Requesting help from local Wiki sysops or bureaucrats with language barriers

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Noto Emoji Pie 1f4c4.svg (English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

Each Wikimedia website has its own administrators and bureaucrats, unless none is appointed or active in which case having any steward to step in would be the last resort. When a user lacks these specific user classes but needs something done by these privileged users, requesting helps from local Wiki sysops or bureaucrats seems to be a simple answer. However, language barriers may sometimes impede interwiki, interlanguage, and community coordination and cause frustration.

Language subdomains[edit]

Although not always a written requirement, sufficient skill of a specific language is often considered needed to become a regular administrator or bureaucrat of a specific Wiki language subdomain. However, if someone is unable to speak that language of that subdomain but needs helps from local administrators and bureaucrats, it is not always easy to tell whom to ask. Leaving a message in a foreign language in the local administrators' noticeboard may not be effective. Trying to contact multiple admins takes too much time, which is a major problem in case of language barriers.

Privileged actions done by local admins would not affect other Wiki sites unless, for example, another Wiki site links to a deleted page, which can be hard to detect. This can happen if a site A image page links to a site B image page that has been deleted. It can impede coordination.

Wikimedia Commons administrators and Meta-Wiki stewards[edit]

Privileged actions by Wikimedia Commons administrators and Meta-Wiki stewards can be much more impacting than those by local Wiki admins. When a Commons admin deletes an image page, the image will become a hole on local Wikis that have not orphaned them.

Functionally a steward may change user classes of anyone on any Wiki sites including themselves, but the steward policy is not always clear as some gray zones are subject to different interpretations such as what is a steward's "home Wiki", what is or is not an emergency, which local admin or bureaucrat is or is not active, which local Wiki does or does not have sufficient community. Conflicting interpretations can cause frustration and impede coordination as well. For these problems, crossing language barriers is more and more important.

Commons-l received on 2 June 2008 a message titled "Commons admins should be able to view deleted images Wikimedia wide". Based on the idea, once Commons administrators are able to view deleted images Wikimedia-wide without the privilege to undelete them if they are not local administrators, there will be no local trace left. "Stepping on the toes" of local administrators will not happen, but unnecessary bureaucracy and delay will be avoided to improve efficiency. This idea can be called global deleted image review.

A reply has suggested bringing up the topic here on Meta-Wiki. Based on the thought,

Possible suggestions to improve communications to overcome language barriers[edit]

  1. Administrators and bureaucrats should be encouraged to disclose their language skills. Even on language subdomains, this information will allow foreign language speakers to better know whom to contact.
  2. Very active language subdomains should open administrators' noticeboards for foreign language speakers.
  3. Even if not an admin or bureaucrat, translating messages in the administrators' noticeboards for foreign language speakers would be very useful to promote interlanguage coordination.
  4. After leaving a message in an administrators' noticeboard for foreign language speakers, leave some time to get a response.
  5. Once administrators' noticeboards for foreign language speakers are opened, local administrators and bureaucrats should watch them periodically and respond accordingly to show that they are active.
  6. Having no active administrators and bureaucrats locally may justify a steward to step in as the last resort.
  7. If a steward has tried to ask in an administrators' noticeboard for foreign language speakers first, but then steps into your local Wiki by temporary self-promotion after receiving no local response, please do not bite the newcomers including new stewards but assume good faith when asking about the action, especially if its permissibility is in the gray zone of the steward policy.

For example:

User A is a Wikimedia Commons administrator and an inexperienced Meta-Wiki steward. He finds a link to a deleted image page C on Wikipedia in language B with many local admins without their language skills clearly known. User A is neither a local admin nor able to speak the local language. He wonders why and leaves a message in an administrators' noticeboard for foreign language speakers to request an image review. However, not a single admin of Wikipedia in language B has responded for too many weeks. Therefore, steward user A finally decides as the last resort to promote himself to an admin on Wikipedia in language B for a minute then reverts his steward action to see why image page C was deleted. Soon, user D from Wikipedia in language B and Meta abruptly questions user A:

  • User D: Why did you suddenly become an admin on Wikipedia in language B? You have totally misunderstood what a steward is.
  • User A: I did leave a message in the administrators' noticeboard for foreign language speakers there, but without any response for too many weeks, you want me to wait for 100 years to get an answer?

In this example talk, user D is biting new steward but not assuming good faith. Soon after, user E as an admin on Wikipedia in language B politely leaves a message to user A:

  • User E: Sorry for our failure to understand your request to have a deleted image page reviewed. I have kindly advised user D why assuming good faith but not biting newcomers is important. Next time, we will try our best to respond to requests. Thank you very much for your willing to serve.

In this example talk, user E is much more polite than user D. After all, improved communication among different Wiki sites is very important. The following translations are hereby suggested to help open administrators' noticeboards for foreign language speakers.

Suggested translations[edit]

The following translations are used to aid foreign language speakers where to post requests in their languages, sorted by language codes. Please help add or improve them so any Wiki sites may use them.




If you speak English, please contact (......) or write here:


Si habla español, por favor contacte con (...) o escriba aquí:



Si vous parlez français, SVP contactez (......) ou écriez ici :



Se parli italiano, per favore contatta (...) o scrivi qui:









如果阁下使用简体中文,请联络 (......) 或在此留言:


如果閣下使用繁(正)體中文,請聯絡 (......) 或在此留言:

Wiki sites with administrators' noticeboards for foreign language speakers[edit]

The following Wikipedia language subdomains have guestbooks for users unable to speak these languages, but how well they will catch local administrators' attention has yet to be determined, depending on how well they watch them:

If your Wiki site plans to open an administrators' noticeboards for foreign language speakers, please copy any language sections above. Additional translations are welcome. If your Wiki site has opened an administrators' noticeboards for foreign language speakers, please list the link below:

  • ......