Hey everyone! I'm writing this blog post to talk about a recent issue that someone brought up and that I think could use some discussion and elaboration and maybe a bit of a PSA.
For anyone who doesn't know, one of the powers that Content Moderators and Admins have is to lock pages. This prevents anyone (except certain staff ranks) from editing said page. This is an important ability for moderation reasons - sometimes two people can't agree on the changes need for a page and get heated. Locking a page allows what is essentially a 'time out' for the page so that people could come back to it later with cooler heads, and hopefully after having discussed some of their differences.
There's also some pages we keep locked because it's simply problematic to allow just any old person to edit them. For example, the Rules page, the style guides, or the main page of the wiki. These are things that, ideally, we'd talk about before changing because they could have large impacts on the rest of the wiki. In these cases the lock doesn't mean that the page isn't something you can comment on or that it's 'set in stone', but that if you want to see changes to it that you'll need to collaborate with others and discuss what's best for changes there.
As SPW staff, Content Mods and Admins have some editing powers that others don't. The intention for those extra buttons is to smooth out the experience for others - to handle edit wars, and to take actions that might be kind of dangerous to allow everyone to have like deleting pages. It's never intended to let staff steamroll other people's opinions. The goal is for staff to enable better participation by being there to act as neutral arbiters while keeping the wiki accurate as much as possible. That's not always an easy balancing act, though.
At times, Staff may overstep. This isn't a call out of any person in particular, and in the past I myself have overstepped and had to dial it back. Some of you may remember the Shelved Pages situation where we at one point locked all sexually-themed pages to try and protect the wiki, but really that wasn't a good move because it prohibited participation. Most often when Staff go too far, they are doing it for what seems to them to be the right reasons. This is why other perspectives are important.
If there's problems with Staff on SPW, I want to hear about it. I've seen a couple of people voicing recently that they aren't interested in trying to reason with certain staff members and just giving up because they think that whatever we say goes. I'm here to say that's not how this is supposed to work - we're supposed to be editors too, and while a staff consensus might overrule individuals a single staff member does not unless they are backed by the rules.
I am committed to making sure this is as fair and open a space as I can. If you see staff conduct that you think might not be okay, you should talk (respectfully, please) to the possible offending staff member about your disagreement first, and if you think they aren't engaging fairly with your concerns you should contact myself or an admin. That goes for me too - if I'm going too far, let me know. I try not to bite heads off so long as people are respectful. Staff should be people the community can trust, not overbearing judges they try to avoid.
If people have concerns for the staff team as a whole and want to contact us and not just any single admin, you can also use the #contact chat on the Discord. I hope people do make use of it, even just for a simple question or because you wanted to get to know staff better, because clear communication is a purely positive thing for the site.