As RfA's have been dealt with, it's time to discuss... Bureaucrat-ship. 161.88 started this discussion... here's what he said:

I actually agree with this form of governance for determining sysops. But, I would like to see a few changes:

  • I suggest more control over buerocrats who have more power on wikis - those should be further limited, and I feel elected from the sysop pool for specific terms of service (only open to the sysops to vote - and for non-consecutive terms in that position).
  • I would certainly like to see an arbitration means documented for this site,
  • I would like a means by which general users can submit a "no confidence" vote in order to show the buerocrats in control at the time that a particular sysop should be seriously evaluated for de-sysoptation due to widespread public displeasure with that sysops perceived abuse of power (should such a thing ever happen - rare, but possible).

Those are my main concerns on the current site governance. -- 21:14, 8 June 2007 (CEST)

Note: as referenced above, I also support having an RfA to provide recommended condidates to assist the Buerocrats in choosing future sysops. But I do not feel that it should be made mandatory that promotions to sysop must originate from the pool of candidates who have RfA support. -- 21:22, 8 June 2007 (CEST)

So... discuss. I have strong thoughts about some of it, and some I don't care as much about. Either way, I'm holding my rant off until more people discuss 161.88's points and generate ideas. -Auron 16:02, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

B-cats are the ultimate authority on a wiki right? They are the founders and those the founders have hand selected out of their pool of lackies to be trusted members of the elite administrative cabinet of the wiki. As I remember, we've allready had one B-Cat asked to step down to Syop due to inactivity. And as memory serves that person understood and with maturity accepted the decision and went with it. B-cats, whos in that circle, and whom gets kicked out of that circle, needs to stay in that circle. Syops on the other hand, I fully support the idea of a no-confidance vote against a syop, where other syops and b-cats can make a decision to keep or remove that individual based on activity or behavior. All decisions of that nature though, default final results to the b-cats, the highest administrative level on the wiki. Think of the site as a non-profit Company owned and operated by the B-cats. Syops are hired help, and users are customers. You can fire employees and make new highers by popular demand, but it doesnt make much sense to fire the boss and owners... Shireensysop 16:11, 25 June 2007 (EDT)
Technically, the server administrator is the ultimate authority. But w/e. 16:21, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

Alright, well, we already have an RfA, so that gets rid of one of the points mentioned above. As to no-confidence votes for Sysops, I'm fine with that mainly because I believe that the Administrative group is pretty much self-regulating to begin with, by which I mean that by the time a Sysop had a no-confidence vote filed against them, they'd already have been warned by the rest of the Admin staff. Besides that, the process doesn't really need to be formal, since, a user with a complaint against a Sysop could leave said complaint on another Admins talk page without making any kind of "formal complaint." Bearing that in mind though, I don't really have any specific problem with making the process formal if users would like it to be. As to terms of service... honestly, I see no reason for it. First of all, it disrupts stability. To use Shireen's analogy, it is analogous to repeated changes in management. Second of all, B-Crats aren't B-Crats for no reason. They are the ones trusted with appointments. That trust doesn't "dissolve" after some set length of time, so why should the appointment dissolve? If there was a real problem, a B-Crat might be asked to step down (as has already happened twice, although not for disciplinary reasons), so in that sense, appointments are unnecessary. And, honestly, not all general Sysops, are necessarily ready to be B-Crats. I realize, even as I write that comment, how elitist it sounds, but not all Sysops are elected with the expectation that at one point they will definitely be appointed B-Crats, they are appointed to be Sysops. As to arbitration, well, I honestly don't understand what kind of documentation you're looking for, so I can't comment on that at this time. So, to sum it up, I'm indifferent on the no-confidence for Sysops part, but am strongly opposed to the appointments part. DE Sig Test 2 *Defiant Elements* +talk 16:25, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

I'm not as concerned by the b-cat term of service as much as the other points that I mentioned, I would hate this conversation to be sidetracked by something that's a lower priority and which could easilly be dropped. The other two are much higher priority.
  • A method of arbitration - if two groups or two individuals are stuck in a dispute, there needs to be a way to escalate it to a relatively neutral third party, especially if one of the parties in the dispute in an admin. There should be a way to request a review of the issue another admin or a b-cat. Wikipedia has this, and GuildWiki appears to have a similar policy.
  • A method to submit a no-confidence vote - while this doesn't need to be formal, it does help to define a process. To call a vote, justification demonstrating abuse of admin powers should be required. Submitting such a vote request just because an admin points out flaws in your build should obviously not be permitted. -- 10:29, 26 June 2007 (EDT)
Is the no-confidence vote for Bureaucrats or for all sysops? I'm thrown off by "justification demonstrating abuse of admin powers," which sort of indicates all admins. -Auron 15:30, 26 June 2007 (EDT)
I'd also be interested as to whom the no-confidence vote applies. As to the arbitration, we do have an "Admin Review" tag, but, if you'd like to outline some kind of definitive arbitration process, I'd be happy to talk about setting one up. I think I know what you're getting at, but without some specifics regarding how you actually envision the arbitration process, there isn't much I can do. Perhaps you could add the links of the Wikipedia/GuildWiki policies you mentioned? DE Sig Test 2 *Defiant Elements* +talk 16:16, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

I agreed with a no confidance vote for Syops only. B-cats should never be under scrutiny for a no-confidance vote. They are, after all, the boss, and they 'own' the site right? Syops are appointed from the public masses, and as such, can be returned to the masses, by the masses. A B-cat is hand picked exclusively by the founders, and as such, can only be removed by those founders. Shireensysop 16:27, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

I disagree. If that is the case, then who will guard the guards? The only person who owns this site, is Gcardinal. If you don't like him, don't visit the site. Everyone else s expendable imo. 16:41, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

No one 'guards the guards.' Let me see if I can put it this way, the B-cats are not contestants on survivor. They are the founders and creators of this site. I can't come up to you and say, "Hey joe, we all decided, you know that car thats YOURS you been letting us borrow? Well, we feel you've been an asswhole for not playing the right kind of music so were voting your car away from ya." I mean come on! You can't vote your parents out of their own house. If those crude analogies don't quite cut it, you cant just vote 'Tom' off of myspace because you don't like how he made the system. Im running out of analogies here. They OWN the site, or are chosen by the OWNERS of this site. It's their call. Were all just guests here. If that bothers you, go make your own site, and allow people the chance to vote controll of your own project away from you. Shireensysop 16:48, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

Sorry to break it to you, but they do not own the site. Only Gcardinal does fyi, and even that is questionable as he rents a server. The only difference between B-crats and reg Admins, is that they choose prospective admins, or remove them. Other then that, there is very little difference. I propose that we set up a very special system. Unlike that of even Guild Wiki. A special policy that worse case scenerio, any admin or B-crat may be removed. Through a system of votes perhaps even. 16:56, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

What happens when GC stops paying rent? Shireensysop 16:58, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

We lose the server...I am actually surprised we have no advertisements... 17:05, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

Okay, Logic Time:

  • GC pays the rent on this site. As far as I know, no one esle does. Which means GC has the ultimeate, single authority to instantly shut down the site (Removal is Destruction, Destruction is Violence, and Violence is power). And on top of that, not only is he devoting time, but real world personal resources to this site. When he stops paying rent, this place ceases to be, so he 'owns' this site.
  • GC got together a couple of his buddies and migrated this site over form GuildWiki (I.E. the first B-cats to this site). They all are friends and typically understand the general vision of where they want this site to go.
  • GC has decided to take a very, low impact role on this site and has entrusted it to the care of the other b-cats. I.E. by owner authority, the B-Cats act in the owners stead. GC still pays for the site out of his own pocket. Deligation of authority over something is a property right recognized in every civilized country in the world.
  • What right do we have as user to tell GC what to do with a site He is paying for, and WE are not? I think it's awsome that were given as much free rign to allow this site to evolve naturally as it is by his direction and that of those he allows to govern in his stead. But we need to remember there are some boundries and lines of ownership that do exist, even if they are only tokens of curtesy. And my question for you is this - Which B-Cats do you feel need to be removed? Or is it that YOU want to be a B-Cat? Shireensysop 17:07, 26 June 2007 (EDT)
Shireen, what do you not understand about this? GC does not technically need to pay for this site, or at least have to pay VERY LITTLE. Advertisements would completely subsidize the cost, to a rather miniscule amount. Secondly, GC and a few of the other B-crats are rather new to the mix. Only Auron and DE are from Guild Wiki really. Everyone is still getting to know e/o, so I wouldn't call everyone "Friends". Never once have I said anyone is to be, or even should be removed. I am saying we should set up a series of checks and balances. No party is to be "Overpowered". No admin or B-crat would ever be able to abuse their "power". I suggest we set up an organized system, rather than do it as Guild Wiki does (ex:Skuld). About myself becoming a B-crat...I could care fucking less tbh. 17:29, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

I understand your perspective immensly, I see it very very clearly and the two of us are just running into a very big difference of personal philosophies. You belive the democratic method will allways have the majorities best intrests at heart. So a system of checks and balances that involves the public (directly or indirectly) will ensure that the system supports the best possible altruistic outcome every time. I feel that a democratic method, or checks and balances that involve, directly or indirectly, the public it serves, will garnish base human nature in every decision (I.E. Idealistic Nievetee that disguises selfish, unrealistic decisions that dont work). It's Democracy VS Oligarchies. The current admin set are solid, responsible and capable. If the F* up it's gonna be their fault. Add in the human factor of the public choosing the highest court and the degrigation of the system will occour MUCH MUCH faster. Shireensysop 17:46, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

The system I am proposing is very through. Making it very difficult, if not impossible to demote someone. It would just be there in case of an absolute emergency. No one should have immunity to it. 18:56, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

Just for reference, here's how some other sites handle things. There's precedent for both versions, it's just a question of how to handle it here:
  • On GuildWiki, the founder who pays the bills is Gravewit - he and Nunix were in a guild together and created the site. When they both stopped active involvement with the wiki, Gravewit essentially handed over management of the site by making Tanaric a bureaucrat, and he later added LordBiro as a bureaucrat. Those two are essentially representatives for the founders, and would likely only be removed if Gravewit chose to do so.
  • On the Official Guild Wars Wiki, ArenaNet owns the site and has their own admin status. They are neither sysop nor bureaucrat, but do have some degree of elevated rights over standard users, although I don't know the full extent of the access rights they've assigned to themselves. On that site, the community votes for bureaucrat for six month terms that overlap so that only one position is being voted on at a time to minimize potential disruption, on that site the bureaucrat do not have authority for most sysop-related tasks. The site also can nominate sysops for life via RfA, although there is a recall method being discussed in policy proposals.
  • On Wikipedia, and most MediaWiki sites, they have a steward position that is elected by the overall community for terms, although I'm not sure how long of a term. They have bureaucrats that appear to be appointed by the stewards, but who can be demoted if the community demonstrates to the stewards that it's justified, and they have sysops who can be nominated via RfA.
  • On WoWWiki, I tried figuring out their system and it appears that the have system administrators, who are the site owners and ultimate power, they have bureaucrats who appear to be appointed by the sys-admins for life, sysops who appears to be appointed by sys-admins for life, and a position labelled patroller that I couldn't find documented. I couldn't find a reference to an RfA on the site, so I honestly don't know if they have a method for community selection or if it's strictly site owner controlled.
So why did I type all this out? Just to show that there's precedent for virtually any method of wiki governance. It may provide some ideas for here, or may get ignored. Either way, it's points of reference that can at least be considered. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 03:18, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
Bump ... I posted some observations, and comments stopped ... no more comments here? --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 04:48, 10 July 2007 (CEST)
Hm... I'll say my bit. Bureaucrat terms/elections are too much of a pain (just looking at GWW's, their last one just ended and the notice is up again; not worth the trouble tbh). I'm fine with the vote of no confidence (applying to bcrats and sysops), and a mediation/arbitration process would be wise to have. I'm no expert at writing up policies on said topics; I don't even know where to begin. Suggestions/ideas? -Auron 06:23, 10 July 2007 (CEST)
Arbitration, to me, is the most important suggestion above. Sooner or later, something like that will be needed. It's best to at least have a method for how to request one mentioned someplace.
Vote of no confidence seems poorly worded name for it to me, maybe a recall vote would be a better name? Then again, maybe not - I'm undecided. Something like this might be handy - we're drafting something like this on the official wiki - but that's a much busier site, and if there's large-scale cries of admin abuse then I'm sure those in command will already be well aware of the issue. It might be nice to have something formal, but only if the community requests it (and someone drafts it).
I agree with Auron re: elections. On that site they take too much time for users to mess with for a position which has questionable value (as the position is currently defined over there - at least in my opinion). But on this site, it appears the bureaucrats are granted more authority than they are on the official wiki, so I could understand if the community wanted safeguards built in for the position. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 05:13, 11 July 2007 (CEST)
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