are a global group
of users with complete access to the wiki interface on all public Wikimedia wikis. They have the technical ability to modify all local and global user rights, change the status and name of global accounts, and access any of the permissions available to administrators
. The use of steward rights is restricted by policy; stewards will not use their technical access when there are local users who can use that access, except in emergencies. This enables them to act as administrators and bureaucrats on projects without any local administrators or bureaucrats.
Stewards are elected by the global Wikimedia community through yearly steward elections held between January and February. Stewards are volunteers, meaning that they do not work for the Wikimedia Foundation
. Stewards are also not arbitrators or mediators; to resolve a conflict on a small project, please attempt local resolution, and file a request for comment
on Meta-Wiki if local resolution cannot be achieved.
There are currently 38 stewards in the Wikimedia movement.
The steward group was created in 2004 in order to separate user rights management from software development and systems administration. Stewards were initially only given the ability to modify all user rights through Meta-Wiki. Before the creation of the steward group, developers were needed to modify user rights on wikis without local bureaucrats.
Stewards were given the responsibility of managing global accounts when the CentralAuth extension was implemented in 2008. When the single-user login finalization was completed in 2015, they also became responsible for renaming global accounts – a responsibility shared with global renamers.
The first elections were held in 2004, with annual or semi-annual elections happening in subsequent years. The last year with two elections was 2011.
Steward elections are held between January and February every year, with voting lasting for three weeks in February. Candidates must meet account and activity requirements, including holding administrator rights on one Wikimedia wiki for at least three months, and made 600 edits, with 50 made within the last six months. Voting is also restricted to users with 600 edits and 50 in the last six months. Candidates are elected by a vote, requiring 80% support and at least 30 supporting votes to be elected. There is no limit to the number of users that can hold steward rights, or the number of stewards that can be elected during each election cycle. Because stewards can access personal information and suppressed data, stewards also need to sign a confidentiality agreement
Existing stewards are confirmed every year at the same time as the elections. The first stage of the confirmations is a community comment period, where any user is free to comment for or against any of the current stewards. These comments should be directed specifically at the use of the steward permissions, or at other relevant factors for whether a steward should retain or lose their permissions. After the community comment period is closed, all new and existing stewards deliberate on the results. A steward is removed if a majority of other stewards vote for removal in the deliberations.
Removal of access
Stewards are automatically removed for inactivity if they have performed no actions within the past six months, and less than ten actions within the last year.
Stewards are primarily responsible for performing the following technical actions:
Global account management
- Lock and unlock global accounts
- Hide and suppress global accounts
- Rename global accounts and local unattached accounts
- Globally block and unblock IP addresses
- Use the CheckUser tool on login.wikimedia.org (statistics)
User rights management
- Assign and remove all local user rights on any account on any Wikimedia wiki
- Bot, administrator, interface administrator and bureaucrat rights are assigned on wikis without local bureaucrats
- CheckUser, oversight, and import rights are only assigned by stewards
- Assign and remove all global user rights
- Manage global group permissions and wikisets
- Approve, disable, and suppress OAuth application requests
- Use any administrator, CheckUser, or oversighter access on wikis without local users in those permissions groups
- Respond to OTRS tickets in the stewards' queue, or any of the information queues
- Delete pages with greater than 5,000 revisions
- Create and edit global abusefilters
Stewards are also responsible for the following non-technical actions:
- Closing and implementing requests for global community bans
- Acting as scrutineers for Arbitration Committee elections on some wikis
- Working with Wikimedia Foundation staff as the first point of contact with the community
Stewards are required to follow established community policies when using their permissions, and where policies do not exist, established practices are followed instead.
On wikis with local administrators or bureaucrats, stewards typically will not use their access unless there is an emergency. There is some leeway in policy for cross-wiki actions, but this is rarely applied.
User rights are not changed by stewards on wikis where they are an active member of the local community. This maintains the steward role as global in scope, and prevents them from becoming super-users of their home projects. Some permissions that are not held by local users and are uncontroversial to use, such as deleting pages with over 5,000 revisions using the bigdelete permission, are still used by stewards on their home projects.
Stewards are never compelled to take an action; as volunteers, they can always personally recuse from handling a request. They are also free to maintain and express their own opinions, so long as their use of the steward rights conforms with policy.
There are a number of ways to contact stewards, either individually or as a group:
There is a private steward mailing list (Stewards-l) and wiki (steward.wikimedia.org) used for internal communication and organization.
List of current stewards
Last update: 2021-02-04; total number of stewards: 38
Steward logs on Meta
Last edited on 4 February 2021, at 05:07
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