Wikipedia:Appealing a block

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During day to day operations Wikipedia administrators routinely block accounts and IP ranges, to reduce or prevent vandalism and other serious inappropriate behavior. This page explains to blocked users why they may have been blocked and how to request an unblock.

Why was I blocked?

  • You may be an innocent victim of collateral damage, where you are accidentally affected by a block of some other user.
  • Alternatively, your account or IP may have been blocked because it appears to have been responsible for (or connected to) a serious breach of Wikipedia's policies.

If your account was blocked by mistake, it will be reactivated very quickly, as soon as you let an administrator know of the problem. Otherwise, there is a rapid appeal process which obtains quick review by other independent administrators, and brief discussion of the matter. One aim of blocking in some cases, is to ensure the user learns from the incident, and that the issues don't happen again.

Common questions

  1. What is a block?
  2. Should I create a new account to appeal?
  3. I've never done anything wrong and I was blocked! Please advise.
  4. I did something a bit wrong, but how do I get unblocked now?
  5. It says I've been "indefinitely" blocked. What does that mean and how do I get unblocked?
  6. It says I've been "autoblocked" because of another person whom I don't even know!
  7. I want to edit Wikipedia, but I keep getting blocked because of others on the same network as me!

Requesting to be unblocked

Instructions for requesting an unblock will be placed on your talk page or in the block explanation. A quick way to see these and test if you are still blocked, is to click here which tries to edit the Sandbox. If you are allowed to edit the sandbox then your block has already expired or been lifted and nothing more needs doing. If the block is still active you can resume editing when unblocked, or you can request a review of the block if you believe it is unfair or that you have put right whatever was the problem. The preferred way to appeal a block is to use the {{unblock}} template, but you can also contact the blocking administrator via email to request unblocking or alternatively submit a request to the Unblock Ticket Request System.

Useful links for helping blocked users:   Message seen by blocked users: MediaWiki:Blockedtext   Requests for unblocking: Category:Requests for unblock

What happens next

When you appeal, other editors – most of whom probably have no involvement in the matter – will review your editing history, which has been logged, as well as the reason for the block and the history leading up to it. Editors may leave comments on your talk page regarding your appeal.

Usually, if it's a clear cut case, any uninvolved (independent) administrator will make a decision. The blocking administrator may be consulted for their comments on your request (this is a common courtesy). The process can take minutes or a few hours; for major discussions sometimes it can take until the next day.

Administrators will strongly avoid blocking and unblocking fights which would be a serious breach of administrator policy. For this reason, blocks will not usually be allowed to become a source of conflict; rather, consensus will be sought, by means of a fair and objective examination of the matter and of any policies alleged to have been breached.

Routes to unblock

Blocks can be reversed with the agreement by the blocking admin, an override by other admins in the case that the block was clearly unjustifiable, or (in very rare cases) on appeal to the Arbitration Committee.

Types of appeal

In all cases, unblock requests should be submitted on your user talk page. Generally speaking, unblock requests will be one of the following two types:

  1. Requests for unblock in the event of a case of mistaken identity, misunderstanding, or other irregularity;
  2. Appeals for clemency, in which the appellant acknowledges the conduct that led to their block and requests a second chance.

If the appeal is of the first type, you should use the unblock template on your talk page or visit the unblock requests system (UTRS). If the appeal is of the second type, you should use the unblock template on your talk page, and only use UTRS if you cannot edit your talk page.

Direct appeal

Appeals will usually take place on your user talk page; use the unblock template on your talk page to initiate this process:

  • If there is agreement that you may have been blocked unfairly, you may be directly unblocked (if the block was clearly and obviously a mistake), but this is very rare unless there genuinely were no prospective grounds for the block. Usually the blocking admin's judgement is respected if there is any question of doubt.
  • You may be unblocked if the blocking admin changes their mind or can't be reached, and an unblock is considered reasonable.
  • When you are unblocked, you may then follow the dispute resolution process if you believe that you were treated unfairly.
  • If an unblocking needs discussion, reaching a consensus usually takes several days.

Other methods of appeal

In highly unusual cases, you may wish to utilize the dispute resolution process while you are still blocked. To do so, you may contact other Wikipedians by e-mail, or by editing your talk page (which you can usually do even if blocked).

If you have been banned from editing the English Wikipedia by the Arbitration Committee you must appeal to the Ban Appeals Subcommittee.

If you have been blocked from editing indefinitely or the community has banned you from editing you should first appeal on your talk page and to UTRS. If both of these methods are unsuccessful you can submit an appeal to the Arbitration Committee's Ban Appeals Subcommittee (BASC). However please note that appeals submitted to it are rarely accepted. The majority of appeals of Wikipedia blocks are dealt with through other processes, which are all set out above. If you are sure that you are entitled to appeal through the arbitration process, please go to this page for instructions on doing so.

Abuse of the unblocking process

A usual block prevents users from editing all pages except their user talk page, in order to have a chance for appeal, and so that they are not shut out completely and are able to participate at least to some degree in Wikipedia, while the block is active.

Upon a request to seek arbitration, editing access may be restored to a limited number of other pages (such as those connected with their appeal) pending the formal decision, so that the matter (and any evidence, facts, mitigating circumstances, or corrections) can be presented as well.

A minority of editors who are blocked use these privileges poorly, for personal attack or to play games and make a point. Inevitably the response to such actions is simple – editing access is blocked in its entirety and without further discussion, whereas if the user had been responsible and reasonable, an entirely different result might well have happened.

Wikipedia blocks are usually warnings only, and once over and learned from, unless repeated, they are in the past. Wikipedia and its administrators and arbitration committee have a real wish for everyone who is capable of acting responsibly to be able to enjoy editing.

Users who are blocked are asked to use this as a chance to reflect, an opportunity to show their understanding and ability to act responsibly, and a period of time to let the matter pass and be learned from.

See also