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Wikipedia:Responding to threats of harm

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Although experts recommend urging potentially violent or suicidal individuals to seek professional care (typically at a hospital emergency department), Wikipedia editors receive no special training in dealing with such individuals. Nobody on Wikipedia is obligated to deal with threats of harm, but should you wish to do so here are the recommended steps:

Treat all claims seriously

Although a person talking about violence or suicide may not be actively violent or suicidal, he or she may become so. Many threats are empty or hoaxes, but Wikipedians cannot make such evaluations, so should treat all such threats seriously and as emergencies.

Contact the Wikimedia Foundation
  • Notify the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) of the apparent threat as soon as you see it by emailing emergency@wikimedia.org, which forwards to multiple WMF staffers available around the clock. Do not use this address for other matters‍—‌see Wikipedia:Contact us for alternatives.
  • Telephoning the WMF office or emailing other addresses will delay response. Staff will typically acknowledge your email immediately.
  • The WMF will take appropriate action, such as tracing geographical origin and contacting authorities.
Contact administrators

In addition to emailing WMF as above:

  • Notify Wikipedia administrators (even an administrator discovering a threat should notify other administrators). Choices include privately by email; IRC, or other non-public methods. Avoid the use of high-traffic noticeboards when reporting.
  • Also request oversight, as such posts often contain personal information requiring oversighter attention.
Administrator action
  • Threats of violence against others should be met with blocking, generally including user talk pages. Threats or claims should be removed from any relevant pages and are frequently deleted from page history. Use of revision deletion may be appropriate.
  • Threats of suicide or self-harm require discretion on the questions of blocking or removal of posts.

Notes

  1. ^ This page documents an English Wikipedia guideline. It is a generally accepted standard that editors should follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply – see Wikipedia:Ignore all rules and Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means. Substantive edits to this page should reflect consensus; if in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.

External links