Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy/Archive 15

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Question at New admin school[edit]

Template:Resolved I've posted a question about blocking templates at New Admin School. However, as there doesn't seem to be much traffic there, I suspect it may be a while before someone sees it and answers it, so I thought I would ask about it here. Could someone please pop over and answer my question, please? StephenBuxton (talk) 09:28, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

"Indefinite" is infinitely confusing to people[edit]

It seems to me that every time indeffing a user comes up on AN/I, a significant chunk of people seem to think that means "forever" (and sometimes object on that basis). What do people think of changing the term? Right now, I'm thinking of "indeterminate block" or "open-ended block." (Please point me to any previous discussion if it's been had before.) IronDuke 03:35, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

I think it is very much dependent on the intentions of the blocking admin. I've made indef blocks noting that the block will last only until some condition is met, and I have made blocks that I don't ever intend to be lifted. Vandal only accounts and sockpuppets come to mind. Perhaps we should add "100 years" to the block time dialog. Kevin (talk) 07:07, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Although I love the 100 years idea it will eventual end up in some news article under "Christian promoter banned from Wikipedia for 100 years"--mboverload@ 07:20, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback... I think Kevin's point underscores mine: "indef" is confusing to people, as admins use it for different purposes. For example, let's say an otherwise good user goes off on a racist rant at a talk page after being warned of this behavior previously. An admin might issue an indefinite block, then take it to AN/I for feedback on how long the block should last. Fine and good, except that some people might start arguing to overturn it on the mistaken grounds that indefinite = infinite. If the block were "indeterminate," (call it, say, WP:INDET), I think people would more clearly get the message that such a block might last forever, or it might last only a few hours, and be less likely to argue for immediately overturning the block, or that it was somehow "draconian." IronDuke 19:42, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
For all intents and purposes, an indefinite block is infinite unless an admin removes it... unlike the other block periods which do not require admin action to "time out" and restore the editor's access. I think anyone getting indefinitely blocked should just assume it is permanent unless they can receive a favorable block review. The very fact that you have to be acting like a complete imbecile in the first place to warrant an indefinite block shouldn't make us worry too much about whether or not the blocked user gets upset about it. Hiberniantears (talk) 20:58, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
We do care about persuading difficult user to contribute usefully--many is the troll who eventually turned into a decent editor judging even from the people who admit as much. Since some admins do give indefinite block for user name violations or for isolated episodes of vandalism, I would not assume that it is in fact acting like a cmplete imbecile. There is a major distinction between the blocks that mean : you are blocked until you say you are sorry. to the sort of block w'd give a serial violator after increasing shorter blocks. I think the wording INDETERMINATE suggested above is as good as any. DGG (talk) 02:58, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
On reflection, although I don't generally support "change for its own sake", this probably has merit and I would support it. The term "indefinite block", while technically accurate and familiar, is not one I would mind changing if it would help reduce some friction. FT2 (Talk | email) 16:43, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I realize this thread is stale, but how about "indef-untilissuesresolved" to mark blocks that are indefinite but should be lifted when the issues are resolved, and "indef" for vandalism-only and similar accounts. They would be technically the same but the new tag would make the user realize he's blocked only until the issues surrounding the block are resolved, whatever those are. This would hopefully encourage users who got blocked to not "give up on Wikipedia" but try to resolve the issues. If "indef-untilissuesresolved" then "indef-short" could be used, athough it's technically not accurate. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:38, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Cool down blocks (yet again)[edit]

I know this has been done to death, but there was a removal/replacement of the section again today, so I though I'd put my thoughts down. It has been oft stated that cool down blocks are issued every day, however the real purpose of those blocks is to prevent disruption (optimistic and possibly naive I know). So the block should be based on the behavioral symptom of the user's anger, i.e. edit warring, incivility or whatever rather than the anger itself. Whether the block makes the user less angry then is a bit irrelevant, so long as the disruption stops.

I propose that the wording of the section be changed from:

  • Blocks intended solely to "cool down" an angry user should never be used, as they inevitably serve to inflame the situation.

To:

  • Blocks should be based on the actual behavior of users, and not their perceived state of mind. If an angry users behavior has not become disruptive, then a block is only likely to inflame the situation.

- Kevin (talk) 11:52, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

I like that wording. It is much clearer, maybe a little tweaking is needed but the thought is good :-) SoWhy 12:47, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

I reinstated the sentence because the community has not agreeded to the removal of it, and the unilateral action was pointy. Synergy 12:51, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

How about something like this:
The community has rejected the idea that agitated situations and emotional users should be "helped" to calm down by enforcing a time-out when there is no disruption occuring. This may make matters worse, not better. Blocking should only be used to prevent likely or actual disruptive behavior, not because of well-intentioned wishes to help with their perceived state of mind.
FT2 (Talk | email) 16:51, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Temporary discussion/topic bans as an alternative to blocking?[edit]

We have had countless disputes about the propriety of individual blocks and 'types' of blocks (e.g. 'cool down' blocks immediately above)... but they never seem to get anywhere. I believe the reason is that we have all these policies about people needing to be civil, avoid edit warring, not push a POV, remain neutral, et cetera... and essentially only one remedy (two if protection can help) when they don't.

I suggest we add a less severe option than blocking for dealing with problems. Adopt a policy that admins should tell people who are going outside the bounds first to tone it down, and if that fails that they must step away from the discussion / topic (for a set amount of time or until close of the discussion)... INSTEAD of the corresponding block which would be given now.

Yes, this would still be applied unevenly... but it could also still be overturned if there were a consensus against it, is a less severe 'slap in the face', leaves no aggravating accusation in the block log, and allows them to continue working on things where they AREN'T in dispute.

Yes, some users will undoubtedly ignore the instruction (as some now sockpuppet around blocks), but it could be enforced by reversion or blocking by a different admin. Maybe only things like blatant vandalism and refusing to follow policy or back away when told to do so ought to be 'blockable'. Requiring a different admin to place the block would also mean that at least two admins need to see something as a problem before it results in a block.

Yes, there will still be complaints of 'censorship' and 'bias'... but users could put a template on their talk page (in place of the current 'unblock' template) requesting their ban be reviewed or that facts they feel aren't being represented in the discussion be added there (calmly) by someone else.

Basically, it could work exactly like blocking (right down to the warning templates with links to the applicable policy) does currently... without the actual block unless people refuse to hand it over to cooler heads when told to do so. Cool down blocks do not work. It's true. However, the fact remains that we need to have some way to cool things down when people get heated. I believe this could work. At least better than the current system. --CBD 18:59, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I suspect this would fail just as the warnings admins give usually fail. Saying "You may not do X again, or you will be blocked" has not proven a successful deterrent, so I suspect saying "You may not go near topic X for a day, or you will be blocked" will have the same issues. MBisanz talk 19:34, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
If this is a "less severe" option, will it then be seen as having a lower threshold of use, and thus have a greater risk of overuse? And would it have a logging mechanism? If not, how would one spot admins going topic ban-happy? Franamax (talk) 21:24, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Arbcomm discretionary sanctions often include the possibility of issuing topic bans, and it is a relatively frequently used tool in that box of non-standard tools. Such topic bans always have to be logged on the relevant arbitration case's page and are usually the result of a report to and discussion at WP:AE. Take a look at the 9/11 case or the various nationalist cases for examples. What they don't get used for in these situations is cool down - instead they are used when review indicates an ongoing problem of problematic behavior that is unlikely to change soon - indeed the WP:AE review often takes a day or more to reach a decision. As so used, there is a range of comprehensiveness to the degree of ban. Some users get banned from the content page but not talk, some from both, some from any related discussion (ie XFD also), some from any related page and talk pages and related discussions. GRBerry 21:39, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
There is nothing stopping any admin from using this right now as a milder form of what we could do anyway. (Many of us have given warnings that say, if you do not take a break from this topic for a day or two, I will need to block you.) I agree it would not help all of the time, but it will with the more rational people who have just gotten overinvolved in things. It also serves as a very useful signal--if it is ignored or violated, it clearly indicates a lack of willingness to cooperate. DGG (talk) 02:49, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Incivility during a block[edit]

What if a blocked user engages in blatant incivility on his/her own talk page during his/her block, like here? MuZemike (talk) 05:01, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Protect the talk page if it happens after a warning (or just as soon). If thats an attempt at a request for unblock (more than likely it isn't), then its denied. But since it was so long ago, then probably nothing. Synergy 05:03, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Cool down blocks II[edit]

I have deleted this section as unnecessary. Administrators are selected for their judgment. If an user is upset and causing disruption, administrators may block the user to prevent the disruption, in hopes that after the passage of time the user will no longer be so angry and better able to exercise self-control. Absolutist statements are usually harmful. Administrators need to use their good judgment. Jehochman Talk 19:25, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Right, but the section in question refers to a user being blocked solely for being upset, not for casuing disruption. Cool down blocks are a hugely bad idea. IronDuke 19:55, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I support the section remaining in place. Per Iron Duke and many other commenters here who think that admin judgement should not extend to forming a theory of mind. It is an absolute statement, but it does not prevent the admin exercising judgement as to whether actual harm is being done. It is just a stricture against deciding that theoretical harm may be done, or that paternalistic intervention is appropriate. Franamax (talk) 21:40, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
In that case, can we clarify the section? Don't block for state of mind (such as angry editor needing to cool down, or ...). Block to prevent disruption. Jehochman Talk 22:36, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine with that. Tweaked it a bit, for clarity. IronDuke 23:27, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not happy with either of these [1] [2] last two versions. They both still require a theory - what is "angry" and what is "prevent"? Until actual disruption occurs, the admin efforts should be directed to calming the situation, and outlining the alternative options for the "angry" user. Diagnosing anger, deciding that actual damage is certain to imminently occur, and thus a need for a pre-emptive block - these to me seem fraught with peril, and this policy should not condone any such course. The admin is expected to exercise judgement as to the diagnosis (it's pretty easy to see when someone is becoming overwrought); to watch and attempt to calm the situation; but not to act in that paternalistic manner of "this will be good for you".
It's a shame to see the "inflame the situation" wording removed, as it's almost certainly true. Perhaps it's more appropriate at new-admin school, I dunno. And I have no better wording immediately to hand. But I'm not comfortable right now - there seems to be an avenue for blocking consisting only of "I decided it would be best" - which essentially now sanctions cool-down blocks. Franamax (talk) 00:50, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. I took another stab, thoughts welcome. IronDuke 03:21, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
That's better, although "serious" now becomes overstated, and the entire second sentence is rendered superfluous - per JEH's assertion that admin judgement takes effect, angry or not, disruption gets blocked.
This all comes down to "can we do cool-down blocks?". As I've asked elsewhere, JEH and IronDuke - can you give an example where you've issued a block solely for the purpose of giving the user a time-out in advance of them becoming disruptive? Can you give an example where another admin has done so? Franamax (talk) 03:41, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
We should try to avoid absolutist statements, like "never" and "always". If a user says, "Fuck you, I am going revert every one of your edits," I think they can be blocked on the spot, without waiting to see if they carry through on the threat. Jehochman Talk 17:40, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely, because making such a statement is itself disruptive. I have also tweaked the language a little more to clarify the emphasis on preventing further disruption. — Satori Son 17:51, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Agree that never and always are words that should always never be used. But JEH, in the case of that profane user, shouldn't the next step be a serious warning? Or does that make you an involved admin, unable to act further? Franamax (talk) 18:07, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
If somebody tells me they are going to be highly disruptive, I might assume that they are telling the truth, and block them on the spot, or I might give them a stern warning. It depends on the user and the situation. This stuff can't be codified. We can't legislate clue. Jehochman Talk 18:49, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
All I can say is, it's about time. I suggested this type of amendment in July. Synergy 17:29, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I think it's important to kep in mind that "cool down" blocks often happen after a user has been blocked and comes back angry. We should allow people to blow off a bit of steam, even of they're being a little uncivil towards the admin who blocked them. "Fuck you" is never okay, although "Wow, you're a terrible admin" is in this case overlookable -- I really don't like it when remarks like that result in another block by the admin being referred to. It smacks too much of "I blocked you for mouthing off to me." And creates moar dramah. IronDuke 19:11, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Yeah. Admins need to have a thick skin. I have overlooked a "Fuck you" on a user's own talk page as blowing off steam. The same remark on the administrator's noticeboard would probably be blocked. Screaming epithets in your own home is different from screaming them in the village square. Jehochman Talk 19:17, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Well said. IronDuke 19:18, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Question[edit]

If an article is created and/or if an image was created by a banned user, will those articles and/or images be required to get deleted? If so, show me a policy that says that. Mythdon (talk) 10:59, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

How's this?. Creating == editing. Franamax (talk) 16:38, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
If good faith contributors have edited such an article or used such an image, WP:IAR would be applicable not to delete them. It is more important to protect the work of good faith contributors than to remove every single contribution of banned users. Jehochman Talk 19:19, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Information for reviewing and unblocking administrators[edit]

I've added a short section on this, with some examples (feel free to brevify if needed). A number of unblock disputes would not happen if admins were more aware that it helps to give this kind of information for any reviewing admin to read. A number of more careful admins regularly do so routinely, to avoid disputes or misunderstandings related to blocks and unblocking. Hopefully simple and non-contentious.

FT2 (Talk | email) 18:16, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Update - edited for the following edits:
  1. Page intro should probably say that good communication is needed - general point about all blocks and unblocks. Added: Because blocks may be reviewed and appealed, it is often important that the blocking and reviewing administrators each communicate with and take care to inform the other.
  2. Section intro for "unblocking" did not explain unblocking or common reasons - just dived straight into how to request unblocking. Added a paragraph at the start of the section about unblocking itself.
  3. Split section intro into headline points about unblocking generally, vs. a subsection "block reviews" -- gives it more logical flow and puts the quotation in a better context.
  4. Moved the paragraph "Otherwise, administrators should avoid unblocking users without first attempting to contact the blocking administrator..." to the subsection about "block reviews".
  5. Merged two paragraphs about block review, for simplicity.
diff
FT2 (Talk | email) 13:58, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Indefinite blocks[edit]

The policy states:

"An indefinite block is a block that does not have a fixed duration. Indefinite blocks are usually applied when there is significant disruption or threats of disruption, or major breaches of policy. In such cases an open-ended block may be appropriate to prevent further problems until the matter can be resolved by discussion.

If not one administrator will lift the block, the blocked user is effectively considered to have been banned by the community. In less extreme cases, however, the more usual desired outcome is a commitment to observe Wikipedia's policies and—if unblocked—to refrain from the problematic conduct in future."

However, what if another administrator wants to lift the block but the blocking administrator will not allow it; to prevent a violation of WP:Wheel war, the indefinite block will remain in place. The editor will remain indefinitely blocked but not banned. However, clearly the intent of an indefinite block is to allow time for the matter to be resolved by discussion or alternatively to lead to a ban due to no administrator wanting to lift the ban. The case of an administrator not being allowed to lift the block is not properly considered in this policy. Please modify the policy to account for this circumstance. --Hit the fan (talk) 22:33, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

No modification is needed. Your described circumstance would occur rarely and would in all cases lead to further discussion of the original block. Typically, the blocking admin would refuse to unblock himself but would allow someone else to do so and take the responsibility for what he obviously deems an unwise decision. JodyB talk 03:06, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Okay, then for clarification purposes, could you please add the following link to "banned by the community" to the policy article since I am currently unable to do so because semi-protection:

If not one administrator will lift the block, the blocked user is effectively considered to have been banned by the community. In less extreme cases, however, the more usual desired outcome is a commitment to observe Wikipedia's policies and—if unblocked—to refrain from the problematic conduct in future.

The linked section adds important information about indefinite blocks and could help to avoid misunderstandings of the policy. --Hit the fan (talk) 14:24, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
I see what you are saying but have two issues: First, the link to the banning policy is already in place. Second, a ban could conceivably not by the community but by ARBCOM or even the office. JodyB talk 16:48, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing out the existing and less specific link. Let's concentrate on the issue of indefinite blocks and the bans that can result from them. My problem is that the sentence, "If not one administrator will lift the block, the blocked user is effectively considered to have been banned by the community.", is misleading in that it does not provide enough information. The additional information can be found in the section I linked. How about this:

If not one administrator will lift the block, the blocked user is effectively considered to have been banned by the community. In less extreme cases, however, the more usual desired outcome is a commitment to observe Wikipedia's policies and—if unblocked—to refrain from the problematic conduct in future. For further information on community bans resulting from indefinite blocks, see Community ban. --Hit the fan (talk) 18:36, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

NOTE: User:Hit the fan is a CU confirmed sockpuppet of banned User:Jagz. MBisanz talk 18:45, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Recent moves and changes[edit]

Please consider this and that. How can we make clear both points that: 1/ admins are responsible to fully understand the facts when making an unblock decision and should generally contact the blocking admin to be sure they have full facts, and 2/ blocking admins should attempt to make clear any non-obvious circumstances and indicate whether they might not need to be contacted during a block review. Using both belt and suspenders helps avoid getting caught with pants down. Jehochman Talk 03:56, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I've had a go, by slightly reorganizing (without textual change to the wording).
I have split apart within "implementing blocks", the subsections on technical settings and advice when blocking, and the subsections on notifications and evidence supporting a block. I have grouped the latter in their own section (covering "notification to blocked users", "information provided by blocking admin", and "confidential evidence"), with a brief introduction added:

OLD:

* Education and warnings
* Implementing blocks 
  - IP address blocks
  - Duration of blocks 
  - Setting block options
  - Reasons and notification
  - Information provided by blocking administrator
  - Confidential evidence

NEW:

* Explanation on blocking 
  - Notification of block
  - Information provided by blocking administrator
  - Confidential evidence
* Education and warnings
* Implementing blocks 
  - IP address blocks
  - Duration of blocks 
  - Setting block options
So there is now clear explanation what a blocking admin should consider in terms of explanation, evidence, and forethought... and also what a reviewing admin should do in terms of their communication and awareness of possible issues, too. Belt and braces?
FT2 (Talk | email) 04:28, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I like it. Is there any chance we can we get both sides of the current dispute to endorse these best practices? Jehochman Talk 04:59, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I recently moved some material closer to the front. I see FT2 has changed that. I want to make clear that I see much merit in FT2s recent changes. However, it still seems to me that if there is confidential evidence for the block, the blocker needs to (not be urged to) say so. Obviously one can signal that there is confidential evidence without saying what the evidence is and thus violating the confidentiality. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:05, 11 November 2008 (UTC)


You added a subsection close to the start of the page, which I removed. My reasons were as follows: The text you had added was virtually a copy of the existing last paragraph at #Block reviews. The main significant difference was in the first sentence:
  • OLD - Administrators reviewing a block should be aware that there may be history or actions which may not be recognized, or whose importance may be misunderstood.
  • NEW - In some cases a prior ArbCom decision or checkuser decision may warrant a block. In these cases the blocking administrator should note the fact in the block tag. In some cases there is relevant history that justifies the block, the blocking administrator must state so in the block.
Almost the entirety of the rest was a duplication.
So the effect of your edit was to 1/ duplicate mostly a paragraph already in the policy, 2/ change it from a paragraph about what reviewing admins must think of, to a paragraph about what blocking admins must write (removing the onus on reviewers to think of such things), and 3/ in any event the need for blocking admins to think of these things was already in the policy anyway, in the various sections about how to implement blocks. Hopefully the new grouping, that identifies more clearly what the blocking admins might do, and what reviewing admins might do, will help.
(The subsection on confidential matters was unchanged by either of us and remains at #Confidential evidence, exactly as before.)
FT2 (Talk | email) 16:02, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Requesting comments about blocking policy[edit]

An interesting RfC is ongoing about the actions of admin Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:UserLinks/shared' not found., who overturned a block of one of his allies, Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:UserLinks/shared' not found., without consulting with the blocking admin, Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:UserLinks/shared' not found.. Specific questions being covered:

  • Should an admin be required to consult with the blocking admin, before overturning a block?
  • Is it acceptable for an admin to use tools in support of an editor, if that editor is one of the admin's regular allies in other editing disputes?

Comments and opinions are welcome at: Wikipedia:Requests for comment/SlrubensteinII. --Elonka 17:12, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

The assertion that these editors are "allies" is a question being discussed in the RfC. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:17, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Infinite != Indefinite ?[edit]

Ok, so in running through WP:New admin school today, I noticed that there are two possible blocking options, one for "indefinite" and one for "infinite". Now, I know the mathematical distinction between those two words. But, in a practical sense, what is the difference to Wikipedia between an infinite and an indefinite block?--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 10:20, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

As far as I understood it, "indefinite" means that the block will be timed but it depends on the user to determine how long (e.g. when blocked for vandalism only, they may become unblocked when they request so and promise to stop such behavior). "Infinite" on the other hand means that this account is blocked forever (e.g. through a community ban). That said, I never actually really thought about it... I am using Animum's great EasyBlock script for blocking purposes through which I do not have to use the block form in 99% of all cases. Now that you sparked my interest, maybe someone else can explain to both of us the difference. ;-) Regards SoWhy 10:34, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
You're looking at the drop-down box for blocking a user. "Infinite" doesn't really exist. It sets a block with a very long term expiry date. That option isn't much used. By contrast, "indefinite" is widely used, mainly for two purposes:
  1. Users whose conduct is such that they should be blocked not for a "fixed period", but basically "until the problem is resolved" (WP:INDEF). This could be as simple as "You are blocked until you agree not to engage in posting copyright material on the wiki". It could be resolved in minutes. But it is a "Block until resolved" or "Block while being discussed" issue (as opposed to say some incident where a fixed block is set), often due to seriousness or repetition, basically "we don't want to see this kind of thing again, when you discuss and that's sorted out, then the block's done its job".
  2. Users who are basically blocked with the likelihood that the block isn't anticipated to be reversed in the foreseeable future. Vandalism only users, users with personal attack habits they can't drop, and so on. Basically, "No more editing from you" type blocks. (Such users may appeal, and you'll see there is a common theme: block with no fixed end point, and unblocking becomes possible if the need for the block vanishes.)
The talk page or block summary will explain which was in the blocking admins mind. FT2 (Talk | email) 03:11, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation, FT2, that was helpful. Out of curiosity, what is the expiry date on "infinite"?--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 04:33, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
It should be the average age of a human life. That would make sense. Unless of course vandals want to pass down their accounts through generation to generation than the expiry time should be "forever" 220.239.47.163 (talk) 07:48, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
It will probably last until 2038, when we say...crap. - NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 19:42, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Giano section[edit]

User:Scott MacDonald inserted the following section, probably due to a request by User:Morven. User:Jayvdb reverted. It seems to describe consensus well, and things would be better if this is codified properly, and admins follow it.

Giano[edit]

Script error: No such module "Shortcut". Blocking User:Giano II is never advised. Blocks on Giano are invariably undone by other admins, and will result in drama, and the likelihood of the blocking admin's motives, integrity or judgement widely being called into question.

Notwithstanding any other part of this policy, it is always ill-advised to block Giano, and certainly do not block for incivility.

Discuss. --Apoc2400 (talk) 10:30, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Silly and pointy. Giano may have become a cause célèbre for hawkish 'no-rudeness under any circumstances' admins, hence his block log as long as your arm, but the reason they get overturned is consensus usually determines they are bad blocks. Blocking for trivialities which aren't disrupting the encyclopedia, and admins lording it over editors are at root here, not special Giano measures. Leave the guy alone. --Joopercoopers (talk) 10:37, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Giano is not a standalone exception; there have been others before him, and will be more to come. A policy document should not be describing a specific case. If there is some gem in this idea by User:Scott MacDonald, write an essay or generalise it so that it is usable for other scenarios. John Vandenberg (chat) 11:11, 17 December 2008 (UTC)


The way it's worded doesn't make it look like a constructive effort at all. The reason why most Giano blocks are wrong is because they haven't been discussed first. Most Giano blocks are like a cop arresting a well-connected artist for a minor offence. And the reason it happens so often is because he is so visible and it's enough that a single admin makes a wrong decision. How about this:

If a block is likely to be controversial it needs to be discussed first, especially when it is likely to mark the beginning of a wheelwar.

--Hans Adler (talk) 11:00, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Giano is a stand alone exception, as even arbs have noticed. If there are stand alone exceptions that should be documented. I'm not commenting on whether there should be or shouldn't be. But this is how it is. No one should ever block Giano. This contribution was intended to be constructive, so please don't assume otherwise.--Scott Mac (Doc) 12:20, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Hans Adler's version is much better, if we need any change at all. We should never single out a specific user and create a policy around them. Policies are meant to be abstract rules that can be applied to an indefinite number of likewise cases. Regards SoWhy 12:30, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
You are missing the point. We have singled out a single user and created a policy exception around him. That's the defacto situation. Policy pages should reflect the reality of what we actually do, not what some might wish we did.--Scott Mac (Doc) 12:35, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
By "we" do you mean the arbitration committee? That exception (the civility parole) ends very soon IIRC. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:31, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't see that we need to edit the blocking policy to specifically name Giano. The fact that anyone has seriously proposed such a change should give everyone something to think about - both Giano, people who have blocked him, and people who have unblocked him. The larger problem is that neither the blocks nor the unblocks have consensus. So perhaps Hans' sentence can be extended to say "If a block or unblock is likely to be controversial, ..." — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:31, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Completely and utterly stupid, enough said. Majorly talk 15:42, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. I'm not sure whether he is baiting or trolling, but that's unhelpful, no doubt. Rockpocket 20:20, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
It's POINTy, yes, and Scott knows better, but there's a valid point to be found in there, as CBM says, if the proposal was made, there's a problem that needs resolving, but it's to do with Meatball:VestedContributors in general, not just Giano. We have a fair few folk that think they are above the behaviourals that the rest of us abide by, or at least try to. Some of them, when called to task for it, find fault with... oh... the rest of us, ArbCom, Jimbo, Wikipedia Review, whatever's handy. So watch out for that. ++Lar: t/c 23:32, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree with Lar here and think this needs to be codified, but not in an "only-Giano" type of way. Perhaps this as an amendment?:

Because ill-placed blocks and undicussed blocks can cause a great amount of strife, be sure that blocking the user is the correct and least disruptive course of action before you place a block

.

Foo. Sceptre (talk) 23:37, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

proposal to clarify/change blocking policy for incivility[edit]

I would like to make changes to the blocking policy for incivility. It may be that the changes proposed are what is currently intended--they certainly seem consistent with the current intent--in which case I think they may need some clarification.

The current guidelines simply state that a person may be blocked for "persistent gross incivility." According to WP:incivility, the definition is somewhat vague and different things may appear to be uncivil to different people. Thus, WP:incivility states that the first step in addressing incivility is to discuss the issue with the editor, explain precisely what is potentially offensive, and request that they address the situation. The intent of this is clearly to give good-faith editors a chance to express themselves in civil way by rephrasing their comments.

In recent events, one editor (call him Jim) believed that a second (Bob) was violating WP:etiquette, and throwing up fact tags on all articles he disagreed with. Bob was being accused of having an agenda, not trying to improve wiki articles, and not keeping biases in check. Bob and Jim both escalated the issue, and both behaved poorly. Eventually, a post made by Jim was deleted by an admin for being "uncivil." He stated explicitly that he was not intentionally being uncivil, but simply did not understand what was uncivil with his statement. He was making personal statements about Bob, but felt this was central to the issue of Bob's violation of WP:etiquette and thus relevant. He reverted the deletion.

The admin then blocked him for reverting the alleged "uncivil" edit. I believe this violates wiki guidelines because the admin did not (1) explain what was offensive in Jim's post; (2) ask Jim to change his own post; (3) inform Jim that he was "persistently" engaging in "gross uncivility." The guidelines for blocking clearly state that it is not used as a punishment for behavior, but to limit future disturbances. Clearly, a discussion with Jim is a better way to limit future disturbances than blocking him. The block achieved to alienate and anger a good-faith editor, implicitly support the poor conduct of another editor, and escalate a sensitive conflict.

I would like to make it clear in the blocking policy that administrators have a responsibility, in the case of incivility, to address the incivility in discussions, clearly specify the offending statements sufficiently for the editor to change their own words, and avoid antagonizing other editors by removing their posts without sufficient discussion under threat of blocking.

Would that be reasonable? Thanks in advance for comments. --Thesoxlost (talk) 20:35, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Blocks for conflict of interest[edit]

Is a block for evading a conflict of interest, or continuing editing after a warning, ever justified? I am thinking of several examples of editors who continue to tweek their "own page" after repeated warnings. Or should I just list them at WP:COIN? Bearian (talk) 21:54, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

WP:COI is not an absolute prohibition. If the edits comply with policy in every respect, it does not matter who makes them. The COI guideline is a warning because most people (but not all) have trouble with WP:NPOV when writing about themselves. Jehochman Talk 21:57, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Jehochman is right: we don't block solely because an editor continues to edit in an area where they suffer from a conflict of an interest. But if the editing is disruptive, that's obviously a different story. I have seen many examples of COI/SPA editors that edit against clear consensus, violate 3RR, inappropriately POV-push, edit tendentiously, abuse multiple accounts, make personal attacks, etc., etc. Those behaviors are all blockable. — Satori Son 22:05, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you both for the clarification. Bearian (talk) 23:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

In relation to this, the policy says 'accounts that appear, based on their edit history, to exist for the sole or primary purpose of promoting a person, company, product, service, or organization' are considered disruptive and may be blocked. So, if someone set up an account solely to make edits relating to a particular company, political party, a company's clients or whatever, but none of those edits were disruptive or in breach of any policy, would that account be blocked? Do we need to clarify 'promote' here? A similar clarification has already been made at WP:COI#Promotional article production on behalf of clients. --Helenalex (talk) 23:48, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Competence to decline requests[edit]

Per the discussion preceding Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Policyfied (permalink), I've added the following: "Only administrators may decline unblock requests, even disruptive ones, but other users may also contribute to the review process, such as by leaving comments on the blocked user's talk page." I've also suggested that any further discussion continue here.  Sandstein  08:52, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I heartily support this, and like I said on the associated AN thread I'm hardly the first guy that would want to enshrine "more" power in the role of adminship. But like closing an AFD as delete, this a role only an admin should do, as any non-admin declining an unblock can be trivially overruled by any admin that wants to. rootology (C)(T) 18:04, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
*Anyone can overrule it, not just an admin. If no admin or no other person overrules the action, doesn't WP:SILENCE apply?
* A note re what you said on AN. You said that this is current practice... but our policy is determined by *best* practice. An example might help: It is a common practice to vandalize wikipedia, but that does not mean we make a policy that says "please vandalize wikipedia", it is a best practice to add content to the encyclopedia and not be a WP:DICK, therefore, that is what we document.
* You claim you don't want to enshrine more power to admins? Yet here you are doing it anyway. Sure, indirectly, and only by a really really small amount. But if you've been around a while, you tend to notice the really small amounts adding up. (Like this thing about a non-admin not being able to close a *FD as delete? Why not? Just contact an admin to hit the button... there's no practical reason there either.). The easiest way to catch these kinds of things early is to actually just go about your everyday tasks with the admin bit turned off. That's how I caught on to this one too. It does in fact end up disenfranchising people. Whoops!
--Kim Bruning (talk) 18:18, 6 January 2009 (UTC) Quick note: I'm going to skip the revert step from WP:BRD here, since we all already know who to talk with ;-)
I'm the kind of person that likes to deal with and engage in practical stuff, not pointless theorycraft or policycraft. If 99.9% of the users here do something a certain way today, it's policy, regardless of what come before or how it conflicts with any lame duck or wet noodle practices/policies that came before in some far off days of yore (and this is speaking as someone who's been around since 2005). rootology (C)(T) 18:36, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps this might surprise you,but I actually agree with you, and in fact with equal passion. In fact, I'll take things one step further.
The thing is, people do things in several different ways today. Some non-admins *do* close XFDs, and some non-admins even do decline unblock requests from time to time, all without getting rapped on the knuckles <innocent look>.
So saying only "non admins MUST NOT RFC 2119 deny unblock requests" is in fact incomplete.
I like your argument, so let's use it: we need to tell the whole story about what people are doing today.
I guess we could say we can apply NPOV to policy pages? We certainly should report that some people don't like the idea of non-admins denying unblocks (and why), but we should also mention that others don't mind (and why).
Does this sound reasonable? If so, let's do it! :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:05, 7 January 2009 (UTC)



Sandstein: Note that some more people are now showing up on WP:AN who are not so worried about non-admins causing trouble. Of course, "not so worried" versus adamant means that the adamant folks win (despite the fact that a more relaxed attitude leads to better (soft-)security) --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:18, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

There's an advantage to non-admin unblock declines: it removes the ability for the blockee to resort to the unfortunately-common "admins are evil and out to get me" nonsense. I see this as a lot like non-admin "keep" closures at AFD- anyone has the technical ability to not unblock someone. Friday (talk) 18:30, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

This is however complicated by the fact that since non-admins lack the tools, any admin can justifiably override any non-admin decline of any unblock request with impunity. No policy can change that. So, since in practice and in technical reality, why not just codify it with how it's already done? Because a ultra-tiny handful of edge cases come up doesn't meet we redraw policy, to accomodate people that feel like testing boundaries. Current practice--which is best practice by de facto--is that admins deal with deciding on unblock requests, but anyone can weigh in with their $0.02. rootology (C)(T) 18:36, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Which is how I think it should be. It prevents confusing the blocked editor, allows anyone to have a say, and removes the potential for mischief (particularly someone declining specifically to remove the unblock request from view). dougweller (talk) 18:57, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes. Unblock requests, especially possibly well-founded ones, are somewhat delicate affairs already. We don't need the additional problem of editors edit-warring about whether an unblock request should be declined or not, or (as Doug notes) declining them to prevent their review.  Sandstein  19:11, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
We already have very decent best practices for dealing with edit wars and interference, so we don't need to reinvent that wheel here (policy creep). --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:12, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
In deletion discussions, speedy and snowball keep cases are fairly easy to spot, in part because multiple editors contribute their opinions and hence it is easier for an editor - admin or no - to come along, evaluate consensus, and act accordingly. I think that the differences between deletion and unblock decisions are significant: there is no tradition of an unblock discussion (hence, no consensus for an editor to determine, and no "snowball keep" equivalent), and no established criteria for speedy unblock decline. There's also no central "unblocks for discussion" page and no history of occasional unblock request backlogs. None of this constitutes an insurmountable obstacle, but this proposal seems rather like a solution in search of a problem. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 20:10, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
The only potential problem it's a solution for, in practice, is the old dogma that "It's a Wiki!" and that anyone can do anything, which we've seen again and again isn't true, because it can't be. If it was, and the old idea was true, I'd say go ask for the Main Page to be unprotected or go edit a Proposed Decision under WP:RFAR, and see it works out. rootology (C)(T) 20:17, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Main page? Been there, done that. (well ok, that was en.wikinews, but still). Proposed decision? Hmmmmm... Didn't quite do that yet, I've never had sufficient reason to want to. If you can come up with such a reason at some point, I'll volunteer to be the fall-person to try it, and prove you wrong ;-) Any other examples? <very innocent look> --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:18, 7 January 2009 (UTC) The trick is to have a sufficiently good reason, and convince others that it's a good reason too. It isn't just a good idea, it's policy!
Re:SheffieldSteel: The policy still states that a reviewer must discuss with (at least!) the blocking admin, and/or take things to the admins noticeboard. Are you claiming that this practice is no longer actively being followed by some/many/most? --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:27, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Compromise: Specifically encourage editors to comment, but make it clear that anything they say, including "request denied", can be overridden by an administrator. In other words, allow non-admins to say "denied" but make it clear such a statement has nothing to back it except the itself, and possibly the reputation of the person making such a statement. Non-admins should be discouraged, but not prohibited, from making such authoritative statements. However, in snow-like cases like vandal-only accounts with more than enough second chances, a polite non-admin comment like "Sorry, you had your chance, I doubt any admin will unblock you" and a more direct non-admin comment like "Sorry, you had your chance, denied," amount to the same thing in every way but tone: Neither has any actual force, but both make it quite clear the editor has worn out his welcome. IMHO neither statement should be prohibiited, but the polite would should be strongly encouraged over the more direct one. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:37, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Keep WP:CREEP in mind. WP is not a bureaucracy. If there isn't a clear need to make an enforceable guideline, it should be avoided. Nowhere in the unblocking guidelines does it state that a declined decision is final. Every admin has the authority to unblock any user, regardless of whether an admin or non-admin used the word "Declined." It should not be confused with a binding mandate for all users; it should be used as a tool for summarizing consensus, if at all.
Currently, the rule is on the books. Should it be removed at least until a consensus is reached here? --Thesoxlost (talk) 03:23, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it was a bold change, but it was too bold. Revert and discuss. Having said that, I'm willing to live under the proposed, er, boldly implimented change. But as there is no consensus yet, it should be reverted so we can discuss it. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 04:56, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I collected a (non-exhaustive) list of arguments in favor of the addition from AN:

  • Admin tools are useful in diligently reviewing unblock requests, specifically viewing deleted contributions, protecting pages, and extending blocks.
  • Declined requests are removed from Category:Requests for unblock. If the user does not post another request, how will an erroneous decline be seen? AfD pages are transcluded into daily logs, which are thoroughly watched.
  • CAT:RFU rarely has a substantial backlog.

Clueful editors, such as former admins, may chose to perform the edits regardless of the policy, invoking WP:IAR at their discretion. Eventually, someone will notice the discrepancy and report such an editor to AN/I, in good- or bad-faith. On the topic of judgment, I'd prefer a random admin over a random editor. Flatscan (talk) 04:59, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I think clueful non-admins can deny unblock requests, especially if they make the right decisions. Their action could be considered highly disruptive if it was done in bad faith, for instance, in furtherance of a content dispute. A blocked user can make multiple requests to be unblocked. The key point is that no editor should decline more than one unblock request from a user. Users may also appeal blocks via email. I think better documentation of unblock practices would help. We should try to minimize the divide between admins and non-admins. Jehochman Talk 05:08, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeahbut - blocking and unblocking is the divide between admins and non-admins. Until an admin has reviewed it, the request should remain at C:RFU. If someone is clueful enough to deny unblock requests, why don't they have the bit? Who reviews their actions, if there's no trace left that a review was required? Franamax (talk) 08:07, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
No, admins still need consensus for their actions (it just so happens that they have the tools and can use their judgment first, but if challenged, they still need to get consensus). The only things that don't need consensus from the community are Foundation issues and ArbCom decisions. Everything else involves community input on some level. —Locke Coletc 08:16, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Only an administrator could overturn the block, so having non-administrators reviewing blocks seems to be quite pointless. Non-admins could only decline requests but never accept them. Why even do this? Why is it necessary to have non-admins reviewing blocks in this way at all? It's one thing to have input from everyone (after all, not only admin's opinions matter when coming to consensus about how blocks should be applied), but this seems quite inappropriate. --causa sui talk 09:14, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
This "imbalance" is quite normal; for example only an admin can delete a page, but anyone can create one. The secret is that an admin's magic (as a revered servant of Wikipedia) is only called upon when the combined will of the people has decreed it absolutely necessary. —Sladen (talk) 12:30, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't see this as a good use of analogy. Only admins can block users, but now we want to add that non-admins can decline to unblock them. It makes no sense for a non-admin to be declining to unblock someone. That seems to me to be rather absurd, since non-admins couldn't unblock users in the first place; it would be as if a user declined to delete a page.
Maybe you mean that non-admins can close AFDs as keep where there is consensus to keep the article. I don't really have a problem with that, but in practice it should be the exception only in exceptionally clear cases (with thorough discussion) rather than the rule. --causa sui talk 19:10, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Sandstein and Ryan. RlevseTalk 12:34, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

It's probably more useful if could take the time to add why. —Sladen (talk) 12:22, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
OK, Kim, I, Tony Sidaway, and several others are experienced users without admin bits. If someone blocked for downright vandalism or racist trolling posts an unblock request on their talk page and one of us (or some other clued user) "declines it", is someone really going to jump up and down and point to rule #4543fb(ii)?? we don't do this on wikipedia. If someone is technically able to do something, and they do it right, we don't care who they are. As for "any admin can overrule" - well, yes, but if an admin declines a request, any admin can overrule. Best just to say "handling unblock requests can be tricky and requires good judgement and some experience, it may generally be best left to administrators." That's a "may" not a "must" and means that non-admins who do it properly should not be given any trouble.--Scott Mac (Doc) 14:21, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. No harm, no foul. Jehochman Talk 14:31, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • The problem is in the "grey areas" and how to delineate the same. Take User:Xenocidic/RFAQ, for example. While a non-admin could have declined it, they couldn't very well offer a {{2nd chance}} as I did in the situation (leading the user to reform and become a valuable contributor). This is why reviewing unblock should rest solely in the domain of those granted the ability to overturn blocks. –xeno (talk) 14:25, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
    • No, that is why that particular request needed an admin. It is not a reason for another case of blatant vandalism not to be declined by a non-admin. Gray areas are good - not everything in life is black and white.--Scott Mac (Doc) 14:32, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
      • So where do we draw the line? There's many people who were standing for adminship who thought the situation was a "black and white decline". Also, there's very rarely a backlog for unblock requests, I don't see any net benefit in allowing non-admin reviews. –xeno (talk) 14:33, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
        • We don't draw lines. We take each on its merits. As for "allowing" actually, they are currently allowed. Anyone is pretty much allowed to do anything on a wiki. And if people do something, and get it right, we don't slap them. If they get it wrong, then perhaps steer them away from doing it. I am a non-admin and I fully intend to deny any silly unblock requests I see. If I do that, and do it right, helpfully, and uncontroversially, are you going to sanction me? Because if there is a rule on this page, or any page, which would prevent any non-admin doing something useful to the encyclopedia, they are, of course, entitled to ignore it.--Scott Mac (Doc) 14:39, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
          • I think that by writing an allowance for this into the policy would lead to people straying into the gray areas. Better to write a discouragement in there, and if you really want to, IAR away. –xeno (talk) 14:43, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
            • Better not to write anything into the policy whatsoever. Avoid CREEP and don't ever discourage people from doing helpful things. Passing bad rules that prevent people from doing good thimgs and then saying people should ignore them is pretty nonsensical.--Scott Mac (Doc) 14:45, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
            • IAR is not needed if neither an allowance nor a discouragement is suggested. (WP:CREEP). —Sladen (talk) 14:47, 8 January 2009 (UTC) mid-air collision
  • I'm honestly sympathetic to the "creep" arguments that Scott Mac makes above. If someone wants to be helpful they should be allowed to do so, regardless of process, policy, or supposed "authority." I've made lots of edits to policy pages (including this one) to try to tone-down or remove legalistic and restrictive language. The difference in this case, in my view, is that there is nothing really lost by leaving the responsibility of reviewing blocks exclusively to admins. Only admins can make blocking decisions and that is a hard requirement already in place by the software. We cannot change that with policy edits. It seems to me very superfluous to pretend that we can. --causa sui talk 19:15, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Two questions:

  • When an unblock request is declined, is the blocking admin typically consulted or is he/she assumed to be in favor of upholding the block? I see comments here mentioning compulsory discussion and consensus as dictated by policy, but I have the impression that obvious declines are expedited and handled by single admins.
  • From above, repeated: how will an erroneous decline be seen? Is the blocked user expected to keep posting new {{unblock}}s until he/she is unblocked or the Talk page is protected? I would consider the comparisons to WP:NAC to be more valid if some sort of oversight were possible.

Flatscan (talk) 05:32, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

If it's common practice for the blocking admin to watch the blocked user's Talk page, that's one point of oversight. Flatscan (talk) 05:36, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Suggestions and compromise versions[edit]

Here is a suggestion for a compromise version.

Except in clear cases with detailed discussion and firm consensus, reviewing unblock requests should generally be left to administrators, who can enforce blocking decisions.

I think that preserves the spirit of the original revision while still allowing some wiggle room. Thoughts? --causa sui talk 19:23, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

A change was introduced 48 hours ago[3] (purportedly) supported by an ANI thread. Per WP:IFITAINTBROKE, and if the thread was perhaps not so clear cut... we could revert to the previous status quo. If a wording if felt truly necessary it should probably reflect fact:
Editors are reminded that if a consensus is reached with the outcomes of unblock or second-chance, this action will be required to be performed by an administrator. Closing an unblock request should not be done unilaterally.
The is no need to "enforce [a] blocking decision", as the User/IP is already blocked at the point of such a request. —Sladen (talk) 19:48, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Your objection about enforcing decisions is well taken. What I mean to express by "enforcement" of blocking decisions is that while anyone can have an opinion about whether a user should be blocked or not, only administrators can actually cause a change in the block status of any user. In other words, only administrators can enforce both blocking and unblocking decisions. But I think you're right that I didn't put this clearly.
This revision is interesting. I'm concerned about the use of the term 'required'. I think you mean to refer to the software limitation that only sysops can block and unblock users, but I worry that this is not clear and readers may think that the requirement comes from the policy itself, as if the policy is a firm rule that must be obeyed. I generally object to most use of terms like "required," "obligated", "violations" etc on this ground.
With that in mind, how about simplifying in this way?
As only administrators are capable of unblocking users, the review of unblock requests should generally be left to administrators. Other editors should be careful not to decline unblock requests unilaterally.
--causa sui talk 23:57, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I'd be happy with this wording, in preference to the current, but placed below simply saying nothing at all. —Sladen (talk) 04:39, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
We can do this. But I'd prefer changing "the review of" to "declining". Reviewing requests also includes just commenting on them, which non-admins may of course do.  Sandstein  06:53, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
As with Sladen, this wording is better than the original, but still far worse than saying nothing at all. To be clear I also support what Kim's said above. —Locke Coletc 08:54, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Seconded. There is no need for any instruction here. It is obvious that only admins can unblock, it does not follow that non admins can't quite legitimately decline an unblock request and endorse the block.--Scott Mac (Doc) 08:59, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Disagree. If a user could be trusted to decline an unblock request, they'd be trusted to fulfill it by unblocking. Since they're not, they should limit themselves to adding comments, not making decisions. Spotfixer (talk) 04:05, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
That vests more power in adminship than was originally intended methinks. —Locke Coletc 04:21, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Assuming that the editor being blocked is not an admin, this would actually make this editor more vulnerable to being kicked when they're down. If any editor at all can refuse an unblock request then these requests would be even less likely to be accepted. This would likewise mean that the blocking admin has gained power, since their block is less likely to be corrected. Spotfixer (talk) 07:30, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
How is that? Only admins can unblock users and that is a hard-coded limitation by the software. What was intended seems a bit moot... but we are back to square one here. --causa sui talk 11:37, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Third..ed. Sladen's veresion is the best of those proposed, but adding nothing would be better. --Thesoxlost (talk) 04:50, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposed change to wording of block policy[edit]

I thought I should link to a discussion I started at the Village Pump. It can be found here. I would like it if this proposed change was given an up or down vote by interested parties. Thanks. Chicken Wing (talk) 16:07, 27 January 2009 (UTC)


Article Illuminati block[edit]

The atheists and satanists controllers (melmac e Blueboard) blocked the editing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Markvision55 (talkcontribs) 03:50, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

How do I block?[edit]

Can someone tell / show me the process for blocking an IP (for constant reverts developing into an edit war)? Can I block myself or does it have to be approved by admin?Stephenjh (talk) 20:53, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

You must either be an administrator to use the blocking feature, or you can request an administrator to do it. If a block is needed for vandalism, the vandal should be reported at WP:AIV. Other block requests can be made at the Administrators noticeboard, and it's various subpages. Until It Sleeps 04:15, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

New Idea for Blocking Procedures[edit]

I would like to offer a suggestion to the Programmers and Administrators of Wikipedia to possibly consider altering the current system of blocks. Right now there is only 1 block that can be given out to a user, it completely blocks a users ability to edit anything outside of their own Talk page. I think that this system is a detriment to the whole process here and a set of 3 types of blocks should be used instead. As it stands now, when a person is blocked they are completely shut out and silenced from any and all discussions with whoever they are having problems with, and these 3 new options for blocking would help open up communication channels in order to help resolve some of the disputes people have.

3 Types of Blocks:

Block:Article - This would prevent a person from making any new articles or changes to articles, but they would still have access to talk pages and article discussion pages.

Block:Discussion - This would prevent a person from making any edits or changes to articles or article discussion pages, but still would have access to talk pages for discussion with admins and other users.

Block:All - This would prevent a person from making any edits to any page other than their own talk page.

I think that this would be a valid system of blocks which would help with the ability for people to continue a dialogue even while preventing whatever damage was being done which resulted in them being blocked in the first place. 216.211.255.98 (talk) 15:32, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

We already issue topic bans where necessary, most actual blocks are issued where we want them confined to their own talk page and nothing more (and sometimes even disallow that). –xeno (talk) 15:34, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I think that if we need to physically prevent someone from editing in an area instead of just issuing a topic ban, it would be because the user would not accept the communities decision. As such, I think that a full block makes the most sense when simple community requests fail to influence a users action. I do think we should have another level of protection that makes it harder to make sleeper accounts, but that is another subject. Chillum 15:52, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

WP:BLOCKME[edit]


The archived conversation included here cropped up on WP:AN. Since it is basically a policy issue, I have moved it here.

I propose that we re-insert the BLOCKME section of policy with a disputed tag, and determine what form (if any) it should take in this policy. Protonk (talk) 03:44, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Policy is supposed to be descriptive, not prescriptive. This policy is already too long, it doesn't need bits that are both useless and false. Is there any reason to include this, at all? WilyD 03:50, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
What does that mean, with respect to this policy? That it isn't policy if someone doesn't follow it? Sure, it isn't law. but it is supposed to describe best practice. Saying "we don't block people on request" eliminates the whole mess of an on-request block obviating an impending block and accords reasonably well with what I see on AN, AN/I. Like I said in my comment above, I'm not prepared to say that it is some first principle of the wiki, but I don't think it should have been removed from the policy page. Protonk (talk) 03:59, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Err, it regularly isn't followed (probably as often as it is), it comes up so rarely that coding for it is not really needed, and there's no reason to suggest that not blocking on request is best practice. I removed this quite some time ago, and nobody cared for a long time, because it's just sitting there taking up space. It's junk, policycruft, whatever, which serves no purpose, isn't followed and isn't needed.
Making policies long just makes them harder to read (and results in them not being read). Including very specialised bits for no reason that rarely come up and then aren't done as written anyways is a bad practice. Best is to leave it out, let admins block or not as they feel inclined. WilyD 04:24, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I believe that not blocking a user on request is a bad idea. For one thing, a user who really wants to be blocked may start to disrupt if we don't. For an other thing, if a user says "I'm Template:Ul, block me" (Hamish Ross is a major sockpuppeteer who repeatedly harasses Template:Ul), is blocking that account a bad idea? and what bout a user who says "This account is a sockpuppet of Template:Ul and is EXTREMELY PROUD OF IT"? (not so far off from the previous example) I think that if a user asks to be blocked, we should do it. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 08:21, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
There are 2 reasons I can think of for wanting a block: They can't help themselves and want to opt-out (gambling places in Australia are legally required to allow self-refusal), or they think they are about to get blocked for something else. Wikipedia is an addiction, so why is it different from a gambling addiction? If they are about to get blocked for something else, then whoever is doing the 2nd block, instead of saying "oh, nevermind, he's already blocked", put a note of some sort saying they deserve it (unblock then reblock, or something) so they wont get unblocked if they request unblock. And the way I see it, there are 3 options for someone that wants to be blocked: Ask, Vandalise, or change your password using your forehead. I believe we should allow people to opt-out of Wikipedia, and anyone who thinks we shouldn't allow opt-out should suggest to the requester the forehead option (or get a friend to change their password for a less permanent option). This keeps everyone happy, and prevents needless vandalism. But either way, this is something that shouldn't need to be spelled out, and would just clutter up the policies. Kaldosh (talk) 12:39, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Oops, I forgot about the disruptive self-blockers. Anyone being deliberately and repeatedly disruptive (the Hamish Ross example) is the reason the blocking system exists, and should be blocked. Kaldosh (talk) 12:46, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I endorse the removal. The sentence when it was removed was weaselly ("we don't typically") and unnecessary. –xeno (talk) 13:49, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I see no reason not to block a registered user on request by that user (confirm that the request was actually made by the user, don't trust the sig). עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 14:23, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Endorse the removal. Any editor who feels that he needs a wikibreak in order to prevent himself from acting in a rash manner is to be encouraged on that road of peace. For any editor to recognize that he needs a "cooling down" or "refelctive time out" period is to be encouraged. Further, for an editor to recognize that he might not have the willpower to maintain a self-imposed break, and so ask for a self-block, actually shows the greatest presence of mind toward avoiding disruption as any wikipedian might hope to see. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 21:04, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Endorse removal. Policy was unnecessary because the case arises so rarely, and it's not even clear to me what it was supposed to achieve. And it is not being followed anyway, at least not in a sufficiently consistent manner. --Hans Adler (talk) 00:16, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Question: Does this apply to IP's? This isn't an academic question. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:UserLinks/shared' not found. has reported self as a vandal. I'm sure there will be others requesting self block from IPs they may or may not own. Toddst1 (talk) 01:22, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

We've always blocked IPs per {{Consentblock}} MBisanz talk 01:27, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
That requires an OTRS ticket, no? Toddst1 (talk) 05:02, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that wouldn't apply in the above example, but if an IP asked for a block, we would ask its owner to email OTRS and then perform consent block. MBisanz talk 05:10, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Abuse filter tripping[edit]

With the abuse filter, many admins have been blocking users if they repeatedly trip filters that don't automatically block. Is there consensus for this practice?--Ipatrol (talk) 23:57, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Right now, no filters block... Are you asking if we ought be blocking for attempted vandalism? (that gets stopped by the abuse filter?)... I would say yes, if it's blatant enough. –xeno (talk) 23:59, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
(e/c)None of the filters automatically block, that feature isn't enabled here. I don't see why we should wait for them to actually bypass a filter and vandalize a page. Blocking is supposed to protect the project; if someone is obviously trying to vandalize, blocking does that, even if they aren't actually successful at their efforts. Mr.Z-man 00:06, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

How about before blocking in this manner, we use the two warnings I left on my workbench. After those warning are issued, standard vandalism warnings are given for further vandalism attempts. Then if the vandalism attempts continue, admins can block and users can report to AIV. Sounds good?--Ipatrol (talk) 21:09, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like a massive waste of time. The messages the AbuseFilter gives when it disallows an edit are sufficient. If a user trips a filter to catch Grawp-style vandalism, there's no need for "welcome to Wikipedia" warnings. Mr.Z-man 00:25, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

The warnings I am suggesting are for vaguer violations of the filters. Things like replacing page content with "suck grawp's massive cock" would likly fall under thesame criteria we use for 4ims and VOAs. However, possible trippings of the filter by newbies should be handled the same as regular vandalism. Rember AGF and BITE in all circumstances.--Ipatrol (talk) 03:08, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

You do realize that we can see what the content of the edit would have been, even if it was disallowed by the filter? Mr.Z-man 21:10, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like common sense to me, so I don't think it needs to be in the policy. If you're looking for a general discussion, you might try WP:AN. --causa sui talk 05:44, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

So it looks we have a consensus and a modification in policy, I have no complaints. THis discussion is done.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Ipatrol (talkcontribs)

Unblocking one's own bot[edit]

Let's say Admin A block's a bot run by Admin B. This policy says "Unblocking will almost never be acceptable...to unblock one's own account...". Does this mean that Admin B should not unblock his/her own bot?--Rockfang (talk) 20:28, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

If the bot was blocked for malfunctioning, I don't see it as controversial for the operator to unblock it once it is no longer malfunctioning. –xeno (talk) 21:07, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Xeno. We're here to be sensible, not bureaucratic. DurovaCharge! 00:53, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Thirded. I would not read the policy so literally. If you have a good-faith rationale for why doing X would help the project, then you should probably do X, regardless of what the policy says. --causa sui talk 00:18, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Although you are probably not an uninvolved admin then. After all, you are not allowed to unblock yourself as well and why should you be allowed to if your bot ran havoc but not when someone else did using your account? SoWhy 13:05, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Because no argument could be made that it is harmful to the project except slavish bureaucratic adherence to firm rules. By the way, I think it would be okay to unblock yourself if you were blocked due to a compromsied account that you now had back in your control, too. But that's another debate. --causa sui talk 22:33, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

WP:BLOCKME + Schools[edit]

I noticed that WP:BlockMe is gone and I've been asked by a local school technician that is a friend if schools can request a block on their IP address to stop vandalism and such, so what is the policy regarding this? Peachey88 (Talk Page · Contribs) 11:34, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Schools can request blocks, the usual way is by emailing OTRS with the request so a ticket can be atached to the block message (ie. {{Consentblock}} –xeno (talk) 11:39, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
In which case, Wikipedia:Consented blocks could really do with updating. —Sladen (talk) 11:49, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Vandalism-only account[edit]

There was a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Vandalism-only account and it was requested that it be continued on this page. -- IRP 21:35, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

As others have suggested, vandalism-only accounts are already covered by the blocking policy. Accounts used primarily for disruption generally get blocked indefinitely. Did I miss anything? -- zzuuzz (talk) 22:00, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
How about {{supplement}} ? Stifle (talk) 22:10, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to provide any supplement. If we were to merge it instead, what exactly would there be to merge? -- zzuuzz (talk) 22:21, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Since there wasn't any summary of what discussion was under dispute I took a look at that talk page. Apparently the debate is whether we need a separate policy page to authorize the indefinite blocking of vandalism-only accounts. I think the answer is an obvious no, and I will add a short mention of this to the Blocking policy page to avoid the fragmentation of policy pages. --causa sui talk 22:38, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Being bold, I just merged in the content of WP:VOA to this page, as a subsection of "disruption". There was a fair bit of advice specific to VOAs that was not already on this page, so I think it's worth retaining. This page itself had a link to VOA, so the specifics from VOA are presumably still needed. It might be possible to shorten the entry, however.--Father Goose (talk) 22:56, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
And I've been reverted. I have no particular stake in this, but I felt the merge was a straightforward choice, so I did it. Ryan, do you feel the instructions at WP:VOA are not worth retaining? It did get quite a bit more specific than "go ahead and block VOAs". I'm not sure what we've gained by discarding the specifics. Are those specifics found anywhere else on the WP:BLOCK page, or were they wrong in some way?--Father Goose (talk) 23:12, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
What we've gained is simplification of the policy. In this case, less is more. See WP:CREEP. I hope you didn't take it personally that I reverted you, since I know that your edit was in good faith. --causa sui talk 17:14, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
No, nothing personal, I just wanted to know if the extra detail was felt to be useless, and I guess the answer is 'yes'.--Father Goose (talk)
"accounts used primarily for disruption are blocked indefinitely" seems to cover it well. It is not exactly a complex concept. I am not sure what else needs to be said. Chillum 23:14, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it should be "accounts used primarily for disruption are blocked indefinitely without warning". I have made that change. Chillum 02:35, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I have made a couple of edits. Click here to see them. -- IRP 21:45, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure if the people who claim that all of the information that was on Wikipedia:Vandalism-only account is stated at Wikipedia:Blocking policy have read through Wikipedia:Vandalism-only account. Is every single fact that was stated at Wikipedia:Vandalism-only account stated here? If so, where? Here is a list of facts that were stated at Wikipedia:Vandalism-only account before it was redirected here:

  • Vandalism-only accounts are usually blocked indefinitely, although occasionally, depending on the severity of the vandalism, the first block implemented may be temporary. (at Wikipedia:Blocking policy, where does it state what came after the first comma in the last sentence?)
  • If vandalism continues after a temporary block expires, it is extremely rare for the second block to be temporary.
  • After one month, all pages in the userspace of the vandalism-only account are deleted. See Wikipedia:User pages of indefinitely blocked users.
  • Vandalism-only accounts do not include IP addresses, as IP addresses are often shared by many physical computers, and are nearly always reassigned to another computer after a period of time.
  • If an IP address has been used only or mostly for vandalism, it is included in Category:IP addresses used for vandalism. These IP addresses may be subject to very long blocks, up to a year and occasionally even longer.
-- IRP 22:49, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
I think the crucial information is covered. I don't think all the details are needed. If the account is primarily used for disruption it may be blocked indefinitely without warning. The rest seems tangential.
We don't need to cover all the information here, only that which is policy. The old page could become and essay covering the finer details, linking here in the see also section. But only if someone feels the information is important. Chillum 23:30, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
See this edit. -- IRP 23:46, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
No, not every single detail that was in WP:VOA is covered here, and that is a good thing. That page contained far too much complicated instruction creep already. --causa sui talk 01:27, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

WT:CSD. Stop the wholesale Deletion of the Usepages of Indefinitely Blocked Users[edit]

I have started a thread to Stop the wholesale Deletion of the Usepages of Indefinitely Blocked Users at WT:CSD. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:36, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Unsourced material in BLP's[edit]

I've added back the clause on "persistently, and after warnings, adding totally unreferenced material concerning a living person". It isn't redundant to the point above it, which only deals with negative material, as Doc explained in the edit summary. This new provision would prohibit people from persistently adding any unsourced material regarding a living person to Wikipedia. It's a bid to prevent our backlog of sourcing getting any bigger. We're at the point now where it is not unreasonable to ask people to source their contributions, especially within the field of living people. This would also remove the subjectivity around what is negative. Ask yourself if it is negative to say someone is gay? Now bear in mind Jason Donovan sued The Face over such allegations. We can't prove something is true, part of our mission is that we don;t prove it. We just verify it has been asserted, and that we are according it due weight. If people persistently violate that... Hiding T 15:09, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I support a change in this direction. Blocks to stop the addition of unsorced content is a good use of the blocking tool since it is directly related to stopping the creation of poor content. Of course the goal is creating high quality content, so if the person can contribute appropriate material then they are welcome to come back. FloNight♥♥♥ 15:17, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  • The concern will be over newbie biting. However, we have experience editors who regularly add unreferenced biographic info or even create unreferenced BLPs. It isn't to much to say "hey, please don't insert material about living people without a source - it not what we do here". We don't need to remove the information if it looks OK, just ask editors to provide sources going forward. If they don't then escalate warnings to a hopefully unnecessary block. As for BITE, don't bite. But do ask a new editor if he'd mind sourcing that article he's created. He doesn't need to use wikimarkup he just needs to put a note of the book or the website on the article. If we ask people nicely from the start, then we should begin to train our editors. But we do need t start by saying that once people have been asked nicely not to add unreferenced stuff, asked serveral times, and then warned, we do eventually say "no, that's not acceptable here".--Scott Mac (Doc) 15:25, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  • This is already covered by "persistently violating other policies or guidelines." We already regularly block users for violating the Verifiability and No original research policies. Combined with the explicit mention of blocks for BLP violations (which almost covers persistent additions of unsourced content), this proposed addition seems redundant and policy creepy. -- zzuuzz (talk) 15:35, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with Zzuuzz. If an edit violates WP:BLP, it is already covered by the current blocking policy (albeit needlessly, because we can block for the persistent violation of any policy). If an edit does not violate WP:BLP (or other policy), it is most likely not blockable. The proposed addition simply makes no sense to me.  Sandstein  15:40, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me that the best way to get (what I perceive to be) the desired result would be to change BLP policy to the effect that unreferenced material (even if not contentious) should not be added to BLPs. Having got that policy change, it would then be possible to block editors for "persistently posting material contrary to the biographies of living persons policy" - i.e. no change would be needed to this page. Conversely, if consensus doesn't support such a change to BLP policy, it may be problematic getting support for a parallel change in blocking policy - after all, we don't often block editors for doing something that isn't against policy. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 15:41, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this policy, the BLP policy, and other policies need to be updated together with this change. I don't think it matter where the discussion starts.
Currently, we have many users seeing unsourced BLP content but no is taking ownership of the problem so it is not getting resolved. Spelling out the potential for a block will guide editors and administrators to be more direct in reminding users to add sources, I think. We are trying to explain to editors up front why having sources for material is important. I think that adding this wording will put everyone on notice that blocking is an appropriate method to use to get users to improve the content that they add. Hopefully, the warning will be taken seriously and the person will begin adding sources or remove the poorly referenced content. FloNight♥♥♥ 15:54, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I just posted an essay about this in a section below, not seeing this discussion had already taken place. But I have to take exception to something you said. I think it is wrong to consider the purpose of policy pages to be proscriptive in the way you describe. Policy pages should follow what is already consensus; i.e., what is already being done, not the other way around. I understand that you think policy pages could be useful to put people "on notice" that it is appropriate to block people in these circumstances, but I caution that if it really were that obvious, people should start doing it already. The attitude that we need policy to authorize that kind of action reinforces exactly the kind of indecisive mindset you are describing. I'm not sure how to solve the problem of people not understanding that it's okay to do the right thing whether policy explicitly authorizes it or not, but I have serious concerns that treating policy pages in this way will make the problem worse, not better. --causa sui talk 16:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. I think that mature organizations need to evaluate their processes to see if they are working and make changes as needed. Policy talk pages are one of the places that these discussion will occur. When an organization is large and already has established rules then it is much more difficult for people to change existing practices without discussion. I have no objection to people blocking users today after a warning. The purpose of the written policy is to share the idea with other users so that everyone is on the same page. FloNight♥♥♥ 17:38, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
You said "When an organization is large and already has established rules then it is much more difficult for people to change existing practices without discussion." I think that's right, and I think that is a strong argument against established rules. --causa sui talk 18:27, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Rules exist. Once a group is too large for everyone to know them or remember them, then they need to be written down. Once they are written down, then people need to be alerted of changes that happen by changing the wording. If people question the change in wording, like some people did today, then our custom is to discuss the change on the talk page. That's how we both got here. :-) FloNight♥♥♥ 18:36, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
We'll have to move this to Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules or we're going to get way, way off topic. --causa sui talk 18:47, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Shall we adjourn to WT:BLP or WP:VPP? SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 16:04, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Blocking and BLP[edit]

There is some dispute about a certain BLP-related statement, and whether it is redundant with what is already in the policy. The policy currently states that...

...is a blockable offense. It has been proposed that the blocking policy be amended with this:

  • persistently, and after warnings, adding totally unreferenced material concerning a living person

The dispute is over whether #1 is redundant with #2. I think it is, and I will briefly explain why, and my rationale for why this should be left out of the policy.

As we all know, there is a natural tendency among editors of policy pages to think that they will be amplified with additional helpful information or instructions. This is normal and plausible. This tendency becomes a problem, though, when it leads to the policy becoming overly complex and full of detailed instructions that readers might find overwhelming or difficult to follow. It also is problematic because it subcommunicates to editors that policies are firm rules that strictly forbid, as well as authorize, editorial conduct. Therefore, it is implied, we need the policy to account for every possible contingency as well as explicitly authorize every editorial or administrative action.

Of course, as I'm sure we all agree, this is not the case. It is a much better approach to strive toward keeping the policy simple; consider looking at policy as a firmly-established set of general principles that informs readers of best practices and widely-held consensus that is known to be most effective at building an encyclopedia. Policy is, in that sense, a misnomer: Wikipedia policy pages might be thought of as Wikipedia philosophy pages, because they describe our general (but well-established) attitudes about editorial conduct and serve to guide common sense. They are not a replacement for common sense and a pragmatic approach to building an encyclopedia. With that said, we must be mindful to weigh the benefits of every addition to policy against the drawbacks of complicating it. A good goal to strive for when writing policy is that once an editor has read a policy and understood the main points, he or she should not have any need to refer to it again.

With that said, it remains to be established whether this seemingly innocuous statement is really instruction creep or not. I'll say right out that I don't believe that #1 is the same as #2. There is some extra information conveyed in #2 that is not conveyed in #1. My reason for thinking we should reject it is that the information added to the policy is not substantial or useful enough to outweigh the drawback of complicating the policy. Any administrator who understands that repeatedly adding BLP-problematic material is disruptive should be able to determine that it's reasonable and necessary to block editors who do so.

Either of these statements should suffice to get that basic message across, and so there is no need to have both of them. I would be satisfied if the policy contained either or, but not both, because of the complications. I tend to prefer #2, actually, since it does not require the editor to immediately recall all the content of the BLP policy.

Here's a proposed compromise:

Let me know what you think. Cheers, --causa sui talk 16:32, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't like blocking users for any reason so I think it would be very regrettable if any users are blocked for adding repeatedly adding unsourced content. That said, I think that Scott's change was a natural consequence of the discussion that he was having with users over the last week. The feedback that he was getting cause him to react by changing the policy. I think that it is appropriate for policy changes to be sparked by enlightened insight into a situation from someones experience.
Right-- I don't think anyone like to block anyone for any reason. (At least, I hope they don't!) What I think we are trying to convey in the policy is that users who are persistently disruptive despite more conciliatory attempts to reform their behavior should be blocked to prevent further damage to the project. I'm not sure I'm familiar with the discussion you're referring to, but we are in a bit of a meta-debate here, i.e. a question about how we think policy changes should take place. There's definitely nothing wrong with enlightened insight leading to policy change; I hope that all policy changes are a result of enlightened insight! ;-)
What I find problematic about this edit is not any supposed lack of insight. I think that it's basically a good idea, and I agree with what he is trying to communicate. The problem is with the complication of the policy. Instruction creep starts when someone has the perfectly well-intentioned idea, "Things would be better if everyone did this" and then adds it to the policy. Anyway, we can carry on debating that point, because I do think it's interesting-- but if we can agree on this compromise revision, I'll be satisfied that we aren't slipping into excessive verbosity, even if we continue to disagree about the meta-points. --causa sui talk 18:42, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to see this implemented. Hiding T 21:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I've added it, and we'll see what happens. There's enough consensus for the idea, even if the wording may be a bit of a compromise. Hopefully it'll improve with age. I like the word 'persistent', as it implies a continuing pattern of edits after warning. I find the rest of the wording weakens the message about BLPs, as it now only includes potentially defamatory and unreferenced information, whereas previously it also directly covered other parts of the BLP policy, such as privacy, excessive POV pushing, and other perhaps unwritten parts of BLP. It would be optimal, in my opinion, to have the BLP policy updated, so it can be linked directly without covering the link to it with verbosity. -- zzuuzz (talk) 21:32, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
There is some important information in the BLP policy that isn't present in the blocking policy. What I'm trying to avoid is (what I perceive to be) the tendency to think, "This is policy, it's very important, and people need to know about it. Therefore we need to include all the details of it in every other policy as well." I don't want to start packing the blocking policy page with stuff from the BLP page to the point that someone doesn't have to read the BLP page, although I do think that it's important that editors read the BLP policy if they haven't already. I'll make some cosmetic changes, but maybe we should add a "See also" or something to that effect? --causa sui talk 14:54, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

I think it's very important to recognize that inserting negative or unreferenced material after being told not to do so will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Generally I would say something like this would fall under Wikipedia:Use common sense, but due to the nature of biographies, making it explicit is a very reasonable thing to do. --MZMcBride (talk) 21:26, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

We do block people who do this, it might as well be in the policy. Documenting an existing best practice is not instruction creep. Instruction creep is when rules are added to people's actions because of policy, in this case rules are being added to policy because of people's actions. Chillum 12:58, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure why BLP related blocks should be explicitly mentioned, since it ought to already be covered by the content in Wikipedia:Blocking_policy#Disruption, especially "persistently violating other policies or guidelines." I'm already a bit worried about having lists of examples, because the natural inclination once these things are enumerated is to want to pack them with every possible rationale for a block. Once BLP blocking is added to the list of examples, will we also add statements authorizing blocks for page-move vandalism, posting shock images, adding links to shock websites or websites containing viruses, etc? We block for those too, but nobody had to be told to do it. What is important is that the policy describe the consensus rationale behind blocking, not that it enumerates every obvious reason someone might be blocked. --causa sui talk 13:24, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we need a list of examples. This one issue is very large on Wikipedia. It is not as though we are making a shopping list, just mentioning one of the major issues. I don't think the slope is really that slippery. Chillum 13:28, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Template:Consentblock[edit]

I have noticed on some pages which this is transcluded even though the block is no longer in effect. It's ok if I remove it right? NanohaA'sYuriTalk, My master 18:02, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Rationale for including a link to Wikipedia:Vandalism-only account somewhere on this page.[edit]

1. It's related.

2. There's no link to it in any other main page in the Wikipedia: namespace. It's pretty much an orphan, in that sense.

3. Why not? It only provides more information for those seeking more detail with regards to vandalism-only accounts. It doesn't do any harm to link to it, and it makes sense to link it. The words "Vandalism-only account" are already there, all this is doing is turning the letters blue.

I'm getting the feeling that the problem some users are having is with the essay itself existing, rather than a problem with it being linked to on this page. -- OlEnglish (Talk) 02:02, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Hey-- thanks for taking this to the talk page. What I think is problematic about wiki-linking it is that it fragments the policy in a way that implies people need to read sub-pages in order to understand the policy when they don't. Wiki-linking like this is normal and natural in the mainspace, because it is a "Do you want to know more?" function, but when it comes to policy, we have different priorities in mind: nobody needs to click a sub-page to understand what it means to say "an account used only for disruptive purposes", and so this Wiki-linking makes things more complicated than they need to be. In light of the debate we just had over the inclusion of vandalism-only account information (see above), I hope you can understand our position on this. --causa sui talk
I understand but disagree that it makes things more complicated. It doesn't imply that they NEED to click on it, just that it's there if they CHOOSE to seek further detail. I don't believe that instruction creep is a threat to Wikipedia at this point either. Maybe it's just my obsessive perfectionism but in my view, even with Wikipedia policy, the more information the better, and more clearer the definition. I believe the reason why there are such complicated legalese-written contracts (in law for example) is to avoid any misunderstandings or misinterpretations, that's why I think detail is important.
As can be seen on its talk page, I originally went to that page to find more information specifically on whether policy states that certain Vandalism-only accounts (with only one or two edits) should be warned first or just immediately blocked indefinitely without any warning, which in a way contradicts what's written at Wikipedia:Warn vandalism. Although I'm not an admin it helped me decide whether I should warn that person first or just take it straight to WP:AIV. I understand that it should be taken on a case by case basis depending on the severity of the vandalism but if I or anyone else ever becomes an admin in the future this is good information to refer to and keep in mind. That's enough ranting for now. :) -- OlEnglish (Talk) 20:36, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course one could always just WP:Ignore all rules. :) -- OlEnglish (Talk) 21:42, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the parts of VOA that are policy related are already covered on this page. Chillum 21:45, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
But the instructions on how to handle such accounts is not. -- IRP 22:02, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Sure it is: "accounts used primarily for disruption may be blocked indefinitely without warning". They may be blocked indefinitely without warning. What else is there? Chillum 22:19, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, there are a couple different ways to approach this. My attitude is to take WP:IAR to mean that we should also take it into consideration when writing policy. It's not enough to justify instruction creep by saying "Well, you could always ignore all rules!" I think the content of policy pages should reflect that it is not proscriptive and that it is not a replacement for common sense, and that's why I'm being such a pain in everyone's ass every time they try to add something to policy pages. :-) I don't want policy pages to even suggest that they are a substitute for critical thinking. I want everyone to have to think about what they are doing, and I want them to be just a little bit in the dark about what the best thing to do is, because that forces them to think. That doesn't at all mean I think policy pages are useless, but it does mean that I don't want it to be even possible for someone to follow policy like it's a manual.
IRP seems bothered that there is some information in the VOA page that isn't in the blocking policy page. To that, I say: Good! As Chillum pointed out, we have conveyed the information that someone might have been in doubt about even after using common sense: It's a widely-held established practice to indef-block disruption-only accounts without warning. Good. You are a bit perturbed that the policy appears contradictory with other policy pages. Good! You have to use your head and decide for yourself what to do in each particular situation. Some people seem to have the intuition that rules should make it absolutely clear what everyone should be doing at all times. I don't. Policy pages should be directing your basic understanding of Wikipedia philosophy; once you read a policy page, you should be able to go forth and use your reasoning without having to refer back to it at any point in the future. If I had my way, no one should ever have to reread a policy page. --causa sui talk 02:54, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I can agree with that. If every little thing about every conceivable situation was written in policy pages those questions people ask in RfA's would be a breeze! We'd have hundreds of thousands of mindless automaton admins running around parroting policy! :) -- OlEnglish (Talk) 23:12, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Wait... IS that bad? -- OlEnglish (Talk) 23:12, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry? --causa sui talk 01:40, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I was just thinking, maybe that's not such a bad idea. Imagine: A fully automated artificial intelligence system drawing on a comprehensive database of set policy and precedents taking care of any vandalism or maintenance tasks for us. Sure would free up a lot of time for us to write more and better articles. -- OlEnglish (Talk) 23:34, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Ha! It sure would. Let me know what you can come up with. ;-) --causa sui talk 23:53, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Someone please edit an entry[edit]

I was looking up 'freckle' and someone wrote a nasty entry. Something like "To make freckles get a shitty paint bruch and flick it in someones face." I was appalled to read this. Can anyone edit the entries? I would have erased the sentence if I knew how to do it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.165.188.104 (talk) 01:24, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

I have reverted this edit to freckle. Next time you could do it yourself by pressing the "edit" button at the top of the page. Regards, — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 16:52, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Unblock reviewed template[edit]

Template:Resolved Can I solicit one or two opinions about changing the background color of reviewed unblock requests, at Template talk:Unblock reviewed#Background color.
Thanks, Amalthea 13:03, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Changed, thanks. Amalthea 15:20, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

First-time block duration[edit]

Is a 7-day block an appropriate action for an isolated incidence of harassment lasting less than thirty minutes from a user with no history of harassment? If alternative steps such as discussion, warnings, and mediation, have not been undertaken? According to the policy page, "incidents of disruptive behaviour typically result in 24 hours blocks, longer for successive violation." Some guy (talk) 05:23, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

If the harassment is severe enough, yes it is. Blocks can always be shortened if the user agrees to reform his behavior. --causa sui talk 06:37, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I block indef, no questions asked, for severe libel, including making defamatory claims about a private person (i.e. "<so-and-so> has AIDS", etc.). -Jeremy (v^_^v Cardmaker) 06:39, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd hesitate to indef-block an IP though.. some of them are dynamic. --causa sui talk 06:54, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't block IPs indef; 72h max. Same principle still applies though: no questions asked for severe defamation. -Jeremy (v^_^v Cardmaker) 07:11, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Could you possibly be more specific about "severe enough"? A rough example of a cutoff point or examples? For example, sarcastic criticism of editing mistakes? Calling names? Swearing? Harassment/attacks are confined to the target's user page. Some guy (talk) 08:17, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I can't be more specific. It would depend on the case. --causa sui talk 09:40, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I dont suppose any other parties have any comment about this policy? Some guy (talk) 23:00, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Again, it depends on the "harassment" in question. If it's mild sarcasm, then seven days is probably a bit rough, if it's obscene racism or blatant slander, then seven days is probably too lenient. Lankiveil (speak to me) 06:33, 8 June 2009 (UTC).

Tor nodes[edit]

This afternoon, I got blocked at work as a Tor exit node, probably because my IP is shared (User talk:129.194.8.73), and that even though I was duly logged-in. I have two MAJOR concerns about this automated blocking:

  1. The message I got did not answer to the following question: “What can I do to stop this blocking?” How can I continue editing wikipedia? When you get a regular blocking, you are told to add {{unblock}} to your talk page. This seems sensible. But in the case of a Tor node, there is absolutely no information.
  2. I went to Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard and clicked on Click here to start a new discussion thread but I was blocked there too! So I was completely unable to get round this blocking as a logged-in user.

It is unacceptable for a project like wikipedia to permanently block a user on an automated basis without basic information and an escape lane. It seems to me to be completely contrary the the state of rights principle. Until these problems are solved, I recommend that the Tor nodes blocking should be disabled. Calimo (talk) 16:52, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, someone powerful decided that all Tor users were either vandals, banned users or paedophiles and got that policy through. Six months of arguing against it didn't get anywhere though so don't expect it to be overturned. Gurch (talk) 16:54, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
There certainly are problems with collateral damage caused by open proxy blocks. However if we did not block tor nodes we would end up with unblockable vandals. This was not done based on theory, but due to actual problems with these services. Chillum 16:55, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Nowhere did I suggest not blocking Tor nodes that were actually being used for vandalism. Doing that is rather different from using a bot to pre-emptively block anything it thinks is a Tor node. Gurch (talk) 16:59, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I wasn't arguing about blocking Tor nodes or not, but rather about some specific points that must be adressed to make this blocking more acceptable, namely a better information and a way to get an administrative assistance. Whithout that, these blocks are truly unfair. Additionally, I see no reason why registered users should be blocked. Vandalism is usually done by IPs, isn't it? Calimo (talk) 17:07, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, vandalism is usually done by anonymous users. It's the banned users that create accounts. And possibly the paedophiles, I can't remember. Gurch (talk) 17:33, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  • You should probably take this up with whoever is managing the bot, since I don't really see it as a blocking policy issue. Anonymous proxies (which includes Tor, as I understand it) may be blocked on sight. If someone, or someone's bot, is inappropriately blocking the wrong IPs or not leaving information about how to appeal the block, then that is a problem with their conduct, not the blocking policy. ausa کui × 00:06, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Open proxy outlets get hardblocked because our blocking system requires that an IP be attached to a human persistently in order to function at all. I know it is lame, but it is how the system works. If we blocked accounts and didn't block open proxies, it would be pretty trivial for someone to surf over to an open proxy and either start a new account unrelated to the old one or operate an unblocked account with no checkuser evidence to the old one. As chillum says, this results in collateral damage, but is necessary. If you want, you can ask any admin to exempt your account from these blocks. Protonk (talk) 06:07, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

A quick search will show that the IP "129.194.8.73" you name has had quite a record of internet bans due to spamming. It was noted on a range of sites as a blocked spammer in 2006 - 2007 or undated securitywatch.co.uk proxyleecher "Forum-Spamming IPs" on orientaloutpost.com. Project honeypot notes it was active in this manner as recently as 3 months ago [4] and that in the 4 years prior to that date it was detected as a spammer/harvester, it was caught abusing web access on 155 visits to 55 honey pots.

So it's not quite that arbitrary. If you have an account in good standing and wish to edit from work, you can apply for IP block exemption. But using it to edit through tor or other open proxies isn't usually allowed. FT2 (Talk | email) 01:35, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Self-requested blocks[edit]

Comply? No? Depends?

So. If an editor requests a self-block, should admins be guided in their response by a guideline? Or should it remain a circumstantial thing? --Elliskev 23:53, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I would say only fulfill those requests when the block would actually prevent harm to Wikipedia. ie "Block me because I want to take a Wikibreak", no... "Block me because if you don't I am going to vandalize pages", yes. Chillum 23:55, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
What about ""Block me. Don't ask why. Just block me." (real scenario). Building on that. Is there a realistic way to guide admins, with a policy, on what to do and when to do it? --Elliskev 00:02, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
No, not really. I don't mind there not being one either, since everyone seems to handle this their own way and there's no strong opinions about it one way or another. It seems rather clear that we don't block people to enforce wikibreaks, andother than that, we want you to use your judgement. ausa کui × 00:04, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I'm not an admin. I just think this is a topic worthy of discussion, given a recent ANI discussion. There was a difference of opinion among admins, and I think this is the place to discuss it.
Since there was a disagreement among admins, maybe there should be some statement here addressing it? That's a question... --Elliskev 00:10, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't see why. In fact, if there is disagreement, then that is a compelling reason notto have the policy make a judgement until the issue is settled. And if it never is, that's fine too. We don't have to compel uniformity of behavior on every issue. ausa کui × 00:26, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
The issue was closed at ANI with at least two (me being one) people advising that the discussion be brought here. --Elliskev 00:29, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
BTW, I agree that there doesn't need to be a policy. However, there were admins (again, I'm not one) who sounded like they thought there should be one. That's why I brought it here. If no admins show up to weigh in, fine... status quo. --Elliskev 00:33, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

"It seems rather clear that we don't block people to enforce wikibreaks" Well that's what I thought too. However an admin did just that tonight and although some admins disagreed there was no consensus on the matter at ANI. Theresa Knott | token threats 00:50, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

In my opinion blocks should only be used to prevent harm to Wikipedia. If in your judgment you believe that the case then go for it, if not then it is probably best not to that particular tool. Chillum 01:03, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
There is a "self-blocking" script that can be used to enforce WikiBreaks. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:26, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Here's my feeling. Blocks by request are a terrible habit to get in, don't actually fit the expectations of a BLOCK in general, and are marginally helpful at stopping disruption. Beyond that, they gum up attempts to read block logs as an accurate accounting of responses to disruption and they tend to be handed out piecemeal. They aren't supported by our blocking policy and every time we get a collection of people together there is a lack of consensus supporting them. However as TK says above, they happen. And they don't get reversed because what's the point. Admins step in and under the umbra of "common sense" block a user on request over vocal objections. This has happened in the past and will happen in the future. Protonk (talk) 06:03, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I also add two further problems with self-requested blocks - 1) They may be evidence of a briefly compromised account, where someone's friends/schoolmates/genuine little brother thinks it would be hilarious to get someone else's account blocked while they're away from the PC; and 2) as a piece of original research, self-requested blocks tend to arise from moments of "drama" - carrying them out continues the lifespan of that individual dramatic carry-on and encourages others to do as well. How many editors have announced "retirement" in a fit of dudgeon, then returned the next day? Would that kind of silly storming off be improved or made worse if we routinely handed out self-requested blocks?
Obviously there are instances where they might be justified - for example a credible "Block me or I'll begin a vandalism spree" may justify preventative action. But the previosu wording of WP:BLOCK seemed fine to me: "Self-requested blocks are not routinely agreed to, consider an enforced Wikibreak script instead." -- Euryalus (talk) 09:55, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Agreed (except for the comma splice). ausa کui × 09:29, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. It was taken out without sufficient discussion IMO. Theresa Knott | token threats 17:06, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
All right, I put it back in. ausa کui × 02:29, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
I undeleted the shortcuts. Theresa Knott | token threats 08:47, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Lead sentence wording[edit]

Per Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#WP:BLOCK policy at odds with adminbots and allowing abuse filters to block users, some users have taken issue with perceived clashes between this page's lead sentence -- "Blocking is the method by which administrators may technically prevent users from editing Wikipedia" (emphasis added) -- and some current practices or proposals, including Wikipedia:Bot policy#Bots with administrative rights or Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Blocking abuse filters?. Some users have suggested the apparent contradiction could easily be resolved by tweaking this policy, I suppose either by altering the lead or by adding a subsection somewhere appropriate.

Does this policy page need adjustment, given the above? If so, how? – Luna Santin (talk) 09:34, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Blocking to Unjustifiably Make One's Opinion Prevail[edit]

Blocking, and more often the threat of blocking, is more frequently being used by Administrators with such powers to simply have their opinions prevail. This is often done with no explanation or rationale being offered. This is expressly against its intent, nevertheless there is no recourse for normal contributors. It's a growing problem. HM211980 (talk) 02:55, 6 August 2009 (UTC)HM211980HM211980 (talk) 02:55, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

There is usually good recourse. A user who has not acted improperly, should be able to obtain fair review at ANI, or failing that, at other venues mentioned in the dispute resolution processes. Can you give some examples where the user had a good case and reasonable conduct, the block was clearly improper or unfair (as opposed to just being different opinions), but trying to ask about the block or admin didn't work? FT2 (Talk | email) 14:43, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Wording of policies does not agree[edit]

The Indefinite blocks section of this policy states:

"If not one administrator will lift the block, the blocked user is effectively considered to have been banned by the community."

This is different than the Community ban section of the Banning policy that states:

"If a user has exhausted the community's patience to the point where an administrator has indefinitely blocked the user and no uninvolved administrator is willing to unblock him or her, the user may be considered to be community banned."

The bolded phrases are different in that one says "uninvolved administrator" and the other does not specify the involvement. Also, one says "willing to unblock", which is a little different than "will lift the block". --Atomic blunder (talk) 20:54, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I changed the wording to make the policies consistent. --Atomic blunder (talk) 23:37, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Indefinite block section[edit]

I am trying to come up with new language for the Indefinite blocks section so it is less arbitrary.

Current wording:

An indefinite block is a block that does not have a fixed duration. Indefinite blocks are usually applied when there is significant disruption or threats of disruption, or major breaches of policy. In such cases an open-ended block may be appropriate to prevent further problems until the matter can be resolved by discussion.

Suggested wording:

An indefinite block is a block that does not have a fixed duration. Indefinite blocks are usually applied to disruption-only accounts. Otherwise For other blockable behavior, users can be indefinitely blocked by a community consensus of uninvolved editors.

I believe fixed-duration blocks should be sufficient to prevent further problems until matters can be resolved by discussion. --Atomic blunder (talk) 03:16, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. I have applied indefinite blocks more than once in the case of significant, repeat copyright violators. I have restored the previous text pending some consensus on the matter, as in such cases a fixed duration block is completely inappropriate. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 16:27, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I see your point Moonriddengirl. Could you please take a try at coming up with different wording here on the talk page? The current wording says nothing of repeat violators for example. --Atomic blunder (talk) 16:35, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Technically, according to our copyright violation policy, they don't have to be repeat offenders; I myself just don't block them unless they are. (It says, and I support its saying, "Contributors who have extensively violated copyright policy by uploading many copyrighted files or placing copyrighted text into numerous articles may be blocked without warning for the protection of the project, pending satisfactory assurances that infringement will not continue.") There are cases where an indefinite block might be appropriate even if they are not repeat offenders, if their offenses are particularly widespread and egregious. The point, of course, with indefinite blocks is that they can be lifted at any time, but the blocked individual can't simply wait them out and resume violation. I think many of your changes to this page are very good, but I am inclined myself to think that the wording "Indefinite blocks are usually applied when there is significant disruption or threats of disruption, or major breaches of policy. In such cases an open-ended block may be appropriate to prevent further problems until the matter can be resolved by discussion." is probably appropriate. I've seen indefinite blocks used in some pretty iffy circumstances myself, and I would discourage that, but I wouldn't want to hamper their usefulness in cases where major policies such as WP:C and WP:BLP are involved. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 16:44, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Moonriddengirl here. Indefinite blocks are just that, indefinite. Sometimes they can help get an editor who has not been responding to engage in discussion and the block can be lifted quickly. Dougweller (talk) 17:49, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Thirded. The proposed text is not an improvement over the existing text. causa sui× 18:55, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The goal of any wording change would be to discourage the overuse of indefinite blocks in lieu of fixed-duration blocks. Maybe some administrators overuse indefinite blocks. --Atomic blunder (talk) 21:25, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I think most administrators are clueful enough to know when to appropriately use indefinite blocks. Do you have some evidence to the contrary? –xenotalk 21:33, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
No, however, I am interested in what others think, like yourself. --Atomic blunder (talk) 21:43, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I think indefinite blocks have their purpose and not just for disruption-only accounts as suggested by your proposed new wording. Blocking for a set period of time is not always effective. I think the policy is fine as written. –xenotalk 21:46, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Indefinite blocks have one thing in their favour in persuading a disruptive editor to consider changing their ways; you cannot wait them out. Give some people a 6 month block and 26 weeks later they start again, give some people an indefinite block and a week later they are engaging in discussions in how they might get the block lifted. I have always considered the indefinite block a far more persuasive sanction than a long term fixed period block. LessHeard vanU (talk) 16:53, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Do you feel that an indefinite block is appropriate for the first infraction by a disruptive editor? (I'm not referring to a disruption-only account.) --Atomic blunder (talk) 17:41, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not clear how a disruptive editor can only have one infraction unless you mean someone whose first and only edit is disruptive. Could you clarify what you mean? I agree with LessHeard vanU above. Dougweller (talk) 17:57, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Do you feel that an indefinite block is appropriate for the first act of disruption by an editor when it is clear that it is not a disruption-only account? --Atomic blunder (talk) 18:07, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
The question's not addressed to me, but I think it certainly can be. Remember, indefinite is not infinite. Suppose somebody hacks into my account and does something completely, horrifically inappropriate with it. Even if it's the first such disruptive edit, I would completely understand my account being indefinitely blocked while people try to figure out what's going on. In such a case, an indefinite block makes more sense than a timed one. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:12, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
However, that would be a block for protection (accounts that appear to have been compromised, as an emergency measure) and not disruption. --Atomic blunder (talk) 13:56, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Blocks for disruption are blocks for protection: to prevent disruption from continuing. If somebody using my account replaced, say, this policy page with "FUK U <INSERT RANDOM WIKIPEDIAN HERE>! I'VE GOT A GUN AND I'M COMING!", a block of my account would be for the purpose of preventing such disruption from recurring. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:13, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Please review "Common_rationales_for_blocks" for the difference between protection and disruption prevention blocks as defined by this policy. --Atomic blunder (talk) 14:45, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Please explain, in your own words, how what I said is wrong. :) Do you contend that "Disruption prevention" is not "protection"? --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:56, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
As presented by this policy they are different. --Atomic blunder (talk) 15:03, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure I see that as explaining in your own words, but thanks anyway. :) The point of preventing disruption is to protect the project from disruption. It's certainly a valid goal. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:08, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with the proposed change. If behavior problems are an ongoing pattern any admin can give an indef block. Indef does not mean forever it means the expiry is not determined. If no admin is willing to unblock the user it is a de facto banned. What you call arbitrary I call discretion. Chillum 17:11, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I would concur with those statements already made. More to LHvU's point, an indef block forces the behavior issue, as either the user must agree to alter their behavior or must ask for outside review that finds the behavior permissible. Blocks of fixed periods are sometimes less effective as the party can always claim that no one else agreed with the block (assuming they didn't request unblock). I do not see any issues with the current wording. MBisanz talk 17:17, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Indef blocks are used for a reason - and it's not for disruption only accounts. It's also for editors who are engaging in ongoing unacceptable conduct that cannot be allowed to continue or a "fixed length time-out" isn't appropriate (persistent attacks, legal threats, etc). In the case of disruptive behavior, it says: "This plain isn't okay; you can carry on editing as soon as we have an agreement to change but you won't be unblocked until you discuss it and agree to stop". FT2 (Talk | email) 21:44, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

I can reasonably conclude that administrators favor the current indefinite block wording. I wonder how non-administrators would weigh in on the subject. --Atomic blunder (talk) 23:04, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Usually administrators use the tools in a dispute, where someone asks for admin help or brings their concern to admin attention. If there is a severe conduct issue, then that person's usual wish is for admins to prevent it continuing. It also is used when quite possibly good-faith concerns arise (eg hacked account or in some cases significant actions + non-responsiveness) such that the concern must be addressed before editing resumes.
When the behavior is agreed to be changed, and the user appears to mean it, admins are fairly quick to unblock too. So it does work both ways. FT2 (Talk | email) 23:18, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Admins self-blocking IPs[edit]

A user requested clarification on admins self-blocking their IPs today, and I would like to hear the general community's opinion. For example, admin X has a static IP that s/he wants to disable to prevent untoward use. Example reasons – they run a proxy and nobody without IPBE should be able to edit from their IP, or they have friends visit and want others prevented from editing from their IP where they may be held accountable later. Is this okay? I was unable to answer, personal opinion aside, so I bring it here. Thanks. PeterSymonds (talk) 19:43, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

As long as blocking their own IP doesn't cause collateral damage (like if they are at a uni), I would not see a problem. MBisanz talk 21:18, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Proposal to again add bullying as a blockable offense[edit]

I propose that bullying be added again as a blockable offense. --Atomic blunder (talk) 03:14, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

It already is. Chillum 03:20, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
It was but it was removed.[5] --Atomic blunder (talk) 03:33, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
We don't have to list every variation of 'offences' for them to be blockable, however perhaps you can explain: how is it different from personal attacks and harassment which are both already included? -- zzuuzz (talk) 08:23, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I think that bullying can be addressed in WP:HARASS. --Atomic blunder (talk) 15:22, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

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