wikiHow:New Admin Welcome Package


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Congratulations! Being made an admin in the wikiHow community is a reflection of your expressing a wish to take on additional responsibilities to help ensure the smooth running of wikiHow. It is also a vote of confidence in your abilities and a recognition of your outstanding contributions to the community as somebody who upholds the mission, vision, and values of wikiHow. Your consistent dedication to wikiHow and its contributors is respected by everyone on wikiHow.

This is the New Admin Welcome Package. It is aimed at helping to guide you as you "learn the admin ropes". It may help to bookmark this page, or add it to your My Links for easy, quick reference.

We trust and value our admins on wikiHow. In return, we believe that being an administrator on wikiHow requires every admin to reflect wiki-values in all that is done and said on the site and in any dealings concerning wikiHow off the site. To this end, we value the following qualities in our admins:

  • Trust - you are being entrusted to help maintain and care for one of the most popular sites on the Internet. This trust has been earned by you as viewed from your good, level-headed and mature judgment.
  • Empathy and kindness - admins exist to serve the broader community of editors and readers. Treating others with kindness and mutual respect is a necessity.
  • Demonstrated ability to put wikiHow's mission before competing concerns. This is a key element of being an admin on wikiHow
  • Civility - as an admin, you are asked to remain civil when criticized for the decisions you make, to keep calm, and to respond with politeness, kindness and understanding.
  • Wiki values - we expect admins to uphold these values in everything done in relation to wikiHow.

EditPractical Things

Don't Panic!

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As an admin, you have some important new skills (responsibilities) to exercise. Start out slowly and always feel free to ask for assistance from existing admins or long-time contributors when in doubt!

If you are feeling lost or if something upsets you (such as coping with vandals), you have the entire community and admin group behind you to help you. Ask for help from fellow admins and/or from members of the Help Team. The motto is "no question is a dumb question". This site is vast, it contains many technical and template treasures to unearth and it has more things than even more long-time contributors and existing admins have ever come across. You have already demonstrated to the community that you have the aptitude for handling the responsibilities but we are not expecting you to be an expert in every facet of the site. So feel free - go ahead and ask.

Useful Tips

There are several areas in which admins have additional responsibilities for ensuring the smooth running of wikiHow and for ensuring that all wikiHow contributors have a pleasant, fulfilling and supported experience.

You gain 3 additional buttons on articles - delete, protect and move. You can also block vandals and spammers and you can moderate the forums. Each of these is discussed in the next section. Before that, there are some other practical issues of importance to read through.

Strong Password

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It is vital that admins maintain strong passwords. Make them hard to guess, but make it a password you can remember. Password theft or guessing has happened on other wikis and there is no reason to believe that it might not happen here. Be vigilant and keep secure. Avoid logging in to WiFi hotspots or leaving a computer unattended while logged in to your account.


Whether or not you wish to let contributors contact you by e-mail is entirely your own choice. If you only ever wish contributors to use your Talk Page for messages, that is fine. It is often a good idea to keep exchanges between you and contributors with whom you are less familiar in the public forum, as this serves as a record.

You will need to provide your e-mail to the steward of wikiHow Jack H, as well as Krystle, for purposes of being contacted as an admin for such matters as admin elections as this will be organized and conducted off site. This e-mail is kept confidential and is only distributed within the admin group. You are also under an obligation to keep other admins' e-mail addresses confidential.

The Administrator's List

Once have gotten through your trial adminship, you will be added to the List of Administrators.

This list is in alphabetical order except for the first 3 administrators. The first three are in order of admins who are on the site the most. The rationale behind this is to enable contributors to quickly find an admin who is most likely to be around at any time. Dave Crosby maintains this list, so you don't need to worry about being put in the top 3 - it will happen automatically if you are active!

EditThe 3 New Buttons


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Allow yourself time to settle into using this button. Feeling comfortable with the deletion process takes some getting used to. The following information on deletion is a guide and is by way of background information to assist you in settling into the deletion process.

Deletion During Patrolling, New Article Creation, and Speedy Responses

There is no absolute right or wrong - we trust the judgment of our admins. The only real guiding document here is the deletion policy. Beyond that, if you believe that something is entitled to speedy deletion, based on the NFD reasons and, on some occasions, wider moral, ethical and illegality reasons, then you are within your rights to delete an item. Some admins are more "deletionist" than others; however, it does seem to balance out as an overall team, so do not feel that what you are doing is wrong. What is important is to take time to feel comfortable using this tool and to ask another admin if in doubt.

What is also important is to consider is whether the community would view this as a good decision and to ensure that your deletion choice is for the good of wikiHow as a whole. It helps to record a reason on the description; in fact, you should always try to use clear and descriptive reasons for each deletion.

Check for speedies - this is often a good thing to check for when you come online if it is something that interests you. That way, you can clear out any speedies warranting immediate deletion. Please do not hesitate to reduce speedies to NFDs if you feel that this is warranted. Sometimes users get so upset about issues that they can only think of a speedy whereas with the quiet reflection of an objective party, it may seem only worthy of an NFD. The value of NFDs over speedies is that community discussion can then ensue.

If a deleted speedy contained content that is heinous and deliberately provocative, it is often a good idea to block the creator before deleting the article and providing a blocked notice with reason. This should help to discourage a repeat offence.

Other Areas of Deletion

  • Copyvios (Dave Crosby's role);
  • Photos that are unlicensed; and
  • Requests that are either outdated, answered or just no good (KnowItSome does a lot of these).

You are welcome to assist in any of these areas; contact the relevant person to find out more.

NFD - Deletion as a Result of Community Nomination and Consensus Process

Take a look at this article for information on how to review an NFD list for final outcome.

NB: If an article is created that is offensive and the title is not something we wish to see on wikiHow ever again, it can be blocked using the protection tool. This will prevent recreation of the title. Redirect the article to the Deleted Article notice when this has been done.

Deletions Can be Undone for Sound Reasons

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Deletions can be undone. Sometimes this is needed where something was deleted by accident, deleted but asked to be resurrected for good reasons, etc. Exercise your good judgment if you consider an item needs resurrection - whether it is because you deleted it or another admin did. It may help to confer with the admin who deleted it originally and it is courteous to inform the admin that you have resurrected an article if you do.

Additionally, don't panic! If you delete an article and then think twice about it and realize that it perhaps ought to have gone to community consensus or your cat jumped on the deletion button at the crucial moment, take a deep breath, open the Deletion Resurrection Log and undelete.

Key Links


"Protect" simply means that an admin can protect an article from being edited. In general, as wikis are open, we do not encourage much protection except on articles or site management elements that really do warrant it. You will get a sense of the need for protection from the context and circumstances at any given time.

What are the reasons why we would want to do this in an open wiki community? The principal answer is to prevent vandalism of an article, especially in relation to Featured Articles. Some Featured Articles and some controversial topics are targeted by members of the Internet community for one reason or another - boredom, unhappiness with topic, strong points of view, etc. To prevent addition of undesirable text, blanking or other disruptive actions that do not gel with the goal of wikiHow to provide high quality information to the world, protection of an article may be a temporary necessity.

Practical reasons. There are also some very pragmatic reasons for protection of some parts of wikiHow. Some items, such as the Categories Drop-Down Menu, are permanently protected because they are integral to the overall standardisation and smooth functioning of the site. Certain templates that are used on many people's talk pages are also protected.

User page. You are entitled to protect your own User Page. If you are a high profile user, especially if you are dealing a lot with vandals, you may wish to protect your User Page if it becomes a target for whatever reason. You may also assist contributors in protecting their own User Pages as well if they are experiencing attacks on their page. In this instance, it is also helpful to follow up the person who is attacking the User Page.

There are 3 levels of protection:

  1. Default - this is the usual mode for all articles and documents on wikiHow and simply means that all users can edit the article.
  2. Registered users only - this is also known as "semi-protect" and means that registered and admins can edit.
  3. Administrator only - this one only permits admins and wikiHow staff to edit.

After protecting an article, when you edit the article, you will see a message like this one: "WARNING: This page has been locked so that only users with administrator privileges can edit it."

Making a Decision to Protect

Again, we trust your judgment. You may be asked by a contributor to protect a page, you may come across the issues requiring an article to be protected as part of your activities on the site or you may be somebody who assiduously checks the FAs. In each instance, the decision is one of balancing the openness of a wiki with the potential for degrading, damaging or repeated vandalism of an article.

One other reason an article may require protection is during its creation, to allay concerns of edit conflicts - be guided by considering the purpose that a contributor is seeking and ensure to unprotect when the article has been completed.

Duration of Protection

Keep a personal note of articles you have protected and try to return to them to reassess the protection status in order to return the article to open editing as soon as possible.

Apart from User Pages and articles protected for the smooth running of the site or projects, it is usual to unprotect an article as soon as it appears viable to do so. Check the status of an article - maybe within a few hours a vandal tires of it. Maybe within 24 hours, it is no longer so popular on the FA list. Use your judgment on timing. It does, however, help to keep vigilant about not leaving articles protected for too long on the whole or it prohibits members of the community from editing them, which defeats the wiki spirit.

In some instances of controversial topics, you may wish to consider leaving semi-protection status, allowing only registered users to edit an article. This will be evidenced by a concerted spate of bad faith editing to an article over a period of time. Check the article's history.

Key Links

  • Protect a wikiHow Page - step-by-step guide on protecting a page or article on wikiHow.
  • Protection Log - feel free to unprotect older articles that may have been forgotten in the mists of time.


The Move button is the "change a title" button. There is an article written on how to change the title of an article (see Key Links below), so we'll keep this help section short.

Changing titles is a very important part of wikiHow to ensure that the title is spelt accurately, contains good grammar and reflects the content of the article. Over time, the content sometimes changes so much that it no longer reflects the title or, as is more frequent, an author changes his or her mind in the process of creating an article. One key reason for changing a title is where it does not reflect a good searchable title. Think about the title that you would type into a search engine to find a how-to answer and you should get a good idea of whether or not a title is performing this function well.

It is always very helpful to have admins prepared to tend the Title Change activity. Titles tend to mount up and remain unchanged without the dedication of admins who take the time to focus on this area. At this stage, there is no coordinated team of title changers but you are certainly welcome to create such a motivational initiative.

Remember to try and change the linked articles under "What Links Here" when you change a title, as this is a neat tidy up to a title renewal.

Please read the article linked below.

Key Links

If you need assistance, Krystle has done work in this area and is available whenever you need help.

EditOther Admin Responsibilities and Activities


Blocking is used for vandals (bad faith editors) and spammers. When and for how long to block will come to you with time and experience. In general, most blocked users are small-time vandals who went astray out of boredom or limits testing. A few hours to a day or 3 is generally fine for them.

We tend to have less tolerance for completely blanking an FA and if there is spamming, the 3 week upwards block can be used.

Some admins have low thresholds for anything pornographic, degrading, or abusive and use longer blocks on such posters. Again, this is something that will come with experience for you, from watching what existing admins choose to do, from reading the forums and from relying on your own sense of appropriateness, fairness and justice.

Some things to watch for with blocking:

  • Leave a message - this is to inform a user he or she has been blocked. It is simply {{blocked}}. Although, if it is an automatically generated spammer, leaving this message is not really necessary.
  • Take care not to block yourself, while trying to block someone else that needed to be blocked. If you do, you join the "Admins who have blocked themselves" club - yes, there are some of us in it. You can unblock yourself by going to the List of Blocked Users and clicking on "unblock". If you have done something worthy of a block, however, by all means block yourself. Do not wait for someone else to do it. Also, you may also force yourself to take a wikiBreak by blocking yourself, if necessary.
  • Don't panic! Persistent vandals can really upset members in the community and have them leaving copious messages; respond with a level-head and at a pace that doesn't get you into a tizzy. You need to react calmly and remember that it may well be that another admin is already on the case. In which case, when you go to block, the block log will tell you that the user has already been blocked. Breathe a sigh of relief and move on to whatever else you were doing.

If you want to know how long to block a user for, take a look at wikiHow:Block Times

Special case - Users Under 13. You should block the users for the appropriate amount of time. If they are 10 years old, block them for three years. Also, you need to remove every part of their userpages, not just the part where they said they are under 13 years old. Please delete all the content of their user page. You will also want to remove:

  • http://www.wikihow.com/User:Username > General userpage
  • http://www.wikihow.com/User:Username/profilebox-aboutme > About me section
  • http://www.wikihow.com/User:Username/profilebox-occupation > Website / *blog section
  • http://www.wikihow.com/User:Username/profilebox-live > Location

We cannot retain ANY of their personal information. Any contributions they have already made to the site are legal to keep, providing they did not post any personal information.


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Spamming refers to spambots or persons who place content on the site that links back to advertising, pornography or other links. Spamming often occurs on Discussion Pages, Forums and User Talk Pages, with some pages targeted more than others. A lot of initiatives have been undertaken to lessen the spam on wikiHow and, for the most part, these have lessened the onslaught considerably.

Indicators of spam include:

  • URLS
  • Comments such as "Hello, Nice Page" + URL
  • Photos (usually unsavoury but sometimes a concerted campaign to play a game)
  • Invisible text or breaks - sometimes spamming, sometimes game-playing by users

As always, remove the spam but now also block the spammer. In terms of how long, read the Blocking help section here.

Sometimes there is a blanket ban placed on a site when the site "leaks" and starts sending out spam in an out-of-control manner. If there are links in articles to this site (for instance, a blogging site), then it may be necessary to add those good faith links to our White List to enable editing to continue.

Key Links

Changing a Username

Occasionally, a user will create an account, edit some pages and set their real name to something offensive. Admins can change the user's real name from this page: Special:Changerealname. This page also appears on Specialpages under restricted pages. When a user's real name is changed, it also generates a log entry, so there'll be a history of whose name was changed to what by whom.

It would also make sense to block a user's account indefinitely if they have created an offensive username, so they just don't log back in and use their real name again.

  • User Creation Log
  • Special:Changerealname
  • User Rename Log

Administrator Notice Board

The Administrator Notice Board is the place to check for vandalism, speedies etc. that patrollers and contributors who do not have access to the admin tools have placed there for attention of an admin. You might be the only admin online at a particular time, so if you can take a moment to check it to see if there is anything warranting attention, that would be great.

Remember though, you only need to feel free to keep an eye on this if this is something that you wish to do.


Admins can moderate the forums. This means that we can:

  • Move threads. You can move a thread to another forum category if needed.
  • Close threads. To end a discussion that is heading nowhere, or is causing angst or just is not appropriate for further additions, you can close a thread.
  • Delete threads. This must be done with great care and consideration. It is fine for anything pornographic, racist, hate based. For other things, more care must be taken, especially where responses to an issue raised have been left. Ask another admin if in doubt and be clear, open and honest about deletion of threads that you have taken in good faith and with good reason. For the main part, we are maintaining wikiHow's records in these forum postings and unless there are very pressing reasons, they should remain there.
  • Sink threads - keeps new posts to a thread from bumping it to the top of the forum.
  • Edit posts - Use this, preferably, to remove personal information, resize images, and fix broken code. As a courtesy, please include a note that you edited it at the bottom of the post.

Although forum tending is everyone's responsibility, if an admin or more wishes to take on the responsibility of moderating the forums, this would be wonderful. It would include checking for vandalism, keeping threads organized and if wished, stepping in to moderate discussions if things seem to be getting out of hand.


Physical creation of categories is principally an admin task. Occasionally a wiki-knowledgeable person will add their own but generally this is discouraged because it often is not in line with existing practices.

Only admins can edit the drop-down category box.

The Category Team consists of Tom Viren, Flickety, Webster and Maluniu. Given that categorisation is considered across the whole of the site and work is often underway to make changes, we do ask that you raise desired changes on the Category Forum first but all help to make changes is appreciated.


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As an admin, you do not have to give awards. However, it is important to note that receiving awards from admins is highly regarded and is a wonderful way to reward the volunteer community for its efforts that many admins see patrolling, editing, talk paging etc. So, if you feel up to giving awards now and then, please feel free to do so.

EditGetting Started

You are entitled to carry on doing what you have always being doing on wikiHow. There is no defined role for an admin other than the expectations outlined above. However, it is not at all unusual for new interests to blossom under adminship, sometimes because of the new tools at your disposal and sometimes because it is just time to move into a new area. To help you, feel free to:

  • ask for advice from other admins on any aspect of the new buttons, on procedures and on things you don't know or understand. No question is a silly question, ever.
  • find out who is already working on projects and join in where you have an interest; ask for updates or overviews to bring you up to scratch.
  • carve out your own niche - if you have passionate plans for moving new things forward on wikiHow, then this may be the time you wish to start. Read Be bold for more ideas.

EditRole in the Community

Active Public Role

All admins play an active role in the community, whether it be by way of example, by presence and discussion in the forums or on discussion pages or by talk pages and IRC messages/interaction. There is no right or wrong way to interact with the community from a practical sense. From an ethical and perception standpoint, however, care must always be taken to put the interests of wikiHow and its contributors first, to be civil and understanding and to remember that admins do carry a public persona of authority as far as contributors are concerned, even though we always take pains to stress the equality and equal importance of every single user on the site. This perception means that we do have an onus to uphold wikiHow in its best light, to be considerate and caring in our interactions and to fulfil the role to the best of our abilities and interests in the time that we have available for wikiHow.

Untying Some "Nots" About Adminship

Admins are not expected to be online all the time and admins are not expected to be the janitors of wikiHow. Where your skills lie is where you will serve wikiHow best and from where you will derive the most pleasure from this hobby. You are not expected to be typecast and forced into doing anything that you do not enjoy on the site.

Equally, we ask that you do not typecast the admin role in forum discussions but take care to make it clear to the wikiHow community that admins are also keen contributors with differing skills, differing time availabilities and differing interests. Calling admins "janitors" and assuming only admins do patrol harms the roundedness and fulfilment of being an admin.

Adminship is not a trophy. This perception is raised from time to time and is an inaccurate reflection of what admins are. Admins are contributors who have willingly taken on additional responsibilities and who have willingly accepted to help make wikiHow run smoothly. As noted in Wikipedia's article "What Adminship is Not", anybody who takes on adminship as a "reward" for good work will be sorely disappointed. It doesn't anoint you with a crown and a position above other contributors. You remain an equal contributor with all other contributors although you must be prepared for the fact that your public profile is likely to be more scrutinized and higher expectations placed on you (just keep being who you are, there is no call for superhumans here). As Wikipedia says, admins are organizers and facilitators, not controllers. Wikis don't have controllers.

All the same, the nots do not detract from the Community's appreciation of your acceptance of the responsibilities and for your initiatives, care for the Community and dedication to the site. Thank you for taking on the task of helping to keep wikiHow run smoothly.

Making Changes

Be bold and don't feel hamstrung. Just as with every contributor here, an admin is not restricted in moving things forward and making changes to better wikiHow. Use your skills to their best advantage on wikiHow and enjoy your time here. Everything that you contribute is valued and appreciated. As an admin, your commitment to the additional responsibilities is also valued, as is your continued inspiration to moving wikiHow on into the future as a strong, better and universally valued site for information. So, when you want to innovate and do things that will make wikiHow a better place, go ahead and be a part of this. We trust you and your initiative.

EditDifficult or Stressful Situations

In times of difficult, stressful or awkward situations online in wikiHow, please remember that you are never alone and you are not expected to solve problems by yourself. You are always entitled to seek assistance from other admins if you feel out of your depth, personally conflicted or just not willing to become involved in issues that may arise in the community and that have affected you in some way or other.

If you feel unduly pressured or asked to do things that upset or overwhelm you by any user on the site, you are entitled to say no and if necessary, to seek assistance from another admin or a staff member of wikiHow. You are also entitled to take time off the site and refresh.

In addition, you are welcome to contact Dave Crosby, Nicole or Felicity (Flickety) if you have any concerns about such situations, although many other admins are also willing to assist if you prefer.

Always remember that the admin team is here to support one another and no question is ever a wrong or stupid question. We want to make sure you are happy as part of the admin team and that things are running smoothly for you. Any sense of difficulties, lack of clarity or pressure prevent this from being a fun hobby and we want to ensure that you do not feel this way, ever.

EditYou're Off!

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Okay, so now you have your new buttons and other responsibilities on wikiHow. Take time to settle in to using these new responsibilities and to seeing how you feel most comfortable in making use of them for the good of wikiHow and the wikiHow community. Ask questions, try things out and keep in mind that you have an admin team backing you and ready to help you at any moment. Thank you for taking on these responsibilities and for sharing your skills, time and interest with wikiHow. We know you will get a lot out of it and we also know that wikiHow will grow and flourish all the more for your dedication, tending and enthusiasm. Go wiki!


  • When in doubt, please ask any other admin for help.

Article Info

Categories: Being an Admin