IRC/wikipedia/Operator guidelines/Wikidown

Occasionally Wikipedia and associated projects go down. The cross-Wikimedia error message for when this happens advises users to visit #wikipedia for status updates. Given that this contact may be the first that visitors have with the Wikimedia community, it is imperative that we do things right. The following points outline how such events should be handled:

Key pointsEdit

  • Do not go +o unless you are in #wikimedia-ops
  • Those who are already in -tech should report any status changes to -ops and #wikipedia. If we are totally in the dark, the tech people should be asked what to do. Never direct users from #wikipedia into -tech.

What to doEdit

  1. When an influx of users starts, immediately change the topic to reflect the situation. Something like "Wikipedia is currently down due to <reason> | An ETA for the return of services is not available yet | You might use the static Wikipedia <http://static.wikipedia.org/new/wikipedia/en/index.html> or mirrors such as answers.com | Frequent status reports will be made in here | Please remain calm :)". Don't say anything like "We don't know, so don't ask". The fact is that we know more than the users and we need to pass on that info.
  2. If you get any abusive users, quiet them. Ban join/part flooders. Seek assistance in -ops from those who may be able to help catalyse, where appropriate (blatant trolls, in this situation, can be quieted and ignored, for example).
  3. Use short periods of +mz to announce the status of the downtime to people, and to set quiets if things have got bad (remember that because +z is set, you will still see messages from the quieted users - just remember that no one else is seeing them).
  4. Avoid being +mz for a long time - a few minutes at most.
  5. Do not voice people, at all.
  6. If you see anyone go +o who isn't idling in -ops, advise them in PM of this page and ask them to either deop or join -ops.
  7. Do not set +r or +R or +i unless absolutely necessary (ie a cloneflood) - bouncing off these users to another channel where they will be ignored is unacceptable, and +R has limited use in this situation when +m can do the job (+Rz doesn't work as might be expected, hence its utility is reduced in this situation).
  8. Please do not be swayed by well-meaning users in the channel asking you to set +m because things are a bit noisy. Use your own judgment or ask the other ops in -ops.
  9. After the incident, wait a few minutes to make sure things are ok, confirm with other ops that problems have subsided, and restore the old topic. A few hours later, remove bans.
  10. ASK in -ops if you're at all unsure.