Meta:Admin handbook

Meta:Administrators Admin handbook

This page provides helpful information for new administrators and provides recommendations and suggestions for the use of admin tools. It is not a policy or guideline, but can act as a guide for a common sense approach to adminship.

Admin symbol at Wikimedia

Meta is the hub for coordinating Wikimedia projects. It is important to recognize that Meta is not a content-oriented wiki and taking a content approach to administration on Meta does not work.

A handbook has been made for new admins, to prevent reinventing the wheel and shorten the learning curve, as most new admins on Meta come from content projects.


The average Wikimedian does not come to the Meta in the course of their editing unless they have a specific task in mind, such as requesting a username change, requesting steward intervention, or to comment on a global issue.

New users that solely edit Meta are rare and likely do not understand the purpose of this project and the inclusion policy. This may mean they are lost, or much more frequently are spambots/promoters, long-term abusers (LTAs), or users whose articles were not accepted on a content project.

Recognize that while a user may have a low edit count here, they may be an established user on their home project.


Appreciate that Meta is one of the few multilingual projects under the Wikimedia umbrella and, when communicating with editors who do not share a common language with you, you may have to simplify your language (so as to both help them read it if they have a basic understanding of your language, and help translation software if they want to use it), speak in their language, or involve another user that can translate or communicate for you.

User groups

User groups you may encounter on Meta can be categorized in three ways:

  • Local (user, patroller, sysop, etc.)
  • Global (global rollback, global renamer, global sysop, etc.)
  • Special purpose (staff, sysadmin, etc.)

Meta combines the reviewer and rollback user groups into one: patroller. It requires an onwiki, community request to be filed at Meta:Requests for help from a sysop or bureaucrat.

Community discussion areas

Local discussion:

Global discussion:

There are also various other pages for more specified purposes, like Steward Elections, consultations/proposals, strategy pages, and various other areas.


Being that Meta's main use is by editors on content projects, most blocks on Meta are for long-term abusers, spammers/spambots or vandalism-only accounts. As such, while Meta has user warning templates and user block templates, they are rarely used. Instead, DENY/RBI is practiced with bad-faith editors.

When it comes to established users on other projects editing here, the main issue that can arise is civility. You can read Meta's civility policy.

Page protection

Be cautious when protecting pages. What are the implications of protecting a page? For example, would protecting a highly watched page after LTA vandalism really help? Or would it just send the LTA to abuse a less-watched part of the wiki? Does protecting the talk page of an active user really help? Or will they move to sending attack messages on a new user's talk page, and prevent good faith non-autoconfirmed editors from messaging them?

Try the honeypot approach; consider not protecting the page unless absolutely needed.

Long-term abuse

Be cautious rollbacking LTAs; you likely are just encouraging them. Consider the block, revert and ignore principle. If you are not an administator, consider not intervening, instead reporting to RFH/SRG and ignoring. If the LTA edit is harmless (i.e. adding a barnstar to a talk page) or helpful (i.e. correcting a typo), consider the deny recognition approach.

Edit warring

Rollbacking an edit without the means to block a user is likely to start a revert war. Either do not revert at all, as it may encourage them, or only revert after you think they are long gone. With LTAs, reduce the typical three-revert rule (3RR) down to a one-revert rule; find an admin instead. Meta is not a content wiki, we are not going to lose readers as a result of a disruptive edit that remains in place for a bit.

Abusive usernames

Many LTAs use abusive usernames that later are hidden or suppressed. Do not revert these edits using rollback, use undo and remove their username from the edit summary. Adding to the list of pages/edits that need to be hidden or suppressed is not helpful.

Global impacts


Global AbuseFilter (Special:AbuseFilter) is enabled on most wikis, but excludes the big wikis such as enwiki. Administrators need to be extremely careful with activating and editing abuse filters as they can prevent actions on most Wikimedia projects.



Using MassMessage (Special:MassMessage), admins and MassMessage senders can both message local and global users.


While stewards have access to the administrator toolset globally, they can use these permissions on Meta as part of the Meta–steward relationship. As such, Meta admins work closely alongside stewards. Stewards typically limit their use of the Meta admin toolset to routine or uncontroversial actions such as countervandalism, modifying the blacklists or for emergency actions.

It is important to note that Meta admins have no global authority. A Meta admin closing or reverting a steward request should not be done unless in extremely clear cases such as a disruptive request by a vandal.

See also