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Web Fred
post Fri 10th February 2012, 10:47am
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Has there ever been a concerted effort to change the 'job fer life' aspect of sysop to a fixed term (2yrs?)?
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-DS-
post Fri 10th February 2012, 4:18pm
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QUOTE(Cunningly Linguistic @ Fri 10th February 2012, 11:47am) *

Has there ever been a concerted effort to change the 'job fer life' aspect of sysop to a fixed term (2yrs?)?


I believe so, but I can't find the RFC at the moment.

DS
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Abd
post Fri 10th February 2012, 5:13pm
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QUOTE(-DS- @ Fri 10th February 2012, 11:18am) *
QUOTE(Cunningly Linguistic @ Fri 10th February 2012, 11:47am) *
Has there ever been a concerted effort to change the 'job fer life' aspect of sysop to a fixed term (2yrs?)?
I believe so, but I can't find the RFC at the moment.

DS
Lots of things have been proposed. 2 years -- or any fixed term, for that matter -- is actually a bad idea. No business would hire someone for a fixed term. Sometimes there are employment contracts that provide for severance benefits for "premature termination," to induce someone to accept the position, but this obviously would not apply to a volunteer position. Rather, the problem is that removal was made very difficult. This is part of the more general problem, the lack of reliable decision-making systems.

It's said that administrators should "have the trust of the community," and they should. But an admin could have the *distrust* of a majority of editors, and still not be removable, what matters for that is an ArbComm majority, and ArbComm is composed of, almost entirely, administrators, since the election methods require popularity, just like RfA does.

Again, decision-making structure. It doesn't represent the community, it represents a certain subset of the community. It's possible to set up structure that would represent the *whole community.* Don't hold your breath waiting for it. It will happen if users wake up and create it. Not "demand it." Just create it.

Most of us would rather just complain.
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Kelly Martin
post Fri 10th February 2012, 5:17pm
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QUOTE(Cunningly Linguistic @ Fri 10th February 2012, 4:47am) *

Has there ever been a concerted effort to change the 'job fer life' aspect of sysop to a fixed term (2yrs?)?
Multiple times, but it is always resisted vigorously by people who realize that if this happens they'd never get reelected.
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Abd
post Fri 10th February 2012, 5:43pm
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Fri 10th February 2012, 12:17pm) *
QUOTE(Cunningly Linguistic @ Fri 10th February 2012, 4:47am) *
Has there ever been a concerted effort to change the 'job fer life' aspect of sysop to a fixed term (2yrs?)?
Multiple times, but it is always resisted vigorously by people who realize that if this happens they'd never get reelected.
Which means, of course, that they don't have the "confidence of the community," once the community got to know them.

It's a tangled mess of firmly-held conceptions that collectively make reform impossible.

This is a somewhat legitimate argument: administrators, doing their job, will make enemies. It's over-stated and neglects the fact that a skilled administrator may make fewer enemies than an unskilled one. I've been blocked and it created no "enemy" thought, and I've been blocked when it did. The difference was how the administrator handled it.

However, the real problem here is that it's assumed that a cabal of opponents could prevent re-election. That, then, assumes that the election process is deeply flawed, and that nothing can be done about it, but hopes, perhaps, that an election will escape cabal attention.

In reality, there are quite a few administrators who would not manage re-election, not because of a cabal, but because enough of the community would recognize their work as harmful, if it were examined.

It is not intrinsic in the concept of administrator that administrators be elected by the community. It is, in fact, a bit of a bad idea, in certain ways. Certainly supermajority election is a bad idea, and supermajority confirmation even worse. Wikipedia mostly kept away from even allowing the community to desysop, except through ArbComm.

The real problem is the issue of quorum, in fact. Wikipedia absolutely discarded any concept of quorum for decision-making, except with ArbComm.

There are lots of possible solutions, but little or no way to get from here to there, the only relatively clear solution I see is off-wiki organization of editors, which could bypass the tengled on-wiki mess. It would be self-testing, because if it were defectively organized, it would have little or no power.

However, some ideas could still be possible on-wiki. For example, ArbComm could appoint administrators, and if ArbComm truly represented the community (not just a majority faction or the largest factions), this would be saner than direct community election, because deliberative process could be used, and election and suspension or restriction or removal could be handled swiftly and efficienty. Suspension or restriction, in particular, should not require proof of error, and should not require a proof of reprehensibility, merely a fear of harm pending review. Like an injunction from a judge. It does not require deciding the case.

This, by the way, would be much closer to boringly standard process. In for-profit corporations, the standard election method insures that shareholders are represented on the board, if they are at all organized. The shareholders do not elect officers, as such, they elect the board and the board elects or hires officers. The officers serve at will.
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radek
post Fri 10th February 2012, 10:42pm
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Fri 10th February 2012, 11:17am) *

QUOTE(Cunningly Linguistic @ Fri 10th February 2012, 4:47am) *

Has there ever been a concerted effort to change the 'job fer life' aspect of sysop to a fixed term (2yrs?)?
Multiple times, but it is always resisted vigorously by people who realize that if this happens they'd never get reelected.


Actually, I've come to realize that the problem here is largely logistical. If you have fixed terms of 2 years, you'd have something like 2 or 3 reconfirmations per day. Given how inefficiently Wikipedia functions that would simply result in an insane backlog and it just simply wouldn't work.

Even with 3 year terms you'd have something like 10 reconfirmations per week. (I should give credit to NYBrad for pointing this out).

Rather, what should be done is that "Open to Recall" should be streamlined (so that it's not the total total joke it is presently) and made a required part of the admin deal.

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Fusion
post Fri 10th February 2012, 10:42pm
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QUOTE(Abd @ Fri 10th February 2012, 5:13pm) *

No business would hire someone for a fixed term.

Which planet do you live on, again?
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Kelly Martin
post Sat 11th February 2012, 2:03am
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QUOTE(radek @ Fri 10th February 2012, 4:42pm) *
Actually, I've come to realize that the problem here is largely logistical. If you have fixed terms of 2 years, you'd have something like 2 or 3 reconfirmations per day. Given how inefficiently Wikipedia functions that would simply result in an insane backlog and it just simply wouldn't work.
This is really just proof that Wikipedia has too many admins. Not that it has more admins than it needs to do the work (although it does), but that it is more admins than it can effectively supervise. All the more reason to trim the number back.

QUOTE(Abd @ Fri 10th February 2012, 11:43am) *
However, some ideas could still be possible on-wiki. For example, ArbComm could appoint administrators, and if ArbComm truly represented the community (not just a majority faction or the largest factions), this would be saner than direct community election, because deliberative process could be used, and election and suspension or restriction or removal could be handled swiftly and efficienty. Suspension or restriction, in particular, should not require proof of error, and should not require a proof of reprehensibility, merely a fear of harm pending review. Like an injunction from a judge. It does not require deciding the case.
I proposed, at least twice, that the bureaucrats ought to sit as an "adminship committee" and be empowered to resolve all questions relating to adminship status. This was rejected, of course. The reasons for rejection ranged from the comical to the absurd.
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Abd
post Sat 11th February 2012, 2:07am
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QUOTE(Fusion @ Fri 10th February 2012, 5:42pm) *
QUOTE(Abd @ Fri 10th February 2012, 5:13pm) *
No business would hire someone for a fixed term.
Which planet do you live on, again?
Contract labor is used in business, which could appear to be a counter-example. It's not. (A contractor who was hired for a fixed term can still be terminated immediately, and their authority to continue to work on the job is immediately ended. They might still have to be paid, that is a separate issue.)

I'm specifically thinking about ordinary employment, and that extends all the way up to company presidents and chief executives. In corporations, they are hired by the board, typically by majority vote of the board, and they can be terminated at any time by majority vote of the board. There may be contractual obligations that survive termination, but the delegated authority of the employee ends immediately.

This is tiresome, Randy from Boise.


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radek
post Sat 11th February 2012, 2:13am
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QUOTE
This is really just proof that Wikipedia has too many admins. Not that it has more admins than it needs to do the work (although it does), but that it is more admins than it can effectively supervise. All the more reason to trim the number back.


That was actually my original answer to NYBrad on this. And I still think it is true to some extent. But even if you cut the number of active admins in half (assuming that it is desirable to do so) that would still mean a reconfirmation per day which is too much. That's why I do think it really is a logistical problem - the website is big, it needs lots (though perhaps far fewer than presently) admins, if you gonna have them get reconfirmed on regular basis that will involve a LOT of reconfirmations and that costs time.

Or think of it another way. Think of what you think the "optimal number" of admins for Wikipedia as she exists actually is. Call that X. With a two year term that means X/730 reconfirmations per day. Put it into months. So that's about X/25 confirmations per month. How many reconfirmations per month can Wikipedia handle? 5? Ok, that implies that X can be no more than 125. Etc.

Part of it is that the website itself is too big and logic would dictate that it would have long been broken up into smaller sub projects/wikis, independent of each other with more local control and oversight (but also some competition between these projects).

But that ain't gonna happen. So having "Open to Recall" mandatory for all admins is about the more realistic solution to hope for (and it's still very unlikely) here.

Update: So I went and proposed the whole idea for deletion.

This post has been edited by radek: Sat 11th February 2012, 2:35am
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Abd
post Sat 11th February 2012, 2:19am
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Fri 10th February 2012, 9:03pm) *
I proposed, at least twice, that the bureaucrats ought to sit as an "adminship committee" and be empowered to resolve all questions relating to adminship status. This was rejected, of course. The reasons for rejection ranged from the comical to the absurd.
Thanks, Kelly. The basic idea is to create a representative body of manageable size that can then make decisions with relative efficiency, by majority vote. My criticism would be that the 'crats don't represent the community very well, but probably better than the general community is represented in the ad-hoc, disorganized discussion process that is routine.

I'd suggest the first step would be the formation of an Assembly that does fully represent the community. I'd use delegable proxy to create a bottom-up hierarchical structure, with Asset Voting (perhaps secret ballot) to select direct participants in the Assembly. Delegable proxy is totally flexible, but Asset (which can use delegable proxy data, or delegable proxy allows the vote negotiations used in Asset to proceed efficiently) produces a peer assembly, where every participant exercises, in the deliberations, the same voting power. It's more traditional than pure delegable proxy., i.e., there is lots of process experience.

Once there is a fully representative body, and once it sets up its own process for efficient deliberation, it can then handle *all* these issues, it would become far easier.

My approach, generally, though, has not been to suggest advanced systems for control, but rather to use them to generate advice. It doesn't need to be so bulletproof. I'm one of the primary inventors or theoreticians of delegable proxy, and I'm quite aware that it's largely untested, so I've suggested advisory functions first, because they are relatively fail-safe. And generating intelligent, trustworthy advice is at least half the problem.
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Peter Damian
post Sat 11th February 2012, 8:53am
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QUOTE(Fusion @ Fri 10th February 2012, 10:42pm) *

QUOTE(Abd @ Fri 10th February 2012, 5:13pm) *

No business would hire someone for a fixed term.

Which planet do you live on, again?


Seconded.
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Bielle
post Sat 11th February 2012, 1:58pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sat 11th February 2012, 8:53am) *

QUOTE(Fusion @ Fri 10th February 2012, 10:42pm) *

QUOTE(Abd @ Fri 10th February 2012, 5:13pm) *

No business would hire someone for a fixed term.

Which planet do you live on, again?


Seconded.


If by "fixed term", Abd means one with no ability to terminate early, regardless of provocation, then I agree with him that no business would do that. Continuing to pay may be required, but that is, as already pointed out, a separate matter entirely.
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Fusion
post Sat 11th February 2012, 10:54pm
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QUOTE(Abd @ Sat 11th February 2012, 2:07am) *

QUOTE(Fusion @ Fri 10th February 2012, 5:42pm) *
QUOTE(Abd @ Fri 10th February 2012, 5:13pm) *
No business would hire someone for a fixed term.
Which planet do you live on, again?
Contract labor is used in business, which could appear to be a counter-example. It's not. (A contractor who was hired for a fixed term can still be terminated immediately, and their authority to continue to work on the job is immediately ended. They might still have to be paid, that is a separate issue.)

I'm specifically thinking about ordinary employment, and that extends all the way up to company presidents and chief executives. In corporations, they are hired by the board, typically by majority vote of the board, and they can be terminated at any time by majority vote of the board. There may be contractual obligations that survive termination, but the delegated authority of the employee ends immediately.

This is tiresome, Randy from Boise.

No, at least in some countries people are frequently employed on one year terms, under which they are employees not contractors. People on such terms can of course be dismissed before the end of that year just as people employed on indefinite terms can. It may be that such practice is illegal in the USA, but i find that hard to believe. Similarly, if administrators were allowed to serve for only one year, as is the case on some WMF wikis, they could still be dismissed for good cause at any time.
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