Proposal:Article Caretakers

From Strategic Planning
Status (see valid statuses)

The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

This proposal is associated with the bolded strategic priorities below.

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content.
  3. Increase Participation.
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Create a "caretaker" status, where reasonable editors who have shown interest or expertise on a specific article may become the caretakers of that article, granting them additional authority to settle disputes.


Create a "caretaker" status. Editors may receive caretaker status for a specific article if the community agrees

  1. The editor is committed to the quality of the article
  2. The editor has proven to be reasonable in any past disputes
  3. The editor is knowledgeable about the subject of the article (whether or not the editor is officially an expert)
  4. The editor is aware of and participates in the article-specific editing community.

The exact process for determining caretaker status is yet to be determined, but it should reflect the consensus of editors who are interested in the article. Caretaker status may be lost if the caretaker loses community support. (And possibly it will be lost automatically if the caretaker doesn't participate in edits or discussions for X amount of time.)

A single editor may be the caretaker of several different articles at the same time (particularly if those articles are related to each other). Furthermore, a single article may have several caretakers. Not every article will have a caretaker.

The caretaker's primary power comes from the public awareness of his status. Options to increase awareness include:

  • Each article keeps a list of its current (and former) caretakers, displayed (for instance) on the discussion page.
  • Some official badge is added to the caretaker's user page, specifying the articles he is caretaker of.
  • Edits made by the caretaker of an article are be specially marked in the history of that article.
  • The caretaker's signature is be modified to denote his status. (but only when he signs a relevant page)

Theoretically, a caretaker could have more powers, such as blocking specific users from editing the article. This would, in effect, morph the caretaker into a kind of article-specific admin. But I honestly don't think these additional powers are necessary. The important thing is that the caretaker has (community-authorized) status, so when he says "We ought to do X" with regards to the article, people will (usually) listen.

Caretakers may also be involved in drafting or enforcing article-specific policies. (See Proposal:Create directives to decide debates)


Many articles face disputes. Even if an issue has been reasonably resolved, it may repeatedly resurface, as new editors arrive. The trouble with new editors is that they don't know the old editors. So they get into arguments with established editors who really know the topic, but they don't realize the gap in knowledge, and the argument goes on for awhile.

If someone is listed as caretaker, people will lend more weight to his views. They know that if the caretaker says something, then he probably knows what he's talking about, and he's probably reflecting the general consensus of the editors. This could go a long way towards settling disputes, especially disputes that resurface. ("You're new here, so let me bring you up to speed...")

Key Questions

How, exactly, would an editor attain caretaker status? How would they lose it?

Should caretakers have any powers beyond simple recognition of their authority?

Potential Costs

Very little. There might be some dispute over who deserves caretaker status, but it's worth it for the overall decline in disputes.


Some vaguely-related ideas:

Proposal:Expert review

Proposal:Create editorial boards to oversee editing of controversial topic areas

Proposal:Authority over content disputes

Proposal:Administrative hierarchy

Proposal:No arbitrary control of topics

Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Article Caretakers.

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. .. Sign your name here!
  2. Vibhijain 14:54, 8 May 2011 (UTC)