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Give local bureaucrats the ability to mark their wikis as queued for deletion via ManageWiki
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I've shared this idea on Discord and on the community noticeboard, but it's gone largely ignored, so I'm posting it here. Basically, my proposal is to give bureaucrats the ability to mark wikis as queued for deletion via Special:ManageWiki. Instead of showing a 404 error, wikis queued for deletion will now display a sitenotice stating as such (ex. "This wiki has been queued for deletion because it has gone at least 180 days without any activity. If you are a bureaucrat on the wiki, you can reopen it via ManageWiki; if you are not, please file a request at Requests for reopening wikis."); this will also apply to wikis that have been "deleted" under the current Dormancy Policy but whose databases still exist. This change provides several benefits:

  1. Stewards no longer have to process deletion/undeletion requests, freeing up time to tackle more important issues. This will lead to fewer issues overall if there is another Steward shortage in the future.
  2. Wiki bureaucrats no longer have to request that a Steward delete their wikis, meaning that wikis will be deleted faster.
  3. Users who request wikis won't have to worry about choosing a subdomain that's already taken by a deleted wiki (many users, especially newer users, think that 404 = no wiki here, which is not necessarily true under the current system), saving wiki creators and requestors time and headaches.
  4. Resurrecting deleted wikis can be done at RfRW exclusively instead of RfRW and the Stewards' noticeboard, which will lead to less confusion.

Event Timeline

Tali64 renamed this task from Give local bureaucrats the ability to mark their wikis as deleted via ManageWiki to Give local bureaucrats the ability to mark their wikis as queued for deletion via ManageWiki.Jan 6 2024, 23:27
Reception123 lowered the priority of this task from Normal to Low.EditedJan 7 2024, 10:41
Reception123 subscribed.

Currently most feature requests are still being tagged as low priority, only two tasks that would significantly reduce SRE workload are normal.

In terms of the actual idea, I'm not particularly opposed to less workload for Stewards but how can we ensure that bureaucrats are deleting wikis based on community consensus? Also, how can we ensure there's not a rogue bureaucrat who deletes the wiki and the community only realizes when it's too late? I'd probably be more comfortable with this idea if we implemented automatic full backups (SQL + images and mhglobal after each deletion)
As for undeleting, what if another bureaucrat wants to reverse a deletion even though there's consensus for deletion?
EDIT: An idea could be that on wikis with more than one bureaucrat, there would be a +2 or +3 system where multiple bureaucrats have to tick the box for it to take effect.

I don't agree with the sitenotice idea though and think the wiki should be completely unusable if deleted except for the possibility for it to be undeleted. There could be a page like the 404 page but that indicates that the wiki is queued for deletion.

After further reflection, this is what I'd propose. It might not be convenient technically but I feel like there's a reason we don't currently allow single bureaucrats to delete/undelete and there have certainly been controversial cases where bureaucrats have been in disagreement about closures so I can imagine it would be very similar for deletions.

  • For a deletion/undeletion to take effect, at least 50% of bureaucrats have to click the delete button. If that's not possible, a request to Stewards would still have to be made as it is now.
  • All wiki deletions/undeletions are additionally logged to a Discord and IRC channel (#global-delete-log)
  • Instead of a 404 page, a Deletion page or notice would exist explaining the wiki has been deleted and that local bureaucrats or Stewards can be contacted to find out why or to request undeletion. Most wiki pages should not be available to view or edit (except the notice and Special:ManageWiki so that local bureaucrats can undelete if necessary)

Though I'd still ask: why is deletion needed if local bureaucrats can just close a wiki? Unless someone is desperately waiting to reuse the domain.

Blocked/waiting on T11520 since that's the best way to be able to implement my idea (if there's no objections to this approach that is)

  1. The main reason for giving bureaucrats the ability to queue their wikis for deletion is to allow them to get rid of their unwanted wikis faster without requiring Steward intervention, speeding up the deletion process and allowing other users to use the subdomain quicker. Asking "why do bureaucrats need the ability to mark their wikis as queued for deletion when they can just mark them as closed?" is basically the same as asking "why do bureaucrats need the ability to mark their wikis as closed when they can just mark them as inactive?"
  2. Other bureaucrats can untick the "Queued for deletion" box if a rogue bureaucrat ticks the box; this inherently provides community consensus, though your idea would also be helpful in ensuring that. Another way would be to prevent wikis queued for deletion less than two weeks ago from being deleted when the deletion script is run, giving local communities time to dispute controversial deletion queue additions.
  3. The sitenotice part of my proposal is mostly aimed at preventing confusion regarding wiki requests with the same subdomain as a "deleted" wiki; a special page stating that the wiki is queued for deletion might still cause confusion, as some users upon reading it may think, "No wiki exists here anymore, this subdomain is free to use." A sitenotice + having the wiki's content still be readable is the only way to ensure that confusion is minimized.

I agree that automatic backups are a necessity, though they may not necessarily help here.

Due to my idea being very complex to implement and probably mostly unnecessary, I'd be fine with just allowing any bureaucrat to undelete a wiki as long as it wasn't closed by a Steward.

Maybe this is too simple to work but how about just whitelisting Special:ManageWiki on deleted wikis? Would that not work since technically deletion doesn't actually do anything except make a wiki unreadable?

Whitelisting Special:ManageWiki on deleted wikis + making ManageWiki locks apply to (un)deletion as Void suggested on the RfC would be the optimal solution. I originally suggested using a numbering system for tracking wiki states ("0" for active, "1" for inactive, "2" for closed, "3" for deleted via inactivity, etc.), but then Void made the above suggestion that was much simpler; it may still be viable if Void's solution turns out to be too simple and issues start appearing.

After discussion with CosmicAlpha, there would likely be cache issues with that so we'll just have to go with a button directly on the error page that bureaucrats can click to undelete.

Fair enough; if/when such issues are resolved, though, whitelisting MW should be considered again.