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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 inappropriate behavior. This page explains to blocked users why they may have been blocked, as well as 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

Q1: What is a block?
A1: A block prevents a user account, an IP address, or a range of IP addresses from editing Wikipedia, either partially or entirely. Blocked users can still open, access, and read any article or page on Wikipedia; they just cannot modify or edit any pages that is restricted by the block. Blocks can be applied to restrict users from editing all pages on Wikipedia, or it can be applied in order to restrict the user from editing only specific articles or pages, or from editing any pages that are within a given namespace (an example would be to restrict the user from editing any talk pages). Blocks are used to protect Wikipedia from possible or further improper use, damage, disruption, or other activity that may breach Wikipedia's editorial policies. Once a block expires, the user will be allowed to edit as they could before, and the event becomes history unless problems reoccur. Automated features also identify usage which apparently should be blocked; this can be quickly rectified and resolved if it is incorrectly enforcing a block.
Q2: I don't understand why I was blocked.
A2: You may have breached a behavior, policy or guideline, or rule without knowing that you've done so. The block notice you receive will contain the reason why an administrator has blocked you from editing, usually with a link to the relevant policy or guideline that was broken; read it carefully and try to understand how your behavior did not follow the given policy. A block is not intended as punishment; it's meant to prevent you from making further disruptive edits, either in good faith, as vandalism, or maliciously and in bad faith. If you can show that you won't continue the behavior, the block should be lifted. If you don't understand any detail of the policy, or still don't understand the action or reason that caused you to receive a block, you can ask the administrator that blocked you for help, or for any clarification on details that may be unclear to you. Administrators are expected to answer your questions and reasonably explain their actions. Don't ask for help or respond with questions within the actual unblock request, though, as it should be only used after you understand the reasons for the block, and when you are ready to appeal your block with a request to be unblocked, and provide an explanation.
Q3: Should I create a new account to appeal? Should I edit anonymously when my account is blocked?
A3: No, do not do either one of these things. Doing so is against Wikipedia's policy on block evasion, and can lead to further blocks and restrictions being applied to you as a result. To properly appeal your block and without causing further disruption or breaking any additional rules, you need to do this while you are logged into your blocked account or while you are under the same IP address. There's nothing to be afraid of; you will receive fair treatment and respect on Wikipedia, and your unblock request will be genuinely considered so long as your unblock request is also genuine - provide a reasonable unblock request that is sincere and explains that you understand what caused you to be blocked, and give assurance that the issue will not continue further. Be honest, be civil, and don't "play games" or use the unblock request in order to be malicious, inappropriate, or further disruptive. You'll do far better to appeal your block while logged into your blocked account (and accept the block if that's what is decided) than to be sanctioned and further blocked for engaging in any kind of block evasion. Wikipedia has had users who were blocked with an expiration set for a number of hours, days, months, even years - and who accepted it, and behaved and acted appropriately and accordingly. Once their block expired, they were welcomed back to Wikipedia, and "made good" as respected editors shortly afterwards. Once a block is over, it's over.
Q4: I've never done anything wrong and I was blocked! Please advise.
A4: Do you use an ISP or web accelerator that involves shared IP addresses? Common examples include Comcast, StarHub, schools, and colleges. Are you connecting to the internet using a public network, or are you connected through the wireless broadband (3G, LTE, 4G, 5G, etc) from your mobile device? If any of these cases apply to your current connection to the internet, you may have been affected by collateral damage (a block that was intended for another user or person located on the same network or range as yours, and that unintentionally affected you as a result). Also, if you are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to your network or the internet, try logging out of your VPN connection, closing the VPN connection, and exiting out of your VPN software. Afterwards, check again to see if you are still blocked. It may just be a case where the IP range used by the VPN is blocked, but the IP or range used by your actual network or connection is fine. In such cases, you should request an account to be created for you. In nearly all cases, using an account to edit Wikipedia will allow you to do so even when the IP address or range of your network is blocked; these blocks only affect users who attempt to edit Wikipedia without an account.
Q5: I did something a bit wrong, but how do I get unblocked now?
A5: All blocks can be reviewed by, and discussed with, a different administrator who is not involved, if requested. The preferred way to appeal a block is to place {{unblock|reason=Your reason here ~~~~}} on your talk page, which is only blocked if abused. If you cannot edit your talk page, you can appeal via the Unblock Ticket Request System.

One common requirement for unblocking is to be able to answer the question, "do you understand that what you did was inappropriate for this site, and can we have your assurance that you won't do it again?"

In the case where blocks are applied with with a very short duration, especially for good cause, the usual response that you will receive from an unblock request is that it is denied, and that you'll just need to wait until it expires before you can resume editing. Once the block does expire, you'll be able to continue editing Wikipedia as you could before, and you can consider the block to be in the past – just make sure that you learn from what you did wrong. Repeated instances of inappropriate behavior or violations of policies or guidelines (especially when a block has been recently placed because of the same behavior) will often result in a block being applied with a duration that is longer than the previous block, so it is important to learn from blocks when they occur. Keep in mind that blocks are not intended to be punitive; they are used to prevent further disruption, and to help misplaced or misguided users when words, notices, messages, and warnings don't seem sufficient and are not causing the issue or disruption to stop.
Q6: It says I've been "indefinitely" blocked. What does that mean and how do I get unblocked?
A6:
"Indefinite" does not necessarily mean "forever" or "infinite". It means "however long is needed for the user to address the issue".
This can be minutes, hours – or indeed the user may never do so.

An indefinite block does not mean that you are "blocked forever". It simply means the blocking administrator did not set a time limit or expiration for the block. In this case, the blocked user will usually be required to appeal their block and discuss the matter with an administrator before an unblock will be considered. An indefinite block could be applied because the user needs to confirm that things are okay and that nothing's wrong, or it could be due to a problem that needs attention, or a problem that is deemed to need the user to acknowledge that they understand that a behavior was inappropriate first before they will be unblocked.

Typical examples are where the account owner must be contacted (e.g. suspected "hacking" of their account), and users whose behavior was severely inappropriate (such as making threats or engaging in the repeated use of personal attacks toward other editors, engaging in "outing", repeated instances of vandalism or edit warring, repeated incidents where the user has failed to listen, and other matters). Wikipedia is an encyclopedia community; its ability to exist as well as continue to be a significantly relevant and highly referenced resource on the internet is made possible because of the collective hard work and the amount of time that each member of the community gives to Wikipedia for free. Because of the importance and the impact that the community has with Wikipedia's continued sustainability and relevance on the internet, it is both a policy and a founding principle that members of the community must treat one other with respect and civility. Inappropriate or unacceptable behavior (such as those listed in the examples above) is not tolerated. For other issues, a user may need to stop, learn our site norms, and confirm they will not repeat the behavior (or will edit in accordance with certain conditions), before an unblock can take place.
Q7: It says I've been "autoblocked" because of another person whom I don't even know!
A7: See this page for an explanation of how autoblocks work. If you use a shared ISP (namely Comcast, StarHub, schools, colleges, etc.), you may be affected by collateral damage (a block that was intended for another user or person due to their disruptive behavior and who were located on the same network or range as yours, and that unintentionally affected you as a result). An administrator will sort this out as soon as it's drawn to their attention – please follow the instructions under the "Autoblocked?" section on your block page, or alternatively, here.
Q8: I want to edit Wikipedia, but I keep getting blocked because of others on the same network as me!
A8: If you are an unregistered user, it's recommended that you create an account. Shared IP addresses such as school and company networks or proxy servers are frequently blocked for vandalism which often affects many innocent editors on the same network. However, registered users in good standing can request existing blocks on their IP address be "softened" to only affect anonymous editors on their network so that they may continue contributing. See also Wikipedia:Why create an account?.
Note: If your IP address is blocked, you may need to create your account at home, on another computer, phone or tablet using a different connection, or (in rare cases) in another country. You can also request that an account be created for you.
Note: Many rotating IP addresses of ISPs practising shared IP addresses are blocked as being "proxies" or "zombies" because of the large number of different users sharing the IP. On these computers, logged-in users will be automatically blocked immediately. If you encounter such a case, please follow the unblocking request steps or consult a CheckUser or administrator.

Requesting to be unblocked

The preferred way to appeal a block is to place {{unblock|reason=Your reason here ~~~~}} on your talk page, which is only blocked if abused. If you cannot edit your talk page, you can appeal via the Unblock Ticket Request System.

To test if you are still blocked, click here which tries to edit the Sandbox. If you are allowed to edit the sandbox, 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. Note that this only checks for sitewide blocks, not partial blocks. Users can check for partial blocks by viewing their contributions page or by entering their name on the block list.

Useful links for helping blocked users:   Message seen by blocked users: MediaWiki:Blockedtext (partial blocks: MediaWiki:Blockedtext-partial)   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 hours or a few days; for major discussions sometimes it can take a week or more.

Administrators will carefully avoid blocking and unblocking fights, which are 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 submit a request to the Unblock Ticket Request System (UTRS). If you are partially blocked from using certain Wikipedia functions, you can also submit an appeal on the administrator noticeboard. 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.[1]

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.
    • After a discussion takes place, if there is consensus to unblock, the user is unblocked right away, although conditions may be imposed by the unblocking admin.
    • If there is no consensus to unblock, or if there is consensus to keep the user blocked after "due consideration by the community"[2], and the user is blocked indefinitely, the user is considered community banned indefinitely, and must go through the ban appeals process to have it reversed.

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).

Users may not appeal blocks to the Arbitration Committee by email, except if:

  • The block is an Oversight block or CheckUser block
  • The reasons for the block or information related to your appeal is unsuitable for public discussion
  • You have been blocked or banned by the Arbitration Committee or by an Arbitration Enforcement decision.

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 attacks 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. Once they are over and learned from, they are in the past (unless repeated). 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.

Users who have lost the ability to request unblocking on their talk pages may then do so at UTRS. Unfortunately, they may continue to abuse the appeal process via that venue as well, and may be banned from UTRS, for six months if a Standard offer is still possible, or indefinitely in the most egregious instances.

Appeals by third party

Third party appeals of blocks are generally not permitted. However, some exceptions are permitted for block reviews. An administrator may choose to refer their own block for review, particularly if it might be controversial. Any editor may request community review of blocks they believe are out-of-policy, though they should attempt to discuss their concerns with the blocking admin first. Such reviews are not considered block appeals, and if the review results in the block being endorsed it is not converted into a community ban.[3]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ For transparency, unblock requests and discussions should happen in user talk pages unless private information is involved. If you cannot edit your talk page, an administrator may restore your talk page access and direct the appeal to user talk page if appropriate.
  2. ^ Wikipedia:Banning policy
  3. ^ Guidance based on discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 166 § RfC: Can editors request community review of the blocks of others?