each other on their talk pages about the incident.

"Stay out of it" is an acceptable answer but it is not the only acceptable answer.

I wouldn't blame any editor who didn't want to get involved in an argument between two bureaucrats especially when they're acting like temperamental children. There are a few different things you could do if you don't want to hassle an editor who outranks you when he's angry. It's true that a bureaucrat has no right to desysop an administrator or patroller for questioning him, but in the real world people who are raging don't follow the rules, and it's exceedingly unlikely that Wikia would repromote a demoted user even if he was demoted abusively.
  1. Stay out of it
  2. Inform the third bureaucrat of the situation
  3. Use Special:Contact to tell Wikia Central about the bureaucrats fighting
My personal choice would probably be "wait to see if they get over it and if they don't use Special:Contact.

Case 5

(Based on an incident with a user on this wiki named NT92)

GTA92 is a long term editor. His contributions are sometimes good, but he has a history of being argumentative - especially with staff. He's been blocked twice, once for a day once for a week, but both blocks are over a year old. He adds some The Sky Is Blue type trivia to an article, which you revert with rollback. He reverts you with the edit summary "You can't delete it just because you don't like it, 'sysop.'"

Based on the mocking tone in his revert and his past history of being insolent to staff, I would have blocked him immediately with the length being determined by the Blocking Policy.

Case 5b

In addition to what was described in Case 5, GTA92 then follows you to two other articles and reverts your edits with the edit summary "wrong" for both of them. How do you handle this?

In this case he isn't just picking a fight with staff, he's vandalizing in an attempt to pick a fight with staff, so I would block him indefinitely.

Case 6

(Based on the time period of open hostility between GTA Wiki and Grand Theft Wiki)

A long term user on GTA Wiki named GTAmaniac decides to switch his affiliation to Grand Theft Wiki. He does this by announcing this on his user page. He also begins sending messages to other active users on GTA Wiki encouraging them to join him in switching affiliation to the other wiki. CowboyPatroller starts reverting the messages encouraging others to switch wikis. In response, users from the other wiki come over to this one and vandalize CowboyPatroller's user page and talk page. Grand Theft Wiki's owner Gboyers says that although he doesn't personally approve of his users vandalizing this wiki, it's outside his jurisdiction and so he won't even tell them to stop.

The thing to remember is that other people aren't always reasonable, even if they're 'in charge'. If Gboyers (or any other staff member on any other wiki) isn't going to do what you think the right thing is, there's nothing you can do about it and so there's no point in fighting about it.
Diplomacy sometimes works and it's usually worth a try. In the case of Grand Theft Wiki's dispute with this one, the solution was to write that page about the community split. In turn, Gboyers and Jfletcher stopped asking their users to "advertise" on GTA Wiki and started asking them not to flame us if they did. And in turn we let decided to accept the fact that they hold a grudge against Wikia and not argue with them about anti-GTA-Wikia userboxes, and so forth.
This question was inspired by how shortly before the Administrator Election, Thomas brought to my attention an anti-Wikia wiki that listed Grand Theft Wiki as the real GTA Wiki and encouraged vandalism on this one. In the case of that one, the best thing to do was ignore it utterly, figuring that it's not causing much if any problem now but picking a fight about it is like stirring up a wasp nest - even if you're right it's a better idea not to.
In a worst case scenario, simply revert, block, ignore. You can also try using Special:Contact and ask Wikia Central if they'll help out by setting up some sort of abuse filter.

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