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On the Sonic News Network, certain users have access to particular features of the site. While any user has access to the majority of functions on the site, including reading and editing, an administrator, or system operator (sysop), has access to a few additional features in order to maintain the website. All administrators are wiki volunteers chosen by the users and are generally known, experienced, and trusted members of the community.
Administrators are not imbued with any special "power", and are equal to everyone else in terms of editorial responsibility. The terms "administrators" and "sysop" are misnomers, as they are simply used to indicate Sonic News Network users who have had performance and security-based restrictions lifted because they are trustworthy and responsible. It should be noted administrators do not have any "special power" over other users, but rather enforce and apply community decisions.
The community does look to administrators to perform essential housekeeping chores that require the extra access administrators are entrusted with, such as the deletion of articles and blocking of unruly editors. Since administrators are experienced members of the community, users seeking help should turn to an administrator for advice and information.
A bureaucrat can make other users into bureaucrats or administrators on the wiki or remove administrator rights from users. While bureaucrats are largely similar to administrators in general editing and housekeeping, their opinions are almost always considered in important policy decisions that affect the whole site, as well as determining consensus in difficult cases. Other than that, the role of a bureaucrat is similar to the role of the administrator.
Who are the Sonic News Network administrators?
What are the functions of an administrator?
The Wiki software has a few important features that are restricted to only administrators for security purposes. Of those restricted features, administrators have access to the following:
- Protect and unprotect pages to restrict editing to only the administrators. Pages are only protected in certain rare circumstances under administrator discretion.
- Directly edit protected pages.
Deletion and undeletion
- Delete pages and their history. Sometimes deletion is a technical matter, in which a redirection page has to be removed to make way for renaming an article, or a page whose history has been broken up has to be deleted and the pieces recombined. Other times it's a matter of cleaning up simple junk edits on pages with no actual content.
- View and restore deleted pages and their history.
- Permanently delete images. This is a non-reversible change: once deleted, always deleted.
- Revert pages quickly. Any user (logged-in or not) can revert a page to an earlier version. Administrators have a faster, automated reversion tool to help them revert vandalism by anonymous editors. When looking at a user's contributions, a link that looks like: [rollback] – appears next to edits that are at the top of the edit history. Clicking on the link reverts to the last edit not authored by that user, with edit summary (Reverted edits by X (Talk); changed back to last version by Y) and marks it as a minor change. In a fairly recent change, admins can also rapidly revert changes when viewing a diff. This should not be used for reverting a change you just don't like, but is meant only for simple vandalism, particularly massive flood vandalism.
- Some members of the community who have been known to deal with vandalism are also given access to the "rollback" right. Only bureaucrats can appoint users access to the "rollback" right after approval by the community. A list of current rollbacks can be seen at Special:ListUsers/rollback.
Block and unblock
- Block IP addresses, IP ranges, and user accounts, for a specific time, or indefinitely.
- Unblock IP addresses, IP ranges, and user accounts.
- See Special:BlockList for currently blocked addresses and usernames
Design and wording of the interface
- Sysops can change the text of the interface by editing the pages in the MediaWiki namespace. This includes the wiki navigation bar and community corner.
- Sysops can also edit the style of the interface by changing the CSS in the Wikia stylesheet at MediaWiki:Wikia.css and the monobook stylesheet at MediaWiki:Monobook.css.
Management of the chat
- Administrators are also responsible for the management of the chat and enforcement of its policies. Only administrators can add emoticons to the chat room.
- Administrators are also responsible for appointing "chat moderators" to help in enforcing the chat policies. These users have access to kicking and banning users from the chat feature, but have no additional access to features on the wiki. A list of chat moderators can be found at Special:ListUsers/chatmoderator. Chat moderators can be appointed by an administrator after the approval of the wiki community.
Management of the forum
- Administrators are responsible for the management of the forums. They are able to create new boards, delete boards, move threads, edit other user's comments, etc.
- Some members of the community who have been known to manage the forums are given access to the "moderator" right. Administrators can appoint "moderators" after approval from the community. A list of current moderators can be found at Special:ListUsers/moderator.
What can administrators not do?
Administrators should not use their administrator powers to settle editing disputes; for example, to lock a page on a version he or she prefers in an editing dispute that isn't vandalism. Administrator powers should be used to help keep the wiki clear of vandalism, spam and users who make malicious edits, but not for simple disagreements between users acting in good faith. Ideally an admin shouldn't be considered "in charge." The ideal admin is just someone who is trusted to have a few extra buttons and to use them for the benefit of the community.
All admin decisions are done in good faith. It is not uncommon for users, or the community, to disagree with them. The community and users have the right to ask why a decision was done and, if it is agreed upon, to undo it. This does not include bans; only the users involved and admins (and chat mods, if it is a chat ban), have the right to discuss it openly. Respect the wiki's Administrators! They are nominated for their positions and are respected members of the community. If you find an admin's actions questionable, it is best to contact another admin.
Gaining user rights
If you have been editing this wiki for some time and have gained the trust of the community here, you may nominate yourself or someone else for user rights at Sonic News Network:Requests for User Rights. Other users can comment on whether or not they approve your request. After two weeks, you should inform the current bureaucrats so they can assess the comments and decide whether or not to give you the rights you desire.
Removal of user rights
User rights of a contributor may lapse and be removed if the contributor in question has not made a substantial amount of edits in a four month interval of time. Users will be notified of their pending demotion two weeks in advance. If the user fails to respond within the aforementioned timeframe, they will be relieved of their user rights. If a user returns to activity and desires to have their user rights restored, they should notify an active bureaucrat and their user rights may be restored (this depends on the user's recent activity). As a rule of thumb, a significant amount of contributions should have been made over a reasonable amount of time since the user's homecoming before their user rights are restored. The bureaucrat will assess the demoted user's recent contributions and decide whether or not to reinstate the user.