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Update TBAN to aide boundary detection

Add an objective, operational definition of "broadly construed" to better reflect established practice in determining scope.

  1. strike the parts clause from the section lede: The purpose of a topic ban is to forbid an editor from making edits related to a certain topic area where their contributions have been disruptive, but to allow them to edit the rest of Wikipedia. Unless clearly and unambiguously specified otherwise, a topic ban covers all pages (not only articles) broadly related to the topic, as well as the parts of other pages that are related to the topic.
  2. strike bullet 4 (the "parts" exemption): * weather-related parts of other pages, even if the pages as a whole have little or nothing to do with weather: the section entitled "Climate" in the article New York, for example, is covered by the topic ban, but the rest of the article is not;
  3. add bullet:
  • any page that wikilinks or "See also" links to a weather-related page;

Comment The lack of clarity of "broadly construed" is leading to confusion, to avoidable requests for enforcement at ANI and AE, and adversely effecting collegiality. This proposal clarifies "broadly construed" to encompass a sort of one degree of separation, and increases the scope of topic bans. This will adversely affect the participation of only topic banned editors, with the benefit of increased transparency and reduced burden at noticeboards. Our notion of "broadly construed" is somewhat similar but currently independent from our notion of due weight. This proposal leverages objective wikilink artefacts in our project in the service of detecting topic ban scope boundaries. If a relationship has sufficient due weight to justify a wikilink, it is related closely enough to be considered "broadly related" in terms of topic ban scope.

In practice, many editors filing requests for enforcement for topic ban violations simply do not believe bullet 4, or believe the word "broadly" trumps bullet 4, or believe the specific wording of a topic ban notice can trump policy including TBAN bullet 4. Any edit which might appear to be allowed by bullet 4 may be interpreted as boundary testing by someone and we have no disincentive to file a request for enforcement of a topic ban violation of this type, as it may always be considered a judgement call. To this extent the popularity of the topic ban remedy in the post-discretionary sanctions regime era is at odds with the original intent of increasing collegiality and reducing filings.

What do you think? Thank you. Hugh (talk) 21:46, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

  • In my experience, the vast majority of people who fall afoul of topic bans do not do so because the limits are not clearly defined, but because they have a problem dropping the issue that led to them being topic banned to begin with. We usually give them one free pass, with a warning not to test the boundaries again. If they can't leave it alone, then obviosly a topic ban was not a sufficient remedey. Beeblebrox (talk) 04:24, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your comment. By "fall afoul of topic bans" I understand you to refer to "found to have committed a topic ban violation." I agree many findings of topic ban violation are apt, but maybe not the vast majority of all requests for enforcement of topic ban violations. Has this been studied? Are you aware of any metrics on requests for enforcement of topic bans? In your experience, have you also seen requests for enforcement of topic ban violations that you thought were not topic ban violations due to TBAN bullet 4, the "parts" exemption? Thanks again. Hugh (talk) 19:18, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Written policy is supposed to summarize generally accepted practice. Best I can tell no one believes the "parts" clause; the most tenuous indirect relationship to a topic brings an entire page at a time into scope. We should get rid of it. Who will help update this policy? Hugh (talk) 04:20, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

  • The proposal is misguided. Constant practice, including by the Arbitration Committee, is to have topic bans include parts that relate to a topic on pages that otherwise don't. Otherwise, e.g., all noticeboard discussions would be excluded. The policy needs no change.  Sandstein  17:17, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your comment. So, your read of the "parts" clause in WP:TBAN is its intent is to permit comments on a notice board filing, when the notice board might have a different filing related to a topic elsewhere on the page? Sure, but if the applicability of the "parts" clause is only noticeboards or only Wikipedia space, maybe it should say so. In your view, does the "parts" clause apply to article space? Because it seems to me in recent practice there is no such thing as an article or talk page, where parts unrelated to the topic may be edited. What do you think? Hugh (talk) 17:33, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
You're overthinking this. The purpose of a topic ban is "don't edit anything related to the topic". Not pages, not parts of pages, not discussions, nothing. The policy reflects that and needs no change.  Sandstein  20:49, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. May I ask again, do you believe the "parts" clause applies to article space? In other words, a given article, might one part of it be in scope and another part out of scope? From your reply it sounds like no but I would like to please clarify. Thanks. Hugh (talk) 21:13, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

The scope of a topic ban under discretionary sanctions is the scope of the discretionary sanctions

Proposed: When a topic ban is issued in an enforcement action authorized by discretionary sanctions, the scope of the topic ban is exactly as specified in the "Locus of dispute" subsection of the "Findings of fact" section in the "Final decision" of the authorizing Arbitration Committee decision.

The scope of all topic bans issued under the same set of discretionary sanctions will be the same. Everyone topic banned, authorized by the same case, will be banned from the same topics, edits, articles, pages, and parts of pages.

Our arbitration committee deliberates over a scope, and votes, and then our enforcing administrators do whatever they want. The scope of topic bans authorized under discretionary sanctions often bear little resemblance to the scope of the authorization. Some (many) believe the scope of a topic ban, as specified in a DS enforcement topic ban notice, may be so worded as to exceed the scope of the ArbCom decision and to exceed the restrictions on scope in our policy WP:TBAN. Some (many) believe the scope of a topic ban, as specified in a DS enforcement topic ban notice, is irrelevant, and the real scope resides only in the intention of the enforcing admin, and may be modified or extended at will by the enforcing admin.

While in the discretionary sanctions era, historically it has certainly been great fun for our enforcing administrators to demonstrate their creativity in devising increasingly baroque and carefully worded topic ban notices, such notices are creating confusion, generating notice board filings, and harming collegiality and productivity. Paraphrasing, no more "custom" discretionary sanction enforcement topic ban scopes. More uniformity of topic bans will contribute to the development of consensus in identifying the edges of topic bans, and thereby reduce filings, and increase collegiality and productivity. DS talk page notices will aide in detecting in-scope articles. Thank you. Hugh (talk) 15:48, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Hugh, I think your proposal has great merit. Anything to clarify the boundaries of a TP will assist those under the ban and those wishing to enforce it. However, I would like to suggest that a lot of this goes back to the wording of the locus. I was recently topic banned in an ArbCom where the locus was worded "The dispute centers on pages about Subject X, Subject Y, and Subject Z, including biographical pages about persons involved in these topics, with numerous editors engaging in poor conduct, including battlegrounding and edit warring." Subjects X and Z were related only in that they attracted similar editors. I was judged to have been disruptive in Subject Z, but because of the wording of the locus, I was banned also from Subjects X and Y despite having made only 6 edits in Subject X and 0 in Subject Y. So, I think we need to be more careful in the wording of the locus.DrChrissy (talk) 16:13, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your support. I agree the above proposal means we lose the flexibility of a DS topic ban with a scope which is a subset of the locus of dispute, all or nothing. However, I think the benefits in uniformity, collegiality, and productivity outweigh this. As far as the need for care in specifying the locus of an ArbCom case, may I note that the locus of dispute in an ArbCom case is subject to consensus at least to the extent that mere mortals may comment on a pending case, while the statement of the scope of a topic ban in a topic ban notice is the creative expression of one admin, and effectively exempt from consensus by WP:ACDS#Modifications. Thanks again. Other comments? Hugh (talk) 16:46, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
That also doesn't look helpful to me. The point about discretionary sanctions is are that they are at the admin's discretion. That means that a discretionary topic ban can be scoped more narrowly, but not wider, than the area defined in the ArbCom decision. And these are very wide: if somebody has a problem with UFOs, for example, it is useful to ban them only from that topic, and not automatically from the whole "pseudoscience" topic area. That discretion is actually in the ArbCom decision, which this policy can't override.  Sandstein  20:53, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. I hear you reminding me policy is just stuff the community agrees on, and ArbCom is not bound by that, thanks. I agree scopes narrower than the scope of the DS are popular, but we also have custom DS enforcement topic ban scopes that are orthogonal to all DS scopes, and my point is "custom" DS enforcement topic ban scopes are more trouble than they are worth because we end up with a unique scope for each enforcement action to lawyer about the boundaries of. We have hundreds? of topic ban scopes, most customized to some extent, but just three dozen some DS scopes. The proposal trades proportionality away for gains in collegiality and ease of administration. What do you think? Thanks again. Hugh (talk) 21:27, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
"That discretion is actually in the ArbCom decision, which this policy can't override" By "that discretion", I take you to mean the discretion to issue a topic ban for a subset of the locus of dispute? I understand ArbCom's discretionary sanctions instructions mandate proportionality. This discussion may have to move if there is support, but for now let us continue here, thanks. From discussion at DS enforcement topic ban violations at AE and ANI, it seems to me many or most editors do not believe WP:TBAN applies in full to DS enforcement topic bans, are you making the broader statement that since the authority to issue them comes from ArbCom, WP:TBAN does not apply in full? Thank you. Hugh (talk) 16:58, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
My opinion (and I haven't talked to the Committee about it) is that WP:TBAN applies to all topic bans unless stated otherwise. Regarding this proposal, the community is not able to override Arbitration decisions (including procedures). The discretionary sanctions procedure current states that discretionary sanctions may be imposed at the discretion of the enforcing administrator, the scope is included in that discretion. If you want the discretionary sanctions procedure to be modified (as it appears this procedure aims to do) you should propose an amendment at WP:ARCA. I, personally, would oppose a change which prevents enforcing admins imposing topic bans which are tailored to specific editors rather than the whole "area of conflict" which as Sandstein points out can be very large (however the Committee may disagree). Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 08:39, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments. Yes, as previously noted, this discussion if it has legs will need to move, so thanks for your engagement here.

Revised proposal: When a topic ban is issued in an enforcement action authorized by discretionary sanctions, the scope of the topic ban is as specified in the "Locus of dispute" subsection of the "Findings of fact" section in the "Final decision" of the authorizing Arbitration Committee decision, or a strict subset of the locus.

Preserves the option of proportionality required by our DS instructions and of concern to commenters above. Discretionary sanction topic bans are significantly different from community topic bans in that our pillar of consensus is explicitly not required in the discretionary sanctions instructions. In established practice, the first admin that gets a creative idea for a DS topic ban scope in their head, it's done, no discussion, ANI/AE filing closed, appeal if you don't like it. The clear intention of the discretionary sanctions regime was to relax consensus requirements for penalties in defined loci in the service of expediency in reducing conflict. Untended consequences include that DS topic bans have become the main tool used by partisans to select their collaborators, and the lawyering around the proliferation of creative DS topic ban scopes. Community topic bans are still available to those who believe a highly creative scope is appropriate to a situation. Even an ArbCom topic ban has more of a role for consensus in that all editors may comment. Paraphrasing, no more "genetically modified organisms and another thing." Comments? Hugh (talk) 16:41, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

Unneeded instruction creep. Also, as explained, this policy is not where we determine how discretionary sanctions are applied. We as a community can't even do that, only the Committee can.  Sandstein  16:54, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

Avoiding trouble with TBAN

I'd like to request that the section on topic bans be expanded and rendered more specific. I'm facing a complaint right now because I didn't know that I wasn't allowed to tell anyone who filed the original complaint against me or post a link to the topic ban discussion. One of the admins just said that I must have been acting in bad faith because I asked for clarification after the ban was filed. If this section is made more detailed and specific, then that may be less of a problem in the future. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:44, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

What do you think needs to be more specific? In my view, what you describe should not be subject to the ban.  Sandstein  16:56, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Well I got blocked for it anyway, though to be fair, it wasn't "anyone"; it was someone who specifically requested my involvement in a conversation covered by the ban. Right now, there's a topicbanned user at AE who didn't know that they weren't allowed to report someone for violating the same ban (or claims at least), though there's also an interaction ban involved with those two. I realize we want to avoid WP:BEANS, but "I didn't know I wasn't allowed to do that" has shown up a lot in the month since I've been watching the page. At least, specifying counterintuitive non-exceptions would save everyone some time. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:17, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
It's worth noting that in Darkfrog24's case they were explicitly told that they may not comment about other users' views or activity in the topic area they (DF) are topic banned from. When someone asked DF to participate in a discussion that would violate their topic ban, instead of simply saying "I'm not allowed" or "I'm topic banned [link]" they chose to comment on other users' views and behaviour in the topic area. It was these comments that resulted in their block, not the asking for clarification (which DF has had far more of than most people need). Catflap08 and Hijiri88 is still open at AE, but both are topic banned from the same topic and also have a mutual IBAN. Hijiri88 reported Catflap08 for breaching the latter's topic ban, which is being seen by at least most as a breach of the IBAN by Hijiri88 and some also see it as Hijiri88's topic ban. Catflap08 clearly breached their topic ban, but have not breached their IBAN (so far as I am aware). Thryduulf (talk) 10:31, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
No I did not comment on the filer's views. "This person filed the original complaint" is not a comment on his or her views of the topic area. I was very surprised when I found out that anyone thought otherwise—and so were all of the uninvolved editors who commented. If "don't name the filer" had been listed here, it would have saved us both some time. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:03, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
@Thryduulf: Thank you for the background on the original poster of this thread. The original post in this thread is a plea for collaboration on more clarity in our written TBAN policy. Would you agree the TBAN section in this article is outdated with respect to commonly accepted practice and that our project would benefit from its revision? Isn't it true that the TBAN policy in this article dates from the era of community topic bans, and has little applicability to the current era of DS enforcement topic bans? Is not a community TB a very different animal than a DS TB? Can we put a little effort into documenting generally accepted practice and save ourselves a lot of time and ill will at AE and ANI? What do you think? Thanks again. Hugh (talk) 18:08, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
I honestly do not understand what is unclear about the present wording regarding topic bans - if you are topic banned from a given topic then you are prohibited from writing about or discussing that topic anywhere on Wikipedia unless the wording of your ban clearly and unambiguously says otherwise. Whether the topic ban is imposed through DS or otherwise makes no difference to what is and is not permitted. If you want to change any of the wording then make specific suggestions that can be evaluated. Thryduulf (talk) 20:53, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. Some issues with the current wording off the top of my head. First, the current wording definitely gives the impression to the reader that the policy is attempting to provide, through examples and counter-examples, guidance on detecting the scope of topic bans, guidance in the interpretation of "broadly construed," and constrain the scope of all topic bans. Meanwhile, at least in the case of the increasingly popular administrator-applied DS enforcement topic ban, we know from extensive generally accepted practice at ANI and AE that in fact this section does not constrain the scope, and that in fact the scope of a topic ban resides only in the intention of the enforcing administrator, and may be re-interpreted, expanded, or modified at will by the enforcing administrator; everyone at AE and ANI believes this, why can't we document it? Apparently there are flavors of topic bans, and these flavors have differences which are relevant to enforcement; an administrator at AE recently referred to a "standard" topic ban, others believe there are "topic bans" which ban an editor from a topic distinct from "page bans" which ban editors from pages. Some (most?) believe policy WP:TBAN does not apply to DS topic bans; if not, why can't we say that? The current written policy makes no distinction between various types of topic bans. In summary, we have accumulated a vast body of commonly accepted practice surrounding topic bans, that from lack of documentation is creating work at noticeboards and ill will in our community. What do you think? Thanks again. Hugh (talk) 21:33, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Think of it like a magic trick. If you already know that there's a mirror under the table and a spring inside the tube, then the trick seems obvious when you watch it performed. If you don't already know, however, then the trick looks seamless. From over here, why would talking about the ban itself be tantamount to talking about the banned topic? Why would a person's own talk page be covered by the ban? I'm not actually sure if this was part of why you expanded the scope of the ban in my case, by why would talking about whether or not someone else violated a similar ban be covered? Why would talking to the admins who issued the ban count? The ban notice says to ask if anything's unclear, but these things didn't look like they were in the gray area. They looked like they were allowed.
As for a specific suggestion, to start, this page should definitely say "The goal of a topic ban is..." When mine was laid down, I was under the impression that it was meant to be temporary and that I was fully expected to return to the banned area eventually. "The goal of a topic ban is to allow the user to cultivate better editing and talk page practices in less contentious parts of Wikipedia before being allowed to return to the banned area" or "The goal of the topic ban is to keep the banned user away from the contentious area in the hopes that he or she will develop other interests and choose to remain away permanently" or "The goal of the topic ban is..." Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:57, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
@User:Darkfrog24 I'm pretty sure you can talk to the admin who invoked your TBAN about the scope of the TBAN. I have done this several times. I might not have always liked the answers I got, but it shows engagement and a willingness to avoid a TBAN violation. DrChrissy (talk) 00:30, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Well it was Thryduulf here, and I'm sure he can tell you that he did not see it that way. But what do you think of the proposed text? Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:04, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm not sure where you are reading all these caveats and hidden meanings into things from? There are no tricks. There are no mirrors under the table. Administrators are not trying to trap you into breaking your topic ban.

  • You may ask the imposing administrator questions to clarify the scope of the topic ban, but only if you are doing so in good faith.
  • If you are subject to a topic ban then you need to stay well away from that topic. If you are seeking to find the exact edge of it you are not complying with the spirit of the ban.
  • Topic bans apply to every page on Wikipedia unless they explicitly say otherwise.
    • "Every page" means "every page", not "every page except your userspace", not "every page except ones I've not edited before", not "every page except if I'm reporting someone else for breaking their topic ban." etc.
  • Topic bans are only imposed when a user has demonstrated that they are presently unable to edit collaboratively in a given topic area such that they are a net negative to the project's coverage of that topic.
  • If a topic ban has a finite duration specified then you will be able to return to editing the given topic area when that time period elapses.
  • If a topic ban is indefinite then you will be able to return to editing when you have convinced uninvolved administrators that you are able to edit productively and collaboratively in a different topic area and your return to the topic will pose a low risk.
    • If you have continued to edit on the border of the topic area, or have edited contentiously elsewhere, or have ceased editing completely, you are unlikely to convince them.
    • If you have stayed away for the longer of a few months and the minimum time before your appeal, and have edited productively elsewhere then you are more likely to convince them.
    • Any return to the topic area may be in one go (the topic ban is completely lifted with no conditions) or it may be phased - often this takes the form of a narrowing of the scope or being allowed to edit one or more specific pages that would otherwise be covered.
  • I have never heard the suggestion that this policy does not apply to topic bans imposed under discretionary sanctions. However, a topic ban is only one form of sanction and sanctions that are not topic bans will obviously not be covered by the topic ban policy.
    • For example, a page ban is not a topic ban, it is a restriction from editing one or more explicitly listed pages.
  • The goal of topic bans is to improve the encyclopaedia by separating those hindering the editing of a specific topic from that topic. If the editor in question is able to return to the topic area at a later date as a productive collaborator then that is excellent, however the encyclopaedia is more important than any one editor. Thryduulf (talk) 02:09, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't mean that someone's necessarily trying to trick banned users. Stage magic is an example of how a group of people with inside knowledge may not realize what things look like to people who don't. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:20, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
While not making any comment whatsoever about DF's case, I think I can see where they are coming from. Many administrators, thankfully, have a great deal of experience here on WP. However, it is a perfectly natural human trait that along with this experience, there is often a reduced ability to remember what it was like to be less experienced. I think what DF and I are both trying to do here is use our experience to better WP. We have both suggested clearer wording for informing the reader from the point of view of someone who has received a TB and may not fully understand this. Our suggestions may not be the most beautifully word-crafted prose, but surely informing the reader is of more paramount importance. It should be remembered, this might be the first time a newly-banned reader has clicked on this page to see what it now means to be living under a TB, and this person might very well be rather distressed at what has probably just happened to them. DrChrissy (talk) 16:12, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
@Thryduulf: Thank you for your thoughtful reply. May I first remark that your comment at policy talk is roughly twice as long as the policy section under discussion WP:TBAN. Some of your reply is already in policy, but other of it I believe may be rough drafts of brief additions to policy which would be genuinely useful to readers in reducing filings and ill will. Respectfully may I remark that it may be possible that hanging at AE and ANI it may be one can get so close to this policy it gets hard to step back and see how truly deficient it is with respect to commonly accepted practice, to see it from the perspective of a newly TBAN-ed colleague. Thanks again. Hugh (talk) 17:28, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
"page" What page means. "Page" of course has a technical definition on Wikipedia, but as you know it is also used in casual parlance to mean "article." I think we can afford a few additional brief examples, perhaps with a caveat "including but not limited to" if it is felt necessary. If we can add a few words here that forestall one violation or one filing or one escalation, that is an improvement. Hugh (talk) 17:28, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
"Topic bans are only imposed when a user has demonstrated that they are presently unable to edit collaboratively in a given topic area..." In the special case of discretionary sanctions enforcement topic bans, this is too strong, this should read "...only imposed when one administrator reasonably believes that an editor threatens the smooth running of the project..." "Demonstrated" is too strong, since evidence is not necessary; only a reasonable belief by an individual administrator is necessary WP:ACDS#sanctions.user. This particular distinction is one example of how our written TBAN policy has not been updated since the DS regime era and how it suffers from attempting to generalize over important distinctions between flavors of topic bans that are relevant to enforcement. Thank you. Hugh (talk) 17:28, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Several of your comments above are clarifications and expansions in the area of returning, and I think they would be useful additions and contribute to community building. As you know, in spite of the intention many participants in TBAN enforcement actions and TBAN violation reports want the targets to go away. Hugh (talk) 17:28, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
"a page ban is not a topic ban" Our written policy distinguishes page bans from topic bans. In commonly accepted practice, administrators craft ban notices which seem like sorts of hybrids. A notice of the form "hereby banned from any and all pages related to X, Y, and Z, broadly construed" - page ban or topic ban? A page ban whose list of pages is defined by reference to a set of topics? A topic ban which includes the totality of each in-scope page, a local override of WP:TBAN bullet 4, the "parts" exemption? What do you think? Hugh (talk) 18:01, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
"I have never heard the suggestion that this policy does not apply to topic bans imposed under discretionary sanctions." Above on this very page a long-time editor and administrator wrote "...a discretionary topic ban can be scoped more narrowly, but not wider, than the area defined in the ArbCom decision...That discretion is actually in the ArbCom decision, which this policy can't override." To me this reads as expressing the sentiment that our policy WP:TBAN is in the realm of our community and the practice of discretionary sanction topic bans flows from a higher authority. Hugh (talk) 18:25, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
It was not until I entered this discussion that I realised there was such a thing as a page-ban sanction! Perhaps admins should be encouraged to use this more frequently to stop disruption, rather than the more heavy handed topic-ban, especially for first offences. This would be easier to enforce than a TB. It would be easy to see if the banned user then took their disruption elsewhere, in which case, if these pages were related, a topic ban could be issued. DrChrissy (talk) 18:43, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Suggested new text: Add "When asked a direct question by an administrator" or "When asked a direct question by an administrator who already knows that the ban is in place" to the list of exceptions. I don't see this as a change in policy but rather as explicitly stating something that may have been seen as going without saying. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:20, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

Wording on TBAN page

I recently edited the article page to make clearer that a TBAN includes the users user-page, talk-page and sandbox[1]. This has been reverted. The reasons I made this change were partly personal - I received a TBAN about 8 months ago and did not realise this applied to my was not stated in the article at that time but I have since edited this in. We are often told on WP that, within certain limits, we can handle and edit our own talk page as we wish. This means editors perceive their talk page as being "different" and more like "their property". I suggest this perceived difference needs to be addressed with a clear and distinct sentence in the TBAN article, not one that is just tagged on the end of a sentence about WP articles in general. DrChrissy (talk) 20:19, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

I concur. I had a TBAN expanded for something similar, so that's my bias. I don't see any kind of problem with this type of clarification. Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:45, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Just as a further suggestion, the multiple points regarding TBANs could be numbered. This would make it easier and clearer when giving/receiving warnings, sanctions or enforcements. DrChrissy (talk) 20:58, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

Article bans, page bans, topic bans, and the "parts exemption' of topic bans, broadly construed

The "parts exemption" of topic bans:

Unless clearly and unambiguously specified otherwise, a topic ban covers all pages (not only articles) broadly related to the topic, as well as the parts of other pages that are related to the topic. For example, if an editor is banned from the topic "weather", they are not only forbidden to edit the article Weather, but also everything else that has to do with weather, such parts of other pages, even if the pages as a whole have little or nothing to do with weather: the section entitled "Climate" in the article New York, for example, is covered by the topic ban, but the rest of the article is not;

Three ban notices

  1. "...hereby banned from the topic of the weather (broadly construed)..."
  2. "...hereby banned from the article Weather..."
  3. "...hereby banned from any and all pages related to the weather, broadly construed..."

Two article subsections

  1. article New York, subsection Climate
  2. article New York, subsection Wall Street

Questions for reflection

  1. Which if any of the above ban notices is a topic ban, article ban, or page ban?
  2. Which of the article subsections is in or out of scope of each of the bans?


  • The tag "broadly construed" is redundant in a topic ban notice since it is definitional.
  • What I see happening in generally accepted common practice: Administrators like the "broadly construed" idea in topic bans, but they don't like the parts exemption in topic bans, so they craft a sort of hybrid, broadly construed page ban, and we all refer to it as a topic ban. This has the effect that the parts exemption of topic bans is useless, since, in practice, there is no such thing as an article, parts of which are in scope and parts of which are not. This technique has become so popular that our written policy is outdated with respect to commonly accepted practice and written policy is misleading. Also, while page bans and article bans are nominally more specific and offer easier scope detection than topic bans, tacking "broadly construed" on to every ban is contributing to more filings and less collegiality and hindering productivity. Further complicating matters, in discussion the distinction between topic bans and page bans is lost. What do you think? Hugh (talk) 19:12, 22 February 2016 (UTC)