A note about Bureaucrats

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This page in a nutshell:
  • Bureaucrats are just like you
  • Bureaucrats only have as much "power" as you imagine them to
  • Bureaucrats should remain impartial and act as examples to the community, rather than being actual "representatives or leaders"
  • The wiki is what's important, we are just parts of a machine that carry on the work of the originals

Addition: User:Oddlyoko/Rfa talk - The words of a true bureaucrat, this served as a part of the inspiration for this writing, the rest came from recent events of the time.


Hello everyone, there recently have been a spat of misunderstandings regarding bureaucrats, ranging from the severe, "they're a separate class of conspirators above everyone else" to the more benign (though still ill-conceived) "the more the merrier".

Let us begin at this, the bureaucrats are not a team nor are they a class, bureaucrats are simply independent editors entrusted by the community to be able to determine consensus on RfAs and give requesting users rollback. The same "team" misunderstandings have been applied to us as have been applied to admins by newer members of the community at one point or another. We also do not consult one another when making decisions unless we would prefer an additional opinion, in the closing of a close RfA for instance. We also have no "power" in the community that is not directly given to us by the community, anything else has been perceived and is an illusion. We are not the representation of the wiki. Though we are more likely to speak in an official capacity for the wiki, this does not mean we are "leaders" of the community.
On this wiki, every editor's opinion is equal. Of course some opinions are weighted differently than others, a first-time editor whom leaves a brief sentence explaining his opinion may not hold as much weight as an a senior editor writing a short (and thorough) essay. This does not mean that the more one writes will necessarily convince everyone to their side, I could write a book as to why the United States should implement Sharia law and I doubt any sane individual would agree with such a suggestion. This also does not mean that an editor's opinion counts more in a discussion by simply being an admin or hanging around the wiki for some time, the more competent and mature an editor shows to be, the more likely we are to trust their opinions on a personal level rather than wikiwide.
As to why "the more the merrier" is a dangerous thought is rather simple. Now, lets consider this right now, what is the single thing that bureaucrats are chosen to do? Determine consensus on RfAs. Now with three active bureaucrats at this time, Dtm142, Dr5ag2on1, and myself, as well as two semi active bureaucrats (Vimescarrot and Whiplash) we have more bureaucrats around than anytime I can personally attest to remembering in this wiki's history. Before Dragon and myself were chosen to be bureaucrats, Dtm142 was the sole active bureaucrat left and was lapsing in and out of inactivity. While on a smaller wiki this could be detrimental, on a wiki as large as this and with so many administrators, the only problem was a few days (at worst) of delay in closing RfAs and giving users rollback. The worst fear at the time was that Dtm would permanently go inactive and we'd be forced to create an emergency RfB. I'm certainly not saying that only one bureaucrat is necessary at a time, the wiki runs ideally with two active bureaucrats or three fairly active bureaucrats. Having two or three bureaucrats allows for there to be enough bureaucrats to close RfAs in a timely manner, giving the rollback tool to those who have requested it, and keep one another in check to ensure each is being fair and neutral. The problem with more bureacrats is that, after the ideal number of 2 or 3, the rest become ineffective dead weight and may cause strife among the others through disagreement or wishing to be more active. The most important thing is for the consensus of the RfAs to remain accepted and agreed upon, if a decision is seen as false or wrong, then an administrator's actions may be seen as illegitimate and cause conflict within the community.
Last but not least, I've seen many who want to be bureaucrats without truly understanding the implications. I became a bureaucrat toward the end of my "admining prime" if you will, and would most likely become semi-active and semi-relevant at most, as have the others before. If you believe I am being overly "pessimistic" then ask yourself the following,"who are Couchpotato99, Gangsterls, Ilyas, X1011, Chaoticar, Sacre Fi, Tesfan, Malestro, Megalodon99 or Skill. Ten to one you are familiar with at least some of these names, however, when was the last time their names were evoked (or used) by anyone? Well, while it may be depressing to some people that what you do here will live on as you are slowly forgotten, I cannot be happier. If we were here to be well known or liked, then we would have focused on such things, (or rightly would have gone to a social networkinging site). This project is truly never ending and will continue until the day RuneScape itself is gone, we are not working here for selfish reasons such as power or respect. We are individuals who set aside our differences to be a part of the whole in order to work towards a common goal. Inactivity, much like death is a part of life, and in the end may indeed define our lives here. We may chose to either have comforting fantasies or we can go on and take comfort in the fact what we do what we can now and are only remembered in the end, whether fondly or not, by those we interacted with.
When I became a bureaucrat, I set a self standard that seemed right to me (and still does), be neutral, be fair, be effective. To be as neutral as possible, one cannot jump into every discussion or debate, the hardest thing can be realising the despite the fact you are not a leader you must be even more of an example than before (a moral leader if you must). It is best to allow other knowledgeable users and admins to handle conflicts as they are as competent as any and need not always present a neutral self (not to say bureaucrats are always neutral, we just tend to allow others to close a discussion to avoid a conflict of interest). Be fair, now this can be harder than one would think. While for some it would seems this would mean leniency, this is simply not true. Mercy =/= Fairness To be fair one must be able to see both sides equally while being able to realise the difference of equality and credence. I can consider the arguments of both sides equally as to whether or not the world is flat, however, one side is inevitably more likely true than another. Now, the last part, "be effective" may not be immediately clear. To be effective is to combine the first two elements. Neutrality and fairness often intertwine into effectiveness with the right mentality. Only getting involved in controversies if necessary, staying clear minded, and still being active enough that one's opinion is valued without being too active that your opinions are as abundant as the air, only not as useful.
In the end, there is no universal standard or measure for which to judge whether or not one is ready to take on the responsibility of be a bureaucrat. What I say could be universally disagreed with by my fellow bureaucrats or universally accepted, in the end it is up to the community to decide as we are all individuals unique, diverse, and working to make this wiki the best we can. I'll leave this final bit as food for thought, one of the hallmarks I've always have thought of for one ready to be a bureaucrat is to neither want nor care about being a bureaucrat. I could be stripped of my bureaucratic tools this moment and I would continue editing as I always have to improve this grand wiki of ours. Because quite frankly, being a bureaucrat to me is simply a demonstration of trust the community has in my judgment. Remember this one message, if you remember nothing else, it's not about you it's whats best for the wiki and it's community, you could disappear at anytime and never return, but as long as there are others to carry on the work, that you yourself carried on from your predecessors, this wiki will continue to thrive and that is what matters. Good luck, good community, great wiki. Happy editing!


Inane ramblings of anyone who wishes to comment[edit | edit source]

Feel free to comment here or even change the above as you feel necessary I trust the community to be able to do so and I'd like for this to reflect the feelings of the community, not just my own. Also, this was originally to be a note just about bureaucrats, however, I seem to have meandered quite a bit towards the end. If you believe you can come up with a better title, please do so. --

Helm of neitiznot (charged).png Azaz129 Crystal shield.png Talk Edits Contribs

19:54, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

That's quite the article you've written there, Azaz. I enjoyed reading it and I wish that "b'cratship is no big deal" would be considered as much as "adminship is no big deal" is. Andrew talk 20:04, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Aye, I've been here over two years (the second year anniversary of me creating this account will be November 20th) and over time the new wikians seem to be divirging from our founding principals and dividing one another into a caste system, it truly is saddening.-- 21:22, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

That's a very informative article you've got there. I've been thinking about what you've said regarding "the more, the merrier". What you said makes sense, so now I've changed my mindset regarding this issue, but does this apply to sysops too? As seen from discussions such as this, most people have the standpoint that having more admins is a good thing. But following what you've said, there's probably an ideal number of sysops, and the rest become ineffective dead weight and may cause strife among the others through disagreement or wishing to be more active. What's your viewpoint on this? C.ChiamTalk 01:01, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

The good thing about sysops is that unlike bureaucrats, we haven't created such an inflated image and ideal for them thus far. While I believe there is most likely an ideal number of sysops, this number is much higher than bureaucrats due to the most important idea surrounding the two groups, perception. In recent times, we've done much more work to deflate the flawed belief that sysops are any different than other users, I'm proud to see so many have taken it to heart today and try to keep such misinformation to low level (mainly among newer and more policy ignorant users).
The same I'm afraid to say, has not occur with the bureaucrats. As time has gone on, we seem to have become more enigmatic as the users who began editing with us have gone inactive and retired. While the pool of admins expands and shrinks (all the while being replenished with new faces, our newest bureaucrats have both been here over two year (either with an account or not) and were 'cratted back between 14 December and 3 January 2009. We're not exactly new editors, and the joke I like to say about being a living wikifossil seems to become progressively prophetic each time I think about it. I'm certainly not saying that we should have a regular changing of bureaucrats, as bureaucrats should remain consistent and a vessel of the ideals of the old wiki which, if the editing base changes too quickly are lost and must be reseeded through example as well as frank discourse.
For those familiar with American politics, consider administrators to be the representatives (minus the power of course), most of them quickly responding to change or falling inactive. The bureaucrats (once again minus the power and ego-driven superiority complex) are the senators, less respondent to stimuli and often more cordial, they derive any power from the lesser number of them. The lesser number however, provides more accountability (idealy) and allows the senators to raise issues with greater attention and speed when they do respond (the longer terms also allow them to absorb greater controversies when necessary for the good of the whole. The problem, as I've said with too many bureaucrats is dilution and conflict potential, the great thing about our admins is that they've already have been diluted enough to allow massive numbers before there are too many (this of course would not work for the number or distribution of bureaucrats).
We've also chosen a diverse group, ranging from content providers (such as Morian Smith), to counter vandals (such as myself before I became a bureaucrat), to janitors (to the likes of kytti or Lee, and even to chatter bugs who help show that were friendly and users show feel free to have a nice chat with any of us (you know who you are :P). Administrators have so many different capacities to fill that those feeling inactive can evolve (for instance, now that Hurston has unfortunately left us, I tend to be one of the few admins who closes VfD, due to the fact that they're the only thing on the wiki almost as much as a pain to deal with than the process necessary to close a successful RfA completely and correctly). Since administrators have so many tasks that can be dealt with and seem to currently be growing on par with our community growth, I doubt that we will reach the ideal number of admins anytime soon unless there is some unexpected change is the future.-- 02:09, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

This is an interesting read. I certainly enjoyed it. I agree with the "more the merrier" thought, where too many (or indeed too few) can be detrimental. I also particularly like the "neither want nor care about being a bureaucrat" part - true, or at least should be. Quest.png Gaz Lloyd 7:^]Events!99s 17:38, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Wow. I completely agree with what was written. I must apologize for accepting my RfA and I must apologize to Chia for allowing him to nominate me. I've always deep down believed what has been written and my intentions of my RfB were not to classify 'crats any different from any other user. Sorry.

Bonziiznob Talk

20:16, September 1, 2009 (UTC)

A very lengthy, but meaningful essay indeed. You bring up many sole points about how the wiki works. Note:I've changed the title using Template:Title. The thing about admins is they are trusted; they were voted in by the community as a trustworthy user. Now that things like the Facebook page have been created, it needs to be decided upon who gets to access admin rights there. Many normal contributors are requesting access, but the problem is, we don't know who we can trust. Of course, there are many, many users on the wiki who you would trust with such rights, but giving it to them could create dispute on how you "define if someone is trusted". I don't truly know what I'm getting at; this is the section for inane ramblings! Concerned Smile Cheers, Chicken7 >talk 01:05, January 17, 2010 (UTC)