Tremors Wiki
Tremors Wiki

Blocking is the method by which administrators may technically prevent users from editing Tremors Wiki. Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption to Tremors Wiki, not to punish users. Blocks are sometimes used as a deterrent, to discourage whatever behavior led to the block and encourage a productive editing environment. See Purpose and goal.

Any user may request a block at the administrators' noticeboard for incidents or a specialized venue such as the Counter Vandalism Unit.

. Users requesting blocks should supply credible evidence of the circumstances warranting a block. Administrators are never obliged to place a block and are free to investigate the situation themselves. 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.

Tremors Wiki:Appealing a block has instructions for contesting a block. Except in cases of unambiguous error, administrators should not undo other administrators' blocks without prior discussion; see below.

Purpose and goal

All blocks ultimately exist to protect the project from harm, and reduce likely future problems. When lesser measures are inadequate, or problematic conduct persists, appropriate use of a block can help achieve this in four important ways:

  1. Preventing imminent or continuing damage and disruption to Tremors Wiki.
  2. Deterring the continuation of disruptive behavior, by making it more difficult to edit.
  3. Encouraging a rapid understanding that the present behavior cannot continue and will not be tolerated.
  4. Encouraging a more productive, congenial editing style within community norms.
Blocks are intended to reduce the likelihood of future problems, by either removing, or encouraging change in, a source of disruption. They are not intended for use in retaliation, as punishment, or where there is no current conduct issue which is of concern.

For the purposes of protection and encouragement, blocks may escalate in duration to protect Wikipedia while allowing for the cessation of disruptive editing and the return to respected editing.

Common rationales for blocks

The following are some of the most common rationales for blocks.

As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, do not block; instead, consult other administrators for advice. After placing a block that may be controversial, it is a good idea to make a note of the block at the administrators' incidents noticeboard for peer review.

Administrators should take special care when dealing with new users. Beginning editors are often unfamiliar with Wikipedia policy and convention, and so their behavior may initially appear to be disruptive. Responding to these new users with excessive force can discourage them from editing in the future. See Wikipedia:Do not bite the newcomers.

Protection

A user may be blocked when necessary to protect the rights, property, or safety of Tremors Wiki, its users, or the public. A block for protection may be necessary in response to:

  • persistent personal attacks;
  • personal, professional, or legal threats (including outside the Tremors Wiki site);
  • actions that place users in danger;
  • personal information disclosures (whether or not the information is accurate);
  • persistent copy right violations.
  • persistent posts that are unreferenced, poorly or incorrectly referenced, or potentially defamatory information about living persons; and
  • accounts that appear to have been compromised (as an emergency measure).

When blocking in response to personal information disclosures or actions that place users in danger, consider notifying wikia by email about the disclosure or danger and contacting someone with oversight permissions to request permant deletion of the material in question.

Child protection issues

Editors who attempt to use Tremors Wiki to pursue or facilitate inappropriate relationships with children, who advocate inappropriate adult-child relationships, or who identify themselves as pedophiles, will be indefinitely blocked. Reports of users engaging in such conduct should be made to the wikia for further action, and should not be the subject of community discussions or requests for comment or consensus. When an editor is blocked for such conduct, the blocking administrator is instructed to use neutral block summaries, and disable the editor's ability to edit their talk page as well as their access to the on-site user email interface. Blocking administrators should inform the blocked user that any appeals or further discussion may only be addressed to wikia.

Any page that includes this kind of content will be deleted without warning or notice, then fully protected, and reported to wikia.

Disruption

A user may be blocked when his or her conduct severely disrupts the project; that is, when his or her conduct is inconsistent with a civil, collegial atmosphere and interferes with the process of editors working together harmoniously to create an encyclopedia. A block for disruption may be necessary in response to:

Disruption-only

Furthermore, some types of user accounts are considered disruptive and may be blocked without warning, usually indefinitely:

  • accounts used exclusively for disruptive purposes, such as vandalism.
  • public accounts (where the password is publicly available or shared with a large group);
  • accounts with inappropriate usernames;
  • bots operating without approval or outside their approval;
  • 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. See Conflict of interest and Spam.

Enforcing bans

See The banning policy for more information.

A Wikipedia ban is a formal revocation of editing privileges on all or part of Wikipedia. A ban may be temporary and of fixed duration, or indefinite and potentially permanent.

Blocks may be implemented as a technical measure to enforce a ban. Such blocks are based around the particulars of the ban in question. Bans which revoke editing privileges to all of Wikipedia—that is, they are not "partial"—may be backed up by a block, which is usually set to apply for the period which the ban itself applies.

Evasion of blocks

See also, Tremors Wiki:Sock puppetry

An administrator may reset the block of a user who intentionally evades a block, and may extend the duration of the block if the user engages in further blockable behavior while evading the block. User accounts or IP addresses used to evade a block may also be blocked.

The short blocks should be described in the block summary as "previous account block" and the final duration of the block should be noted. Blocks placed in error and lifted early should not be noted at all.

When blocking may not be used

Conflicts of interest

Administrators must not block users with whom they are engaged in a content dispute; instead, they should report the problem to other administrators. Administrators should also be aware of potential conflicts of interest involving pages or subject areas with which they are involved.

Cool-down blocks

Blocks intended solely to "cool down" an angry user should not be used, as they often have the opposite effect. However, an angry user who is also being disruptive can be blocked to prevent further disruption.

Recording in the block log

Blocks should not be used solely for the purpose of recording warnings or other negative events in a user's block log. The practice, typically involving very short blocks, is often seen as punitive and humiliating.

Very brief blocks may be used in order to record, for example, an apology or acknowledgment of mistake in the block log in the event of a wrongful or accidental block, unless the original block has not yet expired (in which case the message may be recorded in the unblocking reason).

Explanation of blocks

Blocking is a serious matter. The community expects that blocks will be made with good reasons only, based upon reviewable evidence and reasonable judgment, and that all factors that support a block are subject to independent peer review if requested.

Notifying the blocked user

Administrators must supply a clear and specific block reason which indicates why a user was blocked. Block reasons should avoid the use of jargon as much as possible so that blocked users may better understand them. Administrators should also notify users when blocking them by leaving a message on their user talk page unless they have a good reason not to. It is often easier to explain the reason for a block at the time than it is to explain a block well after the fact.

When implementing a block, a number of pro forma block reasons are available in a drop-down menu; other or additional reasons can also be added. Users can be notified of blocks and block reasons using a number of convenient template messages—see MediaWiki:Warned Users.

Other important information

If there are any specific recommendations or circumstances that a reviewing administrator would need to know, or which may help to avoid administrator disputes upon review of a block, the blocking administrator should consider including this information in the block notice. For example:

  • When there is information or evidence that may not be obvious, may not be fully appreciated, or may otherwise be relevant.
  • Prior endorsement that if any administrator wishes to unblock, or there is consensus for it, they may without consulting the blocking administrator.
  • Suggested conditions for an unblock.

Unblocking

Unblocking or shortening of a block is most common when a blocked user appeals a block. An uninvolved administrator acting independently reviews the circumstances of the block, their prior conduct, and other relevant evidence, along with any additional information provided by the user and others, to determine if the unblock request should be accepted. Common reasons include: the circumstances have changed, a commitment to change is given, or there was a clear mistake. Contact the blocking admin on his or her talk page.


There is no limit to the number of unblock requests that a user may issue. However, disruptive use of the unblock template may prompt an administrator to remove the blocked user's ability to edit their talk page. In this case, a block may still be appealed by contacting the blocking admin on his or her talk page.

Block reviews

As part of an unblock request, uninvolved administrators may discuss a block, and the blocking administrator is often asked to review or discuss the block, or provide further information. (see Information provided by blocking administrator.)

Except in cases of unambiguous error, administrators should avoid unblocking users without first attempting to contact the blocking administrator and discuss the matter with them. If the blocking administrator is not available, or if the administrators cannot come to an agreement, contact another admin, if any.

Administrators reviewing a block should consider that some historical context may not be immediately obvious. Cases involving sockpuppets, harassment, or privacy concerns are particularly difficult to judge. At times such issues have led to contentious unblocks. Where an uninformed unblock may be problematic, the blocking administrator may also wish to note as part of the block notice that there are specific circumstances, and that a reviewing administrator should not unblock without discussing the case with the blocking admin or other admins order to fully understand the matter.

If a user claims they wish to contribute constructively but there are doubts as to their sincerity, giving the user a second chance can be used to allow them to demonstrate how they will contribute to Tremors Wiki should their unblock request be granted.

Altering block options

Administrators may unblock a user in order to re-block them with different blocking options selected, where that is necessary (for example, if a block on a registered account is causing significant collateral effects to a shared IP address or a blocked user is abusing the Special:Emailuser function). "Unblock to reblock" can also be useful if the block reason needs modifying for any reason, although the original reason will still be visible in the logs.

Temporary circumstances blocks

Some types of blocks are used in response to particular temporary circumstances, and should be undone once the circumstance no longer applies:

  • blocks of unapproved or malfunctioning bots should be undone once the bots gain approval or are repaired;
  • blocks for making legal threats should be undone once the threats are confirmed as permanently withdrawn and no longer outstanding.

Temporary circumstances unblocks

A user may be temporarily and conditionally unblocked in order to respond to a discussion regarding the circumstances of their block. Such temporary and conditional unblocks are made on the understanding that the user may not edit any pages (besides their user talk page) except the relevant discussion page(s) explicitly specified by the unblocking admin. The user is effectively banned from editing any other pages, and breaching this ban will be sanctioned appropriately. When the discussion concludes, the block should be reinstated unless there is a consensus to overturn the block.

Education and warnings

Everyone was new once, and most of us made mistakes. That's why when we welcome newcomers, we are patient with them, and assume that most people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it. We also ask that newcomers make an effort to learn about our policies and guidelines so that they can learn how to avoid making mistakes. Before a block is imposed, efforts should be made to educate the user about our policies and guidelines, and to warn them when their behaviour conflicts with our policies and guidelines.

However, note that warnings are not a prerequisite for blocking. Administrators should generally ensure that users who are acting in good faith are aware of policies and are given reasonable opportunity to adjust their behavior before blocking. On the other hand, users acting in bad faith, whose main or only use is forbidden activity (sockpuppetry, vandalism, and so on), do not require any warning and may be blocked immediately.

Implementing blocks

Technical instructions on how to block and unblock, and information on the blocking interface, is available at Tremors Wiki:Block and unblock. The following is advice specifically related to blocking and unblocking on Wikipedia.

IP address blocks

Main article: Wikipedia:Sensitive IP addresses

In addition to the advice below, there are special considerations to take into account when blocking IP addresses. IP address blocks can affect many users, and IPs can change. Users intending to block an IP address should at a minimum check for usage of that address, and consider duration carefully. IP addresses should rarely, if ever, be blocked indefinitely.

Collateral damage

When an IP range is blocked, other users who also use that range may be unintentionally affected. If you propose to block a significant IP range, especially for a significant time, consider asking a staff member to check for collateral damage on that range—that is, for the presence of other users who may be unintentionally affected by the range block.

Duration of blocks

The purpose of blocking is prevention, not punishment. The duration of blocks should thus be related to the likelihood of a user repeating inappropriate behavior. Longer blocks for repeated and high levels of disruption is to reduce administrative burden; it is under presumption that such users are likely to cause frequent disruption or harm in future. Administrators should consider:

  • the severity of the behavior;
  • whether the user has engaged in that behavior before.

Blocks on shared or dynamic IP addresses are typically shorter than blocks on registered accounts or static IP addresses made in otherwise similar circumstances, to limit side-effects on other users sharing that IP address.

While the duration of a block should vary with the circumstances, there are some broad standards:

  • incidents of disruptive behaviour typically result in 24 hours blocks, longer for successive violations;
  • accounts used primarily for disruption may be blocked indefinitely without warning;
  • protective blocks typically last as long as protection is necessary, often indefinitely.

Indefinite blocks

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 no administrator is willing to 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 Tremors Wiki:General guidlines and—if unblocked—to refrain from the problematic conduct in future.

Setting block options

There are several options available to modify the effect of blocks, which should be used in certain circumstances.

  • Autoblock will prevent contributors from contributing on the IP address that the blocked user was using, and should typically be disabled when blocking unapproved or malfunctioning bots (so as not to block the bot's operator, or other bots using that IP), though it should be enabled when blocking malicious bots. (This feature is enabled by default.)
  • prevent account creation will prevent accounts from being created by the account; if autoblock is enabled, it will also prevent accounts from being created on the IP address that the blocked user was using. It should typically be disabled when blocking accounts with inappropriate names (to allow the user to create an account with an appropriate name), though it should be enabled when blocking bad-faith names (for example, clear attacks on other users) or vandalism-only accounts.
  • block e-mail will disable the user from accessing Special:Emailuser for the duration of the block. This option should not be used by default when blocking an account, but rather it should only be used in cases of abuse of the "email this user" feature (still, in instances when an admin feels email abuse is extremely likely, they may use their discretion). When enabled, efforts should be taken to ensure that the user's talk page remains unprotected and that the user is aware of other avenues through which he can discuss the block.
  • Allow this user to edit own talk page while blocked if unchecked will prevent the blocked user from editing their own talk page, including requesting unblock. This option should not be unchecked by default; editing of the user's talk page should only be disabled in the case of continued abuse of the talk page.

The most common types of blocks when blocking an IP are commonly known as a soft block (autoblock disabled, account creation not disabled, blocking only anonymous users enabled) which block anonymous users but allow editing by registered users when logged in (commonly used when blocking shared IP addresses); soft block with account creation disabled (same but account creation disabled) used in most cases where vandalism or disruption is occurring via registered accounts; and hard block, which disables all editing whether logged in or not, other than administrators and other ip-block exempt users – used when the level of vandalism or disruption via creation of "throwaway" accounts is such that editing from the IP is to be prevented other than after individual checking of requests. Open proxies are hard blocked upon detection.

See also