Sysop power structure

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    Revision as of 20:06, 29 May 2004 by (talk) (unthinking, reactive, stupid)

    A sysop is someone capable of employing technological escalation against their enemies, who they typically label "trolls". The social network composed of the sysops "is an immature network that easily develops frightened, unlearned reactions then attempts to explain those reactions as having been caused by the object of its fear." - English Wikipedia User Bird on a Wikipedia talk page.

    A good sysop power structure is not such an unthinking copy of the power structure of the project as a whole, but compensates for the community point of view sysops tend to acquire. For the same reasons, police officers must follow formal rules about what cases to be involved in and not, and are not generally trusted to follow their own instincts about what measures to take against "offenders" of rules. This is no different on large public wikis such as the Content Wiki and any Opinion Wiki facilities will become.

    In other words, sysops simply can't be treated as neutral brokers in any power structure, democratic or despotic. They always add their own views, and this must be compensated for:

    1. at the very least, sysops should/must be required to spend one-third of their time with no sysop status at all - this ensures that they must ask others for help at least some of the time, and, have some experience of end user status

    2. arrangements where sysops do what "off-duty" sysops ask without question, must be detected and discouraged - say by permanent loss of status for both - it must be clear that everything done by any sysop is done on their own best judgement - any "just following orders" or "just doing as asked" excuses are contrary to a rule of law.

    3. EVERY revert or block IP action must cost something - there must be a finite pool of "credit" that a sysop uses up by taking these actions, and it must be depleted if the action is ultimately reversed and reversal stands. This is how judges are judged - by how likely their verdicts are to be reversed on appeal. This will discourage sysop vandalism extremely strongly and probably such a system could and should be extended to all users.

    4. Faction declarations and agreement not to intervene in a political dispute involving an overtly opposed faction would be quite important - for example, if someone is anti-homosexual, they should not be counted on to serve as a neutral broker in a debate between an anti-homosexual and a homosexual. A conflict of values can only cause the final decision to be very disputable.

    5. Also if one's own edits are involved, one cannot be assumed to be neutral or personally uninvolved. Every police or court system has rules to prevent such conflict of interest.